Families in Mormonism
Mormonism is a family-centered religion, perhaps the most family-centered in the world, since Mormons believe that the family can be united in the eternities. Mormons consider marriage to be a sacred covenant, and that the most desirable state is for children to be born into an eternal covenant. Sacred marriage ordinances are performed in Mormon temples. Husbands and wives who are married civilly until death, and who choose later to have their marriages solemnized for eternity in the temple, bring their children with them to the temple to have the children sealed to them.
The Mormon Church does anything it can to help families achieve peace and happiness in the home. It offers Sunday classes, articles in magazines, speeches in General Conference sessions, and counseling to families to achieve this goal. The Church is a defender of the traditional family in society. Because the Church is led by prophets, and because the heavens are opened to these prophets, the membership is aware that the destruction of the family for the sake of increasing promiscuity in society will bring down the wrath of God. The Church seeks to preserve virtue and thereby help all men to be deserving of God’s blessings and protection.
In 1995, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It reads as follows:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah. © 1995, 2008 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
English approval: 5/08.
The Church has established a program to be followed in the homes of its members, called Family Home Evening. Monday nights normally are set aside for families to gather together in their homes and share an evening of learning or activity. Guides are published to help parents with the planning and execution of Family Home Evening.