Tag Archives: proc week

Family Week 2009

Nov

13

2009

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It’s time once again to celebrate the family. This week I’ll be writing my thoughts on this eternal institution. My writing will be centered around The Family: A Proclaimation to the World. This Divinely inspired document affirms the value of families, and the eternal importance of our relationships we begin here on earth.

But to start out, read the Proclamation and consider your own feelings about the family – your family – and your responsibility and joy found therein. Then email me your thoughts. I need more material for this week, and if you pose an interesting question or make a profound point, I would love to post it here.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

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.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Principle Centered Life

Nov

13

2009

Bridal

Family Week 2009

The family begins with the individual. Each member of a family has the responsibility to lift, to inspire, and to strengthen each other. In view of this responsibility, we need to live an examined life, constantly striving to attain our own perfection, knowing then we can help those we love.

I recently was reading an article written by the Head of School for my high school in an alumni newsletter. She wrote:

We have been changed by the year just concluded. In our School and within families, we have thought more deeply about how to make right the parts of a world that has gone wrong. The economy has been the bell that tolled, but it reflects what we have known. Both nationally and in our families, we have on occasion often mistaken busyness for principled productivity, accommodating quick decisions as we rushed from one event to the next. Surrounded by commotion, we have slid away from guiding principles that now must be replaced at the center.

What are those principles that we must fortify our lives with? The Proclamation tells us: principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, [and] work. These principles help us achieve happiness in family life, but they are principles only we as individuals can cultivate. By fostering within ourselves faith, we may believe the best in those around us. By practicing the principle of prayer we may be in tune with the Spirit, knowing how best to help those family members we have committed to God to attend to. By humbling ourselves before our Savior in constant repentance, we may have the compassion to forgive those whose very proximity to our lives cause often unintentional trespass. With respect for ourselves and all things holy, we may appreciate the divinity in each member of our family and the role God has given them in this life. It is only with the love of God that we can lead with an example that will be internalized and reflected in those around us. And all of these principles require the discipline of work, constant, with the help of the God who commands us, to make ourselves into people worthy of God’s gift: our families.

As in our modern society, so often in families there is a tendency to want to pull the mote from our brothers eye, when we are blinded by our own beam. But we must concern ourselves first with our beam. In our mortal efforts to become Christlike, we should seek to lead as he did by example. We can teach prayer through prayer, and faith through faith. Our example will seal our testimonies. Not only will our principle centered lives bring us closer to God, but it will bring our families closer as well. President Hinkley said: “The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, Sept 2004, 4).

On Marriage

Nov

13

2009

wedding I

At first I thought I would write about the importance of marriage and the attack of the adversary as seen through the divorce rate.

But wow, what a downer.

So I hit “Select All” and then “Delete.”

It feels good to purge sometimes.

Instead, let’s read this:

Nurturing Marriage

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Ensign | May | 2006

My beloved brethren and sisters, thank you for your love of the Lord and His gospel. Wherever you live, your righteous lives provide good examples in these days of decaying morals and disintegrating marriages.

As we Brethren travel about the world, sometimes we see worrisome scenes. On a recent flight, I sat behind a husband and wife. She obviously loved her husband. As she stroked the back of his neck I could see her wedding ring. She would nestle close to him and rest her head upon his shoulder, seeking his companionship.

In contrast, he seemed totally oblivious to her presence. He was focused solely upon an electronic game player. During the entire flight, his attention was riveted upon that device. Not once did he look at her, speak to her, or acknowledge her yearning for affection.

His inattention made me feel like shouting: “Open your eyes, man! Can’t you see? Pay attention! Your wife loves you! She needs you!”

I don’t know more about them. I haven’t seen them since. Perhaps I was alarmed unduly. And very possibly, if this man knew of my concern for them, he might feel sorry for me in not knowing how to use such an exciting toy.

But these things I do know: I know “that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” 1 I know that the earth was created and that the Lord’s Church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities. 2 And I know that one of Satan’s cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.

Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.

I realize that many mature members of the Church are not married. Through no failing of their own, they deal with the trials of life alone. Be we all reminded that in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints. 3 For those who are now or will be married, I suggest two steps you can take to have a more joyful marriage.

I. Doctrinal Foundation

The first step is to comprehend the doctrinal foundation for marriage. The Lord declared that marriage is the legal wedding of one man and one woman: “Marriage is ordained of God unto man.

“Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” 4

Worldly trends to define marriage in some other way would sadly serve to destroy the institution of marriage. Such schemes are contrary to the plan of God.

It was He who said: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” 5

Scripture further reaffirms that “the man [is not] without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” 6

Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant. 7 Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God. 8 “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other.” 9 Children born of that marital union are “an heritage of the Lord.” 10 Marriage is but the beginning bud of family life; parenthood is its flower. And that bouquet becomes even more beautiful when graced with grandchildren. Families may become as eternal as the kingdom of God itself. 11

Marriage is both a commandment and an exalting principle of the gospel. 12 Because it is ordained of God, the intimate physical expressions of married love are sacred. Yet all too commonly, these divine gifts are desecrated. If a couple allows lewd language or pornography to corrupt their intimacy, they offend their Creator while they degrade and diminish their own divine gifts. True happiness is predicated upon personal purity. 13 Scripture commands: “Be ye clean.” 14 Marriage should ever be a covenant to lift husbands and wives to exaltation in celestial glory.

Marriage was intended by the Lord to endure beyond physical death. His plan offers eternal perpetuation of the family in the kingdom of God. His plan provides temples and opportunities to officiate therein for the living and the dead. A marriage sealed there launches a husband and wife into that grand order of unity so necessary to the perfection of God’s work. 15

Doctrines related to marriage include individual agency and accountability. All of us are accountable for our choices. Couples blessed with children are accountable to God for the care they give to their children.

As I meet with priesthood leaders, I often ask about the priorities of their various responsibilities. Usually they mention their important Church duties to which they have been called. Too few remember their responsibilities at home. Yet priesthood offices, keys, callings, and quorums are meant to exalt families. 16 Priesthood authority has been restored so that families can be sealed eternally. So brethren, your foremost priesthood duty is to nurture your marriage—to care for, respect, honor, and love your wife. Be a blessing to her and your children.

II. Strengthening Marriage

With these doctrinal underpinnings in mind, let us consider the second step—specific actions that would strengthen a marriage. I will offer sample suggestions and invite each couple privately to ponder them and adapt them as needed to their own particular circumstances.

My suggestions use three action verbs: to appreciate, to communicate, and to contemplate.

To appreciate—to say “I love you” and “thank you”—is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments.

Suggestion number two—to communicate well with your spouse—is also important. Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other. They need to cooperate—helping each other as equal partners. They need to nurture their spiritual as well as physical intimacy. They should strive to elevate and motivate each other. Marital unity is sustained when goals are mutually understood. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouse’s good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage.

My third suggestion is to contemplate. This word has deep meaning. It comes from Latin roots: con, meaning “with,” and templum, meaning “a space or place to meditate.” It is the root from which the word temple comes. If couples contemplate often—with each other in the temple—sacred covenants will be better remembered and kept. Frequent participation in temple service and regular family scripture study nourish a marriage and strengthen faith within a family. Contemplation allows one to anticipate and to resonate (or be in tune) with each other and with the Lord. Contemplation will nurture both a marriage and God’s kingdom. The Master said, “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” 17

I invite each marital partner to consider these suggestions and then determine specific goals to nurture your own relationship. Begin with sincere desire. Identify those actions needed to bless your spiritual unity and purpose. Above all, do not be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from heaven.

President Harold B. Lee said “that the most important of the Lord’s work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.” 18 And President David O. McKay declared, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” 19

When you as husband and wife recognize the divine design in your union—when you feel deeply that God has brought you to each other—your vision will be expanded and your understanding enhanced. Such feelings are expressed in words of a song that has long been a favorite of mine:

Because you come to me with naught save love,
And hold my hand and lift mine eyes above,
A wider world of hope and joy I see,
Because you come to me.

Because you speak to me in accents sweet,
I find the roses waking round my feet,
And I am led through tears and joy to thee,
Because you speak to me.

Because God made thee mine, I’ll cherish thee
Through light and darkness, through all time to be,
And pray His love may make our love divine,
Because God made thee mine. 20

That each marriage may be so nurtured is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Notes

1. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102, paragraph 1.

2. Whenever scriptures warn that the “earth would be utterly wasted,” the warning is connected to the need for priesthood authority to seal families together in holy temples (see D&C 2:3; D&C 138:48; JS—H 1:39).

3. See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (1954–56), 2:76.

7. See D&C 132:19.

8. See Matt. 19:6.

9. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” paragraph 6.

12. See Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, 10th ed. (1953), 232–33.

13. See Alma 41:10.

16. See D&C 23:3.

17. Joseph Smith Translation, Matt. 6:38 (see Matt. 6:33, footnote a).

18. Stand Ye in Holy Places (1974), 255.

19. Quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization (1924), 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116.

20. “Because,” words by Edward Teschemacher (1902).

Bambinos

Nov

13

2009

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“Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

-The Family: A Proclamation to the World

If motherhood has taught me one thing, it has taught me to recognize the taste of my own foot. It’s kinda mismatched-stripe-sockey-tasting, with a few fuzzies  between the toes.

I have put my foot in my mouth so many times in the four years since I became a mother. Actually, perhaps that’s not the best phrase to use. But it’s all I can think of right now.

What I’m trying to say is that every time I say something snotty in my head (I know, me, snotty?) at some point it comes back to bite me in the butt. Or foot. Now I can’t keep my cliche’s strait.

For example, I remember thinking about some unsuspecting mother in years past: “You know, if you just wipe the back of your chairs off every day, they won’t get grimy.” (I know, snotty.)

Now, I do wipe my chairs down – and daily just isn’t a reality – but it seems like I do it constantly. And you know what, no matter how diligent I try to be, when someone comes over, there’s always dried raspberry jam or some other sticky nonsense on the back of my seats. I don’t know what’s so hard about keeping the food on the table. But it seems it winds up anywhere but.

And what about tantrums? Those heartfelt manipulations produced by two year olds to get a scoop of ice cream, when they didn’t eat their dinner. Well, on this, I am as I always thought I would be: heartless. Let them cry all they want. Those crocodile tears won’t move me.

But somehow this isn’t something I’m proud of. I feel like a mean mommy. I mean, gosh, I don’t want to be one of those moms with kids that are totally out of control, but would it hurt me to give in every once in a while? I’ve come to appreciate the soft voices of mothers who concede, striving to develop that tenderness in my own persona. Motherhood is a life of self doubt and second guessing.

I went to a friend’s Girls Night Out, where we celebrated the fabulousness of womanhood. We discussed what it meant to be a mom, and each woman at the table voiced their own self doubts and who they looked to as an example of strength in their perceived weakness. It was interesting to listen to women who felt those same fears . . . or different ones. It made me realize that parenthood is hard. Judgments are easy to pass in short, careless moments. But the reality is that we’re all struggling to find our own paths.

Wyatt was telling me about a Tony Robbins speech he read once (Tony=Awesome) about the dichotomy of our lives: most people tend to be focused on the achievements of life: the quantitative outward accolades of the world. But once a person gets past the focus of achievement, they will find an empty shell if they don’t also concern themselves with a life of fulfillment: the inner joy and satisfaction found solely from within from various aspects of life.

I thought about this as it relates to the Proclamation, or even the Gospel as a broader topic. I think Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something. I think He knows where we can find our greatest fulfillment, in our families. But it takes work. (Wow, I talk about work in the gospel a lot. Am I pessimistic?) But for me it’s kinda like the whole iron rod thing . . . if we just hold on to what He’s told us, that families are central to His plan of happiness – if we believe that, then our joy will be found in that family.

And so for me, children are work, but they are also a promise, from Heavenly Father, for me to have a life that has meaning, and peace, and joy, and hope, and all the things I want my life to be. It won’t be disappointing or hard or heart breaking (although I won’t escape those times) because when it’s all done, there will be this glowy-pink-ness over everything in my life because it was shared with my family. That’s what I cling to on days when Olivia won’t eat her dinner.