The concept of a united family that lives and progresses together forever is a core Latter-day
Saint doctrine. One of the Church’s highest priorities is strengthening marital and family
relationships. Within families led by a father and a mother, children develop virtues such as love,
trust, loyalty, cooperation and service. Mormon belief in the salvation of ancestors has led the
Church to be one of the world’s largest providers of genealogical information.

The Divine Institution of Marriage
Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of civilized society. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has chosen to become involved, along with many
other churches, organizations, and individuals, in defending the sanctity of marriage between a
man and a woman because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion
and to the future of society.

In 1995, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the Church’s two
highest governing bodies — issued a proclamation explaining the divine nature of the family and
how family relationships should be conducted and nurtured.  (Read “The Family: A
Proclamation to the World.”

Marriage between a man and a woman is central to the plan of salvation. The sacred nature of
marriage is closely linked to the power of procreation. Only a man and a woman together have
the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation – to create life
and bring God’s spirit children into the world – is sacred and precious. Misuse of this power
undermines the institution of the family and thereby weakens the social fabric. Strong families
serve as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths,
traditions, and values that sustain civilization.

Church members follow a moral code called the “law of chastity” that applies equally to men and
women. A statement of the First Presidency in 1991 declared: “The Lord’s law of moral conduct
is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper
only between husband and wife, appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any
other sexual conduct, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual and lesbian behavior is
sinful. Those who persist in such practices or influence others to do so are subject to Church

Members of the Church believe that marriages performed in temples are “sealed,” or blessed to
last for eternity, as long as the couple remain faithful to their temple vows. The concept that the
family unit can continue beyond the grave as a conscious, loving entity, with the marriage
partnership and parent-child relationships intact, is a core belief of members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While discouraged, divorce is permitted, and depending on the circumstances, divorced members
can continue as members of the Church in good standing.

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