Champine: A 1995 Document Should Not Define What Makes a Family


(Courtesy of Picryl)

By Morgan Champine, Assistant Opinion Editor


Created in 1995, The Family Proclamation is a well-known document from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that states their belief on both marriage and families. It states that marriage is between a man and a woman and that the purpose of marriage is childbirth. To consider this document a guideline for modern family life is unrealistic. Modern family life is defined by much more than childbirth, and modern marriage does not just involve a man and a woman. 1995 was 28 years ago. Over the course of the last 28 years, the demographic of an American family has changed immensely. The Family Proclamation is an outdated document that must change to fit modern times and become more inclusive.


The Family Proclamation states, “We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” This supports the Church’s belief that marriage is almost solely for the purpose of having children and reproducing. This section of the doctrine leaves out infertile mothers. A report from the World Health Organization states that one in six women suffer from infertility. When the importance of womanhood is defined as only childbirth, many women are left behind. The Church is abandoning its infertile mothers by criticizing something they cannot control, even if it is indirectly. In an LDS article entitled “Faith and Infertility,” a woman named Brenda shared her experience with infertility. She stated it made her feel like she “wasn’t a real woman.” It’s not surprising to hear that many women experience these feelings. When someone spends their whole life being told that their only purpose is childbirth, infertility will make them feel less than others.

LGBTQ+ Marriage

In a statement from Nov. 15, 2022, when the Respect for Marriage Act was passed, the LDS church referred to queer people as “LGBTQ brothers and sisters.” It’s incredibly ironic to refer to queer people this way, yet in the same statement said the LDS doctrine on marriage will remain the same. The usage of familial terms and denying LGBTQ+ people the right to be considered true families is incredibly hypocritical. The Proclamation also uses gendered language such as mother, husband and most frequently, man and woman. Around 1.6 percent of adults in America identify as nonbinary or transgender. The language used in the document is outdated. If the LDS church wants to take a step in a more inclusive direction, it must change the language in this document.

Aliese Johnson and Monae Klingler, two ex-Mormons, both left the church at a young age. Johnson and Klingler state that their reasons for leaving had to do with them being queer. Klinger stated, “I couldn’t live up to the standards of the church, because there’s no loophole for queer marriage.” The Family Proclamation makes queer people and queer youth feel ostracized and often results in them leaving the church. If the LDS church wants to keep its members and ensure the happiness of its queer members, one of the first steps is changing its definition of marriage.

In its second-to-final paragraph, the Family Proclamation states, “Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” The disintegration of the family involves disrupting the sanctity of marriage and the importance of childbirth. If we look at the modern world, this disintegration has already begun. The world won’t fall into disarray because Klinger wants to marry a woman, and it wouldn’t have even if they remained in the church. The world hasn’t ended because two men adopted and raised a child. There haven’t been floods or nuclear wars because two women dared to get married. Infertility hasn’t caused plagues. As the way families look changes, the world doesn’t fall into disrepair. It simply grows around the new definition of family and changes to suit it better.

At the time of its creation, The Family Proclamation may have been a relevant document. Now, with families growing to be more and more diverse, it’s become irrelevant. Religious freedom should be respected in marriage. However, if the expectation is respect, religious people should also respect queer marriage. It is inappropriate to define the main purpose of marriage as childbirth. Marriage is a wonderful thing, a union of two people through love. A marriage is a marriage whether it involves children or not. “Love thy neighbor” is an important part of the church doctrine. If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hopes this to be its overarching message, they should consider their definition of marriage and family more carefully.


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