It seems that we continue to have before us, as a constant barrage, many of the same important issues that I've previously addressed here on WMBW, and other places online, multiple times over the last few years; and not surprising, they all, ultimately, come back to the breakdown of the family, as God has ordained. 

I've decided to begin doing something new, on an 'occasional' Wednesday, when time permits, of reposting (And when necessary updating.), past entries that continue to be relevant and categorize them as: Worth Repeating Weds; hashtag #wrw. Also included will be written into updated or following post, an explainer as to why I think still relevant, and original source information; such as in today's post, which is one I actually wrote on a friend's blog, to celebrate The Family: A Proclamation to the World, originally titled: There's Nothing Normal About the New Normal.

Curiosity got the cat last year when I caught wind that a new sitcom; The New Normal -- the one that a Utah television studio had decided not to air -- was premiering, following a TV show that I did watch. I had only to view the first ten minutes to understand why that decision was made. That was more than enough. It’s really bad. A show like that is further evidence, not that we need more, of why the Proclamation is necessary, for our times. And most important, why each of us must stand ready to defend the positions that the Church does take, publicly, on moral issues that affect the family.

Gordon B. Hinckley, then President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) gave this introduction prior to the Proclamation’s first reading, on September 23, 1995:

“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.”

That was about 17 years ago. Thank heaven, literally, for the inspired foresight given to these prophets of God, to unabashedly teach the bold, eternal doctrine of the family, to not only the membership of the LDS Church, but to the world -- and why.

“The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

For those of us who have been around for more than a few years, never would we have imagined the world in which we now live, where not only are homosexual relationships considered normal -- or at least that is what mainstream media would have us believe -- but also in some states same-sex marriage has now been legalized. Believe it or not, it wasn’t too many years ago that such things, even as a possibility, were unthinkable.

Same-sex marriage is a relatively new phenomenon, that until recently was never even suggested, let alone discussed. And not because we were all a bunch of ignorant bigots, but rather because society never imagined that God’s law for marriage, between a man and a woman, would be challenged – by anyone. It just wasn’t on any of our radars. But God saw it coming and through His prophets, as prophets are called to do, “felt to warn and forewarn” His children of what was ahead. And here we are.

Perhaps this view, or experience, seems somewhat naïve, or foreign, to those of you who now live in a world where tolerance for any lifestyle of one’s choice is considered not just acceptable, but expected. Nevertheless, for those of any generation that acknowledge God’s laws, above all others, we are bound by covenant, to stand in defense of what we know to be right.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World was given so that when the time came, which is now, when the family unit, as God ordained it, became distorted, those who call themselves “the children of Christ” would know how to act on these matters, and why.

Of great significance, taught in the Proclamation, is an understanding of gender, as an eternal characteristic of every soul. Today’s war on the family begins with gender identity issues, which when misguided leads to an undermining of the plan of salvation. Same-sex sexual relations cannot naturally produce offspring, therefore biologically halting the great work of creating eternal families as God intends. Same-sex marriages/relationships have no life beyond this life – they are temporal. God’s plan is for His children to progress eternally. There are two forces at work here, and one is not God.

Mormons believe that marriage between a man and a woman is intended to create families. The ideal family unit, as ordained by God, consists of a mother and father, with their children  – ultimately sealed to them for all time and eternity. If for some reason having children is not possible in this life, to those who honor the marital covenant, the opportunity will exist in the next.  Eternal marriage is only available to a man and a woman united in what is considered a traditional marriage. From God’s perspective, all civil/traditional marriages, between a man and a woman, are on the path of becoming eternal.  All others are not. It is the work of God, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to bring to pass not only every soul’s immortality, but also Eternal Life – the exact kind of life that He lives.

Because of the important doctrines and inspired counsel given and explained in the Proclamation, I believe, we can know exactly where God stands on many of the social issues that currently affect society, and ultimately the family – and why. For instance, because we know that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God we don’t have to wonder what God thinks about same-sex attraction. Homosexual behavior is wrong. Therefore, we don’t have to wonder how God feels about same-sex marriage. It is wrong and we needn’t feel pressure to defend it as another’s misguided, insisted right.

In my opinion, the pressure that we should feel, based on information provided in the Proclamation, is the responsibility to stand as witnesses of revealed truths, in opposition to the many distortions that are continually perpetuated in mainstream society.  And sadly, also by some within the Church who do not give heed to this document, as inspired, nor to the ongoing counsel of living prophets on such issues.

At the September 2012 CES Devotional, Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle of the Lord, gave this inspired direction regarding how the modern children of Israel, unable to flee as in ages past, can best accomplish our challenge to live in Babylon, until the Savior returns…

Some principles are defended and some sins are opposed wherever they are found, because the issues and the laws involved are not social or political, but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently from us, we are even more anxious to not offend God -- or as the scripture says, "not offend He who is your law giver".

There is a wide variety of beliefs in this world, and there is moral agency for all, but no one is entitled to act as if God is mute on these subjects, or as if commandments only matter if there is public agreement over them.

In the 21st century we cannot flee any longer. We are going to have to fight for laws and circumstances and environments that allow the free exercise of religion and our franchise in it. That is one way we can tolerate being in Babylon but not of it.

I know of no more important ability, and no greater integrity, than for us to demonstrate, in a world from which we cannot flee, that to walk that careful path taking a moral stand according to what God has declared, and the laws He has given, but doing it compassionately, and with understanding -- and great charity.

Talk about a hard thing to do -- to distinguish perfectly between the sin and the sinner. I know of few distinctions that are harder to make -- or at least harder to articulate. But we must lovingly try to do exactly that. Believe me, brothers and sisters, in the world into which we are moving we are going to have a lot of opportunity to develop such strength, display such courage, and demonstrate such compassion -- all at the same time.”

I am profoundly grateful to have in our possession, in these last days, an inspired and timely declaration about the eternal importance of the family -- The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  Since it was first presented, it has continued to be taught, discussed and quoted at all levels of teaching, in the Church – which, as I understand, constitutes doctrine. Therefore I believe, with all my heart, that we can safely cling to its teachings as the will of God in matters pertaining to the family.

The blessing of having living prophets among us, is that we need not be tossed to and fro with the winds of secular change and popular perceptions, not knowing where God would have us stand. I believe that through His prophets, He has spoken in such a way that we can confidently act, knowing that in doing so we are helping Him to accomplish His great work -- of which we were sent here to do.

To those of you who are holding out defending the family, thinking that this is all an overreaction, feel we should allow others to live as they choose, even legalize it for their benefit – next up: Top Hollywood Director Believes that Incest is Acceptable.

Normal? I think not.

I originally wrote this piece as an entry on Middle-Aged Mormon-Man, and was delighted to participate in a 'Proclamation Celebration'; one of the few times I have guest blogged. It was brought to my attention, at that time, that there were a few objectionable comments submitted, that he did not approve. In re-reading this piece, now months later, considering much that has happened, since, with the many changes in the area of legalizing same-sex marriage, I think, yes, that is true, but then I ask myself the question: Has the Lord changed? No, the Lord has not changed.

Personally, I felt there were many instances during the April 2013 General Conference where clear evidence that the doctrine so clearly spelled out in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, is just that, 'doctrine', were well taught by leaders of the LDS Church. In particular though, Elder L. Tom Perry, in his Sunday morning address to the Church, clearly stated, in no uncertain terms, in referring to the Proclamation, that its content is "doctrine". I point this out, as often this is debated by, granted, a small group, within Mormonism, who at times advocate for that which is unorthodox. 

"The doctrine of the family and the home was recently reiterated with great clarity and forcefulness in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It declared the eternal nature of families and then explained the connection to temple worship. The proclamation also declared the law upon which the eternal happiness of families is predicated, namely, “The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”"
"God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws. As Alma counseled his errant son Corianton, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10)." (italics added)

The LDS Church launched its new website, as an outreach to the gay and lesbian community, which has been a positive in helping members to better understand the challenges that members and their families deal with as they strive to find loving support within the LDS community. I expect this area of focus within the Church to continue to grow, and yet acknowledge the many challenges that we all face: LDS leaders, LGBT community, gay members, all members, gay members' families, etc...

I also acknowledge the ever-changing scientific information about homosexuality, as well as the abundance of misinformation that is continually perpetuated; requiring all of us to ever be vigilant in verifying such as credible, before accepting it as fact. Meaning, we have a lot to learn in this area. However, we have been counseled by prophets to love and accept these members and support them as they navigate a difficult challenge in their lives. We can do that! As more gay members come into our midst, let us accept them with open arms, however they come to us --- let us not judge them... let's just love them where they are, and I believe that Christlike love will lift them to where He is --  as the gospel intends it to do. 

As 'members' that is our part. Let's leave the administration of the gospel to those with keys, and as members, let's just love!

Over the next few days here on WBMW, Angela Fallentine will be sharing information from Sydney, Australia, reporting on what she is learning from The World Congress of Families. I'm delighted to be hosting Angela's reports here and hope that you will share the information with others, and if you have a blog, consider reposting the content; with attribution, of course.

I'd love it if you'd consider sharing this post with others... 

Kathryn Skaggs

Mormon Newsroom: Approaching Mormon Doctrine

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