UPDATE: This post has been updated at the bottom to include the video of President Eyring’s talk.
In a historic address at the second day of the International Interreligious Colloquium at the Vatican City, President Henry B. Eyring defended the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and quoted core LDS doctrine found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. His address was literally part of the witness segment in the program. This is significant and not by chance. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that President Eyring is indeed a witness: President Henry B. Eyring is one of fifteen special witnesses of Christ to all the world. These witnesses are prophets and apostles, and they speak today to the world. It is their duty to represent and carry out the Lord’s will as they lead all of His children in this dispensation.
As a special witness of Christ at the Vatican, President Henry B. Eyring provided the pattern of God’s marriage by solemnly declaring that:
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). 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.
… 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. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
These words are prophetic, and they went throughout the entire world today from a prophet, seer, and revelator. He boldly testified of the doctrine of the family not only at the Vatican, but to the world and made an international call to stand up and defend marriage between a man and a woman when he said:
[It] 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.
Bearing testimony from personal and social experience, President Eyring began by stating that, “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.” He is right. Only marriage between a man and a woman is the key to true and long-lasting happiness for families. As spoken many times throughout the Humanam conference, the complementary natures of a man and a woman are divine and designed to help both sexes become better and become as one. The scripture says, “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). President Eyring shared his testimony of this by personal experience, indicating that he and his wife “have been complementary beyond anything I could have imagined.” He then testified that:
Our differences 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.
Selfishness is the one thing that stands out to him as the cause of unhappiness in a marriage, and that “If unselfishness 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.”
President Eyring concluded with his powerful testimony and witness:
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.
In his final sentence, President Eyring closes his address in the name of Jesus Christ and boldly states to the world that he serves Him and he is His witness. He provided a powerful testimony to members of the Church and people around the world within the sound of his voice that marriage is between a man and a woman, and it is possible to have success in strengthening and defending it because the Lord will multiply our efforts.
We are grateful to have heard this truth and many other fantastic truths throughout this inspired International Interreligious Colloquium at the Vatican City. The world was able to yet again hear the doctrine of the family as taught in the prophetic and inspired document The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Let us move forward and stand and defend these core doctrines and principles with the example of one of our beloved leaders, President Henry B. Eyring.
For a full transcript of his address, please click here.