Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when men and women, boys and girls recognize the nobility of womanhood. Girls and women are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and as such should be treated as royalty rather than treated with abuse, disrespect, or as sexual objects. Husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons who recognize the nobility of womanhood will show all girls and women proper love and respect.
President Gordon B. Hinckley stood before the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a general Relief Society meeting on September 23 1995. After expressing "gratitude for the faithfulness and diligence of Latter-day Saint women - young an old, married and single, with children and without children," he gave us "encouragement, counsel and warning."
Near the end of his remarks, President Hinckley said, "With so much sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."
President Hinckley followed this statement by reading "The Family: A Proclamationto the World." As the title indicates, this truly was "A Proclamation to the World," and it reminded all people in all nations of the eternal importance of the family. Copies of this proclamation were presented to many leaders of nations, states, and cities.
In a press conference in
eight months later, President Hinckley said, "Why do we have this
proclamation on the family now? Because
the family is under attack. All across the world families are falling
apart. The place to begin to improve society
is in the home. Children do, for the
most part, what they are taught. We are
trying to make the world better by making the family stronger." Tokyo, Japan
I was in the meeting when this proclamation was presented to the sisters, and I recognized at once that this statement of doctrine had meaning not only for the entire world but for individuals and families. I was in awe of the plain-spoken words contained in the proclamation. I knew that I was listening to a prophet of God.
After reading the proclamation, President Hinckley showed his respect for the women of the Church as he explained why he had chosen to announce the proclamation in a general Relief Society meeting: "You are the guardians of the hearth. You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God."
President James E. Faust, President Hinckley's second counselor explained further: "Because you mothers are the heart and soul of any family, it was appropriate that it [the proclamation] was first read in the general Relief Society meetings."
The proclamation does not contain any new teachings; it simply reaffirms the ones already in place. President Hinckley stated that they were a "reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices" which had been "central to the Creator's plan" even before this earth was created.
Another prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, explained the important place of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. … She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home - which is society's basic and most noble institution."
When men and boys treat women and girls with the love and respect that all daughters of God deserve, families, communities, and nations will be strengthened.
Facts and ideas for this essay came from Daughters in My Kingdom - The History and Work of Relief Society, pp. 145-150.