'Road map of eternity' guides mortals

Use as a guide

Separates gender roles- Treasures children

Marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children are essential to the plan of salvation, "the great plan of happiness" (see Alma 42:8), Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve said Sunday afternoon.

"Through inspiration, we can understand this road map of eternity and use it to guide our path in mortality," he said.

Elder Oaks pointed out that the first man and woman were commanded to " `be fruitful and multiply.' This commandment was the first in sequence and first in importance. It was essential that God's spirit children have mortal birth and an opportunity to progress toward eternal life. Consequently, all things related to procreation are prime targets for the adversary's efforts to thwart the plan of God."

Noting that there are many political, legal and social pressures for change that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women, Elder Oaks said: "Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness. We do not oppose all changes in the treatment of men and women, since some changes in laws or customs simply correct old wrongs that were never grounded in eternal principles."

God requires that the power of procreation be confined within marriage, Elder Oaks explained.

He said the ultimate of destruction is to take a life, and that is why abortion is such a serious sin. "Our attitude toward abortion . . . is fixed by our knowledge that according to an eternal plan all of the spirit children of God must come to this earth for a glorious purpose, and that individual identity began long before conception and will continue for all the eternities to come. We rely on the prophets of God who have told us that while there may be rare' exceptions,the practice of elective abortion is fundamentally contrary to the Lord's injunction, `Thou shalt not . . . kill, nor do anything like unto it' (D&C 59:6)."

Elder Oaks noted that marriage is necessary for the accomplishment of God's plan, although it is disdained by an increasing number of couples.

He added that strong economic pressures in many nations have altered the assumption of a single breadwinner per family, reducing the amount of parental time devoted to nurturing young. The effect, he said, has been increased abortion, divorces, child neglect and juvenile crime.

Noting that men, according to custom, are expected to take the initiative in seeking marriage, he said: "We hear of some worthy LDS men in their 30s who are busy accumulating property and enjoying freedom from family responsibilities without any sense of urgency about marriage. Beware brethren. You are deficient in a sacred duty."

He said that according to the plan of happiness children are regarded as "ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven."

"How many children should a couple have? All they can care for! Of course, to care for children means more than simply giving them life. Children must be loved, nurtured, taught, fed, clothed, housed and well started in their capacities to be good parents themselves."

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