Elder D. Todd Christofferson: 'Why Marriage, Why Family'

A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive, declared Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

In his talk during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, the apostle taught that marriage between a man and a woman transcends their love for one another — it is a “post of responsibility towards the world and mankind” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison).

Four things are needed to realize God’s plan of happiness.

First, the creation of the earth as a dwelling place.

Second, the condition of mortality.

“Adam and Eve acted for all who had chosen to participate in the Father’s great plan of happiness. Their Fall created the condition needed for our physical birth and for mortal experience and learning outside the presence of God.”

Third, a redemption from the Fall.

“A Redeemer, the Only Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, suffered and died to atone for Adam and Eve’s transgression, thereby providing resurrection and immortality for all.”

And fourth, the setting for physical birth and subsequent spiritual rebirth in God’s kingdom.

“For His work to succeed to ‘exalt us with himself,’ God ordained that men and women should marry and give birth to children, thereby creating, in partnership with God, the physical bodies that are key to the test of mortality and essential to eternal glory with Him. He also ordained that parents should establish families and rear their children in light and truth, leading them to a hope in Christ.”

Elder Christofferson said that families built on such marriages are vital for societies to survive and flourish. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve in His image, male and female, and joined them as husband and wife.

“Each individual carries the divine image, but it is in the matrimonial union of male and female as one that we attain perhaps the most compelling meaning of our having been made in the image of God — male and female. Nor we nor any other mortal can alter this divine order of matrimony.”

Satan fights to discourage marriage and the formation of families, he said.

“He attacks everything that is sacred about human sexuality, tearing it from the context of marriage with a seemingly infinite array of immoral thoughts and acts,” he said. “He seeks to convince men and women that marriage and family priorities can be ignored or abandoned, or at least made subservient to careers, other achievements and the quest for ‘self-fulfillment’ and individual autonomy.”

For some, he added, marriage or children is not a present reality despite “overwhelming desires and pleading prayers.”

“Even so, everyone has gifts; everyone has talents; everyone can contribute to the unfolding of the divine plan in each generation,” he said. “Much that is good, much that is essential — even sometimes all that is necessary for now — can be achieved in less than ideal circumstances. So many of you are doing your very best. And when you who bear the heaviest burdens of mortality stand up in defense of God’s plan to exalt His children, we are all ready to march.”

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