Like many of you, I remember well the night "The Family, A Proclamation To The World" was presented during the Relief Society broadcast by then president of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley. But although I remember the reading of it, I had no idea at that moment how important the document would become to my family, nor how threatened the principles it teaches would become in our nation.
Today, September 23, 2010 marks the fifteen anniversary of that day. To commemorate the occasion, I wanted to share a few of my feelings, as well as some quotes from an article by Elder Henry B. Eyring, in the October 1998 Ensign.
During this past year our stake was asked to memorize the proclamation. This is the second time we have been asked to do this. Later, at stake conference, all who were willing to stand in defense of the family stood, and those who had memorized the proclamation recited it. It was a powerful moment, as hundreds joined their voices together in one voice and proclaimed the sanctity of life and the family.
I have come to love the proclamation. One thing that strikes me, is it teaches us that the family unit is eternal. Not just in the sense that we can be married here for all eternity, but that we ourselves belong to a spiritual family. And we always have. We have a heavenly mother and a heavenly father and we are their children. The family we have here is patterned after what we had there, and is also a type of what is to come. The family unit existing of a mother and a father has always existed and will always exist.
Everything about this life is to teach us about our heavenly parents so we can become like them, and we want to become like them so we can live with them again. Since they live in a family unit, having a family here is the best way for us to learn what they are like.
The world might teach us that the family unit is archaic, that fathers are unnescessary, that a woman's work is only valued outside the home, or that material possessions are what matter, but the proclamation helps us to know differently. And although achieving the ideal may be difficult, it is not impossible.
I love what Elder Eyring teaches us about that.
"Whoever we are, however difficult our circumstances, we can know that what our Father requires of us if we are to qualify for the blessings of eternal life will not be beyond our ability. What a young boy said long ago when he faced a seemingly impossible assignment is true: “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Ne. 3:7).
We may have to pray with faith to know what we are to do, [to improve our family and prepare for eternal life] and after obtaining such knowledge we must pray with a determination to obey. But we can know what to do and be sure that the way has been prepared for us by the Lord. As we read what the proclamation tells us about the family, we can expect—in fact, we must expect—impressions to come to our minds as to what we are to do. And we can be confident it is possible for us to do according to those impressions."
The Family Proclamation is truly a blue print for eternal life. It teaches us who we are, where we come from and where we are going. It teaches the importance of making sacred temple covenants and what we must to do keep them.
Basically it teaches us how to return to live with our Heavenly Father.
How grateful I am for inspired leaders who show the way. And for a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to allow us to be in families here, and families in the eternity.
For there is nothing my life that brings greater . . . joy to my journey, than my family.