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I Believe (Second in a Series): Gender

 Last week, I wrote about my views on traditional marriage.  This week, I'd like to explore three more sentences from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.   This post will discuss gender.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, second paragraph.)
Before I get too far into this post, I want to remind you that I am approaching these posts with an intent to simply explain my views. I understand this topic is sensitive in nature, and I think that everyone deserves to be treated kindly.  

Adam, Eve, and everyone born on the earth, are created in the image of God.  We are literally spirit children of heavenly parents. I'm not sure how widespread that belief is; I imagine it might be a new concept to some.  It is, however, what I believe, and that understanding influences my outlook on deity, myself, and everyone with whom I come in contact.  I am a daughter of God, and a sister to all. 
Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In other words, even before we were born on earth, we had a gender, and we will continue to have a gender forever.  

I must admit that I find it rather remarkable that in a day and age when many are concerned, for example, about the impact that GMOs have on our bodies, that society as a whole is so quick to dismiss the importance of an entire X or Y chromosome.  

We read books with titles like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and we laugh at comedians explaining the differences between men and women.  Even though we seem to inherently understand that men and women are not the same, political correctness tells us that, despite our DNA, gender is not determined by the presence or absence of a Y.  I beg to differ.  

Of course, it is true that we are each individuals, with different talents, interests, and abilities.  Within each gender, there is a wide range of personalities.  As a child, I was much more likely to be found at recess on the playground playing basketball than on the school steps playing house.  I preferred dogs to dolls.  However, none of that made me less of a girl.  Gender is an essential characteristic.

Mothers and fathers are defined by gender; to say that gender is unimportant is to take away the necessity of both parents. In later posts, I will discuss other paragraphs from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  The future posts will build upon the topics of the first and second posts, that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that gender is an essential characteristic.  

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Thanks for The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, and the clarity of doctrine found therein.

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  1. You are correct. I've never heard of people being spirit children of heavenly parents. That leaves me with all sorts of questions!
    This is a hard topic. It's one I have a hard time wrapping my head around. When I think about it, I just end up feeling sad.

    1. That concept is one of the reasons family is such a big deal to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'll explore it further in future posts, but feel free to ask me anything.

      When I think of those who struggle with gender identification, I do feel sad, but when I think of the concept of gender as explained in the family proclamation, I feel at peace.

  2. You've taken on another tough one. Like Christine I didnt have the concept of "spirit children." Maybe that was both our Catholic upbringing? WHo knows? I too feel badly for those who struggle with gender dysphoria but I have to disagree (always respectfully my friend) with your choice of the words," say that gender is unimportant..." because I think it is quite the opposite that gender is SO important that it deserves our attention in terms of how it affects everyone's lives...not just those with gender dysphoria but also in terms of sexism and homophobia and.... well any of the other isms and ias we all manage to find around the topic of sexual identity. Thanks for addressing this Kristi . Its nice to have a real and intelligent discussion of such things without the trolls and overreactionary negativity that is so unecessary and also so antithetical to any intelligent conversation. I appreciate your bravery and willingness to put your faith out there.... :)

    1. Perhaps my sentence wasn't clear. It seems to me that society would have us believe that gender is unimportant. I agree that gender is important; it seems to me that society's confusion about gender (and all the isms and ias you mention) only detracts from the essential role gender plays. If, for example, one agrees that two men (or two women) should raise a child together, one ignores the significant impact a mother (or father) has on the upbringing of that child. It seems to me that society wants to dismiss gender--or at least the traditional understanding of it. This seems to me to be a further breakdown in family.

      Thank you for your kind words. And, while I know that others are more well-spoken than I am, the fact you used the words "intelligent discussion" in reference to my post just made my day! :-)

  3. Another really tough topic that you tackled, Kristi. You state your views so well, and I appreciate how you respect that others may not agree with you. I can't even begin to articulate these subjects like you can.

    1. Thank you. I feel like I'm not as eloquent as I would like; I'm glad that you find my views well-stated. Of course, I know that not everyone will agree with me. I'm just fortunate to have good friends who are respectful in their discussions. :-)

  4. Amen. We are born with a gender and will have that gender forever. I also worry about the breakdown of the traditional family, but this is not new. It has been in progress for decades. We need to pray for our country and remain true to our believes of traditional marriage.

    1. You are right that attacks on the family are not new, but it seems to me that the pace of opposition is picking up. I agree that prayer and conviction is needed.

  5. You are doing such a great job of explaining this issue.

  6. Krist, I admire your strength in your beliefs and I am very confused about the whole issue. As you said, everyone deserves to be treated kindly, and that's as far as I am going to think it.

    1. This is a confusing issue for many people. Kindness is so important.

  7. You seem to be combining positions from the transgender, homosexual, and feminist camps and trying to argue against the combined position.

    I think most transgender people would agree with you that gender is very important and that men and women are different. They certainly care about being perceived as the correct gender, and many undergo surgery to accomplish that. The point of disagreement is that transgender people experience a disconnect between the gender of the body and the gender of the brain. The Proclamation actually doesn't say anything about that.

    I think the parenting issue is an interesting one, and one that deserves more research. However, I don't think it really comes into play unless we are talking about the use of fertility treatments. Parents shouldn't lose the rights to their biological children when they enter a same-sex relationship, and children in search of a family are far better off with a stable, loving homosexual couple than they are in foster care or with a dysfunctional heterosexual couple.

    That leaves the feminists, and it sounds like you might have a serious disagreement with them. Or maybe not. I can't tell how much you think one's gender should dictate one's roles in life.

    1. Thank you for bringing some organization to my thoughts (or at least pointing out where I needed more structure! :-) ) I'll try to address each point:

      My understanding of the Proclamation is that each person's spirit and body have one specific, same gender. I do believe that people can sometimes have a disconnect between what they perceive their gender is, and what their spirit and DNA gender actually is. I don't know how to rectify that disconnect, but do believe that all people, including transgender people, should be treated kindly and with compassion.

      Future posts will continue to explore the parenting issue. I'm not trying to play family court judge; termination of parental rights cases are individual and heart-breaking, even for adoptive parents. Nor am I trying to play social worker, attempting to find homes for children in foster care. Rather, I am advocating for an ideal. I believe the best situation is for children to be in families with a stable, loving home with both a father and a mother.

      As for the feminists, I may or may not have a serious disagreement with them, depending on what they are advocating. :-) I certainly think that women should be taken seriously and that equal pay for equal work is reasonable. I don't want to go further in a comment, but will discuss "mommy wars" topics in future posts.

      Thanks again for helping me clarify.

  8. What I respect about you most can be summed up in a sentence from above, "...but do believe that all people, including transgender people, should be treated kindly and with compassion".

    Having known a few people whose gender of the brain was different than the gender of their body -- I don't think it is a matter of choice for them. It is a very difficult road --- especially for the family of a 6 year old I know who is going through this struggle.

    I also look at my daughter and her husband -- they are the ideal parents and family. Then three is my cousin and his wife who have 3 children that would be better off with ANYONE but their parents who alternate spending time in jail. Just because they are a mom and dad doesn't make them any good at raising a family! I've known gay couples who have certainly done a much better job!

    It is a difficult and sensitive subject. I appreciate your kindness and willingness to listen to others opinions, too.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Yes, of course gender alone does not make good parents. I'm just saying that the ideal situation for a child is a loving, stable home with both a father and a mother. Later paragraphs in The Family: A Proclamation to the World will address the need for parents to lovingly care for their children.

      I don't think that anyone chooses dysphoria--whether it is gender-based, or otherwise--but I do think that gender is fixed from before birth. However, I agree that gender dysphoria is a very difficult road, for both the individuals and their families.


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