It has been my honor to have been asked to speak about The Family, A Proclamation to the World. It has been seventeen years since President Hinckley stood before the women of the Church and presented to us, among other things;
“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.”
I did some research and found that in the past seventeen years the attack on the family has been horrendous, including, but not exclusive to things like the White House sex scandal, the Columbine High School shootings, Dolly, the first cloned sheep was produced, homeland terrorism such as the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, and the Virginia Tech shootings, and other school shootings, mandated contraceptives, and a U.S president coming out in support of legalized gay marriages, and other attacks. On January 22, 2008, the 50,000,000th abortion was performed since the 1973 Roe v Wade court mandated decision. Women age 25 and up now account for 49.8% of abortions performed, and in 2004, 43.9% of abortions are repeat abortions.
A consultant to the Census Bureau estimated that there were roughly 100,000 same sex weddings, civil union, and domestic partnerships reported in 2008. At that time, there were few states where marriage between same sex couples were legal, a large portion either were married or chose to use that term. Over time, the number of single parent families living in the United States has grown. Between the years of 1970 and 1996, the number of children living in two parent homes decreased from 85 to 68 percent.
Elder Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has stated;
“The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent. Neither man nor woman can bear children alone. It was meant that children have two parents—both a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this one. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, and sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.”
Why was this pattern of family set up from the beginning of time? And, how can we, as mere mortals expect to change it, and not expect dire consequences from so doing? Are we not experiencing the loss of virtue, dysfunctional families, and children having and raising children, their own and siblings while both parents are out in the workforce, and general hate and discontent in society? Would not these be the dire consequences we should expect? We, as responsible citizens of the world, have the opportunity to change this cycle by living the plan as set up by a loving and merciful Father in Heaven. We need to raise our children upon the principles and precepts of Jesus Christ—to love and serve one another, help each other, and promote healthy and loving family relationships. Once that pattern of love is established within the walls of our homes, it will be a natural extension to spread love and service to all people we meet and greet. How better to change an attitude than by living it ourselves, and lovingly showing our virtuous lives, and living of commandments to others. Just as Jesus Christ taught us “line upon line, and precept upon precept” we have the opportunity to return to virtue, and living of our Heavenly Father’s plan, as established in the beginning, one little step at a time. May we all live, and teach our children to live, in families of father, mother, and children, obedient to a loving Heavenly Father, and in so doing, bring peace and happiness to our lives.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
“We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families. At times television and movies portray worldly and immoral heroes and heroines and attempt to hold up as role models some actors and actresses whose lives are anything but exemplary. Why should we follow a blind guide? Radios blare forth much denigrating music with blatant lyrics, dangerous invitations, and descriptions of almost every type of evil imaginable.
We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families.
May we ever follow the Prince of Peace, who literally showed the way for us to follow, for by doing so, we will survive these turbulent times. His divine plan can save us from the dangers which surround us on every side. His example points the way. When faced with temptation, He shunned it. When offered the world, He declined it. When asked for His life, He gave it.”
-President Thomas S. Monson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Another part of The Proclamation speaks to me on a more personal level. I am an adoptive mother of two wonderful kids, (adults now). When growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. When the blessing of bringing children into this world in the natural way was denied my husband and me, we began the adoption process with the state of Idaho. At first, because of the old farmhouse in which we lived, we were denied on the basis of the home study. We worked hard to improve our situation, and a year later, re-applied. About another year of waiting and a beautiful four month old baby girl was placed in my arms. My husband, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked if we could have her blessed, at Church. We were able to contact the Bishop of the near-by ward, and have her blessed. Of course, being the good Bishop that he was, he later sent the missionaries to our home, and I converted. Four years later, through our membership in the Church, our son was placed in my arms.
The Family Proclamation states;
“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…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs…”
I truly believe that each of my children was meant for our home and no one else's. I could not provide the vehicle to get those little spirits here, and Heavenly Father knew that and provided that for us. How kind and wise He is, and how grateful I am. I love being a mother. There is a chorus to a song about a girl giving her child up for adoption that says; “From God’s arms, to my arms, to yours.” That explains beautifully, just how much love there is involved to get the right spirits to the right homes. The home our daughter and son were meant to have, because I truly believe that in the “premortal realm” those two little spirits chose us to raise them in the “love and righteousness”, and “provide for their physical and spiritual needs” that their “birth” mothers could not provide for them.
Thank you Leslie! How blessed so many are because of the gift of adoption! Now hop on over to We Talk of Christ, Diapers and Divinity, and Middle-aged Mormon Man to read more posts about the Family Proclamation!