Come Follow Me: The Family, a Proclamation to the World
The United Nations celebrated its "Year of the Family" in 1994. Partially in response to this declaration, the Church provided its own Proclamation to the World. Again, as with previous events, the Lord gave foretold and established his doctrine prior to Satan unleashing tribulation on the world.
The prophets have long warned of different struggles and tragedies, helping us to prepare for such things. Family Home Evening was officially established by President David O. McKay in the 1950s, in a time when most families did not yet have a television, and the air time was limited. How could one imagine that the world would change over the next generation or two, ripping the traditional family apart?
In October of 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke in General Conference regarding an upcoming financial crisis. He shared the story of Joseph in Egypt, with the seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. While Pres Hinckley did not feel we would experience another Great Depression, he reminded us of the struggles during the 1930s for all the world. He encouraged the saints to get out of debt, own a modest home, put money in the bank, and get one's food storage. Ten years later, in 2008, the Great Recession started.
Recently, Pres Nelson announced new objectives, such as Home centered/Church supported gospel study, Come Follow Me, etc. Within just a couple years, we were hit with the Covid pandemic, forcing people throughout the world to be locked down in their homes for months.
Such foresight, given via God's revelatory process, happens time and again. For those who listen, such can help us avoid many of the disasters of the last days.
And so it is with the Family, a Proclamation to the World. It was given in a time when families were still traditional and generally doing well. However, we have since seen the family attacked from all sides. Many wish to reduce the ideal family concept to just one of many equal options. Gender is now questioned, with new genders being invented as often as an individual chooses their own identity. And there is one key thing of most import that the world seeks to destroy:
Our eternal identity.
This has been an issue since the earliest times. In chapter one of the Book of Moses, God appears to Moses and tells him,
"And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God, and is my ; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?
"And, behold, thou art my son...." (Moses 1:3-4)
Here, God first establishes his credentials to be God, then he establishes the family relationship between God and man. We are his children.
However, when Satan appeared, he offered a different relationship.
"And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, came him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me." (vs 12)Rather than an eternal and celestial relationship, Satan puts man as a worldly creation with no certain relationship to anything but his own mortal parents. In doing so, Satan can then mandate that humans, not connected to God in any relationship, must worship him instead.
Moses was able to detect the deception, and spoke out.
"And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy , that I should worship thee?" (vs 13)
As with Moses' experience then, today Satan continues to deceive the world. He confuses people as to their divine origins and celestial destiny. Once that divine relationship with God is removed, anything can replace it: including dysfunctional families, gender dysphoria, sex outside of marriage, adultery, etc.
Now, I do believe that there are both genetic and societal (nature and nurture) issues regarding many of these things. Many people have a natural tendency towards sexual desires, whether heterosexual or homosexual tendencies. The issue isn't about denying those feelings, but to recognize the true relationship with God and those around us. In doing so, we overcome natural desire with celestial love and charity. Replacing the natural man with the spiritual man is not an easy thing to do. For many, it is a life long process, which may include major choices, such as remaining chaste throughout life.
When Joseph Smith was incarcerated in Liberty Jail and the saints were being driven out of Missouri, he prayed to God, asking when they would be delivered from their trials. God's response was that the trials were but a moment, and then they would be vastly rewarded for their patience and endurance.
Such an answer applies today for those who struggle with sexual and gender confusion. Whether one has struggles wit pornography, sexual desire, gender dysphoria, same sex attraction, etc., the answer is all the same: we are children of God and those around us are our spiritual brothers and sisters. We must look beyond the struggles of this mortal sphere and hope for resolution and a fullness of joy in heaven.
While the Family Proclamation has not been officially entered into scripture, it hasn't gone away. Prophets today still quote from it in General Conference. It is just as fresh a revelation now as it was almost 30 years ago. In the world today, Satan twists the ideal into something horrid. He plays on our emotions, fears, loneliness, superstitions, and weaknesses. He convinces us that we cannot achieve the Celestial, so it's okay to settle for something less - even if that lesser thing does not bring true and lasting joy.
The world is falling apart because it does not understand our divine relationships, which begins:
[We] 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. (the Family, a Proclamation to the World)