The Family: A Proclamation to the World Introduction
What does the word “proclaim” mean to you? What truths would you wish to proclaim, announce, or declare to all the world? In the October 1995 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley introduced this proclamation, which was the fifth proclamation issued to all the world by the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this dispensation (all of whom we sustain as “prophets, seers, and revelators”). Below is a summary of the proclamations:
- 1841—reviews the progress of the Church and addresses the subject of settling the city of Nauvoo, Illinois.
- 1845—announcing that God has restored His church, with a warning and invitation to all to give heed, repent, and be baptized.
- 1865—establishes the First Presidency as the authorized source of doctrine, and states the doctrine of the Godhead.
- 1980—commemorating the Church’s 150th anniversary and emphasizing our primary message.
- 1995—declares God’s doctrine of marriage and family, outlining related counsel and warnings.
- 2020—commemorates the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, re-stating some of the Church’s basic truths.
The Family Is Ordained of God
This proclamation teaches about mortal families on earth, but we must all see ourselves and our families as extensions of the eternal family of our Heavenly Parents. They created us as spirit children and placed us on earth to begin creating our own families, according to God’s plan and principles.
If you feel that your family is missing important pieces or includes less-than-ideal relationships, hold on to your hope that as you make and keep sacred covenants, no blessing will be withheld from you. In the April 2021 general conference, President M. Russell Ballard taught:
“Some wonder about their opportunities and place in God’s plan and in the Church. We should understand that eternal life is not simply a question of current marital status but of discipleship and being ‘valiant in the testimony of Jesus.’ The hope of all who are single is the same as for all members of the Lord’s restored Church—access to the grace of Christ through ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.’… Everyone who is faithful in keeping gospel covenants will have the opportunity for exaltation. President Russell M. Nelson taught: ‘In the Lord’s own way and time, no blessing will be withheld from His faithful Saints. The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desire as well as deed.’… President Dallin H. Oaks explained that some of the circumstances ‘of mortality will be set right in the Millennium, which is the time for fulfilling all that is incomplete in the great plan of happiness for all of our Father’s worthy children.’… All who accept the Savior’s gracious gift of repentance and live His commandments will receive eternal life, even though they do not attain to all its characteristics and perfections in mortality” (Liahona, May 2021, p. 55).
Things to Consider
As you study this proclamation, look for the following:
- Find the numerous references to God, along with other terms used for Deity.
- Identify doctrines that are taught (declarations, truths, principles, beliefs).
- Find the items of counsel that are given (commandments, exhortations, admonitions).
- Some of the key words are sacred, declare, eternal, essential, plan, divine, covenants, destiny, and so forth. What other key words or phrases do you notice?
- What is the only scripture cited in the proclamation? Can you think of another scripture or two that could apply to this proclamation?
- In the seventh paragraph, what are the nine “principles” that can lead to happiness in family life? Is there one you feel you could improve upon? How will you do so?
- Why do you think both love and compassion are included in these principles for happiness? How are they alike, or different? How many times is the word love used in this proclamation?
- What are the warnings that are stated in the eighth paragraph?
- What teachings in this proclamation are being attacked today? In what ways are those attacks taking place?
- How would you explain this sentence to a friend who does not believe in God: “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose”? (second paragraph).
Add Your Thoughts
Choose a phrase or sentence in this proclamation that stands out for you, then write a paragraph containing your own thoughts about it, as if you are preparing a talk to give in church.