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Family proclamation reaches 20-year anniversary

President Gordon B. Hinkley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement 20 years ago titled, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” on Sept. 23, 1995, during a general Relief Society meeting. This month, members of the Church are celebrating the family proclamation’s 20th anniversary.

The Church’s First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles constructed the family proclamation.

The nine-paragraph article presents a statement on the family establishment.

It is the fifth proclamation released in the history of the Church, the previous proclamations dating back to as early as 1841.

Chris Allison, a religious education professor at BYU-Idaho, teaches a course titled The Eternal Family.

He said he bases his lessons off the family proclamation, and believes that every person can benefit from its teachings. He said he also believes the family proclamation’s applicability has not altered in any way between now and the time it was  first released.

“It is not a how-to list,” Allison said. “It teaches us the principles, but it doesn’t tell us how to apply them in our lives. That is for wise couples and families to figure out together. For this reason, because of the way it’s written, it will never be outdated.”

The Board of Education, chaired by the First Presidency of the Church, has determined that it is required for all college-age students attending Church-sponsored schools or institutes of religion to take The Eternal Family course, which derives directly from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Samantha Carey, a freshman majoring in university studies, said she agrees with and supports this requirement.

“It is important to make sure young people know how important the proclamation is because it lists pretty much everything that needs to be said about families, and helps you know the truth about how families are supposed to be,” Carey said.

Carey said the family proclamation has been beneficial to her and her family during troubling times in her life.

“It’s blessed my family because we all have each other’s backs,” Carey said. “We all understand we each have our own part to do. We all work together in order to build our family, and though we’ve definitely had our troubles, we’ve always come out on top because we follow what the proclamation says.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, acknowledged the family proclamation’s anniversary and delivered a challenge regarding the family proclamation.

“During this 20th anniversary year of the family proclamation, I would like to issue a challenge,” Oscarson said. “Be defenders of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places — even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting or no longer relevant.”

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