When we know that what is right is being buffeted, scorned, ridiculed, and torn apart to shreds, we cannot as the hymn says, “shrink and shun the fight.” There just simply is no time for that. In fact, in that same hymn, “True to the Faith” (Hymn #254), it declares, “True to the faith that our parents have cherished. True to the truth for which martyrs have perished. To God’s command, Soul, heart, and hand, Faithful and true we will ever stand.” We all have to press forward in faith, and declare our witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ until the very end.
The fact is the Lord has been preparing us for these assaults on morality for many years. He has been communicating His mind and will through His latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators regarding these tough societal issues of which we will have to face and make decision. In Rome, back in the fall of last year, a delegation consisting of two of the apostles, President Henry B. Eyring, Elder L. Tom Perry, and the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Elder Gerald Causse’, was invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis. Elder Eyring spoke before an international, interreligious colloquium testifying about the values of traditional marriage, and “the complementarity between man and woman.”
I was stunned. In all my 58 years in the Church, I never imagined that a historical forum of this magnitude would transpire in my lifetime. A Latter-day Saint (Mormon) apostle to speak before Pope Francis? Surely that was not so? But it was so, and I know President Eyring had been prompted by the Lord to say what the world needed to hear. His words were touching, and were a strong witness to me of the truth of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Spouses and family members can lift each other and ascend together if they care more about the interests of the other than their own interests.” President Eyring also quoted almost word for word the contents of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which specifically states that marriage between a man and a woman is what the Lord’s definition (thus the Church’s definition) of what marriage is (TRANSCRIPT: President Eyring Addresses the Vatican Summit on Marriage, LDS Newsroom, Additional Resource).
Our Church has taken a stand against same-sex marriage. It has said over and over and over again that it will not change its doctrine regarding this issue, yet there still remains push back. Why, oh why, are some still fighting against prophets, seers, and revelators? In essence, why would some of us still fight against the Lord and His plan for our eternal exaltation? The ultimate purpose of the gospel is to return all of us back to our Heavenly Parents to live not only with them forever, but with our own families in eternal family units—as father, mother, and children. That is part of our temple endowment and covenant. It is in “The Family, A Proclamation to the World.” These basic doctrines show us a pattern for living. All may not achieve the ideal in this life. Some may never marry, or have opportunity to have children. Some may divorce. How is that going to be handled in the eternities?
The Lord’s promises are sure. There is no blessing that the righteous will be denied. The Lord has promised those who are faithful and constant, who keep the commandments, and remain devoted to Him will be “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). They will also be entitled to all that the Father has (Doctrine and Covenants 84:38). In other words, though we don’t understand completely how, the righteous will be exalted. Are we really listening carefully enough for the voice and the bestowment of comfort from the Holy Ghost—the one who whispers peace to our souls in every circumstance and decision we make?
One can try to alter what the Lord’s purposes are, question His divine instruction or intervention, and push back against those who proclaim His truth as much as they would like, but it still does not alter the bottom line truth. In the last General Conference, there were no less than three of the Twelve Apostles, as well as Sister Bonnie L Oscarson, General Young Women’s President, who spoke of marriage and family, specifically defending marriage the Lord’s way. Here are portions of their addresses.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson,
“A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive—the setting for the birth of children, who come in purity and innocence from God, and the environment for the learning and preparation they will need for a successful mortal life and eternal life in the world to come. A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Marriage, Why Family?,” Apr. 2015 General Conference).
President Boyd K. Packer, who has been married almost 70 years to his wife Donna (thus making him clearly and thoroughly knowledgeable of what he speaks), talked of “The Plan of Happiness.”
“The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity. . . . Romantic love is incomplete; it is a prelude. Love is nourished by the coming of children, who spring from that fountain of life entrusted to couples in marriage.”
“Conception takes place in a wedded embrace between husband and wife. A tiny body begins to form after a pattern of magnificent complexity. A child comes forth in the miracle of birth, created in the image of its earthly father and mother. Within its mortal body is a spirit able to feel and perceive spiritual things. Dormant in that mortal body of this child is the power to beget offspring in its own image” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Plan of Happiness”, Apr. 2015 General Conference).
“Let us help build the kingdom of God by standing up boldly and being defenders of marriage, parenthood, and the home” (Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Defenders of the Family Proclamation,” Apr. 2015 General Conference).
Elder L. Tom Perry (in what was to be his last General Conference address—his last testament and witness before the members of the Church before his death), spoke of “Why Marriage and Family Matter—Everywhere in the World.”
“Despite what much of the media and entertainment outlets may suggest, …. and despite the very real decline in the marriage and family orientation of some, the solid majority of mankind still believes that marriage should be between one man and one woman. They believe in fidelity within marriage….”
“We want our voice to be heard against all the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established. We also want our voice to be heard in sustaining the joy and fulfillment that traditional families bring. We must continue to project that voice throughout the world in declaring why marriage and family are so important, why marriage and family really do matter, and why they always will” (Elder L. Tom Perry, “Why Marriage and Family Matter—Everywhere in the World,” Apr. 2015 General Conference).
A little over three weeks ago, I found out I have colon cancer. It is not in the latest stage, but I will still have a battle to fight in the next six months, with chemotherapy and all that entails. I am unafraid with a deep sense of peace and serenity. That tranquility and sweet peaceful assurance of the Holy Ghost that all will be well, regardless of the outcome, have never left me since I was first diagnosed and received a priesthood blessing from my husband and bishop.
The doctors have every expectation that I will completely recover. Does that mean I absolutely will not die? Of course not, and nothing can be predicted to be 100% A-okay forever and ever. But what I do know is that because of the spiritual confirmations I have had over the last two weeks, I could never deny The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for it is true. The Church’s organization with its prophets and apostles is perfect in every way.
When you have survived the type of extensive surgery that I had, you are just very grateful to be alive, to see the sun once again, and to be able to hear the laughter of family and friends. The best thing of all—my family is sealed to me for time and all eternity in the Holy Temple of the Lord. There is no worldly acclaim, accomplishment, or material possession that can replace that. It is my greatest treasure. I have dodged many bullets since this illness all started and have had many tender mercies sent my way by a loving Heavenly Father. While I live, I will really LIVE, and enjoy every moment of every day. Through it all my testimony will remain firm and steadfast. I will go on defending what I know to be true at every opportunity. I am a defender of the faith, and of the Lord’s apostles and prophets, until the very end.
Her hobbies include cooking (southern of course- please pass the cornbread with butter, no margarine please), and learning how to garden in a colder climate without killing a sweet pea. She is an avid reader of the scriptures and anything from British classic literature. Her favorite novel is "Our Mutual Friend," by Charles Dickens. With any spare time left over, a fun pastime is viewing and analyzing Korean/Taiwanese drama with English subtitles. She loves the sound of "kamsahamnida."Susan and her husband of 37 years live in Great Falls, Montana and are the parents of two grown children and the grandparents of two adorable grandsons.
Latest posts by Susan Porter (see all)
- Pressing Forward with Family: Keeping Our Faith and Declaring Our Witness until the End - June 26, 2015
- Russell M. Nelson: Sabbath Is A Perpetual Covenant - April 26, 2015
- Honoring Christ’s Atonement by Living His Gospel - March 30, 2015