The Family Proclamation

The Secular and Spiritual Context

Michael A. Goodman and W. Justin Dyer

Michael A. Goodman and W. Justin Dyer, "The Family Proclamation: The Secular and Spiritual Context," Religious Educator 24, no. 2 (2023): 106–133.

Michael A. Goodman ( is an associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and the associate publications director of the Religious Studies Center.

W. Justin Dyer ( is a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

image of a little boy holding his parents' handsSociety's understanding of the role and nature of marriage has changed considerably over time. How much of our understanding comes from societal norms in comparison to prophetic direction? Photo by Nienke Burgers,

Keywords: family, marriage, prophets, culture, revelation, doctrine

Within the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is arguably one of the most influential documents produced in the last hundred years. Since it was given in 1995, it has been cited more than 250 times in general conference, hangs on the walls of many Latter-day Saint homes, and is presented to leaders throughout the world. Indeed, in the first-ever meeting between a Pope and a President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson presented Pope Francis with two items: a Christus statue and a copy of the family proclamation.

Despite its central location within the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the purpose and place of the proclamation has been debated by those both inside and outside the Church. The purpose of this article is to provide clarity on both the cultural context and the prophetic nature of the family proclamation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the first half of this article we explore the cultural and legal milieu and events at the time of the proclamation’s creation. We examine the proclamation’s role in these events as well as its role in subsequent events. A knowledge of the context and uses of the family proclamation has led some to question the role and nature of the family proclamation. Such individuals ask: Should the proclamation be seen as a statement of divine truths, or should it be seen as a statement of changeable policies based on the limited understanding of Church leadership on the issue? In this article, we will seek to bring greater clarity to this important question.

The West Rethinks Marriage: The Social/Cultural Context of the Proclamation

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was given to help individuals avoid “deception concerning standards and values” and to reaffirm “standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.”[1]

Although family norms have shifted considerably over time, the past half century has seen the most rapid and fundamental changes in history to Western marriage laws and cultural understanding. Though the evolution of this culture is too large a topic to cover in detail here, two areas that have strongly impacted how marriage functions in society are the rise of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution. Most people have a basic understanding of the changes in sexual mores which developed in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. Though the concept of sexual immorality has existed for millennia, at least in the West sexuality was predominantly seen as appropriate between married individuals. However, the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s went a long way towards disassociating sexuality from marriage and procreation. Where premarital and extramarital sex had previously been viewed as at least morally questionable if not objectionable, it became much more common for such objections to be seen as outdated and even oppressive.[2]

Expressive individualism has received less attention in the public sphere. Perhaps the most extensive treatment of the concept was given in Robert Bellah’s book Habits of the Heart.[3] Expressive individualism places primary importance on an individual’s right to self-fulfillment, which in the past may have been pursued through “traditional virtues of altruism, self-sacrifice, and sympathy for others”[4] but has given way to the therapeutic values of self-actualization, self-esteem, and self-acceptance.

Within expressive individualism, the highest “good” is the expression of oneself, however one chooses to define oneself. The marriage norms reflected in today’s culture and laws have been deeply influenced by this focus on the individual. In the wake of the sexual revolution, individuals began to desire the marriages they found most interpersonally appealing, not simply the ones that met religious, economic, and extended family goals (common previous bases of marriage). Gratification of the individual and that individual’s expressions became the primary moral concern. A new form of marriage gained prominence, the “individualistic marriage,” which prioritizes individual satisfaction within marriage above all else. From the 1960s marriage laws and norms began to reflect these morals more prominently, a trend that has continued through the modern day. Within an individualistic marriage, mutual desire is necessary to initiate the marriage, but marriages are seen as “successful only to the extent that they continue to meet each partner’s innermost psychological needs.”[5] With this new focus for marriage, laws concerning marriage and divorce quickly began to change, favoring the preferences of the individuals who contracted the marriage above the consideration of family, religion, and the wider society. The rationale became: “Whatever an individual wants in a marriage is what they should be able to have, independent of any other considerations.” This attitude did, however, favor individuals who wanted to dissolve a marriage, rather than those who may have wished to maintain the marriage. That is, if one partner wished to end the marriage and the other wished to preserve it, laws favored the one who wished to end it.

Yet it would be incomplete not to acknowledge that this change in attitude did not begin in the 1960s. Beginning in the 1700s, some individuals argued against the institution of marriage itself, considering it repressive and worthy of abolition.[6] Even the “biological family” (a family structure based on the expectations and roles biological parents had for each other and for their children) was seen as “tyranny” that should be overcome through a radical restructuring of society and the technological means of reproduction.[7]

While some may suggest that only more conservative individuals are concerned about changes in the institution of marriage, both conservative and progressive scholars have noted that these changes have created increased fragility in family relationships. For example, more progressive scholar Stephanie Coontz notes that family ties weakened substantially in the recent past:

Everywhere marriage is becoming more optional and more fragile. Everywhere the once-predictable link between marriage and child rearing is fraying. And everywhere relations between men and women are undergoing rapid and at times traumatic transformation. In fact, I realized, the relations between men and women have changed more in the past thirty years than they did in the previous three thousand.[8]

These changes produced not simply cultural change but legal change. Divorce laws changed dramatically with the introduction of no-fault divorce. A natural outgrowth of this reconceptualization of marriage was a fundamental shift in marriage law to include same-sex couples.[9] Although homosexual relationships had been accepted in many parts of Western civilization,[10] the prima facie uniqueness of the male-female relationship placed it in a separate category from same-sex relationships. Dating back to ancient Greece (which accepted and even lauded homosexual behaviors), Plato’s Aristophanes argues that while one’s soulmate may be of the same sex, one would not marry that person: marriage was between man and woman.[11] Yet with individualistic marriage, societies in the past few centuries began to see limiting the definition of marriage to the relationship between men and women as discrimination. This is in spite of the uniqueness of the male-female relationship, which had led virtually every society to define marriage as between man and woman up until that point.

With the new moral groundwork the individualistic marriage rested upon, in May 1970 the first same-sex couple applied for a marriage license in the US.[12] Although unsuccessful, the cultural tide that led to this attempt would continue rising through the decades that followed as the individualistic conception of marriage grew. This tide, however, was not simply a crusade for same-sex marriage; it was a wholesale rethinking of family relationships. This tide brought along with it the rapid changes Coontz referred to, including increasing rates of divorce, cohabitation, and out-of-wedlock childbearing that began to fundamentally alter the nature of family life in the West. These and other family-related issues were not simply cultural phenomena. Several of these family issues were featured in important Supreme Court rulings in the United States [13] Within this background, we study key cultural events, social trends, and Church responses in the two decades preceding the family proclamation.

The 1970s and 1980s

The culture and laws surrounding marriage underwent substantial change in the 1970s and 1980s. For example, compared to the 1960s, the 1970s showed a 50 percent increase in the divorce rate and a doubling of the rate of out-of-wedlock childbirths. From 1970 to 1980, the number of cohabitating couples more than tripled, the percentage of children born to unmarried women nearly doubled, the marriage rate dropped 15 percent, and the divorce rate increased by 52 percent.[14] Legislation and policies recognizing same-sex partnerships and marriages began to increase, though legal changes in this area were slow. In the 1970s three same-sex couples applied for, but were denied, marriage licenses.[15]

During this time the Church’s emphasis on family appeared to grow. According to the LDS General Conference Corpus,[16] the use of the word family in general conference doubled from the 1960s to the 1970s, with its usage increasing in nearly every decade thereafter. In 1970 the Church designated Monday nights as a night reserved for family home evening, formalizing a program that had begun decades before.[17] October of that year was the first time the “family” was said to be “under attack” in general conference,[18] and the Church began producing more and more material intended to defend the family from the various threats it faced.

The 1980s saw increased movement away from the traditional family. Between 1969 and 1983, every state except South Dakota and New York adopted some form of no-fault divorce.[19] During this time, legislation and policies recognizing same-sex partnerships and marriages began to increase. In 1984 Berkeley, California became the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits, and that same year the Unitarian Universalist Association was the first major Protestant denomination to approve same-sex marriages.[20] Antidiscrimination laws were also being passed, with Wisconsin in 1982 becoming the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. Sodomy cases were also being challenged, though again these changes were gradual. For example, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s antisodomy law in 1986.[21]

During the 1980s the family was a continued emphasis in general conference. Church leaders were also providing information to leaders regarding homosexuality. In 1981 the Church produced the second edition of a pamphlet entitled “Homosexuality” that provided direction for Church leaders working with members.

The 1990s, A Turning Point in Family Legislation

While divorce rates tapered off in their growth from the 1980s to the 1990s (though they still remained high), the rate of out-of-wedlock births, cohabitation, and single-parent families continued to increase.[22] This was also a turning point in same-sex marriage legislation. In December of 1990 three same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses at the Hawaii Department of Health and were denied. A lawsuit ensued but was dismissed in October of 1991. The next month the First Presidency, comprising Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson, issued a letter to all members of the Church entitled “Standards of Morality and Fidelity.” The letter, published on November 14, 1991, focused on standards of sexual purity, declaring, homosexual and lesbian behavior (among other things) as sinful and making a distinction between homosexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.[23]

The 1991 Hawaii lawsuit was appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court, and in 1993 that court rendered the decision that limiting marriage to the male-female couple was discrimination based on sex. The case went to lower courts, where the burden of proof was on the state to show a compelling interest in denying same-sex couples the ability to marry. This was remarkable in that it was the first time in the US that a court of last resort employed a constitutional principle as the basis for same-sex marriage.[24]

During 1994, as the case made its way through the courts, the Church was active on various fronts in supporting traditional marriage in Hawaii. This included a First Presidency letter to Church leaders throughout the world entitled “Same Gender Marriages.” The letter stated that “the principles of the gospel and the sacred responsibilities given us require that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints oppose any efforts to give legal authorization to marriages between persons of the same gender” and that Church leaders “encourage members to appeal to legislators, judges and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender.”[25]

Even though Hawaii was one of the first states to seriously grapple with same-sex marriage legislation, the issue was spreading throughout the country. Spurred by these and other events, lawmakers in Washington, DC were also active in the same-sex marriage debate, passing the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, which allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.[26]

The year 1994 was designated the “International Year of the Family” by the United Nations.[27] The UN asked two conferences to address matters related to the family: The Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (September 5–13)[28] and the Beijing World Conference on Women (September 4–15).[29] These conferences led to much discussion within the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and seem to have been pivotal events leading to the creation of the proclamation. The Church sent representatives to the Beijing Conference and, as Elder Boyd K. Packer put it, “It was not pleasant what they [the representatives] heard.”[30] Although not elaborating on this statement, Elder Packer noted that he read the proceedings of a session at the Cairo conference in which “the word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned.”[31]

When a conference on the family was announced that would occur in Salt Lake City, Elder Packer said, “Some of us made the recommendation: ‘They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position.’”[32] Elder M. Russell Ballard described the situation similarly: “Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. . . . In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God.”[33]

The Proclamation

It was within this milieu that “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was created. The proclamation quickly became the Church’s central document in defining its tenets on the family in both the private and the public spheres. As noted above, from the beginning Church leaders used the proclamation in their interactions with world leaders to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” As President Nelson has said, “Over the years, I’ve given copies of the proclamation to many governmental leaders not of our faith who’ve been grateful, telling them they were free to use it any way they might care to.”[34] In June 2006, then-Elder Nelson quoted from the family proclamation at the US Capitol Building in support of a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.

Over the years, the proclamation has been included in amicus briefs in at least seven court cases: Baehr v. Miike (Hawaii), 1997; Perry v. Schwarzenegger (California), 2010; Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011; Hollingsworth v. Perry (California), 2013; Kitchen v. Herbert (Utah), 2014; De Leon v. Perry (Texas), 2014; and Obergefell v. Hodges (United States), 2015. Regarding this last case, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Church joined eighteen religious groups in an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage. A portion of the amicus brief reads, “Marriage is fundamental to the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A formal doctrinal proclamation declares that ‘[m]arriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.’”[35] Whether coincidental or not, several dissenting opinions about the brief reflect principles within the proclamation. For instance, Justice John Roberts notes that marriage is fundamentally about establishing a family pattern that involves (1) those who conceive children caring for them and (2) the promotion of a lifelong, sexually faithful union between a man and a woman.[36]

In a statement three days after the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the First Presidency, consisting of Presidents Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf, again references the family proclamation, saying, “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established . . . We invite all to review and understand the doctrine contained in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’”[37] The First Presidency directed all local leaders to “meet with all adults, young men, and young women on either July 5 or July 12 in a setting other than sacrament meeting and read to them the entire statement.”[38] The Church continued using the family proclamation in reference to court cases around the world. For example, in 2016 a letter from the Church was read in all congregations in Mexico, citing the proclamation as reason for members to oppose same-sex marriage in that country.

The Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Context of the Proclamation’s Origins:
Connecting the Secular and the Spiritual Context

As demonstrated above, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was not created in a vacuum. The events leading up to the creation of the proclamation and its many public and political uses from the beginning illustrate much of the context in which this sacred document came to life. Surely other events or issues that are not part of the public record were also part of the provenance of the document. Some Latter-day Saints, upon learning of the political and public context within which the family proclamation was given, have questioned what role, if any, God and revelation played in the process. Some individuals have made the argument that the document is nothing more than a political statement of policy. As one past member stated, “Eighteen years ago today, fifteen men created a one-page political document that they and other LDS people would use against the legalization of marriage between same-sex partners in Hawaii during their version of Prop 8 back in 1995. They called it, ironically, The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”[39]

This individual is not alone in this belief. It is not uncommon to see such sentiments shared by some people both in and out of the Church. Such a conclusion is not unreasonable if a person’s primary focus is on the secular context of the proclamation, or if they question the validity of the teachings contained therein. President Dallin H. Oaks acknowledged this reality when he shared that many who tend to focus most strongly on secular reasoning in relation to this and other issues “consider this family proclamation as just a statement of policy that should be changed.”[40] But is this the only, or even the most logical, conclusion? Is it possible to know the secular context of the document and still come to a reasoned conclusion that the document is what the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve claim it to be—the mind and will of God?

How members view the family proclamation has profound consequences on their testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the role of prophets and apostles within the Church, and doctrines related to gender, sexuality, and the family. President Oaks expressed it this way: “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.”[41] Church members and others who believe that the context behind the proclamation demonstrates it to be a policy statement more than a doctrinal statement are obviously more likely to question the accuracy of its teachings. Perhaps stated more clearly, the issue at hand is whether the proclamation is a statement of divine eternal truth or simply a changeable policy statement. Though a clear majority of Church members express confidence in Church teachings overall,[42] on issues regarding gender, sexuality, and the family, that confidence appears to be lessening for a minority of Church members. Questions related to many of the teachings in the family proclamation appear to be strongest among the younger generations.[43]

Current Member Understanding regarding Gender, Sexuality, and the Family

In her 2016 Next Mormons Survey (NMS), Jana Reiss asked a nationally representative [44] panel of Latter-day Saints their views on several issues related to gender, sexuality, and family. The results indicate a moderate generational divide. There appears to be a trend for the younger generations to be less sure of Church teachings in general and those contained in the family proclamation specifically. Fig. 1 illustrates some of the NMS findings. The bars represent the percentage of members who consider each action to be morally wrong.

graph of generational views on various topicsFigure 1. Mormons Who Believe It Is Morally Wrong to Have an Abortion, an Affair, or a Baby outside of Marriage.[45]

Similarly, when a Pew Research Center study asked whether homosexuality should be accepted by society, the number of Church members who agreed was shown to have risen from 24 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2014,[46] and in the NMS study, that number had grown to 48 percent in 2016. Between 50 and 60 percent of Latter-day Saint millennials agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society. With the ambiguity of what was meant by society “accepting homosexuality,” it might be interpreted to mean these Church members believed that society should accept an individual’s homosexual identity rather than homosexual sexual behavior. Though this is likely true for many Church members, another question within the NMS shows that for many Latter-day Saint millennials, this acceptance also includes the acceptance of homosexual sexual behavior. When asked whether married or unmarried homosexual sex was morally wrong, 60 percent of millennials agreed that unmarried homosexual sex was immoral, while only 50 percent agreed that married homosexual sex was immoral.

Generational views on homosexual behaviorFigure 2. The morality of homosexual sexual behavior.[47]

Though not a majority for either question, half of Latter-day Saint millennials surveyed stated that they believe married homosexual sex to be moral. For these millennials, there appears to be a clear disconnect with the teachings of the family proclamation, which states that the “powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” Such a disconnect fits with the narrative that the family proclamation is largely a statement of policy rather than a prophetic doctrinal pronouncement. However, that narrative does not comport with how the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve have described and defined the document for over two decades.

Prophetic Definitions and Descriptions of the Family Proclamation

In an attempt to get a comprehensive view of how the family proclamation has been defined and described by Church leaders, we studied every reference to the family proclamation in general conference since it was given on September 23, 1995. Since its publication there have been over 250 references to the family proclamation in general conference, along with many more references in Church periodicals and curricular material of the Church. The majority of references to the proclamation have been made by members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve (≈65 percent), with female general auxiliary leaders referring to it next most frequently (≈20 percent) and other male general authorities making up the rest of the references (≈15 percent). Every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve who were coauthors of the document referred to it in general conference, and most of them referenced the proclamation several times. This pattern continues today, with almost all of the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve referring to the family proclamation numerous times in general conference.

The majority of these references are seeking not to define or describe the family proclamation but rather to teach from or simply refer to it. However, dozens of statements have been made which seek to define or describe the document and its content. The majority of these again come from members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. An analysis of these statements reveals numerous themes which have been addressed repeatedly. When these individuals describe or define the family proclamation, the most frequent themes revolve around the family proclamation being (1) inspired, (2), revealed, (3) an eternal truth, (4) a principle/doctrine, and (5) a prophecy. Representative statements from the general leadership of the Church will be used to illustrate each theme below. Though many more statements could be included for each theme, no attempt will be made to include every reference within each theme.


Several members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the twelve introduce their teachings in relations to the family proclamation by referencing the inspired nature of the document. Highlighting parental responsibility to each other and their children, Elder L. Tom Perry explained: “The inspired document ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ states: ‘Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.’ ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalm 127:3).”[48] Similarly, the year after the family proclamation was introduced, Elder Richard G. Scott spoke of the inspired nature of the document: “Carefully study and use the proclamation of the First Presidency and the Twelve on the family. It was inspired of the Lord.[49] Three years later Elder Ballard warned against those who would attempt to change God-given and essential teachings contained in the family proclamation: “False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. . . . To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.”[50]


When President Hinckley introduced the family proclamation, he stressed that the teachings contained in the document come from prophets, seers and revelators: “We of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.”[51] Elder W. Eugene Hansen bore explicit witness to the revelatory nature of the document when he stated, “I leave you my witness that the proclamation on the family, which I referred to earlier, is modern-day revelation provided to us by the Lord through His latter-day prophets.”[52] Similarly, President Oaks bore his witness of the revelatory nature of the document when he proclaimed, “I testify of the truth and eternal importance of the family proclamation, revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Apostles for the exaltation of the children of God.”[53]


Sister Bonnie Oscarson, General Young Women’s President bore testimony of the truths contained in the revealed document:

When President Gordon B. Hinckley first read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 20 years ago this year, we were grateful for and valued the clarity, simplicity, and truth of this revelatory document. Little did we realize then how very desperately we would need these basic declarations in today’s world as the criteria by which we could judge each new wind of worldly dogma coming at us from the media, the Internet, scholars, TV and films, and even legislators. The proclamation on the family has become our benchmark for judging the philosophies of the world, and I testify that the principles set forth within this statement are as true today as they were when they were given to us by a prophet of God nearly 20 years ago.[54]

Elder Neil L. Andersen has referred to the family proclamation as a declaration of truth several times. In October 2017 general conference, he actually seconded the witness of President Oaks by restating in his own talk what President Oaks had previously taught in the same conference: “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.”[55] After sharing several teachings from the proclamation in the April 2019 general conference, Elder Andersen simply testified that “these are eternal truths” and that “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.”[56] President Oaks further testified of the veracity of the family proclamation when he taught that “modern revelation defines truth as a ‘knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come’ (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). That is a perfect definition for the plan of salvation and ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’”[57]


Though the words doctrine and principles were often used in the early days of the Church to refer to teachings in general, over the last several decades members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have regularly and consistently used these words, especially the word doctrine, to refer to eternal, unchanging truth.[58] This is the sense in which they have also regularly referred to the nature of the teachings within the family proclamation. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf is one of several members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to emphasize the eternal nature of doctrine and principles: “Procedures, programs, policies, and patterns of organization are helpful for our spiritual progress here on earth, but let’s not forget that they are subject to change. In contrast, the core of the gospel—the doctrine and the principles—will never change.”[59] When describing the teachings within the family proclamation, the general leadership of the Church almost always refers to those teachings as doctrines or principles. In 1996 Elder Robert D. Hales taught, “One year ago the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a proclamation to the world concerning the family. It summarizes eternal gospel principles that have been taught since the beginning of recorded history, even before the earth was created.”[60] Elder Perry emphasized the power of holding to the immutable, unchanging doctrinal truths reiterated in the family proclamation: “The doctrine of the family and the home was recently reiterated with great clarity and forcefulness in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’ It declared the eternal nature of families and then explained the connection to temple worship. The proclamation also declared the law upon which the eternal happiness of families is predicated. . . . God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. . . . The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.”[61] Elder David B. Haight explained that the doctrine and principles contained in the family proclamation have guided us since the days of Adam and will continue until the end: “That marvelous document brings together the scriptural direction that we have received that has guided the lives of God’s children from the time of Adam and Eve and will continue to guide us until the final winding-up scene.”[62] Elder Andersen put it simply when he admonished Church members “to review . . . the doctrine contained in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’”[63]


Numerous statements regarding the family proclamation from general conference have included the important truth that the family proclamation is a document produced by prophets and that the doctrines contained therein are prophetic. Since the proclamation was introduced, over 30 of the 230 references to the document in general conference have mentioned or emphasized the prophetic source and nature of the document; several of these references have already been quoted above. Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy reminded us that “we have received a divine charge from modern-day prophets, seers, and revelators in the document ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’”[64] Elder Hales explained that we should “watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected” because, “For example, ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ was given long before we experienced the challenges now facing the family.”[65] One of the clearest declarations came from Elder Ballard when he stated that “the proclamation is a prophetic document, not only because it was issued by prophets but because it was ahead of its time. It warns against many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade and calls for the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.”[66]

Reaffirming Truths

As pointed out above, the teachings contained and emphasized in the family proclamation are tied to the cultural context of the latter days. This is the same pattern God has always used, and it is one of the primary reasons he calls prophets whenever he has a people willing to follow him. President John Taylor taught the following regarding the need for a prophet in our day:

We require a living tree—a living fountain—living intelligence, proceeding from the living priesthood in heaven, through the living priesthood on earth. . . . And from the time that Adam first received a communication from God, to the time that John, on the Isle of Patmos, received his communication, or Joseph Smith had the heavens opened to him, it always required new revelations, adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed. Adam’s revelation did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah’s revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom; nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. These all had revelations for themselves, and so had Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, and Joseph. And so must we, or we shall make a shipwreck.[67]

But such revelatory knowledge does not always necessitate new doctrine. In the case of the family proclamation, President Hinckley explicitly stated that the family proclamation is “a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.”[68] This reality has been restated by several members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.[69] Several sources have compiled lists of each doctrine contained in the family proclamation and when those doctrines have been taught throughout the Church’s history. [70]

Language Links

Another witness that the family proclamation is a reaffirmation of prophetic doctrine comes from the language of the document itself. A study of the specific wording of the family proclamation clearly shows that the teachings and language used throughout the document have been emphasized by members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in their teachings for decades and, more especially, in the years directly preceding its introduction. Table 1 contains statements taken from five separate talks given in the October 1993 and October 1994 general conferences.[71] These statements also clearly demonstrate that those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are responsible for both the content and the language of the family proclamation. Most members would take this claim for granted, but a claim that has commonly been made by those who do not believe in the prophetic nature of the family proclamation is that not only is the document only a policy statement (as opposed to a doctrinal statement) but it was also actually written by Church lawyers.[72] The reasoning for such a claim usually stems from the fact that the family proclamation has been used by the Church for such legal purposes as amicus briefs. However, as demonstrated in the following table, such a claim can only be taken seriously by ignoring the fact that the exact same teachings—often using the exact same language—have been shared by numerous apostles and prophets in their general conference addresses. The claim that Church lawyers were the source of the teachings and language used by several members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in their general conference talks prior to the introduction of the family proclamation seems quite untenable.[73]

Again, space constraints preclude an exhaustive recitation of the teachings and language prophets have used in prior general conference talks that are mirrored in the family proclamation, but a sampling will likely suffice to illustrate the point.

Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign, November 1993, 21–23
“Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth” (21)
“The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife” (21)
“God blessed Adam and Eve ‘and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply’” (21)
“The woman, by her very nature, is also co-creator with God and the primary nurturer of the children” (22)
“The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth” (22)
“No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability” (23)
Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1993, 72–75
“Before our mortal birth we had “a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father” (72)
“Maleness and femaleness, marriage, and the bearing and nurturing of children are all essential to the great plan of happiness. Modern revelation makes clear that what we call gender was part of our existence prior to our birth” (72)
“The distinction between male and female is no condition peculiar to the relatively brief period of mortal life; it was an essential characteristic of our pre-existent condition” (quoting James E. Talmage; 72)
“To the first man and woman on earth, the Lord said, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply’ (Moses 2:28; see also Gen. 1:28; Abr. 4:28). This commandment was first in sequence and first in importance” (72)
“Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading” (74)
“Marriage is ordained of God unto man” (74)
M. Russell Ballard, “Equality Through Diversity,” Ensign, November 1993, 89–91
“Even though men and women are equal before God in their eternal opportunities, they have different, but equally significant, duties in His eternal plan.” (89)
“To His sons He would give the priesthood and the responsibilities of fatherhood, and to His daughters He gave the responsibilities of motherhood, each with its attendant functions” (90)
“A family can live with Him only after a man and a woman are sealed in marriage for eternity” (90)
“They have been given the primary responsibility for the temporal and physical needs of the family” (90)
“Women have the power to bring children into the world and have been given the primary duty and opportunity as mothers to lead, nurture, and teach them in a loving, spiritual environment” (90)
“We need to recognize the hard mortal realities in all of this and must use common sense and guidance by personal revelation” (90)
Howard W. Hunter, “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises,” Ensign, November 1994, 7–8
“The Church has the responsibility—and the authority—to preserve and protect the family as the foundation of society” (9)
“Parenthood is a sacred obligation and privilege, with children welcomed as a ‘heritage of the Lord’ (Ps. 127:3)” (9)
“A worried society now begins to see that the disintegration of the family brings upon the world the calamities foretold by the prophets” (9)
Howard W. Hunter, “Being a Righteous Husband and Father,” Ensign, November 1994, 49–51
“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” (49)
“A man who holds the priesthood regards the family as ordained of God” (50)
“We are under divine commandment to multiply and replenish the earth” (50)
“By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder” (50)
“The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership” (51)
“You who hold the priesthood have the responsibility, unless disabled, to provide temporal support for your wife and children” (51)

Table 1. Language from general conference talks similar to the language used in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Prophetic Process

Until 2017 there were very few statements from authoritative sources on the specific processes which led to the family proclamation. As demonstrated above, members of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve have consistently referred to the family proclamation with such descriptive terms as inspired, revelation, prophetic, etc. However, there were few details on the process of formulating and writing the document itself. That changed when President Oaks delivered his October 2017 general conference address titled “The Plan and the Proclamation.” This address contained several important details that brought clarity and correction to the many narratives that have been put forward regarding the proclamation. Another important source became available in 2019 when Sheri Dew published her biography of President Nelson, titled Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson. Combining both sources provides the best picture currently available of the circumstances and processes which led to the creation and publication of the family proclamation.

From President Nelson’s biography we learn that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spend an entire day sometime in 1994 discussing several issues surrounding the family and notes that this was far from a new topic of discussion. This discussion continued beyond that day, with the Twelve focusing on both doctrinal issues (those things that could not be changed) and policy issues (those things that might be changed) regarding the family. Finally, the decision was made to “prepare a document, perhaps even a proclamation,” and to present that document “to the First Presidency for consideration.”[74] These details make clear that the original impetus for the creation of the family proclamation grew out of discussions within the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

A committee consisting of Elders James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell, and Russell M. Nelson was appointed to create the first draft of the proposed document. Elder Faust, as the senior apostle of the group, suggested that each person create their own draft, and that each draft then be brought together. The combined document was then submitted to each member of the Quorum of the Twelve for review and revision. Finally, the revised draft was presented to the First Presidency for their consideration. The First Presidency reviewed and refined the document further and finally the document was ratified by the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve just before President Howard W. Hunter passed away in March 1995.[75]

President Oaks’s account in the October 2017 general conference adds detail to this outline and emphasizes the role revelation and the Holy Spirit played in the creation of the document. President Oaks explained that “the inspiration identifying the need for a proclamation on the family came to the leadership of the Church over 23 years ago.”[76] As discussed above, several political and social developments in the early 1990s prompted the presiding counsels of the Church to place renewed emphasis on making sure Church members and others understood God’s plan for the family. President Oaks pointed out that some were surprised when the Quorum of the Twelve began this process as they felt that the doctrines surrounding the family were already well understood. But as President Oaks pointed out, “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.”[77]

Though the first draft was created by the committee made up of Elders Faust, Maxwell, and Nelson, the document was worked on by the entire Quorum of the Twelve for almost a full 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.”[78] The First Presidency made further changes before the united First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve formally ratified the final document under President Howard W. Hunter’s leadership. The original plan was to present the family proclamation to the entire Church at the April 1995 general conference. However, due to President Hunter’s passing in March 1995, President Hinckley felt that it would be wiser to wait for the October 1995 general conference to formally introduce the proclamation.[79] President Hinckley ultimately introduced “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in the September 1995 general Relief Society meeting with the following introductory 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.”[80]


A false dichotomy has been and continues to be perpetuated to the effect that either “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is a revealed and prophetic document based on eternal truths or else it is a policy statement written largely for political purposes and subject to change. The more charitable version of the second half of this dichotomy claims that the content of the family proclamation is simply the best understanding of the Church leadership—that it is not based on eternal, enduring truths and is therefore subject to the errors and foibles that are naturally part of mortal understanding. A less charitable version of this narrative claims that the document was drafted, if not written, by Church lawyers mainly for political purposes.

As is clear from the above discussion, the family proclamation was most definitely written in the context of secular and cultural realities that caused grave concerns among Church leaders regarding the family. The first half of this article details some of the many events which preceded and prompted the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to action. However, as the second half of this article makes clear, those who participated in the creation of the family proclamation and the entire leadership of the Church since that time have made clear that the document is more than “the opinions of fifteen men”: it represents the mind and will of God for his children. The overwhelming consensus of all statements by Church leaders since its inception is that the family proclamation is a prophetic document based on revealed eternal truth.

image of parents with a baby"I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is [a test] for this generation. I pray for all Latter-Day Saints to stand firm in that test." - President Dallin H. Oaks, Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Perhaps the most concise statement of this reality was given in October 2017 general conference by President Oaks, who testified of both the importance of the document and its prophetic nature:

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. . . .

I testify of the truth and eternal importance of the family proclamation, revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Apostles for the exaltation of the children of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4).[81]

A more accurate understanding of the cultural and political context that created the original need and prompted the prophetic process by which the family proclamation was created can help members gain a greater understanding of the way that God directs his prophets based on the circumstances and needs of his children today. A more accurate knowledge of the actual process the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve used in creating the family proclamation can further help members as they seek their own testimony of the truths contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”


[1] Gordon B Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, November 1995, 100.

[2] For a detailed analysis from a Christian historian of the factors that led to the sexual revolution and its consequences, see Carl R. Trueman, Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022).

[3] Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).

[4] Steven Pope, “Expressive Individualism and True Self-Love: A Thomistic Perspective,” Journal of Religion 71, no. 3 (1991): 384.

[5] Paul R. Amato, “Institutional, Companionate, and Individualistic Marriages: Change over Time and Implications for Marital Quality,” in Marriage at the Crossroads: Law, Policy, and the Brave New World of Twenty-First-Century Families, ed. Marsha Garrison and Elizabeth S. Scott (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 110.

[6] See Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020).

[7] See Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).

[8] Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage (New York: Penguin, 2006), 4.

[9] See W. Justin Dyer, “Shifting Views on the Male-Female Relationship: Same-Sex Marriage and Other Social Consequences,” Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel 18, no. 2 (2017): 31–51.

[10] See James Neill, The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies (repr. ed.; Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2011).

[11] See Plato, Symposium; cited in John M. Cooper, ed., Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1997), 457–505.

[12] See Daniel R. Pinello, America’s Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[13] For example, Grisold v. Connecticut (1965) and Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) legalizing contraceptives; Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp (1971) on mothers’ employment; and, of course, Roe v. Wade (1973), legalizing abortion.

[14] W. Bradford Wilcox, ed., The State of Our Unions (Charlottesville, VA: National Marriage Project; Provo, UT: Wheatley Institution and the School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2019), 15–30.

[15] Pinello, America’s Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, 22.

[16] Mark Davies, “LDS General Conference Corpus,” https://www.

[17] Michael A. Goodman, “Correlation: The Turning Point (1960s),” in Salt Lake City: The Place Which God Prepared, ed. Scott C. Esplin and Kenneth L. Alford (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011), 259–84, esp. 267–70.

[18] Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, October 1970, 118.

[19] Ted Gest, “Divorce: How the Game is Played Now,” U.S. News & World Report, November 21, 1983, 39–42.

[20] “Religious Groups’ Official Positions on Same-Sex Marriage,” Pew Research Center, December 7, 2012,

[21] Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).

[22] See Wilcox, State of Our Unions, 15–30.

[23] See Dallin H. Oaks, “Same-Gender Attraction,” Ensign, October 1995, 8.

[24] Pinello, America’s Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, 25.

[25] Quoted in Douglas Palmer, “3 LDS Officials Seek to Join Hawaii Suit,” Church News, April 14, 1995.

[26] See “A Timeline of the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.,” Georgetown Law Library,

[27] “International Year of the Family,” United Nations, accessed July 6, 2023,

[28] “International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD),” United Nations Population Fund, September 5, 1994,

[29] “Fourth World Conference on Women, 4–15 September 1995, Beijing, China,” United Nations, accessed July 6, 2023,

[30] Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character” (Church Educational system fireside for young adults, February 2, 2003),

[31] Packer, “Instrument of Your Mind.”

[32] Packer, “Instrument of Your Mind.”

[33] M. Russell Ballard, “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood” (devotional address at Brigham Young University, August 19, 2003),

[34] Sheri L. Dew, Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), 211–12.

[35] A copy of this amicus brief can be accessed here:

[36] Justice Roberts, dissent, Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). See also Justice Alito’s dissent in this case.

[37] Quoted in “Church Leaders Counsel Members after Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision,” Church Newsroom, June 30, 2015,

[38] “Church Leaders Counsel Members.”

[39] Meli, “How ‘The Proclamation to the Family’ Hurts Families,” Young Mormon Feminists, September 13, 2013,

[40] Dallin H. Oaks, “The Plan and the Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2017, 29.

[41] Oaks, “Plan and the Proclamation,” 31.

[42] “Mormons in America—Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society,” Pew Research Center, January 12, 2012,

[43] See Jana Riess, The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 15–18.

[44] The word representative for this survey has reference to demographic criteria; it does not indicate that the sample is representative regarding Church beliefs or behaviors.

[45] This graph is adapted from Riess, The Next Mormons, 179.

[46] Caryle Murphy, “Most U.S. Christian Groups Grow More Accepting of Homosexuality,” Pew Research Center, December 18, 2015,

[47] This graph is adapted from data in Riess, The Next Mormons, 182.

[48] L. Tom Perry, “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 31.

[49] Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1996, 75; emphasis added.

[50] Ballard, “Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign, November 1999, 64; emphasis added.

[51] Hinckley, “Stand Strong,” 100.

[52] W. Eugene Hansen, “Children and the Family,” Ensign, May 1998, 63.

[53] Oaks, “Plan and the Proclamation,” 31.

[54] Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Defenders of the Family Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 14–15.

[55] Oaks, quoted in Neil L. Andersen, “The Voice of the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2017, 122.

[56] Andersen, “The Eye of Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 34, 36.

[57] Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2018, 25.

[58] Goodman, “‘Oh Say, What is Truth?’: Approaches to Doctrine,” BYU Studies 60, no. 3 (2022): 13–38.

[59] Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Christlike Attributes—the Wind beneath Our Wings,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2005, 100.

[60] Robert D. Hales, “The Eternal Family,” Ensign, November 1996, 64.

[61] Perry, “Obedience to Law Is Liberty,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 88.

[62] David B. Haight, “Be a Strong Link,” Ensign, November 2000, 20.

[63] First Presidency letter, March 6, 2014; quoted in Andersen, “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 19.

[64] Richard J. Maynes, “Earning the Trust of the Lord and Your Family,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2017, 75–77.

[65] Hales, “General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2013, 7.

[66] Ballard, “What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2005, 41.

[67] John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1944), 34.

[68] Hinckley, “Stand Strong,” 100.

[69] See, for example, Hales, “The Eternal Family”; Haight, “Be a Strong Link”; Perry, “Obedience to Law”; Oaks, “Plan and the Proclamation “; and Dallin H. Oaks, “Parents and Children.”

[70] For example, see “Question: Have the Doctrines in the Mormon Document ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ Long Been Taught in the Church?,” Fair Latter-day Saints, accessed July 6, 2023,

[71] The talks quoted are as follows, in alphabetical order (not in order of appearance): Ballard, “Equality Through Diversity,” Ensign, November 1993, 89–91; Howard W. Hunter, “Being a Righteous Husband and Father,” Ensign, November 1994, 49–51; Hunter, “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises,” Ensign, November 1994, 7–8; Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1993, 72–75; and Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign, November 1993, 21–23.

[72] For one example, see Guy Templeton, “Proclamation Written by Lawyers?,” Wheat & Tares, October 30, 2014,

[73] No attempt is being made to claim that ecclesiastical Church leaders have never consulted with Church lawyers regarding the public ramifications of the teachings contained in the family proclamation. In fact, such a situation would seem not only unlikely but unwise. However, the claim that Church lawyers were the ones to guide the process and even draft the family proclamation simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

[74] Dew, Insights from a Prophet’s Life, 208.

[75] See Dew, 208–209.

[76] Oaks, “Plan and the Proclamation,” 30.

[77] Oaks, 30.

[78] Oaks, 30.

[79] Dew, Insights from a Prophet’s Life, 209.

[80] Hinckley, “Stand Strong,” 100.

[81] Oaks, “Plan and the Proclamation,” 30–31.