As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a sacred duty to God to stand as witnesses for marriage and the family as ordained of God. However, some are speaking about same-sex marriage and relationships as though these are the right choice (and even a good choice) for our loved ones. When they do this, they encourage people to abandon the straight and narrow path and their covenants for the artful guise of something temporary that will not last. For some, it may be much easier to carve out a way to appear tolerant and compassionate in the eyes of the world and, by so doing, deflect the persecution and condemnation of associates and friends. However, adopting the compassion label in order to make something spiritually destructive appear benign, spares only ourselves at the expense of those in spiritual peril.
Because “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is not canonized, some LDS members feel they are free to either reject its teachings or interpret it at will. For example, the family proclamation teaches that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Some who disregard the proclamation as doctrine support and even advocate for same-sex marriage. Some go so far as to believe the doctrine of marriage will change. They feel that although the teachings in the proclamation pertain to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), the world at large should not be held to the same standard.
However, the proclamation teaches eternal, unchanging doctrines canonized in the standard works of the Church and affirmed by the consistent teachings of modern prophets and apostles.
What is Doctrine?
In the first place, the proclamation is strongly supported by the established criteria for “what is doctrine” as explained by the Church. Since the proclamation is firmly rooted in established doctrine, it is not necessary that it be canonized for members to uphold its teachings with confidence. LDS leaders, for over 20 years, have used the family proclamation as the gold standard by which they teach and establish the official position of the Church on the doctrines of marriage, family relationships, and gender identity. Prophets of God speak on His behalf; therefore, members sustain them as they uphold the doctrines declared in the proclamation. As members sustain and defend the proclamation, families are strengthened. The family proclamation meets all authoritative criteria for what constitutes LDS doctrine. Continue reading
To Try On or Not to Try On? That is the Question.
I don’t like to buy clothes online. I have, but it always seems to be a 50/50 proposition. I’m a tall, Scandinavian gal and concerned that things won’t fit right, and I’m correct at least half the time. For me, heading to the store where I can try them on works best. I want to make sure it’s long enough. I don’t want it to pull and tug and bunch up. I want to twist and turn in the clothes, in front of that three-way mirror to be sure nothing that shouldn’t show doesn’t. Many of my friends enjoy shopping for the season’s latest styles online in their sweats with a cup of hot cocoa. Whatever they order comes right to their door and fits great for them. I wish things were different for me that way. But then again, if they were, maybe I’d miss out on that big chunky necklace hanging by the check-out counter that looks perfect with my new blouse.
How about shopping for a spouse? Do you think someone might have better success, find a ‘better fit,’ by trying a person on first? Can people find a great fit or a good match, by not engaging in ‘up close and personal’ behaviors before the wedding? What do you think the prevailing thoughts in society are on this? Continue reading
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”
Panel: John D. Mueller – Lehrman Institute Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Steve Smoot –
Family First Foundation, Christopher Carmouche – Grasstops USA, Eric Teetsel – Manhattan Declaration
The Family: A Proclamation to the World concludes with these solemn words, “…we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
This panel lecture and discussion focused on the negative economic and social effects harming not only the family, but societies in general, bought about primarily through the low birth rate and abortion. Following are just a few drops from the fire hose of research, not opinion, that we were favored with: Continue reading
Elder M Russell Ballard offered a bold keynote address to the World Congress of Families as he welcomed delegates from around the globe and reminded them that, “marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
The full text of Elder Ballard’s remarks follows:
Eternal Families and Love for One Another
World Congress of Families
Elder M. Russell Ballard
We thank you for the honor of selecting Utah to host the first World Congress of Families in the United States. I extend an official welcome from the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially Elder Dallin H. Oaks who has supported your work for many years. Our church is also known as the LDS or Mormon Church, and its international headquarters is in Salt Lake City. We hope you enjoy your stay with us.
You may have already seen the Salt Lake Temple. If not, I encourage you to visit Temple Square.
Temples are very important to Latter-day Saints, because in them couples are married for “time and eternity,” not just “till death do you part.” As the Church proclaimed twenty years ago in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
This doctrine explains our strong position on the family. We also believe we are to reach out to all people with understanding, love, and compassion. The focus of my remarks will be:
First, I will explain the doctrinal reasons that traditional families play such an important role in our church. Second, I will explain the relationship between religious sensitivities surrounding the family and religious freedom. Finally, I will suggest some guiding principles on reaching out to those around us, despite any misunderstandings or disagreements. Continue reading
Gender is a hot topic in the media these days. As women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do we know that our divine feminine nature comes from God? Do we understand that it was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity? How might it change how we feel about ourselves when we fully understand that femininity is part of the God-given divinity and identity within?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Rosemary Wixom’s talk titled Discovering the Divinity Within and the words we might use to describe our divine femaleness. The words “divine female identity” and “divine gender identity” keep coming into mind. With all that has been going on in the media this year on the topic of gender confusion and gender identity, I thought it was interesting that Sister Wixom didn’t need to spell out these specific social issues. Instead, she spent her time teaching correct doctrine and pure truth about our divinely appointed identity. We can then choose to use these truths to govern our thoughts, opinions, behavior and views about the world around us.
Are we tired yet of fornication before marriage and infidelity after marriage? The media would have us believe it’s natural, or that men and women are not made to be monogamous. We’ve heard all the reasons out there, but I like the way that Dr. Scott Haltzman, a therapist and expert on marriage, challenges this notion:
“Infidelity is not a victimless act. The decision to have an affair involves a secret choice made by one person to rob another person of what is rightfully his or hers: fidelity. It is an act that includes lying, family neglect and often the theft of time and money.
Does that sound harsh? It ought to. Sociology experts and evolutionary psychologists can argue all day long as to whether monogamy is natural or whether it is reasonable for anyone to keep unrealistic vows made in earnest. While the data on the prevalence of infidelity is daunting (about 40 percent of couples will be affected by an affair), the majority of married people have never had affairs. It’s amazing all the “unnatural” things humans can do when they put their minds to it!
So if you’re surprised at the moral outrage against infidelity, you shouldn’t be. Plain and simple, it’s wrong.”
Often when we think of calamities foretold in the Latter-days, we think of earth quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, war, and financial collapses. These are all calamities and all foretold of in the scriptures. Yet there has been one calamity in the Latter-days that overshadows all others. It has caused the most pain and heartache for the most people. That calamity is the break-down of the family.
Consider the words found in D&C 1:17-22:
17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
The Lord, knowing the calamity that should come in the latter-days, gave the people the prophets beginning with Joseph Smith and commandments. He gave the people prophets that they might not take counsel from man or the arm of flesh—that faith may increase and that the everlasting covenant may be established.
When looking at the consequences following the break-down of the family, we can assume that the Lord was, in part, referring to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. We can also assume that the Lord meant all other covenants established through the restoration of the Priesthood to bless the children of men. Continue reading
Julie Beck is among many of my LDS heroines. I absolutely love this woman and while we have never met, I remember wishing I could have worked for her during her time as the first councilor in the General Young Women Presidency, and subsequently as the General Relief Society President. I wanted to learn and be mentored by such a faithful and strong female leader in the Church. I still find myself drawn to her talks and tapping into reservoirs of her tremendous experience and wisdom.
In 2009, Sister Beck (while serving as the General Relief Society President) spoke in a broadcast address to seminary and institute of religion teachers. It was fantastic. Not long afterwards, the bloggers and news media began buzzing about it and it was easy to see why. It was a powerful and inspired speech that instructed parents, teachers and leaders about why the rising generation fully understand the doctrine of the family, and how we can most effectively do it. Continue reading