The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles
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 his or her divine destiny as an heir 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" (Psalms 127:3). 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.
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.
This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message
at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City,
Considering the LDS critics...
True Christians have better things to do than to criticize others.
Jesus Christ said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Both He and His apostles empahsized that we are to help and serve one another. They also stressed we are to refrain from slander and reviling. If we are busy helping and serving, there’s no time for backbiting... [Matt. 25:40 (25:34-46); Luke 6:35-37; John 13:34-35; 1 Cor. 6:10; 16:14; Gal. 5:13-23; 6:2; Eph. 4:31-32; Col. 3:8-9; James 1:27]
However, devout Christians feel it is their duty to bring others to Christ. So, they earnestly try to do that.
When one takes the time to research the God of the early Israelites and the changes the Deuteronomists made to the Jewish scriptures.... When one takes the time to research the beliefs of the earliest Christians... They will find that the Mormon view of the Godhead and Christ is the same as the views held by the early Israelites and the earliest Christians. That shouldn’t be surprising, since what many refer to as “Mormonism” is actually the restored gospel.
In the spirit of liberty and tolerance, Acts 5:38-39 states: "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (See Acts 5:27-39) Like it or not, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is thriving and growing.
We see this tactic used often in politics and in religion. One side begins to dig up “dirt”, whether fact or fiction, to make another look bad. And by making the other look bad, they think they make themselves look better. Sometimes the “dirt” is based on an incident taken out of context and blown out of proportion to look 1000 times worse -- It’s easier to fling mud when one has more dirt to work with. Sometimes the “dirt” is just plain false altogether. Either way, dirt digging and mud slinging is often a desperate attempt to discredit another person or group.
Some anti-Mormons are stooping to this low of dirt digging and mud slinging. I guess they are having a hard time standing on their own merits, and so have to find some other way to discredit “Mormonism”. It’s not worth repeating who or what the mud slinging is over. It suffices to say I’ve seen it, I’ve read it, I’ve examined it’s questions -- And there are answers if one is willing to search for them.
I find two things interesting about this approach:
1) Dirt digging and mud slinging were tactics used against Jesus Christ himself. When his accusers couldn’t find any really truly bad evidence to accuse him, they brought in false witnesses to make a little “dirt” and “mud”.
2) Anything -- and I mean ANYTHING -- can be made to look bad if someone digs deep enough and twists hard enough. Even Christianity and the Bible itself can be made to look bad through the dirt digging and mud slinging tactics used by anti-Christians. However, Christians can wipe off the mud, look at the whole picture, regroup and keep going. Members of the LDS Church can do the same.
This tactic is used to confuse and distort an issue or story, to build up one side by putting
the other down, and to stir up emotions of confusion & disgust. Let’s steer away from
“dirt”, stick with the whole story and see the broader picture of what’s going on around
us. Let’s use just weights and measures to when weighing issues in the
For a moment, I’d like to look at 1) tactics and 2) information strategies sometimes used to portray what Mormons believe.
FIRST: People often fear and fight against things they do not understand. It is a natural reflex. If a group can get the public confused, upset and fearful of something, the public will go against it...And if the group can shade, subtly misrepresent, or leave out facts to help their cause, they often do it. This tactic is used in both politics and religion. Likewise, most anti-Mormon debate about the Church is caused by rumors, misinformation and twisting of facts. Sometimes, such information is “drummed up” and plays on peoples’ emotions -- It is easy for people to become confused, upset and fearful about things they know little or nothing about. If anti-Mormons can get people confused, upset and fearful about the LDS Church, they can draw more to their cause.
When the tactics of fear and playing on peoples’ emotions don’t work, then “dirt-digging” is popular. If a group can find “dirt” or make “dirt” about someone or something, they try to make themselves look good by tearing the other side down. They can again stir up negative emotions and recruit a few more players to their team. You can read more about this in my “Dirt Digging and Mud Slinging” section.
Whether in politics or religion, don’t let fear tactics and mud-slinging cover and confuse the issues.
SECOND: When trying to find out what Mormons really believe, it is important to differentiate the personal opinion of one Mormon from the official doctrine of the LDS Church.
All of us are "only human". Sometimes we imperfect mortals get too concerned with rumors and opinions, instead of getting the facts. Sometimes we even forget the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” There are a lot of rumors, opinions, and even pure lies, on the Internet about the LDS Church--and not enough facts. (I have tried to keep facts separate from rumors and opinions on my LDS web pages. And as for lies, my page has no room for them.)
Again -- When trying to find out what Mormons really believe, it is important to differentiate the personal opinion of one Mormon from the official doctrine of the LDS Church.
One LDS person is as different from another LDS person, as any Methodist is different from another Methodist, any Catholic is different from another Catholic, etc. LDS people hold a wide variety of opinions on various topics, just like people of other religions. For example: If one Lutheran believes God flies around in a UFO, that does NOT mean that all Lutherans believe it, NOR does it mean the Lutheran Church officially teaches that to it's members (which it definitely does not). Likewise, many LDS people have opinions. Those opinions are not necessarily official LDS Church doctrine.
So, if you read that Mormons believe "such-and-such", consider the source. Is it coming from an individual, or is it coming officially from the LDS Church? (See also “Books Mormons Get Their Beliefs From”) If it is coming from an individual, check their sources of information. Check the source book or pamphlet for copyright and logo. If it is copyrighted by the “Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, it’s an official publication of the LDS Church. If their sources are not official LDS Church publications, they could be misleading you. Plus, consider their tone and purpose. ...Also, if you hear that Mormons believe "such-and-such", even from someone who claims to be a former Mormon, listen with caution -- They may not have known, or even practiced, the religion enough to know what they’re talking about. Two examples...
I’m an inquisitive person with a fairly open mind. I read about a variety of topics. I’ve read all kinds of literature by, for and about Mormons, ex-Mormons, and "Mormonism", including “pro” and “con” and “objective” literature. One day I stopped by a Christian book store to pass the time. I saw a book that claimed to compare various religions with mainstream Christianity -- Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism, and others. I thought, “Hmmm, this could be interesting...” I picked up the book and began to thumb through it.
The first section of the book I browsed was Catholicism. The author of the book definitely did not like Catholicism. The book portrayed itself as being objective...Yet it was definitely leaning to the negative end of the scale.
I decided to browse the Mormonism section of the book. The author proceeded to tell the reader what the Mormons believed. I found the first few pages to be fairly accurate. But then the author strayed. They claimed several things to be beliefs of the LDS Church, although they were not.
How did the author do that? I checked the author’s sources. Their sources were not official books of the LDS Church. They had taken rumor and opinion from writings by Mormon people, and stated them as beliefs for the entire LDS Church. The author was stirring his readers to anger and disgust by making false statements.
Those lies are not worth repeating on my web page. It suffices to say the author continued to make several such blunders, claiming such-and-such to be beliefs of the LDS Church, when they were not. If the author was telling lies about the Mormons, they were probably telling lies about the other religions also. I could not trust the book. It lost it’s credibility and I put it back on the shelf.
Another time, my husband and I were at a family reunion. We had never met the relatives before. They had found us on the Internet and invited us to the reunion. While chatting at the reunion, we were asked about religion. We replied we were LDS. It happened that a woman there was a former Mormon who converted to Lutheran. (My husband conversely was a former Lutheran who converted to LDS.) Anyway, this woman began to tell her version of “what the Mormons believe”. And she, as a former Mormon, should know, right? WRONG! The more she talked, the more I knew why she had been unhappy in the LDS Church. Her version of “Mormonism” isn’t really worth repeating, but to give you one example: She claimed Primary children were taken to temples and baptized for the dead. Now, anyone who has been a member of the LDS Church, and paid attention to what goes on there, should know that Primary children (children in Sunday School ages 3 to 12 years old) are NOT taken to temples and baptized for the dead. To anyone who truly knows Mormonism, the idea is absurd. Yet, she claimed that, along with many other tall-tales. Whenever my husband tried to politely tell the truth about the Church (which would show her errors), she aggressively interrupted to insist, “No, no, it’s ______.” Fortunately, another person cheerfully joined in with a joke, others followed, and the conversation was turned to another topic.
Again -- If you hear that Mormons believe something, take it with a grain of salt and double-check it with an official source. If you read that Mormons believe "such-and-such", consider the source. If their sources are not official LDS Church literature they could be misleading you. Also consider their tone and purpose. If the tone and/or purpose of the book is over-all negative, angry or rebellious, the book is probably very one-sided and error-prone.
If they are quoting official literature of the LDS Church, their statements could be more reliable. That depends on the interpretation being used. If they are using their own interpretation, they could be wrong. They might also be taking the words out of context, which would cause error. If they are using the official LDS Church interpretation, backed by official literature, then you can believe them. --But how do you know if it’s the official interpretation? Don't immediately take their word to be fact. Check a variety of sources. Do some "homework". Again, consider the author’s tone and purpose. (Do they seem negative, angry or defiant...?) Best of all, find the answer yourself from an official LDS source, if at all possible. Check quoted literature for the LDS Church copyright and logo.
"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things...." (1 Cor. 9:25)
Challenges the “Godmakers” Movie An LDS shows some reasons why the National
Conference of Christians and Jews denounced the film as: "making extensive use of
'half-truth', faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not
reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith."
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