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The Family: A Proclamation to the World

“If we pick and choose what we accept in the proclamation, we cloud our eternal view, putting too much importance on our experience here and now.  By prayerfully pondering the proclamation through the eye of faith, we better understand how the principles are beautifully connected, supporting one another, revealing our Father’s plan for His children.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen, “The Eye of Faith,” General Conference, April 2019.

It is out of great love for the family, and recognizing the many forces working against it, that we have labored to gather this information for you.  May the scriptures, spoken word of our religious leaders, evidence-based science – the words of academia and others, that are found herein, help reinforce the message and increase understanding of the eternal truths found in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
Historical Commentary
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Gordon B. Hinckley, fifteenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented the Proclamation on September 25, 1995 at the church wide General Relief Society Meeting in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah to an organization of 3.5 million women. 
Prior to reading the proclamation he noted, "I need to remind you the world we are in is a world of turmoil, of shifting values.  Shrill voices call out for one thing or another in betrayal of time-tested standards of behavior.  The moral moorings of our society have been badly shaken. So many of the youth of the world, and likewise so many of their elders, listen only to the seductive voice of self-gratification... Stand strong against the wiles of the world.
"...With so much of sophistry (1) that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn.  In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history."
He then read the proclamation.
The proclamation was not signed by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles at the time of its creation because it was intended to be a living document.  Meaning, the document becomes the current declaration of each of the men currently called to serve as Apostles, Prophets, Seers and Revelators of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Isaiah gave warning to those who call evil good and good evil.  That warning was given again by Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Modern prophets and apostles have told us we live in a day where "evil is being called good and good is being called evil."  So how are we to know the difference between truth and deception?  Thankfully, Prophets, Seers and Revelators speak and confirm the word of God and help us see through the changing and misleading messages we often hear.  By placing the messages we hear today next to the words of ancient and modern prophets and apostles and the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a guide to see through these seductive deceptions.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World is an example of one such guide. 
(1) Sophistry: a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible (believable) but generally fallacious (false) method of reasoning; a false argument.
Sophistry Anchor
Additional Commentary

President Howard W. Hunter:

 

[The] “world’s councils and deliberations will succeed only when they define the family as the Lord has revealed it to be.”  (Ensign 11/94)  

President Boyd K. Packer:

 

"The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation on the family. I can tell you how that came about. [There was] a world conference on the family sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China. We sent representatives. It was not pleasant what they heard. [There was] another one in Cairo. Some of our people were there. I read the proceedings of that. The word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned. 

 

"It was then they announced that they were going to have such a conference here in Salt Lake City. Some of us made the recommendation: 'They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position.'"  (The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character, President Boyd K. Packer, CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 February 2003) 

Elder M. Russell Ballard: 

 

"As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I participated in the process of drafting that inspired document. It was a remarkable experience for all of us. As we travel the world, we see things--both within the Church and outside the Church. We were troubled by much of what we were seeing. We could see the people of the world wanting to define the family in ways contrary to God's eternal plan for the happiness of His children. Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. Major agenda items were introduced by some delegates that would have greatly weakened the family; yet, through the significant contributions of Church leaders, members, and other like-minded people, the language and thus the effects of those proposals were softened.  

 

"In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God. We worked together through the divinely inspired council system that operates even at the highest levels of the Church to craft a proclamation that would make the Lord's position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood."  (The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood, Elder M. Russell Ballard , 19 August 2003, Campus Education Week. ) 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

"The revealed doctrine of the restored Church of Jesus Christ teaches that all the children of God –with exceptions too limited to consider here–will finally wind up in a kingdom of glory...according to his own works. ...The highest of these is exaltation in the celestial kingdom. ...To help us develop the godly attributes and the change in nature necessary to realize our divine potential, the Lord has revealed doctrine and established commandments based on eternal law. 

 

...A uniquely valuable teaching to help us prepare for eternal life, "the greatest of all the gifts of God," is the 1995 proclamation on the family.  Its declarations are, of course, different from some current laws, practices, and advocacy such as cohabitation and same-sex marriage.  Those who do not fully understand the Father's loving plan for His children may consider this family proclamation no more than a changeable statement of policy.  In contrast, we affirm that the family proclamation, founded on irrevocable doctrine, defines the kind of family relationships where the most important part of our eternal development can occur."  (Divine Love in the Father's Plan, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, April 2022.)

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