The Family:A Proclamation to the World
The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 788943600000
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
© 1995, 2008 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
English approval: 5/08. 35602
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.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped 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 their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and 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.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
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.
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.
God is literally the Father of our spirits, and we lived with Him as His spirit children in a premortal existence before we were born on this earth.
Your life did not begin at birth, nor will it end at death. You have a spirit body (sometimes called the soul) and a physical body. Heavenly Father created your spirit, and you lived with Him as a spirit before you received your physical body and were born on earth. This period is called pre-earth life or premortal life.
Throughout your pre-earth life, you were taught the principles and commandments that would lead to happiness, with freedom to choose to grow in intelligence and love of the truth, or not. During this pre-earth life, Jesus Christ, then known as Jehovah was chosen as the Savior and you learned that, through Him, you would be able to overcome the effects of any wrong choices.
God’s purpose—His work and His glory—is to bring to pass the immortality (resurrection) and eternal life (life with God) of His children. He desires every one of His children to find peace in this life and a fulness of joy in His presence after this life. Heavenly Father knew that you could only progress to a certain point without the experience of mortality. In order to become more like Him, you would need to:
Thus, God our Father is the creator of our spirits, and we are created in His likeness physically.
- Gain experience from overcoming trials and temptations.
- Learn to walk by faith.
- Learn to choose between good and evil.
Thus, your Heavenly Father instituted His plan to help you reach your divine potential.
God has a plan for your life
Such questions as “What is the purpose of life?” or “Why am I here?” can be answered by understanding God’s plan for the happiness of His children.
In the scriptures God's plan is called the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, the plan of happiness. The plan is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Throughout time, people have often pondered questions such as “Where did I come from?” “What is my purpose in life?” and “Where will I go after this life?” God has a plan for the happiness of His children: the plan of salvation?, which is centered on the Atonement? of Jesus Christ. As you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, you will find answers to these questions, gain lasting inner peace in this life, and earn eternal joy after death.
Before you began your life on Earth, you lived with your Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. Although it was a joyful existence, God knew that you could not continue to progress unless you left Him for a time.
He allowed you to come to Earth, where you would gain a physical body and would have experiences that would help you to learn and grow, fulfilling the purpose of the plan of salvation: to help you become more like your Heavenly Father.
According to the plan, you could not continue to progress continually without the opportunity to enter mortality and receive a physical body. Here on earth you would have experiences that would help you learn and grow, and you would be proven to see if [you would] do all things whatsoever the Lord would command ( Abraham 3:25). The purpose of the plan is to help you become more like your Heavenly Father. The fact that you are living on Earth means that you accepted Heavenly Father’s plan and came here wanting to do all you could to receive all He has to offer.
Knowing that we would commit sin in mortality, your loving Heavenly Father provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, who by His sacrifice would make it possible for all people who would comply with His gospel teachings to be forgiven through repentance and return to live with Him. Having a divine nature as a child of God, you can with the assistance and power of Christ, progress to become one day even as He is.
Understanding this eternal perspective can help you find happiness in your life, even amid trials and challenges. As a child of a loving Heavenly Father, you can view your struggles as stepping-stones bringing you closer to Him. As you ask for help and strength in earnest prayer, you can have the assurance that you are not alone. God loves you and will help you as you turn to Him.
God has blessed us with gifts to help us navigate our lives. One of the most precious gifts He has given everyone is the ability and power to make choices. Your Heavenly Father respects your freedom to choose and will never force you to choose what is right, nor will He stop you from being able to make poor choices. He will however, invite and endeavor to entice you ‘to do good continually’( Moroni 7:13).
He knows that whatever your choice, you are also choosing a consequence. Consequences may appear immediately or may come much later. But choosing good eventually leads to happiness, and wrong choices eventually lead to unhappiness. Heavenly Father allows you to make choices and experience their consequences so you may learn the difference between good and evil. In learning to choose good, you are creating a pattern that will help you become more like your Heavenly Father.
The Gospel Blesses Families and Individuals
Families are ordained of God. They are the most important social unit in time and in eternity.
God has established families to bring happiness to His children, allow them to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and prepare them to return to Him after they die. Because families are ordained of God, they are the most important social unit in time and in eternity.
Marriage (Genesis 2:18) and family ( Genesis 1:28) are central focal points in God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Your Heavenly Father wants you to do all you can during your time on Earth to prepare yourself to live in an eternal family.
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on sound principles, like those that Jesus Christ taught. These principles include faith in Jesus Christ, prayer, repentance?, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. A home established on gospel principles is a place of refuge and safety, where the Spirit of the Lord? can abide, blessing family members with peace, joy, and happiness (“ The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).
No marriage or family is perfect. When dealing with challenging relationships, it may help to remember that each person on this earth is a beloved son or daughter of God and has a divine nature and destiny. Learning to love and serve your family members, as Christ taught, will help you become more like your Heavenly Father and will help you prepare to live with Him again in an eternal family.