Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Cause of Christians

I can't believe it has been so long since I've blogged here.  Well, actually I can.  About two weeks after my last post, my husband broke his femur.  Yeah, I said femur.  He was flying a kite.  A really, really big one.  He jumped with it, went up into the air, realized he'd gone to high, did a maneuver so the kite would come down, and smashed into the ground.  End of story.  In his words, "It would have been easier if I had died."  True, yet we'd sure miss him.

Honestly, though, I don't know that had he not broken his leg if I would have blogged much anyway.  I think I've just lost steam, and kids really wear me out.

As we all know, the same-sex marriage issue is a hot topic right now, especially in Utah.  Whenever my LDS Facebook friends post pro-gay marriage stuff, it just rubs me wrong and I think, "Do they not understand the Plan of Salvation?" As it makes me uncomfortable when they post pro-gay marriage stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if it rubs them wrong when traditional marriage advocates post their stuff. Since I don't like to be terribly opinionated on open Facebook posts, I've kept my mouth shut on the matter.

Recently, though, a graphic came around promoting a pro [traditional] marriage rally at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday, January 28 at 7 p.m.  Although I completely agree with the cause, I felt really uncomfortable showing up there, maybe being seen on the news, and having people from all over the country looking at me and calling me a bigot.  I've read comments that are so hateful to those of us who still support marriage between a man and a woman and don't believe that "right" should be extended to others.  One commenter even stated recently that religion should be banned if it promotes a society that doesn't give the same "rights" to everyone.

In a private Facebook group, we began discussing the rally, and some were questioning why people are afraid to speak up about the rally and traditional marriage in general.  Answers ranged from fear to ignoring the prophet's counsel on families, to accepting defeat.  In addition to the fear of being perceived as an overzealous bigot, I was/am definitely ready to just give up and accept the defeat. However, Diane shared five points that gave me hope and courage:

1. The idea [for the rally] is taken from France. Last year while the French government was legalizing same sex marriage, over a million French citizen's marched through the streets because while the French generally support homosexuality they understand that children need to be raised by their mother and their father. The March was moving and caught international attention. It was a beautiful thing to see so many people in a sexually liberal nation out there showing that they care about the traditional family.

2. Utah is the leader of the other 30+ states that have adopted man/woman marriage as part of their state constitution. Utah became a target the day after the Supreme Court heard arguments [regarding] DOMA last March. An out of state lawyer came from Washington D.C. to UT and with the ACLU got gay couples to start the law suit that killed our Referendum 3 on Dec 20th. This lawyer said (because of the Mormon influence) that if he could get UT, he could get any state.

3. So far the majority of Utahns have been silent on the matter. The media has been reporting that Utahns are ready to accept gay marriage. In fact, Utahns have been so silent that Representative Anderegg from Lehi reported that he received more than 200 calls from the pro-gay marriage side telling him not to vote to fund lawyers to fight Referendum 3 and no calls asking him to fund it. Rep. Anderegg thought this was not a good representation of his constituents so he made his own calls. Of all that he called, 12 said not to fund it, 16 were undecided, and more than 200 wanted the legislature to fund lawyers to defend Referendum 3. Not all Representatives are as good as Anderegg or care about what their constituents really think. The silence on the matter may just close the case for Referendum 3.

4. A rally at the capitol during the session is the most visible way for Utahns to end the silence and show support for traditional marriage. It will be a peaceful rally with some very good speakers. Bobby Lopez was raised by a lesbian couple and he has decided to speak out for children. There will be a Utah woman who was raised by a lesbian mother who will speak in support of childrens' needs for a mother and father. We will not be shouting and cheering. We will be there to show the other 29+ states that UT cares about families.

5. In my personal opinion, I do not think it is an accident that UT's marriage amendment went first. I feel like it is God giving a large gathering of saints the opportunity to lead the rest of the nation. We have been called to support traditional marriage and children being raised by a mother and father. The final paragraph written by prophets, seers and revelators that knew what we would be facing 19 years into the future called all of us: "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."

Additionally, Angela said:

When it comes to defending the family, silence is precisely what Satan wants. By making people afraid to even "go there" on social media by sharing this flyer with the majority of our LDS friends (and friends of other faiths), it is a victory for the adversary. I don't see anyone sharing this because they are indeed afraid. Afraid of looking like they're stirring the pot or getting all political. It is so so much more than this though, and if we just sit back and let it pass quietly, we will regret it. I saw this happen where I live in NZ. The people were all against SSM and SSAdoption, but they were too casual and it passed. NOW they are getting fired up and it is too late. Too late because they didn't do anything. Our school systems are already changing to facilitate this, as are the adoption agencies. It is so ironic that the very people in Utah who should be the most vocal in defense of families are afraid to admit it on social media and share it. Just speaking from what I've seen.

Tonight I sat down with our son to read scriptures.  I opened up to my spot in the Book of Mormon: Alma 48.  I read the first two columns, but started getting so emotional I couldn't read anymore and just began reading to myself and writing all over the pages.  Can I just tell you that since I started blogging and getting involved in "issues" online, three times this has happened!  I open up to wherever I am in the scriptures and what I read EXACTLY applies to whatever controversy is at hand, whether it be same-sex marriage or even Mormon feminism.

Let me summarize what happens in Alma 48. Amalickiah has just deceitfully become the king of the Lamanites after having the king killed then marrying the king's wife.  In verse 3, he seeks for even more power as he wants to also rule the Nephites.  In fact, he did get some of the Nephites to follow him.  As leader of this combined group of people, he "hardened their hearts" and "blinded their minds and stirred them up to anger . . . to go to battle against the Nephites." In verse 7, we read that Amalickiah also gained "power by fraud and deceit." 

Is this not what has happened today?  That old liar, Satan, through his servants, has tricked a great number of people into believing that the traditional family unit is not the fundamental unit of society and that a father and a mother are not necessary to provide the best environment for a child to grow up in and that a person is ruled by his or her sexual desires and that anyone who doesn't agree with this is terrible and awful and a bigot.

In verse 4, Amalickiah "was determined . . . to overpower the Nephites and bring them into bondage." Is that not what is happening with the issues with same sex marriage?  The proponents of it are ready to bring the religious into bondage --- to not be able to worship how we wish.

Opposed to Amalickiah, in verse 7, we have a righteous Nephite named Moroni.  Rather than tricking and deceiving his people to do wickedly, he has prepared "the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord."  Do we not also have prophets today who have prepared and taught us to be faithful to God and his plan for families?  

Moroni built up forts, banks of earth, and walls of stone to protect his people.  Have we sufficiently prepared our defenses by hearkening to our leaders on our doctrine?  (See Stephanie's related post here.)  Are we faithful to what we have been taught concerning families?

In verse 10 we learn that Moroni wants to protect his people so that "they might live unto the Lord . . . and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians."  They, too were fighting for religious freedom. They, too, wanted the opportunity to live unto the Lord as do many of us.  I never noticed it before, but do you think the Lamanites said the words, "the cause of Christians," with the same disdain that some of the secular world does today as if it is some contagious disease?

In verse 14 we learn that "the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies," "never to give an offense . . . and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives."  Did you hear that?  They were to defend, never to offend, but if attacked, they could protect to the death.  I see so many people doing this right online.  They share their belief, and when questioned, state the truth.  They do not go out picking a fight on the issue of same-sex marriage (although I'm sure it happens in some circles).  

Additionally, in verse 16 we learn Moroni's people did not glory "in the shedding of blood, but in doing good . . . and keeping the commandments . . . and resisting iniquity." Verse 21 states that the people were "compelled reluctantly to contend with their brethren."  They were also "sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites."  Isn't this how we feel?  We don't want to fight!  We don't want conflict!  We want things to be good and to follow God under His laws.  We want this contention to just go away so we can carry on in "the Cause of Christ."

Do you know the reason Moroni wanted to defend "the cause of Christians?" He knew, in verse 15 and throughout the ENTIRE Book of Mormon, that if the people were faithful, "God would prosper them in the land*."  As we inhabit the same land, we know it is true today.  We all want prosperity, not destruction.

So I don't know if you'll attend the rally, do if you feel so inclined, but please don't be afraid to stand up for "the cause of Christ," whichever one it may be. Write letters, make kind comments and clarifications, love as Christ loved, let others know where you stand, bear witness of the truth, and know, as Nick said in his last post at Real Intent, that the work will not stop because "the caravan moves on."

*An interesting thing though, just for pondering, is that although we know the Nephites would be prospered in the land if they were righteous, there's a clause still in verse 15 indicating that being "prospered" might include being warned to flee or prepare for war.  So perhaps prospering in the land may not always mean inhabiting a land and being successful, but merely being protected in whatever way is sufficient for our conditions.