"General Patterns and Specific Lives"


In the opening address of the
Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Building Up a Righteous Posterity,  February 9, 2008  that all members of the Church 18 years and older were invited to attend, Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave this important counsel:


"Now, I hope this helps you understand why we talk about the pattern, the ideal, of marriage and family when we know full well that not everyone now lives in that ideal circumstance. It is precisely because many don’t have, or perhaps have never even seen, that ideal and because some cultural forces steadily move us away from that ideal, that we speak about what our Father in Heaven wishes for us in His eternal plan for His children.

"Individual adaptations have to be made as marital status and family circumstances differ. But all of us can agree on the pattern as it comes from God, and we can strive for its realization the best way we can.

"We who are General Authorities and general officers are called to teach His general rules. You and we then lead specific lives and must seek the Lord’s guidance regarding specific circumstances. But there would be mass confusion and loss of gospel promises if no general ideal and no doctrinal standard were established and, in our case today, repeated. We take great strength in knowing the Lord has spoken on these matters, and we accept His counsel even when it might not be popular."   (Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: Building Up a Righteous Posterity,  February 9, 2008)



For a related talk, see:


Dallin H. Oaks, "Two Lines of Communication,"  Ensign, Nov. 2010, pp. 83-86