Bethany Packard: The Search for Supreme Truth and the Family Proclamation

With the cultural and life experience diversity of the approximately 15,000,000+ members of the Church, how do we become, as Enoch’s society, “of one heart and one mind” [1] on such politically charged and emotionally fueled social issues like sexuality, the roles of women and men, marriage, and the family unit? How can we hope to achieve the pleadings of the Apostle Paul, “that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment … that there are no contentions among you.” [2]

A black and white sign with the words “One Way” and a large arrow pointing to the right, hanging on a red brick wall under an old window.For those who believe in a Supreme Being, there is only one way. That is to search for His truth and not “truth” arrived at by men through only temporal understanding. Those who claim a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ listen to truth and the voice of God through His prophets.

During the organization of the Church, the words of the Lord to the tiny membership are telling. His first counsel to Church members (paraphrasing D&C 21:1 loosely) was essentially: “I want everyone in this room here to know that I will be running my Church through the voice of a seer, a translator, a prophet just as I have always done.“ And now, quoting subsequent verses, “ … Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.” [3] Eighteen months later, just to be sure they got it, He tells them again, “… whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” [4]

There is a powerful statement given by President Harold B. Lee, then a counselor in the First Presidency, during October General Conference 1970. His counsel has been one of the foundations for my commitment to follow the living prophet:

A portrait by Merrett T. Smith of Harold B. Lee, wearing a dark suit and tie, sitting in a black leather chair.We have some tight places to go before the Lord is through with this Church and the world in this dispensation … The power of Satan will increase, we see it in evidence on every hand. There will be inroads within the Church … We will see those who profess membership but secretly are plotting and trying to lead people not to follow the leadership that the Lord has set up to preside in his Church.

Now listen up. The next part is what I want you to take special notice:

There will be some things that take “patience and faith”. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But, if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘”the gates of hell will not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.’” [5]

If we reject the words of the prophets as revealed truth, the scripture says that the gates of hell are thrown open before us and we are enveloped in the mists of darkness. Both Lehi and Nephi saw in vision those in such mists, that “… [they] did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.” [6] I don’t want to be lost. I don’t want you to be lost either. As members of the Church, we can know what the Lord, through His prophets, has said concerning various issues—and then link arms and move forward together in that direction.

On September 23, 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley was the concluding speaker at the General Relief Society Broadcast. In his remarks titled “Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World”, he declared:

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.” [7]

https://i2.wp.com/rationalfaiths.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/proclamation.jpg?resize=318%2C413And then came supreme truth: The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It would be well if we could “be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment “[10] with the Lord on these issues.

Here are a few revealed truths found in The Family: A Proclamation to The World that the adversary is using to create chaos in the world and inroads within the membership of the Church:

  • We … solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God …” After the recent Supreme Court ruling paving the way for legalizing same sex marriage in the United States, a letter from The First Presidency was read in all congregations in North America. The letter states, “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.” [11] It is clear where the Lord expects His disciples to stand on this.
  • All human beings – male and female – are created in the image of God … Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” Satan’s newest press is gender fluidity. Revealed truth is that gender eternal and unchangeable. Our gender on earth is the same gender prior to mortal birth and will continue to be our gender in this life. Nothing we feel or do changes this.
  • “… the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” Clearly we are not to engage in sexual activity before marriage. Sexual experiences and activity between those of the same gender are strictly forbidden, just as with those of opposite gender. In respect to the unique trial of same gender attraction, President Gordon B. Hinckley lovingly said, “Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the part of others.” [12]
  • By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” This is the ideal in the Lord’s eyes. He has specific roles for men and women: fathers and mothers. As the Creator, He knows what works best for families. Though many of our situations are not ideal, we should try to make choices that move us in that direction.

From my perspective, it all really boils down to this: God continues to speak to His children through prophets. What the prophets or apostles say to us is truly God’s word and will. Those who speak against His authorized servants and the truths they reveal can be answered using words Moses used, “… your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.”

So “Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show. We ask it fearlessly. Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?” [14] I am! When we have received a testimony that our divinely called leaders speak the will of the Lord, we must stand with them. In these challenging times, I am grateful for the clarity revealed on these critical issues in The Family: A Proclamation to The World. This supreme truth provides a platform where we can become “of one heart and one mind”, just as with Enoch’s society.

 

 

 

Family Proclamation Bethany PackardBethany Packard is absolutely in love with her wonderful husband, Chad. They live in the Dallas, TX area where they raised six amazing children together and operate a business. Grandchild #16 is on the way. At age 49, they were called to serve and assigned to the Russia Moscow Mission as a Leadership and CES couple. Leaving their family and business took faith, but God paved the way for many miracles in their lives. She loves music, interior design, cooking, sports, fall, and macaroni & cheese.

 

 

[1] Moses 7:18
[2] 1 Cor. 1: 10-11
[3] D&C 21:4-6
[4] D&C 1:3]
[5] Harold B. Lee: Eleventh President of the Church, Presidents of the Church Student Manual, (2012), 180–97
[6] I Ne 8:27
[7] “Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World”, President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Relief Society Meeting, Sep, 23, 2005; Ensign, Nov. 2005
[8] D&C 68:4
[9] D&C 68:4
[10] 1 Cor. 1:10
[11] 30 June 2015, Church Leaders Counsel Members After Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision, mormonnewsroom.org
[12] “Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World”, President Gordon B. Hinckley, General Relief Society Meeting, Sep, 23, 2005; Ensign, Nov. 2005
[13] Ex. 16:8
[14] “Who’s on the Lord’s Side? Who?” Hannah Last Cornaby & Henry H. Russell, LDS Hymnal

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