Continuing to wind our way through the True to the Faith doctrinal booklet published by the Church in 2004 (earlier posts here), I settled on Family from the long list of F-words covered in the book. There’s nothing in the entry you haven’t heard before, as after a five-line introduction it simply repeats (in full) the Proclamation, described as an “inspired proclamation” that is now “the Church’s definitive statement on the family.”
I know better than to argue with the Family. I’m not even up for needling the Proclamation. So let’s ask a different question: Is there such a thing as too much emphasis on the family? If there is, we’re there. What’s the downside? Certainly those adults not married feel a little left out when Family is discussed, and those from nontraditional or failed families are probably a little sensitive when the Ideal Family is incessantly praised. At least there is some recognition that the Church needs to broaden its program beyond family-based counsel and activities, judging from talks and the like. “We’re all part of a family” is not the answer for most people, I imagine, but it’s a start.
Could the Family displace the Gospel? In some ways it already has. Granted, there was a Proclamation on the Christ that came out five years after the Proclamation on the Family, but you don’t hear about it much. At the Joseph Smith Memorial Building there’s a whole floor dedicated to preaching Family History to visitors and nonmembers. Family Home Evening. Family History. Family Councils. There’s even an offical Family Guidebook in case you need some pointers. It starts: “The family is the most important unit in time and eternity.”
Of course, for many of us it is the most important of our units. I saw a striking illustration of this when I was reading a revealing post by one of the B’nacle’s more notorious cynics this morning, and it turns out … he’s a family man. And a good one. Who can argue with that? Not me.