Sunday, July 12

The Family: A Proclamation to the World: It Applies to Me

I was 8 or 9 when The Family: A Proclamation to the World was given to the world. I remember reading, memorizing, and searching it. Signing my name on a poster declaring that I would support and sustain and protect the family as it is declared there. Having heated discussions in Sunday School about the "ideal" family. Figuring out how the proclamation applied to those with single mothers or fathers, to those with broken families, to those with parents who hadn't been sealed. And as we spoke and discussed for the months that followed, we each gained a personal testimony of the truth of the words of the prophets. I gained a testimony.

I'm glad that I did. In the years between then and now, the world has changed.

In recent days, the family has yet again come under fire. It's been 20 years since the publication of the proclamation. In that time, same-sex sexual relations have gone from illegal and unconscionable to the other extreme: both popular and endorsed by government funds and laws. The divorce rate has risen, and the number of children born out of wedlock has grown. In some countries, churches have relinquished their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages as government regulations would require them to officiate at immoral unions. During the time of Moses, people were stoned to death for sexual sin - showing the gravity and importance of marriage in the right way. Today, Christian businesses and churches are sued, fined, and forced to close when they refuse to sponsor same-sex weddings, beginning first with reception halls, moving on to bakeries, florists, photographers, and artists... and continuing with restaurants and then anywhere the public is allowed. In Denmark, where church and state are intertwined, state-sponsored churches are forced by government mandate to allow same-sex weddings in their places of worship, even if priests or pastors object.

Today I want to share my personal testimony that The Family: A Proclamation to the World still applies to every single person in the world. It applies to me. It applies to the autistic me - who may never really understand social norms, and who may never find an eternal companion able to handle the different way I think. It applies to the bipolar me - who still thinks that I'm simultaneously superman and less than dust, and runs into rough issues in differences of thought. And it applies to the same-sex attracted me - who has never fallen in love with a girl and doesn't know how I ever will.

While the ideal may seem literally impossible in some cases, and even if it truly *is* impossible, The Family: A Proclamation to the World still applies. But it's more than simple application - in cases where the ideal isn't possible, the proclamation applies even more fully. By following the teachings of Jesus Christ, keeping the commandments, and honoring God, we will be valuable members of families. 

The gospel applies to all men and women everywhere. No matter what the circumstance, no matter what the trial, no matter what has happened, following the principles of the gospel will always lead to greater happiness, fulfillment, joy, peace, and growth than any other alternative. While I may not fit in easily to the ideal shown in the Family Proclamation, that's ok. Many families don't. But if I am willing to follow God's counsel and keep His commandments no matter how large the sacrifice, He will ultimately help me achieve the ideal - whether in this life or the next.