Twenty years ago, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued a Proclamation to the World. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ believe their church leaders have been granted authority by God to speak on His behalf and receive instructions from Him from time to time to help mankind. This help can be as teachings, warnings, or really anything that God wants us to know. This proclamation, while not part of the Church’s official scripture cannon, is regarded as scripture by many members of the church. The subject of this proclamation is the family. It teaches about God’s view of marriage and family roles. It touches on the history of our spirits before our mortal lives here on Earth. It gives council on how to have a successful family. But perhaps most importantly, it tells us that we are all sons and daughters of God and that we are “heirs of eternal life.”
One of the most significant revelations I have ever received is the knowledge that God personally knows me and loves me unconditionally. This revelation has been such a key piece of information that it has forever influenced the way I see myself, my relationship with God, and the people around me. It has become a cornerstone of my self-confidence. It has given me the ability to empathize with others to a degree that I was not able to before. I often think to myself, that I am not more special than the many other people around me and yet God personally knows me. If he can have that relationship with me, he must have that same love for everyone else. He must personally know all His children. If God loves all his children the same way he unconditionally loves me, one of the best ways to show my love for God is to treat his children with greater respect, compassion, and love.
The scriptures support this line of thought. The Book of Mormon says “. . . when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” And Jesus in The New Testament says, ” . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” God truly loves you. He wants what is best for you. As a matter of fact, your ultimate happiness is His purpose, His work, and His glory. With that in mind, think about how important it must be to listen to the prophets that God sent to us. What the prophets tell us in God’s name is very important for our happiness. With that in mind, think about this message.
Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God
Today, there is a lot of controversy around this statement. Many people feel it is unfair to allow two people who love each other to marry and exclude others of that same union because they are of the same sex. There are a lot of well-thought-out arguments for why or why not same-sex marriage should be allowed. I side with those who would exclude same-sex marriage. Why? I trust God. I know that when I follow Him, I am on the path to my own greater happiness. He has proven to me that He is smarter and always right.
All human beings – male and female – are created in the image of God
We come from Heavenly parents and we have a divine nature and destiny. The proclamation tells us that gender is an essential characteristic of our identity and purpose from before we were born to long after we die. This identity relates to our potential for fatherhood and motherhood and the specific responsibilities associated with each. As we do our best to fulfill the specific responsibilities God has assigned to us, we will find we find blessings of peace and happiness.
The First Commandment
God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the Earth. In our day, that commandment is still in force. The powers of procreation, while divinely appointed, are to be employed between a man and woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
Individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse their spouses or offspring, will be held accountable before God. The disintegration of the family will bring the calamities foretold in ancient and modern times to individuals, communities, and nations. And finally, individuals and members of governments are called upon to promote measures designed to maintain and to strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
There is much more in the Proclamation. There is a primary song I learned as a little boy that sums up why you should pay close attention and integrate all the principals contained within:
“Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don’t believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets-follow what they say.
“Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don’t go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way.”
I would add to the message of that song, that when we have the faith to obey God, we will always be better off for doing so. We can trust Him because of his wisdom and His purpose.