LDS Newswroom, ADDITIONAL RESOURCE — 18 NOVEMBER 2014
President Eyring Addresses the Vatican Summit on Marriage 結婚サミット
VATICAN CITY —
Complementarity of Man and Woman
An International Interreligious Colloquium Vatican City
November 18, 2014
Counselor in the First Presidency of the The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints
To Become as One
I am grateful
to be invited to be a witness at this Colloquium. I am
especially grateful for the opportunity to give evidence that a
man and a woman, united in marriage, have a transcendent power
to create happiness for themselves, for their family, and for
the people around them.
I am an
eyewitness of the power of the union of a man and a woman in
marriage to produce happiness for each other and for their
family. The evidence I offer is personal, yet I trust my recital
may trigger in your memories what you have seen that would point
to a general truth beyond the experience of one couple and one
The evidence I
offer begins when I was a single man, living alone without any
family near me. I thought I was happy and content. I was a
doctoral student at Harvard University in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. My research work was going well, I was serving
others through my church, and I found time to play tennis often.
An assignment in
my church took me to a morning meeting in a grove of trees in
New Hampshire. As the meeting ended, I saw in the crowd a young
woman. I had never seen her before, but the feeling came over me
that she was the best person I had ever seen. That evening she
walked into our church meeting in Cambridge. Another thought
came to my mind with great power: “If I could only be with her,
I could become every good thing I ever wanted to be.” I said to
the man sitting next to me, “Do you see that girl? I would give
anything to marry her.”
We were married
a year after I first saw her. The wedding ceremony was in a
temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The
words spoken in the ceremony included a promise that we might be
husband and wife in this life and for eternity. The promise
included that whatever descendants we might have would be bound
to us forever if we lived worthy of that happiness. We were
promised that after this life, we could continue to enjoy
whatever loving family sociality we could create in life.
wife and I believed those promises, and we wanted that
happiness. So we acted to make it possible through the great
variety of circumstances of life. There was sickness and health,
struggle and some prosperity, the births of six children, and
eventually the births of 31 grandchildren, and on the day I
arrived I was told we had the first great-grandchild. Yet with
all the changes, there have been consistencies since that
wedding day more than 52 years ago.
to me has been the fulfillment of the hope I felt the day I met
my wife. I have become a better person as I have loved and lived
with her. We have been complementary beyond anything I could
have imagined. Her capacity to nurture others grew in me as we
became one. My capacity to plan, direct, and lead in our family
grew in her as we became united in marriage. I realize now that
we grew together into one—slowly lifting and shaping each other,
year by year. As we absorbed strength from each other, it did
not diminish our personal gifts.
combined as if they were designed to create a better whole.
Rather than dividing us, our differences bound us together.
Above all, our unique abilities allowed us to become partners
with God in creating human life. The happiness that came from
our becoming one built faith in our children and grandchildren
that marriage could be a continuing source of satisfaction for
them and their families.
You have seen
enough unhappiness in marriages and families to ask why some
marriages produce happiness while others create unhappiness.
Many factors make a difference, but one stands out to me.
Where there is
selfishness, natural differences of men and women often divide.
Where there is unselfishness, differences become complementary
and provide opportunities to help and build each other. Spouses
and family members can lift each other and ascend together if
they care more about the interests of the other than their own
is the key to complementary marriage between a man and a woman,
we know what we must do to help create a renaissance of
successful marriages and family life.
We must find
ways to lead people to a faith that they can replace their
natural self-interest with deep and lasting feelings of charity
and benevolence. With that change, and only then, will people be
able to make the hourly unselfish sacrifices necessary for a
happy marriage and family life—and to do it with a smile.
The change that
is needed is in people’s hearts more than in their minds. The
most persuasive logic will not be enough unless it helps soften
hearts. For instance, it is important for men and women to be
faithful to a spouse and a family. But in the heat of temptation
to betray their trust, only powerful feelings of love and
loyalty will be enough.
That is why the
following guidelines are in “The Family: A Proclamation to the
World,” issued in 1995 by the First Presidency and Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
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). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their
children in love and righteousness, to provide for their
physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and
serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be
law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and
wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God
for the discharge of these obligations.
“The family is ordained of God.
Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.
Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony,
and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows
with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely
to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and
maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance,
forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome
recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to
preside over their families in love and righteousness and are
responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection
for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the
nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities,
fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal
partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may
necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend
support when needed."
Those are things
people must do for us to have a renaissance of happy marriages
and productive families. Such a renaissance will require people
to try for the ideal—and to keep trying even when the happy
result is slow to come and when loud voices mock the effort.
We can and must stand up and
defend the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.
Professor Lynn Wardle has said, “The task we face is not for
summer soldiers or weekend warriors who are willing to work for
a season and then quit." A
past president of our Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, offered
similar counsel, as well as encouragement, saying, “We cannot
effect a turnaround in a day or a month or a year. But with
enough effort, we can begin a turnaround within a generation,
and accomplish wonders within two generations."
Today more than a million
members of our Church in the United States gather their families
every day for prayer. Forty-one thousand (41,000) individual
families in Mexico read scriptures together one to three times a
week. Seventy thousand (70,000) individual families in Brazil
gather two or three times a month for an evening of prayer,
worship, and scripture reading.
Those are small
numbers when you think of the billions of parents and families
that Heavenly Father watches down upon in this world. But if
that family bonding passes through just a few generations,
happiness and peace will grow exponentially among the worldwide
family of God.
As we work to
build and encourage faithful, loving marriages in which men and
women become as one and nurture their families, the Lord will
multiply our efforts. As we join together in this work, I
promise progress toward that happy result. In the name of Jesus
Christ, whom I serve and whose witness I am, amen.
Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129;
D. Wardle, “The Attack on Marriage as the Union of a Man and a
Woman,” North Dakota Law Review, vol. 83:1387.
B. Hinckley, Standing for Something (2000), 170.
Church Research Information Division, Member Trends Surveys,
2005–2013; LDS Publishing Services; Richard J. McClendon and
Bruce A. Chadwick, “Latter-day Saint Families at the Dawn of the
Twenty-First Century,” in Craig H. Hart, et al., eds., Helping
and Healing our Families (2005).
This is an
excerpt from a Deseret News report of the end of Vatican
Conference dated 19 November 2014
of deep appreciation of difference was exemplified in the
overwhelming response of appreciation for the comments made
Tuesday by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the
First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said, “What
struck me most was that he was swelling up as he spoke about
his wife. He wasn’t just reading a talk to us — he was
speaking from his heart about how loving his wife has made
him a better person and how her loving him has made her a
"A lot of
people talked about the philosophy, or the social science or
the data. He was talking about the lived experience. That is
what I want to be able to say when I am his age."
was similarly stuck by President Eyring’s sincerity.
right after Pastor Rick Warren, and I turned to my companion
and I said ‘What a tough job, to have to follow Rick Warren
— one of the great preachers of western civilization — and
yet, what he had to say did not fall flat after that great
speech that Warren gave because it was so deeply heartfelt.
so deeply moving to see a man of his position and his deep
faith reflecting on a half-century of marriage and fidelity.
The emotion with which he talked about his wife and how his
wife had changed him for the better was tremendously
Pastor Rick Warren himself felt the same way.
asked about President Eyring’s talk, one that contrasted
doctrinally with Warren’s over the concept of family
relationships in the afterlife, Warren said: “I was very
touched by his own emotion for his own marriage. It was very
sincere. It was very authentic. And I told him so. And I
said that when he teared up, I teared up, because it made me
think about how much I love my wife and what a gift of God
she is to me.
powerful way to say something is the most personal way to
say it. His whole talk was a witness and a testimony, and
that was powerful.”