The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a treatise that is familiar to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as members of other prominent faiths, emphatically declares:
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. 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. 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.
However, in the realm of today’s ever changing society, the definition of traditional marriage and family have become misinterpreted through deceptive agendas used by some to expand the definition to include same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages were never a part of God’s plan, therefore He does not ordain or condone such actions. However, there are many, including many good-hearten Christians, who have gone great lengths to establish the concept and practice as a societal norm.
Such actions and opinions are being supported by the liberal media, as well as politicians. Even people such as the President of the Institute for American Values, David Blankenhorn, whose statement in an op-ed titled “Don’t give up on marriage now” in the Deseret News National edition dated 10 October 2014, “And consider this new-coalition possibility: Gays and lesbians, having fought bravely and successfully for the right to marry, can now by their leadership and example help the nation as a whole to rediscover marriage’s promise,” also demonstrates disdain for the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
The Importance of Traditional Marriage
The Family: A Proclamation to the World further declares:
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.
National Marriage Project director, W. Bradford Wilcox, stated the following in a commentary for the Heritage Foundation:
A half-century ago, marriage was the cornerstone for adulthood, and the anchor for the bearing and rearing of children. This is no longer the case: The marriage rate has fallen by approximately 50 percent since the 1960s, and the divorce rate about doubled from 1960 to 1980 (it has since decreased). Consequently, stable marriage is less likely to ground and guide the experience of adults—and especially children—in America. Indeed, the nation’s retreat from marriage means that only about half of the nation’s adults are currently married, and that about half of the nation’s children will spend some time outside an intact, married home.
He further exhorts that if people are genuinely concerned about the well-being of children, or worried about growing inequality in America, or care about renewing the American Dream, then they should care about marriage. He also adds that “rebuilding a marriage culture should not be a matter of nostalgia for a bygone era, but rather, ordinary Americans [must] recognize marriage as a key to their—and their country’s—future.”
Concerning the importance of the marriage union, Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught, “Marriage. . . is the most glorious and most exalting principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No ordinance is of more importance and none more sacred and more necessary to the eternal joy of man. Faithfulness to the marriage covenant brings the fullest joy here and glorious rewards hereafter” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 533–34.)
And President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ has taught,
At the creation of man and woman, unity for them in marriage was not given as hope; it was a command! ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity (Ensign, May 1998, 66).
In Defense of Traditional Marriage and Family
Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ taught, “Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither exercising dominion over the other, but, rather, with each encouraging and assisting the other in whatever responsibilities and aspirations he or she might have” (Ensign, August 1992, 6.)
Building on that premise, later this month, the Catholic Church will host a historic meeting at the Vatican which will comprise religious leaders and scholars who will represent 14 different faiths and 23 countries, to discuss how men and women complement each other in marriage.
The Vatican has designated the auspicious gathering which will take place 17-19 November 2014 as a “colloquium” and Pope Francis will open the proceedings. According to a 3 November 2014 Mormon Newsroom.org press release, “The academic assembly will feature presentations and “witness testimonies” from leading religious figures and scholars.” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be attending and will be accompanied by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric. He is scheduled to address the assembly on 18 November 2014.
The press release also makes mention of the following:
The gathering will also premiere six short films treating men and women and marriage the world over. Each film features a variety of illuminating interviews with young and old, single and married, women and men, lay and religious, from many cultures, continents and religions. Topics range from the beauty of the union between the man and the woman to the loss of confidence in marital permanence to the cultural and economic woes that follow upon the disappearance of marriage.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also issued an official statement regarding its participation in the colloquium in Vatican City:
At this time of rapidly declining moral values and the challenges to traditional family structures and relationships throughout the world, we are pleased to unite with the Catholic Church, other fellow Christian denominations and other world religions in standing firm and speaking clearly about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World concludes with two powerful statements which serve as an appropriate capstone to discussions surrounding the sanctity of marriage and family:
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. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
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.