Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

I just needed a cute picture of a family and found this one off the internet.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that families are a central part of God's plan.  Husbands and wives work together to raise their children.  While we believe the commandment that God gave Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the Earth" is still in affect, there is no "rule" about how many children a couple should have.  That is entirely between the husband, the wife, and the Lord.  Generally, we find joy in our families which may explain why our family size typically is larger than an average American family.  As an LDS woman, I've never felt pressure to have children (before we had our first) and I've never felt pressure to have a lot.  My mom comes from a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) and my dad comes from a family of 8 (2 adults, 6 kids).  I come from a family of 5.  My husband comes from a family of 6.  I was asked if Mormons believe that the more kids they have, the more blessings they will receive in Heaven.  First of all, while there are some larger LDS families, I don't know of a modern LDS family that can compete with the Duggars' who are not LDS.  If the more children you have the more blessings you would receive is true, we'd have a lot more Duggar-sized families.  Children are blessings, so I guess the more you have, the more you're blessed if you look at it like that.  As far as the afterlife goes, I have never heard that the more kids you have, the more righteous you are, or the more entitled to blessings you are.  I think the important thing is that couples are prayerful in deciding when and how many children they should have.  
Click here to see what says about birth control.
Click here to see what says about abortion.
In 1995, the First Presidency (the prophet and his 2 counselors) announced The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  I have pasted it below.  I truly believe that it is divine counsel.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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 worshiped 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 his or her divine destiny as an heir 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" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to 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.

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