Friday, June 27, 2014

A Prophetic Warning: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Recent events (The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the gay marriage ban in Utah; Ordain Women founder being excommunicated; Parents choosing to let their girl become a boy) make me feel that we really are in tumultuous times. Seeing all of these events unfold really brings to light the relevance of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles urging leaders to teach the doctrines contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World back in January.

The doctrines contained in The Proclamation give us insight and direction as we move through the difficult days ahead of us. In this post, I hope to be able to point out the doctrines contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (Quotes from the Proclamation are in blue)

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly 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.

While civil laws may change and gay marriage may become legal, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made it clear that marriage is ONLY meant to be between a man an woman, and that this marital unit is the basis for the family, which is central and crucial to God's plan for his children. 

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. We all have a divine nature and destiny. As such, we should all treat each other with love and respect, no matter what our differences may be. I hope I can be an example of this love, a Christlike love, throughout my life. However, this does not mean I will ever back down from my beliefs, my convictions, and my knowledge of the truthfulness of this church and it's doctrines, just as Christ never condoned sin, always proclaiming truth and doctrine.

Another important point in this paragraph is the statement on gender. Gender is ESSENTIAL to our eternal identity and purpose. Gender is not something we can change on a whim. We were made male or female, in the image of our Heavenly Parents, for premortal, mortal, and eternal purposes. There is a reason I am a male. There is a reason my wife is a female. Although we may not understand all of the reasons why we are the genders that we are, I firmly believe that God made us the gender we are for a purpose.

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. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

We accepted Heavenly Father's plan before we came to this life. We knew there would be tests and trials, but we were excited for the opportunity to come to earth in order to gain experience, learn, and grow toward perfection, and become heirs of eternal life, or God's life.

Even more wonderfully, God's plan makes it possible for us, through the ordinances of the temple, to return to His presence, and live with our families for all eternity. The wonderful relationships we have with our families, the love between husband and wife, father and child, mother and child, brother and sister, and all other familial relationships can continue on forever! What a glorious opportunity we have to receive these blessings.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

One of the most wonderful opportunities we have in this life is the blessing of marriage, and the ability we have to participate with our procreative powers. Because there are powerful feelings attached with these actions that are meant to bond a husband and wife physically and emotionally, as well as bring children into this world, these sacred powers are only to be employed between a husband and wife, the essential building blocks of the family.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Life is sacred. Murder and abuse are strictly forbidden by God. God's Law of Chastity, which states that sexual relations should only be between a husband and wife, is one of the most important commandments to follow, as it is the way that we can participate in the creation of new life.

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Husbands and wives should love each other, care for each other, and strive to always support one another. A marriage is an equal partnership that requires communication, understanding, work, and lots of love in order to make it work. But as a couple strive to love and serve each other, the marriage relationship can be one of the most rewarding and beautiful eternal relationships possible.

Another of the most rewarding eternal relationships possible is that of a parent with their children. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord. As a mother and father work together to love, teach, provide for, and serve their children, they get a taste of the joy that is only possible through families.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God.

Do we really understand the weight of this statement? The family, specifically a mother and father working together to raise their children in righteousness, is the way God has intended us to live in this life.

Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. 

Marriage is meant to be between a man and woman. Period. It is through this union of a male and female that families are created, and God's purposes for this earth life are put into effect.

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.

Children are entitled to growing up in a home where there is a mother and father who love each other, and are willing to sacrifice and support their family in order to create a love-filled home where children can learn and grow. As the proclamation said earlier, parents will be held accountable before God for the care and support of their children. While people do make poor decisions in this life, and their are broken homes and families rampant around us, God intended us to be put in families where we could learn to love, forgive, learn, and grow to our greatest eternal potential. Our families are our greatest responsibility in this life.

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.

As has been said in General Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Worldwide Leadership Training meetings, everything that is done in the church is meant to support families. We are a family centered church. The principles of the gospel, and the doctrines and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, are first and foremost to help us have happiness and joy in our families. If you want a successful marriage and a happy family, then you need to have faith and teach your children to have faith; you need to have regular family prayers and teach your children to pray; you need to constantly repent and become better, and teach your children how to repent; you need to be able to forgive one another, and teach your children to forgive; you have to treat each other with love, respect, and compassion; you need to help your children see the value of hard work by working together in the home; and you need to spend time having fun together. The family is the place where we can best work on becoming more Christlike each and every day.

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.

Mothers and fathers are to help each other as EQUAL partners. Even though we might have different responsibilities (e.g. the priesthood holding father presides in the home, the mother nurtures and cares for their children) the IMPORTANCE of those responsibilities are equal. Thus, by divine design, mothers and fathers are given separate, but EQUALLY IMPORTANT responsibilities within the home, and they are meant to help each other in fulfilling those responsibilities.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.

Families our are greatest responsibility. We are obligated to work as hard as possible to love and serve the members of our family, and do our very best to make our family relationships the best that they can be.

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

Here is the prophetic warning, and this is where the world is heading. Families are disintegrating all around us. Divorce rates continue to climb. Traditional families and traditional family roles are becoming "old-fashioned" and those who support traditional marriage and traditional family roles are looked at as bigoted and hateful. Calamities of the Last Days foretold in the scriptures will begin to happen as families disintegrate.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This post has been my attempt at promoting my desire to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. I hope the words herein will be a help to others, and I welcome civil and respectful discussion in comments below.

Families are sacred, and I hope to be an example of the happiness and joy that can develop within a righteous family.