News Release

Church Leader Emphasizes Sacred Role of the Family During Interfaith Conference in Qatar

“Family is the core of everything. It’s sacred,” Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, First Counselor in the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said during his presentation at the 15th Doha Conference for Interfaith Dialogue on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. The conference, titled “Family Structure in Light of Changing World: Religious Perspective,” was organized by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID).

During his keynote message at the plenary session, Elder Parrella reiterated the Church’s position on the importance of marriage and family. He outlined three essential truths of the gospel:

  • Marriage — the union between a man and a woman — and the family are sacred.
  • Parents have a divine responsibility to rear their children in a loving and righteous environment.
  • It is within the family that the youth learn to navigate the complexities of the world with faith and confidence.

Elder Parrella also highlighted the Church’s dedication to supporting youth through family-centered worship practices like family prayer, scripture study and regular Church attendance.

He also talked about the role of spiritual and secular education and the efforts taken by the Church to make such opportunities, including Church-sponsored universities and the BYU–Pathway Worldwide program, available to its members.

The conference also included a presentation by Dr. Jason S. Carroll, the Family Initiative director at the Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University, who discussed research on the role of faith in fostering family integration. Dr. Mahasin Salah, associate professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and Karim Assouad, representing FamilySearch, discussed the role of family history and recording memories and oral histories in strengthening the family.

The conference, an international two-day event, was organized by DICID under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It was dedicated to promoting understanding and cooperation among different faith communities in Qatar and globally. The conference included representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam from different parts of the world. It also included government leaders, representatives of the academia and NGOs from over 40 countries.

The Church teaches the divine purpose of the family. On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th President of the Church, presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” during general conference, outlining the Church’s position on family and marriage. Church leaders encourage government and community leaders to promote “measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

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