November 14th, 2012

Promoting Measures to Maintain and Strengthen the Family

In an October 1995 General Relief Society meeting, President Gordon B. Hinckley rose to the podium to deliver his remarks to the assembled women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This address proved to be historic, standing out from prior and succeeding ones because this was when The Family: A Proclamation to the World was delivered.

Prior to reading this proclamation, President Hinckley explained its purpose:

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.

The proclamation was then read for the first time, offering the world a concise, bold, and unapologetic declaration of the principles and beliefs relative to marriage and family that God wishes his children to embrace. There is much worth pondering and implementing in the proclamation, and those of any faith (or no faith) would benefit from considering its counsel.

After listing a number of family-related doctrines, the proclamation concludes with the following:

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Naturally, this open invitation has produced a wide variety of interpretations. Which kinds of measures, exactly, are designed to strengthen the family? How does one even strengthen a family? And are these measures specific to government only, or are they more societal in nature?

Though many Latter-day Saints have differing thoughts on these questions, a sort of consensus has emerged since 1995 in light of the Church’s involvement in legal battles relating to same-sex marriage. This interpretation suggests that a government-sanctioned definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman is one such “measure” referred to by the proclamation—and perhaps one of singular importance above other possible measures. Thus, as the argument goes, if one is to abide by the proclamation’s doctrines one must also fight to ensure that the government honor and enforce this marital definition.

Assuming that the “measures” being referred to by the proclamation are government-oriented, I believe that narrowing their focus to a battle over defining marriage is problematic, for there are many other government programs and policies already implemented which attack and weaken the family. In light of these very real threats to the family, worrying about semantics seems silly.

So what am I talking about?

Consider the case of Sweden—a striking example of how socialism affects the family unit. Sky-high taxes, massive social welfare spending, entitlements galore, a criminalization of homeschooling, and a variety of institutional programs to get kids into state care and mothers into the workforce combine to create a society in which the state is an intimate provider, partner, and caretaker from cradle to grave.

My wife lived in Sweden while serving a mission for the LDS Church. During that time she encountered one family—one—where the mother stayed home to focus on raising the children and creating a warm, loving home. The uniqueness of this encounter suggests how successful the institutional efforts have become in Sweden to pull mothers away from the home, collect the children into the care of the state throughout the day, and break apart the natural ties between parents and children.

Considering the status of the family in such a socialist state helps us understand why the conventional interpretation of the proclamation’s concluding paragraph—that promoting measures to strengthen the family means fighting same-sex marriage—is horribly short-sighted.

And by no means is this nation exempt. Sweden may be further down the socialist path than the United States of America, but this government has pedaled us rapidly in the same direction in past decades. It may be instructive, then, to consider a few programs and policies in this country which have a similar effect.

The war on drugs is an easy example of policies which hurt the family. This nation’s prisons are chock-full of non-violent “drug offenders”—people placed in a cage for consuming, selling, or possessing a substance prohibited by the state. Tearing fathers away from their wives and children leads to an increase in welfare dependence and a rise in child delinquency. And the war on drugs doesn’t just target the men; there are now over eight times as many women incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails as there were in 1980. As noted by a recent study on the impact of drug laws on families and women specifically, between 1986 and 1999, the number of women incarcerated in state facilities for drug related offenses increased by 888%.

On January 4, 2008, police officers in Lima, Ohio, executed a SWAT raid to arrest Anthony Terry for allegedly dealing drugs. The drug warriors opened fire after entering the home, killing Terry’s unarmed girlfriend and mother of six, Tarika Wilson, and wounding her fourteen-month-old son, who was in her arms. The former SWAT commander for the police department stated on record, in commenting on the incident, that “it’s not unusual for children to be inside homes raided by police officers.” In far too many cases, innocent children, spouses, relatives, or visitors have been arrested, injured, or in many cases killed while police officers were waging their war on drugs. These examples are not isolated incidents but frequent occurrences as part of the “war.” One estimate suggests that these types of raids occur around 40,000 times per year in America—over 100 times per day.

Whether causing psychological trauma in a raid, locking up the family’s breadwinner in a cage, or killing one or more members of the family, the war on drugs is a war on the family. Promoting measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family should therefore include significantly scaling back, if not altogether eliminating, this frontal assault on families nationwide.

The so-called war on poverty produces, unsurprisingly, a similar result. Social welfare programs provided by government break apart family cohesion, suppress fertility rates, encourage bearing children out of wedlock, incentivize fatherlessness, and promote multi-generational dependency upon the state rather than among members of the family unit.

In the words of John Goodman, president of the National Center for Political Analysis, “The USA’s welfare system is a disaster. It is creating poverty, not destroying it. It subsidizes divorce, unwed teenage pregnancy, the abandonment of elderly parents by their children, and the wholesale dissolution of the family. The reason? We pay people to be poor.”

There are hundreds of other government programs and policies which likewise undermine the strength and solidarity of the family unit. The Federal Reserve’s artificial manipulation of the economy causes untold economy hardship, adding stress and strain to fragile family ties. The makeup of families are altered, and fornication encouraged, through a legal system which condones the termination of the lives of unwanted, unborn children. High taxation and onerous regulations on small businesses leads both parents into the workforce in pursuit of a decent standard of living, leaving the children in the care of state institutions or other non-family persons. Subsidies and bailouts to certain businesses and industries put many people out of business, and often raise everybody else’s prices along the way, leading to a diminished standard of living, dependence on government, and further financial strain on working families.

But for all these pseudo wars against drugs, poverty, and other societal problems, it cannot be emphasized enough that the worst attack by government on the family is war itself.

Prematurely sending soldiers to their unnecessary death, starving hundreds of thousands of innocent people through sanctions, incarcerating innocent people without due process thus preventing them from supporting their family, and shooting at and bombing innocent people all combine to produce one of the most blatant and tangible effects of government undermining the strength of families. Promoting measures to maintain the family implies promoting measures which maintain not just the theoretical conception of the family, but actual families—and not breaking them up through suffering, separation, and death. To maintain and strengthen the family, then, we must oppose war and promote peace.

All that being said, it’s important to note that the proclamation does not narrow its call for “promoting measures” to government measures. In other words, encouraging devotion to the doctrines of marriage and family is not and should not be limited to legislation. We believe in persuading others to embrace the gospel, but do not believe in imposing our tenets upon others at the gunpoint of government. Similarly, the standards contained in the proclamation merit our consideration and support, but it does not therefore follow that we should support laws that mandate that men and women marry, have kids, and nurture them. The proclamation’s ideals should be encouraged, not enforced.

This means that media campaigns, individual advocacy, educational programs, events, and other marketing initiatives should be explored to encourage these ideals. We should not be so unimaginative as to interpret the proclamation’s call for “measures” only to mean government measures, let alone only fighting same-sex marriage at the ballot box and in the courts. To the extent that Latter-day Saints continue to embrace this narrow conclusion regarding the proclamation’s call to arms, then we will lose the fight to defend the family.

The state is intervening in family affairs from multiple angles and with a variety of weapons. Fighting same-sex marriage through government as a way of fulfilling the proclamation’s invitation is like attempting to ward off this multi-faceted attack with a single shield pointed in one direction. It’s time we Mormons develop a better strategy for countering the state’s offensive attacks against our families.

50 Responses to “Promoting Measures to Maintain and Strengthen the Family”

  1. Michael
    November 14, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Connor,

    Great post and I agree with you 100%. I think it is pretty clear that legislative methods of supporting families do not generally work.

    Too often, we look to government for solutions to problems when we should be looking at ourselves and working within our family unit to work out solutions.

    While same-sex marriage might be a threat to the “traditional” family, couldn’t an argument be made that rampant divorce is a bigger threat? Why should some folks scream and yell about same-sex marriage, but remain silent on the issue of divorce?

    I appreciate your insights, Connor. I always leave with something to think about when I visit.

  2. Kyle Clouse
    November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Connor, you’ve opened my eyes to a lot of points that I have not entertained before or were closed off to.

    Last Sunday night, I attended a Veterans Day program at my church to honor those serving in the military. I thought it ironic, and insulting, that we honor Veterans who we have been brain washed into thinking are “fighting for our freedoms” when it’s the wars they are fighting in that are being used as the tool to take our freedoms away.

    Let me be clear, that I honor the Veterans; not the war or those who send them to war.

    I believe a majority of our Veterans are unknowingly going to, or have gone to war to “maintain our freedoms” when its the war itself that is removing our freedoms. I found it insulting to our Veterans and those who give their lives for freedoms they think they are preserving.

  3. Jon
    November 14, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    It would be nice to get government out of marriage altogether. That would be one big harbinger for promoting marriage when people no longer view it as a rebellion not to get married but a wonderful public showing on one’s commitment to his partner.

  4. Kumozarusan
    November 14, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Another angle to be taken concerning strengthening marriage and the family unit is the ability of government to decided who can marry and who cannot, meaning everyone has to have the government’s permission to marry and have one’s marriage recognized by government. If this stays in force, it sets a precedent for eugenic types of social planning, determining which race or which economic class will be better able to raise the right kind of children that will be the most beneficial to the state and its purposes, and which members of society will best form families that will best support the state and its interests. Of course, many would say that such is conspiratorial thinking, and perhaps so; perhaps this will never happen in the US, let alone again in the world, for we must not forget the lessons learned from Nazi Germany or the genocides of Africa and such. And even eugenics was considered and promoted by sociologists and government officials alike in Progressive Era America, even if the principles weren’t necessarily put into practice. I don’t remember if they were or not. Thus, it seems like it is quite possible for wicked men to get their hands on government power and use the precedent already set by government allowing to control who can marry and whom cannot by requiring application and gov. permission via marriage licenses of those parties wanting to marry. Thus, though such horrors may or may not be unleashed by government force and power on society, the capability of it happening will always remain there as long as the precedent stands, and the precedent stands, allowing for growth into such horror over time under the current system of government control over marriage. We all have a natural right to form a contract with whomever we want to form a contract with, excepting those who are incapable due to mental maladies of understanding the contract and thus entering into it voluntarily. And this is what a marriage is first and foremost, a contract; it is a contract first and then acquires the additional religious connotation of a marriage by the beliefs of those who enter the contract. And society determining what is and is not a marriage via legislation and government force is to allow society to dictate to its members what religious beliefs will or will not be permitted. For remember, the only things that can justly be prohibited by society thru legislation (criminal law) and government force are intentional actions that harm the rights of others. And two individuals contracting to live together and share property ad responsibilities, as well as rights harms no one else but themselves inasmuch as that contractual relationship violates the laws of God. Who is man to impose the laws of God on their fellowman when those laws concern individual conduct that does not harm the equal rights of others, when God Himself does not compel man to obey such laws of His but leaves to man his choice, his agency, to choose between God’s laws or the beliefs of Satan? Many would say that the resolution to the issue of government having the power to prohibit certain marriages while condoning others would be to legalize and support by positive legislation all kinds of marriage. But to do so would be to once again dictate to some members of society their beliefs as to what a marriage is, thus infringing upon their rights of conscience, which includes their religious rights. In addition, to do so violates natural law, which states clearly if one uses reason and his brain to determine that, as history and nature has proven, marriage is between at least one man and one woman (for as we know, plural marriage is lawful in God’s eyes at certain times. And if one uses his/her brain, it must be lawful in God’s eyes at certain extreme times for incestuous relationships to happen as well, for such must have had to happen with Adam and Eve’s children, as well as Noah’s children’s children. And if you think about it, we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and his family, including our Heavenly Mother, thus to some extent, we are all involved in an incestuous relationship when we marry on earth because we are forming a contractual relationship with/marrying [depending on one’s religious beliefs] our spiritual brother or sister). For the purpose of marriage is to form a family in order to fulfill the natural laws that mankind be social and perpetuate the species. and both of these laws cannot be met when one forms a contractual relationship with/marries (again, depending on one’s religious beliefs) a member of the same gender/sex. Only one is met, the commandment of nature for man to be social. The other law of nature that all species perpetuate itself is disobeyed under such a contractual relationship/marriage.

    Thus, because legalizing all forms of marriage by positive law would infringe upon the religious rights of individuals by requiring them to recognize a relationship as a marriage that they do not believe is a marriage, particularly because marriage has a specific religious connotation, and would in effect violate the First Amendment and many such constitutional provisions of the states, this resolution cannot happen. Thus, the only resolution is to get government out of the marriage business all together, recognizing nothing as a marriage, leaving that ability to each religious institution and to each individual, and recognizing only contractual relations, recognizing that relationships are contracts and nothing more. For we cannot infringe upon the right of people to form contracts with whomever they please (excepting mentally incapable individuals) for whatever object they please (excepting actions/objects that violate the equal rights of others). Under such a system, anyone could form a contractual relationship of any kind and call it a marriage or not according to the dictates of their own conscience. But such a system would require us to recognize once again the ability of property owners to discriminate against those they wish not to allow on their property or dispose of their property to, meaning we would have to get rid of all discrimination laws, federal and state, that prohibit private individuals and businesses from discriminating in which hiring and firing, as well as in sale of goods or services, all such laws infringe upon the right to control property. For remember what D&C 134 says: “We believe that no government can exist in apeace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the bfree exercise of cconscience, the right and control of property, and the dprotection of life.” “The right and CONTROL of property.” For such discrimination laws that apply to private citizens and businesses infringe upon the right of control of property.

    In addition, the tax code would have to be written so that each individual filed their own taxes instead of filing them jointly and receiving tax breaks for having dependents etc. There could be no more artificial privileges granted by government for those who meet the government approved contractual relationship/marriage. Everyone must receive those privileges or none at all.

  5. Michael
    November 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    @Jon –

    A great point and one I’ve made privately for the last few years. Seems like a lot of people fail to realize that marriage “licenses” were issues in many localities to prevent blacks from marrying whites.

    As marriage has long been a religious institution, I would second the vote to get government completely out of the marriage business and let marriage be a private contract between two individuals and their church (if they so choose).

  6. outside the corridor
    November 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Government needs to get out of marriage. Completely.

  7. outside the corridor
    November 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    oh, and good essay, Connor.

  8. L. Brown
    November 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Bien hecho amigo! lol. Thanks again for all you do to be the example that we should be in our own lives! HOORAH!!

    outside the corridor:…..hi….I’ve seen you here on many of Connor’s post….I was just wondering who you are?? I hope that’s not weird…..I just find it hard to find like minded people where I live….and I’d like to make more friends (if Connor doesn’t mind me using his website to do that)….but anyways….just looking for more friends really….we might as well unite since we’re here anyways….lol. But, my email is lbrown0715@hotmail.com if you’d like to accept my invitation. God bless!

  9. AV
    November 15, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    I agree with Michael above, that divorce is a much bigger problem than SSM. Why does the Church allow the much greater issue of divorce and remarriage while spending so much time and effort talking about a much lesser thing of SSA or SSM.

    You would think the Church would not talk about lesser problems until divorce and remarriage were stopped. How can they apply consequences for a lesser thing as SSM and no consequences for the great sin like divorce and remarriage? How can the Church allow remarriage to go on in the temple, yet then say they won’t allow a lesser thing like SSM? It makes no sense, no one is following Christ’s laws. Most people and church leaders don’t even believe in Christ’s laws anymore, let alone live them.

    Until the Church stops allowing, encouraging, and rewarding spouses for abandoning their spouse and children, only to roll out the red carpet for them to remarry someone else in the temple no less, when Christ and the Prophets have said repeatedly that such remarriage is adultery, thus defiling the temples, then as along as this all goes on nothing else we do will save the family or make anyone take marriage and family seriously, if the Church doesn’t even hold marriage covenants & the family sacred.

    I don’t believe that anyone or any church is serious about preserving families, if they allow divorce and remarriage without consequences for it’s adultery & destructive abandonment of spouses & children.

    Until the Church and it’s leaders repent and uphold Christ’s laws, the Church or this nation or the world will never be able to hold itself together, or solve those other problems, let alone help keep families together.

    Honoring the marriage vow is the only thing that can preserve & save families, now and in the eternities.

    There are other ways to solve marriage problems then completely dissolving the marriage & family, which Christ said was impossible to dissolve anyway, the couple is still married, even after divorce, they only commit adultery by dating & remarrying.

    And Joseph Smith said that any church leader who allows a spouse to abandon and divorce their spouse will be damned himself for allowing it. But sadly it seems almost all church leaders allow it anyway.

  10. Jon
    November 15, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    AV,

    You have a source for that last paragraph?

  11. outside the corridor
    November 15, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    L. Brown–

    female, early 60s, married to a man in his mid-60s, both RMs–
    live far away from church headquarters (thus, outside the corridor)–:)

    Have children, most special needs, all adopted–from very unique circumstances–

    been studying the constitution for many years with my husband, who is even more devoted to it than I–

    If you are female, I’ll e-mail you; I don’t . . . correspond with men–no offense; I do talk to men openly on blogs, obviously–

    Have had some unique life’s experiences; haven’t we all? A person begins to realize this as he/she approaches that lifespan time the Bible uses (joke: 72)–

    AV,

    I wonder why church leaders are so afraid to offend those who divorce and remarry? Have you wondered that? I remember when the ‘old’ prophets spoke against divorce, but I’ve never heard many speak against remarriage, and, in my opinion, though I could come off as self-righteous, because I haven’t had to do it, I think remarriage is the bigger problem.
    Divorce is bad; remarriage is worse, but in saying that I step on SO many toes; *we* have so many ward and family friends who are on marriage(s) #2, #3, etc.–
    I, too, would like that Joseph Smith ‘quote’–

  12. Lance
    November 15, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    AV, I have heard the prophets and apostles on several occasions encourage couples to work through their problems and only get a divorce in the case of abuse, and not even in the case of infidelity. God is in control, the church is true, and families will be closer because of the principles taught. Look to the world for contrast, you know where the light and the dark stands. As for same sex marriage, we as brothers and sisters should support the traditional values of family relationships. We should love one another and not turn away anyone from the LGBT community, but instead try and understand their trials and their opinions. I think common ground can be found on both sides once the hate is eliminated from the equation.

  13. Rock Waterman
    November 15, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Bravo, Connor!

    As is all too typical these days, Latter-day Saints are too often looking in the wrong place to correct society’s wrongs. While focusing on one external “problem,” we tend to look the other way as the REAL war on the family proliferates. In some instances, as in our propensity to act as cheerleaders for war, we are hastening our own destruction.

  14. Amber
    November 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    Great post, Connor. Ever since I heard Ron Paul speak at the Thanksgiving debate in 2011, I realized that war was anti-family. Not only does it destroy families in other countries, but the continual deployments puts lots of stress on military families, as does PTSD, permanent injuries, infidelity, and death of those military members. Both divorce and suicide is high. It is sad when people who do not understand the cost mistakenly think that the military are tools to be used as the government sees fit, and should only be respected as such, and fail to wonder if the wars and such is truly worth the cost.

    I would also think that laws set to control how children are born and how they’d be educated are anti-family, too. It is interesting that another side of the pro-choice coin ought to be choice of where and how the mother gives birth to her children. How many families have been limited because of over-managed deliveries which do true harm to the mother! And how many mothers would love to choose a better education for their children than what they got themselves in the public system, but who are prevented from either homeschooling or private schooling their children?

    Any cultural act that promotes morality also promotes the family. Homeschooling promotes the family, and will help rebuild morality and virtue in our society.

  15. Paul
    November 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Current Child support laws are also a subsidy on divorce and destruction of the Family. States get financial incentives for having single parents. Once they remove the father from the home they assume the role of the father and have dominion and control over the entire family which has now become children of the State.

  16. AV
    November 17, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    OTC,

    I believe that most all of the church leaders don’t stand & speak up against divorce and remarriage and apply consequences for remarriage anymore because they would lose too most of their members (for most members seem to believe in and want the divorce option today, whereas 50 years ago was largely considered evil), which IMO is no excuse for leaders to not stand for right, for the leaders themselves will be held partly accountable for all the divorce & remarriage occuring on their watch if they didn’t stand up against it like they should and could have.

    I agree that ‘remarriage’ is worse than just divorce, for sometimes legal separation is needed and justified for safety reasons. But divorce doesn’t end the marriage, they are still 100% husband and wife in God’s eyes, and the righteous spouse can still stay faithful & true (from a safe distance) to the destructive spouse and help him or her eventually repent so the family can be put back together. It’s the ‘remarriage’ part (or even seeking & dating other people) is what Christ called adultery.

    Here is that quote from Joseph Smith, though to understand Joseph’s & Christ’s feelings on marriage and divorce one must study far more than this one quote.

    “Suffer no man to leave his wife because she is an unbeliever, nor any woman to leave her husband because he is an unbeliever. These things are an evil and must be forbidden by the authorities of the church, or they will come under condemnation;…” Written by Hyrum Smith, patriarch, by the order of Joseph Smith, President over the whole church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millennial Star 3 [November 1842]: 115.

  17. AV
    November 17, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    Lance,

    If Church leaders say that ‘abuse’ is grounds for remarriage, then they preach differently than Christ, and prophets warn we are to not consider such contrary teachings by leaders as true, even if they come from a Prophet, for even Prophets can often be wrong, as we have seen over & over, from Joseph Smith on to Prophets today.

    I believe that Christ knew that most women in his day were being seriously abused in their marriages, in one form or another, and that those women longed to know what to do about it. Yet Christ told them that only in cases of ‘fornication’ is remarriage not adultery. (I believe ‘fornication’ refers to earlier premarital relations that one spouse kept secret from the other before the marriage, which could have affected whether the marriage would have even occured) The example of this is when Joseph was going to put Mary away, because he though she had had relations with someone else.

    Of course though, just because ‘fornication’ may have happened before the marriage doesn’t mean that Christ is saying divorce ‘should’ happen. For ‘justified’ means ‘could’ not should’.

    Also, I believe that most marriages today, even in the church, have various forms of abuse going on (things many people don’t consider abuse but are), so that would mean the leaders are saying that most everyone in the Church is justified to get divorced.

    I believe in only the teachings of Christ, not in anyone else’s teachings that are different than his. Surely Christ understood ‘abuse’ well and how rampant it was in his day and would be in ours, yet he didn’t mention it, nor did He mention, as a justification for remarriage, the rampant ‘adultery’ occurring in marriage, back then and today.

  18. jimx
    November 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    To anyone interested,
    I heard something interesting on the radio this afternoon. The claim that abortion LOWERS crime rate! I was so surprised! when I was listening to the radio I thought there would be some sort of moralistic conclusion that showed that abortion would be bad for crime, but actually the opposite. I was surprised at the rate however, in a particular country mentioned it was 25% of pregnancies.

    There is something I am surprised that Connor hasn’t mentioned at all. Its the internet, email, cable TV and cell phones. I am currently taking a history class, and one of the instructors pet peeves are cell phones. He doesn’t want to even see them in class, let alone hear them ring, or anyone take or make a phone call. Despite how much more potential there is for communication, there seems to be less communication with people with whom one may have direct contact. I have felt more isolated with the advent of cheap, available cell phones, and internet. So, for this class I simply leave my cell phone in the car.

    Technology isn’t really inherently evil, but it does pose a challenge, as its so ‘virtual’ often so visual. I suppose its also so unregulated, but I forgot we are supposed to be self regulating. I suppose like T.V. one can change the channel. But perhaps its mostly a distraction from people closer to us.

  19. Andrea
    November 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    jimx,
    Abortion lowers the crime rate because, statistically, more crimes are committed by young men than by other demographics. More abortions skews the average population older and fewer youth means fewer crimes. This is not a good thing. We could eliminate all crime on the planet in just one hundred years if we eliminated all procreation.

  20. jimx
    November 18, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Andrea,
    That wasn’t the reason stated. It was because unwanted children were eliminated completely,and not abused or abandoned as a result. The remaining children had more resources and care from the parents because they were wanted. The study looked at the amount of crime committed by the remaining children who obtained adulthood.

    The reason you stated would only work if abortion was selective against males. That is not the case, selective abortion usually selects for females being removed, and selects for males to remain.

    The quality of life in countries with very low average age is generally very poor. Uganda for example has an average age of 15. Chad, congo, yemen, mali are also very low in average age. Some what higher (17.6) is somalia, gaza strip (17.5). All places that don’t sound like great places to live or raise children.

    Monaco has a very high average age (48.9)japan (44.6) Italy (44.3)Those sound like good places to live, if you can afford it or happen to be raised there. Somehow I don’t think these places are going to eliminate crime by eliminating reproduction. I felt very safe in So. Korea and its age average is (37.9) actually higher than the USA at (36.9) and I thought they had more children than the USA. And perhaps they might, its just that maybe they live longer. They also have a much higher literacy rate.

  21. Pierce
    November 21, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Av said:
    “Also, I believe that most marriages today, even in the church, have various forms of abuse going on (things many people don’t consider abuse but are), so that would mean the leaders are saying that most everyone in the Church is justified to get divorce.”

    Yeah, if a spouse or child is being abused bad enough/frequently enough, you better believe that they should leave that situation.

    AV, your comments seem to suggest that people should keep themselves in bad situations for an undefined amount of time because the Bible does not address the issue. To imply that Jesus prefers that to separating yourself from covenant breakers and abusers is reprehensible to me, especially since your leg to stand on is that Jesus probably knew about abuse but it is not mentioned by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. The Bible is not the final authority on everything, as we believe in the church. We do rely on continued revelation and church authorities. If the doctrine of temple divorce exists, it exists for a reason and is sanctioned by the Lord in extenuating circumstances.

  22. outside the corridor
    November 23, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Yes, Pierce, even children abuse parents. Even marriage companions who are kind-hearted abuse each other (chiefly, neglect, due to too much busyness)–

    The idea that there is a perfect marriage out there “somewhere” has led to many divorces–

    I’ve seen little children kick parents and seen parents wince with pain–

    should those little children be removed?

    Goodness, I understood what AV was saying; even the best among *us* are only human; everyone makes mistakes–

    I also read that AV said that there are times whens separation (when lines are crossed) is necessary; the point is that people who abuse and often even those who are abused . . .

    even when not speaking of covenants . . .

    or of scriptures–

    are not wise to remarry–

    why spread the pain and suffering and tendency to allow pain and suffering–

    stop it right there and don’t spread it–

    but not divorce–

  23. Alexis Anne
    November 24, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    AV said:
    (I believe ‘fornication’ refers to earlier premarital relations that one spouse kept secret from the other before the marriage, which could have affected whether the marriage would have even occured) The example of this is when Joseph was going to put Mary away, because he though she had had relations with someone else.

    I’m really curious as to from where springs the insistence upon linking the definition of “fornication” to exclusively to premarital sex, either in totality or to the more convoluted definition as denoted by AV.

  24. AV
    November 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Pierce,

    Many Prophets, especially Joseph Smith, taught that if any church leader teaches ‘contrary’ to what Christ taught or to what the scriptures say then we must consider their teaching to be false.

    Thus if the Church today allows for divorce and remarriage, even in the temple, then it is clearly wrong and a false teaching. Even Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith said that just because the Church seems to be allowing it doesn’t mean that divorce and remarriage is not serious sin and adultery. He said it definitely still is adultery.

    So it’s impossible that the Lord sanctioned the Church today to allow something that He (Christ) condemned when he was alive, like remarriage after divorce.

    That’s how you tell true prophets from false prophets or true doctrine from false doctrine, by if they teach the same things that Christ did and if not, then you know for sure they are not teaching truth. It’s that simple and that has always been the test of truth throughout the ages.

    And as I said above, sometimes divorce is necessary for safety reasons, like in cases of abuse. Sometimes separation without divorce will be enough to gain safety. But it’s the ‘dating and remarriage’ that occurs ‘after’ the divorce that Christ had a problem with and called adultery, because the couple is still really married, divorce doesn’t dissolve the marriage in God’s eyes, no matter how many people, leaders, or judges on earth may say it does.

    And unfortunately today in the Church it seems that most marriages deal with abuse or adultery in some form by one or both spouses. But even if they separated until the other spouse repents, doesn’t mean God wants or ‘ok’s’ them to date and look around for someone new to marry.

    Marriage is indissolvable. If a marriage will be dissolved it will be by God in the next life, man (including all leaders) have been commanded to not try to dissolve what God has put together.

  25. jimx
    November 25, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Av,
    Is there any real explanation in scripture for your ideal of eternal monogamy? I believe its very strongly culturally associated with agricultural societies, especially those that are grain centered. I would be curious to know what are the genetic effects of monogamy through out generations. Its something I have wondered about, is its not an ideal of pre-agricultural cultures. Just something to think about. Something other than this ideal would be difficult to reintroduce as our current cultural understanding, and the way we live just isn’t structured this way. It might seem strange but some cultures ‘mandated’ spouse mixing, and may have thought it as essential as your ideals. I don’t know if its practiced anywhere in the world at present.

  26. AV
    November 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Jimx,

    The strongest scriptural proof against polygamy is by Christ, where he is repeatedly quoted in the New Test. (also during his visit to the Nephites in the BOM) teaching that polygamy was adultery when he taught that remarriage after divorce was adultery. (See Matt. 19:9 for starters) Christ taught that if a man married another woman, even if he divovced the 1st wife, he commits adultery, because God considers him still married to the 1st wife. Thus Christ was clearly saying that a man could not be married to 2 living wives or it (polygamy) would be adultery. Christ knew that polygamy was a very accepted perk for men in his day and thus he addressed it hidden behind the teachings on remarriage, so only those with the Spirit would catch it, for those without the Spirit wouldn’t have accepted it anyway, so he didn’t preach openly about it.

    Christ’s teachings against polygamy are in harmony with the Prophet’s teachings in the Book of Mormon, who also condemn polygamy (Jacob 2-3, etc.) The BoM never condones polygamy in any instance. Jacob 2:30 is not an exception, it is actually saying that unless God commands people to keep his commandments, they will always hearken to whoredoms like polygamy, as we have seen for the whole history of the world. It has seemed to be the carnal desire of most men throughout history to want more than one wife or women throughout their lives. Even Christ’s disciples had a hard time accepting Christ’s teachings on divorce, saying that if a man had to stay faithful to and married to the same ‘one’ woman his whole life than if may be better for men to never marry at all. That’s how hard it is for most men to be faithful to just ‘one’ woman. So of course you are going to find many instances and societies where polygamy was accepted and preached as good and right. But they are also societies where women are abused and controlled by men and their total equality and authority in all things (home, church & society) is not respected and honored.

    Joseph Smith also put a number of teachings against polygamy in the original D&C, which is considered scripture. But, long after Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young took most of them out and replaced them with a pro-polygamy teaching (132), that was completely contrary to what Joseph, BoM Prophets and Christ taught about polygamy.

    Not to mention the numerous constant teachings to the Church by Joseph Smith against polygamy that he published during his lifetime, as he warned the Saints over and over that those who fell for polygamy or who fell for those who preached or lived polygamy, even if they were prophets or apostles, would be damned. No one can read Joseph’s strong and constant warnings against polygamy his whole life and think he ever believed in it, let alone lived it, unless they want to believe that he was flat out lying to the whole church his whole life, which a true prophet couldn’t do anymore than God could lie.

    After Joseph died, to justify his polygamy, Brigham Young also started the hearsay that Joseph actually lied and believed in and lived polygamy too. But there is no proof that he did so, only tons of published proof that Joseph fought polygamy his whole life.

    So it comes down to whether you believe the proven and published scriptures and teachings of Christ, Joseph Smith and ancient BoM prophets or if you believe the unproven hearsay and rumors of Brigham Young and those who wanted to live polygamy, for they taught completely different doctrines and religions.

    So there are many proofs against polygamy in the holy scriptures, including where God commanded Abraham to repent of polygamy and send Hagar away, which he did. From what the Bible says it appears that the only reason Abraham and Jacob lived polygamy was because of the pressure of their weak wives and a lack of faith in God, for God never commanded those men to live it, but he told Abraham to stop living it, but these men and their wives had to learn the hard way that polygamy was wrong and caused much trouble.

    So despite polygamy being a natural carnal desire of most men throughout history, who easily fall for it, the scriptures have been very clear that it is the whoredom and abusive adulterous abomination towards women that Christ, Joseph Smith and many ancient Prophets always said it was.

  27. jimx
    November 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Av,
    Polygamy is not necessarily the same as adultery, most people make that assumption. I do imagine that in most cases polygamy is abusive, but maybe not in every case. I was enlightened by a friend that monogamy can be potentially abusive, but most people will put up with it for greater benefits, or because they simply don’t know any other model.

    I don’t envision the original spouse sharing as being abusive, but maybe it was. But that time period was a different time period when most human cultures where not agriculturally based. It was probably actually LESS abusive to not have either monogamy or polygamy. As both of those systems required control and regulation.

    I have no doubt that the verses you quote are real, and that for most people that resonates. I just question the purpose. Does it specifically state the reason for the ideal? I think for the most part is just says that monogamy is the ideal without really giving a reason. And maybe thats 99.99% of christianity, to simply accept things without really thinking about them, understanding them. But that is why I never get it, I have to understand.

    But I would have a difficult time practicing or preaching anything other than monogamy in todays society, because its how society is structured, because of various stds, and tradition, most people know nothing else ethically fitting.

  28. AV
    November 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    jimx.

    I believe that to understand polygamy and monogamy correctly one must possess true Christlike love (charity), especially for their spouse. Then they will see how abusive and hurtful things like polygamy are, for they would realize they wouldn’t want the same thing done to them.

    But since true love for one’s spouse is very rare now or throughout history, few people realize just how abusive and adulterous polygamy ‘always’ is, in my opinion, even if the man or woman don’t realize or feel that it’s abusive. Many women throughout history have not minded being abused and disrespected in many ways, and so they don’t see it as abuse, yet it still injures their self-worth and their spirit, whether they realize it or not.

    According to Christ and many of his prophets, polygamy is ‘always’ adultery. For it’s being unfaithful to one’s 1st spouse.

    Monogamy can of course be abusive too if one or both spouses fail to love, respect and stay faithful to the other, but it isn’t by nature abusive, like polygamy is.

  29. Pierce
    November 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    AV,

    Interesting that you abhor polygamy and generalize the whole practice as abusive and dis-respective (even if it is not, by your admission), yet you encourage an eternal fidelity to abusive and dis-respective monogamous marriages.
    Of course the Brethren and prophets have spoken out against divorce–it shouldn’t happen! Nobody is going to go around preaching divorce or giving people an “out.” Both people promise to honor, serve, love, and protect one another. So many broken marriages could be mended if both prioritized these things. I would agree that many divorces are done for selfish purposes and these people should be disciplined by the church. My best friend’s dad divorced and remarried almost immediately after and he was disfellowshipped (or excommunicated, I don’t remember) because of it.
    The Bible speaks of this issue only a couple of times but what I glean from it is that putting away a spouse so that you can commit adultery in a “legal” way is still adultery. You seem to think that divorce is never justified and that is simply not true. I will grant that you can take what is said in there and take a very hard line with it and walk out with what you have. But I also believe that you don’t have to.

    The fact of the matter is that as Latter-day Saints, we believe in continuing revelation. If the First Presidency reviews divorce applications and makes decisions on whether or not there is legitimate grounds for a sealing to unsealed, who am I to say that they are wrong? Who are you? Part of my belief system involves sustaining the Brethren as prophets. I trust their judgment. You seem to miss the part of the Priesthood where things that are loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven. These Apostles have the power and authority to loose on earth.

    On a personal note, I am eternally grateful that my wife’s sealing to her ex-husband is null and void. He was abusive, dishonest, a liar, and a cheater. He broke his promises and separated himself from her during marriage. They were not equally yoked nor were they one flesh. She was also married under a false premise of him. To think that she is supposed to hang with that for eternity defies all logic and reason.

    Instead, the Lord brought us together through many happy “coincidences” and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that He has approved of our union. In fact, He has blessed us greatly. For you to call my wife an adulturer, when, in actuality, the opposite is true, is a perverted line of thinking. You seem to make villains of victims.

  30. Pierce
    November 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Outside the corridor,

    What’s with the straw man? Nobody is talking about children who are throwing tantrums. If you are equating that with spousal abuse, child abuse, and infidelity, then I’m afraid you don’t grasp what is being discussed. The “perfect marriage” idea that you are throwing out here applies to some people, but is not what I’m discussing. A spouse that suffers from abuse or constant infidelity is not getting a divorce because the marriage doesn’t seem perfect, they are getting a divorce because their face is getting smashed in, or because there is no honesty, love, or respect.
    Gosh, you even admit that they should separate themselves from that person. But not divorce them? Why not?

    “why spread the pain and suffering and tendency to allow pain and suffering”

    My wife came from an abusive marriage and then got sealed to me, and in no way is she “spreading pain and suffering.” Had she stayed in that marriage and brought children into it, THEN there would have been pain and suffering by her and her children. And you honestly believe that’s what God wanted?

  31. Pierce
    November 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I’ll also mention an Ensign article written by Elder Oaks. He opens by explaining that back in Jesus’ time, husbands could put away wives over trivial things, hence giving some context to Matthew 19:8-9. He goes on to say:
    “The kind of marriage required for exaltation—eternal in duration and godlike in quality—does not contemplate divorce. In the temples of the Lord, couples are married for all eternity. But some marriages do not progress toward that ideal. Because “of the hardness of [our] hearts,” the Lord does not currently enforce the consequences of the celestial standard. He permits divorced persons to marry again without the stain of immorality specified in the higher law. Unless a divorced member has committed serious transgressions, he or she can become eligible for a temple recommend under the same worthiness standards that apply to other members.”

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormon_ordinances/Marriage/Jesus_said_that_divorce_not_allowed_except_for_fornication

    Call him a false prophet if you wish. I don’t.

  32. jimx
    November 27, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Av,
    What you say makes perfect sense coming from your perspective. I know it must be difficult for you to see anything in any other way. I have difficulty myself. But I really am curious to understand a society that didn’t have absolute monogamy as its ideal. We do have a model of a society that holds it as an ideal, but perhaps comes short of actually perfectly following it. That doesn’t mean that an ethical or fair representation of a culture that accounts for anything other than monogamy.

    Is monogamy abusive by nature? I think to some degree it is, because it takes such a large amount of time and resources to reinforce it. Legal systems, religious systems culture all prop it up, and those that don’t absolutely follow it can pay dearly on many levels.

    What my friend pointed out was that marriage and family was originally property ownership. I think since that time the concept has shifted significantly. But ever since he mentioned that I sometimes hear things in families that indicate that they think they own each other.

  33. outside the corridor
    November 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Pierce,

    I know a number of people who had horrific marriages without children, who went on to marry again and have children and have had happy families–

    I don’t know how to explain that phenomenon–

    but I know that children of divorce suffer greatly; I know it firsthand and secondhand and thirdhand–

    ad infinitum and ad nauseum–

    if there are children, I don’t believe there should be remarriage–

    follow Elder Oaks by all means–

    pick your prophet or your God–

    I think Jesus knew what He was talking about–

    but also remember that he rebuked the men for putting away their wives; it sounds as though your wife’s first husband put her away, and that being the case . . . she is not in error–
    it could be translated that way, so relax–

    if your wife didn’t have children, both of you AND the children she didn’t have . . . are lucky.

    Having experienced monstrous “step” parents (both my spouse and I)–

    I could go into detail there, but if I did . . .

    Connor might come on and say, “all right, tmi there; we get it that it was horrific, but don’t give us that kind of detail”–

    I could write a book on it–

    I might someday–

    So, you see, if there were no children, that’s a good thing–

    Nobody ever expects anyone to stay with a dangerous person–

    but remarriage is also a risk–

    so, why did she marry such a monster?

    Women who marry monsters often marry monsters a second, third and . . . etc. time–

    Men who marry witches will often remarry a witch–

    another reason for people who have been deceived to call it quits on the marriage ‘thing’–

    I hope she made a wise choice this time–

    :(

    Perfect marriage? You have NO idea–

    My spouse and I have a surviving marriage; one of the only difficult things we didn’t experience before we married was failed marriage to others–

    in terms of many other things, there has been NO ideal–

    You’re the one who started to get ‘personal’–

    I won’t go into any more detail, but I resent the fact that when some of *us* uphold the ideal it is seen as self-righteousness or as holding ourselves up as standards–

    I wouldn’t do that to anyone–with my own children I often wonder (and I wouldn’t put this on here if I knew they could get on this site) if they are better off unmarried–

    because of some of the difficult things that have happened to us as a result of some of our life’s trials, though we, ourselves, as spouses (my husband and I) are not culpable–

    there have been many times when we have commented in sorrow to each other, “it would have been easier not to have married, yes? Even though you are such a FINE person, etc., etc.–it’s not that; it’s that it would have been easier not to have married”–

    Marriage is never, ever easy–

    even when both people are basically very good and have a powerful desire to serve the other and do everything right–

    So–

  34. outside the corridor
    November 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Jimx, I’ve told you this before, but I always find what you write so refreshing–

    makes me think–

    thank you–

    :)

  35. jimx
    November 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    OTC,
    Thank you, I appreciate your kind words.

  36. AV
    November 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Pierce,

    Everyone in the Church today it seems has a different set of standards and beliefs than the next person. Even all church leaders from the top to the bottom believe different things about certain doctrines. The Prophets and apostles even appear to contradict one another in General Conference quite frequently.

    So I am not surprised that you have found some church leaders that seem to agree with your way of thinking, but there are just as many or more who seem to agree with my way of thinking, Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith being one of them who said that divorce and remarriage is still adultery today and that we are still held to that high standard, no matter what the Church seems to be allowing he said. His opinion seems to be totally contrary to Elder Oak’s opinion, which is a clear example of my 1st point, leaders often have and teach contrary beliefs.

    But the ancient apostles and Joseph Smith and some more recent Presidents of the Church, taught the solution for us to this ‘confusion of contradicting opinions’ today. They taught that the way you tell if a Prophet, Apostle, or any church leader or person, is telling the truth or not is by comparing it with what the holy scriptures say. They taught that if anyone, including ‘the Prophet’, teaches anything contrary to what Christ said or what the scriptures say, then you will know for sure that their teachings are false and we should not listen their opinions. For prophets and apostles, as history has shown, can easily be wrong or fall and lead us astray.

    Of course we believe in continued revelation, we all should be receiving continued revelation daily. But our revelation or the revelations of the Prophets and Apostles must never and can never ‘contradict’ the scriptures or Christ’s doctrine, or those leaders proves themselves false.

    So I do not believe in Elder Oak’s opinion, for I believe in what Joseph Smith taught and Christ and his doctrines and teachings only, and all those who preach contrary or different to Christ I don’t believe or listen to.

    It appears that Christ did give one exception for divorce and remarriage, that is in the case of ‘fornication’ which I believe is different than ‘adultery’. If Christ meant that divorce and remarriage were ok for cases of adultery or abuse, then I believe there would be very few marriages, if any, still together, even in the Church.

    It seems that in all other cases other than ‘fornication’, marriage is indissovable. Pres. J Fielding Smith said that even if a judge decrees a divorce it doesn’t mean it’s valid with God, for he said earthly judges can’t dissolve a marriage.

    Christ said that a divorced spouse, no matter who divorced whom, is still married to the 1st spouse and that is why neither can remarry anyone else.

    And in cases of abuse, (which I believe most marriages in the Church are dealing with, in some form by one or both spouses), a spouse can always and should always seek safety if their spouse is dangerous. There is no sin in separating for safety, Christ just had a problem with remarriage (and dating too, for he considered them still married).

    And I believe that most marriages in the Church occur under false pretenses as you mentioned, one or both not being entirely truthful. I believe that Christ knew that most all marriages on earth or in the church would not be equally yoked, that is why he taught us to have unconditional love, so hopefully at least one spouse would have it and thus save the other unfaithful or unrighteous spouse who will need saving and thus he/she saves the marriage and family for eternity.

    Christ’s ancient apostles as well as Joseph Smith taught this ultimate concept of how righteous spouses can save unrighteous spouses and thus save their family.

    To assume that one’s unrighteous or abandoning spouse can’t or won’t repent is to deny Christ’s atonement, for he made it possible for everyone to eventually repent, in this life or the next, and all eventually for sure will repent, and then marriages can resume where they left off and be eternally perfect and happy, IF at least one spouse had unconditional true love and didn’t break their marriage covenants to their errant spouse by going off to find someone new.

    Christ came to this earth to teach spouses to have unconditional true love and save an errant spouse by the power of that love. Such love, such true charity is not easy to have, it is the hardest virtue to gain, and marriage is usually the hardest place but best place to gain that virtue. That is what marriage and family life is all about, to make Saints and saviors of us all and do what the savior did, on a much smaller scale, for he commanded us to do the works that he did.

    But it such true unconditional love is so rare that most people have never known of someone with it, especially today, nor do most members even believe in true love anymore. But it is the vital element that is needed to make marriage work and last for eternity.

    Without at least one spouse willing to have unconditional love,(even from a safe distance), and forgive and wait patiently and faithfully for the other spouse to repent , either in this life or the next as everyone must, then it is impossible to have an eternal marriage, for then both spouses refused to have true Christlike love, which is the requirement for Exaltation. and Eternal Marriage.

    We must adhere to Christ’s laws or we will be easily deceived by the false doctrines and opinions of even church leaders, who have no authority and never will, to change Christ’s doctrines, for they are eternal, the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Joseph Smith warned us to never fall for even a prophet who taught contrary to Christ or who did not live his laws and preach his exact doctrines. Joseph warned that false prophets would follow him and that most people would believe that those false prophets are true prophets and would thus be easily deceived.

    I believe that is what has happened, for divorce & remarriage is not the only law of Christ that the Church today doesn’t adhere to, it allowed and taught polygamy also and still teaches it today, and seals more than one wife to a man, after the death or divorce of the 1st wife.

    But Christ and Joseph Smith and ancient BoM prophets taught that polygamy was always in every case a whoredom and an adulterous abomination, that it was never justified or authorized. Joseph Smith left is testimony for all to read that he never preached or practiced polygamy, he fought against it his whole life, warning the Saints that if they fell for it or fell for anyone, even a prophet or apostle, who came preaching it, then they would be damned.

    Brigham Young was the one who wanted to live polygamy, despite the teachings of Christ and Joseph Smith, and so after Joseph died, BY began to preach polygamy and he tried to justify it by claiming that Joseph lived it too, but there is no proof he did, only alot of feeble hearsay and rumors, which most people easily accept and believe without checking into the facts, which are that Joseph constantly preached and published strong warnings against polygamy his whole life, even putting many such commands and teachings against polygamy in the D&C and BoM of his day (which BY later took out and replaced with 132 long after Joseph died). And then BY and those who followed him began to spread much hearsay about Joseph, completely contrary to Joseph’s own testimony and teachings while he was alive.

  37. Erick Kuhni
    November 28, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Hi Connor:

    I found your blog through your comment on Doug Gibsons Blog on the Standard Examiner. I hope you don’t mind a comment here.

    I agree with some of your points, namely that many Government programs ultimately prolong and support poverty and crime, rather than “fighting it”. Still, I am really puzzled by your take on the “war on drugs”. I am familiar with the logic generally used here, that we haven’t made a dent in the drug trade, but spent billions of dollars at being ineffective. Also, that if drugs were legalized we would stamp out the black market through economics. I think this is a reasonable hypothesis, but I’m not entirely certain it would be the best course of action. Still, and I read through the report you cited on the relevant impacts on children, but none of the discussion, nor your comments, acknowledge on children who live in the home of drug users. It simply takes as a given that separating mothers (and fathers) from their children negatively affects children, without considering the negative consequences of derelict parents. Parents who may live with their children, but do not raise them or tend to their nurturing. Anecdotally, I have a brother who is addicted to drugs, who has tried constantly to stay in touch with his children. From my perspective, his children are much better off without him, even fighting their way through the less than ideal foster system. For all of the problems with that system, and there are many, it is better than their experiences and exposure at home. They are surrounded by criminals daily at home, and have a far greater likelihood of being shot, raped, or molested by the social garbage that their parents associate and deal with, than by a SWAT raid.

    As I said, I can be persuaded by some of your arguments, but I’m just not compelled on the basis of these arguments that the war on drugs is a war on the family. Children in drug homes don’t really have access to any of the benefits of “family” in the first place.

  38. Pierce
    November 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    AV,

    I appreciate your insight and feel like you have a very solid foundation for your beliefs. It is hard to argue with what Christ said in the Bible, though I feel things like context (Jesus’ doctrine on this is a response from Pharisee’s who were talking about divorce under the law, where a divorce could be justified for petty things, which is indeed an abomination) and culture (very patriarchal society that is different than today) could be explored and considered. So that I can’t touch, and to be honest with you, you have inspired quite the hunt in me.

    I won’t touch your assertions that Joseph Smith didn’t practice polygamy. The consensus by historians in and out of the church was that he did, and to ignore historical evidence, research, scripture, accounts, and faith to the effect of reducing it to a conspiracy by Brigham Young is irresponsible to me. There are no scriptures that say polygamy will never be authorized, either.

    Even all church leaders from the top to the bottom believe different things about certain doctrines.
    This is true, but I do not think that this makes others ‘false prophets’ by default. To call the Brethren today false prophets is just so unwise and would mean I cannot sustain them thereby would forfeit temple worship. Sometimes, you have to admit that you just may not know as much of the Lord’s will as prophets, seers, and revelators. And I’m not talking about an offshoot opinion of one man, but of a continued practice of all of them for generations.


    We must adhere to Christ’s laws or we will be easily deceived by the false doctrines and opinions of even church leaders, who have no authority and never will, to change Christ’s doctrines, for they are eternal, the same yesterday, today and forever

    I believe that you are forgetting how these laws and doctrines come to us. You would know nothing of Christ were it not for ‘church leaders.’ We would also be no better off than mainstream Christianity if everyone was to stick solely to their Bible. To not accept that Christ himself might put a different plan into action for our time is Pharisaical. And if we would, it would be through the Brethren. “Whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Also, to think that God would allow his church to continue in some sort of gross abomination from Young’s time to now doesn’t make sense to me.

    Christ came to this earth to teach spouses to have unconditional true love and save an errant spouse by the power of that love.
    I don’t believe this was is why Christ came to earth. If so, I’d like a nice, clear reference. This also ignores the fact that Christ indeed taught that divorce was justified for fornication, the original Greek having the meaning of sex outside the bonds of marriage.

    To assume that one’s unrighteous or abandoning spouse can’t or won’t repent is to deny Christ’s atonement, for he made it possible for everyone to eventually repent, in this life or the next, and all eventually for sure will repent, and then marriages can resume where they left off and be eternally perfect and happy, IF at least one spouse had unconditional true love and didn’t break their marriage covenants to their errant spouse by going off to find someone new.
    This was in the Bible too? I say that because (correct me if I am mistaken) it may be an extra-scriptural teaching, which is what you are having a hard time with as a principle. This is such a strange thought for several reasons. 1. It ignores judgment for your actions, which is anti-scriptural. Christ’s atonement extends only to those that accept it 2. There are no guarantees that people will repent in this life or the next, otherwise, there would only be one kingdom 3. You are ignoring agency. You feel that a faithful spouse’s righteousness will overwrite the choices, personality, desires, character, and progression of the wayward spouse, and this is contrary to God’s plan. If a person does not want to take part in Celestial glory or be a part of an eternal family, they will not be forced to. Force was Satan’s plan. 4. There are faithful spouses that don’t want to be with their unfaithful or abusive partners anymore. Shouldn’t they get a choice in that when their partner breaks their covenants and effectively kills the relationship?

    If Christ meant that divorce and remarriage were ok for cases of adultery or abuse, then I believe there would be very few marriages, if any, still together, even in the Church.
    I believe this is incorrect, since divorces for these reasons are allowed in the church, yet there are many, many families and married folk in it. What I will agree with here is that divorce isn’t “preached” in any way. Bishops are counseled not to encourage it. In this way, there is no ‘card’ that couples can pull when things get rocky. I feel that the Church is wise in this manner, and the sanctity of marriage is still preserved.

    I still want this question answered: why would God want people to be in terrible situations or with terrible people, in this life or the next? Why wouldn’t He want a faithful, loving person to be with someone who is similarly faithful and loving and who can fulfill His plan? Why prefer a one size fits all with no exceptions to reality and happiness?

    I should digress. I think I’ve hijacked this board.

  39. AV
    December 1, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Pierce,

    No matter who Christ was talking to when he gave his teachings on divorce & remarriage, which was actually to his apostles after they went indoors away from the crowds wasn’t it?, his teachings are for all of us, in every age of time.

    And yes, ‘fornication’ is relations outside of marriage, but between 2 ‘unmarried’ people, whereas, ‘adultery’ means relations between a ‘married’ person and someone else who may be married or single. (And Christ knew the difference between those 2 words but used them accordingly)

    No matter that most historians generally believe the mass ‘unproven’ hearsay and rumors about Joseph Smith, they usually are aware that he preached against polygamy, for that is fact, but most just assume he lied his whole life about it.

    So the fact is, that someone lied to the Church for their whole life, either Joseph lied (about polygamy) or Brigham Young lied (about Joseph). It has to be one or the other, when you really look into historical ‘facts’. I do not believe true prophets can lie anymore than God can or would. Yet BY taught the Saints it’s ok to lie, if it was for a good cause.

    Can you imagine the Pres. of the Church today lying all the while about how bad porn is, while he secretly believed it was good and looked at it? And porn is nothing to how destructive and sinful polygamy is. Who would believe or have faith in him once they found out he lied his whole life? And who would accept porn as ok if the Prophet said it was? For that would be easier for us to accept than polygamy was to accept in Joseph’s day. Yet so many still went along with such a vile thing, mostly because weak women were threatened into it.

    Joseph & Emma Smith tried to get the women of Nauvoo to have self-respect and not allow themselves or their daughters to fall for polygamy and the men who come preaching it.

    If Christ or his prophets kept changing ‘the plan’ then how would anyone ever know what was true or not, for everyone can easily be deceived by their personal revelation, which usually comes from the Adversary, cause his is easier to hear, while most think it’s coming from the Holy Spirit, which is rare, for most people aren’t living a pure enough life to hear the Holy Spirit.

    But we need both the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to back each other up, in order to know & test all truth from error. Lehi knew that without the scriptures (from verified true prophets) to teach the exact truth and teachings of Christ, they would dwindle in unbelief (despite their having true living prophets), that’s why he was so intent on getting them before he left town. Because we test the words of living prophets or anyone’s words by what the scriptures say.

    Joseph Smith taught that no one can contradict the previous revelations of ‘true’ prophets, or they prove themselves false.

    The Book of Mormon is our ‘standard’ to test all truth by because it testifies of Christ and his same Gospel that he gave when he was on the earth. If someone believes in Christ, they aren’t going to believe in a man who claims to be a prophets yet preaches contrary to Christ.

    The BoM has also been pre-approved by God as mostly correct, so we are safe to use it as our standard. Whereas Church leaders today have not been thus ‘approved’, in fact Christ and Joseph Smith warn us to beware of false prophets in the Church in these last days, as there were many in Joseph’s day also, for many if not most of the Apostles in Joseph’s day fell and taught falsehoods and led many astray to do evil.

    I didn’t ignore the fact that Christ justified ‘remarriage’ because of ‘fornication’, I just believe that if a person has ‘true unconditional Christlike love, (as Christ has for his bride, the world/church, and has never given up on her) that that spouse would still maintain true love and wait for his/her spouse to repent, even if they commit fornication and are justified to find someone else.

    And yes, everyone has to repent, either in this life (and thus merit eternal blessings) or the next (yet still not gain those blessings). Everyone will pay for their sins committed on earth, if they didn’t repent on earth, but afterwards ‘every knee shall bow’ and everyone will accept Christ and repent and become righteous, pure and clean with righteous desires ‘before’ they are allowed to exit Spirit Prison and attain one of the 3 Kingdoms. And everyone will eventually exit Spirit Prison and be assigned to a Kingdom.

    So everyone will have Christlike true love at that point and they will feel deep remorse if they have hurt or abandoned their spouse or didn’t save them, and they will desire and seek to put their original marriage back together if possible.

    But if at least one spouse didn’t stay righteous and thus ‘faithful & true’ to their original spouse, to save that spouse, then they will both have to just go to a lower Kingdom and be single forever, knowing what they could have had together, if only at least one would have had true love.

    There is no hope in the scriptures for any remarriage to be eternal. From what Christ said, and thus from what we must go by, he taught that we either have true unconditional love for our original spouse or ‘we are’ and ‘will have’ ‘nothing’ in the end.

    Just because the Church ‘allows’ or does or preaches something, like marrying people after divorce, doesn’t mean it’s right and will be eternal. Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith even said it isn’t right and that it’s adultery, even though the Church does it. But such warnings aren’t spoken anymore by church leaders because they don’t want to lose membership. They would rather let everyone commit adultery instead I guess.

    Because the Church and it’s leaders can and I believe have fallen and went into a deep latter day apostasy, (foretold by ancient BoM prophets), long ago, right after Joseph died. And thus why we see all the evil being tolerated, supported, encouraged and even rewarded by the Church and it’s leaders today. Evils, from polygamy to remarriage to abandonment of spouses & family w/o any consequences, to the Church not generally taking care of the widows and the fatherless, (which is it’s 1st responsibility) etc. etc.

    By allowing divorce and remarriage the Church silently encourages people to do it, for it makes it seems ok and easy. For who is going to stay in and work at a difficult, painful or boring marriage when the Church will just let you dump your spouse and kids and marry your affair person in the temple or someone else who is easier, funner, richer, younger, more attractive, etc.

    Thus, why I say that soon there will be few marriages left who haven’t divorced, if the Church keeps allowing it and thus encouraging it. We don’t see such now yet because the Church at least used to excommunicate for divorce and didn’t allow people to dump their spouse and family, but now they do, no questions asked.

  40. outside the corridor
    December 1, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Pierce,

    I can’t speak to everything AV has said, because I haven’t studied it that deeply–

    but I have studied Joseph Smith and polygamy quite a bit, and I think that most historians (in the church) have been led astray–

    it’s true that on family search Joseph can be found sealed to other women, some of them even before his death–

    but the sealings that were performed at that time were . . . ‘new’ and not the same as sealings and marriages came to be defined by later presidents of the church–

    and there ARE NO CHILDREN! None. Fawn Brodie hated Joseph Smith, and she lamented that she couldn’t prove he had ever been in bed with a woman besides Emma!

    So, something is very wrong with the historical picture–

    even if you don’t want to question LDS (and other) historians . . .–

    why rock the flat world belief, right? LOL!

    –something is wrong–

    Joseph Smith had no children with any woman other than Emma, and Brigham Young had children with many women–

    so something doesn’t ring true–

    it’s hard work to do the research, but the fact remains that somebody changed public opinion, records, etc.–

    and DNA testing does work, and it has been done extensively–

    Because there were some tragic consequences to polygamy among my ancestors, I can see how polygamy has fed the divorce mill–

    most certainly–

    and I know many bishops who have encouraged women especially to divorce, so if bishops are told not to do that, they are NOT obeying!

  41. jimx
    December 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    OTC,
    Could you translate for me? what is the significance of sealings? If JS wasn’t married to these other women, what was its purpose? how does that differ from marriage? It must because children are sealed to parents in official ceremonies in the LDS temples, and they are not married to their parents. I am also a bit confused by ‘new’. The LDS faith is supposed to be a restoration of something forgotten or abandoned for whatever reason. Is there any historical reference for it at all? (before mormonism)

  42. AV
    December 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Jimx,

    I know I am not OTC, but to me ‘sealing’ means that between a man & woman they ‘are’ married. Whereas ‘sealing’ between parents and children means they are eternally related as a ‘family’.

    But, I do not believe that Joseph ever was ‘sealed’ to Emma during his lifetine, and if he was, I don’t believe he was ever ‘sealed’ or married to any other woman/women, at least not while he was alive or with his consent. Such stories of him being sealed & married to other women are all based on unproven hearsay.

    The ‘sealing’ concept seems to be something Brigham Young came up with, for Joseph wanted everyone in the Church to be married the normal way, in front of a crowd of friends & relatives and there was no ‘sealing’ he ever preached about or put in the scriptures. The BoM also does not mention sealings between couples or parents & their children.

    I believe that all couples, no matter what religion they are at present, will be married for eternity if at least one spouse had true Christlike love for their spouse. For it is ‘everlasting love’ and ‘unconditional commitment’ to the marriage vow that makes any marriage eternal.

  43. jimx
    December 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Av,
    Thank you for taking my question, great answer. I like the answer for its acceptance of other religions/philosophies. Very commendable.

  44. outside the corridor
    December 3, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    well, Jimx, I believe (this is just my belief) that Joseph Smith had a much more . . . eastern vision of what the ‘gospel’ has become–

    I think he saw the entire world as ‘joined’–

    and Brigham Young took it to a more physical level–

    I don’t think Joseph intended that those women be his ‘wives’ in the connubial sense–

    the temple ceremonies, etc. were not strictly codified until Brigham Young–

    it was a more fuzzy thing, then–

    lots of people, for example, wanted to be sealed to older people they admired, as children–

    to Joseph, everyone was his brother, sister–

    and I think he experimented with those ideas–

    to him it wasn’t ‘marriage'; it was an eternal connection thing; this is what I believe. He was married to one woman, Emma; she was his only wife; he declared it many times–

    the sealings were what he envisioned things being someday–

    everyone in the world connected–

    but Brigham Young turned it into a more standard thing, where sealing mean getting married–

    what it is today–

    Joseph believed marriage to be a separate thing–

    something that a couple did under God–

    not in the temple; the sealing just made the marriage permanent or more eternal–

    I hope this makes sense; AV said some of it already–

    and yes, I believe there is MUCH truth in other religions–

    LDS who don’t accept that are frighteningly narrow, IMO–

    Joseph had one wife; as to why the records today show that others were sealed to him–

    it is the modern interpretation of sealing that makes it appear that they were ‘wives'; they were, if Joseph approved it . . . more like eternal sisters–

    not women to have children with, because Joseph didn’t do that–

    many have tried to find the evidence, the proof; DNA has even been used.

    The fact is that the last few years of Joseph’s life were spent in chaos and hiding; many wanted to destroy him–

    and he didn’t finish the temple ceremony–

    Brigham did–

    it’s the best we have (some of us really do love the temples)–

    but I think Joseph’s ideas would have been more . . . inclusive and more expansive–

    less rigid perhaps–

    not sure–

    I just know that there couldn’t have been two men as different as Brigham and Joseph–

    we only have Brigham Young’s words that Joseph loved Brigham–

    for all we know Brigham was a thorn in Joseph’s side–LOL!

    *I* am one of the LDS who believes that the keys that were restored to Joseph did live on in the quorum of the 12, in spite of Brigham Young and his autocratic and . . . oh well–I don’t need to stomp on Brigham anymore–

    those keys are a rather vague idea, but I think they are real–

    the idea of heaven and earth being connected; it’s powerful–

    it’s hopeful–

    all major religions believe it–

    Joseph restored all truth, and he was very enthusiastic about not limiting truth–

    one of the few people he trusted was a Catholic priest–

    :)

  45. outside the corridor
    December 3, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    yes, it’s very telling that Emma isn’t shown as being sealed to Joseph–

    thanks, AV–

    I’m sure it will happen someday–but it will be a different thing by then; she was his wife, not his sister–

    as to the others shown on the records, some believe they may have been falsified, but many LDS believe Joseph had more than one wife, because the church (and many current LDS’ ancestors) invested so many years in plural marriage.

    I had polygamous ancestors, and I don’t defend polygamy; my ancestors who did it were miserable, and at least two violent deaths came out of two of my ancestors’ marriages (plural)–

    not a happy scene–

    I agree with AV that polygamy is an abusive institution that victimizes women, though Brigham tried to advertise that it liberated women–

    at least the first female doctor in Utah went to college in the east and left her children to be raised by other women–

    it was a hard life, and she was lonely–

    an ancestor of mine who refused to live polygamy became a gifted midwife without living in Boston alone for years–

    and delivered 1,000 babies without losing one mother or child–

    I read my ancestor’s bio and the bio of the woman (Shipp) who left her family to get the degree–

    she didn’t deliver any more babies or save any more lives, but she proved Brigham’s point; she was certainly emancipated from child rearing . . . and very lonely–

    I guess that’s my point–

    my midwife ancestor never left her family–

    and they were a good family–good children . . .

    her husband did leave her to take another wife–

    it broke both their hearts, and at one point he came back and pled with her to take him back, and she said, “but, my dear, you left me; you have another wife now”–

    he sat outside the house and wept–

    not long after that his second (very young) wife died in childbirth–

    his first wife (the midwife) left the area; she had become too old to deliver babies, and he didn’t follow her; he died not long after–

    when she died too many people came to find room in the church–

    amazing woman–

    her husband had been deluded into thinking that ‘righteous’ LDS men took second (and more) wives–but his last days were sad, indeed–

    THAT is another side of polygamy, not the rosy stories you hear about the selfless people from whom many general authorities are descended . . .

    which I think could be a lot of hooey–

  46. AV
    December 3, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    OTC,

    Thanks so much for sharing your ancestor’s story. I believe it is a good example of how destructive polygamy is, not only to the 1st wife, even if it does afford her some freedom, but to the man also, for eventually, in this life or the next, all men who live polygamy (or who divorce their 1st wife & remarry someone else) will come to regret it and repent and want to return back to their 1st wife only, if she will have him back, for often she won’t want him back in this life and he will have to wait to be reunited to her in the next life, If he waits & stays faithful to her and none else til then, or if not, he will have to be single in the Telestial Kingdom forever.

    I have not been able to find any real proof that Joseph Smith ever believed in or talked about ‘sealings’ or ‘temple ordinances or ceremony’ during his life that he actually published himself.

    Such things (along with polygamy) appear to be all made up by Brigham Young who just said that it all came from Joseph.

    Thus, I don’t believe that Joseph believed in or even heard anything about the temple ceremony and the idea of ‘sealing’ and from what I have read I firmly believe that Joseph Smith did not trust or like Brigham Young in the later years and would have excommunicated him & other apostles for adultery & polygamy, if Joseph had lived a little longer.

    From what I have read it appears Joseph meant for the temple to be used as a great meeting hall, for everyone, even non-members and children, for Sunday services, etc, not for the secret and erroneous things that go on and are taught inside temples today.

    Clearly we can still see Brigham Young’s false & abusive & controlling philosophy that men ‘rule over and are above women’ is still reflected in the teachings in the temple today. It was BY who instigated that women must submit to men, while not believing that men must also submit to women 1st.

  47. jimx
    December 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    OTC,
    How did Brigham young think that polygamy liberated women? I think I can understand his motivation for trying to persuade, but how was the idea packaged? Almost every woman I have ever spoken to about this topic are generally very offended, and changed the topic as fast as possible. Except for perhaps some very devout salt lake church LDS. Endorsing it in principle, and because ‘the church is true’. But I am not sure if they actually had any idea of how a polygamous life might actually be like.

    I know someone who on various occations has attacked marriage in general as being bad for women. But that seems pretty suspect as its a guy would would like to have more girlfriends. Women listening to him usually just kept silence, maybe not understanding his point of view.

    I seem to be the only person concerned about the possible negative genetic effects of plural marriage. Most people focus on the social aspects. But I really don’t know what the total genetic effect would be. If its a very small community with little or no new genetic input, over generations, that is evident that the results are not good. As seen in the FLDS. I am not so sure about the LDS church, as its a larger body with more genetic flow, and its also a discontinued practice. But has anyone ever noticed a particular LDS ‘look’? Its difficult to define,but people who have along family history with the LDS church tend to have it. I am convinced that plural marriage created that, and it probably created that in some other groups that practiced that. It seems more of a stretch, but monogamy also probably changes populations also.

  48. jimx
    December 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    OTC,
    I never really thought of christianity or mormonism as being particularly eastern. I do believe in the connectedness of not only people, but everything everywhere. Thats sometimes difficult to see, because western cultural thought is so dualistic in nature. In buddhist mediation, the speaker lead a group mediation and asked everyone to mediate on the talk and to try and not think dualistically. That was pretty difficult for me.

    The keys, thats an interesting word. In the religion of my ancestors there is this idea that there are these elements that must be opened or satisfied, something like that before one can achieve anything. We may not always be aware of them, but there is a thought process, and physical steps to make particular things happen in the physical world. I never thought of the word key in this way, especially not in the LDS doctrinal sense. But is this fitting in some way?

    In neopaganism there are some ‘keys’ that are sort of like prayers or chants that access elementals, spirits or forces. Maybe not so fitting in this case?

  49. outside the corridor
    December 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    I don’t know, Jimx; I just know that one of the early apostles of this church said something about the pure LDS religion being more ‘catholic’ (which means universal) than catholicism (“C”)–

    as for the genetic dangers of plural marriage, oh, YES!

    Years ago I met a young woman in a midwestern city who was married in the temple to an LDS man; they were both returned missionaries and very devout–

    really nice people; their first baby was born with a strange (but not unendurable) deformity; I think it was pretty ‘hidden’, something in the feet or something–

    and the doctor, upon asking where she was from, said, “did any of your ancestors practice plural marriage?”–

    She said, “yes”, and he said, “there are a lot of people from Utah whose children have this deformity”–

    apparently he had done some studying on it when the baby was born, because he was curious–

    the children was pretty ‘normal’ in every other way, but the parents were disturbed about it–

    obviously.

    The doctor then talked about gene pools, etc.–and how there had been more intermarriage, because of plural marriage–

    our friends were intelligent people; it troubled them–

    I do think they had more children, but I have often thought of them–

  50. jimx
    December 14, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    I just noticed something. Why is there a picture of people in stripes next to the caption “Promoting measures to maintain and strengthen the family”. It seems out of place. Doesn’t the LDS church usually place a photo of an ideal family next to similar captions/titles? The photo also looks like a mock photo.

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