Doctrine & Covenants - Church History
“The Family Is Ordained of God”
The family is central to God’s plan.
Sacred ordinances make it possible for families to be together eternally.
The power to create mortal life is sacred.
Parents have a sacred duty to care for each other and teach their children.
Successful marriages and families are based on righteous principles.
Strengthening families is everyone’s responsibility.
A study of this lesson will help us understand the eternal importance of the
family and inspire us to strengthen our families.
Scripture references for study:
Member Study Guide and
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 45 Handout (PDF
The Family - A Proclamation to the World
- In September 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed the Relief
Society Conference. He spoke to the sisters about the challenges of our
time. President Hinckley: "I need not remind
you that the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values. Shrill
voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards
of behavior. The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. So many
of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only
to the seductive voice of self-gratification. You single young women face
tremendous challenges, and we know it is not easy for you. I cannot say enough
of appreciation for your determination to live by the standards of the Church,
to walk with the strength of virtue, to keep your minds above the slough of
filth which seems to be moving like a flood across the world. Thank you for
knowing there is a better way." (Ensign, Nov 1995, p98)
- He concluded his address with this statement: "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." (Ibid.)
- President Hinckley then read to the sister and presented to the Church,
The Family - A Proclamation to the World.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Why do we have this
proclamation on the family now? Because the family is under attack. All across
the world families are falling apart. The place to begin to improve society is
in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying
to make the world better by making the family stronger." (Ensign, Aug 1997,
- In the years that have passed since the issuance of the
Proclamation, the prophetic wisdom and counsel contained therein has been
confirmed. The attacks upon family and positive values have increased, for
Satan knows that this is the foundation of righteousness for individuals
and societies. What a blessing to have living prophets to guide us through
the turbulent waters of modern life.
The Family Is Central To God's Plan
- "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." (Proclamation, paragraph 1)
D&C 49:15-17. Marriage
is ordained of God.
- President Charles W. Penrose: "It is a
very great privilege to dwell on the earth in this last dispensation. I
believe with all my heart that this has been arranged by our heavenly
Father. I believe in the doctrine of predestination—not that doctrine as it
is taught in some of the so-called 'Christian' sects, but I believe in the
doctrine taught in the old scriptures [Acts 17:26] as well as the new, that
before the foundations of the earth were laid, plans were prepared in regard
to the peopling of the earth and the accomplishment of the divine purpose in
sending the sons and daughters of God to dwell on the earth in the flesh. I
believe in the doctrine taught by the Apostle Paul, on Mars' Hill, 'that God
hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell upon the face of the
earth, and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of
their habitation.' [Acts 17:26.] So that we did not come here by chance but
by design." (CR, Oct 1913, p15.)
- To understand the importance of the Proclamation, we need to remember
that the great plan of our Heavenly Father was worked out before the
foundation of this world was laid. The pattern for peopling the earth and
working out our eternal salvation is the same pattern practiced by our
Heavenly Father, that of marriage and family.
- "Man, in his fulness, is a twofold
organization—male and female. Either being incapable of filling the measure
of their creation alone, it requires the union of the two to complete man in
the image of God, for in Gen. 1. 27, it expressly says, that he was created
male and female in the image of God. Therefore, without the proper union of
the sexes, man would be less than what God created him."
(Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little in Compendium of the Doctrines of
the Gospel, pp118-119)
- President Spencer W. Kimball: "To those
who might decry marriage or postpone it or forbid it Paul spoke, condemning
them. It is generally selfishness, cold and self-centered, which leads
people to shun marriage responsibility. There are many who talk and write
against marriage. Even some of our own delay marriage and argue against it.
To all who are deceived by these 'doctrines of devils,' we urge the return
to normalcy. We call upon all people to accept normal marriage as a basis
for true happiness. The Lord did not give sex to man for a plaything.
Basically marriage presupposes a family." (Ensign, May 1974, p6)
- "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."
(Proclamation, paragraph 2)
- We can only begin to comprehend our eternal destiny when we come to understand
that we are created in the image of an Eternal Heavenly Father and that we
are following the pattern laid down by him, that is to become like him.
- As so clearly stated by President Snow, "As man
now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be."
- When we understand these principles, we realize that we are not a
product of evolution, but sons and daughters of a wonderful and loving
Heavenly Father whose sole purpose is the bring about
"the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). When
we come to this knowledge and understanding, our lives are changed as we
seek to keep the commandments and follow the pattern which he set, which
includes sacred marriage for time and all eternity and the bearing and
raising of children. Though the world would teach otherwise, there is no
other way, for "strait is the gate, and narrow is
the way, which leadeth unto life" (Matthew 7:14).
Families Can Be Together Forever
- "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."
(Proclamation, paragraph 3)
- WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MORTAL LIFE?
- Merrill Bradshaw: "We learned of the whole plan
while yet there in God's presence before coming to earth. The presentation
of the plan was so compelling and exciting that we shouted for joy. We were
happy to be allowed the privilege of mortal experience as a preparation for
the still fuller experience to come." (Toward a Mormon Aesthetic,
BYU Studies, vol. 21 (1981), Number 1)
- As the above statements indicate, this mortal existence is part of the
plan that prepares us for eternal possibilities. We gain experiences in the
flesh that are necessary for eternal life. As Amulek taught,
"this life is the time for men to prepare to meet
God" (Alma 34:32). In fact, so essential is this mortal existence
that there are some things that must be done in this life for after death
"cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be
no labor performed" (Alma 34:33).
- Elder Melvin J. Ballard taught that until a person
"learns to overcome the flesh, his temper, his tongue, his disposition
to, indulge in the things God has forbidden, he cannot come into the
celestial kingdom of God-he must overcome either in this life or in the life
to come. But this life is the time in which men are to repent. Do not let
any of us imagine that we can go down to the grave not having overcome the
corruptions of the flesh and then lose in the grave all our sins and evil
tendencies. They will be with us. They will be with the spirit when
separated from the body. The spirit only can repent and change, and then the
battle has to go forward with the flesh afterwards. It is much easier to
overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one.
. . . Every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of
correcting and overcoming the weakness of the flesh are sentencing
themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the
resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have overcome,
until they have done as much as they can do." (quoted in
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 3: 256)
- In a sense, I like to think of our mortal probation as the high school
of eternal existence. Certain requirements must be met before graduating
from high school and entering the university. If we are to move on to the
university of eternal existence, we must meet the requirements of mortal
- "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."
(Proclamation, paragraph 3)
- One of the greatest blessings of the restored gospel is understanding
that families can be together forever.
- Elder Eldred G. Smith: "The fundamental
purpose for which this earth was created was to establish individual
families forever. The family is the only organization which is eternal."
(CR, Apr 1965)
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Not
only was marriage instituted by the Lord to endure eternally, but it also
naturally follows that the same is true of the family. The plan given in
the gospel for the government of man on this earth is typical of the laws
governing in the kingdom of God. Is it possible to imagine a greater
source of sorrow than to be left in the eternal world without claim on
father or mother or children?" (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:65)
- It is difficult for me to comprehend a joyful eternity without
association with those who are most dear to me, my family.
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Outside
of the celestial kingdom there is no family organization. That
organization is reserved for those who are willing to abide in every
covenant and every obligation which we are called upon to receive while
we sojourn here in this mortal life." (Ibid., 2: 67)
- HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT FAMILIES CAN BE BOUND TOGETHER THROUGHOUT ALL
- As part of the Restoration, necessary priesthood keys have been
restored making that eternal binding a possibility.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "In its
ultimate expression the holy priesthood carries with it the authority to
seal on the earth and have that sealing effective in the heavens. It is
unique and wonderful. It is the authority exercised in the temples of God.
It concerns both the living and the dead. It is of the very essence of
eternity. It is divine power bestowed by the Almighty as a part of His
great plan for the immortality and eternal life of man."
(Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p475)
- President Ezra Taft Benson: "When your
children ask why we marry in the temple, you should teach them that
temples are the only places on the earth where certain ordinances may be
performed. You should also share with your children your personal feelings
as you knelt together before the sacred altar and took upon yourselves
covenants which made it possible for them to be sealed to you forever."
(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p258)
- Elder Mark E. Petersen: "Then let us
remember that the right kind of marriage is God's kind of marriage, and
God's kind of marriage is temple marriage. Therefore, temple marriage is
to be one of the great goals in our life. It is not something we should
regard as optional." (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1962 7)
- AS WE UNDERSTAND THESE GREAT AND WONDERFUL PRINCIPLES REGARDING THE
ETERNAL NATURE OF THE FAMILY, HOW SHOULD THAT KNOWLEDGE AFFECT THE WAY WE
TREAT FAMILIES MEMBERS NOW?
Children Are A Heritage of the Lord
- "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."
(Proclamation, paragraph 4)
- It seems that as modern society develops, there is less desire to have
children or limit the size of families. My wife and I have been blessed with seven children, not a huge family, but certainly a large
family by today's standards. I have been in the work force for more than 30
years and I have yet to have had a co-worker whose family came close to
equaling the size of mine. For those who have children, the maximum has
generally been one to two children, with the largest families at three. Many
of my associates have not married or have chosen not to have children. When
people see the pictures of my family, they are amazed. And yet, I am
the one that is truly blessed. When I talk about my family, I sometimes
sense a bit of envy. I think many of these people inwardly know that
families are a wonderful thing, but are unable to trade their resources,
time and money, for what families and children require. Consider these
statements from President Kimball:
- "How do you suppose that the Lord would look
upon a man and a woman whose marriage seems to be largely for the purpose
of living together and sex gratification without the responsibilities of
marriage? How do you think that the Lord looks upon those who use the
contraceptives because in their selfish life it is not the convenient
moment to bear children? How do you feel the Lord looks upon those who
would trade flesh-and-blood children for pianos or television or furniture
or an automobile, and is this not actually the case when people will buy
these luxuries and yet cannot afford to have their children? Are there not
numerous people who first buy the luxury article and then find they cannot
pay the doctor or a hospital bill incident to childbirth? How do you think
the Lord feels about women who forego the pleasures and glories of
motherhood that they might retain their figures, that their social life
might not be affected, that they might avoid the deprivations, pains, and
agonies of childbearing and birthing? How do you think the Lord feels as
he views healthy parents who could have children but who deliberately
close the doors by operation or by contraceptives, close the doors upon
spirits eager to enter into mortal bodies?" (Teachings of
Spencer W. Kimball, p329)
- "In America and elsewhere in the world, the
family limitation program is gaining much strength. Latter-day Saints do
not believe in this. We believe in following the admonition of the Lord in
having large families and rearing them righteously. We hope that our
Latter-day Saints will not trade children for accommodation and luxury.
"When you go to the temple for sealing, you will note that
the Lord continues to command his people to live this commandment. It is
not easy. It is much easier to limit the family to one or two, but great
blessings come to those who struggle through the years with the small
children. When they have reared them righteously, they will have crowns
throughout eternity. The time will come when those men and women who have
neglected their duties because they wanted luxuries will be very jealous
of the joys and happiness of those who sacrificed in the early years of
marriage. Certainly we do not just wish to bring children in the world and
turn them loose to go wild. We must rear them in righteousness. Generally,
you will find that the people that come from the large families are
generally the best trained and the most faithful."
- Though President Kimball made these powerful statements a few years ago,
the Proclamation on the Family has reaffirmed his counsel,
"God’s commandment for His children to multiply and
replenish the earth remains in force."
- There is a need within the Church to remind our children of the
important responsibilities of marriage and bearing children, for this is
the foundation of eternal life and existence. We need to remind our young
people not to trade their birthright for a bowl of porridge. Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated, "This
tendency to postpone adult responsibilities, including marriage and
family, is surely visible among our LDS young adults. The average age at
marriage has increased in the last few decades, and the number of children
born to LDS married couples has decreased." (CES fireside,
Oakland, California, May 5, 2005 posted at
- Consider Elder Oaks counsel to our young people:
- "Men, if you have returned from your
mission and you are still following the boy-girl patterns you were
counseled to follow when you were 15, it is time for you to grow up.
Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with. Start with a
variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase
yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. It’s marriage time. That
is what the Lord intends for His young adult sons and daughters. Men
have the initiative, and you men should get on with it."
- "Young women, resist too much hanging out,
and encourage dates that are simple, inexpensive, and frequent. Don’t
make it easy for young men to hang out in a setting where you women
provide the food. Don’t subsidize freeloaders. An occasional group
activity is okay, but when you see men who make hanging out their
primary interaction with the opposite sex, I think you should lock the
pantry and bolt the front door.
"If you do this, you should also hang out a sign, 'Will
open for individual dates,' or something like that. And, young women,
please make it easier for these shy males to ask for a simple,
inexpensive date." (Ibid.)
- "My single
young friends, we counsel you to channel your associations with the
opposite sex into dating patterns that have the potential to mature into
marriage, not hanging-out patterns that only have the prospect to mature
into team sports like touch football. Marriage is not a group activity -
at least not until the children come along in goodly numbers."
- "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." (Proclamation, paragraph
- The power to create children is sacred and, as reaffirmed in the
Proclamation, must only be used between a man and woman, lawfully wedded. We
could easily do a complete lesson on this one statement.
- The Adversary, knowing the powerful feelings and emotions surrounding
the power of procreation, has made this one of his primary weapons in the
eternal battle to deny men and women their ultimate destiny. We need not
look further than our televisions to see how sex outside of marriage for
pleasure only has been made common, trying to convince us that it is
something that everyone does and that chastity and virtue are no longer to
be treasured, but ridiculed. Movies, books,
magazines, and music also continue the assault on these sacred values. And possibly the most dangerous
influence in our time is the spread of pornography, particularly via the Internet
which is so easily accessible and can be viewed in the privacy of one's
own home. All of these things assault the senses and cheapen one's
feelings towards the sacred, God given power of procreation.
- Additionally, we see the assault on traditional marriage by those who
would redefine it. Several states, along with Canada, have legalized
same-sex marriage. Advocates of this lifestyle continue to push their
agenda and ridicule those of us who believe in the sanctity of the
marriage covenant as defined by the Lord.
- Elder Boyd K. Packer: "I know of nothing in
the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with
our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which
exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now.
"Satan uses every intrigue to disrupt the family. The
sacred relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, through which
mortal bodies are conceived and life is passed from one generation to the
next generation, is being showered with filth." (Brigham Young
University J. Reuben Clark Law Society Devotional, Saturday, 28 February
- President Harold B. Lee: "Satan's greatest
threat today is to destroy the family, and to make a mockery of the law of
chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant. I read something just
the other day, where someone blatantly had said, 'What difference does a
ring and a piece of paper make in the relationship of a man and woman in
human relationships?' What a tragedy to have that kind of thought thrown
before our people! God forbid that the young people of this day will ever
fall prey to that kind of satanic suggestion, because therein is the
greatest thrust that Satan can have in our day; and anyone who is fostering
that kind of dogma, we ought to do all in our power to see that he no longer
has sway among us." (Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p227)
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "We do not need a
new moral standard in our modern society. The laws of God have not been
abrogated. They were not given to one generation to be laid aside by
another. Their disregard can result only in trouble, misery, and insecurity
as witness the fruits of the erosion of morality among us. Their application
is the way of life and peace and progress." (Teachings of Gordon
B. Hinckley, pp377-378)
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO REMAIN PURE AND TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN THE IMPORTANCE
A Sacred Duty To Care For Each Other and to Teach Their
- "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to
love and care for each other and for their children.... 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." (Proclamation, paragraph
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CARE FOR EACH OTHER?
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "When you are married,
be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy
family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being,
and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that
loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout
eternity." (Ensign, Dec 1995, 67)
- HOW DOES THE COUNSEL OF PRESIDENT HINCKLEY CONTRAST WITH SO MUCH OF WHAT
WE SEE IN THE WORLD, PARTICULARLY THOSE THINGS PORTRAYED BY THE MEDIA?
- President David O. McKay: "The number of
broken marriages can he reduced if couples realize even before they approach
the altar that marriage is a state of mutual service, a state of giving as
well as of receiving, and that each must give of himself or herself to the
utmost." (CR, Apr, 1964)
- HOW DO WE PROVIDE FOR OUR CHILDREN?
- We often think that providing for our children is to provide
the basic necessities of life: home, food, clothing, and other basic
essentials necessary to care for their physical being. To truly provide for
our children goes far beyond this simple definition. Consider what the Lord
would have us do?
- "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." (Proclamation,
- Basic to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of a child is
the right to be raised in a home with two parents, a father and a mother,
who are true to each other. This is in contrast to the many lifestyles that
we see in the world today. I have heard it said that one-third of all
children in the United States are born out of wedlock. In addition to this
situation, the divorce rate in the U.S. is approximately one divorce for
every two marriages in a given year. Plus, there are those who advocate
alternative lifestyles, which include children. As Latter-day Saints, we have
an obligation to do everything in our power to preserve the home in the manner
in which the Lord has prescribed.
- Years ago I had a friend who served as the principal at an elementary
school in southern Oregon. We had numerous discussions about families,
education, and success in life. He told me that his years of observing
children in the education system demonstrated to him the necessity of
children growing up in a traditional family. Those kids that did best in
school were those who came from homes with a father and mother. Children
from broken homes had more academic and emotional struggles than their
- "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
- How do we achieve the ideal of a successful family? The Lord has given
us the formula and the Brethren have reiterated those principles in the
- The foundation of a house is essential if a home is to withstand years
of use and the challenges of the elements. Several years ago winter heavy rains flooded
rivers in southern Utah and undercut the foundation of several homes. The
pictures were astonishing as we watched on television whole homes collapse
and fall into the river. The owners of the homes built their homes on the
shore of a picturesque little creek, not knowing that a once in a lifetime
flood would undercut their foundation. The homes built higher on the hill
were safe from the devastation.
- Building the foundation of our family life on the gospel of Jesus Christ
is like building our homes up on the hill. When we do so, the floods of
mortality remain in the valley below. We may feel the wind and the rain. Our
home may be buffeted, but it will endure as long as we stay true to the
principles of "faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love,
compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
- Consider the power of one of these principles. What if we are more
forgiving in our families? What difference would it make. In his
October 2005 Conference address, President Hinckley told the remarkable
story of a woman who had been seriously injured due to the actions of a
young man. She pled for the young man, rather than wish for him to be sent
to prison for many years. It made a difference in the life of this young
man and it can make a difference in our families. President Hinckley,
"May God help us to be a little kinder, showing
forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the
second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have
brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture
them no more." (CR, Oct 2005)
- It would be worth the time, if not invaluable, for families to review
these principles at Family Home Evenings and discuss ways of better
implementing them in our homes. As we do so, the Lord will bless our
families and strengthen the foundation of our homes in such a way that we
will be able to endure the spiritual and emotional floods when the come.
- "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." (Proclamation,
- This counsel from living prophets stands in stark contrast to the wisdom
of the modern world. However, the modern world does not understand the power
and strength that comes when a righteous bearer of the holy priesthood
presides in the home in "love and righteousness."
- It is the Lord's will that fathers provide the "necessities of life" for
their children. Too many fathers shirk this responsibility forcing mothers
away from their children where they are so desperately needed. I am
constantly amazed at how many men fail to meet this basic responsibility.
- I work for the U.S. Passport Office. A few years ago Congress passed
legislation that did not allow persons in arrears for child support to
obtain a passport. We constantly see men coming in for a passport to go on a
vacation who are denied the passport because they owe child support. Where
are our values in society? Are we so busy pursuing the things of life that
many cannot assume even this most basic responsibility.
- "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." (Proclamation, paragraph
- President Ezra Taft Benson: "We need to arise
and shine and to get the vision of this great work and to incorporate it
into our lives and homes and our families. If we do so the Lord will bless
us because He loves us. We are His people. We have accepted His gospel. You
have taken upon yourselves sacred covenants and He wants to bless you. He
wants to pour out His blessings, the blessings of heaven, upon you and your
families. In those homes where you live the gospel, where mother and father
and children are skimping just a little more to make ends meet, He will
bless you even more, much more than He will in those homes where we find so
many mothers unnecessarily working outside the home in order to get better
clothes, a new living room suite, a new rug on the floor. Working mothers
contribute to increased divorce, to infidelity, to the weakening of homes.
Brothers and sisters, it isn't worth it." (Teachings of Ezra Taft
- This is not easy counsel in a world where women have taken an important
role in the workplace and are making many positive contributions. However,
as the Proclamation and the Brethren have counseled, the primary
responsibility of mother's is to "nurture" their children. Without question,
there are times when mothers need to work, but as President Benson
indicates, if it is possible for the mother to remain home with the children
that is the ideal and our families will be blessed and strengthened.
- My mother was a wonderful example. I did not grow up in a wealthy
family. My mother helped to contribute financially in small ways while
remaining home. I remember her watching a child or two, doing phone calls
for a business, taking in ironing, and teaching piano lessons. This made it
possible for my mother to be home in the morning before leaving for school
and she was there when I arrived home. If I was sick, I had a mother who
could be there to care for me. There is probably no other person that had
greater positive influence on the course of my life than my mother. Thank
goodness she was at home when I needed her, if for no other reason than to
talk about the little things in life.
- In contrast, consider a family I know where both parents work in
successful careers. They have been blessed with three nice children, but
those children have spent their days elsewhere learning the values of
others. Both parents need not work. But they want the things that
money will buy: nice cars, vacations, furniture, a travel trailer, etc. When
I think of this family I am reminded of the Lord's counsel,
"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). Where is your treasure?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "If there is to be a return to old and sacred values, it
must begin in the home. It is here that truth is learned, that integrity is
cultivated, that self-discipline is instilled, and that love is nurtured. …
"Sisters, guard your children. … Nothing is more precious
to you as mothers, absolutely nothing. Your children are the most valuable thing
you will have in time or all eternity. You will be fortunate indeed if, as you
grow old and look at those you brought into the world, you find in them
uprightness of life, virtue in living, and integrity in their behavior."
(Ensign, Nov 1998, p99)
- WHAT ROLE DO PARENT'S HAVE IN TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN?
- A few years ago I listened to part of an interview between a radio talk
show host and a young man attending college. This young man had been
involved in some
activities of an extremely immoral nature which came to the attention of
the national media. The interviewer asked the young man about his parents and
their role in teaching him and in attending church. The young man
responded that his parents did not wish to impose their value system on
him and did not take him to church, leaving that decision to him. As a
consequence, this young man was left with the media, the schools, and his
peers to teach him. What he did comes as no surprise.
- President Spencer W. Kimball: "It is the
responsibility of the parents to teach their children. The Sunday School,
the Primary, [Mutual,] and other organizations of the Church play a
secondary role." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p332)
- As President Kimball states, parents have the primary responsibility
for teaching children to "love and serve one
another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding
citizens wherever they live." The Church organization is there to assist
parents in this great responsibility.
- President Joseph Field Smith: "Parents are
commanded to teach their children to understand the principles of the
gospel from their earliest childhood; to teach them to understand the
doctrine of repentance, faith in Jesus Christ, the ordinance of baptism
for the remission of sins and to pray, before they reach the age of
accountability, so that they will know why these ordinances and
principles are essential parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (D. & C.
68:25-28.) If parents neglect this important duty then the sin will rest
on the parents." (Answers To Gospel Questions, 2:89)
A Solemn Warning
- "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." (Proclamation, paragraph
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "The thought
of a nation without the family unit as its fundamental foundation; where all
the citizens are, comparatively, strangers to each other, and where natural
affection is not found; where no family ties bind the groups together, is
one of horror. Such a condition could lead to but one end-anarchy and
dissolution." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:66)
- I fear that we are seeing the gradual dissolution of the family within
our society as many fathers and mothers abandon their basic
responsibilities, where many choose not to marry and have families, where
many are born out of wedlock, and where many seek to redefine the family.
If such is in fact the case, then we may stand on the brink of the
calamities as noted in the Proclamation.
- WHAT CAN WE DO?
- "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." (Proclamation, paragraph
- Our number one responsibility is to strengthen our own families. The
Proclamation reminds us of many things that we need to do. As we do so, we
send strong children out into the world who believe in the Lord and have a
moral basis upon which to operate. We set an example to the world that
attracts that which is good.
- Secondly, as the Proclamation states, we need to be active in our
communities, states, and nations calling for "those measures designed to
maintain and strengthen the family." We need to vote for and support those
who support the institutions and laws which preserve the family.
- All the laws and measures in the world mean nothing if they are forced
upon the people. Possibly more important than fighting for appropriate laws
and public institutions is teaching the gospel of truth to all those we
contact. As hearts are changed, righteousness prevails. I think it is safe
to say that we are not doing all that we should to share the gospel.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- Record your thoughts on the principles discussed in this lesson. What
specific things can you do to contribute to and strengthen your family?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers To Gospel Questions, Volume 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
BYU Speeches of the Year.
Come Listen To A Prophet's Voice by Ezra Taft Benson.
Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel by Franklin D. Richards and James A.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon by Joseph Fielding McConkie and
Robert L. Millet.
Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley.
Teachings of Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimall.
The Family - A Proclamation to the World.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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