Turning to ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ in Uncertain Times

The following message was written by Elder K. Brett Nattress of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since 2018 Elder Nattress has been serving as First Counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency of the Church.

Raising children in our time is a daunting task filled with uncertainty, heartache and concern interlaced with love, gratitude and joy. The enormous responsibility to teach our children (God’s children) is inescapable. Our hearts are filled with joy when they succeed and our hearts are broken when they experience heartache and disappointment.

Even though we are charged with the heaven-sent responsibility of raising children in troubling times, the Saviour has not left us alone. He promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” He has lovingly provided a path to peace through heeding the words of His prophets.

President Spencer W. Kimball made the following prophetic statement and warning in 1980: “Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.”

Fifteen years later in 1995 President Gordon B. Hinckley issued a Proclamation from the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles: “The Family: A Proclamation to all the World.”

In a worldwide meeting of the Church, he said, “We commend to all a careful, thoughtful and prayerful reading of this proclamation. The strength of any nation is rooted within the walls of its homes…No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.”

Sister Nattress and I have been blessed and inspired by the example of so many Pacific Area Saints. Just recently, we were touched by the testimony of Sister Victoria Fitisemanu who found the proclamation on the family to be a pillar of strength in her home and with her family.

Victoria Fitisemanu and family.© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


She said:

“Whilst I don’t have a family of my own or an eternal companion, my life has been and continues to be enriched by the loving relationships I have as an aunty, a sister, cousin, niece and friend. I serve in the Church and that fills my cup every day too. Being with and serving my extended ward and stake family has been a great blessing in my life. We are all imperfect together, but we are all striving together to get it right. Where else do you get a ready made support group besides your own immediate family to laugh and cry with you during the ups and downs of life? I know that is part of God’s plan for us. He knew the typical family package that we aspire to may not always be attainable, so he ensured none of us would be left out.”

“Knowing that my efforts to live the commandments and remain worthy of my covenants made in the Temple, I have the same opportunity as any individual to return to the presence of God, united eternally with my family. How wonderful is this promise… It truly provides me with hope of fulfilling all those things I righteously desire! For me, it’s absolutely worth the effort to stay on the covenant path.”

Sister Fitisemanu, along with so many others, have answered the call of our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, when he said, “We… need your strength, your conversion your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.”

During this time of great trial and uncertainty, we are blessed with the certain words of a living prophet and the comforting doctrine found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

In 2017 President Dallin H. Oaks counselled: “The restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the inspired family proclamation… are essential teachings to guide mortal preparation for exaltation.”

During this same address he quoted President Russell M. Nelson, when he said, “In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; [but] exaltation is a family matter.”

Marriage, family and individual circumstances can stretch us to our limits of resilience and patience. While this can be challenging, it is important to remember that these same circumstances provide us with opportunity to grow, to serve and to find joy.

As we strive each day to find happiness in our homes and families, may we always remember that “the family is ordained of God, (and) is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Elder Nattress

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