The Family: A Proclamation to the World
"The Family: A Proclamation to the World" is a 1995 statement issued by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)—whose adherents are known colloquially as Mormons—which defined the official position of the church on family, marriage, gender roles, and human sexuality. First announced by church president Gordon B. Hinckley, the statement has been criticized by gay rights advocacy groups.
Hinckley first read the Proclamation on September 23, 1995, at the church's General Relief Society Meeting, stating that the purpose was to "warn and forewarn" the world to the danger of deviating from its standards. The LDS Church has published copies of the Proclamation in many languages, distributing them worldwide, and some Mormons have framed the proclamation for display in their church buildings and homes.
The Proclamation has been discussed and referenced in the church's general conferences as well as in many other types of church meetings throughout the world. For instance, the Proclamation and the associated issues addressed were discussed during the 2008 Worldwide Leadership Training meeting of the LDS Church.
Although the Proclamation presents no new doctrines or policies, it provides an official statement of the church on gender and sex.
- Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
- The family is ordained of God and central to God's plan.
- All human beings are created in the image of God.
- As a beloved spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Parents, each person has a divine nature and destiny.
- Gender is an essential characteristic of human identity before, during, and after life on Earth.
- "In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan."
- "Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
- God will hold parents accountable for the way in which they fulfill responsibilities to their families.
- "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."
Items of counsel
- God's commandment to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.
- Sexual relations are sacred and properly take place only between a married man and woman.
- Procreation is divinely appointed, and therefore life is sacred and an important part of God's plan.
- Parents have "a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children."
- Parents' responsibilities toward their children include rearing them "in love and righteousness," providing "for their physical and spiritual needs," and teaching "them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens."
- Happiness and success come through following the teachings of Jesus and through "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."
- "Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
- Citizens and officers of government should "promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
- Those who commit adultery or "abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God."
- Disintegration of the family will bring "calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
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The LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign has cited the Proclamation as an indication that the church restricts those who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, and bisexual from fully integrating into the LDS Church. However, according to the late church president Gordon B. Hinckley:
|“||"...our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married."||”|
The Church also issued this statement after the Human Rights Campaign's criticism:
|“||The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.
There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church members, including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God.
The LDS Church has characterized the Proclamation as a reaffirmation of standards "repeatedly stated throughout its history." It is particularly important because, although not canonized, the Proclamation is only the fifth such statement in the history of the church. The Proclamation was especially authoritative because it was issued in the name of the three members of the First Presidency and the twelve members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, each of the fifteen signatories being considered by the LDS Church an apostle as well as a "prophet, seer, and revelator." The principles established by the Proclamation were cited by Mormons during the campaign of the LDS Church and its members in support of California Proposition 8 (2008).
- California Proposition 22 (2000)
- Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- List of Mormon family organizations
- The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles
- Jeppson, Buckley. "Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)". HRC website. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 1995). "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World". Ensign: 100.
- Scott, Richard G. (April 2001). "First Things First". General Conference. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
Costa, Claudio R. M. (October 2007). "Don’t Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today". General Conference. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
Ballard, M. Russel (April 2008). "Daughters of God". General Conference. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
Nelson, Russel M. (October 2008). "Celestial Marriage". General Conference. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- "Lesson 45: “The Family Is Ordained of God”". Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). 1999. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
"Lesson 1: “The Family Is Central to the Creator’s Plan”". Marriage and Family Relations Instructor’s Manual. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). 2000. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
"Lesson 10: The Sacred Roles of Fathers and Mothers (Part 1: Fathers’ Roles)". Marriage and Family Relations Instructor’s Manual. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). 2000. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
"Lesson 11: The Sacred Roles of Fathers and Mothers (Part 2: Mothers’ Roles)". Marriage and Family Relations Instructor’s Manual. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org). 2000. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- "Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting Feb 2008". Lds.org. February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
- For the text of the proclamation, please see "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org).
- Gordon B. Hinckley (November 1999). "Why We Do Some of the Things We Do". Ensign.
- Otterson, Michael (12 October 2010), Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction, "News Release", MormonNewsroom.org (LDS Church)
- See Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1151, 1153, 1155, 1156, and archives for the 1980 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Proclamation 1: issued on January 15, 1841 by the First Presidency consisting of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith. This proclamation “reviews the progress of the Church in spite of hardships and persecution, and speaks at length on the prospects of the settlement of Nauvoo.”
- Proclamation 2: issued April 6 in New York and on October 22, 1845 by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (who were currently serving as the governing of the Church because a First Presidency had not yet been re-organized) and was “addressed to the rulers and people of all nations” and “was an announcement that God had spoken from the heavens and restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.”
- Proclamation 3: issued October 21, 1865, by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the purpose of “correct[ing] certain theories about the nature of God that had been published by one of the Twelve in official Church literature, without having those statements cleared and verified by the First Presidency and the Twelve.”
- Proclamation 4: issued on April 6, 1980 by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the organization of the church. This proclamation was concerning the progress, doctrine, mission, and message of the Church, and also mentioned in some detail about the family.
- Proclamation 5: “The Family: Proclamation to the World.”
- David Curtis Dollahite (June 2000). Strengthening our families: an in-depth look at the proclamation on the family. Bookcraft. ISBN 978-1-57345-824-5. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
- Craig H. Hart (September 30, 2005). Helping and healing our families: principles and practices inspired by The family : a proclamation to the world. Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1-59038-485-5. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
- "Gay Mormons object to church decision". MSNBC website. MSNBC. June 28, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
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