We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by prayerfully studying “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” We should seek to know how to use the counsel contained in the proclamation on the family in the best way to bless our individual families. When we understand the doctrine of the family, we can bring blessings into our homes.
The proclamation on the family was prepared and published by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Gordon B. Hinckley read the proclamation on the family as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting, September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is a vast amount of information and inspiration in the family proclamation. The proclamation was given to the world before the family came under attack by those who desire to destroy it.
In February 1998, President Henry B. Eyring presented some of his thoughts on the proclamation on the family. His article was published again September 2015 in an article titled “The Teachings of `The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” President Eyring starts his article by reminding us that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued only five proclamations in the entire history of the Church. Proclamation four was issued more than fifteen years before the proclamation on the family. The infrequency of proclamations tells us that they are made only when sufficient importance is placed on doing so.
President Eyring gives the complete title of the proclamation – “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” – The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” He then explains that there are “Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when He said, `Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
“The title tells us something about how to prepare for the words that follow. We can expect that God won’t just tell us a few interesting things about the family; He will tell us what a family ought to be and why. Further, we know that our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, want us to become like Them so that we can dwell with Them forever in families. We know that from this simple statement of Their intent: `This is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39).”
President Eyring then discusses each of the paragraphs in the proclamation before closing with this counsel and his testimony: “The family unit is fundamental not only to society and to the Church but also to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world, which will then be what we practice in families bound together forever by covenants and by faithfulness. We can start now to `promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family.’ I pray that we will. I pray that you will ask, `Father, how can I prepare?’ Tell Him how much you want what He desires to give you. You will receive impressions, and if you act on them, I promise you the help of the powers of heaven.
“I testify that our Heavenly Father lives, that we lived with Him as spirits, and that we would be lonely living anywhere but with Him in the world to come.”
From the proclamation itself as well as from the words of President Eyring, we know that the family is important to God and that God will help anyone who desires to strengthen their family to do so. Please prepare yourself to study more about the family by following President Eyring’s counsel to ask, “Father, how can I prepare?” I know that He will bless you and help you. I also know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by learning more about the doctrine of the family by studying the proclamation on the family.