Mormonism and prophets/Mormonism and The Proclamation on the Family

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The Proclamation on the Family

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Question: Is the Mormon Proclamation on the Family official doctrine?

Church leaders have repeatedly taught that the Proclamation is official doctrine

Some do not like the doctrines taught in the Proclamation on the Family, and claim that it is not "scripture" or not "official doctrine." What have Church leaders said on this matter?

Church leaders have repeatedly taught that:

  • The Proclamation is official doctrine.
  • It was written and endorsed by all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  • It does not teach new doctrine, but merely reiterates and emphasizes principles long taught in the Church.
  • It is an inspired, prophetic, and vital instruction for our day.
  • Members have a duty to hold it up, teach it, and live its principles.

Those who wish to claim that the Proclamation is not official are either ignorant of these teachings, or are seeking to deceive their audience.

That marvelous document [the Proclamation] brings together the scriptural direction that we have received that has guided the lives of God’s children from the time of Adam and Eve and will continue to guide us until the final winding-up scene.
—Elder David B. Haight[1]

Official doctrine

Proclamations are unusual

President Henry B. Eyring made the significance of the Proclamation clear, and described the weight which the apostles attach to it:

Since the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a proclamation only four times. It had been more than 15 years since the previous one, which described the progress the Church had made in 150 years of its history. Thus, we can understand the importance our Heavenly Father places upon the family, the subject of the fifth and most recent proclamation, given on 23 September 1995.[2]

President Hinckley announced that the Proclamation was a reiteration of doctrine

The Proclamation was first read by President Gordon B. Hinckley at a General Relief Society Meeting on 25 September 1995. Before reading it, 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, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history. I now take the opportunity of reading to you this proclamation....[3]

President Hinckley did not, then, regard the doctrine within the Proclamation as radical or new—it was intended to be a reconfirmation and reiteration of doctrines long taught by "the prophets, seers, and revelators of" the Church.

Origin of the Proclamation

President Boyd K. Packer described the circumstances behind issuing the Proclamation:

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation on the family. I can tell you how that came about. They had a world conference on the family sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China. We sent representatives. It was not pleasant what they heard. They called another one in Cairo. Some of our people were there. I read the proceedings of that. The word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned.

It was then they announced that they were going to have such a conference here in Salt Lake City. Some of us made the recommendation: "They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position."[4]

The intention, then, was to proclaim the Church's official position on these matters.

Standard for official doctrine

Elder Neal L. Anderson taught:

There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many (emphasis added). Our doctrine is not difficult to find.[5]

The Church's official website emphasized:

With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith (emphasis added).[6]

Elder D. Todd Christofferson echoed this idea:

The President of the Church may announce or interpret doctrines based on revelation to him. Doctrinal exposition may also come through the combined council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Council deliberations will often include a weighing of canonized scriptures, the teachings of Church leaders, and past practice.[7]

Thus, statements by the united First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and official proclamations are official Church doctrine. The Proclamation on the Family qualifies on both counts.

To learn more: Official doctrine

All fifteen apostles involved in preparing the Proclamation

President Boyd K. Packer said:

In 1995 that great document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”9 was prepared by all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles....

The hope is that Latter-day Saints will recognize the transcendent importance of the family and live in such a spiritually attentive way that the adversary cannot steal into the home and carry away the children....(emphasis added)[8]

Scripture?

The Proclamation is not canonized scripture—that status applies only to The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

The Doctrine and Covenants states:

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (D&C 1:37-38).

President Henry B. Eyring applied this verse to the Proclamation:

The title of the proclamation on the family reads: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World—The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).[9]

While not canonized scripture, then, the Proclamation may well meet the criteria for the broader use of the term scripture in LDS thought:

And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (D&C 68:4).

"Significant, major, revelatory, scripturelike"

President Packer told a Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast:

A proclamation in the Church is a significant, major announcement. Very few of them have been issued from the beginning of the Church. They are significant; they are revelatory. At that time, the Brethren issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It is scripturelike in its power.

When you wonder why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do and why we will not do some of the things that we will not do, you can find the authority for that in this proclamation on the family. There are times when we are accused of being intolerant because we won't accept and do the things that are supposed to be the norm in society. Well, the things we won't do, we won't do. And the things we won't do, we can't do, because the standard we follow is given of Him.

As we examine this proclamation more closely, see if you don't see in it the issues that are foremost in society, in politics, in government, in religion now that are causing the most concern and difficulty. You'll find answers there - and they are the answers of the Church.[10]

"Marvelous," "Scriptural direction"

Elder David B. Haight said:

I spoke to the audience and to this young mother about the proclamation that was issued five years ago by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, a proclamation on the family, and of our responsibility to our children, and the children’s responsibility to their parents, and the parents’ responsibility to each other. That marvelous document brings together the scriptural direction that we have received that has guided the lives of God’s children from the time of Adam and Eve and will continue to guide us until the final winding-up scene.[11]

"God-given," "scripturally-based doctrines"

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.[12]

Statements by apostles and prophets about the Proclamation

"A prophetic document"

Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

Brothers and sisters, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the proclamation to the world on the family, which was issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1995 (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). It was then and is now a clarion call to protect and strengthen families and a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit.

The proclamation is a prophetic document, not only because it was issued by prophets but because it was ahead of its time. It warns against many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade and calls for the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.[13]

Within this context of the preeminent importance of families and the threats families face today, it is not surprising that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles used strong words in the proclamation to the world on families....[14]

"An inspired document" "historic"

President Boyd K. Packer:

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” an inspired document issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we learn that....[15]

We have watched the standards of morality sink ever lower until now they are in a free fall. At the same time we have seen an outpouring of inspired guidance for parents and for families.

The whole of the curriculum and all of the activities of the Church have been restructured and correlated with the home:....And then the historic Proclamation on the Family was issued by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles.[16]

Those who attack "the inspired proclamation" are "false prophets and false teachers"

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.[17]

"Reiteration" of doctrine

Elder L. Tom Perry said:

The doctrine of the family and the home was recently reiterated with great clarity and forcefulness in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It declared the eternal nature of families and then explained the connection to temple worship. The proclamation also declared the law upon which the eternal happiness of families is predicated, namely, “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."[18]

Critical doctrines

Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

In the passing years I have developed much appreciation for the institution of the family. Other institutions simply cannot compensate fully for failing families. If we will hold fast to the Church's proclamation on the family, we will see that we hold the jewels, as it were, that can enrich so many other things. Let the world go its own way on the family. It appears to be determined to do that. But we do not have that option. Our doctrines and teachings on the family are very, very powerful, and they are full of implications for all the people on this planet.[19]

President Eyring regarded the Proclamation as describing the things that "matter...most":

Because our Father loves his children, he will not leave us to guess about what matters most in this life concerning where our attention could bring happiness or our indifference could bring sadness. Sometimes he will tell a person such things directly, by inspiration. But he will, in addition, tell us these important matters through his servants. In the words of the prophet Amos, recorded long ago, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). He does this so that even those who cannot feel inspiration can know, if they will only listen, that they have been told the truth and been warned.[2]

Important

Elder Robert D. Hales:

To know and keep the commandments, we must know and follow the Savior and the prophets of God. We were all blessed recently to receive an important message from modern prophets, entitled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (see Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). This proclamation warns us what will happen if we do not strengthen the family unit in our homes, our communities, and our nations. Every priesthood holder and citizen should study the proclamation carefully.

Prophets must often warn of the consequences of violating God’s laws. They do not preach that which is popular with the world. President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “popularity is never a test of truth” (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1981], 29).

Why do prophets proclaim unpopular commandments and call society to repentance for rejecting, modifying, and even ignoring the commandments? The reason is very simple. Upon receiving revelation, prophets have no choice but to proclaim and reaffirm that which God has given them to tell the world. Prophets do this knowing full well the price they may have to pay. Some who choose not to live the commandments make every effort to defame the character of the prophets and demean their personal integrity and reputation.[20]

Other leaders on the Proclamation

Elder W. Eugene Hansen:

Again the proclamation on the family, modern-day revelation....As we ponder these inspired words of modern revelation....I leave you my witness that the proclamation on the family, which I referred to earlier, is modern-day revelation provided to us by the Lord through His latter-day prophets.[21]

Elder Eran A. Call:

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, two years ago solemnly proclaimed to the world our beliefs concerning marriage, parents, and the family. I challenge each of you to read, study, and live by this inspired proclamation. May it become the guideline and standard by which we live in our homes and raise our children.[22]

Elder Claudio R.M. Costa:

The Lord instructed us how to take care of our families when He told us through His prophets in the proclamation to the world....[23]

Duty to teach and support the Proclamation

Today I call upon members of the Church and on committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to this great proclamation, to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s “title of liberty,” and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts. As we are all part of a family, the proclamation applies to everyone.
— Elder M. Russell Ballard[24]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks noted:

This declaration is not politically correct, but it is true, and we are responsible to teach and practice its truth. That obviously sets us against many assumptions and practices in today’s world....(emphasis added)[25]

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

Brothers and sisters, as we hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth. We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[24]


Question: Have the doctrines in the Mormon Proclamation on the Family long been taught in the Church?

Yes, the doctrines contained within the "Proclamation" are longstanding doctrines within the Church

President Hinckley observed, on introducing the Proclamation:

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, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history. I now take the opportunity of reading to you this proclamation....[26]

The doctrines taught are, then, longstanding ones in the Church.

This article reviews each line of the Proclamation and presents a sample of past teachings on the same subject.

"marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God"

  • "Marriage is ordained of God. It is a necessary and delightful condition. It is the only true state, and the failure of many marriages does not change the rightness of marriage."[27]
  • "It is my purpose to endorse and to favor, to encourage and defend marriage. Many regard it nowadays as being, at best, semiprecious, and by some it is thought to be worth nothing at all. I have seen and heard, as you have seen and heard, the signals all about us, carefully orchestrated to convince us that marriage is out of date and in the way."[28]

"the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

  • Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us....There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence....We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal."[29]
  • "The work of the adversary may be likened to loading guns in opposition to the work of God. Salvos containing germs of contention are aimed and fired at strategic targets essential to that holy work. These vital targets include—in addition to the individual—the family, leaders of the Church, and divine doctrine."[30]
  • "In this marriage relationship comes the greatest of exaltation and the greatest experiences of life. You will come to know that most of what you know that is worth knowing you learn from your children."[31]
  • "I desire to emphasize this. I want the young men of Zion to realize that this institution of marriage is not a man-made institution. It is of God. It is honorable, and no man who is of marriageable age is living his religion who remains single. It is not simply devised for the convenience alone of man, to suit his own notions, and his own ideas; to marry and then divorce, to adopt and then to discard, just as he pleases. There are great consequences connected with it, consequences which reach beyond this present time, into all eternity, for thereby souls are begotten into the world, and men and women obtain their being in the world. Marriage is the preserver of the human race. Without it, the purposes of God would be frustrated; virtue would be destroyed to give place to vice and corruption, and the earth would be void and empty."[32]
  • "the greatest responsibility and the greatest joys in life are centered in the family, honorable marriage, and rearing a righteous posterity."[33]
  • "Alas, it may be true that those who do not believe in God, who is a loving parent and who is the Father of the human family, will also never be able to accept the eternal importance of the institution of the family, except as something that is socially useful—little wonder we arrive at different conclusions or that we have different priorities."[34]

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God."

  • "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).
  • "Seest thou that ye are created after mine [Christ's] own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh (Ether 3:15-16).
  • "And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all" (Moses 1:6).
  • "God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other."[35]

"Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."

  • "We are begotten in the similitude of Christ himself. We dwelt with the Father and with the Son in the beginning, as the sons and daughters of God; and at the time appointed, we came to this earth to take upon ourselves tabernacles, that we might become conformed to the likeness and image of Jesus Christ and become like him; that we might have a tabernacle, that we might pass through death as he has passed through death, that we might rise again from the dead as he has risen from the dead."[36]
  • "The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth we had “a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father” (statement of the First Presidency, Improvement Era, Mar. 1912, p. 417; also see Jer. 1:5). We were placed here on earth to progress toward our destiny of eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is the result of random processes."[37]

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

  • "When the frailties and imperfections of mortality are left behind, in the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and co–operating to the full in the government of their family kingdom. Then shall woman be recompensed in rich measure for all the injustice that womanhood has endured in mortality. Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God. Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God."[38]
  • "Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them. With relatively few accidents of nature, we are born male or female. The Lord knew best. Certainly, men and women who would change their sex status will answer to their Maker...."[39]
  • "Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God. Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth."[40]

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father"

  • "The spirits of men and women are eternal (see D&C 93:29-31; see also Joseph Smith, Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 158, 208). All are sons and daughters of God and lived in a premortal life as his spirit children (see Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9, D&C 76:24). The spirit of each individual is in the likeness of the person in mortality, male and female (see D&C 77:2; 132:63; Moses 6:9-10; Abraham 4:27). All are in the image of heavenly parents."[41]

"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."

  • And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he [Jesus Christ] said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever (Abraham 3:24-26).

"The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave."

  • "There is another dimension to marriage that we know of in the Church. It came by revelation. This glorious, supernal truth teaches us that marriage is meant to be eternal. There are covenants we can make if we are willing, and bounds we can seal if we are worthy, that will keep marriage safe and intact beyond the veil of death."[42]

"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."

  • "Oh, brothers and sisters, families can be forever! Do not let the lures of the moment draw you away from them! Divinity, eternity, and family—they go together, hand in hand, and so must we! (italics in original)[43]

"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife."

  • "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth...." (Genesis 1:28).
  • "Before leaving our discussion of unchanging plans, however, we need to remember that the adversary sponsors a cunning plan of his own. 34 It invariably attacks God’s first commandment for husband and wife to beget children. It tempts with tactics that include infidelity, unchastity, and other abuses of procreative power. Satan’s band would trumpet choice, but mute accountability. Nevertheless, his capacity has long been limited, “for he knew not the mind of God” (Moses 4:6)."[44]

"We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

  • "There seems to be a growing trend against marriage from degenerate areas of the world and a very strong trend toward marriage without children. Naturally the next question is, “Why marry?” And the “antimarriage revolution” comes into focus. Arguments are given that children are a burden, a tie, a responsibility. Many have convinced themselves that education, freedom from restraint and responsibility—that is the life. And unfortunately this benighted and destructive idea is taking hold of some of our own people."[45]

"the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

General statements

  • The voice of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in unmistakable terms warns:
“… sexual sin—the illicit sexual relations of men and women—stands, in its enormity, next to murder. The Lord has drawn no essential distinctions between fornication, adultery, and harlotry or prostitution. Each has fallen under his solemn and awful condemnation. … [Such cannot] … escape the punishments and the judgments which the Lord has declared against this sin. The day of reckoning will come just as certainly as night follows day.”
Then speaking of those who condone and justify evil whether from press or microphone or pulpit, they continue:
“They who would palliate this crime and say that such indulgence is but a sinless gratification of a normal desire, like appeasing hunger and thirst, speak filthiness with their lips. Their counsel leads to destruction; their wisdom comes from the father of lies.” (Message of the First Presidency to the Church, Improvement Era, November 1942, page 686.)[46]
  • "As we have said on previous occasions, certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication and homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, alcoholism, dishonesty, and crime generally, which threaten the total breakdown of the family and the home…"[47]
  • "There is a practice, now quite prevalent, for unmarried couples to live together, a counterfeit of marriage. They suppose that they shall have all that marriage can offer without the obligations connected with it. They are wrong! However much they hope to find in a relationship of that kind, they will lose more. Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate. Virtue, self-esteem, and refinement of character wither away. Claiming that it will not happen does not prevent the loss; and these virtues, once lost, are not easily reclaimed."[48]
  • "God Himself decreed that the physical expression of love, that union of male and female which has power to generate life, is authorized only in marriage."[49]
  • "Whether we like it or not, so many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness. The breaking of the seventh commandment usually means the breaking of one or more homes."[50]

Premarital sexual relations forbidden

  • "Let every youth keep himself from the compromising approaches and then with great control save himself from the degrading and life-damaging experience of sexual impurity."[51]

Adulterous sexual relations forbidden

  • "Now the lust of the heart and the lust of the eyes and the lust of the body bring us to the major sin. Let every man remain at home with his affections. Let every woman sustain her husband and keep her heart where it belongs—at home with her family."[52]
  • "And now a word of warning. One who destroys a marriage takes upon himself a very great responsibility indeed. Marriage is sacred! To willfully destroy a marriage, either your own or that of another couple, is to offend our God. Such a thing will not be lightly considered in the judgments of the Almighty and in the eternal scheme of things will not easily be forgiven. Do not threaten nor break up a marriage. Do not translate some disenchantment with your own marriage partner or an attraction for someone else into justification for any conduct that would destroy a marriage."[53]

Homosexual relations forbidden

  • "Every form of homosexuality is sin....May we repeat: Sex perversions of men and women can never replenish the earth and are definitely sin without excuse, and rationalizations are very weak; God will not tolerate it."[54]
  • "A modern prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, has warned us:... . when toleration for sin increases, the outlook is bleak and Sodom and Gomorrah days are certain to return." His predecessor, President Harold B. Lee, warned of the growing social acceptance of "that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah... adultery: and beside this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world... " Many today are as indecisive about the evils emerging around us—are as reluctant to renounce fully a wrong way of life—as was Lot's wife. Perhaps in this respect, as well as in the indicators of corruption of which sexual immorality is but one indicator, our present parallels are most poignant and disturbing. It was Jesus himself who said, "Remember Lot's wife." Indeed we should—and remember too all that the Savior implied with those three powerful words."[55]
  • In this day of the “new morality” as sex permissiveness is sometimes called, we should be made aware of the Lord’s concern about immorality and the seriousness of sex sins of all kinds.
We have come far in material progress in this century, but the sins of the ancients increasingly afflict the hearts of men today. Can we not learn by the experiences of others? Must we also defile our bodies, corrupt our souls, and reap destruction as have peoples and nations before us?
God will not be mocked. His laws are immutable. True repentance is rewarded by forgiveness, but sin brings the sting of death.
We hear more and more each day about the sins of adultery, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Homosexuality is an ugly sin, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved with it, it must be brought into the open.
It is the sin of the ages. It was present in Israel’s wandering as well as after and before. It was tolerated by the Greeks. It was prevalent in decaying Rome. The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are symbols of wretched wickedness more especially related to this perversion, as the incident of Lot’s visitors indicates.[56]

"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed."

  • We are appalled at the conscious effort of many of the people in this world to take it upon themselves, presumptive, to change the properly established patterns of social behavior established by the Lord, especially with regard to marriage, sex life, family life. We must say: “The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (See Isa. 29:14.)[57]
  • "The expression of our procreative powers is pleasing to God, but he has commanded that this be confined within the relationship of marriage."[58]
  • "...in the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love."[59]

"We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan."

  • “Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” (D&C 49:15–16)[60]
  • "Eternal love, eternal marriage, eternal increase! This ideal, which is new to many, when thoughtfully considered, can keep a marriage strong and safe. No relationship has more potential to exalt a man and a woman than the marriage covenant. No obligation in society or in the Church supersedes it in importance."[61]

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children."

  • "Make sure, young man, that you treat your wife with reverence and with respect. Treat her as your sweetheart, your loving companion, the mother of your children."[62]

"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 observe the commandments of God"

  • And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (D&C 68:25).

"to teach them to love and serve one another"

  • And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another (Mosiah 4:14-15).

"to teach them...to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live"

  • "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" (Articles of Faith 1:12).
  • "The desirability of this country will persist so long as its citizenry are a God–fearing people with the integrity to obey the law of the land. This includes the laws we do not like as well as the laws we do like."[63]
  • "Let our citizenship be spirited but always appropriate and befitting who we are."[64]
  • "Discipleship includes good citizenship. In this connection, if you are a careful student of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions—especially when the First Presidency has spoken out—the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people; and causes, not candidates."[65]

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony"

  • A higher and higher percentage of children grow up with only one parent. This is certainly not the way of the Lord. He expected for a father and a mother to rear their children. Certainly any who deprive their children of a parent will have some very stiff questions to answer. The Lord used parents in the plural and said if children were not properly trained “the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” (D&C 68:25.) That makes it a bit hard to justify broken homes. Numerous of the divorces are the result of selfishness. The day of judgment is approaching, and parents who abandon their families will find that excuses and rationalizations will hardly satisfy the Great Judge.[66]

"and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity"

  • "Once marriage vows are taken, absolute fidelity is essential—to the Lord and to one’s companion."[67]

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ"

  • "The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home and that the family can continue through eternity. All Christian doctrine is formulated to protect the individual, the home, and the family."[68]

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

  • "... the home and family have been the center of true civilization. Any distortion of the God-given program will bring dire consequences. The families worked together, played together, and worshiped God together."[69]
  • "We hope our parents are using the added time that has come from the consolidated schedule in order to be with, teach, love, and nurture their children. We hope you have not forgotten the need for family activity and recreation, for which time is also provided. Let your love of each member of your family be unconditional. Where there are challenges, you fail only if you fail to keep trying!"[70]

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness"

  • "Brethren, as patriarchs in your homes, be worthy watchmen."[71]
  • "It is the will of the Lord to strengthen and preserve the family unit. We plead with fathers to take their rightful place as the head of the house. We ask mothers to sustain and support their husbands and to be lights to their children."[72]

"and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families"

  • "Both men and women are to serve their families and others, but the specific ways in which they do so are sometimes different. For example, God has revealed through his prophets that men are to receive the priesthood, become fathers, and with gentleness and pure, unfeigned love they are to lead and nurture their families in righteousness as the Savior leads the Church (see Eph. 5:23 ). They have been given the primary responsibility for the temporal and physical needs of the family (see DNC 83:2)."[73]

"Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children"

  • "Women have the power to bring children into the world and have been given the primary duty and opportunity as mothers to lead, nurture, and teach them in a loving, spiritual environment."[74]

"fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners"

  • Most of what men and women must do to qualify for an exalted family life together is based on shared responsibilities and objectives. Many of the requirements are exactly the same for men and women. For example, obedience to the laws of God should be the same for men and women. Men and women should pray in the same way. They both have the same privilege of receiving answers to their prayers and thereby obtaining personal revelation for their own spiritual development....In this divine partnership, husbands and wives support one another in their God-given capacities. By appointing different accountabilities to men and women, Heavenly Father provides the greatest opportunity for growth, service, and progress. He did not give different tasks to men and women simply to perpetuate the idea of a family; rather, He did so to ensure that the family can continue forever, the ultimate goal of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan.[75]
  • "The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth. The first fundamental, then, is to work toward righteous unity."[76]

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

  • "We need to recognize the hard mortal realities in all of this and must use common sense and guidance by personal revelation. Some will not marry in this life. Some marriages will fail. Some will not have children. Some children will choose not to respond to even the most devoted and careful nurturing by loving parents. In some cases, health and faith may falter. Some who would rather remain at home may have to work. Let us not judge others, because we do not know their situation nor do we know what common sense and personal revelation have led them to do. We do know that throughout mortality, women and men will face challenges and tests of their commitment to God’s plan for them. We need to remember that trials and temptations are an important part of our lives. We should not criticize others for the way they choose to exercise their moral agency when faced with adversity or affliction."[77]

"Extended families should lend support when needed."

"We warn that individuals...will one day stand accountable before God" [if they]

  • "God bless you, our beloved people. Listen to the words of heaven. God is true. He is just. He is a righteous judge, but justice must come before sympathy and forgiveness and mercy. Remember, God is in his heavens. He knew what he was doing when he organized the earth. He knows what he is doing now. Those of us who break his commandments will regret and suffer in remorse and pain. God will not be mocked. Man has his free agency, it is sure, but remember, GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED. (See D&C 63:58.)"[78]
  • "That society which puts low value on marriage sows the wind and, in time, will reap the whirlwind—and thereafter, unless they repent, bring upon themselves a holocaust!"[79]

"violate covenants of chastity"

See above.

"abuse spouse or offspring"

  • Spouse abuse
    • CITE
    • CITE
  • Child abuse
    • Cite
    • CITE

"fail to fulfill family responsibilities"

  • "There is no lack of clarity in what the Lord has told us. We cannot shirk. He has placed the responsibility directly where it belongs, and he holds us accountable with regard to the duties of parents to teach their children correct principles and of the need to walk uprightly before the Lord—and there is no substitute for teaching our children by the eloquence of example."[80]

"the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets"

  • Why do we take our destiny in our own hands? From the building of the first colonial cabin, the home and family have been the center of true civilization. Any distortion of the God-given program will bring dire consequences....Could it be possible that many of us, like a cork in a stream, have been swept off our destiny line by false concepts, perilous ways, and doctrines of devils? By whom are we enticed? Have we accepted the easy way and veered off from the “strait and narrow” way to the easy and comfortable way and the broad way which leads to sorrowful ends?[81]
  • "As we have said on previous occasions, certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication and homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, alcoholism, dishonesty, and crime generally, which threaten the total breakdown of the family and the home…"[82]
  • "Society without basic family life is without foundation and will disintegrate into nothingness."[83]

"We call upon" all "to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family"

  • "Furthermore, many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us. Whether from inadvertence, ignorance, or other causes, the efforts governments often make (ostensibly to help the family) sometimes only hurt the family more. There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. The more governments try in vain to take the place of the family, the less effective governments will be in performing the traditional and basic roles for which governments are formed in the first place."[84]


Question: Has the Mormon Proclamation on the Family been taught frequently?

Yes. This is an important point for judging the importance that Church leaders attach to it

Elder Neal L. Anderson taught:

There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many (emphasis added). Our doctrine is not difficult to find (emphasis added).[85]

Repeated Publication of the Proclamation

Reference to the Proclamation as event of historical significance

Teaching

Educational series (also ran in Ensign)




  1. David B. Haight, "Be A Strong Link," Ensign (November 2000).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," Ensign (February 1998).
  3. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World," Ensign (November 1995), 98.
  4. Boyd K. Packer, "The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character," CES Fireside (2 February 2003).
  5. Neal A. Anderson, "Trial of Your Faith," Ensign (November 2012).
  6. "Approaching Mormon Doctrine, LDS Newsroom (4 May 2007).
  7. D. Todd Christofferson, "The Doctrine of Christ," Ensign (May 2012).
  8. Boyd K. Packer, "Fledgling Finches and Family Life, BYU Campus Education Week Devotional, 18 August 2009.
  9. Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," Ensign (February 1998).
  10. Boyd K. Packer, "Proclamation on the Family," Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast (9 February 2008).
  11. David B. Haight, "Be A Strong Link," Ensign (November 2000).
  12. M. Russell Ballard, "Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers," Ensign (November 1999).
  13. M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," Ensign (November 2005).
  14. M. Russell Ballard, "Let Our Voices Be Heard," Ensign (November 2003).
  15. Boyd K. Packer, "Counsel to Youth," Ensign (November 2011).
  16. Boyd K. Packer, "Parents in Zion," Ensign (October 1998).
  17. M. Russell Ballard, "Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers," Ensign (November 1999).
  18. L. Tom Perry, "Obedience to Law Is Liberty," Ensign (May 2013).
  19. Neal A. Maxwell, "Sharing Insights from My Life," BYU Devotional 12 Jan 1999.
  20. Robert D. Hales, "'If Thou Wilt Enter into Life, Keep the Commandments'," Ensign (May 1996).
  21. W. Eugene Hansen, "Children and the Family," Ensign (May 1998).
  22. Eran A. Call, "[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1997/10/the-home-a-refuge-and-sanctuary?lang=eng The Home: A Refuge and Sanctuary," Ensign (November 1998).
  23. Claudio R.M. Costa, "[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/don-t-leave-for-tomorrow-what-you-can-do-today?lang=eng Don't Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today," Ensign (November 2007).
  24. 24.0 24.1 M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," Ensign (November 2005).
  25. Dallin H. Oaks, "As He Thinketh in His Heart," evening with a General Authority (February 2013)
  26. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World," Ensign (November 1995), 98.
  27. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  28. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  29. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  30. Russell M. Nelson, "The Canker of Contention," Ensign (May 1989).
  31. Boyd K. Packer, The Things of the Soul (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 228 [Address given to Brigham Young University student body 14 April 1970.]
  32. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 272.
  33. Ezra Taft Benson, "To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church," Ensign (May 1988).
  34. Neal A. Maxwell, "Family Perspectives," BYU Devotional, 15 January 1974
  35. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 272.
  36. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 428.
  37. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign (November 1993).
  38. James E. Talmage, "The Eternity of Sex," Young Woman's Journal 25 (October 1914), 602–3 as found in Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. and ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980), 137 n. 4.
  39. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  40. Boyd K. Packer, "For Time and All Eternty," Ensign (November 1993).
  41. Boyd K. Packer, "The Play and the Plan," CES Fireside, 7 May 1995, Kirkland, Washington.
  42. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  43. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  44. Russell M. Nelson, "Constancy Amid Change," Ensign (November 1993).
  45. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  46. Spencer W. Kimball, "Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future," Ensign (May 1971).
  47. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  48. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  49. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  50. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  51. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  52. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  53. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  54. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  55. Neal A. Maxwell, Look Back At Sodom: A timely account from imaginary Sodom Scrolls (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1975).
  56. Spencer W. Kimball, "The Foundations of Righteousness," Ensign (November 1977).
  57. Spencer W. Kimball, "Why Call Me Lord, Lord and Do Not the Things Which I Say?," Ensign (May 1975).
  58. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign (November 1993).
  59. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 311.
  60. Cited in this context, for example, in Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  61. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  62. Boyd K. Packer, The Things of the Soul (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 228 [Address given to Brigham Young University student body 14 April 1970.]
  63. James E. Faust, "The Integrity of Obeying the Law," Freedom Festival Fireside, Provo, Utah, 2 July 1995; cited in James P. Bell and James E. Faust, "Citizenship" in In The Strength Of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999), 274.
  64. Neal A. Maxwell, "All Hell Is Moved," BYU Devotional (8 November 1977).
  65. Neal A. Maxwell, "A More Determined Discipleship," Ensign (February 1979).
  66. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  67. {{Ensign|author=Russell M. Nelson|article=Children of the Covenant|date=May 1995}{
  68. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  69. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  70. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  71. Spencer W. Kimball, "Strengthening the Family, the Basic Unit of the Church," Ensign (May 1978).
  72. Joseph Fielding Smith, "Counsel to the Saints and to the World," Ensign (July 1972), 27.
  73. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  74. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  75. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  76. Ezra Taft Benson, "https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1982/10/fundamentals-of-enduring-family-relationships.p32 Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships]," Ensign (November 1982).
  77. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  78. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  79. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  80. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  81. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  82. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  83. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  84. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  85. Neal A. Anderson, "Trial of Your Faith," Ensign (November 2012).