Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

How Important Is the Family to God?

            My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to “The Family – A Proclamation to the World.” This document was made public by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, UT. It has been presented to government officials at all levels and in many nations. 

            There are many principles in the family proclamation, but the overall principle is, “The family is central to the Creator’s plan” for the happiness of His children.” Before we were born, we were part of a family – the family of our Heavenly Parents. Every person who has ever lived on earth or will live on earth live with Them before coming to earth. When it came time to leave Their presence, we were instructed that we would live in a family here on earth. This must have been comforting to us to know that our earth life would follow a perfect pattern of heaven.

            President M. Russell Ballard taught, “[The] gospel is a gospel of love – love for God and love for one another” (“God’s Love for His Children,” Ensign, May 1988, 59). The proclamation on the family contains many pieces of evidence of God’s love for His children.

            President Dallin H. Oaks said, “I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is [a test] for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test” (“The Plan and the Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 31). I consider the proclamation to be of utmost importance to me. I have memorized the proclamation, but I need to review it more often. I studied the proclamation for an entire semester two years ago, and I prepared family home evening lessons for my children and their families.

            The proclamation on the family does not guarantee that our family will be perfect, ideal, or even functional. However, families are important to the successful rearing of children. President Henry B. Eyring taught, families “give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven – parental love” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 20).

            Heavenly Father knew that families would be imperfect and subject to attacks from Satan. Therefore, He sent His Beloved Son, even Jesus Christ, to redeem us and to heal our families. In addition, He inspired latter-day prophets to provide a proclamation that helps us to defend and strengthen families. If we follow the counsel given in the proclamation on the family and put our faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there is hope for even the most dysfunctional families to move closer to the divine ideal and prepare to live as families in heaven.

            “The family is central to the Creator’s plan.” This principle is shown in the emphasis that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts on families. The proclamation on the family reveals the doctrinal reasons for that emphasis on families.

            One reason that the family proclamation is so important is that it reaffirms truths that are under assault in our day. President Dallin H. Oaks taught the following about the proclamation and God’s plan for our happiness.

Latter-day Saints who understand God’s plan of salvation have a unique worldview that helps them see the reason for God’s commandments, the unchangeable nature of His required ordinances, and the fundamental role of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Savior’s Atonement reclaims us from death and, subject to our repentance, saves us from sin. With that worldview, Latter-day Saints have distinctive priorities and practices and are blessed with the strength to endure the frustrations and pains of mortal life….

The gospel plan each family should follow to prepare for eternal life and exaltation is outlined in the Church’s 1995 proclamation, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Its declarations are, of course, visibly different from some current laws, practices, and advocacy of the world in which we live. In our day, the differences most evident are cohabitation without marriage, same-sex marriage, and the raising of children in such relationships. Those who do not believe in or aspire to exaltation and are most persuaded by the ways of the world consider this family proclamation as just a statement of policy that should be changed. In contrast, Latter-day Saints affirm that the family proclamation defines the kind of family relationships where the most important part of our eternal development can occur (“The Plan and the Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 29).

            The proclamation on the family contains numerous principles that can strengthen each family, and it is well-worth the time and effort to study. The proclamation ends with two statements of warning and a request for help from citizens and governments worldwide.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

            Those individuals and government officials who understand the importance of the family do everything that they can to defend, protect, and preserve the family. Those people who act in ways that lead to destruction of families will stand accountable before God. I encourage you to study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and join the efforts to defend families. 

No comments:

Post a Comment