“December 13–19. The Family: A Proclamation to the World: ‘The Family Is Central to the Creator’s Plan,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“December 13–19. The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
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Even before we were born, we were part of a family—the family of our Heavenly Parents. When it came time to leave Their presence, it must have been comforting to know that on earth, families would also be part of God’s plan. The pattern on earth is meant to echo the perfect pattern in heaven.
There are no guarantees that earthly families will be ideal or even functional. But as President Henry B. Eyring taught, families “give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 20). Knowing that families are imperfect and subject to attacks from the adversary, God sent His Beloved Son to redeem us and heal our families. And He sent latter-day prophets with a proclamation to defend and strengthen families. If we follow the prophets and put faith in the Savior, even though mortal families fall short of the divine ideal, there’s hope for families—on earth and in heaven.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is clearly about families. But it is equally about God’s plan of salvation. One way to study the proclamation is to look for what it teaches about our premortal, mortal, and postmortal life. What do you learn when you study the proclamation this way? How does this help you understand why marriage and family are essential to God’s plan?
See also Dallin H. Oaks, “The Plan and the Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 28–31.
Think of paragraphs six and seven of the family proclamation as a pattern for “happiness in family life.” As you read these paragraphs, identify principles of “successful marriages and families.” Then think about a family relationship you would like to strengthen. What do you feel inspired to do? How will you involve the Savior in your efforts?
See also Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 37–39; “What Matters Most,” video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The family proclamation includes marvelous blessings that Heavenly Father promises for those who follow His counsel. It also includes strong warnings for those who do not. Consider making a list of the blessings and warnings you find.
How are you acting on God’s counsel in the proclamation? If you stood before God today, what would you be confident discussing with Him about your family relationships? What would you need to improve?
Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught: “To declare the fundamental truths relative to marriage and family is not to overlook or diminish the sacrifices and successes of those for whom the ideal is not a present reality. … Everyone has gifts; everyone has talents; everyone can contribute to the unfolding of the divine plan in each generation. Much that is good, much that is essential—even sometimes all that is necessary for now—can be achieved in less than ideal circumstances. … With confidence we testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has anticipated and, in the end, will compensate all deprivation and loss for those who turn to Him. No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children” (“Why Marriage, Why Family,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 52).
- “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
If it would be helpful for your family to discuss doctrine related to gender and same-sex attraction, the following resources might help: Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 25–28; Gospel Topics, “Same-Sex Attraction,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- “The divine plan of happiness.”
To help your family see the importance of families in Heavenly Father’s plan, you might write premortal life, mortal life, and life after death on three sections of a piece of paper. Search the proclamation together, and write on the paper what you learn about each of these parts of God’s plan. Why are families so important to God?
- “Families [can] be united eternally.”
You could watch the video “Plan of Salvation—We’re Still a Family” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Search the family proclamation for truths that the young man in the video understood and that helped him have faith.
- “Happiness in family life.”
To discuss how to achieve more “happiness in [your] family life,” you could sing together a song about families, such as “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” (Hymns, no. 298). What do we learn from the song and from the family proclamation that would bring more happiness to our family? How can we make sure our family is “founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ”? Consider picking one teaching you want to work on this week.
- “Strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
How is Satan trying to weaken families in the world? How can we do our part to strengthen families? For ideas, see President Bonnie L. Oscarson’s message “Defenders of the Family Proclamation” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 14–17).
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth,” Hymns, no. 298.