(read the handbook here)
It has long been established that families are central to God’s plan. Even in the beginning, with Adam and Eve, they were commanded to have a family. Establishing a family should be the first priority of every faithful Latter day Saint man and woman.
The first element of that priority should be obtaining a temple marriage. You can read many recent talks by the General Authorities to understand just how important that is. The adversary is definitely working hard on this front.
I read an article recently that was published in 2005 which stated that the divorce rate was declining, but so was the marriage rate. Instead of getting married and then divorced, people are simply moving in together. Of course, people who just live together without getting married are also more likely to break up – so the “sociological” divorce rate is probably higher – since a live-in relationship that breaks up is probably almost as bad for all parties involved – including the children.
The article also stated an interesting trend that Europe has more live-in couples than the USA, but that couples with children in Europe usually live together, even if they aren’t married. So in the USA, we have single moms (or dads) who end up living with multiple “partners,” bringing their children into the mix, and then leaving when things don’t work out. And then in Europe, you have non-married biological parents of a child living together, but they stay together. It’s hard to tell which of the two are worse – children having to endure several messed up relationships, or children living with their parents who are unwed. I would say that of the two, the latter is less damaging for children. But both are perversions of the Lord’s way, which is exactly what Satan wants.
“Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred responsibility. Parents and priesthood and auxiliary leaders should do all they can to reinforce this teaching.” This is a teaching which has gone the way of the world (literally). The whole meaning of sex and relationships has been completely corrupted by Satan. His influence can be seen all over society, and nowhere more prevalent than in the realm of sexual relations. We need to protect that. I don’t mean we need to never talk to our kids about sex. The complete opposite is true – from the time they are infants we need to teach them about the purpose of their bodies, the sanctity of their bodies, the emotions that we can feel, and the proper expression of the physical feelings they will have at some point.
After obtaining a temple marriage (which should be the first priority of every faithful Latter Day Saint man and woman), the next priority should be bearing and raising children. If bearing children isn’t an option (for whatever reason) then raising children can still be done. “By divine design, both a man and a woman are essential for bringing children into mortality and providing the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children.” (emphasis added) Bearing children isn’t the end of it, and it’s not even really the beginning of it. The Lord’s Church is one of adoption so it makes sense that adoption is a very important part of the Lord’s plan. Especially when it comes to those who don’t have “the best setting” for rearing and nurturing. The Family: A Proclamation to the World says that “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” To me this would also mean that children who don’t get that birth should be entitled to it by adoption. Of course, both how many children and when to have them (whether through bearing children or adopting them) is completely a personal matter between a couple and the Lord.
What principle of establishing eternal families is the most significant to you? Have you found different principles more applicable to your life over the years? How are you defending marriage and the family?