The Church's "The Family: a Proclamation to the World," gives clarity to a "world spinning in confusion — in confusion of gender and same-gender relationships," said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.
At a historical symposium of the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, Elder Ballard spoke on the teachings of Joseph Smith and the Church he founded, which are in a position to bring truth to a confused world, such as through the proclamation. These teachings, which include an understanding of the premortal and postmortal worlds, are based on divinely revealed truths that support the succinct principles of the proclamation.
At the symposium attended by about 200 people from chapters all over the United States, the Sons of the Utah Pioneers presented its first Modern Pioneer Awards to five people who "exemplify and teach pioneer values in pursuing a dream that makes the world a better place for those who follow."
Those who received the award were Ray and Helen Barton, who supervised the Family-to-Family Book of Mormon program and taught thousands of school children to avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol; Orson D. Wright, former national president of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers; John H. Morgan Jr., who started the World Senior Games, held in St. George, Utah, and involving 9,000 participants from 50 countries; Robert and Susan Roylance, who taught AIDS prevention in Africa, assisted Kenya farmers and founded United Families International to lobby the United Nations to help preserve traditional families; and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has defended Constitutional rights, traditional family values and who composes music.
In attendance at the symposium were 13 descendants of Joseph and Emma Smith, who were presented heritage certificates by Elder Ballard.
Presentations on the life and contributions of Joseph Smith were made by scholars Robert J. Matthews, John A. Peterson, Ronald K. Esplin and Jeffrey N. Walker.
In his address, Elder Ballard read parts of the proclamation on the family. "We walk in a world that's filled with darkness and, to be frank, is reeling to and fro with the influence of the evil one," he said.
Joseph Smith's importance is beyond comprehension, he declared. "I don't believe there's anyone on earth who can fully comprehend the depth of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
"It is my conviction that the eye of the Lord not only rested upon Joseph but also upon his family, and especially upon his brother Hyrum," said Elder Ballard.