In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," an official declaration released in 1995, Church leaders proclaimed that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." God's plan enables families who live the gospel and receive the necessary ordinances to be together forever with Him.
On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th President of the Church, read the following proclamation in a general Relief Society meeting. This inspired proclamation, titled "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," has become the Church's definitive statement on the family:
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped 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 his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. 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.
"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. 'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to 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.
"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. 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. 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.
"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" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
—See True to the Faith (2004), 59–61
"The Importance of the Family"
L. Tom Perry, Liahona, May 2003, 40–43; or Ensign, May 2003, 40–43
May it be our resolve this year to build a gospel-centered home, a safe harbor from the storms of the adversary.
"Set in Order Thy House"
Russell M. Nelson, Liahona, Jan. 2002, 80–83; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 69–71
Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity.
"Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty"
Robert D. Hales, Liahona, July 1999, 37–40; or Ensign, May 1999, 32–34
The key to strengthening our families is having the Spirit of the Lord come into our homes. The goal of our families is to be on the strait and narrow path.
Henry B. Eyring, Liahona, Oct. 1998, 12–23; or Ensign, Feb. 1998, 10–18
The family unit is fundamental not only to society and to the Church but to our hope for eternal life.
"The Eternal Family"
Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov. 1996, 64–67
The plan of the Father is that family love and companionship will continue into the eternities.
"The Family Can Be Eternal"
Gospel Principles, Chapter 36
Gospel Principles, Chapter 37
"Teaching the Family"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Chapter 24
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, Chapter 21
"Teaching Children in the Nurture and Admonition of the Gospel"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Chapter 22
"Love at Home"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, Chapter 14
"The Family Is Ordained of God"
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson 45
"The Family: A Proclamation to the World"
Text only, unformatted
"The Family: A Proclamation to the World"
Formatted text (PDF)
Guide to the Scriptures
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
(Please note that the contents of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)