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Mormonism

Promoting Family Well-being Worldwide

The church not only supports Latter-day Saint families with its programs and activities, but it also promotes traditional family well-being worldwide. One of the church's initial family outreach efforts was its public service radio and television spots advocating for family solidarity. These continuing messages, entitled Homefront, began in 1971 and have helped establish the church worldwide as a pro-family proponent. The church's promotion of family well-being has become bolder, despite criticism and hostility by some individuals and groups. For example, O. Kendall White, Jr., (1986) identifies the Mormon belief that neither the man or woman is complete without the other as the ideology that places the church in opposition to modern feminist and gay social movements.

The church believes it has a God-given mandate to preserve the traditional family unit worldwide. Church President Gordon B. Hinckley defends the church's opposition to efforts to legalize same-sex marriage: "This is not a matter of civil rights; it is a matter of morality. ...We believe that defending this sacred institution by working to preserve traditional marriage lies clearly within our religious and constitutional prerogatives. Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out" (1999, p. 52).

As responsible citizens, church members are encouraged to voluntarily join with other like-minded religious and secular groups in coalitions to advocate and defend the traditional family through donation of time, talent, and means. Church members have been key players in national and international efforts to promote traditional marriage and family. Such efforts include the Defense of Marriage Act legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and the establishment of the Family Studies Center and the World Family Policy Center at the church-sponsored Brigham Young University (Wardle, Williams, and Wilkins 2001).

The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints warn its members and the world that "[d]isintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. . . . 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" (The Family 1995, p. 102).


See also: RELIGION


Bibliography

Bachman, D. W., and Esplin, R. K. (1992). "Plural Marriage." Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3. New York: Macmillan.

Beaman, L.G. (2001). "Molly Mormons, Mormon Feminists and Moderates: Religious Diversity and the Latter Day Saints Church." Sociology of Religion 62(1):65–86.

Chadwick, B. A., and Garrett, H. D. (1995). "Women's Religiosity and Employment: The LDS Experience." Review of Religious Research 36(3):277–293.

Cornwall, M. (1994). "The Institutional Role of Mormon Women." In Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, ed. M. Cornwall, T. B. Heaton, and L.A. Young. Chicago: University of Illinois.

Davis, R. J. (1992). "Antipolygamy Legislation." Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan.

The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 128:15; Official Declaration 1.

"The Family: A Proclamation to the World." (1995). Ensign (November):102.

Heaton, T. B. (1986). "How Does Religion Influence Fertility? The Case of Mormons." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 25(2):248–58.

Heaton, T. B. (1989). "Religious Influences on Mormon Fertility: Cross-national Comparisons." Review of Religious Research 30(4):401–411.

Heaton, T. B. (1992). "Vital Statistics." Encyclopedia of Mormonism,Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan.

Heaton, T. B.; Goodman, K. L.; and Holman, T. B. (1994). "In Search of a Peculiar People: Are Mormon Families Really Different?" In Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, ed. M. Cornwall, T. B. Heaton, and L. A. Young. Chicago: University of Illinois.

Hinckley, G. B. (1999). "Why We Do Some of the Things We Do." Ensign (November):52.

Iannaccone, L. R., and Miles, C.A. (1990). "Dealing with Social Change: The Mormon Church's Response to Change in Women's Roles." Social Forces 68(4):1231–1250.

Litchfield, A. W.; Thomas, D. L.; and Li, B. D. (1997). "Dimensions of Religiosity as Mediators of the Relations Between Parenting and Adolescent Deviant Behavior." Journal of Adolescent Research 12(2):199–226.

Madsen, C. C. (1992). "Woman Suffrage." Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan.

Nelson, R. M. (1999). "Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women." Ensign (May):38.

Parry, K. (1994). "The Mormon Missionary Companionship." In Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, ed. M. Cornwall, T. B. Heaton, and L. A. Young. Chicago: University of Illinois.

Presley, S.; Weaver, J.; and Weaver, B. (1986). "Traditional and Nontraditional Mormon Women: Political Attitudes and Socialization." Women and Politics 5(4):51–77.

Scott, R. G. (2001). "First Things First." Ensign (May):6.

Smith, B. B., and Thomas, S. W. (1992). "Gospel Principles and the Roles of Women." Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan.

Thomas, D. L. (1983). "Family in the Mormon Experience." In Families and Religions: Conflict and Change in Modern Society, ed. W. V. D'Antonio and J. Aldous. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Todd, J. M. (2000). "News of the Church." Ensign (September):76.

Wardle, L. D; Williams, R. N; and Wilkins, R. G. (2001). "Defending Marriage and Family through Law and Policy." In Strengthening Our Families: An In-depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family Strenthening Our Families, ed. D. C. Dollahite. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.

White, O. K., Jr. (1986). "Ideology of the Family in Nineteenth-Century Mormonism." Sociological Spectrum 6:289–306.


DENNIS T. HAYNES

MARK O. JARVIS

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsMormonism - Mormon Beliefs And Practices, Myths About Mormon Beliefs And Practices, Strengthening Lds Families, Promoting Family Well-being Worldwide