`No greater happiness'

More than 2 1/2 years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley introduced "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" during the General Relief Society Meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Sept. 23, 1995. Below are vignettes illustrating how some Latter-day Saints are applying the proclamation in their lives.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

MONTEREY, CALIF. - Barry and Julieta Olsen of the Monterey (Calif.) Ward seem to bring the best of both manhood and womanhood into their marriage. Brother Olsen says his wife, who is expecting their first child, is "the heart of the family. As a daughter of God and as my wife, she wants to see me be a worthy priesthood holder."

He also spoke of his wife's innate kindness and "her marvelous desire to be a mother. She shows her love for me by the things she does."

Sister Olsen said her husband "is very devoted to his calling in the priesthood and to being obedient. He has given me blessings when I have needed them. He's always making decisions according to the will of the Lord. He prays and asks me for my opinion and we decide together and then we pray again."

She added, "He always thinks about me before he thinks about himself. That's very nice."

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor martial vows with complete fidelity."

NORTH OGDEN, UTAH - Michelle Tatton of the North Ogden 21st Ward, North Ogden Utah Stake calls 2-month-old Morgan her "miracle baby." At 10 weeks along in her pregnancy, Sister Tatton had major surgery. She and her husband, Rory, worried about the effects on their unborn child.

"I pretty much decided that everything was depending on God. If I was going to have this child, I had to trust Heavenly Father," Sister Tatton related.

Thus, began a months-long vigil - coupled with prayer. On Feb. 2, a healthy girl was born, bringing the number of Tatton children to two. Older sister Kelsi is 3 years old.

Sister Tatton expressed gratitude for being part of God's plan to bring His spirit children to earth. "I still feel like I'm not old enough to be a mom. Then I look at my two girls and think, `What a miracle.'

"Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."

KENSINGTON, MD. - In 1956 in Honolulu, Hawaii, missionaries knocked on the door of Albert Y.G. Ho and his wife, Alice K. Ho. While listening to the discussions, the couple received a testimony of the gospel. They were baptized that December, and in September 1958 were sealed in the Hawaii Temple.

Today, Brother and Sister Ho are serving a mission at the Washington Temple. Brother Ho is second counselor in the temple presidency, and Sister Ho is an assistant matron. In the years since their baptism, their two children have also married in the temple. The Hos have four grandchildren.

For Brother Ho, the blessings of temple ordinances and covenants mean, if he remains worthy, he will never lose his wife and family - even in death. "We will be together eternally, forever," he said. "Without the temple ordinances, we would be lost. We'd have no promise. There's no question in our minds the importance of the family."

"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs...."

LAUTOKA, FIJI - Lusiana Tora Ravudra of the Korotavu Branch, Lautoka Fiji Stake, takes seriously the admonition of the family proclamation to love and teach her children. Sister Ravudra, whose husband, Iliesa, is branch president, seems to well emulate the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley in the last general conference:

"You will know no greater happiness than that found in your home. You will have no more serious obligation than that which you face in your home."

Extended families should lend support when needed.

ABERDEEN, S.D. - Forrest R. and Emily Allred enjoy spending time with their 49 grandchildren. For example, Brother Allred, coloring Easter eggs with 12-year-old Ethan Allred, described the family Easter egg hunt on the weekend of April 11. "Emily and I took the younger ones around the block while the older ones hid the eggs. Taking that walk with 14 grandchildren was a wonderful feeling. They show us lots of love. They hug us. I guess that's how we teach the gospel, too, by showing love to each other."

Brother and Sister Allred both expressed gratitude for their extended family and the opportunity to positively influence the lives of a growing posterity.

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