(This article is an excerpt from an eBook – “What’s the Big Deal? Does it really matter how Latter-Day Saints respond to Same-Sex Marriage?” written by Dr. Rob Stewart and Dr. Tom Rarick)
Teaching the Teacher
One of my university students recently shared the following email with me (just days after the ruling regarding same-sex marriage):
I actually wasn’t able to sleep for a couple of nights because I was so worried about the effect this Supreme Court ruling would have on the nation and the world. But then I realized that The Family: A Proclamation to the World was issued not too long after I was born and that my generation are the people who were sent to this earth at this time to defend the family and marriage.
I confess that my eyes became moist when I read this email. There is so much faith, wisdom, and hope contained within this short message!
The faith of this valiant woman reminds me of a story shared in 2014 during General Conference.
Another Valiant Young Woman
Elder Neil L. Anderson related this inspiring story of a courageous young woman:
“Recently, I spoke with a Laurel from the United States. I quote from her email:
This past year some of my friends on Facebook began posting their position on marriage. Many favored same-sex marriage, and several LDS youth indicated they ‘liked’ the postings. I made no comment.
‘I decided to declare my belief in traditional marriage in a thoughtful way.
‘With my profile picture, I added the caption ‘I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.’ Almost instantly I started receiving messages. ‘You are selfish.’ ‘You are judgmental.’ One compared me to a slave owner. And I received this post from a great friend who is a strong member of the Church: ‘You need to catch up with the times. Things are changing and so should you.’
‘I did not fight back,’ she said, ‘but I did not take my statement down.’
She concludes: ‘Sometimes, as President Monson said, ‘You have to stand alone.’ Hopefully as youth, we will stand together in being true to God and to the teachings of His living prophets.”
Like the student in my class, I am also touched by this young lady’s faith in defending the family – even amongst opposition from other church members.
The faith of these two women again reminds me of yet another remarkable woman. Do you remember the Old Testament story of Esther (for those who may not remember all of the details, Sister Mary Ellen Smoot recounted the amazing story of Esther during General Conference in 1997)?
Courageous Esther risked her life to save her people. However, while Esther was in the midst of deciding how to proceed, Mordecai (a fellow Jew) famously asked her: “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ (Esth. 4:14).
Now is Our Time – How Will We Respond?
Applying the Story of Esther
Esther was clearly foreordained by the Lord to help save her people! However, as suggested by my wise student, is it possible that we, like Esther, were also born “for such a time as this”?
Were we previously asked by our Father in Heaven to be a source of light in an ever darkening world? Were we selected to defend the traditional family amidst so many confusing voices? Were we foreordained in the premortal world – not to save a nation, but to help in many ways to prepare the world for the second coming of our Messiah?
A Royal Generation
In 1979, Ezra Taft Benson (then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), spoke to students at Brigham Young University. He shared the following:
For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. … God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God (emphasis added).”
Do you truly believe that the God of this universe intentionally saved you for this final inning – this final battle? Do you believe that you have an important role to play in preparing for the promised return of our King?
Remember that this prophetic statement was given over 35 years ago. Thus, when he is referring to this chosen generation, I believe it applies to ALL of us.
Call to Action
Let me reference the Family Proclamation. The final paragraph contains a mandate to each one 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 (emphasis added).
Will you follow this admonition? Will you promote those measures designed to strengthen the family?
Edmund Burke is famously credited with the following thought, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”
It is our choice to either be courageous or to shrink from our responsibility! We must choose wisely!
For those overwhelmed with discouragement for the state of our current world and filled with trepidation for the future, let me share a few powerful thoughts.
The Lord Really is Coming
As we look forward to the Second Coming and millennial reign of the Master, I find great comfort in these words from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
We are surrounded by challenges on all sides. But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins… ‘Wherefore,’ the Savior tells us, ‘be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly’ (D&C 33:17–18).
We know our Savior is coming. We know in the end that “our team wins”! I hope this gives you as much comfort as it gives me. Further, I hope this emboldens you to be a contributing player for this winning team!
However, Satan is equally aware that he is on the losing team. He knows that time is running out and his sole objective is to confuse, ensnare, and beguile as many of us as he can before the final whistle blows and the game is over!
Let us then, not only firmly decree our allegiance to this winning team, but help as many of our brothers and sisters as we valiantly defend the traditional family!
Rob Stewart has a PhD in Family and Human Development from Utah State University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University. He is the Director of Online Learning Operations at BYU-Idaho. Rob and his wife, Carissa, have been married for 17 years and have been blessed with 5 wonderful children – ages 5 to 13. He co-authors Family: Good Things to Come, a website dedicated to defending the family.
Be sure to visit We Talk of Christ and A Thing Called Love for more articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Family Proclamation! Don’t forget one easy way to share your testimony of the Proclamation and join the celebration is to share your photos on social media using the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation and explain why.
Bring the Spirit into your home with this set of sacred music. Perfect for your family’s Sabbath day worship!
40 Hymns for Forty Days by Paul Cardall invokes an environment of prayer, meditation, and spiritual awareness. Walk Beside Me is a classical take on LDS children’s favorites by the Classical String Quartet. The Master is a rare collection of hymns performed by the talented youth of the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic.