Three years ago, when I was pregnant with our first baby, my husband and I decided to memorize "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". We decided to have a race and whoever memorized the whole thing first—word perfect-- would be treated to the restaurant of their choice. It wasn’t such an easy task, the document is 10 paragraphs long, and we both carried copies of the Proclamation around with us and reviewed it like crazy people. My husband stuck his copy in a Ziploc bag and stuck it to the wall while he showered and I recited it as I ate my breakfast, taking bites in between each line. The pressure really started to build as we heard each other reciting more and more of it until one night, about two weeks after we set our goal, we both declared at the same time that we had it memorized. It was a tie... so we compromised on dinner.
After all our work we were worried we were going to forget it. So we decided that we would recite the full Proclamation every Monday night, our family night. We couldn’t agree on how to recite it, I wanted to do take turns reciting every other paragraph and my husband wanted to do it in unison, so we decided to alternate and do it “my way” one week and “his way” the next. At first it was slow and we still needed a lot of help, but now, three years after we started, it rolls off our tongues fluently. It has become one of our most cherished family traditions and even if we aren’t home on Monday nights we still make it a point to recite the proclamation together in the car or when we get a quiet minute.
Our children are still too young to have the Proclamation memorized but we hope that by hearing it repeated every week, and by working on it with them little by little, that they will have the message emblazoned on their souls. In this world of conflicting messages I can’t think of anything more important for my children to understand than that they are children of God, that they each have divine missions on earth, and that their gender is a characteristic of their eternal souls. I hope that by constantly hearing and repeating the words of the Proclamation, and seeing us implement them in our own family, that they will develop a strong testimony of the doctrine of the family and have faith in their own ability to form a family when the time comes.
It has been amazing how memorizing the Proclamation and reciting it often has strengthened and fortified our marriage and our little family. Often times when we are faced with difficult problems or questions words and paragraphs from the Proclamation coming flowing into our minds. It seems like there hasn’t yet been a question or a problem we’ve faced as a married couple or as parents that we haven’t been able to answer by the words of the Proclamation. It is a constant source of power and direction to us as we face the challenge of raising a family in an increasingly wicked world.
Last Thursday, the 23rd, was the 15th anniversary, of “The Family: A Proclamation to theWorld” and I just want to bear you all my testimony that I know that the family is not only the fundamental unit of society, but that it is also the fundamental unit of God’s kingdom. There is no other organization in the world with as much potential for peace, joy, and goodness as the righteous family. The way to build God’s kingdom is to build families-- past, present and future. I know that from the center of my soul.