Monday, June 08, 2015

marriage and family matter

I chose this week's conference report for lots of reasons. The first was that it was Elder L. Tom Perry's final public address before he passed away a couple of weeks ago. Another was because sometimes marriage is hard, and it's nice to remind myself why it is important. And finally, Why Marriage and Family Matter--Everywhere in the World contains one of my most favorite quotes. I'll be sure to share it below.

Elder Perry was a giant of a man. I will miss hearing his enthusiastic talks during General Conference. He was always one of my favorite apostles to listen to. He starts this talk by relating his experience at the Vatican last year. He was there along with leaders from churches all around the world for a colloquium on marriage and family.

Pope Francis opened the conference by saying, "We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. . . It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis."

He continues by saying that it is important that those in the rising generation "do not give themselves over to the poisonous [mentality] of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern."

Elder Perry said that three days of presentation and discussion followed this opening statement on the subject of marriage and family. The widest variety of religious leaders possible were involved, and all agreed on the importance of this traditional institution. Elder Perry said that there was commonality between them and powerful unity. He said, "During the colloquium, I observed that when various faiths and denominations and religions are united on marriage and family, they are also united on the values and loyalty and commitment which are naturally associated with family units. It was remarkable for me to see how marriage and family-centered priorities cut across and superseded any political, economic, or religious differences. When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries, and dreams for children, we are all the same."

But what makes members of the LDS church different? It is our belief in the eternal nature of families. He said, "The entire theology of our restored gospel centers on families and on the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in a premortal life where we all lived as literal spirit children of God our Heavenly Father. We believe that we were, and still are, members of His family.

We believe that marriage and family ties can continue beyond the grave--that marriages performed by those who have the proper authority in His temples will continue to be valid in the world to come. Our marriage ceremonies eliminate the words 'till death do us part' and instead say, 'for time and for all eternity.'

We also believe that strong traditional families are not only the basic units of a stable society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of values--but that they are also the basic units of eternity and of the kingdom and government of God."

Because I have grown up in the LDS faith, I assumed that everyone believed these things. If you belong to a different faith, how does this line up with your beliefs?

And does this idea from New York Times columnist David Brooks ring as true to you as it does to me?: "People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They're better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice--commitments to family, God, craft, and country."

Marriage and family matter. They are still the ideal to the vast majority of people in this world. We are not alone in this belief. Really, it can all be summed up in my favorite quote. Elder Perry said, "Let me close by bearing witness (and my nine decades on this earth fully qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness."

So I'm going to love my husband and our children a little more. I'm going to be more forgiving of their faults and appreciative of their efforts. This family unit that Mike and I have created is the most important thing we have, and it deserves all of my best energy.

Read, listen to, or watch the full talk here. (I recommend listening to this one. Elder Perry's voice can't be beat.)


  1. I love this talk! My favorite part is that the vast majority of people still value marriage and family. Elder Perry will be missed. Thanks for sharing.

  2. ",,,the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness."

  3. This is a genuine question - not snark. How does your belief in the importance of marriage tie into your belief about same sex marriage and same sex couples raising children? If marriage is so incredibly important why should it be denied to a large part of the population?

    1. That is a good question, Margo. As a mormon, I believe that God has a plan for His children. It involves coming to earth, gaining a mortal body, being tried and tested, and ultimately being found worthy to return to Him. As our creator, I believe He knows what is best for us, and that following the plan He has laid out will bring us the most joy in this life. Part of His plan, as I believe it, is marriage between one man and one woman. I realize that this leaves some people out, and I am genuinely sad about that, and honestly, sometimes I don't understand why it has to be that way. But I have faith in the plan, and in our Heavenly Father's love for His children. And because of His mercy and grace, I know that in the end, all will be made right.

  4. I wasn't aware that Mormons participated in that conference. As a Catholic, I am always so pleased when we focus on commonalties instead of division.

  5. This is such a lovely post. It reminds me of a quote from another Blessed Pope, Saint John Paul II who said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

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