May 11

On Discerning Truth, Prophets, & The Family Proclamation


I’ve felt impressed to share some thoughts from a church lesson I taught (about a year ago, I think). I put it all on video (above)


But since it’s quite long I also put some of the main points on here. I may come back later and add to it when I have more time.



The Blind Men and the Elephant

Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about:

Six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.

One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.

Each is describing truth.

And because his truth comes from personal experience,
each insists that he knows what he knows.

The poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!


absolute truth vs moral relativism

“The thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it. . .

We simply don’t know all things—we can’t see everything. What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf


“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

why people don't understand religion

In order to understand the things of God, we have take it from a perspective of faith, not skepticism. There are many things that don’t make sense to the world and that many in the world scoff at and dismiss as foolishness, but which are, nevertheless, true. Only when we are willing to see it through a lens of faith will the dots all line up and allow us to see the beauty of the artist’s rendition.

Natural man recieveth not the things of Godways to know what is really true

Let’s talk about prophets.



Eye of Faith Lesso7n

Prophets are rarely popular. They tell us what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear. Not everything that a prophet speaks is going to line up with what the world teaches.

My thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways

The Holy Ghost can confirm to our hearts that the prophet and apostles are teaching the truth.

trust in the lord



Let’s look at the Proclamation on the Family through an eye of faith:

proclamation to the world on the familyDoes God call Living prophets true

What Led to the Proclamation

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

In 1995 a President of the Church and 14 other Apostles of the Lord issued these important doctrinal statements. As one of only seven of those Apostles still living, I feel obliged to share what led to the family proclamation for the information of all who consider it.

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.

prophesies that have come true

philosophies of men vs truth

prophesy fulfilled jesus christ


The Lord inspired the prophet and apostles to write the Family Proclamation, long before we would ever need it.



The World Walking Away

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

In my lifetime, we have seen a dramatic change in the world’s beliefs about many of the principles taught in the proclamation. During my teenage and early married years, many in the world walked away from the Lord’s standard we call the law of chastity, that sexual relations are to occur only between a man and a woman who are lawfully married. In my 20s and 30s, many walked away from the sacred protection of the unborn, as abortion became more acceptable. In more recent years, many have walked away from God’s law that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman.

Watching many walking away from the boundaries the Lord has set reminds us of that day in Capernaum when the Savior declared His divinity and sadly “many of his disciples … walked [away].”

The Savior then turned to the Twelve: “Will ye also go away?”

Peter answered:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”



Will you stick with the Savior and his prophets? 

stay with the lord wilt thou also go away


Pick and choose what we accept

I think we all have our own ideas about what the Proclamation is. We read it, and certain things stick in our minds. And sometimes we overlook parts of it because we’re so focused on one particular principle. Are we picking and choosing what we accept in the proclamation?


what is the proclamation on the family


“If we pick and choose
what we accept in the proclamation,
we cloud our eternal view,
putting too much importance
on our experience here and now.”

“By prayerfully pondering the proclamation through the eye of faith, we better understand how the principles are beautifully connected, supporting one another, revealing our Father’s plan for His children.”

I believe that the Family Proclamation are divinely inspired. Even the wording and phrases are greatly inspired. It was not just haphazardly thrown together, but came through direct revelation from heaven. It is the word of the Lord, just as binding as any scripture written by ancient prophets, because it was inspired by that same God, in these latter days.

Natural man recieveth not the things of God

“Should we really be surprised when the Lord’s prophets declare His will and, for some, questions remain? Of course, some reject the voice of the prophets immediately, but others prayerfully ponder their honest questions—questions that will be settled with patience and an eye of faith. If the proclamation had been revealed in a different century, there would still have been questions, just different questions than those of today. One purpose of prophets is to help us in resolving sincere questions.”




We need to remember that in order to get the full picture of truth, we need all 5 of these things. We tend to overemphasize and lean on our own experiences when discerning truth, but we should trust in the Lord and take a more balanced approach:

Prayer, scriptures, experiences, prophets, Holy Ghost

We can know that God speaks through prophets and through the power of the Holy Ghost, who helps us see “things as they really are.”

spirit speaketh of things as they really are

Defenders of the proclamation

I’m grateful that God calls prophets in these latter days, just as He did anciently. I know that the Proclamation on the family is inspired of God, and is truly the word of the Lord, meant for us in this generation. As we exercise faith and patience, and take our sincere questions to the Lord, that in time, He will help us see and understand His plan more clearly, and we will be able to gain our own conviction of the truthfulness of the principles taught in the Family Proclamation. It is true. God lives!

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