“Still a Clarion Call,” Ensign, Sept. 2013, 28–29
In a world where marriage is imperiled and traditional families are attacked, one document in particular provides clarity and guidance. Prophets and apostles say “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” applies as much or more today as when it was issued in 1995.1
The proclamation on the family remains “a clarion call to protect and strengthen families,” according to Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.2
Our world is similar to the deteriorating Nephite society in the Book of Mormon, and Elder Ballard encourages Latter-day Saints to “make [the proclamation] a banner not unlike General Moroni’s ‘title of liberty,’ and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts.”3
The world promotes many diverse paths to happiness. But modern prophets assert that the greatest possibilities for happiness exist in celestial marriage.4
If we live and act upon our knowledge that families can be eternal, Elder Ballard promises that “we will attract the world to us. Parents who place a high priority on their families will gravitate to the Church. …
“Our family-centered perspective should make Latter-day Saints strive to be the best parents in the world. It should give us enormous respect for our children, who truly are our spiritual siblings, and it should cause us to devote whatever time is necessary to strengthen our families. Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family.”5
Elder Ballard counsels families everywhere to get a copy of the proclamation and to align themselves to its teachings.
“Be the very best and act the very best you can. God will give you strength beyond your own as you strive daily to fulfill the most sacred mortal responsibility He gives to His children. Listen to the voice of the Spirit and the counsel of the living prophets. Be of good cheer. God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failure unless you give up.”6
The family proclamation teaches that families can endure forever. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches that “while salvation is an individual matter, exaltation is a family matter. … When a family is sealed in the temple, that family may become as eternal as the kingdom of God itself.”7
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, explains that our families are “fundamental not only to society and to the Church but also to our hope for eternal life.”8
President Eyring warns that the consequences for ignoring the teachings in the family proclamation “will be more disastrous than simply lack of peace in this life or absence of happiness.”9
The proclamation is prophetic, he says, because it warns against the very things that have undermined families in recent years. He quotes the prophetic warning and call to action with which the proclamation ends:
“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.”10
When President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) introduced the family proclamation at the general Relief Society meeting on September 23, 1995, he said its purpose was to “warn and forewarn”11 the world against deviating from its standards. Since then, the document has been published in many languages, has been repeatedly discussed in general conference, and is displayed in meetinghouses and homes internationally. It is a prophetic proclamation provided by a loving Heavenly Father to give guidance to His children—guidance that was never more needed than it is today.