Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.—First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
In 1995, leadership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a document outlining Mormon beliefs on families.
Its purpose is to clearly “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,” as well as define important beliefs about the family’s eternal nature, the sacredness of marriage, and parental roles and responsibilities.
This document is now 24 years old and many things have happened since the day it was read for the first time. Several challenges to the institution of marriage have arisen since the publication of the family proclamation.
The document defends marriage between a man and a woman “as an issue of moral imperative” and clearly is even less popular today than it was 24 years ago among some segments of our society.
The vital importance of marriage, it notes, was established and ordained of God before the beginning of the world. In Matthew 19:4–5, the Lord declared, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”
I have seen many changes in beliefs and attitudes in our societies, since I was a young person, living in Italy. While some of these changes were positive, others were not. When I first heard about this document 24 years ago, I was slightly surprised because to me was “obvious” that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But now, 24 years later, I can see even more clearly the wisdom and inspiration of those who issued this document. It is not obvious anymore, that the Lord wants marriage to be between a man and a woman, and there is a need for clarity on this issue.
In our current society, many are confused about these principles, and while tolerance and courtesy should be always shown to those who think differently, the Lord wants us to have the courage to take a stand and defend the correct principles. We should not be afraid to defend what we believe, even if this means to be unpopular.