Posts Tagged ‘“Mormon” Church’

Protecting Traditional Marriage Based on Beliefs, Not Bigotry

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The issue of a state’s right to define marriage as between a man and a woman is winding its way through the court system, and it is likely on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. Proponents of same-sex unions argue that marriage is a “fundamental right.” One justice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court hearing arguments compared the ban on same-sex marriage to laws prohibiting interracial marriage decades ago, asking what is the difference between the two? But there are more important questions that must be answered: Why does it take a man and a woman to create a child? Why has marriage been—from our very first parents—the standard for bringing children into the world? What role does marriage play in society at large? And why does traditional marriage deserve a protected status? These are the relevant questions to answer.

Husband and wifeTraditional marriage has a foundation thousands and thousands of years in the making. Same-sex marriage is still in the experimental stage.  If as a society we succumb to the rhetoric that traditional marriage supporters are anti-gay, bigoted and hateful, we turn our backs on the fundamental, rational reasoning that has held societies and nations together for millennia—as well as the democratic ideals upon which our country was founded. The family is the fundamental unit of society. Not just any family unit, but the family unit that provides a stable and protective foundation to bring children into the world. It is our responsibility as adults—the ones who are supposed to protect children—to make the world a better place for future generations. The reality is that the fight to protect traditional marriage is just that: A fight to protect the definition, sanctity and importance of marriage between a man and a woman.

Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Bigotry

Defenders of traditional marriage often do so based on their religious beliefs as well as their experience with families. A 53-page so-called “friend-of-the-court” brief filed with the 10th Circuit Court by five religious organizations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church), said:

Faith communities like ours are among the essential pillars of this Nation’s marriage culture. With our teachings, rituals, traditions, and ministries, we sustain and nourish both individual marriages and a culture that makes enduring marriages possible. We have the deepest interest in strengthening the time-honored institution of husband-wife marriage because of our religious beliefs and also because of the benefits it provides to children, families, and society. Our practical experience in this area is unequaled. In millions of ministry settings each day we see the benefits that married mother-father parenting brings to children. And we deal daily with the devastating effects of out-of-wedlock births, failed marriages, and the general decline of the venerable husband-wife marriage institution.

Religious leaders shepherd their flocks through times of trial—and see firsthand the devastating effect of the breakdown of the family. They are uniquely qualified to answer the questions of why the traditional family unit is so important. The brief continues:

In truth, we support the husband-wife definition of marriage because we believe it is right and good for children, families and society. Our respective faith traditions teach us that truth. But so do reason, long experience and social fact. … Faith communities and religious organizations have a long history of upholding traditional marriage for reasons that have nothing to do with homosexuality. Their support for husband-wife marriage precedes by centuries the very idea of same-sex marriage.

For The Church of Jesus Christ and other religious organizations, support for traditional marriage stems from their belief in God and in His commandments. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (with the First Presidency, the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ), said:

Man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. … Laws legalizing so-called “same-sex marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it.

People of faith believe that we are here on earth as part of God’s divine plan for His children—because we are all literal spirit children of our Father in Heaven. Elder Oaks explained:

For Latter-day Saints, God’s commandments are based on and inseparable from God’s plan for His children—the great plan of salvation. This plan, … explains our origin and destiny as children of God—where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. The plan of salvation explains the purpose of creation and the conditions of mortality, including God’s commandments, the need for a Savior, and the vital role of mortal and eternal families. … Our theology begins with heavenly parents, and our highest aspiration is to attain the fulness of eternal exaltation. We know this is possible only in a family relationship. We know that the marriage of a man and a woman is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan. Only this marriage will provide the approved setting for mortal birth and to prepare family members for eternal life. We look on marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan and a sacred duty of those given the opportunity to do so. We believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity.

Because marriage and children are central components of this plan, believers feel obligated to defend traditional marriage for the sake of children. Elder M. Russell Ballard, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, explained:

Church leaders have the responsibility to speak out on moral issues and to counsel individuals and families. The family is the basic unit of society; it is the basic unit of eternity. Thus, when forces threaten the family, Church leaders must respond.

The family is at the heart of Heavenly Father’s plan because we are all part of His family and because mortality is our opportunity to form our own families and to assume the role of parents. It is within our families that we learn unconditional love, which can come to us and draw us very close to God’s love. It is within families that values are taught and character is built. Father and mother are callings from which we will never be released, and there is no more important stewardship than the responsibility we have for God’s spirit children who come into our families.

Elder Neil L. Andersen, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, said:

While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman—Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven.

Why do we continue to talk about this? As Paul said, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to teach our Creator’s plan for His children and to warn of the consequences of disregarding His commandments.

The Nuclear Family is the Fabric of Human Society

Mixed racial familyThe traditional, or nuclear, family is the fabric that holds society together. The marriage covenant regulates the use of the procreative powers—the ability for a man and a woman to create life—and provides a stable foundation for bringing children into the world. It binds husbands and wives to each other, and the children to their parents. From the beginning, our first parents Adam and Eve were married and commanded to have children. In that order. Their commitment to each other provided the framework into which their children were born, nurtured and taught. They formed the first family on the earth, setting the example for generations to follow and teaching their children the ways of God.  The 2012 State of Our Unions report explained:

Throughout history, marriage has first and foremost been an institution for procreation and raising children. It has provided the cultural tie that seeks to connect the father to his children by binding him to the mother of his children. …

There is now ample evidence that stable and satisfactory marriages are crucial for the well-being of adults. Yet such marriages are even more important for the proper socialization and overall well-being of children. A central purpose of the institution of marriage is to ensure the responsible and long-term involvement of both biological parents in the difficult and time-consuming task of raising the next generation.

Children need both biological parents because mothers and fathers have complementary roles. Husbands are the protectors and providers and mothers are the caregivers and nurturers. Elder Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, taught:

… Parenting is a joint venture. The father exercises his leadership with light and love, never in any degree of unrighteousness. The mother provides the intuition, the inspiration, and the nurture that come from her so naturally.

The late Elder James E. Faust, until his death, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, explained:

For centuries the family was the bedrock of this and many other nations. It was the glue that held society together. Now many families are in trouble, and the glue is coming unstuck. As a result, many children are bewildered: they are growing physically but lack the support system, the disciplined moral framework, and the love and understanding that a strong family can provide.

It is in a home and with a family that values are usually acquired, traditions are fostered, and commitments to others are established. There are really no adequate substitutes. Church, school, and government programs can only reinforce and supplement that which is acquired at home. …

Alternatives to the legal and loving marriage between a man and a woman are helping to unravel the fabric of human society. That fabric, of course, is the family. These so-called alternative life-styles cannot be accepted as right because they frustrate God’s commandment for a life-giving union of male and female within a legal marriage (see Genesis 1:28). If practiced by all adults, these life-styles would mean the end of family.

Traditional marriage is the fabric that holds human society together because it is here where we are taught our values, morals and fundamental beliefs. President Gordon B. Hinckley, until his death, the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, taught:

A nation will rise no higher than the strength of its homes. If you want to reform a nation, you begin with families, with parents who teach their children principles and values that are positive and affirmative and will lead them to worthwhile endeavors. That is the basic failure that has taken place in America. And we are making a tremendous effort to bring about greater solidarity in families. Parents have no greater responsibility in this world than the bringing up of their children in the right way, and they will have no greater satisfaction as the years pass than to see those children grow in integrity and honesty and make something of their lives.

Redefining marriage would reform America’s homes by weakening the foundation upon which they are built. And if a nation will rise no higher than the strength of its homes, we owe it to ourselves to strengthen our homes, defend our families and protect the sanctity of our marriages. Marriage does matter—and it matters how it is defined. Why does traditional marriage deserve a protected status in our society? Because it is the only union capable of producing offspring—and it is the children, not the adults, who need to be protected.

Marriage Between a Man & Woman is Good Public Policy

Families are the treasures of HeavenIn addition to benefiting children, traditional marriage, frankly, is good public policy. It is economically beneficial for both spouses, and it eases the economic burden on society when both parents work together to provide for their children. The 2012 Report State of Our Unions found:

The institution of marriage itself provides a wealth-generation bonus. It does this through providing economies of scale (two can live more cheaply than one), and as implicitly a long-term personal contract it encourages economic specialization. Working as a couple, individuals can develop those skills in which they excel, leaving others to their spouse. Also, married couples save and invest more for the future, and they can act as a small insurance pool against life uncertainties such as illness and job loss. …

Beyond the economic advantages of marriage for the married couples themselves, marriage has a tremendous economic impact on society. … Research has consistently shown that divorce and unmarried childbearing increase child poverty. In recent years the majority of children who grow up outside of married families have experienced at least one year of dire poverty…. The rise in child poverty, of course, generates significant public costs in health and welfare programs.

Marriages that end in divorce also are very costly to the public. One researcher determined that a single divorce costs state and federal governments about $30,000, based on such factors as the increased use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency. The nation’s 1.4 million divorces in 2002 are estimated to have cost the taxpayers more than $30 billion.

Traditional marriage binds husbands and wives to their children, providing a stable foundation to bring children into the world. The financial costs alone of the breakdown of the family are staggering. Elder Oaks said:

Few measures of the welfare of our rising generation are more disturbing than the recent report that 41 percent of all births in the United States were to women who were not married. Unmarried mothers have massive challenges, and the evidence is clear that their children are at a significant disadvantage when compared with children raised by married parents. …

We should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender. The social science literature is controversial and politically charged on the long-term effect of this on children, principally because, as a New York Times writer observed, “same-sex marriage is a social experiment, and like most experiments it will take time to understand its consequences.”

These are all very compelling reasons for the courts to uphold the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. As eager as the courts seem to be to break new ground on the marriage front, they owe it to the nation as well as to future generations to slow down and really listen to those who are on the front-lines of the marriage culture—religious leaders who are dealing with the aftermath of the breakdown of the family.

Traditional Marriage is Different and Deserves Protection

The government’s role is to protect the common good. History has proven that this is best done by preserving and protecting traditional marriage and the family unit. The amicus brief concluded:

Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, remains a vital and foundational institution of civil society. The government’s interests in continuing to encourage and support marriage are not merely legitimate but compelling. No other institution joins together two persons with the natural ability to create children for the purpose of maximizing the welfare of such children. No other institution strives to ensure that children have the opportunity of feeling a sense of security and being raised in a stable household by the mother and father who conceived them.  Undermining the husband-wife marital institution by redefining it to include same-sex couples will, in the long term, harm vital child-welfare interests that only the husband-wife definition can secure. The result will be more mothers and fathers concluding that the highest end of marriage is not the welfare of their children but the advancement of their own life choices. We know, from personal experience over numerous decades of ministering to families and children, that more focus on satisfying adult needs will not benefit vulnerable children. The societal ills caused by the deterioration of husband-wife marriage will only be aggravated if the State cannot reserve to marriage its historic and socially vital meaning.

Traditional marriage deserves protection and its own unique status because it is different. Traditional marriage has a power that no other relationship does. It was ordained of God from the beginning of the world. Elder Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, taught:

I have seen and heard, as you have seen and heard, the signals all about us, carefully orchestrated to convince us that marriage is out of date and in the way. … Marriage is the shelter where families are created. That society which puts low value on marriage sows the wind and, in time, will reap the whirlwind—and thereafter, unless they repent, bring upon themselves a holocaust!

The same warning applies to those who would make a mockery of marriage in same-sex unions. Elder Packer also warned:

There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed. History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.

Opposition to same-sex marriage isn’t based on bigotry—it’s based on belief in God, His commandments and His plan for His children. It’s based on a fundamental desire to preserve and protect the family and its place as the foundational unit of society. Those who would redefine marriage to include same-sex unions would replace the strength of the family with a counterfeit replica.

Why Mormons Are Right about Alcohol

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the faith often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) are known for many quirks, perhaps their abstinence from alcohol being the most telling. Ever since 1833, when its health law was received by revelation, Mormons have shied away from alcohol, as well as from coffee, tea, and tobacco. Mormon doctrine calls this health creed the Word of Wisdom, and its contents haven’t changed since the scripture was recorded over 150 years ago.

Recent studies have shown that Mormons may be on to something when it comes to alcohol. Turns out, Mormons may just be right about drinking, and governments around the world are starting to realize it.[1]

no-alcohol-brings-freedom-mormon

Alcohol Consumption is Increasing–Along with the Consequences

Some may argue that negative consequences from alcohol consumption affect primarily the individual drinking, and that no one–especially the government–has the right to interfere with personal choices. But the effects from dangerous alcohol consumption are affecting more than we may realize. Alcohol-related deaths have tripled since 1990 (as of 2014), and is the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Drinking-related violence has also seen an increase, and the world’s younger population is one of the demographics most likely to binge drink. (more…)

Local Mormon Leader Receives Award for Gay-Friendly Message

Monday, January 27th, 2014

In January 2014, Allen Oyler, a local lay leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church), received an award from the city of Beaverton, Oregon, for his message of love and compassion regarding same-sex relationships. Some may be surprised that a Mormon leader is speaking out for gay rights, but the truth is that this shouldn’t be a surprise, regardless of your faith.

The Church of Jesus Christ promotes doctrine on the family that states that marriage is meant to be eternal and is between a man and a woman. Any sexual relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage are considered sinful, but feeling attraction to someone of the same sex is not itself a sin.

This doctrine on marriage, family, and sexuality has led many to believe that Mormons are anti-gay and even discriminatory to gays and lesbians. The truth is that Mormons believe that all men and women are children of a loving Heavenly Father and that regardless of sexual orientation, we should treat those around us with love and kindness. Oyler makes it a priority to teach those church members he oversees about the importance of Christ-like love when it comes to interacting with the gay community and that no life choice is an excuse for ostracizing family members.[1]

gayfriendly-grass-love-cw (more…)

Mormon Food Storage Inspiring Nation

Monday, January 13th, 2014

If you browse Pinterest for very long, you’ll likely come across pins with lists for food storage, tips for building a 72-hour-kit on the cheap, and articles espousing the importance of emergency preparedness. For Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church), these principles of self-reliance are nothing new. For over a century, Mormons have been counseled to prepare their homes and families, and that guidance is now inspiring more than just the Mormon community.[1]

Mormon Are Counseled to Prepare

The Mormon pioneers who trekked across the plains were required to adequately prepare their food supply for the exodus west. The trip took several months to complete, and even with church-supplies rations, hunger was a very real concern for those early pioneers. Without the preparation from these early members, certainly none of the companies would have made a successful trip. (more…)

Mormons Are Staying on Top of Technology

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Brick-and-mortar churches are emptying in many communities. People–especially millennials–just aren’t attending church the way their counterparts did fifty years ago. But one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church), continues to add members to its ranks. How is this possible? Several factors contribute to the Church’s continued successful growth — membership exceeded 15 million in October 2013 — not the least of which is its use of modern technology.

User-friendly access

The Church of Jesus Christ has a whole network of websites dedicated to making its message of the Savior accessible and easy to understand. LDS.org is the primary site for members and contains access to canonized scripture, lesson manuals, General Conference messages, church magazine articles, and web-only featured content. Church members can register at the site and then gain access to online notebooks for personal study as well as congregation directories and calendars. The site has evolved over the years to be more user-friendly and interactive, and it continues to improve in the richness of its content, adding streaming of conferences, audio files, and video.

LDS-org-Jesus-ChristIn addition to LDS.org, The Church of Jesus Christ maintains several other websites. Mormon.org is a site directed to those who aren’t Mormons and who are looking to learn more about the faith and teachings. Through Mormon.org, users can read profiles of Mormons (submitted directly by members), read concise content about beliefs, order their own free copy of the Book of Mormon, and even live-chat with missionaries. (more…)

Fulfilling Prophecy: The Mormon Church and Its Exponential Growth

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The Church of Jesus Christ was restored as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, with only six baptized members (though several others were present at the organizational meeting). By the end of 1830, 280 were members of The Church of Jesus Christ, and by the end of 1832, membership exceeded 2,600. When the Church completed its first decade, membership numbers were at 16,865. In 1873, Mormons numbered 100,000, and 75 years later, in 1947, the Church reached one million members. As of October 2013, Church membership topped 15 million.

lds church grows exponentially

source

Joseph Smith, first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, knew that the Church would grow in this way.  Joseph often received revelations from God, and the Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of many of those revelations. Several of them speak to the exponential growth of the Church:

  • “For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth–the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:64) (more…)

Elizabeth Smart: We Can Know That God is With Us

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Elizabeth Smart, we are defined by our choices.

Elizabeth Smart has a story to tell: hers. But it’s not just a story of tragedy and despair and the depths of human depravity. Rather, it is hope when things seem hopeless, strength and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds, and the knowledge that no matter what, God is always with us. (more…)

Elizabeth Smart – We Can Know that God is with Us

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

By Lisa Montague.

Elizabeth Smart has a story to tell: hers. But it’s not just a story of tragedy and despair and the depths of human depravity. Rather, it is hope when things seem hopeless, strength and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds, and the knowledge that no matter what, God is always with us.

my-story

The now-25-year-old became a household name in the summer of 2002 when she was kidnapped from her affluent home in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 14. For 9 months, her parents, family and community prayed, searched and clung to the hope that she would be found safe and alive. Her family—members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—worked hard to ensure that Elizabeth’s name and picture were not forgotten in the hopes that someone, somewhere would recognize her and bring her home. And through their faith, prayers and dedication, miracles happened. Elizabeth was brought home. (more…)

Christ’s Church Established in India

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

By Rebecca

mormon-church-meetingAn exciting event occurred far away from where I live that shows the Mormons’ global mission outreach. Although Mormon congregations have been organized worldwide since 1830, it was only 10 years ago when the first meetinghouse was built in India and dedicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons by the media). On May 27, 2012, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle of Jesus Christ, formed the first stake (group of local congregations) in India called the Hyderabad India Stake. (“Apostle Creates First Stake in India,” Mormon Newsroom, June 1, 2012). I may never get the chance to visit India, but I know that God loves all of His children and will send the truth throughout all nations in the world. I myself was called by a prophet of God to serve as a missionary in Spain and taught people of all faiths and from many nations including Africa, South America, and Asia. Although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was established by the Lord in 1830, in the United States, there are now “more members outside the United States than inside.” [1]

Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? (See 2 Nephi 29:7 as recorded by ancient prophets in the Americas in The Book of Mormon.) (more…)

A Mormon Apostle Speaks at Harvard

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Speaks at Harvard Law SchoolThe Mormon Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland spoke on March 20, 2012 to students of the Harvard University Law School as part of the school’s annual “Mormonism 101″ series. Elder Holland (Mormon leaders are traditionally addressed by the title, “Elder”) explained about the history and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called “Mormons.” He then engaged in a question-and-answer session with members of the audience. Elder Holland’s remarks helped shed some light on the Church, which has received a lot of media attention lately due to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

Elder Holland began his remarks by congratulating the students on their openness to discussions of religious belief. “In the western world religion has historically been the basis of civil society as we have known it, and if I am not mistaken, men and women of the law are committed to the best—that is, the most just—civil society possible,” Elder Holland pointed out. “So thank you for taking religion seriously. You will not only be better attorneys but you will be closer to the truth in your own personal lives.” (more…)