While speaking at an international conference on families in Amsterdam on Wednesday, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emphasized the importance of children and families to the world’s future.

“Future happiness and even the future of nations is linked to children. Families with children need to be re-enthroned as the fundamental unit of society. We simply must value children more than we do.”

The World Congress of Families is an international network of national, ethnic, cultural and religious communities that defend, affirm and promote the vital role of the family in society. World Congress V convened over a three-day period.

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The Church has long advocated strong families and in 1995 issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, which states in part: “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.”

Wendy Watson Nelson, Ph.D., wife of Elder Nelson, also spoke at the gathering about the need for families to have increased spiritual strength. “We need families who look to God and who remove anything from their lives that is spiritually corrupting,” she said. “Families who are spiritually strong are the only hope for the future of our nations.”

Also speaking at the conference was Sheri L. Dew, who formerly served as a counselor in the Church’s general Relief Society presidency. Dew said: “A virtuous life is an easier, more fulfilling life. And it is one of the most powerful keys to strengthening families and therefore to strengthening our world.”

Links to full text of speeches:

Elder Russell M. Nelson: “The Family: The Hope for the Future of Nations”

Wendy Watson Nelson: “Not Even Once!”

Sheri L. Dew: “‘Resurgence of Moral Virtue’ Is Necessary”