We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by teaching the rising generation that truth is truth. We must teach our children and youth that eternal truths were established by God and will stand forever - unless God changes them. We must teach our families that truth does not change to fit situations or desires. A discussion of a few eternal truths that are being batted around the world now days follows.
The first eternal truth I want to discuss is the fact that there is a God in heaven. He is our Heavenly Father, and He loves each of us more than we can even imagine. He established a plan for our happiness before this earth was even created. The central part of our Father’s plan is the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. The teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ are here on earth to help us prepare to return to the presence of our Father. Any person who teaches there is no God has succumbed to the influence of Satan and can be considered to be an anti-Christ. Satan is real and desires all of us to be as miserable as he is; therefore, he teaches the falsehood that there is no God.
A second eternal truth is that God created man and woman to be complimentary halves of a whole. God created men differently than He created women and gave each gender separate traits and responsibilities, but He considers them as equal in worth and value. God wants His sons and daughters to work together for the good of all mankind. An important part of this truth is that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God for the specific purpose of creating and rearing families. God gave each gender certain traits, qualities, and strengths to bring to the marriage and family.
A third eternal truth is that any sexual relations outside of a traditional and legal marriage constitute sin. This God-established truth cannot be changed simply because a vocal minority demands a silent majority to approve of their life style. Even if same-sex marriage is legalized, it is still immoral because God has proclaimed it to be sin.
All of these eternal truths are being challenged in the same sex marriage struggle. Religious leaders have been speaking out on this subject for several weeks. Members of LGBT thought Pope Francis was endorsing their life style when he said, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” That is a very good question and deserves an answer: Neither the Pope nor any other human being has the right to judge anyone else. Each of us will one day stand before Jesus Christ to be judged by Him who knows all things.
After Pope Francis asked “Who am I to judge….” Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, was asked on December 31, 2013, if his position on gays would “shift.” Graham answered, “God would have to shift, and God doesn’t. God’s word is the same yesterday and today and a million years from now, that it’s sin.”
On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah. His judgment struck down state laws that have stood for more than a century as well as a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. Officials for the State of Utah took the case to the Supreme Court who put that ruling on hold pending consideration of the issue by an appellate court.
In the days leading up to the ruling by the Supreme Court, hundreds of same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses and were married. After the Supreme Court ruling, the State of Utah issued a statement that they would not recognize any same-sex marriage until the case goes through the court system.
This did not stop the Obama Administration from taking action. On January 10, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced, “I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.”
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States and published the following statement:
“As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children. `God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth’ (Genesis 1:27-28). `Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.
“Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in `The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’
“Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.
“Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.
“While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility – even when we disagree.
“As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.”
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I stand with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I will continue to follow their counsel in all matters because I believe they represent God. A blogger at NieNie Dialogues expressed beautifully many of my own feelings about this situation. Like her, I will stand with the prophet. I know that truth is truth and truth does not depend on the world to define it. We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by standing for truth at all times.