Mormonism and prophets/Mormonism and The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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The Family: A Proclamation to the World


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Question: Is the document "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" official doctrine?

Church leaders have repeatedly taught that the Proclamation is official doctrine

Some do not like the doctrines taught in the Proclamation on the Family, and claim that it is not "scripture" or not "official doctrine." What have Church leaders said on this matter?

Church leaders have repeatedly taught that:

  • The Proclamation is official doctrine.
  • It was written and endorsed by all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  • It does not teach new doctrine, but merely reiterates and emphasizes principles long taught in the Church.
  • It is an inspired, prophetic, and vital instruction for our day.
  • Members have a duty to hold it up, teach it, and live its principles.

Those who wish to claim that the Proclamation is not official are either ignorant of these teachings, or are seeking to deceive their audience.

That marvelous document [the Proclamation] brings together the scriptural direction that we have received that has guided the lives of God’s children from the time of Adam and Eve and will continue to guide us until the final winding-up scene.
—Elder David B. Haight[1]

Official doctrine

Proclamations are unusual

President Henry B. Eyring made the significance of the Proclamation clear, and described the weight which the apostles attach to it:

Since the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a proclamation only four times. It had been more than 15 years since the previous one, which described the progress the Church had made in 150 years of its history. Thus, we can understand the importance our Heavenly Father places upon the family, the subject of the fifth and most recent proclamation, given on 23 September 1995.[2]

President Hinckley announced that the Proclamation was a reiteration of doctrine

The Proclamation was first read by President Gordon B. Hinckley at a General Relief Society Meeting on 25 September 1995. Before reading it, he said:

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history. I now take the opportunity of reading to you this proclamation....[3]

President Hinckley did not, then, regard the doctrine within the Proclamation as radical or new—it was intended to be a reconfirmation and reiteration of doctrines long taught by "the prophets, seers, and revelators of" the Church.

Origin of the Proclamation

President Boyd K. Packer described the circumstances behind issuing the Proclamation:

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."[4]

The intention, then, was to proclaim the Church's official position on these matters.

Standard for official doctrine

Elder Neal L. Anderson taught:

There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many (emphasis added). Our doctrine is not difficult to find.[5]

The Church's official website emphasized:

With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith (emphasis added).[6]

Elder D. Todd Christofferson echoed this idea:

The President of the Church may announce or interpret doctrines based on revelation to him. Doctrinal exposition may also come through the combined council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Council deliberations will often include a weighing of canonized scriptures, the teachings of Church leaders, and past practice.[7]

Thus, statements by the united First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and official proclamations are official Church doctrine. The Proclamation on the Family qualifies on both counts.

To learn more: Official doctrine

All fifteen apostles involved in preparing the Proclamation

President Boyd K. Packer said:

In 1995 that great document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”9 was prepared by all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles....

The hope is that Latter-day Saints will recognize the transcendent importance of the family and live in such a spiritually attentive way that the adversary cannot steal into the home and carry away the children....(emphasis added)[8]

Scripture?

The Proclamation is not canonized scripture—that status applies only to The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

The Doctrine and Covenants states:

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (D&C 1:37-38).

President Henry B. Eyring applied this verse to the Proclamation:

The title of the proclamation on the family reads: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World—The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).[9]

While not canonized scripture, then, the Proclamation may well meet the criteria for the broader use of the term scripture in LDS thought:

And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (D&C 68:4).

"Significant, major, revelatory, scripturelike"

President Packer told a Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast:

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. At that time, the Brethren issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It is scripturelike in its power.

When you wonder why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do and why we will not do some of the things that we will not do, you can find the authority for that in this proclamation on the family. There are times when we are accused of being intolerant because we won't accept and do the things that are supposed to be the norm in society. Well, the things we won't do, we won't do. And the things we won't do, we can't do, because the standard we follow is given of Him.

As we examine this proclamation more closely, see if you don't see in it the issues that are foremost in society, in politics, in government, in religion now that are causing the most concern and difficulty. You'll find answers there - and they are the answers of the Church.[10]

"Marvelous," "Scriptural direction"

Elder David B. Haight said:

I spoke to the audience and to this young mother about the proclamation that was issued five years ago by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, a proclamation on the family, and of our responsibility to our children, and the children’s responsibility to their parents, and the parents’ responsibility to each other. That marvelous document brings together the scriptural direction that we have received that has guided the lives of God’s children from the time of Adam and Eve and will continue to guide us until the final winding-up scene.[11]

"God-given," "scripturally-based doctrines"

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.[12]

Statements by apostles and prophets about the Proclamation

"A prophetic document"

Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

Brothers and sisters, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the proclamation to the world on the family, which was issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1995 (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). It was then and is now a clarion call to protect and strengthen families and a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit.

The proclamation is a prophetic document, not only because it was issued by prophets but because it was ahead of its time. It warns against many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade and calls for the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.[13]

Within this context of the preeminent importance of families and the threats families face today, it is not surprising that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles used strong words in the proclamation to the world on families....[14]

"An inspired document" "historic"

President Boyd K. Packer:

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” an inspired document issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we learn that....[15]

We have watched the standards of morality sink ever lower until now they are in a free fall. At the same time we have seen an outpouring of inspired guidance for parents and for families.

The whole of the curriculum and all of the activities of the Church have been restructured and correlated with the home:....And then the historic Proclamation on the Family was issued by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles.[16]

Those who attack "the inspired proclamation" are "false prophets and false teachers"

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.[17]

"Reiteration" of doctrine

Elder L. Tom Perry said:

The doctrine of the family and the home was recently reiterated with great clarity and forcefulness in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It declared the eternal nature of families and then explained the connection to temple worship. The proclamation also declared the law upon which the eternal happiness of families is predicated, namely, “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."[18]

Critical doctrines

Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

In the passing years I have developed much appreciation for the institution of the family. Other institutions simply cannot compensate fully for failing families. If we will hold fast to the Church's proclamation on the family, we will see that we hold the jewels, as it were, that can enrich so many other things. Let the world go its own way on the family. It appears to be determined to do that. But we do not have that option. Our doctrines and teachings on the family are very, very powerful, and they are full of implications for all the people on this planet.[19]

President Eyring regarded the Proclamation as describing the things that "matter...most":

Because our Father loves his children, he will not leave us to guess about what matters most in this life concerning where our attention could bring happiness or our indifference could bring sadness. Sometimes he will tell a person such things directly, by inspiration. But he will, in addition, tell us these important matters through his servants. In the words of the prophet Amos, recorded long ago, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). He does this so that even those who cannot feel inspiration can know, if they will only listen, that they have been told the truth and been warned.[20]

Important

Elder Robert D. Hales:

To know and keep the commandments, we must know and follow the Savior and the prophets of God. We were all blessed recently to receive an important message from modern prophets, entitled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (see Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). This proclamation warns us what will happen if we do not strengthen the family unit in our homes, our communities, and our nations. Every priesthood holder and citizen should study the proclamation carefully.

Prophets must often warn of the consequences of violating God’s laws. They do not preach that which is popular with the world. President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “popularity is never a test of truth” (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1981], 29).

Why do prophets proclaim unpopular commandments and call society to repentance for rejecting, modifying, and even ignoring the commandments? The reason is very simple. Upon receiving revelation, prophets have no choice but to proclaim and reaffirm that which God has given them to tell the world. Prophets do this knowing full well the price they may have to pay. Some who choose not to live the commandments make every effort to defame the character of the prophets and demean their personal integrity and reputation.[21]

Revelatory Process Brings About the Family Proclamation

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

The inspiration identifying the need for a proclamation on the family came to the leadership of the Church over 23 years ago. It was a surprise to some who thought the doctrinal truths about marriage and the family were well understood without restatement. Nevertheless, we felt the confirmation and we went to work. Subjects were identified and discussed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve for nearly a year. Language was proposed, reviewed, and revised. Prayerfully we continually pleaded with the Lord for His inspiration on what we should say and how we should say it. We all learned “line upon line, precept upon precept,” as the Lord has promised (D&C 98:12).

During this revelatory process, a proposed text was presented to the First Presidency, who oversee and promulgate Church teachings and doctrine. After the Presidency made further changes, the proclamation on the family was announced by the President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley. In the women’s meeting of September 23, 1995, he introduced the proclamation with these words: “With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn.”

I testify that the proclamation on the family is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children who seek eternal life. It has been the basis of Church teaching and practice for the last 22 years and will continue so for the future. Consider it as such, teach it, live by it, and you will be blessed as you press forward toward eternal life.

Forty years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.” I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is one of those tests for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test.

I close with President Gordon B. Hinckley’s teachings uttered two years after the family proclamation was announced. He said: “I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world. If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way. We will be looked upon as a peculiar people who have found the key to a peculiar happiness.”

I testify of the truth and eternal importance of the family proclamation, revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Apostles for the exaltation of the children of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4), in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[22]

Other leaders on the Proclamation

Elder W. Eugene Hansen:

Again the proclamation on the family, modern-day revelation....As we ponder these inspired words of modern revelation....I leave you my witness that the proclamation on the family, which I referred to earlier, is modern-day revelation provided to us by the Lord through His latter-day prophets.[23]

Elder Eran A. Call:

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, two years ago solemnly proclaimed to the world our beliefs concerning marriage, parents, and the family. I challenge each of you to read, study, and live by this inspired proclamation. May it become the guideline and standard by which we live in our homes and raise our children.[24]

Elder Claudio R.M. Costa:

The Lord instructed us how to take care of our families when He told us through His prophets in the proclamation to the world....[25]

Duty to teach and support the Proclamation

Today I call upon members of the Church and on committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to this great proclamation, to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s “title of liberty,” and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts. As we are all part of a family, the proclamation applies to everyone.
— Elder M. Russell Ballard[26]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks noted:

This declaration is not politically correct, but it is true, and we are responsible to teach and practice its truth. That obviously sets us against many assumptions and practices in today’s world....(emphasis added)[27]

Elder M. Russell Ballard:

Brothers and sisters, as we hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth. We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.[26]


Question: Have the doctrines in the document "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" long been taught in the Church?

Yes, the doctrines contained within the "Proclamation" are longstanding doctrines within the Church

President Hinckley observed, on introducing the Proclamation:

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history. I now take the opportunity of reading to you this proclamation....[28]

The doctrines taught are, then, longstanding ones in the Church.

This article reviews each line of the Proclamation and presents a sample of past teachings on the same subject.

"marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God"

  • "Marriage is ordained of God. It is a necessary and delightful condition. It is the only true state, and the failure of many marriages does not change the rightness of marriage."[29]
  • "It is my purpose to endorse and to favor, to encourage and defend marriage. Many regard it nowadays as being, at best, semiprecious, and by some it is thought to be worth nothing at all. I have seen and heard, as you have seen and heard, the signals all about us, carefully orchestrated to convince us that marriage is out of date and in the way."[30]

"the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

  • 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....There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence....We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal."[31]
  • "The work of the adversary may be likened to loading guns in opposition to the work of God. Salvos containing germs of contention are aimed and fired at strategic targets essential to that holy work. These vital targets include—in addition to the individual—the family, leaders of the Church, and divine doctrine."[32]
  • "In this marriage relationship comes the greatest of exaltation and the greatest experiences of life. You will come to know that most of what you know that is worth knowing you learn from your children."[33]
  • "I desire to emphasize this. I want the young men of Zion to realize that this institution of marriage is not a man-made institution. It is of God. It is honorable, and no man who is of marriageable age is living his religion who remains single. It is not simply devised for the convenience alone of man, to suit his own notions, and his own ideas; to marry and then divorce, to adopt and then to discard, just as he pleases. There are great consequences connected with it, consequences which reach beyond this present time, into all eternity, for thereby souls are begotten into the world, and men and women obtain their being in the world. Marriage is the preserver of the human race. Without it, the purposes of God would be frustrated; virtue would be destroyed to give place to vice and corruption, and the earth would be void and empty."[34]
  • "the greatest responsibility and the greatest joys in life are centered in the family, honorable marriage, and rearing a righteous posterity."[35]
  • "Alas, it may be true that those who do not believe in God, who is a loving parent and who is the Father of the human family, will also never be able to accept the eternal importance of the institution of the family, except as something that is socially useful—little wonder we arrive at different conclusions or that we have different priorities."[36]

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God."

  • "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).
  • "Seest thou that ye are created after mine [Christ's] own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh (Ether 3:15-16).
  • "And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all" (Moses 1:6).
  • "God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other."[37]

"Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."

  • "We are begotten in the similitude of Christ himself. We dwelt with the Father and with the Son in the beginning, as the sons and daughters of God; and at the time appointed, we came to this earth to take upon ourselves tabernacles, that we might become conformed to the likeness and image of Jesus Christ and become like him; that we might have a tabernacle, that we might pass through death as he has passed through death, that we might rise again from the dead as he has risen from the dead."[38]
  • "The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth we had “a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father” (statement of the First Presidency, Improvement Era, Mar. 1912, p. 417; also see Jer. 1:5). We were placed here on earth to progress toward our destiny of eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is the result of random processes."[39]

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

  • "When the frailties and imperfections of mortality are left behind, in the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and co–operating to the full in the government of their family kingdom. Then shall woman be recompensed in rich measure for all the injustice that womanhood has endured in mortality. Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God. Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God."[40]
  • "Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them. With relatively few accidents of nature, we are born male or female. The Lord knew best. Certainly, men and women who would change their sex status will answer to their Maker...."[41]
  • "Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God. Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth."[42]

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father"

  • "The spirits of men and women are eternal (see D&C 93:29-31; see also Joseph Smith, Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 158, 208). All are sons and daughters of God and lived in a premortal life as his spirit children (see Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9, D&C 76:24). The spirit of each individual is in the likeness of the person in mortality, male and female (see D&C 77:2; 132:63; Moses 6:9-10; Abraham 4:27). All are in the image of heavenly parents."[43]

"accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life."

  • And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he [Jesus Christ] said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever (Abraham 3:24-26).

"The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave."

  • "There is another dimension to marriage that we know of in the Church. It came by revelation. This glorious, supernal truth teaches us that marriage is meant to be eternal. There are covenants we can make if we are willing, and bounds we can seal if we are worthy, that will keep marriage safe and intact beyond the veil of death."[44]

"Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God"

"and for families to be united eternally."

  • "Oh, brothers and sisters, families can be forever! Do not let the lures of the moment draw you away from them! Divinity, eternity, and family—they go together, hand in hand, and so must we! (italics in original)[45]

"The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife."

  • "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth...." (Genesis 1:28).
  • "Before leaving our discussion of unchanging plans, however, we need to remember that the adversary sponsors a cunning plan of his own. 34 It invariably attacks God’s first commandment for husband and wife to beget children. It tempts with tactics that include infidelity, unchastity, and other abuses of procreative power. Satan’s band would trumpet choice, but mute accountability. Nevertheless, his capacity has long been limited, “for he knew not the mind of God” (Moses 4:6)."[46]

"We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force."

  • "There seems to be a growing trend against marriage from degenerate areas of the world and a very strong trend toward marriage without children. Naturally the next question is, “Why marry?” And the “antimarriage revolution” comes into focus. Arguments are given that children are a burden, a tie, a responsibility. Many have convinced themselves that education, freedom from restraint and responsibility—that is the life. And unfortunately this benighted and destructive idea is taking hold of some of our own people."[47]

"the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

General statements

  • The voice of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in unmistakable terms warns:
“… sexual sin—the illicit sexual relations of men and women—stands, in its enormity, next to murder. The Lord has drawn no essential distinctions between fornication, adultery, and harlotry or prostitution. Each has fallen under his solemn and awful condemnation. … [Such cannot] … escape the punishments and the judgments which the Lord has declared against this sin. The day of reckoning will come just as certainly as night follows day.”
Then speaking of those who condone and justify evil whether from press or microphone or pulpit, they continue:
“They who would palliate this crime and say that such indulgence is but a sinless gratification of a normal desire, like appeasing hunger and thirst, speak filthiness with their lips. Their counsel leads to destruction; their wisdom comes from the father of lies.” (Message of the First Presidency to the Church, Improvement Era, November 1942, page 686.)[48]
  • "As we have said on previous occasions, certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication and homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, alcoholism, dishonesty, and crime generally, which threaten the total breakdown of the family and the home…"[49]
  • "There is a practice, now quite prevalent, for unmarried couples to live together, a counterfeit of marriage. They suppose that they shall have all that marriage can offer without the obligations connected with it. They are wrong! However much they hope to find in a relationship of that kind, they will lose more. Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate. Virtue, self-esteem, and refinement of character wither away. Claiming that it will not happen does not prevent the loss; and these virtues, once lost, are not easily reclaimed."[50]
  • "God Himself decreed that the physical expression of love, that union of male and female which has power to generate life, is authorized only in marriage."[51]
  • "Whether we like it or not, so many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness. The breaking of the seventh commandment usually means the breaking of one or more homes."[52]

Premarital sexual relations forbidden

  • "Let every youth keep himself from the compromising approaches and then with great control save himself from the degrading and life-damaging experience of sexual impurity."[53]

Adulterous sexual relations forbidden

  • "Now the lust of the heart and the lust of the eyes and the lust of the body bring us to the major sin. Let every man remain at home with his affections. Let every woman sustain her husband and keep her heart where it belongs—at home with her family."[54]
  • "And now a word of warning. One who destroys a marriage takes upon himself a very great responsibility indeed. Marriage is sacred! To willfully destroy a marriage, either your own or that of another couple, is to offend our God. Such a thing will not be lightly considered in the judgments of the Almighty and in the eternal scheme of things will not easily be forgiven. Do not threaten nor break up a marriage. Do not translate some disenchantment with your own marriage partner or an attraction for someone else into justification for any conduct that would destroy a marriage."[55]

Homosexual relations forbidden

Wikipedia has exhaustive summaries of teachings regarding homosexual sexual activity linked here.

  • "Every form of homosexuality is sin....May we repeat: Sex perversions of men and women can never replenish the earth and are definitely sin without excuse, and rationalizations are very weak; God will not tolerate it."[56]
  • "A modern prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, has warned us:... . when toleration for sin increases, the outlook is bleak and Sodom and Gomorrah days are certain to return." His predecessor, President Harold B. Lee, warned of the growing social acceptance of "that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah... adultery: and beside this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world... " Many today are as indecisive about the evils emerging around us—are as reluctant to renounce fully a wrong way of life—as was Lot's wife. Perhaps in this respect, as well as in the indicators of corruption of which sexual immorality is but one indicator, our present parallels are most poignant and disturbing. It was Jesus himself who said, "Remember Lot's wife." Indeed we should—and remember too all that the Savior implied with those three powerful words."[57]
  • In this day of the “new morality” as sex permissiveness is sometimes called, we should be made aware of the Lord’s concern about immorality and the seriousness of sex sins of all kinds.
We have come far in material progress in this century, but the sins of the ancients increasingly afflict the hearts of men today. Can we not learn by the experiences of others? Must we also defile our bodies, corrupt our souls, and reap destruction as have peoples and nations before us?
God will not be mocked. His laws are immutable. True repentance is rewarded by forgiveness, but sin brings the sting of death.
We hear more and more each day about the sins of adultery, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Homosexuality is an ugly sin, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved with it, it must be brought into the open.
It is the sin of the ages. It was present in Israel’s wandering as well as after and before. It was tolerated by the Greeks. It was prevalent in decaying Rome. The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are symbols of wretched wickedness more especially related to this perversion, as the incident of Lot’s visitors indicates.[58]

"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed."

  • We are appalled at the conscious effort of many of the people in this world to take it upon themselves, presumptive, to change the properly established patterns of social behavior established by the Lord, especially with regard to marriage, sex life, family life. We must say: “The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (See Isa. 29:14.)[59]
  • "The expression of our procreative powers is pleasing to God, but he has commanded that this be confined within the relationship of marriage."[60]
  • "...in the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love."[61]

"We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan."

  • “Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” (D&C 49:15–16)[62]
  • "Eternal love, eternal marriage, eternal increase! This ideal, which is new to many, when thoughtfully considered, can keep a marriage strong and safe. No relationship has more potential to exalt a man and a woman than the marriage covenant. No obligation in society or in the Church supersedes it in importance."[63]

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children."

  • "Make sure, young man, that you treat your wife with reverence and with respect. Treat her as your sweetheart, your loving companion, the mother of your children."[64]

"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness"

"to provide for their physical and spiritual needs...to teach them...to observe the commandments of God"

  • And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (D&C 68:25).

"to teach them to love and serve one another"

  • And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another (Mosiah 4:14-15).

"to teach them...to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live"

  • "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" (Articles of Faith 1:12).
  • "The desirability of this country will persist so long as its citizenry are a God–fearing people with the integrity to obey the law of the land. This includes the laws we do not like as well as the laws we do like."[65]
  • "Let our citizenship be spirited but always appropriate and befitting who we are."[66]
  • "Discipleship includes good citizenship. In this connection, if you are a careful student of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions—especially when the First Presidency has spoken out—the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people; and causes, not candidates."[67]

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony"

  • A higher and higher percentage of children grow up with only one parent. This is certainly not the way of the Lord. He expected for a father and a mother to rear their children. Certainly any who deprive their children of a parent will have some very stiff questions to answer. The Lord used parents in the plural and said if children were not properly trained “the sin be upon the heads of the parents.” (D&C 68:25.) That makes it a bit hard to justify broken homes. Numerous of the divorces are the result of selfishness. The day of judgment is approaching, and parents who abandon their families will find that excuses and rationalizations will hardly satisfy the Great Judge.[68]

"and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity"

  • "Once marriage vows are taken, absolute fidelity is essential—to the Lord and to one’s companion."[69]

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ"

  • "The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home and that the family can continue through eternity. All Christian doctrine is formulated to protect the individual, the home, and the family."[70]

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

  • "... the home and family have been the center of true civilization. Any distortion of the God-given program will bring dire consequences. The families worked together, played together, and worshiped God together."[71]
  • "We hope our parents are using the added time that has come from the consolidated schedule in order to be with, teach, love, and nurture their children. We hope you have not forgotten the need for family activity and recreation, for which time is also provided. Let your love of each member of your family be unconditional. Where there are challenges, you fail only if you fail to keep trying!"[72]

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness"

  • "Brethren, as patriarchs in your homes, be worthy watchmen."[73]
  • "It is the will of the Lord to strengthen and preserve the family unit. We plead with fathers to take their rightful place as the head of the house. We ask mothers to sustain and support their husbands and to be lights to their children."[74]

"and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families"

  • "Both men and women are to serve their families and others, but the specific ways in which they do so are sometimes different. For example, God has revealed through his prophets that men are to receive the priesthood, become fathers, and with gentleness and pure, unfeigned love they are to lead and nurture their families in righteousness as the Savior leads the Church (see Eph. 5:23 ). They have been given the primary responsibility for the temporal and physical needs of the family (see DNC 83:2)."[75]

"Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children"

  • "Women have the power to bring children into the world and have been given the primary duty and opportunity as mothers to lead, nurture, and teach them in a loving, spiritual environment."[76]

"fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners"

  • Most of what men and women must do to qualify for an exalted family life together is based on shared responsibilities and objectives. Many of the requirements are exactly the same for men and women. For example, obedience to the laws of God should be the same for men and women. Men and women should pray in the same way. They both have the same privilege of receiving answers to their prayers and thereby obtaining personal revelation for their own spiritual development....In this divine partnership, husbands and wives support one another in their God-given capacities. By appointing different accountabilities to men and women, Heavenly Father provides the greatest opportunity for growth, service, and progress. He did not give different tasks to men and women simply to perpetuate the idea of a family; rather, He did so to ensure that the family can continue forever, the ultimate goal of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan.[77]
  • "The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth. The first fundamental, then, is to work toward righteous unity."[78]

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

  • "We need to recognize the hard mortal realities in all of this and must use common sense and guidance by personal revelation. Some will not marry in this life. Some marriages will fail. Some will not have children. Some children will choose not to respond to even the most devoted and careful nurturing by loving parents. In some cases, health and faith may falter. Some who would rather remain at home may have to work. Let us not judge others, because we do not know their situation nor do we know what common sense and personal revelation have led them to do. We do know that throughout mortality, women and men will face challenges and tests of their commitment to God’s plan for them. We need to remember that trials and temptations are an important part of our lives. We should not criticize others for the way they choose to exercise their moral agency when faced with adversity or affliction."[79]

"Extended families should lend support when needed."

"We warn that individuals...will one day stand accountable before God" [if they]

  • "God bless you, our beloved people. Listen to the words of heaven. God is true. He is just. He is a righteous judge, but justice must come before sympathy and forgiveness and mercy. Remember, God is in his heavens. He knew what he was doing when he organized the earth. He knows what he is doing now. Those of us who break his commandments will regret and suffer in remorse and pain. God will not be mocked. Man has his free agency, it is sure, but remember, GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED. (See D&C 63:58.)"[80]
  • "That society which puts low value on marriage sows the wind and, in time, will reap the whirlwind—and thereafter, unless they repent, bring upon themselves a holocaust!"[81]

"violate covenants of chastity"

See above.

"abuse spouse or offspring"

  • Spouse abuse
    • CITE
    • CITE
  • Child abuse
    • Cite
    • CITE

"fail to fulfill family responsibilities"

  • "There is no lack of clarity in what the Lord has told us. We cannot shirk. He has placed the responsibility directly where it belongs, and he holds us accountable with regard to the duties of parents to teach their children correct principles and of the need to walk uprightly before the Lord—and there is no substitute for teaching our children by the eloquence of example."[82]

"the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets"

  • Why do we take our destiny in our own hands? From the building of the first colonial cabin, the home and family have been the center of true civilization. Any distortion of the God-given program will bring dire consequences....Could it be possible that many of us, like a cork in a stream, have been swept off our destiny line by false concepts, perilous ways, and doctrines of devils? By whom are we enticed? Have we accepted the easy way and veered off from the “strait and narrow” way to the easy and comfortable way and the broad way which leads to sorrowful ends?[83]
  • "As we have said on previous occasions, certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication and homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, alcoholism, dishonesty, and crime generally, which threaten the total breakdown of the family and the home…"[84]
  • "Society without basic family life is without foundation and will disintegrate into nothingness."[85]

"We call upon" all "to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family"

  • "Furthermore, 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. Whether from inadvertence, ignorance, or other causes, the efforts governments often make (ostensibly to help the family) sometimes only hurt the family more. There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. The more governments try in vain to take the place of the family, the less effective governments will be in performing the traditional and basic roles for which governments are formed in the first place."[86]


Question: Has the family proclamation been taught frequently?

Yes. This is an important point for judging the importance that Church leaders attach to it

Elder Neal L. Anderson taught:

There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many (emphasis added). Our doctrine is not difficult to find (emphasis added).[87]

Repeated Publication of the Proclamation

Reference to the Proclamation as event of historical significance

Teaching

Educational series (also ran in Ensign)


Question: Since there are people that are born intersex, experience gender dysphoria, or identify as transgender, does this invalidate the Latter-day Saint doctrine of eternal gender?

The Criticism

Some secularist critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints point to the existence of intersex humans, people who experience gender dysphoria, or people who identify as transgender in order to invalidate the doctrine of eternal, binary gender.

Intersex people are defined as those that:

are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies."[88]

Transgender people are those that identify with, dress as, and/or have gender-reassignment surgeries performed on them to become, identify with, and or act as a different gender than the one they were proclaimed to be at birth.

Gender dysphoria is the dissonance caused by not identifying with the gender (male or female) that one is proclaimed to be a part of at birth.

It is claimed that this invalidates the doctrine of gender as outlined by "The Family: A Proclamation to the World":

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.[89]

It should be noted here that "gender" is used synonymously with "biological sex".[90]

Our spirits are eternally gendered either male or female

One immediate point to make is that, according to the Family Proclamation above and the Doctrine and Covenants, our spirits are eternally gendered either male or female (D&C 49:15-17). A male or female spirit can still be housed in an intersex body. The existence of intersex individuals does not invalidate the possibility that we have male and female spirits only.

As it concerns transgender individuals, there are four logical possibilities:

  1. Their spirit has legitimately been housed in the wrong bodies by their choice.
  2. Their spirit has legitimately been housed in the wrong bodies by God's choice.
  3. Their spirit has legitimately been housed in the wrong body by the joint agreement of them and God.
  4. There is a deeper mental condition that doesn't allow their brains to accept that they actually belong to the right body.

We don't know which of these actually are happening. It's best to wait for science and revelation to converge. Eventually, we know they will. As President Russell M. Nelson has taught, "[t]here is no conflict between science and religion. Conflict only arises from an incomplete knowledge of either science or religion, or both[.]"[91]

Feelings are not Being

Some may be offended by the last possibility. It does remain a logical possibility.

Brigham Young University professor Ty Mansfield pointed out something important in regard to feelings not forming identity. He related it to sexuality but it can equally apply to gender dysphoria.

“Being gay” is not a scientific idea, but rather a cultural and philosophical one, addressing the subjective and largely existential phenomenon of identity. From a social constructionist/constructivist perspective, our sense of identity is something we negotiate with our environment. Environment can include biological environment, but our biology is still environment. From an LDS perspective, the essential spiritual person within us exists independent of our mortal biology, so our biology, our body is something that we relate to and negotiate our identity with, rather than something that inherently or essentially defines us. Also, while there has likely been homoerotic attraction, desire, behavior, and even relationships, among humans as long as there have been humans, the narratives through which sexuality is understood and incorporated into one’s sense of self and identity is subjective and culturally influenced. The “gay” person or personality didn’t exist prior to the mid-20th century.

In an LDS context, people often express concern about words that are used—whether they be “same-sex attraction,” which some feel denies the realities of the gay experience, or “gay,” “lesbian,” or “LGBT,” which some feels speaks more to specific lifestyle choices. What’s important to understand, however, is that identity isn’t just about the words we use but the paradigms and worldviews and perceptions of or beliefs about the “self” and “self-hood” through which we interpret and integrate our various experiences into a sense of personal identity, sexual or otherwise. And identity is highly fluid and subject to modification with change in personal values or socio-cultural context. The terms “gay,” “lesbian,” and “bisexual” aren’t uniformly understood or experienced in the same way by everyone who may use or adopt those terms, so it’s the way those terms or labels are incorporated into self-hood that accounts for identity. One person might identify as “gay” simply as shorthand for the mouthful “son or daughter of God who happens to experience romantic, sexual or other desire for persons of the same sex for causes unknown and for the short duration of mortality,” while another person experiences themselves as “gay” as a sort of eternal identity and state of being.

An important philosophical thread in the overall experience of identity, is the experience of “selfhood”—what it means to have a self, and what it means to “be true to” that self. The question of what it means to be “true to ourselves” is a philosophical rather than a scientific one. In her book Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self, award-winning science and medical writer Rita Carter explores the plurality of “selves” who live in each one of us and how each of those varied and sometimes conflicting senses of self inform various aspects of our identity(ies). This sense seems to be universal. In the movie The Incredibles, there’s a scene in which IncrediBoy says to Mr. Incredible, “You always, always say, ‘Be true to yourself,’ but you never say which part of yourself to be true to!”[92]

Thus, there is big difference between feelings and the meaning or labels that we assign to feelings. Thank goodness that feelings are not being. Couldn't we imagine a time where someone would want to change feelings that they didn't feel described their identity such as impulses for pornography, drugs, or violence? This does not mean that the author is comparing sexual orientation to bad impulses, this is simply to point out that feelings do not inherently control identity. We assign identity to feelings.

These points demonstrate that we all have to seek out something else to determine identity that is enduring, real, and meaningful. Some of us turn to God for that identity. Others may subconsciously or consciously create some form of a platonic entity to ground our morality and identity i.e. "Love binds the universe. Love is my religion". But the basic point still stands—our feelings may be used to form identity, but that identity--the identity based in our feelings that we are having now--isn't enduring; and we must turn to the unseen world to form abiding and real identity.

The Argument from Personal Revelation

There are often claims from members of the Church who identify as transgender and other members of the Church who support transgenderism that they have received personal revelation that they are meant to identify as the gender that they currently identify as and/or that gender is not meant to be binary.

There are often claims from members of the Church who identify as transgender and other members of the Church who support transgenderism that they have received personal revelation that the Church is wrong about this issue and that it will eventually accept transgenderism and so on in the future. Since this is an important theological topic that involves the entire human family and their eternal destiny, this type of revelation does not lie within the stewardship of those that identify as transgender or those that support same-sex marriage, but with the prophet of God (Doctrine and Covenants 28:2-4; 42:53-60; 112:20). We should wait for the Lord to reveal more officially as to what is occuring with transgender individuals. As it regards those that have felt like they've received revelation that gender isn't binary, the Savior told us that the one way we could protect ourselves against deception is to hold to his word (JS-Matthew 1:37) and he announces himself as the source of the revelation declaring that gender is binary (Doctrine and Covenants 49:28). Thus, it is likely that these individuals, if they have indeed felt revelation occur, have been deceived by false Spirits (Doctrine and Covenants 50:1-2) and their testimonies should be disregarded. If someone were to receive a revelation like this, it would be given to them for their own comfort and instruction. They would also be placed under strict commandment to not disseminate their revelation until it accords with the revelation of the prophets, God's authorized priesthood channels (Alma 12:9).

As a final word which we wish to emphasize:

FairMormon joins The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in unequivocally condemning the discrimination of any of God's children based upon gender (or gender identity), race, sexual identity and/or orientation, and/or religious affiliation..


Question: Is The Family: A Proclamation to the World against feminism?

Introduction to Question

In 1995, top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduced a nine-paragraph proclamation regarding the family called The Family: A Proclamation to the World. In it, the divine institution of the family is described and defended–– including primary gender roles for a man and wife in marriage.

This document has invited a lot of criticism from some of the more progressive critics of the Church. It has also been the source of confusion for many regular members of the Church that have feminist leanings since the document prescribes ideal gender roles. The question has been: Is the Proclamation against feminism?

This article explores the question.

Response to Question

Two Lines that Affirm Male and Female Equality

The document contains two lines that affirm male/female equality––thus demonstrating that the Proclamation is not against feminism.

The first is this:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

The second is this:

Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.

Notice the assumptions behind the lines: that males and females are capable of performing the same tasks and are encouraged to share each other’s loads.

Now, it is true that the Proclamation prescribes ideal gender roles (that is, roles that change not on preference but out of necessity) based upon what we are naturally ordered to biologically. This shouldn’t be offensive. Gender complementarianism is scientifically defensible and is a philosophy that affirms the moral equality of the two genders.[93] We should seek to fill our roles as prescribed by the Proclamation. But the Proclamation doesn’t exclude feminism. Notice that the second line assumes that wives will be able to take over their husbands’ responsibilities. Women should therefore have potential for lucrative careers to support their families––including those careers traditionally held by men.

The Proclamation may indeed be against certain strains of feminist thought--such as gender being merely a social construct. But it is not inherently against notions of moral equality of the genders. It does not say that females are fundamentally incapable of performing any task they wish. All the Proclamation intends to state is that there are psychobehavioral and physical differences between men and women that are both biologically and spiritually-determined and that these differences are optimized for producing, nurturing, and protecting children. It encourages us to fill the roles that we were most naturally ordered to so as to glorify men as men and women as women--not holding one to the other's standard of excellence.

Conclusion

It’s unfortunate that this has become such a common misunderstanding about the Proclamation; but hopefully this article will allow both “progressive” members and “conservative” members to find some common ground as we both seek to understand how both men and women can reach their fullest potential as children of God.


Question: What does the Family Proclamation mean when it says fathers “preside” over their families?

Part of family proclamation addresses general gender roles given to men and women. Fathers, it says, are to “preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” Mothers “are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” In these responsibilities, it says, “fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

The definition of the word “preside”

The etymology of the word “preside” is interesting. It traces back to the Latin words “prae” and “sedere.” When combined, they literally mean “to sit in front of.” It was used in Latin to signify “standing guard” and “superintending.” Thus, the word carries the dual meaning of protecting something and leading something (or someone). That is why the word is included in others like "president."

Husbands preside in the home

Church leaders have consistently taught that men preside in the home. Paul taught in Corinthians that “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”[94] The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, "It is the place of the man to stand at the head of his family."[95] President Joseph F. Smith reemphasized this when he taught, "In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father."[96]

The appointment for the man to preside comes from heaven, as taught by President Howard W. Hunter: "Of necessity there must be in the Church and in the home a presiding officer (see D&C 107:21). By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder (see Moses 4:22)."[97]

Husbands lead their families

The Church's General Handbook teaches:

Presiding in the family is the responsibility to help lead family members back to dwell in God’s presence. This is done by serving and teaching with gentleness, meekness, and pure love, following the example of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 20:26–28). Presiding in the family includes leading family members in regular prayer, gospel study, and other aspects of worship. Parents work in unity to fulfill these responsibilities.[98]

Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught:

The scriptures tell us, "The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and … to administer in spiritual things" (Doctrine and Covenants 107:8). Brethren, this means that we are to take the lead in our marriage and families in attending to the spiritual as well as physical welfare of our wives, children, and even extended family. . . .

Unfortunately, in some homes it is always the wife and mother who has to suggest—even sometimes plead—that the family gather for prayer or for home evening. This should not be. The women in our lives have the right to look to their husbands to assume their duty and to take the lead. A husband should counsel continually with his wife about the welfare of each of their children. … Most sisters are willing and eager to counsel with their husbands and can provide many helpful insights and recommendations, but it will be easier for them if their husband takes the initiative to talk with them and to plan together.[99]

Husbands work in unity with their wives

The goal of this life, as taught by scripture, is to become "of one heart and one mind."[100] Elder Boyd K. Packer taught that "[i]n the Church there is a distinct line of authority. We serve where called by those who preside over us. In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yoked together, sharing in decisions, always working together.”[101] Elder L. Tom Perry taught, "The father is the head in his family. . . . Remember, brethren, that in your role as leader in the family, your wife is your companion. . . . Therefore, there is not a president or a vice president in a family. The couple works together eternally for the good of the family.[102]

Presiding in righteousness

In all cases, men are to preside in love and righteousness. From the General Handbook we learn:

This [priesthood] authority can be used only in righteousness (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:36). It is exercised by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love, and kindness (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42). Leaders counsel with others [and parents counsel together] in a spirit of unity and seek the Lord’s will through revelation (see Doctrine and Covenants 41:2). . . . Those who exercise priesthood authority do not force their will on others. They do not use it for selfish purposes. If a person uses it unrighteously, “the heavens withdraw themselves [and] the Spirit of the Lord is grieved” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:37).[103]

A husband can lose the efficacy of his priesthood power if he is not keeping his life in accordance with the moral laws and other statutes laid out in scripture. That is made clear in Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-44 which includes telling men that they cannot act in "unrighteous dominion" over others. Thus, if a man's family is to receive guidance from God, he is obligated to act in accordance with the commandments. He should strive to include his wife in the leadership of his family as much as possible. His authority is not equivalent to a dictatorship.

Paul counseled married men to “love [their] wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” “So ought men,” he says, “to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church[.]”[104]-->


Question: Was “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” drafted by lawyers in Hawaii in response to legal concerns the Church had over the legalization of gay marriage?

The main concern of Church leaders, and the only one that they seem to have had in consciousness when they first started drafting the proclamation, was a conference held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 on the family that did not mention marriage

It is claimed by some that “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was drafted by lawyers in Hawaii in response to legal concerns the Church had over the legalization of gay marriage.[105] Additionally it is claimed that the legalization of same-sex marriage and justifying an irrational homophobia ad hoc was the main concern motivating the creation of the proclamation.

Mormonr.org documents how "[i]n 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court began hearing a case on gay marriage, known as Baehr v. Lewin (later Miike).[106] In 1994 the brethren begin the process of writing the proclamation in a 'revelatory process' with members of the Quorum of the Twelve."[107] They also state that "Lynn Wardle, a BYU law professor known for his opposition to gay marriage, consulted on the Church filing in Hawaii's Baehr v. Miike case. Wardle may have also consulted with drafting the family proclamation, but there is no known evidence to support this."[108] This is as far as anyone can come to saying that Church lawyers drafted the proclamation. We have evidence that the drafting of the proclamation was done by Elders Nelson, Faust, and Oaks in the winter of 1994 and by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve for the first 9 months of the year 1995.

Dallin H. Oaks' biography In the Hands of the Lord: The Life of Dallin H. Oaks (2021) authored by Richard Turley provides additional context:

During the fall of 1994, at the urging of its Acting President, Boyd K. Packer, the Quorum of the Twelve discussed the need for a scripture-based proclamation to set forth the Church’s doctrinal position on the family. A committee consisting of Elders Faust, Nelson, and Oaks was assigned to prepare a draft. Their work, for which Elder Nelson was the principal draftsman, was completed over the Christmas holidays. After being approved by the Quorum of the Twelve, the draft was submitted to the First Presidency on January 9, 1995, and warmly received.


Over the next several months, the First Presidency took the proposed proclamation under advisement and made needed amendments. Then on September 23, 1995, in the general Relief Society meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and broadcast throughout the world, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” publicly for the first time.

During the period that the proclamation was being drafted, Church leaders grew concerned about efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Hawaii. As that movement gained momentum, a group of Church authorities and Latter-day Saint legal scholars, including Elder Oaks, recommended that the Church oppose the Hawaii efforts…[109]

The above quotation from Dallin H. Oaks' biography notes that the initial impetus for drafting the proclamation came from Boyd K. Packer. Boyd K. Packer related the following about the origins of the proclamation at a devotional given at BYU in 2003:

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.”[110]

Similarly, Elder M. Russell Ballard related:

Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family…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.[111]

We note that the United Nations indeed held a conference in Beijing, China (the Fourth World Conference on Women) from the 4–15 of September 1995 and one in Cairo, Egypt (the "Cairo Conference on Population and Development") from 5–13 September 1994. The Beijing Conference probably had little to no impact on the drafting of the proclamation given that the proclamation had already been drafted, substantially edited, and was about read to the Church by Gordon B. Hinckley on 23 September 1995. The Deseret News reported on 14 March 1995 that the United Nations was holding a conference celebrating the International Year of the Family that week in Salt Lake City.[112] The U.N. had designated the year 1994 as the International Year of the Family. The First Presidency released a statement on 1 January 1994 endorsing the U.N.'s designation.[113] 5 days after the Deseret News' report on the UN coming to Salt Lake, they reported the alarming speech of a member of the John Birch Society before a gathering of about 400 in Salt Lake City. The speaker, William Grigg, warned of what he perceived were the United Nations' attempts at "redefining the family out of existence[.]"[114]

Thus, this is the potential timeline/narrative that arises:

  • 17 December 1990: With the encouragement of William E. Woods, a gay rights activist, three same-gender couples applied for marriage licenses at the Hawaii Department of Health.
  • 12 April 1991: The three couples are denied the marriage licenses
  • 1 May 1991: The three couples file the lawsuit.
  • 1993: The Hawaii Supreme Court begins to hear the case.
  • 1 February 1994: The First Presidency releases a statement saying "[w]e encourage members to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender."[115]
  • 5–13 September 1994: The United Nations holds their conference in Egypt.
  • Sometime between mid-September to December 1994: Boyd K. Packer read the proceedings of the conference in Cairo in 1994. Concerned about the conference coming to Salt Lake City in March of the next year, he and others (likely the Church's representatives at Cairo) provided encouragement for the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to write a proclamation.
  • Christmas and New Years 1994: The initial drafting of the proclamation takes place by Elders Nelson, Faust, and Oaks with Elder Nelson as the principal draftsman. During this time, Church representatives grow concerned over the efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii and, with the encouragement of Latter-day Saint legal scholars and Dallin H. Oaks, decided to formally oppose those efforts.
  • 24 February 1995: The Associated Press reports that the Church had announced its petition to intervene in the case.[116]
  • 4–15 September 1995: The United Nations' conference in Beijing happened and Church representatives attended the conference. Sometime in the eight days after their being at the conference, they may have reported on their findings to top Church leaders. Minor edits (at best) would be made to the proclamation.
  • 23 September 1995: Gordon B. Hinckley reads the proclamation at the Relief Society meeting in response to these concerns.
  • 3 June 1997: The Church includes the proclamation as part of an amicus curiae brief regarding the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court.[117]
  • 3 November 1998: The state of Hawaii passes a constitutional amendment reserving marriage for man-woman unions.
  • 3 December 1999: The Hawaii state Supreme Court dismisses the case on the grounds that reserving marriage to man-woman unions does not violate the state's constitution.

It's certain that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve knew about the efforts in Hawaii prior to Packer providing the initial impetus to draft the proclamation. But, according to the documentable accounts of President Packer, Elder Ballard, and President Oaks, those efforts probably weren't in leaders' immediate consciousness when initially beginning to draft the family proclamation. They weren't the main concern on leaders' hearts when beginning to draft the proclamation.

Economic and Social Concerns with the Breakdown of the Family in the 80s and 90s Motivating the Proclamation

Another Latter-day Saint, Walker Wright, wrote an insightful post outlining the economic and social costs of the breakdown of the family including the rise of fatherless homes and the amount of people on welfare being observed in the United States in late 80s and 90s that likely influenced the final shape of the proclamation.[118] Elder Gordon B. Hinckley stated in the October 1993 General Conference:

We in America are saddled with a huge financial deficit in our national budget. This has led to astronomical debt. But there is another deficit which, in its long-term implications, is more serious. It is a moral deficit, a decline in values in the lives of the people, which is sapping the very foundation of our society. It is serious in this land. And it is serious in every other nation of which I know. Some months ago there appeared in the Wall Street Journal what was spoken of as an index of what is happening to our culture. I read from this statement: "Since 1960, the U.S. population has increased 41%; the gross domestic product has nearly tripled; and total social spending by all levels of government [has experienced] more than a fivefold increase. ... "But during the same ... period there has been a 560% increase in violent crime; a 419% increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling in divorce rates; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than 200% increase in the teenage suicide rate" (William J. Bennett, "Quantifying America's Decline," Wall Street Journal, 15 Mar. 1993).[119]

Elder Neal A. Maxwell decried the rise of illegitimate children, children not having functioning fathers more and more, the large percentage of juvenile criminals coming from fatherless homes, less children being born today and living continuously with their own mother and father, the rise of adolescents contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and the percentage of children that had both of their parents or their only parent in the workforce in the April 1994 General Conference.[120]

Leaders couldn't have been concerned with just same-sex marriage. The proclamation addressed a wide range of issues. Wright concludes:

While the Proclamation dedicates considerable space to heteronormative marriage and gender essentialism, it also focuses on the rearing of children: “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations…Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity” (italics mine). The portion on father/mother responsibilities is typically interpreted as a mere restatement of traditional (or outdated) gender roles. However, the concept that “fathers are to preside over their families…and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families” may stem from the political and public discussions revolving around fatherless families and welfare-dependent mothers (recall the absent father from Moyers’ documentary). “Work” is listed among multiple “principles” upon which “successful families and marriages are established…” On an even more dire note, the Proclamation warns “that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God” (italics mine). The language surrounding parental responsibility and specifically working, present, faithful fathers fits quite well into the national politics of the day. Statements similar to the Proclamation’s final line could be pulled from any of the above cited works: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked by a reporter what his greatest concerns were as President of the Church as he celebrated his 85th birthday in June 1995. He replied: “I am concerned about family life in the Church. We have wonderful people, but we have too many whose families are falling apart. … I think [this] is my most serious concern.”[121] Just three months after, he read the family proclamation to the General Relief Society Meeting. "It was no coincidence[,]" writes Bruce C. Hafen, "that this solemn declaration was issued precisely when the Lord’s prophet felt that, of all the subjects on his mind, unstable family life in the Church was his greatest concern."[122] President Hinckley decried the breakdown of the family in society in the October 1995 General Conference.[123] He placed the rise of the welfare state and the breakdown of the family close to same-sex marriage as among the social ills the Church should combat.

How bitter are the fruits of casting aside standards of virtue. The statistics are appalling. More than one-fourth of all children born in the United States are born out of wedlock, and the situation grows more serious. Of the teens who give birth, 46 percent will go on welfare within four years; of unmarried teens who give birth, 73 percent will be on welfare within four years. I believe that it should be the blessing of every child to be born into a home where that child is welcomed, nurtured, loved, and blessed with parents, a father and a mother, who live with loyalty to one another and to their children. I am sure that none of you younger women want less than this. Stand strong against the wiles of the world…There are those who would have us believe in the validity of what they choose to call same-sex marriage. Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others.

This may be further evidence that legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii was not the main concern of Church leaders when beginning to draft the proclamation.

Even if the proclamation were drafted with the Hawaii case being the primary concern to be addressed, two things must be kept in mind

Even if the proclamation were drafted with the Hawaii case being the primary concern to be addressed, two things must be kept in mind:

1. Legal documents can still be revelatory

The first of these is that legal documents can still be revelatory and authoritative. Some sections of the Doctrine and Covenants started out as (1) council minutes, (2) official statements of church policy written by lawyers like Oliver Cowdery, (3) letters written by Joseph Smith, (4) excerpts from peoples’ notes recording things that Joseph Smith taught. Examples include D&C 102, 122, 123, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, and 135.

Those who are bothered by a revelation or doctrinal disquisition being first drafted by others may be comforted knowing that many different kinds of documents have been ratified as binding, holy, and authoritative even when they weren't traditional, dictated revelations.

Additionally, all revelations have a historical context in which they were given. No revelation comes in a vacuum. Just because the proclamation arose in an environment that had questions about marriage, sexuality, and their nature, that does not negate nor diminish the authority of the proclamation on our lives.

2. The doctrines contained within the Proclamation are doctrines long taught by the Church

The second is that the doctrines contained within the proclamation are doctrines long taught by the Church. We've addressed this in other articles on the FAIR Wiki. This shows that, regardless of how the doctrines were embodied in the proclamation, they have long been concerns that the Church has had. The doctrines of the proclamation were not created ad hoc in order to justify an irrational homophobia.


Question: What sort of scriptural support is there for the doctrines of The Family: A Proclamation to the World?

Introduction to Question

Many have asked what sort of scriptural support exists for the Family Proclamation. This article provides a resource that can answer this question.

Response to Question

Scriptural Insert

A website has been created called thefamilyproclamation.org. This website provides scriptures, general authority quotes, scientific research, and stories about applying the doctrines of the family proclamation. They have an annotated scriptural insert of the family proclamation with scriptures that can support virtually each line of the proclamation. That insert is pictured below:

Family Proc Scipture Insert 1 .png
Family Proc Insert 2.png

Line by Line Analysis

The same website has a section that provides line-by-line analysis of the family proclamation. Scriptures are listed in support of its doctrines.

Conclusion

The Family: A Proclamation to the World is a divinely inspired document. Its authors have repeatedly testified to its revelatory status. We should follow its teachings and see the rewards that we reap because of our obedience to it.


Question: Is gender a social construct?

Introduction to Question

It’s a common refrain among the cultural left of the West that gender is a social construct.[124] A social construct is any category of thought that is created and imposed onto reality through and because of human, social interaction. Key to the idea of a social construct is that the category of thought is not extracted from reality but imposed onto reality. For instance, we can all agree that the boundaries of nations are good examples of a social construct. At a finite moment in time, someone had to come along and say "here is where the boundaries of what we'll call the United States are going to be!" From that moment on, we have acted as if the boundaries of the United States have an objective, primitive existence when they don't.

The view of gender as a social construct stands in stark contrast to the ideas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that "[g]ender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."[125]

When saying gender in the statement “gender is a social construct”, most are referring to the idea that there aren't any sex-specific, biologically-determined, psychobehavioral differences between men and women. According to these people, there are no substantive differences in preference or behavior between men and women. Postmodern-adjacent philosopher Judith Butler refers to gender as conceived here as a “performance”.[126] This performance is an outward showing or demonstration of the expectations that have been imposed onto a person through speech acts in their cultural environment. In other words, what we call “femininity” and “masculinity” is just people conforming to how society says that a man or woman “should act” and nothing more. There is no biological, neuroanatomical basis for any cognitive or behavioral differences between men and women. How a man or woman "should act" is merely an imposition from broader society for a particular social purpose—in this case the continuing replenishing of society with healthy citizens to run that society's economic and other political infrastructure.

When others say gender in the statement "gender is a social construct", they mean to say that the biological sex binary of male and female itself is a social construct. Butler in a 1994 book chapter regards the immutability of the body as pernicious since it “successfully buries and masks the genealogy of power relations by which it is constituted”.[127] “In short,” summarizes social conservative philosopher Ryan T. Anderson, “‘the body’ conceived as something in particular is all about power.”[128]

Some people refer to both the male-female sex binary and cognitive-behavioral differences when saying gender in the statement "gender is a social construct".

The theory that gender is a social construct is the brainchild of second-wave feminism. Simone De Beauvoir is thought to be the mother of the movement. She is famous for the saying from her 1949 book The Second Sex that "[o]ne is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine."[129] Second-wave feminism "broadened the debate [from merely about the ownership of property and suffrage, such as under first-wave feminism] to include a wider range of issues: sexuality, family, domesticity, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. It was a movement that was focused on critiquing the patriarchal, or male-dominated, institutions and cultural practices throughout society. Second-wave feminism also drew attention to the issues of domestic violence and marital rape, created rape-crisis centers and women's shelters, and brought about changes in custody laws and divorce law."[130] Key to undermining the conception of female as interested in domestic affairs was "undoing the myth" that there were sex-based, biologically-determined, psychobehavioral differences between men and women. Thus, second-wave feminists, and especially those involved in neuroscience and psychology, have been vocal for many years that gender is a social construct, and that there are no substantive brain differences between men and women that lead to differences in cognition and behavior. All of this theorizing and scholarship was toward the end of providing greater political equality for men and women. The claim that gender is a social construct now dominates most halls of academic learning in the West. While we can recognize the substantial and wonderful differences that have been made in society because of feminism including greater learning, financial, and professional opportunities for women as well as greater political power and influence, we can also recognize the deficiencies in the social constructionist theory of gender and theorize about new ways that themes of equality, equity, justice, fairness, sexism, and misogyny can be potentially reworked and retooled with our understanding of brain differences. We can celebrate men qua men and women qua women.

This article will respond to the social constructionist theory of gender under both meanings of gender as well as provide some resources for understanding other themes better.

Response to Question

The Two Sex Gametes and Their Implications for the Male-Female Sex Binary

It is important to start by substantiating the existence of the male-female sex binary since, without it, sex-specific differences in cognition and behavior have no firm foundation. Without the existence of categories like male and female, there is no such thing as a "male brain" nor "female brain".

As explained by the atheist, lesbian neuroscientist, sex researcher, and columnist Dr. Debra Soh:

Biological sex is either male or female. Contrary to what is commonly believed, sex is defined not by chromosomes or our genitals or hormonal profiles, but by gametes, which are mature reproductive cells. There are only two types of gametes: small ones called sperm that are produced by males, and large ones called eggs that are produced by females, There are no intermediate types of gametes between egg and sperm cells. Sex is therefore binary. It is not a spectrum.[131]

It is because of the existence of the two and only two gametes that we are genetically evolved and constructed as human beings to be a segment of the population that carries and produces one gamete or the other: males or females. It is also by reason of the existence of the two gametes that intersex conditions are considered disorders of sexual development. A person was meant to develop and be born as either male or female.

The male-female gender binary exists. This is not a category of thought that we have imposed onto reality but one that we have extracted from it.

Evidence For Neuroanatomical and Correlative Psychobehavioral Differences Between Men and Women

There is a lot of evidence for neuroanatomical and correlative psychobehavioral differences between men and women cited below.[132]

Much of today's society conflates the concept of gender with personality. For instance, there are many different gender identities that one can choose from according to much of the modern cultural and political left. One of these is to be "non-binary". Those that identify as non-binary typically identify as such because they do not conform to stereotypically masculine nor feminine ways of thinking and behaving. In most cases they are born male or female and present as such but, later in life, believe that they don't identify with their birth sex. It's important to remember that one can be gender non-conforming without necessarily having to identify as something other than their birth sex. Indeed, there are masculine women and effeminate men. Also, one does not need to be stereotypically masculine in every respect to be considered masculine or feminine. For its part, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defines masculinity as acquiring the bodily and cognitive capabilities to do three things in the context of family life: preside over one's family, protect one's family, and provide for one's family. As for femininity, it is defined as acquiring the cognitive and bodily capabilities to nurture one's family. Father and mother have these primary roles but share in the other's roles and aid the other in those roles. What's great about these definitions is that, in the context of masculinity, masculinity is defined quite narrowly such that a man can love cooking, musicals, knitting, and other stereotypically feminine things but still be masculine insofar as he also acquires the skills necessary to play the three roles listed above on behalf of his family and those around him. In the context of femininity, a woman can like and do stereotypically masculine things and still be a feminine woman so long as she acquires the bodily and cognitive skills necessary to nurture her family and those around her. Even if you don't have masculine nor feminine capabilities, there is still your body to confront which, in 99% of cases, will be genetically constructed as male or female. You can't identify as something that contradicts plain reality. If you are a more effeminate man, you don't have to identify as anything other than that: an effeminate man. There is indeed a spectrum of masculinity and femininity that one can be a part of. But one's greater or lesser masculinity or femininity should not lead someone to change their bodies which are, in 99% of cases, male or female.

It is important to recognize that just because the author believes that gender (as behavior and cognition differences) has a biological basis, that does not mean that we are committed to the notion that socialization plays no role in how we shape our thinking or behavior. Also, certain ideas about gender may indeed be social constructs. Differences also exist at the individual level. Debra Soh explains:

To claim that there are no differences between the sexes when looking at group averages, or that culture has greater influence than biology; simply isn't true. Socialization shapes the extent to which our gender is expressed or suppressed, but it doesn't dictate whether someone will be masculine or feminine, or whether she or he will be gender-conforming or gender-atypical.


Let me explain: Whether a trait is deemed "masculine" or "feminine" is culturally defined, but whether a person gravitates toward traits that are considered masculine or feminine is driven by biology. For example, in the Western world, a shaved head is viewed as masculine, and the majority of people sporting a shaved head are men. For women who choose to shave their head as an expression of who they are, they are likely more masculine than the average woman, and will probably be more male-typical in other areas of their life, too. From a biological standpoint, compared with other women, there's a good chance they were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in utero.

If, in an alternate universe, a shaved head was seen as a feminine trait, we would expect to see the reverse—most people who shaved their head would be women, and any men who chose to do so would likely be more feminine than other men, and exposed to lower levels of testosterone in the womb.

For someone who is gender non-conforming, this is similarly influenced by biology, but the extent to which they will feel comfortable expressing their gender nonconformity (through, say, the way they dress or carry themselves) will be influenced by social factors, like parental upbringing and cultural messaging. Social influence cannot, however, override biology. No matter how much parents or teachers or peers frown upon gender nonconformity (or gender conformity, for that matter), a person will gravitate toward the same interests and behaviors, but he or she may feel more inclined to hide that part of themselves.[133]

Latter-day Saint Theology and Gender

As stated above, Latter-day Saints hold to gender being an essential characteristic as someone's eternal being. This understanding is gleaned from the scriptures of the faith.

The scriptures teach that the human spirit (or at least a part of it) is eternal.[134] Prior to being given mortal bodies, the spirits of humans were created as male or female.[135] Spirit is believed to be made of some kind of physical matter.[136] Thus, the Latter-day Saint scriptures appear to teach that a part of human spirits is eternal while another part of it is created from perhaps more elementary spiritual matter particles. Latter-day Saints tend to call these parts a person's spiritual intelligence (which is eternal going backwards and forwards) and a person's spirit body (which is created). All people's spirits, from eternity past to eternity future, will be sired in some sense by a Heavenly Mother and Father.

Some Latter-day Saints (under what we'll call TSGA: "Theory of Spirit Gender A") believe that our gender is a part of only our intelligence and others (under what we'll call TSGB: "Theory of Spirit Gender B") believe that it is a part of only our spirit body. Another possibility (under what we'll call TSGC: "Theory of Spirit Gender C") may be that gendered ontologies are a part of a person's intelligence and are then added upon and expanded with a person's spirit body. Ultimately, it is not known exactly how and when gender becomes an eternal characteristic of someone's identity.

No matter which way you slice the theology, it is clear that gender is not a concept that was ever created. Some critics may be tempted to claim that gender is socially constructed in Latter-day Saint theology, but review of the scriptures and other official pronouncements declared to be inspired and authoritative contradicts that claim. Under TSGA, gender has always existed as a brute fact regarding a person's intelligence. Under TSGB, a divine feminine and masculine have existed from eternity past and will exist into eternity future and thus the concept of male or female gender was never created while our spirits' particular gender was.[137] Under TSGC, both of these are true: gender is native to our intelligences and added upon with our spirit bodies by heavenly parents who have always been male or female and always will be male or female.

Key to understanding Latter-day Saint theology of gender and its importance to Latter-day Saints is the idea of gender complementarianism. That is: men and women play complementary roles and have complementary behaviors that contribute to the greater whole of producing and rearing children. For Latter-day Saints, this complementarity is something that is essential to the function of our mortal and eternal lives. That is why Latter-day Saints (and, at least in part, religious people more broadly) defend differences between men and women so much. There is something about men and women, qua men and qua women, that makes them special and contributes to the broader order of the cosmos. Gendered behavior and bodies are deeply meaningful to Latter-day Saints and signatures of the Eternal Mother and Father and their relationship. As stated by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them."[138]

It is certainly the case that Latter-day Saints can create an understanding of complementarianism that is more rigorously based in scripture, science, and sound philosophy. However, it is clear that complementarianism is a necessary belief for fidelity to the basic, rudimentary statements of the scriptures and other pronouncements declared to be inspired and authoritative such as the Family Proclamation cited above.

Rethinking Sexism, Misogyny, Equality, and Morality

In noting that there are sex differences in cognition and behavior between men and women, it may now be necessary to reevaluate how we consider themes of sexism, equality, misogyny, and more since much of the current moral and political discourse is based on an understanding of those themes that is informed by the assertion that gender is a social construct. We have written an article linked below that treats those themes philosophically and scripturally that we encourage our readers to be familiar with.


Notes

  1. David B. Haight, "Be A Strong Link," Ensign 30 (November 2000).
  2. Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," Ensign 28 (February 1998).
  3. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World," Ensign 25 (November 1995): 98.
  4. Boyd K. Packer, "The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character," CES Fireside (2 February 2003).
  5. Neal A. Anderson, "Trial of Your Faith," Ensign 42 (November 2012).
  6. "Approaching Mormon Doctrine, LDS Newsroom (4 May 2007).
  7. D. Todd Christofferson, "The Doctrine of Christ," Ensign 42 (May 2012).
  8. Boyd K. Packer, "Fledgling Finches and Family Life, BYU Campus Education Week Devotional, 18 August 2009.
  9. Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," Ensign 28 (February 1998).
  10. Boyd K. Packer, "Proclamation on the Family," Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast (9 February 2008).
  11. David B. Haight, "Be A Strong Link," Ensign 30 (November 2000).
  12. M. Russell Ballard, "Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers," Ensign 29 (November 1999).
  13. M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," Ensign 35 (November 2005).
  14. M. Russell Ballard, "Let Our Voices Be Heard," Ensign 33 (November 2003).
  15. Boyd K. Packer, "Counsel to Youth," Ensign 41 (November 2011).
  16. Boyd K. Packer, "Parents in Zion," Ensign 28 (October 1998).
  17. M. Russell Ballard, "Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers," Ensign 29 (November 1999).
  18. L. Tom Perry, "Obedience to Law Is Liberty," Ensign 43 (May 2013).
  19. Neal A. Maxwell, "Sharing Insights from My Life," BYU Devotional 12 Jan 1999.
  20. Henry B. Eyring, "The Family," Ensign 28 (February 1998).
  21. Robert D. Hales, "'If Thou Wilt Enter into Life, Keep the Commandments'," Ensign 26 (May 1996).
  22. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Plan and the Proclamation," Ensign 47, no. 11 (November 2017): 30–31.
  23. W. Eugene Hansen, "Children and the Family," Ensign 28 (May 1998).
  24. Eran A. Call, "The Home: A Refuge and Sanctuary," Ensign 28 (November 1998).
  25. Claudio R.M. Costa, "Don't Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today," Ensign 37 (November 2007).
  26. 26.0 26.1 M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," Ensign 35 (November 2005).
  27. Dallin H. Oaks, "As He Thinketh in His Heart," evening with a General Authority (February 2013)
  28. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World," Ensign (November 1995), 98.
  29. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  30. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  31. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  32. Russell M. Nelson, "The Canker of Contention," Ensign (May 1989).
  33. Boyd K. Packer, The Things of the Soul (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 228 [Address given to Brigham Young University student body 14 April 1970.]
  34. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 272.
  35. Ezra Taft Benson, "To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church," Ensign (May 1988).
  36. Neal A. Maxwell, "Family Perspectives," BYU Devotional, 15 January 1974
  37. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 272.
  38. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 428.
  39. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign (November 1993).
  40. James E. Talmage, "The Eternity of Sex," Young Woman's Journal 25 (October 1914), 602–3 as found in Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. and ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980), 137 n. 4.
  41. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  42. Boyd K. Packer, "For Time and All Eternty," Ensign (November 1993).
  43. Boyd K. Packer, "The Play and the Plan," CES Fireside, 7 May 1995, Kirkland, Washington.
  44. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  45. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  46. Russell M. Nelson, "Constancy Amid Change," Ensign (November 1993).
  47. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  48. Spencer W. Kimball, "Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future," Ensign (May 1971).
  49. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  50. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  51. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  52. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  53. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  54. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  55. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  56. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  57. Neal A. Maxwell, Look Back At Sodom: A timely account from imaginary Sodom Scrolls (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1975).
  58. Spencer W. Kimball, "The Foundations of Righteousness," Ensign (November 1977).
  59. Spencer W. Kimball, "Why Call Me Lord, Lord and Do Not the Things Which I Say?," Ensign (May 1975).
  60. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign (November 1993).
  61. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 311.
  62. Cited in this context, for example, in Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  63. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  64. Boyd K. Packer, The Things of the Soul (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 228 [Address given to Brigham Young University student body 14 April 1970.]
  65. James E. Faust, "The Integrity of Obeying the Law," Freedom Festival Fireside, Provo, Utah, 2 July 1995; cited in James P. Bell and James E. Faust, "Citizenship" in In The Strength Of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999), 274.
  66. Neal A. Maxwell, "All Hell Is Moved," BYU Devotional (8 November 1977).
  67. Neal A. Maxwell, "A More Determined Discipleship," Ensign (February 1979).
  68. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  69. Russell M. Nelson, "Children of the Covenant," Ensign (May 1995).
  70. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  71. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  72. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  73. Spencer W. Kimball, "Strengthening the Family, the Basic Unit of the Church," Ensign (May 1978).
  74. Joseph Fielding Smith, "Counsel to the Saints and to the World," Ensign (July 1972), 27.
  75. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  76. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  77. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  78. Ezra Taft Benson, "Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships," Ensign (November 1982).
  79. M. Russell Ballard, "Equality Through Diversity," Ensign (November 1993).
  80. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  81. Boyd K. Packer, "Marriage," Ensign (May 1981).
  82. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  83. Spencer W. Kimball, "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign (November 1974).
  84. Spencer W. Kimball, "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil," Ensign (May 1979).
  85. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  86. Spencer W. Kimball, "Families Can Be Eternal," Ensign (November 1980).
  87. Neal A. Anderson, "Trial of Your Faith," Ensign (November 2012).
  88. "Intersex," Wikipedia, accessed January 4, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex.
  89. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accessed January 4, 2019, https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&old=true.
  90. "General Conference Leadership Meetings Begin," Church Newsroom, accessed October 7, 2019, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-first-presidency-leadership-session. “'Finally, the long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in The Family: A Proclamation to the World 23 years ago will not change. They may be clarified as directed by inspiration.' For example, 'the intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation and as used in Church statements and publications since that time is biological sex at birth.'”
  91. "Elder Nelson: 'There Is No Conflict Between Science and Religion'," LDS Living, April 17, 2015, https://www.ldsliving.com/Elder-Nelson-There-Is-No-Conflict-Between-Science-and-Religion-/s/78668.
  92. Ty Mansfield, "'Mormons can be gay, they just can’t do gay': Deconstructing Sexuality and Identity from an LDS Perspective," (presentation, FairMormon Conference, Provo, UT, 2014).
  93. Bruce Goldman, "Two minds: the cognitive differences between men and women," Stanford Medicine, Stanford University, May 22, 2017, https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html; "'Two Minds' two years later: Still curious about sex differences in cognition? Here are some resources," Stanford Scope Blog, October 24, 2019, https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2019/10/24/two-minds-two-years-later-still-curious-about-sex-differences-in-cognition-here-are-some-resources/; John Stossel, "The Science: Male Brain vs Female Brain," YouTube, October 15, 2019, video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTEi2-FAEZE; David C. Geary, "The Real Causes of Human Sex Differences," Quilette, October 20, 2020, https://quillette.com/2020/10/20/the-real-causes-of-human-sex-differences/; "The Ideological Refusal to Acknowledge Evolved Sex Differences," Quillette, September 1, 2022, https://quillette.com/2022/09/01/the-ideological-refusal-to-acknowledge-evolved-sex-differences/; Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, 3rd ed. (Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2020). Indeed, every single cell of our body is influenced by our sex. See Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences; Theresa M. Wizemann, Mary-Lou Pardue, eds., Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter? (Washington D.C.: National Academies Press (US), 2001), Executive Summary, 2, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222291/#!po=1.11111. For further info on male-female neuroanatomy and psychobehavior, see Amber N. V. Ruigrock et. al, “A meta-analysis of sex differences in human brain structure,” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 39 (2014): 34–50; Larry Cahill, “A Half-Truth is a Whole Lie: On the Necessity of Investigating Sex Influences on the Brain,” Endocrinology 153 (2012): 2542; “His Brain, Her Brain,” Scientific American, October 1, 2012. For a paradigm of gender compatible with the Gospel, see Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter, 2017), chap. 7. For the most thorough coverage of the literature exploring sex differences in neuroanatomy and psychobehavior in one book, see Charles Murray, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class (New York: Twelve, 2020), 11–127.
  94. 1 Corinthians 11:3
  95. "Chapter 42: Family: The Sweetest Union for Time and for Eternity," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.
  96. "Editorial Thoughts: The Rights of Fatherhood," Juvenile Instructor 37:5 (1 March 1902), 146.
  97. "Being a Righteous Husband and Father," October 1994 general conference.
  98. "Parents and Children", General Handbook, 2.1.3.
  99. D. Todd Christofferson, “To the Brethren of the Priesthood: Your Spiritual Leadership,” Chile multistake conference, Aug. 26, 2018; as cited in Dallin H. Oaks, “Keeping the Faith on the Front Line,” Ensign, June 2020 [digital only].
  100. Moses 7:18; Philippians 2:2; 1 Peter 3:15; Doctrine and Covenants 38:27.
  101. Boyd K. Packer, “The Relief Society,” Ensign 28, no. 5 (May 1998): 73.
  102. "Fatherhood: An Eternal Calling," April 2004 general conference.
  103. "Exercising Priesthood Authority Righteously," General Handbook, 3.4.4.
  104. Ephesians 5:25-29
  105. The claim has its origins in Laura Compton, "From Amici to 'Ohana: The Hawaiian Roots of the Family Proclamation," Rational Faiths, May 15, 2015, https://rationalfaiths.com/from-amici-to-ohana/.
  106. Baehr v. Lewin (1993) was a case where three same-sex couples petitioned the Hawaii Supreme Court to recognize their unions.
  107. The Family Proclamation was published in 1995. Dallin H. Oaks explained that it was developed over the course of a year: "Subjects were identified and discussed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve for nearly a year. Language was proposed, reviewed, and revised. Prayerfully we continually pleaded with the Lord for His inspiration on what we should say and how we should say it." DHO offers an account of the Proclamation.
  108. "Origins of the Family Proclamation," Mormonr, accessed January 24, 2023, https://mormonr.org/qnas/NqoXl/origins_of_the_family_proclamation.
  109. Richard E. Turley Jr., In the Hands of the Lord: The Life of Dallin H. Oaks (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2021), 215.
  110. Boyd K. Packer, "The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character," CES Fireside (2 February 2003).
  111. M. Russell Ballard, “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood,” (address at Brigham Young University, 19 August 2003). Cited in W. Justin Dyer and Michael A. Goodman, “The Prophetic Nature of The Family Proclamation,” in Latter-day Saints in Washington D.C.: History, People, and Places, ed. Kenneth L. Alford, Lloyd D. Newell, and Alexander L. Baugh (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2021), 142, 152n24.
  112. "World Focus on S.L. Gathering," Deseret News, March 15, 1995.
  113. "Year of family endorsed by the First Presidency," Church News, January 1, 1994; "YEAR OF FAMILY ENDORSED BY THE FIRST PRESIDENCY," Deseret News, January 1, 1994; "FIRST PRESIDENCY BACKS 1994 AS YEAR OF FAMILY," Deseret News, January 9, 1994.
  114. Marianne Schmidt, "U.N. IS ENEMY OF THE FAMILY, EDITOR SAYS," Deseret News, March 19, 1995. Yet another Deseret News article appeared on 17 April 1995 from one Scott Bradley in North Logan decrying the perceived ways in which the U.N. was undermining family. "U.N. GATHERINGS THREATEN FAMILIES," Deseret News, April 17, 1995.
  115. "First Presidency Statement Opposing Same Gender Marriages," Ensign 24, no. 4 (April 1994): 80.
  116. "CHURCH JOINS HAWAII FIGHT OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGES," Associated Press, February 24, 1995.
  117. "Amicus Curiae Brief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1997), Baehr v. Miike," Mormonr, accessed May 10, 2022, https://mormonr.org/qnas/NqoXl/origins_of_the_family_proclamation/research#re-0Z2bwi-L8jzYb.
  118. Walker Wright, "Family Breakdown, the Welfare State, and the Family Proclamation: An Alternative History," Worlds Without End, August 1, 2015, http://www.withoutend.org/family-proclamation-alternative-history/.
  119. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Bring Up a Child in the Way He Should Go," Ensign 23, no. 11 (November 1993): 58–59.
  120. Neal A. Maxwell, "Take Especial Care of Your Family," Ensign 24, no. 5 (May 1994): 88–89.
  121. Bruce C. Hafen, "The Proclamation on the Family: Transcending the Cultural Confusion," Ensign 45, no. 8 (August 2015): 51.
  122. Ibid.
  123. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World," Ensign 25, no. 11 (November 1995): 98–101.
  124. Unless otherwise stated, all quotations and citations from the feminist authors below come from Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018).
  125. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," 2nd paragraph.
  126. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 2006), 171–80.
  127. Judith Butler, “Bodies That Matter,” in Engaging with Irigaray, ed. Carolyn Burke, Naomi Schor, and Margaret Whitford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 148.
  128. Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally, 153.
  129. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex , trans. H.M. Parshley (London: Jonathan Cape, 1953; 2009), 294.
  130. "Second-wave feminism," Wikipedia, accessed January 11, 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism.
  131. Dr. Debra Soh, The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society (New York: Threshold Editions, 2020), 17.
  132. Bruce Goldman, "Two minds: the cognitive differences between men and women," Stanford Medicine, Stanford University, May 22, 2017, https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html; "'Two Minds' two years later: Still curious about sex differences in cognition? Here are some resources," Stanford Scope Blog, October 24, 2019, https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2019/10/24/two-minds-two-years-later-still-curious-about-sex-differences-in-cognition-here-are-some-resources/; John Stossel, "The Science: Male Brain vs Female Brain," YouTube, October 15, 2019, video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTEi2-FAEZE; David C. Geary, "The Real Causes of Human Sex Differences," Quilette, October 20, 2020, https://quillette.com/2020/10/20/the-real-causes-of-human-sex-differences/; "The Ideological Refusal to Acknowledge Evolved Sex Differences," Quillette, September 1, 2022, https://quillette.com/2022/09/01/the-ideological-refusal-to-acknowledge-evolved-sex-differences/; Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, 3rd ed. (Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2020). Indeed, every single cell of our body is influenced by our sex. See Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences; Theresa M. Wizemann, Mary-Lou Pardue, eds., Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter? (Washington D.C.: National Academies Press (US), 2001), Executive Summary, 2, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222291/#!po=1.11111. For further info on male-female neuroanatomy and psychobehavior, see Amber N. V. Ruigrock et. al, “A meta-analysis of sex differences in human brain structure,” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 39 (2014): 34–50; Larry Cahill, “A Half-Truth is a Whole Lie: On the Necessity of Investigating Sex Influences on the Brain,” Endocrinology 153 (2012): 2542; “His Brain, Her Brain,” Scientific American, October 1, 2012. For a paradigm of gender compatible with the Gospel, see Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally, chap. 7. For the most thorough coverage of the literature exploring sex differences in neuroanatomy and psychobehavior in one book that the author has seen, see Charles Murray, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class (New York: Twelve, 2020), 11–127.
  133. Soh, The End of Gender, 42–44.
  134. Abraham 3:18
  135. Moses 3:4–5
  136. Doctrine & Covenants 131:7
  137. Of course, a commitment to TSGB would mean that the male-female binary could be redefined or otherwise abolished given a different plan for the configuration of a person's or group of people's spirit gender.
  138. Dallin H. Oaks, "Apostasy and Restoration," Ensign 25, no. 5 (May 1995): 87.