It is true that not everyone has the opportunity to marry in this life, nor is every couple blessed with children in mortality. Latter-day prophets have assured us that those who are faithful will eventually be given these blessings, either in this life or the next. Nevertheless, just because not everyone achieves the ideal does not mean we should stop holding it up as the standard to seek. Eternal marriage and family relationships should be a desire and priority for every Latter-day Saint, regardless of circumstances.
As has always been the case, Satan proposes alternatives to our Heavenly Father’s plan, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the family. In contrast to our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness through righteousness in marriage and family life, Satan proposes alternative lifestyles that are rooted in sinfulness and selfishness. He is cursed to never marry or have a family, and he entices us to live like him instead of like our Heavenly Father. He lies to us, telling us that marriage and family are an inconvenience and a bondage. He promises us that we will find greater joy and fulfillment in some other way or through some other arrangement. He tempts us not to marry and, if we do marry, to not have children.
The deviations the adversary proposes include premarital sexual relations, pornography, abuse of spouse and children, elective abortion for personal or social convenience, marital infidelity, unjustified divorce, cohabitation, homosexual relations, and unwarranted sterilization. If he cannot convince us to do these things, he tempts us to support and encourage others to do them. But these alternative lifestyles will not bring the true happiness we seek in this life, nor will they bring the full blessings of salvation in the next. Out of loyalty to our Heavenly Father’s plan and out of love for mankind, we must discourage and oppose measures that are not designed to maintain and strengthen marriage between a man and a woman and “the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
Okay, the title is intentionally over the top. But I do have a friend that made this cool little iOS app that brings together a lot of LDS internet resources. So I thought I’d give him a little ‘free advertising’ by letting our readers know about it. Here is what he has to say about the app:
If you’re interested in having immediate access to online information on LDS topics, you’ll want to get a new iTunes app named “LDS Advocate.” It recently launched in the iTunes App store. It gives easy access to a curated list of sites, blog postings and YouTube videos containing faith affirming information on a range of LDS topics.
Such as: Continue reading
On Sunday during the third hour of Sacrament meeting, the bishop of our ward held a joint meeting to discuss the Church’s letter on same-sex marriage. As you may know, that letter responds to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, reaffirming the Church’s stance opposed to gay marriage but also emphasizing the importance of reaching out to neighbors and friends in love and fellowship.
At my ward, Priesthood and Relief Society, as well as the young men and young women, were in the meeting. So we had about 100 people in the cultural hall. The bishop read the letter, and then there was about a half-hour discussion.
It was truly amazing. There was not a single comment — not one, bloggernaclites! — criticizing gay people in any way. There were no comments saying this was a sign of the end of the world. There were no comments even criticizing the Supreme Court.
The overwhelming theme coming from more than 30 comments from adult and youth members was: love your neighbor. Be Christ-like. Avoid contention. Show charity to all people.
Jeff G. has posted a response of sorts to a certain strain of argument that seems to carry the day among a certain class of Mormons.
I’m not going to repeat his arguments. Instead, I have a different take, because I think people can be fooled by these arguments, since they seem so warm, fuzzy, and compassionate. However, these arguments are actually quite pernicious, and their ultimate end point is to undermine the gospel.
To illustrate, I’m going to just reword part of one argument:
Recently, I was studying the words of King Benjamin, and was struck by his opening remarks. I feel as if he touches on issues that concern many members of the Church today, about the nature of prophets and apostles.
We Treat the Words of Prophets with Weight
King Benjamin starts, “My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.”
In other words, we should not trifle with the words of prophets. We should not treat them as silly, ridiculous, backwards, bigoted, irrelevant, or anything else along that spectrum. We should take them seriously, examine them, treat them as having weight in our decisions. We should seek to learn from them, open our hearts to their wisdom, and open our minds to their insights. We should see the words of prophets as conduits for revelation, and occasions to have the “mysteries of God unfolded to [our] view.”
But not Because They Are Perfect
He then goes on to say, “I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear me, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man. But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind.”
In other words, we should do none of this because prophets are perfect, or anything more than mortal men. They have limitations, biases, weaknesses, just as we do. They have infirmities in both body and mind. They do not know everything, and they sometimes get things wrong. We should not fear them as we would God — we fear God not man, and prophets are men.
But Because They Are Called of God
He goes on: “Yet I have been chosen by this people, and consecrated by my father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.”
In other words, we should not trifle with the words of prophets, but treat them with weight — not because they are perfect or anything more than mortal men, but because they are called of God and sustained by us as His servants. They have been consecrated, set apart, ordained to a holy calling, and we have sustained them to this holy calling. This is why we treat their words with weight. Treating their words as having authority does not imply that they are perfect, simply that they are called of God.
In other words, in the first few sentences of King Benjamin’s speech, we are rather directly instructed on the nature of prophetic teaching, and shown the path to walk between the false assumption of prophetic infallibility and the recklessness of treating their words with frivolousness of callousness. If we treat prophetic teaching with weight because they are without flaw, we will be sorely disappointed. If we ignore their teachings because they are imperfect, we will damn ourselves. But if we heed their teachings because they are called of God, we will have the mysteries of God unfolded to our view.