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Doctrine and Covenants – Lesson 45

“The Family is Ordained of God”

Taught By Jeff Stone
December 27, 2009

Lesson Introduction

The unique thing about this lesson is that the scripture we used for pretty much the whole lesson was a modern day revelation:

The Family: A Proclamation to The World.

There are a few key points that are pointed out during the lesson.  You’ll remember that in class, I wrote on the board three major questions that we should all be asking ourselves. Here they are again for quick reference:

  • Do all my family members sense my love for them?
  • Are we striving to live as an eternal family?
  • What can I do to strengthen my family?

Below you will find each paragraph from the proclamation, one or two paragraphs at a time, followed by further quotes and/or scriptures:

The Family is Ordained of God:

Paragraph 1 and 2:

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.

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Why do we have this proclamation on the family now? Because the family is under attack. All across the world families are falling apart. The place to begin to improve society is in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 5).

Scriptures Regarding the Eternal Nature of the Family:

Sacred Ordinances Make it Possible For Families to be Together Eternally:

Paragraph 3:

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 Power to Create Mortal Life is Sacred:

Paragraphs 4 and 5:

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.

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Children are the inheritance of the Lord to us in this life and also in eternity. Eternal life is not only to have forever our descendants from this life. It is also to have eternal increase. …

“We can understand why our Heavenly Father commands us to reverence life and to cherish the powers that produce it as sacred. If we do not have those reverential feelings in this life, how could our Father give them to us in the eternities?” (“The Family,” Ensign, Feb. 1998, 15).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The body is an essential part of the soul. … We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life. … In sexual transgression the soul is at stake—the body and the spirit” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 99–100; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).

Parents Have a Sacred Duty to Care For Each Other and Teach Their Children:

Paragraph 6:

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.

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout eternity” (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Dec. 1995, 67).

Scriptures regarding teaching children:

Opportunities For Teaching Moments:

  • Family Home Evening
  • Family Prayer
  • Mealtime
  • Bedtime
  • Traveling Together
  • Working Together
  • . . . and more – Be Creative.

President Spencer W. Kimball:

“It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children. The Sunday School, the Primary, [Mutual,] and other organizations of the Church play a secondary role” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 332).

Successful Marriages and Families are Based on Righteous Principles

Paragraph 7 (broken into multiple paragraphs for ease of reading online):

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.

Presiding in Righteousness – D&C 121:41–46.

President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“If there is to be a return to old and sacred values, it must begin in the home. It is here that truth is learned, that integrity is cultivated, that self-discipline is instilled, and that love is nurtured. …

“Sisters, guard your children. … Nothing is more precious to you as mothers, absolutely nothing. Your children are the most valuable thing you will have in time or all eternity. You will be fortunate indeed if, as you grow old and look at those you brought into the world, you find in them uprightness of life, virtue in living, and integrity in their behavior” (“Walking in the Light of the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 99).

Strengthening Families is Everyone’s Responsibility:

Paragraphs 8 and 9:

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.

President Gordon B. Hinckley told a gathering of mayors and other public officials:

“To you men and women of great influence, you who preside in the cities of the nation, to you I say that it will cost far less to reform our schools, to teach the virtues of good citizenship, than it will to go on building and maintaining costly jails and prisons. … But there is another institution of even greater importance than the schools. It is the home. I believe that no nation can rise higher than the strength of its families” (“U.S. Conference of Mayors,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 109).

Conclusion:

Remember the questions:

  • Do all my family members sense my love for them?
  • Are we striving to live as an eternal family?
  • What can I do to strengthen my family?