I can't think of a better place to start strengthening marriages and families than with this inspired document. Although the LDS Church has much in common with other Christian religions, we are unique in some ways too. One of our greatest assets is a living Prophet. When he speaks to us, we believe he is speaking the word and will of God. Our living Prophet today is Thomas S. Monson.
Back in 1995, our Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." The doctrine it gave on the family was not new. It declared what we had been taught by prophets for decades. It is bold and unapologetic. When asked about it, President Hinckley explained:
“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....We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger.”
(Dew, The biography of Gordon B. Hinckley)
That was 17 years ago! A lot has changed in our world since then. Morals have shifted. What use to be considered "evil" is now mainstream. Values such as individualism, hedonism, moral relativism and materialism are praised. While honesty, sacrifice, humility, virtue and unselfishness are belittled. This affects families.
I remember in 1995 barely knowing about email. Internet usage and cell phones were at their beginnings. Now, through the use of technology, all information is at our fingertips. The good and the bad are available to all. But the media seldom portrays a strong, happy family. Instead, the media "normalizes" promiscuity, and single life. When families are portrayed, they are usually broken, and unhappy.
We can see more clearly today than we could in 1995 that families really are falling apart.
But this proclamation given back then actually addresses the current issues of our day, such as: the definition and popularity of marriage, divorce, same-gender attraction, pre-marital sex, abortion, the commandment to have children, fidelity in marriage, abuse, parental roles, and equality in marriage. What a gift and blessing to know the absolute truth on these issues.
On a personal level, this proclamation has blessed my own life. When I was single, it anchored my desires to be a wife and mother. It gave me a vision of what to live for and hope for in a future family.
As newlyweds, it helped us understand the importance and blessing of having children. And now as parents, it provides us with priceless direction. You often hear, "there's no instruction manual for parenting." But there really is one. And it comes from the Almighty God, who is our Father. He knows what it takes for families to find true happiness. As I have read this proclamation over and over again, I've gained personal revelation for my family. Usually one word or phrase will stand out to me and give me the guidance I've been looking for.
If you have not read this before, or if it's been a while, I encourage you to sit down with your spouse, or as a family, and read it. I suggest that you read it with the purpose of finding direction in your family life. Take your questions and struggles to the Lord. And let Him speak to you through his own words, in this proclamation. As you do, the Spirit will witness that it is truly of God. And He will guide and bless your family.
How has the Proclamation blessed your life?