Family Proclamation

by
December 1, 2010

Question: What is so special to you about The Family A Proclamation to the World? I would like to hear some ideas from you, to help me understand.

Picture of a Family Smiling TogetherI’d like to start with a brief summary of our relationship to God. Because in my opinion, that relationship is the key to understanding the purpose of life. One of our basic beliefs is that we are children of God. Before life began on the earth, we all lived with God as His spirit children. Our Heavenly Father presented a plan to us there. This plan was an opportunity to help all of us, His children, to learn, grow, and eventually become like Him. To quote a church article written several years ago, “We were given laws. We were commanded to walk in paths of truth and light and of virtue and integrity so that we could advance and progress. The ultimate goal held out to us was that if we were obedient in all things, eventually we would become like him. We would live in the eternal family unit as he lives in it, and we would have might, power, glory, and the omnipotent creative ability that he possesses. The name of the kind of life he lives is eternal life.” (“Households of Faith”, Ensign, April 1971, 4).

If our purpose in life is to eventually live as families as God does, then the need of the Proclamation to the World is clear. Families are the fundamental units of society. They are what children look to, to understand what is ‘normal’. They are what God has given us to understand what life will be like after we die. Since the definition of families in our world is becoming more obscure and confused, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made a statement clarifying the definition of family. In my opinion, The Family: A Proclamation to The World provides an answer to a lot of the confusion children are growing up with now. Below are nine issues in the world today that I think the Proclamation addresses.  You may click here to read The Family: A Proclamation to The World in its entirety.

  1. In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life…The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.” (3rd Paragraph)  “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (1st Paragraph)
    • Are families important?  Yes.  We lived as part of God’s family before we were born.  We live in families here.  We can live in families in the next life.  If we lose focus of what constitutes a family, then we lose focus of what we are aiming for in the next life.
  2. “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents…Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. (2nd Paragraph)
    • Did God mess up?  Was I supposed to be male/female instead of female/male?  No.  We were either a son or a daughter (male or female) when we lived as part of God’s family before we were born.  We were born on earth with that same gender, and that gender is essential in our family.  I want to point out that we’ve also been given varying talents and abilities. We are not limited in what we can do.  There are men who love music, art, dancing, etc.  Good.  There are women who love science, math, sports, etc.  That’s fine too.  Talents don’t constitute gender.
  3. “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife…We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” (4th Paragraph)
    • Do I need to be married?  I want to have a child.  Can’t I just make arrangements on my own?  No.  The very first commandment that God gave on earth was to have families.  In my opinion that shows just how important families are.
    • A man and a woman should be married before having intercourse or starting a family.  I’ve unfortunately seen two different shows in the past year or two where successful women have good careers and decided that they now want to have a child. So they ‘shop’ around for good genes.  Then they raise the child on their own.  What kind of family is that?  Poor kid.
  4. “We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” (5th Paragraph)
    • I’m not ready for a child.  Can I get an abortion?  Getting an abortion is a serious matter.  Please read the Church’s official statement below (found here).
      • “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.  The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
        • Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
        • A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
        • A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

        The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.  The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.”

  5. “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.” (6th Paragraph)
    • What does being a good mother/father mean?  Children look up to their parents’ example.  Parents are the most influential teachers children have.
    • Families are important to God.  He sends us innocent children who look to us for guidance.  He will hold us responsible for how well we fulfilled that trust.
  6. “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.” (7th Paragraph)
    • Children don’t get to pick their families.  But they deserve good ones.
  7. “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.  Extended families should lend support when needed.” (7th Paragraph)
    • While fathers are given the responsibility to provide for their families and mothers to nuture their children, we adjust to make things work.
  8. “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.” (8th Paragraph)
    • Once again, families are really important to God.  If we abuse or neglect family members, He will hold us accountable.
  9. “Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” (8th Paragraph)
    • Families are what God has given us to teach us about what kind of life we can have after we die.  If we destroy that perspective, our children will have a much harder time finding their way back to God.  Should we be surprised that  calamities will come as a result?

There are many different questions and answers that can be found by reading the Family Proclamation, but these are the ones that stood out to me the most.  I hope they help.  Our Father in Heaven loves us and wants to help us return to live with Him.  He has given us the Family Proclamation to clarify the importance of families in His plan for us, and the role they play in our lives and on into eternity.

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