Why Marriage and Family Matter- Everywhere in the World

Last November I
had the privilege of being invited, along
with President Henry B. Eyring and Bishop
Gerald Causse, to attend a colloquium on marriage and
family at the Vatican, in Rome. In attendance were
religious representatives from 14 different faiths, from
six of the seven continents, all who had been invited to
express their beliefs in what was happening to the
family in the world today. Pope Francis opened the
first session of the assembly with this statement:
“We now live in a culture of the temporary,
in which more and more people are simply giving up on
marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in
manners and morals has often flown the
flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought
spiritual and material devastation to countless
human beings, especially [to the poor] and
most vulnerable. … It is always they
who suffer … most.” In referring to those of the
rising generation, he said, “It is important that they do
not give [up on] themselves over … the poisonous
mentality of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries
with the courage to seek truth and lasting love, going [on]
against the common pattern; this must be done.” This was followed by three
days of presentations and discussions with
religious leaders addressing the subject of marriage
between a man and a woman. As I listened to the
widest imaginable variety of worldwide
religious leaders, I heard them agree completely with
each other and express support for one another’s belief on
the sanctity of the institution of marriage and of the
importance of families as the basic unit of society. I felt a powerful sense
of commonality and unity with them. There were many who saw
and expressed this unity, and they did so in
a variety of ways. My favorite one was a
Muslim scholar from Iran who quoted two paragraphs
verbatim of our very own proclamation on the family. During the
colloquium, I observed that various faiths and
denominations and religions are united on
marriage and family. They are also united on values
and loyalty and commitment, which are naturally
associated with family units. It was remarkable
for me to see how marriage- and family-centered
priorities cut across and superseded political
and economical and religious differences. When it came to love of
spouse, hope and worries and dreams for children,
we are all the same. It was marvelous
to be in meetings with worldwide presenters
as they universally addressed the feelings of
the importance of marriage between a man and a woman. Each of their addresses
was followed by testimonies by other religious leaders. President Henry B. Eyring
gave the final testimony of the colloquium. He bore a powerful
witness to the beauty of committed marriage
and to our belief in the promised blessings
of eternal families. President Eyring’s testimony
was a fitting benediction to these special three days. Now, you may be asked,
“If the majority felt that similarly of family,
priorities, and belief, if all religious faiths
and religions essentially agree on what
marriage should be, and if they all agreed
on the value that should be placed on home
and family relationships, then why are we any different? How does The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints distinguish and
differentiate itself from the rest of the world?” Here is the answer: While it
is wonderful to see and feel that we all have such in common
with the rest of the world in regards to families, only
we have the eternal perspective of the restored gospel. What that restored gospel brings
to a discussion on marriage and family is so large and
so relevant that it cannot be overstated. We make it a
subject of eternity. We take the commitment and
the sanctity of marriage to a greater level because of
our belief and understanding that families go back
before this earth was and they will go
forward into eternities. This doctrine is
taught so simply, powerfully, and beautifully
by Ruth Gardner’s text of a Primary song, “Families
Can Be Together Forever.” Pause and just think for a
moment about Primary children all over the world singing these
words in their native tongues at the top of their lungs, with
enthusiasm and love a family can invoke: “Fam’lies can
be together forever through heav’nly Father’s plan. I always want to be
with my own family, [for] the Lord has
shown me how I can.” The entire theology
of the restored gospel centers on families and on the
new and everlasting covenant of marriage. In The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in premortal
life, where we all lived as literal spirit children
of God, our Eternal Father. We believe that we
were and still are members of His family. We believe that
marriage and family ties can continue beyond the
grave, that marriage performed by those who have the proper
authority in His temples will continue to be valid
in the world to come. Our marriage ceremonies
eliminate the words “’til death do us part” and instead say
“for time and for all eternity.” We also believe that strong
traditional families are not only the basic unit of a stable
society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of
values, but that they are also the basic unit of
eternity and the kingdom and government of God. We believe that the organization
and government of heaven will be built around families
and extended families. It is because of our belief
that marriage and families are eternal that
we, as a Church, ought to be leaders
and participate in worldwide movements
to strengthen them. We know that it
is not only those who are actively religious
who share common values and priorities of lasting
marriages and strong family relationships. A great number of
secular people have concluded that a commitment to
marriage and a family lifestyle is the most sensible,
the most economical, and the happiest way to live. No one has ever come up
with a more efficient way to raise the next
generation than a household of married parents
with children. Why should marriage and
family matter–everywhere? Public opinion shows
that marriage is still the ideal and the hope among
the majority of every age group. Even among the
“millennial generation,” where we hear so much
about choosing singleness, personal freedom, and
cohabitation before marriage, the fact is that strong
majorities worldwide still want to have children
and to create strong families. Once we are married and
once we have children, the true commonality
among all mankind becomes even more evident. As “family people”–no
matter where we live or what our religious beliefs may
be–we share the many struggles, the same struggles,
the same adjustments, and the same hopes and
worries for our children. As a New York Times
columnist said, David Brooks said:
“People are not better off when they are given [the]
maximum personal freedom to do what they want. [They are] better off when they
are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal
choice–commitments to family, [to] God, craft and country.” One problem is, so much of
the media and entertainment that the world shares does
not rely on the priorities and values of the majority. For whatever reason, too much
of television, movies, music, and Internet present
the classic case of the minority masquerading
as the majority. Immorality and amorality
range from graphic violence to recreational sex. It is portrayed as
the norm and can cause those who have mainstream
values to feel that they’re out of date, of a bygone era. In such, the media and
Internet dominate the world. It has never been harder to
raise responsible children and keep marriages
and families together. Despite what much of the media
and entertainment outlets may suggest, however, and
despite the very real decline in marriages and family
orientation of some, the solid majority
of mankind still believes that marriage should be
between one man and one woman. They believe in fidelity
within the marriage, and they believe in the marriage
vows “in sickness and in health … ’til death do us part.” We need to remind
ourselves once in a while, as we were reminded in Rome,
of the wonderful reassurance and comforting fact that
marriage and family still have the aspiration and
ideals of most people and that we are not
alone in these beliefs. It has never been
more of a challenge to find a practical balance
between employment, families, and personal needs
as it is in our day. As a Church, we
want to assist all that we can to
create and support strong marriages and families. That is why the Church
is actively participating and provides leadership
in various coalitions and ecumenical efforts
to strengthen the family. It is why we share our
family-focused values in the media and
on social media. It is why we share our
genealogical and extended family records with all nations. We want our voice to be heard
against all of the counterfeits and alternative
lifestyles that try to replace family organizations
that God Himself established. We also want our voice to
be heard sustaining the joy and fulfillment that
traditional families bring. We must continue to project
that voice throughout the world in declaring why marriage and
family are so important–why marriage and family really
do matter and why they always will. My brothers and sisters,
the restored gospel centers on marriage and families. It is also on
marriage and families that we can unite most
with other faiths. It is around
marriage and families where we find the
greatest commonality with the rest of the world. It is around
marriage and families that The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints has the greatest opportunity
to be a light upon the hill. Let me close by bearing
my witness (and my nine decades on earth fully
qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the
more I realize that family is the center of life. It is the key to
eternal happiness. I give my thanks to my wife, to
my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren,
to all the cousins and in-laws of an extended family who
make my life so rich–yes, even eternal. Of this eternal truth
I bear my strongest and most sacred witness. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

About the author


  1. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ•Œ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿค๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘ says:

    14:52 "Family is the center of life. ย It is the key to eternal happiness."

  2. Marriage and family
    Is central to mankind
    We live life happily
    When all are well and mind

    marriage and family-centered priorities cut across and superseded any political, economic, or religious differences. When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries, and dreams for children, we are all the same.

  3. Marriage is still the ideal
    As our hope for the future
    For love that endures is real
    And provides lasting nurture

  4. Everywhere found on the Earth
    Marriage and family matter
    As the foundation of our birth
    Our fondest dreams here gather

  5. Elder Perry died just a few minutes ago. I am so grateful the good Lord let his Apostle remind us of how important families and marriage are this past conference before He called Elder Perry to the other side to continue his ministry before the resurrection.

  6. Elder L. Tom Perry's final talk. Incredible final message to the Lord's children before the Lord called him back home. RIP L. Tom Perry.

  7. Thank you Elder Perry for your life of service and shining example. Your words of wisdom are greatly needed in our world. God be with you until we meet again.

  8. It's time to become "revolutionaries," as the Pope and Elder Perry said, and stand up for traditional families.

  9. It matters because lost ancestors have another chance to learn once again from their fall like who see our own fall yesterday. They cannot live with shadows only. They come out with real baby born from those already repent fasting baptize and married. If someone didn't repent fasting baptize and married; they cannot born from them, they just created fake body of their own flesh. That's why if weak in flesh repent, fasting baptize and married and learn. If strong, stay strong and don't make fire if you say you are strong. If I says I am strong but I do what my flesh tempted me to do; why GOD put marriage for your EYES to see but if you sin who you are sin with. Just release our own soul and see why created human to live. HE didn't creates human to be HIM. See why we have head to toe. HE created Earth for all HIS Children's that's why only through JESUS throughout to HIM. Our own head confuse because we eat from the tree of good and bad. Just believes and protect HEAD and see how he created Heaven on Earth. Thank you very much, We loves you ALL FOREVER because GOD LOVES ALL FIRST, IN JESUS CHRIST NAME THROUGHOUT TO OUR PRECIOUS HEAVENLY FATHER'S FOREVER AMEN!!!!!!!*+*

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