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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Same-sex marriage threatens God's plan of happiness for his children here and in eternity, said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Mormon church's governing Quorum of the Twelve.
Ballard told a devotional at Brigham Young University Tuesday that he helped draft the 1995 Proclamation to the World on the Family, which he said came in response to concerns by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over social movements to "design families in ways contrary to God's plan."
In response, they drafted the proclamation so as to "make the Lord's position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood."
The opening line says "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the creator's plan for the eternal destiny of his children."
The church has spent millions of dollars campaigning against gay marriage.
As the "vacillating whims of convention and political correctness" march forward, "families continue to be assaulted openly and viciously," Ballard said, with "gender being confused and traditional roles being repudiated."
In God's plan, the traditional family "is not just the basic unit of society but the basic unit of eternity," he said.
He said the church and its leaders "must stand firm at this time when the adversary is using differing lifestyles in an attempt to replace the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman."
Ballard also spoke about attitudes toward children.
"Life is being trivialized and subjected to the vacillating whims of convenience and political correctness," Elder Ballard said. "Children are considered a choice rather than a blessing. ... Almost every trend indicates that we are on a slippery slope downward from God's plan for his children."
Ballard said fathers and mothers have different but equal roles.
Fathers are expected to provide for their families and protect them, both from physical and moral dangers.
"Fathers play a vital role in protecting children against such snares," Elder Ballard said. "It is sad to note that children in single-parent families are more likely to drop out of high school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, to be physically or sexually abused as children, and to be in trouble with the law than are those from families with both biological parents present."
The mother's role is to provide nurturing, warmth and support, he said.
"Taking care of small, dependent and demanding children is never-ending and often nerve-racking," he said. "Mothers must not fall into the trap of believing that quality time can replace quantity time. Quality is a direct function of quantity and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)