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How can I explain the importance of marriage and family to others?

Most people will have the opportunity to share gospel truths with others. Because there are many conflicting views about marriage and family in the world today, it is particularly important that we know how to explain the importance of marriage and family in Heavenly Father’s plan. As we do, we should make sure to explain our beliefs briefly and simply, with the guidance of the Spirit, so that other people can understand the truths of the gospel.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Use the resources below to understand more about how to explain the importance of marriage and family. Your own experiences explaining the doctrine to others will help you teach it effectively. Consider how the activities in this outline can help the youth learn how to teach.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999

Marriage,” True to the Faith (2004), 97–101

“Eternal Marriage” and “Temples and Family History Work,” Preach My Gospel (2004), 85–86

Temple Marriage” (MormonNewsroom.org article)

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Invite the youth to share how a family member has exemplified a gospel principle to them.
  • Invite someone who speaks a different language (if possible, a class member) to come to class and speak in that language. Invite the youth to explain how listening to a language they do not understand can be like listening to members of the Church explain gospel truths to others using potentially unfamiliar words, such as eternal marriage, sealing, or celestial kingdom.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the youth learn how to explain to others the importance of marriage and family. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the youth to think of and list on the board questions that others not of our faith may have about marriage and the family, such as, “Why should I get married and have children?” or “Why should marriage be between a man and a woman?” Ask the youth to select some of the questions listed and find answers in the scriptures (for example scriptures, see those referenced in the “Marriage” and “Family” sections of True to the Faith and in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). Encourage the youth to prepare a one-minute answer to the questions they chose, avoiding words and phrases that might not be easily understood by others, such as celestial marriage or sealing. Give them time to share their answers.
  • Go to the Church’s Newsroom website and read how a doctrine like temple marriage is explained to those not of our faith (see “Temple Marriage”). Have the youth write a news story about the importance of marriage and family. This could be a short piece that might appear in a school newspaper or written on a blog. Invite the youth to share what they prepared with the class.
  • As a class, read “Family” in For the Strength of Youth. Invite the youth to prepare to teach some of the doctrines they have learned about families to Primary children. For example, they could teach the children using the question “Why is family important?” Invite them to create an outline that helps them explain the concept simply and briefly. With the permission of the bishop and Primary presidency, arrange for the youth to teach their lessons. After they have had an opportunity to teach, ask them to discuss how they taught this gospel principle.
  • With the permission of the bishop, invite the full-time missionaries to share with the class how they explain the doctrines of marriage and family to others. Divide the class into two groups, and ask one group to prepare to teach about eternal marriage and the other group to prepare to teach about temples and family history, using the resources suggested in this outline (or others they can find). After they have prepared simple and brief explanations of their topics, invite the youth to teach someone from the other group the doctrine they studied.
  • Ask the youth if they have been asked to explain the Church’s position on same-gender marriage. How did they respond? Invite them to read President Gordon B. Hinckley’s answer to the question “Why does the Church become involved in issues that come before the legislature and the electorate?” in his talk “Why We Do Some of the Things We Do.” What impresses the youth about the way President Hinckley describes the Church’s position? How could they learn more about what the Church teaches about marriage? Encourage the youth to plan what they might say the next time they have an opportunity to express their beliefs about marriage.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to explain the importance of marriage and family to others? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do because of what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Consider ways you can follow up.