Last Sunday in our Young Adult Branch we had a combined Priesthood and Relief Society lesson on the document, The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I suppose the reason for the lesson with an emphasis on that document may have been brought about because of the recent discussion of Proposition 8 in
Although I have studied the proclamation in depth, and even been responsible for giving instruction on it in Seminary, I was once again amazed at the magnitude of such a piece of counsel that it is. We proceeded in class to study it paragraph by paragraph to unlock the council that is given inside.
May I first say that I noticed that it is very bold and to the point. Perhaps in past times of study I had not noticed this fact. But, with the divided discussion even amongst members of the church, pertaining to these bold truths, simply because of the recent political involvement, I had a tendency to squirm in my seat. I felt for the kind instructor who was attempting to teach these truths to a group of youth who may be somewhat "foggy" about them.
The Proclamation to the World does not pull any punches. It boldly states that “marriage is between a man and a woman”. It also states that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” One of the kids raised their hand and asked, “Then do we believe that it is possible for someone to be born in the wrong body?” Isn’t it amazing that years before this question would be asked; a prophet of God gave the answer in a clear and unmistakable way?
I guess the most important thing I discovered by looking at the document once again is that our church is lead by men authorized by the Lord to speak for him. This document is proof of living prophets who could see beyond their day and look into the future, counseling us on what eternal truths are. At the time that the proclamation was issued, these truths were not being challenged as they are today.
Four words stood out to me the most, as I looked though the actual document. They are “declare”, “warn”, and “call upon”. Our dear sweet prophets who saw our day, declared boldly the truth about marriage and family, knowing those truths would be attacked. They then proceeded to “warn” us as a society about the consequences that would be brought about if these truths were to be violated. Then finally they “call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as a fundamental unit of society.”
This last part where they specifically “call upon” us is so prophetic. That has been fulfilled today right before your eyes. We have been asked by our current prophet Thomas S. Monson, to support our previous prophet and more importantly the decisions of the Lord, in a statement which reads,
“We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”
The fulfillment of this prophecy is so exact. The wording in the proclamation asks to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” Proposition 8 is exactly one of those measures.
I have observed something that concerns me far greater than even this pressing one of redefining marriage. For those of you who are unaware, there has become a division in the church over this issue. Many express a concern that “the church” has no place in politics and should remain silent on this issue. Many feel that by supporting Proposition 8 we as a church are showing a lack of tolerance and love for Heavenly Fathers children. Many of these arguments and other issues have arisen that have caused a division amongst the saints.
The major issue, as I see it, is a matter of obedience concerning the saints in the church today. It is one involving the foundational principle of testimony. It is testing the saints to the core, to see if in fact they do believe that this Church of Jesus Christ is being led by Him through modern day prophets. It is requiring a proof of that testimony by showing obedience and action. When a prophet of God requests something, we as a church should be unflinching in our resolve to adhere. Can you see the implications of this request going far beyond that of marriage and the family? It is a refining process for the saints as well.
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:32-33
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30
“Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;” Doctrine and Covenants 101:65
There is far more at stake here than families, it is the individual.