The Proclamation on the Family starts to address the church’s valid concern about the critical need for strong, intact families in order to provide the love, security and protection that every child deserves and requires in order to survive and thrive. There are many who criticize the Proclamation. However it is actually a good starting point. It perfectly addresses a large number of families that it speaks to. It’s only limitation is that it doesn’t address all of the families that, for whatever reason, fall outside of this model. I am offering here some amendments to the Proclamation that clarify how it should apply to family configurations that aren’t included in the original document.
The Family and Children–A Proclamation to the World
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. Some children are born into this earth and their gender is not immediately clear to their parents or to their doctors. Sometimes parents and doctors mis-identify the true gender of a child. These children will know and discover their true gender. Since it frequently impossible to determine a child’s gender, it is up to each child to seek guidance from God to determine his or her true gender as he or she reach an age where they have the capacity to do so.
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.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped 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 their divine destiny as heirs 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 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 within a lawful marriage.
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”. Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and 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. This includes every child. Parents will be held accountable before God when they shun their children because of their sexual orientation or gender non-conformity or their disbelief.
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 parents 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 responsible for the nurture of their children. By divine design, mothers are also to preside over their families in love and righteousness. Mothers are also responsible to provide for the necessities of life and protection for their families. Fathers are also 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. Parents who are single, or widowed or divorced or who have disables spouses must provide the necessities of life, protection and be responsible for nurture. The circumstances of some parents may require them to reverse their traditional roles in order to best care for their children. Households with two same-sex parents must also determine how they will divide the duties of providing the necessities of life, protection and nurturing. Extended families and wards should offer support to all of these family configurations.
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. God is especially displeased by those who try to weaken families and harm children by stigmatizing those whose families have less traditional configurations or those who would cast out their children because of their sexual orientation or disbelief. Those who would break their marriage vows or pursue divorce simply because of their spouse’s disbelief will also stand accountable before God.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen ALL families which are the fundamental unit of society and to support the well-being of ALL children, regardless of the configuration of their family.