One of the main topics of conversation lately has been that of the family. So many questions and arguments about the definition of the family have been raised and debated. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a firm position on the structure and importance of the family. In 1995, the leaders of the Church issued a statement entitled The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Here are a few excerpts from that document, the entirety of which can be found here.
“…marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and…the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
A major debate about the family is towards its structure. Some believe marriage can occur between genders. Others reject the program altogether. Each is entitled to their own opinion and choice. Respect is of utmost importance, regardless of your own personal position or religious beliefs.
As members of the Church, we believe that marriage should only occur between a man and a woman, legally and lawfully. Marriage is the foundation upon which we build our families, and shape society. Within the walls of our home we are taught guiding principles and life lessons that will ultimately shape us into the adults we become. There is no better way to learn these essential life lessons then from the perspectives of both a mother and a father.
“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.”
Children are the future. It was the responsibility of our parents to raise us the best they knew how so that we could successfully contribute to society and make a positive impact on the world. We have this same responsibility with our children. The natural process by which children are created is of divine origin. We our endowed by our creator with god-like attributes capable of creation. This is not something to be treated lightly. Using such sacred privileges outside of marriage has the potential to result in broken families and homes, essentially resulting in a life for the child that may have been very different had the couple reserved themselves for marriage.
The Proclamation teaches that fathers and mothers each have their own responsibilities as they strive to work together to raise their children. “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.”
“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
One of the key observations that I made before joining the Church was that I felt different in the homes of my friends who were members. I love my family and my home, please don’t misunderstand. But there was something about the way I felt around my friends, their families, and the way I felt in their homes that increased my curiosity about their faith. I soon learned that I was feeling the Spirit of God. Their homes are made sacred. They are places of peace, love, and learning. My friends had strong relationships with their families. They prayed together daily. They went to Church together weekly. They applied what they learned at Church within their homes on a daily basis. The results were these unique feelings, different from those I felt in my own home, that I felt as I spent time with them, and that I continue to feel as I spend time with them years later. There is still a noticeable difference. This atmosphere is one I wish to create and maintain in my own home. This atmosphere is one that can only be obtained by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in family units after the manner ordained by God.
The structure of the family is being attacked on all fronts. As members of the Church, we believe that families can live together forever. That promise is our ultimate desire. This promise is available to anyone, no matter what circumstances you may find yourself. Because Christ died for us, all of our shortcomings and weaknesses will be made up for. Christ died for everyone. Knowing this, Satan is working hard to destroy the identity of the family. Let us be careful as we strive to build our family relationships. Let us also be respectful to those who have chosen different paths. God loves everyone, and so should we.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” -John 3:16-17