The Family: A Proclamation to the World: Part 1- Introduction

As I promised last week, I am going to look at the family proclamation in depth. I want to really share my feelings about various portions of the proclamation. I truly think the Family Proclamation is the inspired word of God for our day. As I mentioned, I received a personal witnesses of this truth through diligent prayer, study and exercising faith. If any part of the Proclamation continues to trouble you, I urge you to seek a personal witness from Heavenly Father of its truth. I know that in time he will reveal its truth unto to you as he has to me

 

THE FAMILY


A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The First Thing that stand out to me about the Family Proclamation is that it is addressed to the world at large. There are many implications to that. First of all, these concerns are not merely American concerns or concerns of “the ultra  conservative Utah church” has some have argued. Instead, these are doctrines and truths that the whole world needs to hear. The Family proclamation is a universal document that teaches God’s truth to people of every nation, kindred and clime. 

As a missionary, I gained a witness of this truth. The people I taught in Russia were suffering from the decay of the family. Declining birthrates, alcoholism, drug abuse and other ills had ravaged the family life of so many. While some rejected the document as Americanized, those that read it and sought to apply its principles were blessed. 

Second, we should not the authors of this document. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, those whom we sustain biannually as Prophets Seers and Revelators have issued this proclamation. As such, this should settle the often debated question of whether the Proclamation is inspired doctrine or mere speculation. The leaders of Christ’s Church are speaking in their official capacity. This isn’t idle speculation or merely the pet theory of a single member of the Twelve. It was read from the pulpit at the Relief Society meeting by President Hinckley and has been quoted extensively by probably every single member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

Those still doubting the divine nature of the proclamation should ponder the words of President Eyring spoken at a BYU Devotional on the topic: 

Since the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a proclamation only four times. It had been more than 15 years since the previous one, which described the progress the Church had made in 150 years of its history. Thus, we can understand the importance our Heavenly Father places upon the family, the subject of the fifth and most recent proclamation, given on 23 September 1995. 

Because our Father loves his children, he will not leave us to guess about what matters most in this life concerning where our attention could bring happiness or our indifference could bring sadness. Sometimes he will tell a person such things directly, by inspiration. But he will, in addition, tell us these important matters through his servants. In the words of the prophet Amos, recorded long ago, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). He does this so that even those who cannot feel inspiration can know, if they will only listen, that they have been told the truth and been warned.

The title of the proclamation on the family reads: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World—The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).

Before we examine the words of the proclamation, let us note that the proclamation’s title tells us something about how to prepare for the words that follow. We can expect that God won’t just tell us a few interesting things about the family; he will tell us what a family ought to be and why. Further, we know that our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, want us to become like them so that we can dwell with them forever in families. We know that from this simple statement of their intent: “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

I bear witness that the Family Proclamation is truly inspired of God and was issued by his chosen servants. We should all carefully read its words and ponder the divine truths contained therein

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