We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by studying the document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and by following its precepts. One way to study the proclamation is one paragraph at a time. This is the tenth article in this series.
The post two weeks ago on strengthening families discussed the first part of the seventh paragraph. I chose to do this long paragraph in different posts because there were too many important topics to be covered in one post. As my regular readers will remember the first part of this paragraph says, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity….”
Last week’s post on strengthening families will cover the middle section of the paragraph as follows, “… Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities….”
This week’s post on strengthening families will cover the last section of the paragraph as follows, “…
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”
Mosiah, a righteous prophet/king in ancient America taught the following to his people: “And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 4:14-15).
In October 1987 President Ezra Taft Benson gave some specific counsel to the fathers in a General Conference address titled “To the Fathers in Israel.”
“What, then, is a father’s specific responsibility within the sacred walls of his home? May I suggest two basic responsibilities of every father in Israel.
“First, you have a sacred responsibility to provide for the material needs of your family…
“Early in the history of the restored Church, the Lord specifically charged men with the obligation to provide for their wives and family. In January of 1832 He said, `Verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide and he shall in no wise lose his crown’ (Doctrine and Covenants 75:28). Three months later the Lord said again, `Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken’ (Doctrine and Covenants 83:2). This is the divine right of a wife and mother. While she cares for and nourishes her children at home, her husband earns the living for the family, which makes this nourishing possible…
“Brethren of the priesthood, I continue to emphasize the importance of mothers staying home to nurture, care for, and train their children in the principles of righteousness…
“Fathers, another vital aspect of providing for the material needs of your family is the provision you should be making for your family in case of an emergency. Family preparedness has been a long-established welfare principle. It is even more urgent today…
“Second, you have a sacred responsibility to provide spiritual leadership in your family.
“In a pamphlet published some years ago by the Council of the Twelve, we said the following: `Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home’ (Father, Consider Your Ways,pamphlet, 1973, pp. 4-5)…
“Mothers play an important role as the heart of the home, but this in no way lessens the equally important role fathers should play, as head of the home, in nurturing, training, and loving their children.
“As the patriarch in your home, you have a serious responsibility to assume leadership in working with your children. You must help create a home where the Spirit of the Lord can abide. Your place is to give direction to all family life. You should take an active part in establishing family rules and discipline.
“Your homes should be havens of peace and joy for your family. Surely no child should fear his own father – especially a priesthood father. A father’s duty is to make his home a place of happiness and joy. He cannot do this when there is bickering, quarreling, contention, or unrighteous behavior. The powerful effect of righteous fathers in setting an example, disciplining and training, nurturing and loving is vital to the spiritual welfare of his children.”
I will be eternally grateful for my husband in that he provided well for our family and allowed me to be at home during the critical years of childhood and adolescence. I feel that my presence at home gave my children a sense of security that they would have missed otherwise. I am also grateful that my sons by birth and marriage are providing for their families and allowing their wives to be stay-at-home mothers. I am also grateful that my grandchildren are being reared in homes where their fathers are the presiding authorities and blessing their children through their priesthood leadership.
As you study the last section of the seventh paragraph of the proclamation, you may want to share what you learn in a family home evening. This site has a wonderful family home evening program all outlined with lesson, music, activity, and refreshments. You may want to cover the entire paragraph in one evening, or you may want to split the paragraph as I am doing. I hope you will strengthen your family, community, and nation by teaching that there is a divine design for families and putting this plan into action in your family.