There are a lot of questions in the news in regards to family; what a family is, looks like, etc. Why is this such a big issue. In "The Divine Institution of Marriage", an LDS commentary from January 2014, a very common question is stated, "It won't affect you marriage, so why should you care?"
Why should we care how the world and society view marriage and family, and how does it affect those of us who choose to live the traditional way?
First of all, lets talk about what my family believes and lives. On 23 September 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley presented and read "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
This proclamation given to the world states what we believe about an individual, a marriage, and a family. We believe that we lived in Heaven before we came to earth; we were "spiritually born" to Heavenly Parents. We grew and were taught the way of God. We learned the plan our Father had for us to become like him. In this plan we learned about earth and the need to receive a physical body to progress.
The plan is to come to earth, which all of us have done, and be born to a father and a mother and live in a family. This familial experience both as a child and then later as a parent, teaches us lesson that help us learn and progress to our eternal goal: to be like our Heavenly Parents. Lorenzo Snow taught that "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." This is our goal. Just as in this life we grow to become a responsible adult just as our parents, our goal is to learn to become like our Heavenly Parents.
Now I want to address the confusion of our day. Elder D. Todd Christofferson said,
"A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God's plan to thrive ... A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults."
I want to emphasize the last sentence, "It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults." We live in a "me generation." Society encourages us to think mainly of self and what self wants. We see this in children, young adults, middle aged, and even elderly; it is not one age group, it is widespread selfishness. This is not how the family functions. The family has need of hard work, self-sacrifice, devotion, unconditional love.
Referring back to "The Divine Institution of Marriage," how do the trends we see affect society? There is an increase in the likelihood that children will not be able to "form a clear gender identity;" and their "social identity, gender development, and moral character" will erode as well. "Strong, independent families are vital for political and religious freedom."
The Prophets have warned "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." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
Even if you don't believe in modern day prophets as I do, there has to be an agreement that the best place to raise children is in the stable home of a family, where a mother and father love and teach their children. I take the words of the above mentioned proclamation as prophetic and true. It isn't just a message to the Mormons, it is a message and warning to the world. We need families. We need families that are strong and true to each other, who hold fast together through the tough times, who sacrifice for each other. This is something worth protecting.