The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 223


Before President Gordon B. Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” at a general meeting of the Relief Society in September 1995, he said: “With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, rs, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history” (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,”Ensign,Nov. 1995, 100).

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

1. “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.

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, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

3. “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.

4. “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.

5. “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.

6. “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 father—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Family

7. “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.

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. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

9. “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).

Understanding the Reading

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Solemnly(par. 1)Seriously and reverently 
An heir of(par. 3)One who inherits or receives 
Be perpetuated(par. 3)Continue 
Multiply and replenish the earth(par. 4)Have children, fill the earth 
Procreation(par. 4)The ability to have children 
Sanctity(par. 5)Holiness 
Discharge(par. 6)Accomplishment 
Necessitate(par. 7)Require 
Adaptation(par. 7)Changes to meet specific circumstances. 

Studying the Reading

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Activity A iconMemorize a Paragraph

Choose any of the nine paragraphs in the proclamation and memorize it. You could do this by writing it three times, looking at a copy of the proclamation for help as needed. Then write it from memory under the supervision of a member of your family. Or you could repeat it out loud several times, looking at the proclamation for help as needed. Then repeat it from memory to a member of your family.

Activity B iconMatching Exercise

List the numbers 1–9 down a column in your notebook and match each of the following subjects with one of the nine paragraphs in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Some paragraphs contain teachings about more than one subject.

  1. a.

    Abortion

  2. b.

    Family home evening

  3. c.

    Disciplining children

  4. d.

    The extended family

  5. e.

    Fatherhood

  6. f.

    Same-sex marriage

  7. g.

    Temple marriage

  8. h.

    Gender roles in marriage

  9. i.

    Making family decisions

  10. j.

    Adultery

  11. k.

    The judgments of God

  12. l.

    Temple work for the dead

  13. m.

    God-given sexual urges

  14. n.

    Mercy killing

  15. o.

    Birth control

  16. p.

    The plan of salvation

  17. q.

    Suicide

  18. r.

    Governmental laws

  19. s.

    Child abuse

  20. t.

    Divorce

Activity C iconList Ideas to Build a Strong Marriage

  1. 1.

    From paragraph 7 of the proclamation on the family, list 10 ideas that you think are important to a successful marriage and family.

  2. 2.

    Briefly describe what you are now doing or hope to do to follow each of those ideas. For example: Prayer—I pray personally and with my family.