Monday, June 29, 2015

I Believe (A New Series of Posts): Traditional Marriage



Twenty years ago, church leadership felt inspired to compose The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  I had no idea then that the short phrase, "between a man and a woman" would be so controversial that a Supreme Court case would be heard about the definition of marriage.  

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. 
(First paragraph of The Family:  A Proclamation to the World)

I disagree with the decision of the court, because I believe in The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  I understand that not everyone was disappointed when the ruling came down.  Many celebrated.  My Facebook feed looked like someone spilled a Crayola box over it.  Some of the posts have been simply happy, but others have adopted a "take that" sort of attitude.  I've read posts saying that anyone who doesn't support the new definition of marriage is not a true Christian. 

My post last Monday was written in preface to this new series of posts.  I know many who hold similar views to mine are scared to speak up; frightened of being belittled or verbally attacked, or labelled a hater or bigot.  I cannot be quiet any longer. I do not want my previous silence to be misinterpreted as agreement, nor do I want my posts to be misconstrued as hateful.  I merely want to express my point of view, and I hold no ill will toward those who hold a different view.  

To a large extent, religious views provide a dividing line for the issue of marriage.  Those who think, as I do, that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God, are not prone to change their minds because a panel of mortals has decided otherwise.  

Sometimes, as mentioned above, those who support gay marriage try to sway the more traditional believers by talking about the command to "love thy neighbor as thyself."  Certainly, that is an essential command--the second of two "great commandments." But what is the first great commandment?  Matthew 22: 36-37 reads:
 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

I mention the first great commandment not because I think we have to pick and choose between the two (we don't), but to emphasize priorities.  Our first commitment should always be to God.  If He has set up the pattern for marriage, we should honor that pattern.

Of course, God is a God of love, and wants us to love one another. Often, the account of the woman taken in the act of adultery is brought up to show that we should be accepting of all.  I think that is an excellent example to remind us that we all fall short and should not berate others for their errors.  It does not demonstrate that the Lord's commandments can be disregarded.  Jesus did show mercy for the woman, but he also instructed her to "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11) His words imply that her actions had been sinful, and He was admonishing her to repent.  

It absolutely is possible to love sinners, yet not condone sin. If not so, the world would be a very loveless place, as we are all sinners. 

He that is perfect can stand as a judge, but for the rest of us, we need to refrain from judgment.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church currently, gave an excellent talk on this topic in 2012.  He stated:
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

Yes, of course we should forgive.  Forgiveness does not mean we give up on the laws of God, though.  We hold up the Lord's standards and values, and constantly strive to live them.  

I will continue to do all I can to support traditional family values. More posts will follow to address other aspects discussed in The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  

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Thanks for marriage, and commandments from a loving Heavenly Father.

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18 comments:

  1. I am so glad you felt comfortable expressing this. I read it carefully.
    I don't think it will surprise you to know that I rejoiced in the ruling, though I did not express that on Facebook. Nearly everyone I know and am related to supports the SCOTUS decision so I do not hear a carefully considered opinion to the contrary very often, if at all.
    I believe in an "evolving nature of human sexuality," a phrase I read once that seemed to be a good description. I believe that the Bible was recorded long ago and many of the rules and examples are no longer applicable in today's society. I believe the only way to show justice and love kindness (and even walk humbly) is to permit homosexual people the same rights as heterosexual people have.
    I also believe you should have your beliefs as I should have mine so long as neither of limits the rights of others.
    I absolutely loved what you wrote about us all sinning differently and refraining from judgement. I am always glad to find a point of agreement.
    You are a lovely person, Kristi. Keep writing.

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    1. The letter within this post sums up my feelings so much more eloquently than I can express.
      http://momastery.com/blog/2013/03/26/a-mountain-im-willing-to-die-on-4/

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    2. Thank you, my friend, for being kind in your reply, and calm in your explanation of your point of view. I appreciate the time you took to comment. And yes, it is always nice to find a point of agreement. :-)

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  2. "To a large extent, religious views provide a dividing line for the issue of marriage. Those who think, as I do, that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God, are not prone to change their minds because a panel of mortals has decided otherwise." Yup.

    Mr. Uchtdorf's words are spot on.

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    1. He does have a way with words, doesn't he?

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  3. This was beautifully stated, Kristi. It is such a divisive topic, and you covered it very well from your point of view. I'm glad we're friends.

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  4. You did such a fantastic job writing about this topic. Hugs. You did it!

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  5. I thought long and hard before replying to your post this time...
    It's very well written and I do understand your point of view. I disagree though.
    I'm not starting a discussion about our different views, because I hope we can still be friends eventhough we think very differently. Hey, I'm from the Netherlands!!! The first country making it legal for same sex marriage in 2001!!! We're a bit of rebeleous lot, I think. And I'm Very Dutch....
    I was actually very suprised by how well it was received in the US. To me most Americans are still very conservative in their believes. Still living very "God fearing" and living "by the Book". Guess I was wrong.
    I do love the bumbersticker-wisdom though! It's exactly my view on things; "Live and let live. Don't be so quick to judge what you don't know. Just live your best life and let others do what they believe is good." Not that I believe you are a 'judging type of person' at all though, others can be and often are.
    So, standing on opposite sides; do you still consider me a friend?? I hope so.

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    1. OF COURSE I still consider you a friend! :-) I just felt the need to stand up and be clear about what I believe in--I had already planned to start this series of posts even before the ruling came down. My purpose is one of explanation, not confrontation.
      Thank you for being a great friend!

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  6. I admire both you and Christine (even more than I did before) for standing up and confirming your beliefs at a time when it may be unpopular to do so and it feels like a bigger risk than usual. No matter our beliefs one of the truer acts of God is the acceptance of each other despite differences. You both have always lived that through example and in making these clear statements of where your beliefs come from and how you choose to live them, that makes an even more clear statement of who you are.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad to hear that my message is coming across in the spirit in which it was intended.

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  7. "To a large extent, religious views provide a dividing line for the issue of marriage. Those who think, as I do, that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God, are not prone to change their minds because a panel of mortals has decided otherwise." On this point, as Christine already said...Yup. Absolutely. And Uchtdorf is right - the hate, the judgment, the oversimplified lumping of people into groups of "yays" or "nays" just needs to stop.
    The biggest problem I see as I sit back in my desk chair and observe all of this from a slight distance is that people want their view upheld as the only one - regardless of what that view is. The world doesn't work that way. I also see so much about how if someone believes A and it dissents with B, then the believer of A is somehow oppressing or limiting the rights of B. Again, no. It doesn't work that way. It's just not that cut and dried. I guess what I just don't understand is why it's interpreted that way. Just because someone thinks differently than I do, it doesn't change my view, it doesn't change who I am, and it doesn't automatically mean they are limiting me in any way. I guess that's why the "take that" mentality I see out there right now is so bothersome. It's like a group of people are saying "ha, you ___ person who opposes gay marriage! The law now says it's OK so you're wrong, sit down and shut up." That's not OK. And no, just because it's a legal doesn't mean it makes what I believe wrong. Other issues have been cited in that regard already - contraception, abortion, death penality...
    I think so much of this stems from fear. So much of so many issues stems from fear. I'm very interested in where you'll go with this series and am looking forward to reading more.

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    1. Thank you. You are certainly right that the implementation of laws and programs is not cut and dried. There are many factors and issues to consider on both sides.

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  8. Sarah and Bianca above said it better than I possibly can. I do disagree with your point of view but I certainly respect you for your beliefs and you have expressed it eloquently. The thing I think we do agree on is that we must all stop judging and we must certainly stop hating! The FB thing has been a bit mean spirited by some. I look forward to the discussion on families!

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    1. I appreciate your kind comment. Yes, the judgment and hate has to stop. It has been ugly on both sides. I'd like to believe that most people are reasonable and capable of respectful disagreement. I'm thankful for friends, like you, who help prove that assumption!

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  9. Wow, eloquent post and great comments, Kristi. I was pleased with the ruling but admit to looking at the issue from more of an equal rights thing here on Earth. I believe that every partnership should enjoy the legal and moral benefits from being recognized as married - health insurance, family in medical crisis, wills, etc. I also believe that God is love and have a hard time thinking that He wouldn't accept all of his children. With that said, I do appreciate your point of view and have another friend who feels the same way - she and I talked quite a bit about how she believes that God and Jesus hate sin and that homosexuality is a sin. Anyway, I appreciate your point of view and even more that you were able to write about it so eloquently and peacefully.

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!