The Family: A Proclamation to the World

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), 83–110


The Family: A Proclamation to the World

First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102

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.

Selected Teachings

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I salute fathers and mothers who are loyal to one another and who nurture their children in faith and love. There has been a wonderful response to the proclamation on the family, which we issued last October. … We hope you will read it and reread it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 90; or Ensign, May 1996, 66).

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“The recent proclamation to the world on the family, issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, makes very clear that the family is ordained of God. The proclamation warns that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 112; or Ensign, May 1996, 81).

Elder Richard G. Scott

“Learn the doctrinal foundation of the great plan of happiness by studying the scriptures, pondering their content, and praying to understand them. Carefully study and use the proclamation of the First Presidency and the Twelve on the family. … It was inspired of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 103; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 75).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

“The proclamation teaches that ‘successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.’ In other words, the Lord measures the success of a family by the quality of its relationships. In a home where faith, love, and forgiveness are dominant, members find joy and satisfaction in being together. Ideally the father presides in love and righteousness, provides the necessities of life, and protects the family while the mother is primarily responsible for the nurturing of the children. In contrast, the world often measures family success by the accumulation of worldly things and the size of the estate that is passed on to the children” (“The Eternal Family,” 115).

Principle of Faith

Matthew 9:29

“Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

1 Nephi 3:7

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

Doctrine and Covenants 76:53

“And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.”

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“When a man and a woman, in all sincerity, enter into a covenant of marriage for time and all eternity (and after they have ‘overcome by faith,’ and are ‘just and true’ [D&C 76:53]), the Holy Ghost—who is the Spirit of promise—bears record of or ratifies that sealing. In other words, he seals the promises appertaining to the marriage covenant upon them” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:98).

President Harold B. Lee

“Faith, not doubt, is the beginning of all learning, whether in science or religion. … It is faith that seeks for spiritual knowledge and power by studying out in your own mind the matter in question, by applying all possible human wisdom to the solution of your problem and then asking God if your conclusion is right. If it is right, your bosom shall burn within you and you shall ‘feel’ that it is right, but if your conclusion is not right, you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing that is wrong. (Doc. and Cov. 9:8–9.)” (Decisions for Successful Living, 194).

President Spencer W. Kimball

“The love of which the Lord speaks is not only physical attraction, but also faith, confidence, understanding, and partnership. It is devotion and companionship, parenthood, common ideals and standards. It is cleanliness of life and sacrifice and unselfishness” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 248).

“Mary and John, I congratulate you for your vision and faith and your willingness to forgo the fanfare and glamour of a worldly wedding for a simple, quiet, but beautiful marriage in the temple, a sweet eternal ceremony that will be unostentatious and sacred like your birth, blessing, baptism, or ordination” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, 127).

Elder LeGrand Richards

“Anderson M. Baten dedicated a poem to his beloved wife, Beulah, entitled, The Philosophy of Life, which expresses his faith that his marriage tie would extend beyond the grave:

“I wed thee forever, not for now;

Nor for the sham of earth’s brief years.

I wed thee for the life beyond the tears,

Beyond the heart pain and the clouded brow.

Love knows no grave, and it will guide us, dear,

When life’s spent candles flutter and burn low.”

(Marvelous Work and a Wonder, 203).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Commenting on 2 Corinthians 1:24. “After the grace of God as manifest through the sacrifice of his Son, after baptism, after temple marriage, after the Lord offers any blessing to men—still the promised rewards come by individual faith, by personal righteousness, by one man standing alone before his Maker and doing those things which enable him to work out his salvation” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:410).

Elder David B. Haight

“Marriage is sustained by faith and knowledge of its divine establishment, and is sustained daily by the energy of love. …

“A strong, shared conviction that there is something eternally precious about a marriage relationship builds faith to resist evil. Marriage should be beautiful and fulfilling, with joy beyond our fondest dreams, for ‘neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 11:11)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 16–17; or Ensign, May 1984, 14).

Principle of Prayer

President Spencer W. Kimball

“When a husband and wife go together frequently to the holy temple, kneel in prayer together in their home with their family, … then happiness is at its pinnacle” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 309).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“Prayer in the home and prayer with each other will strengthen your union. Gradually thoughts, aspirations, and ideas will merge into a oneness until you are seeking the same purposes and goals.

“Rely on the Lord, the teachings of the prophets, and the scriptures for guidance and help, particularly when there may be disagreements and problems” (“Salvation—A Family Affair,” Ensign, July 1992, 2, 4; or Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 85–86; Ensign, Nov. 1982, 60).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I know of no other practice that will have so salutary an effect upon your lives as will the practice of kneeling together in prayer. The very words, Our Father in Heaven, have a tremendous effect. You cannot speak them with sincerity and with recognition without having some feeling of accountability to God. The little storms that seem to afflict every marriage become of small consequence while kneeling before the Lord and addressing him as a suppliant son and daughter.

“Your daily conversations with him will bring peace into your hearts and a joy into your lives that can come from no other source. Your companionship will sweeten through the years. Your love will strengthen. Your appreciation one for another will grow.

“Your children will be blessed with a sense of security that comes of living in a home where dwells the Spirit of God. They will know and love parents who respect one another, and a spirit of respect will grow in their own hearts. They will experience the security of kind words quietly spoken. They will be sheltered by a father and mother who, living honestly with God, live honestly with one another and with their fellowmen. They will mature with a sense of appreciation, having heard their parents in prayer express gratitude for blessings great and small. They will grow with faith in the living God” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 216).

“Your companionship will be one that will sweeten and strengthen through the years and that will endure through eternity. Your love and appreciation for one another will increase” (Cornerstones of a Happy Home, 11).

Elder Joe J. Christensen

“Many Church leaders as well as professional counselors have indicated that they have never seen a marriage in serious difficulty in which the couple was still praying together daily. When you invite the Lord to be a partner in your union, there is a softening of feelings, a moderation of tension that occurs through the power of the Spirit. See what happens when, as you kneel together, you hear your companion express gratitude and love for you. Pray that you, working together, may overcome whatever difficulties you may have so that your love can increase. …

“Sometimes, when Barbara has not been feeling well or has been discouraged for whatever reason, it has seemed to me to be helpful and meaningful during our joint companion prayer to shift into the first person and genuinely express my feelings, ‘Father, I am so grateful to have a companion such as Barbara. Help her to know how much I love and appreciate her as one of Thy chosen daughters. Assist her to be healed completely and given the health and strength she needs to continue on with her life’s important mission as wife and mother.’ …

“I would invite you to candidly analyze your situation. Are you and your companion praying together daily that your marriage may be strengthened? If not, now is an excellent time to start!” (One Step at a Time, 15–16).

Principle of Repentance

President Spencer W. Kimball

“One day in the temple in Salt Lake City, as I walked down the long hall preparing to go into one of the rooms to perform a marriage for a young couple, a woman followed me … and with great agitation she said, ‘Elder Kimball, do you remember me?’ Her eyes were searching and her ears were seeking to hear if I remembered her. I was abashed. For the life of me I could not make the connection. I was much embarrassed. I finally said, ‘I am sorry, but I cannot remember you.’ Instead of disappointment, there was great joy that came to her face. She was relieved. She said, ‘Oh, I am so grateful you can’t remember me. With my husband I spent all night with you one time, while you were trying to change our lives. We had committed sin, and we were struggling to get rid of it. You labored all night to help me to clear it. We have repented, and we have changed our lives totally. I am glad you don’t remember me, because if you, one of the apostles, cannot remember me, maybe the Savior cannot remember my sins’” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 108).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“There is a remedy for all of this. It is not found in divorce. It is found in the gospel of the Son of God. He it was who said, ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’ (Matthew 19:6). The remedy for most marriage stress is not in divorce. It is in repentance. It is not in separation. It is in simple integrity that leads a man to square up his shoulders and meet his obligations. It is found in the Golden Rule” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 97; or Ensign, May 1991, 73–74).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball

“It is well to remember that, awful, horrible and serious as adultery and other sexual sins are, the Lord has kindly provided forgiveness on condition of repentance commensurate with the sin. But where these sins are concerned, even more than with less grievous ones, prevention is so much better than cure” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 74).

“Another young couple showed a similar unawareness of the gravity of sin, and especially of sexual sin. They came to me in June, having become formally engaged with a ring the previous December, and in the six months’ interval their sexual sin had been repeated frequently. In June they went to their respective bishops seeking recommends to the temple. The girl’s bishop, knowing that she had always been active, did not searchingly question her as to cleanliness, and a recommend was soon tucked away in her purse for use in the planned June marriage. The bishop of the other ward questioned the young man carefully and learned of the six months of transgression.

“In my office the couple frankly admitted their sin and shocked me when they said: ‘That isn’t so very wrong, is it, when we were formally engaged and expected to marry soon?’ They had no comprehension of the magnitude of the sin. They were ready to go into the holy temple for their marriage without a thought that they were defiling the Lord’s house. How lacking was their training! How insincere was their approach! They were very disturbed when their marriage had to be postponed to allow time for repentance. They had rationalized the sin nearly out of existence. They pressed for a date, the first possible one they could set up and on which they could plan their temple marriage. They did not understand that forgiveness is not a thing of days or months or even years but is a matter of intensity of feeling and transformation of self. Again, this showed a distortion of attitude, a lack of conviction of the seriousness of their deep transgression. They had not confessed their serious sin. They had but admitted it when it had been dug out. There is a wide difference between the two situations.

“This couple seemed to have no conception of satisfying the Lord, of paying the total penalties and obtaining a release and adjustment which could be considered final and which might be accepted of the Lord. I asked them the question: ‘As you weigh this transgression, do you feel that you should be excommunicated from the Church?’ They were surprised at such a question. They had thought of their heinous sin as nothing more than an indiscretion. They had been born and reared in the Church and had received the gift of the Holy Ghost at eight years of age. But in the successive nights of their perfidy they had driven the Holy Spirit away. They had made him unwelcome. They were not listening to his promptings. It is inconceivable that they did not know how wrong their sin was but they had convinced themselves against the truth. They had seared their consciences as with a hot iron” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 155–56).

“In my office one day sat a sober couple who had a large family of little children. Early in their married life they had both committed adultery, and for many years had been suffering untold agonies of remorse. They had forgiven each other but were still suffering tortures.

“The couple came to get some questions answered. They could stand it no longer. The husband broke the silence. ‘I told my wife that because of our adultery years ago we could never hope for salvation in the celestial kingdom, much less exaltation and eternal life, but that we could receive great satisfactions as we bore children and reared them to be so righteous that we could be sure they would all receive all the blessings of the gospel and the Church and eventually reach their exaltation.’

“When I quoted a long list of scriptures showing that forgiveness was possible eventually, when the heavy price had been paid, I could see hope stir within them and a peace settle over them. They left my office radiant with a new-found ecstasy” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 343).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood [see 2 Nephi 2:18; 28:20]. The specters of heartbreak and guilt [see Alma 39:5; Moroni 9:9] follow him about. Only repentance can heal what he hurts” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 27–28; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 21).

“In the battle of life, the adversary takes enormous numbers of prisoners, and many who know of no way to escape and are pressed into his service. Every soul confined to a concentration camp of sin and guilt has a key to the gate. The adversary cannot hold them if they know how to use it. The key is labeled Repentance. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the adversary.

“I know of no sins connected with the moral standard for which we cannot be forgiven. I do not exempt abortion. The formula is stated in forty words:

“‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

“‘By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them’ (D&C 58:42–43).

“However long and painful the process of repentance, the Lord has said:

“‘This is the covenant … I will make with them. … I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

“‘And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more’ (Hebrews 10:16–17; italics added)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 95; or Ensign, May 1992, 68).

Principle of Forgiveness in Marriage

President Spencer W. Kimball

“If the faults of two people are more nearly equal, if both of them have a beam-impaired vision, that still gives no justification for a selfish, unforgiving attitude. With this in mind, I once wrote to a woman with whom I had had previous occasion to discuss at length her family problems. I had given counsel in my desire to prevent further misunderstandings and avoid a separation or divorce. After some weeks, she wrote that she would accept my decision. I responded in part as follows:

“‘It is not my decision—it is up to you to make the decisions. You have your free agency. If you are determined to get a divorce it is your responsibility and your suffering if you are not willing to make adjustments. When I talked with you, I understood that you had forgiven each other and would start from there to build a beautiful life. Apparently, I was mistaken. All my warnings and pleadings seem to have fallen on deaf ears. I want you to know that I do not justify in your husband anything that was wrong, but I recognized all the way through that his was not the whole fault. I have never been able to feel that you had wholly purged the selfishness from your own soul. I do know that two people as seemingly intelligent and apparently mature as you two, could have a gloriously happy life, if both of you would begin to let your concerns run in favor of the other, instead of in favor of your selfish selves.

“‘The escapist never escapes. If two people, selfish and self-centered, and without the spirit of forgiveness, escape from each other, they cannot escape from themselves. The disease is not cured by the separation or the divorce, and it will most assuredly follow along in the wake of future marriages’” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 270–71).

President Howard W. Hunter

“First, I invite all members of the Church to live with ever more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion he displayed. I pray that we will treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy and forgiveness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 7; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“There must be recognition on the part of both husband and wife of the solemnity and sanctity of marriage and of the God-given design behind it.

“There must be a willingness to overlook small faults, to forgive, and then to forget” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 97; or Ensign, May 1991, 74).

“Eternal vigilance is the price of eternal development. Occasionally we may stumble. I thank the Lord for the great principle of repentance and forgiveness. When we drop the ball, when we make a mistake, there is held out to us the word of the Lord that he will forgive our sins and remember them no more against us. But somehow we are prone to remember them against ourselves” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 64–65; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 48).

President Thomas S. Monson

“Recently I read where an elderly man disclosed at the funeral of his brother, with whom he had shared, from early manhood, a small one-room cabin near Canisteo, New York, that following a quarrel they had divided the room in half with a chalk line and neither had crossed the line nor spoken a word to the other since that day—sixty-two years before! What a human tragedy—all for the want of mercy and forgiveness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 77; or Ensign, May 1995, 59).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball

“If we will sue for peace, taking the initiative in settling differences—if we can forgive and forget with all our hearts—if we can cleanse our own souls of sin, accusations, bitterness, and guilt before we cast a stone at others—if we forgive all real or fancied offenses before we ask forgiveness for our own sins—if we pay our own debts, large or small, before we press our debtors—if we manage to clear our own eyes of the blinding beams before we magnify the motes in the eyes of others—what a glorious world this would be! Divorce would be reduced to a minimum; courts would be freed from disgusting routines; family life would be heavenly” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 133).

Elder James E. Faust

“What is the central characteristic of those having only five loaves and two fishes? What makes it possible, under the Master’s touch, for them to serve, lift, and bless so that they touch for good the lives of hundreds, even thousands? After a lifetime of dealing in the affairs of men and women, I believe it is the ability to overcome personal ego and pride—both are enemies to the full enjoyment of the Spirit of God and to walking humbly before him. The ego interferes with husbands and wives asking each other for forgiveness. It prevents the enjoyment of the full sweetness of a higher love. The ego often prevents parents and children from fully understanding each other. The ego enlarges our feelings of self-importance and worth. It blinds us to reality. Pride keeps us from confessing our sins and shortcomings to the Lord and working out our repentance” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 4–5; or Ensign, May 1994, 6).

Elder Robert D. Hales

“I must ask for forgiveness from Heavenly Father for those things which I have done which are less than perfect and ask forgiveness of anyone I might have offended knowingly or unknowingly because of my personality or style” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 105; or Ensign, May 1994, 78).

Elder Robert L. Simpson

“Every couple, whether in the first or the twenty-first year of marriage, should discover the value of pillow-talk time at the end of the day—the perfect time to take inventory, to talk about tomorrow. And best of all, it’s a time when love and appreciation for one another can be reconfirmed. The end of another day is also the perfect setting to say, ‘Sweetheart, I am sorry about what happened today. Please forgive me’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 30; or Ensign, May 1982, 21).

Principle of Mutual Respect

President Spencer W. Kimball

“It is not enough to refrain from adultery. We need to make the marriage relationship sacred, to sacrifice and work to maintain the warmth and respect which we enjoyed during courtship. God intended marriage to be eternal, sealed by the power of the priesthood, to last beyond the grave. Daily acts of courtesy and kindness, conscientiously and lovingly carried out, are part of what the Lord expects” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1978, 7; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 6).

President Howard W. Hunter

“Any man who abuses or demeans his wife physically or spiritually is guilty of grievous sin and in need of sincere and serious repentance. Differences should be worked out in love and kindness and with a spirit of mutual reconciliation. A man should always speak to his wife lovingly and kindly, treating her with the utmost respect. Marriage is like a tender flower, brethren, and must be nourished constantly with expressions of love and affection” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 68; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 51).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“How beautiful is the marriage of a young man and a young woman who begin their lives together kneeling at the altar in the house of the Lord, pledging their love and loyalty one to another for time and all eternity. When children come into that home, they are nurtured and cared for, loved and blessed with the feeling that their father loves their mother. In that environment they find peace and strength and security. Watching their father, they develop respect for women. They are taught self-control and self-discipline, which bring the strength to avoid later tragedy” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 73; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 52).

“Every marriage is subject to occasional stormy weather. But with patience, mutual respect, and a spirit of forbearance, we can weather these storms. Where mistakes have been made, there can be apology, repentance, and forgiveness. But there must be willingness to do so on the part of both parties” (“This I Believe,” 80).

President James E. Faust

“There is no great or majestic music which constantly produces the harmony of a great love. The most perfect music is a welding of two voices into one spiritual solo. Marriage is the way provided by God for the fulfillment of the greatest of human needs, based upon mutual respect, maturity, selflessness, decency, commitment, and honesty. Happiness in marriage and parenthood can exceed a thousand times any other happiness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 11).

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley

“Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the helpmeet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 82; or Ensign, June 1971, 71–72).

Elder L. Tom Perry

“Adam learned that the bonds of marriage are stronger than any other family bond. The sacred bonds of marriage invite unity, fidelity, respect, and mutual support” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 97; or Ensign, May 1995, 72).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“‘Relationships and their outcome seem to be governed by principles which are unvarying and cannot be repealed. … There is no tempering of the consequences of dishonesty, lack of self-discipline, and lack of respect for the rights of others upon interpersonal relationships … and no one … can change this fact. …’ (Journal of Marriage and Family, February 1971, p. 46.)” (That My Family Should Partake, 15).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

“When a man understands how glorious a woman is, he treats her differently. When a woman understands that a man has the seeds of divinity within him, she honors him not only for who he is but for what he may become. An understanding of the divine nature allows each person to have respect for the other. The eternal view engenders a desire in men and women to learn from and share with each other” (“The Eternal Family,” 113).

Principle of Compassion

English Synonyms for Compassion

Mercy, charity, commiseration, empathy, pity, sympathy, clemency, grace, leniency

English Antonyms for Compassion

Harshness, cruelty, unkindness, abruptness, ruthlessness, enmity, animosity, bitterness, hatred, hostility, rancor, abuse

Some Meanings of Compassion As Used in the Scriptures

  1. Chamal {khaw-mal’} Hebrew: verb. Possible definitions: (Qal) to spare, pity, have compassion on. Example: Exodus 2:6.

  2. Racham {raw-kham’} Hebrew: verb. Possible definitions: to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion. Example: Deuteronomy 13:17.

  3. Splagchnizomai {splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee} Greek: verb. Possible definitions: to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion or have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity). Example: Matthew 9:36; Mark 1:41.

  4. Eleeo {el-eh-eh’-o} Greek: verb. Possible definitions: to have mercy on, to help one afflicted or seeking aid, to bring help to the wretched. Example: Mark 5:19.

  5. Metriopatheo {met-ree-op-ath-eh’-o} Greek: verb. Possible definitions: to be affected moderately or in due measure; to preserve moderation in the passions, especially anger or grief; hence of one who is not unduly disturbed by the errors, faults, sins of others, but bears them gently. Example: Hebrews 5:2.

  6. Sumpatheo {soom-path-eh’-o} Greek: verb. Possible definitions: (a) to be affected with the same feeling as another, to sympathize with (b) to feel for, have compassion on. Example: Hebrews 10:34 (see Greek and Hebrew lexicons).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“How godlike a quality is mercy. It cannot be legislated. It must come from the heart. It must be stirred up from within. It is part of the endowment each of us receives as a son or daughter of God and partaker of a divine birthright. I plead for an effort among all of us to give greater expression and wider latitude to this instinct which lies within us. …

“I plead for a stronger spirit of compassion in all of our relationships, a stronger element of mercy, for the promise is sure that if we are merciful we shall obtain mercy. …

“Mercy is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The degree to which each of us is able to extend it becomes an expression of the reality of our discipleship under Him who is our Lord and Master.

“I remind you that it was He who said, ‘Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matthew 5:39).

“It was He who said, ‘And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also’ (5:40).

“It was He who said, ‘And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain’ (5:41).

“It was He who said, ‘Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away’ (5:42).

“It was He who said to the woman taken in sin:

“‘Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? …

“‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more’ (John 8:10–11).

“It was He who, while hanging on the cross in dreadful agony, cried out, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).

“He, the Son of the everlasting Father, was the epitome of mercy. His ministry was one of compassion toward the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the victims of injustice and man’s inhumanity to man. His sacrifice on the cross was an unparalleled act of mercy in behalf of all humanity.

“How great a thing is mercy. Most often it is quiet and unassuming. It receives few headlines. It is the antithesis of vengeance and hatred, of greed and offensive egotism. …

“And this brings me to another area where there is so great a need for that mercy which speaks of forbearance, kindness, clemency, compassion. I speak of the homes of the people.

“Every child, with few possible exceptions, is the product of a home, be it good, bad, or indifferent. As children grow through the years, their lives, in large measure, become an extension and a reflection of family teaching. If there is harshness, abuse, uncontrolled anger, disloyalty, the fruits will be certain and discernible, and in all likelihood they will be repeated in the generation that follows. If, on the other hand, there is forbearance, forgiveness, respect, consideration, kindness, mercy, and compassion, the fruits again will be discernible, and they will be eternally rewarding. They will be positive and sweet and wonderful. And as mercy is given and taught by parents, it will be repeated in the lives and actions of the next generation.

“I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 86–89; or Ensign, May 1990, 68–70).

President Thomas S. Monson

“What power, what tenderness, what compassion did our Master and Exemplar thus demonstrate! We too can bless if we will but follow His noble example. Opportunities are everywhere. Needed are eyes to see the pitiable plight and ears to hear the silent pleadings of a broken heart. Yes, and a soul filled with compassion, that we might communicate not only eye to eye or voice to ear but, in the majestic style of the Savior, even heart to heart” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 80; or Ensign, May 1991, 61).

Principle of Work

Genesis 3:17–19

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

2 Nephi 5:17

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.”

Mosiah 10:4–5

“And I did cause that the men should till the ground, and raise all manner of grain and all manner of fruit of every kind.

“And I did cause that the women should spin, and toil, and work, and work all manner of fine linen, yea, and cloth of every kind, that we might clothe our nakedness; and thus we did prosper in the land—thus we did have continual peace in the land for the space of twenty and two years.”

Doctrine and Covenants 42:42

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.”

Doctrine and Covenants 68:30–31

“The idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord. Now, I, the Lord am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.

“Most of us are inherently lazy. We would rather play than work. A little play and a little loafing are good. But it is work that spells the difference in the life of a man or woman. It is work that provides the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the homes in which we live. We cannot deny the need for work with skilled hands and educated minds if we are to grow and prosper individually and collectively” (“I Believe,” New Era, Sept. 1996, 4).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

“‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ is not outdated counsel. It is basic to personal welfare. One of the greatest favors parents can do for their children is to teach them to work. Much has been said over the years about children and monthly allowances, and opinions and recommendations vary greatly. I’m from the ‘old school.’ I believe children should earn their money needs through service and appropriate chores. Some financial rewards to children may also be tied to educational effort and the accomplishment of other worthwhile goals. I think it is unfortunate for a child to grow up in a home where the seed is planted in the child’s mind that there is a family money tree that automatically drops ‘green stuff’ once a week or once a month” (One for the Money, 8).

Elder L. Tom Perry

“Teaching children the joy of honest labor is one of the greatest of all gifts you can bestow upon them. I am convinced that one of the reasons for the breakup of so many couples today is the failure of parents to teach and train sons in their responsibility to provide and care for their families and to enjoy the challenge this responsibility brings. Many of us also have fallen short in instilling within our daughters the desire of bringing beauty and order into their homes through homemaking” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 78; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 62).

“Marriage is a divine institution, ordained of God. Achieving success in the home is a supernal challenge—no other success can compensate for it. Unless, however, a husband and wife learn to work together as one, marriage can also be an infernal ordeal. There are too many unhappy marriages in the world today. There are too many marriages that do not stay the course, ending prematurely in divorce” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 96; or Ensign, May 1995, 72).

Elder David B. Haight

“Our concern is not just that media producers and writers don’t portray happy, fruitful marriage, but that many married couples don’t take their marriages seriously enough—to work at them, protect them, nurture them, cultivate them day in and day out, week in and week out, yearlong, quarter-century long, half-a-century long, forever” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 16; or Ensign, May 1984, 13).

Elder James E. Faust

“An essential part of teaching children to be disciplined and responsible is to have them learn to work. As we grow up, many of us are like the man who said, ‘I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours’ (Jerome Klapka Jerome, in The International Dictionary of Thoughts, comp. John P. Bradley, Leo F. Daniels, and Thomas C. Jones [Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969], p. 782). Again, the best teachers of the principle of work are the parents themselves. For me, work became a joy when I first worked alongside my father, grandfather, uncles, and brothers. I am sure that I was often more of an aggravation than a help, but the memories are sweet and the lessons learned are valuable. Children need to learn responsibility and independence. Are the parents personally taking the time to show and demonstrate and explain so that children can, as Lehi taught, ‘act for themselves and not … be acted upon’? (2 Nephi 2:26).

“Luther Burbank, one of the world’s greatest horticulturists, said, ‘If we had paid no more attention to our plants than we have to our children, we would now be living in a jungle of weeds’ (in Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book [New York: Wm. H. Wise and Co., 1923], p. 227)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 42; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 34).

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Some people who lived through the Great Depression and the period following, when the government bestowed gratuities upon the people, developed a feeling that the world owed them a living. In that climate, the First Presidency said in 1936: ‘The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.’ (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.) …

“The love for work needs to be reenthroned in our lives. Every family should have a plan for work that touches the lives of each family member so that this eternal principle will be ingrained in their lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 116; or Ensign, May 1981, 85).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Husbands, be patient with your wives; and wives, be patient with your husbands. Don’t expect perfection. Find agreeable ways to work out the differences that arise” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 37; or Ensign, May 1987, 32).

“Parents should plant deeply the seed of the work ethic into the hearts and habits of their children. As society has shifted from an agrarian to an urban structure, the joy and necessity of diligent, hard work have been neglected. If our young people do not learn to work while in their homes, they likely will be compelled to learn later in a setting where the lesson may be painful” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 9; or Ensign, May 1989, 8).

Elder Dean L. Larsen

“Marriage is not an easy venture. It is largely a one-time-through, do-it yourself project for the husband and wife. I repeatedly encounter the illusion today, especially among younger people, that perfect marriages happen simply if the right two people come together. This is untrue. Marriages don’t succeed automatically. Those who build happy, secure, successful marriages pay the price to do so. They work at it constantly” (“Enriching Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 20).

Sister Barbara B. Smith

“Accountability is a necessary condition of work. Responsibility brings system to the workings of a family and order to a marriage. Defining responsibilities and planning a method of reporting back fosters freedom from family discord and is also a meaningful stage in developing personal discipline” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 119–20; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 84).

Principle of Wholesome Recreational Activities

President Spencer W. Kimball

“Too much leisure for children leaves them in a state of boredom, and it is natural for them to want more and more of the expensive things for their recreation. We must bring dignity to labor in sharing the responsibilities of the home and the yard” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 5–6; or Ensign, May 1976, 5).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“Wholesome recreation is part of our religion, and a change of pace is necessary, and even its anticipation can lift the spirit” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 92; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 66).

“Families must spend more time together in work and recreation. Family home evenings should be scheduled once a week as a time for discussions of gospel principles, recreation, work projects, skits, songs around the piano, games, special refreshments, and family prayers. Like iron links in a chain, this practice will bind a family together, in love, pride, tradition, strength, and loyalty” (“Salvation—A Family Affair,” Ensign, July 1992, 4; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 86; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 60).

“Successful families do things together: family projects, work, vacations, recreation, and reunions” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 6; or Ensign, May 1984, 6).

“Mothers in Zion, your God-given roles are so vital to your own exaltation and to the salvation and exaltation of your family. …

“… Take time to be a real friend to your children. …

“… Take time to read to your children. …

“… Take time to do things together as a family” (To the Mothers in Zion, 8–10).

“With love in my heart for the fathers in Israel, may I suggest ten specific ways that fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children: …

“4. Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad there makes all the difference.

“5. Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 62–63; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 51; To the Fathers in Israel, 8–9).

President Hugh B. Brown

“This is entitled ‘When Is Success a Failure?’

“When you are doing the lower while the higher is possible,

When you are not a cleaner, finer, larger man on account of your work,

When you live only to eat and drink, have a good time, and accumulate money, then success is a failure.

When you do not carry a higher wealth in your character than in your pocketbook,

When the attainment of your ambition has blighted the aspirations and crushed the hopes of others,

When hunger for more money, more land, more houses and bonds has grown to be your dominant passion,

When your profession has made you a physical wreck—a victim of ‘nerves’ and moods,

When your absorption in your work has made you practically a stranger to your family,

When your greed for money has darkened and cramped your wife’s life, and deprived her of self-expression, of needed rest and recreation, of amusement of any kind,

When all sympathy and fellowship have been crushed out of your life by selfish devotion to your vocation,

When you do not overtop your vocation, when you are not greater as a man than as a lawyer, a merchant, a physician or a scientist,

When you plead that you have never had time to cultivate your friendships, your politeness, or your good manners,

When you have lost on your way your self-respect, your courage, your self-control, or any other quality of manhood, then success has been a failure.”

(In Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 113.)

President Thomas S. Monson

“So frequently we mistakenly believe that our children need more things, when in reality their silent pleadings are simply for more of our time. The accumulation of wealth or the multiplication of assets belies the Master’s teaching:

“‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

“‘But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

“‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ [Matthew 6:19–21.]” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 80; or Ensign, May 1994, 62).

Elder Mark E. Petersen

“Is it too much to hold a home evening each Monday and there teach our family the value of a clean life, doing so by recreation as well as by precept?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 96; or Ensign, May 1980, 70).

Elder Thomas S. Monson

“Our house is to be a house of order. ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1), advised Ecclesiastes, the Preacher. Such is true in our lives. Let us provide time for family, time for work, time for study, time for service, time for recreation, time for self—but above all, time for Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 22; or Ensign, May 1984, 18).

Elder L. Tom Perry

“If I were cast again in the role of having a young family around me, I would be determined to give them more time. …

“… Saturday would be a special activity day divided into two parts: first, a time for teaching children the blessings of work, how to care for and improve the home, the yard, the garden, the field; second, a time for family activity, to build a family heritage of things you enjoy doing together” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 8–9; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 9).

“Dr. Nick Stinnett of the University of Nebraska gave a most interesting talk at an annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations. It was titled ‘Characteristics of Strong Families.’ … [One of his points was:]

“… A strong family spends a significant amount of time together while playing, working, eating, or in recreation. Although family members all have outside interests, they find adequate time to spend together” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 107; or Ensign, May 1983, 79).

“Build traditions in your families that will bring you together, for they can demonstrate your devotion, love, and support for one another. … Sharing these occasions as a family will help us build a foundation established upon a rock” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 29; or Ensign, May 1985, 23).

“Strengthen relationships through family activities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 48; or Ensign, May 1994, 36).

“It is this part of Lehi’s dream I would like to comment on today. The current cries we hear coming from the great and spacious building tempt us to compete for ownership in the things of this world. We think we need a larger home with a three-car garage and a recreational vehicle parked next to it. … Often these items are purchased with borrowed money without giving any thought to providing for our future needs. The result of all this instant gratification is overloaded bankruptcy courts and families that are far too preoccupied with their financial burdens” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 45; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 35).

Elder James E. Faust

Develop family traditions. Some of the great strengths of families can be found in their own traditions, which may consist of many things: making special occasions of the blessing of children, baptisms, ordinations to the priesthood, birthdays, fishing trips, skits on Christmas Eve, family home evening, and so forth. The traditions of each family are unique and are provided in large measure by the mother’s imprint” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 58; or Ensign, May 1983, 41).

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“If marriage is a prime relationship in life, it deserves prime time!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 27; or Ensign, May 1991, 23).

Elder Marion D. Hanks

“He who believes knows that he belongs. But he also needs to feel himself an important and accepted part of a group. Young people want and deserve parents and a family they can be proud of. Their capacity to become worthwhile persons is strongly affected by the absence or presence of such a family and by their own acceptance of the challenge to be a contributing, responsible member of it. The influence of a good family is well-captured by this account from an unknown source:

“‘It was a gorgeous October day. My husband Art and I were down at the boat landing helping our friend Don drag his skiff up on the beach. Art remarked wistfully that it would be a long time before next summer, when we could all start sailing again. “You folks ought to take up skiing like our family and have fun the year round,” Don said.

“‘“Doesn’t that get pretty expensive?” I asked.

“‘Don straightened up and smiled. “It’s funny,” he said. “We live in an old-fashioned house—legs on the tub, that sort of thing. For years we’ve been saving up to have the bathroom done over. But every winter we take the money out of the bank and go on a couple of family skiing trips. Our oldest boy is in the army now, and he often mentions in his letters what a great time we had on those trips. You know, I can’t imagine his writing home, ‘Boy, we really have a swell bathroom, haven’t we?’”’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1968, 57).

“A few weeks ago I listened to a stake president exhort his people to build strong families and to enjoy them. It was a great sermon, and the high point of it for me was his account of the family skiing trip when a four-year-old wanted to go to the top with the rest of the family and ski down. When they arrived it was discovered that he had to snowplow all the way down because it was just a bit too tough a run for his age and experience. The mother started to accompany her four-year-old son down the hill, but her teenage son voluntarily took over and lovingly shepherded his little brother down instead of swooping down himself as he could have done. He cheerfully sacrificed one swift run down the mountain and blessed a whole family with a sweet spirit of love and concern and appreciation” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 130; or Ensign, June 1971, 91–92).

Elder Joe J. Christensen

“Keep your courtship alive. Make time to do things together—just the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning, and scheduling” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 86; or Ensign, May 1995, 65).

Elder Dean L. Larsen

“Marriages don’t succeed automatically. Those who build happy, secure, successful marriages pay the price to do so. They work at it constantly. …

“… Discover things you enjoy doing together, and then do them regularly. Appreciate one another’s talents, and encourage and foster them.

“A wise bishop told me recently that every Friday night is date night for him and his wife. The older children in the family know that they have a babysitting assignment every Friday evening. It is a tradition that they enjoy with their parents” (“Enriching Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 20, 23).

Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone

“Do fun things that do not require money outlay but make more lasting impressions on your children” (“Food Storage,” Ensign, May 1976, 117).

Bishop J. Richard Clarke

“Now, what about our leisure time? How we use our leisure is equally as important to our joy as our occupational pursuits. Proper use of leisure requires discriminating judgment. Our leisure provides opportunity for renewal of spirit, mind, and body. It is a time for worship, for family, for service, for study, for wholesome recreation. It brings harmony into our life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 112; or Ensign, May 1982, 78).

Sister Barbara B. Smith

“It might be a temptation for a working mother to plan special outings and play times as the so-called ‘quality’ time she has with her children. But many are aware of the danger this poses in giving them a distorted picture of life by using all their time together in recreation. It is important for children to see the balance that is necessary between work and play. They need to know that special events are more meaningful when daily routines are established and when assigned duties are completed” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 114; or Ensign, May 1982, 80).