The Family: A Proclamation to the World – Marriage, Heavenly Parents, and Gender

Have you ever heard of the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World?” Unless you are familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons) you may not have. It wasn’t until I became a member of the church that I became familiar with it.

So, what is it?
In 1995, the leaders of the Church released this article to the world to clearly proclaim many truths that LDS church members hold sacred to them. It discusses marriage and how it is central to the Creator’s plan in brining eternal happiness to all of His children, as well as the role the family plays in our eternal nature. It discusses the sacredness of marriage and parental roles and responsibilities.
What does it teach exactly? For today, I’m going to cover the first paragraph.
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.

Starting from the very beginning, we learn that all human beings are created in the image of God. This means we are literally made to look like Him. During Joseph’s Smith first vision with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, Joseph saw that they were made of flesh and bone and that they were indeed two separate personages. Many Christian faiths believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. The LDS church does not. They teach that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings united in one purpose.
The first paragraph continues to say that we are each spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents, and that we each have a divine nature and destiny. Another bold doctrine stands out here that not many other Christian dominations have. We have Heavenly Parents. Yes, that means we also have a Heavenly Mother. Paul taught, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The Church accepts this as literal sons and daughters, and that we have a destiny of being joint heirs with Christ. (Rom 8:16-18, Mal 2:10) The scriptures only provide hints of a Heavenly Mother, but Presidents of the LDS church over the years taught that we have both a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, and that we a literal sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parents.
The last thing this paragraph teaches is regarding gender. It teaches that Gender is not something that was defined at birth but was something that was established before we were born and is an essential characteristic of our eternal identity.
Why is gender essential?

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, “[Gender] in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. … The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness” (“Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan,” Liahona, June 2006, 51; Ensign, June 2006, 83).
Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president stated, “As spirit daughters of God, women ‘received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth’ (D&C 138:56) on the earth. They were among the ‘noble and great ones’ (D&C 138:55) who ‘shouted for joy’ (Job 38:7) at the creation of the earth because they would be given a physical body with the opportunity to be proven in a mortal sphere (see Abraham 3:25). They wished to work side by side with righteous men to accomplish eternal goals that neither can attain independently. Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here. A woman who treasures motherhood on earth will treasure motherhood in the world to come” (“A ‘Mother Heart,’” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 76).

For more of the Family: A Proclamation ot the World click here.

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