The Law of Adoption is a Fundamental Doctrine of the Gospel
There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel way of life comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of the living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives. The principles stated in the family proclamation are a beautiful expression of our gospel culture. . . The traditions of culture or way of life of a people inevitably include some practices that must be changed by those who wish to qualify for God's choicest blessings. . . This requires us to make some changes from our family culture, our ethnic culture, or our national culture. We must change all elements of our behavior that are in conflict with gospel commandments, covenants, and culture. (See Dallin H. Oaks, "Repentance and Change," Ensign, Nov 2003, 37, and "Priesthood Authority in the Family and the Church," Ensign, Nov 2005, 24)Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture often requires rejecting or repenting of behaviors and practices that are tolerated, expected or even endorsed in the world in which we live, such as mistreatment of women, dishonesty, and sexual immorality.
Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture usually includes developing a refinement of the spirit as evidenced by increased modesty in our clothing and speech and by choosing uplifting music, literature, and other forms of entertainment, with a general shift in the amount of the time we spend pursuing entertainment and material goals to education and service.
Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture will almost certainly include expanding our vision and the active development of opportunities to love and serve family members, both past and present, and friends, neighbors, and strangers--especially the poor and needy among us. Examples are doing quiet acts of charity, sharing the gospel, performing family history and temple work, contributing to the perpetual education fund, and responding to the special needs of others in times of natural disaster.
One of the greatest forms of love and service that is absolutely central to the purpose of mortality and is the most refining of all mortal activity is having and raising children, including reaching out and adopting children whose parents put them up for adoption or who are orphaned. When children are born under the covenant, or subsequently sealed to their parents, they receive extraordinary blessings and vital protections that can be obtained only through temple ordinances. (See Posting "Our Wandering Children are not Lost," April 19, 2001)
The Law of Adoption is at the Heart of the Gospel and is Required by All who Inherit Eternal Life
In setting forth that all men must be born again to gain salvation, . . .this means they must be "born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen sate, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters. " (Mosiah 27:25) Whose sons and whose daughters do we become when we are born again? Who is our new Father? The answer is, Christ is our Father; we become his children by adoption; he makes us members of His family. (Mosiah 5:7) (See Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 1978)Furthermore, there is process and order in organizing the familial lines of those who qualify to be heirs of eternal life, the sons and daughters of Christ, and joint heirs with Him. Men and women of whatever literal blood lineage become, through adoption, the seed of Abraham and the elect of God as they receive and magnify the covenants of the temple, especially the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. (D&C 84:33-39 and D&C 132: 19-21)
Therefore, to paraphrase King Benjamin, will we suffer little children to remain orphaned when we ourselves are also completely dependent upon the law of adoption for our exaltation. King Benjamin does counsel, "It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." (Mosiah 4: 16, 19, 27). Perhaps if we have the means of extending the blessings of the temple to children at risk, we shouldn't dismiss out of hand the idea of adopting them.