My goal is to take each paragraph of the proclamation and devote a post to each principle. Before I begin delving in deeper to the document itself, I want to include a post about why we would even need a proclamation, or any letter for that matter on the family.
Three years before the proclamation was first delivered at the 1995 General Relief Society meeting, President Ezra Taft Benson wrote an article for a recurring section or our Church magazine; The First Presidency Message for July 1992 was entitled, “Salvation – A Family Affair”.
President Benson stated, “The family is the most effective place to instill lasting values in its members. Where family life is strong and based on principles and practices of the gospel of Jesus Christ, these problems do not as readily appear.”
What problems was he referring to? President Benson answer’s that perfectly when he explained, “Because some parents have departed from the principles the Lord gave for happiness and success, many families throughout the world are undergoing great stress and trauma. Many parents have been enticed to abandon their responsibilities in the home to seek after an elusive “self-fulfillment.” Some have abdicated parental responsibilities for pursuit of material things, unwilling to postpone personal gratification in the interest of their children’s welfare.”
I was curious to see how the family is viewed outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A little internet search brought me to a New York Times article by one of my favorite authors, William Bennett. In his article he stated, “The family is the nucleus of civilization and the basic social unit of society. Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. Research clearly shows that the institution of the family is the first form of community and government and, as Michael Novak said, the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.” Bennett went on to say that “for a civilization to succeed, the family must succeed.”
You might find, if you read the article, there those who take issue with Bennett, but he certainly isn’t the only one to make this claim on the cruciality of the family unit. If time presented itself (and I hope it will one day), I’m sure I can provide statistics that are weightier. For now, and for the purpose of this post, the family unit is the most important unit in the preservation of societies.
From the front cover of the World Family Organization:
“The Family is the basic unit of society and as such should be
strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. In different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the Family exist. The rights, capabilities and responsibilities of Family must be respected.”