Monday, January 27, 2014

Marriage and Family #1

The Family: A Proclamation to the World is important to me; actually, it is important to all of us, whether we accept it yet or not. I have felt impressed to write my thoughts and feelings concerning this document one paragraph at a time. In this post, you will read the first paragraph, as presented by The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; then you will read my thoughts concerning the paragraph, which support why I believe their words and also why I claim them to be true:

“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 (See The Family: A Proclamation to the World)."

As a Latter-day-saint, I believe in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In saying this, I acknowledge that I believe in the following away that way prophesied by the Apostle Paul (See 2 Thessalonians 2:3), and in the restoration of all things as prophesied by the Prophet Peter, and many others (See Acts 3:19-21). I do not claim any superiority for my beliefs, and I value deeply my relationship with Christians and righteous people of all faiths that seek to follow all of the commandments of God, particularly as they have been taught in the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.

Since I do believe in the restoration of the gospel, I also believe in the books of scripture that have come to us in this last dispensation: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ; The Doctrine and Covenants; and The Pearl of Great Price. In all the books of scriptures, those from The Bible and those found in modern-day scriptures, we find the commandments of God, the plan of salvation, and examples of those who are blessed or those who are cursed depending upon their adherence to God’s laws, His commandments, and the words of the prophets whom he sent to the various people.

I believe in prophets. Whenever there has been a dispensation of the gospel upon the earth, there have been prophets. Adam, the first man, was also the first prophet. We know that Elijah was a prophet. Noah was a prophet. So were Melchizedek and Abraham. In reading the Old Testament, you will find the words of God spoken through many prophets. This continues in the New Testament. John the Baptist was a prophet sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ.

There were also prophets in the Americas. Lehi was a prophet who left Jerusalem with his family and sailed to the New World. Many of his descendants were also prophets, and they testified of the coming of Jesus Christ, just as the prophets in the Old Testament did. That is a prophet’s main role, to testify of Jesus Christ.

I believe in the structure of Christ’s church, with Jesus Himself being the Chief Cornerstone (See Ephesians 2:19-20). "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13)." I believe that the keys of the Priesthood were restored to the earth again through the instrumentality of angels of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith and others. Today we have the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth, with the structure of apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ being the Head of the Church.

With my belief in both ancient and modern scripture, along with my belief in modern-day spokesmen for God, I must and do believe in the words of our modern-day prophets and apostles. I also believe that God is unchanging, and His laws are eternal and everlasting. If He were to change, He would cease to be God (See Mormon 9:19), and this He will not do. From the very beginning, He commandment both the man and the woman to leave both father and mother and cleave unto each other and to none else (See Genesis 2:24). Adam and Eve were married, and since then, this has been the pattern. God’s law is that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. He ordained it to be so. I do believe and trust in this. But if I did not believe it, it would account for very little, because God’s laws are fixed.

I am thankful for the words of our prophets and apostles in these the latter days when there is so much confusion in the world. As we follow the prophet, we can find safety in troubled times, and we can have the ever-present blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives to comfort, reassure, and sustain us. We are truly blessed when we follow the commandments of God and are faithful to the covenants and ordinances that we receive (See Doctrine and Covenants 82:10).

A husband and wife legally and lawfully wedded can be blessed to be co-partners with God in bringing His spirit children into the world and housing them with mortal bodies. What a blessing! While children can be born outside of the matrimony of husband and wife, this has never been the ideal, and aside from the commandments of God, studies have proven that children in a stable home with both father and mother fair the very best.

God has ordained it to be so, that fathers and mothers rear the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (See Proverbs 22:6). As we teach and prepare our children, we and they gain the experiences that we need in order to become more like our Heavenly Father so that we can one day return to His presence and be like Him. Families give us the opportunities to put aside selfishness and work for the common good and progress of the group as a whole. As Malachi taught, there must be a welding link. Fathers’ hearts must turn to their children, and children’s hearts to their fathers (See Malachi 4:6). Since God sent His Son to be our Redeemer, it is our goal and purpose that this gift of redemption be available to all, especially to our own families, and considering that we are all posterity of Adam and Eve, to the whole human family. The only way that the chain can remain unbroken is to have God-ordained marriage firmly in place so that God-ordained families can continue.

God indeed has a plan for our eternal destiny. As stated before, our hearts must turn to our family members past, present, and future; the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers (See Malachi 4:6). Heavenly Father prepared all things for us to live together in family units while here on earth, designed after the order of His Family in heaven, of which we were all a part. God's whole plan, his entire purpose, is for us to grow to become like Him. Indeed, children naturally become like their parents. Our Heavenly Father's mission plan is found in Moses 1:39:  "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." While this seems like an impossible task, with Him and because of His love for us, we can become like Him. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17)." No matter where we have strayed from the commandments of God, He invites us back; and we can again become members of His family through faith in His Son; repentance from our sins; being baptized by immersion by someone who has been called of God and ordained with proper priesthood authority; and through receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, also by one who has been ordained with the authority to do so (See Articles of Faith 1:4-5).

I personally know that these words are true and faithful. I know because of the many times that I have read God’s words and found harmony in all of His teachings found in various sources of Holy Writ and spoken by His prophets. I know because the Holy Ghost has borne witness to me that they are true. I know because I trust in the living prophets and apostles and know that they have been called of God and speaks His words, and His words are truth. You can know too; but, only through studying His words, living His laws, keeping His commandments, and asking Him in faith. Don’t hesitate. He loves you, and He will lead you aright.

Marriage and Family #1