The Mormon Church holds traditional marriage in high regard. Unlike the polygamist religions, they believe God today requires marriage to consist of one man and one woman. It does not condone various forms of alternative marriages, including homosexual marriages, and does not support polygamy today.
God established the pattern for families when He created Adam and Eve, declared them married, and commanded them to have and raise children. He personally created the very first earthly family and instructed us to follow His example.
In 1995, concerned about the erosion of the family, the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley announced an exciting new proclamation in a worldwide meeting for women. This proclamation made clear the teachings of God concerning the appropriate pattern for families. In introducing this proclamation, he said,
“How bitter are the fruits of casting aside standards of virtue. The statistics are appalling. More than one-fourth of all children born in the United States are born out of wedlock, and the situation grows more serious. Of the teens who give birth, 46 percent will go on welfare within four years; of unmarried teens who give birth, 73 percent will be on welfare within four years. (See Starting Points—Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children, New York: Carnegie Corporation, 1994, pp. 4, 21.) I believe that it should be the blessing of every child to be born into a home where that child is welcomed, nurtured, loved, and blessed with parents, a father and a mother, who live with loyalty to one another and to their children.”
He went on to share the positive effects of loving families, and to offer support and encouragement to those who lived in less than ideal situation. The Proclamation begins with these elevating, bold statements:
“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly 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 proclamation then outlines the essential elements of marriage and family according to God’s plan. It reminds us we lived with God prior to our birth and agreed to all parts of the plan. In this plan, we were promised that we could, if we were willing to work toward it, have our families for all eternity. What an extraordinary gift from a loving Heavenly Father! Can anyone in a loving family bear the thought of spending eternity without those they love most?
The proclamation further states that
“God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” Note that this requires not just spiritual marriage, but one sanctioned by the laws of the land.
God intended that mothers and fathers would work together in loving partnership to raise children who would love their Savior and their God. This requires marriage, a relationship which teaches and empowers the family concept of partnership.
Just as gender was determined long before we came to earth, gender roles were also determined then. The proclamation states:
“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 primarily 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. Extended families should lend support when needed.”
The proclamation warns against abuse, infidelity, and neglect, which is not a part of God’s plan, and promises that those who honor their God-given responsibilities toward the family will receive the God-given blessings that go with that responsibility.
To read the entire proclamation and the speech that introduced it, read, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” by Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov 1995, 98.