Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why Did We Get the The Family: A Proclamation to the World?

Twenty years ago we got the The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I remember sitting in the Hart Auditorium at Ricks College listening to President Hinckley reading it and thinking, yeah, yeah, and yeah, so why do we need this?  Who knew 20 years later that cultural norms would have changed so much.

Twenty years ago also was the World Conference on Women in Beijing, which produced a bunch of UN documents that the "Holy See" did not like, specifically concerning "abortion, reproductive rights, and other sensitive issues" (Wikipedia).

I've heard it said a couple times now, how ironic that the same year the UN produced those documents that could potentially become corrosive to society as we knew it, that the LDS Church came out with The Proclamation.

Yesterday I learned, The Proclamation was actually well orchestrated BECAUSE of the Beijing conference:
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation on the family. I can tell you how that came about. They had a world conference on the family sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China. We sent representatives. It was not pleasant what they heard. They called another one in Cairo. Some of our people were there. I read the proceedings of that. The word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned.
It was then they announced that they were going to have such a conference here in Salt Lake City. Some of us made the recommendation: “They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position.” (Boyd K. Packer, CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 February 2003)

As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I participated in the process of drafting that inspired document. It was a remarkable experience for all of us. As we travel the world, we see things—both within the Church and outside the Church. We were troubled by much of what we were seeing. We could see the people of the world wanting to define the family in ways contrary to God's eternal plan for the happiness of His children. Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. Major agenda items were introduced by some delegates that would have greatly weakened the family; yet, through the significant contributions of Church leaders, members, and other like-minded people, the language and thus the effects of those proposals were softened.

In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God. We worked together through the divinely inspired council system that operates even at the highest levels of the Church to craft a proclamation that would make the Lord's position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood. - M. Russell Ballard, Education Week, August 19, 2003
Not too many years ago there came a movement in the world having to do with the family. The United Nations called a council on the family in Beijing, China. We sent delegations to that council on the family and to other councils that were held. And then it was announced that one of them would be held near our headquarters, and we thought, “Well, if they are coming here, we had better proclaim ourselves.”
A proclamation in the Church is a significant, major announcement. Very few of them have been issued from the beginning of the Church. They are significant; they are revelatory. And at that time, this was a little more than 10 years ago, the Brethren issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It is scripturelike in its power.  - Boyd K. Packer, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Feb. 9, 2008
Well played, Brethren, well played. They know what's up.