In Defense of Traditional Marriage

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Mormon marriage

The battle for the defense of traditional marriage is ongoing as the opposition continues its efforts to make same-sex marriage a part of the acceptable norm in society. For some, the idea of traditional marriage, that is marriage between a man and a woman, being the only acceptable type of marriage is archaic. And so, as many continue to build a wall of defense around the sanctity of traditional marriage, there are many others who oppose it and are doing their best to tear that wall down.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as Mormons) believe:

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. [1]

It is upon those precepts and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures that Mormons base their faith and beliefs. Concerning marriage, scriptures teach in the Holy Bible as well as in modern day revelation as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price, that God Himself said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24; see also Moses 3:24, Abraham 5:18.)

Scriptures also compare marriage to Christ and the Church. In the New Testament, in Ephesians 5:22-33 are recorded these words:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

A careful examination of the aforementioned scripture references will reveal a common thread regarding the sanctity of marriage, and that is that God ordained that marriage is to be between a man and a woman - a husband and a wife, thus substantiating the beliefs of Latter-day Saints, as well as those who sustain and support traditional marriage.

Recently, the Church of England made the headlines as they took a stand to defend traditional marriage in opposition to Prime Minister David Cameron's attempt to install same-sex marriage in Britain. This is significant because the Church of England still remains the established church in England and wields political and constitutional powers. It is the senior church in the global, over 80 million member Anglican Communion.

The Church of England, unlike U.S. Episcopalians, appreciates the threat to religious liberty under a regime of imposed same sex marriage. How would the established church disallow what the civil law requires? The church may have to disestablish, especially if it desires any continued leadership over global Anglicans. British media quoted church officials dismissing government plans as "'half-baked,' ‘very shallow,' ‘superficial' and ‘completely irrational.'" Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu only slightly more diplomatically lamented that government proposals "have not been thought through and are not legally sound." The church's official response rejected the government's push with vigorous, point-by-point rebuttals. [2]

Bishop of Leicester Tim Steve has responded to the matter by openly stating:

Marriage is not the property of the Church any more than it is the property of the Government. It is about a mutually faithful physical relationship between a man and a woman. If you do what the Government says they are going to do, you can no longer define marriage in that way. It becomes hollowed out, and about a relationship between two people, to be defined on a case-by-case basis. [2]

He went on to state that imposed same-sex marriage would precipitate the "gradual unraveling of the Church of England which is a very high cost for the stability of society." [2]

In its official response, the Church of England criticized the government's idea of legalizing same-sex marriages by stating that by so doing it would "alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history." [2] The response further declares that marriage benefits society by "promoting mutuality and fidelity, but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation." [2] The church further noted its past support for benefits for same-sex couples, and warned that redefining marriage for "ideological reasons" would be "divisive and deliver no obvious legal gains given the rights already conferred by civil partnerships." [2]

This response is in direct line with what The Church of Jesus Christ believes and teaches, and the ideas and concepts that are outlined in document titled "The Family: A Proclamation to the World":

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. [1]

Perhaps this statement made by the Church of England best summarizes this discussion: It is important to be clear that insistence on the traditional understanding of marriage is not a case of knee-jerk resistance to change but is based on a conviction that the consequences of change will not be beneficial for society as a whole. [2]

The Destruction of Marriage

Recently, a comment on an article about same-sex marriage stated that marriage was never about procreation. This statement was naive, uninformed, and irresponsible. Marriage has always been about procreation, and arranged marriages in societies throughout history were absolutely focused on procreation with the hope that the marriage partners would at least become friends. The only way we could have come to this point in society today, where same-sex marriage seems like a logical next step to so many, was to have eviscerated marriage to the point that it could be manipulated even more. Here are the steps that have led us to this point.

  • No-fault, easy divorce — It used to be the case that in America, the only grounds for divorce were serious breaches in the marriage contract, such as adultery or cruelty. With the sweeping legalization of no-fault divorce, anyone could divorce a spouse for no good reason, never having to give a reason in court. "Irreconcilable differences" became the catch-all legal phrase, and it could mean the loss of excitement, or estrangement caused by partners who are just too busy to work on their relationship. It helped to bring into being a new concept of marriage, wherein partners are looking for a soul-mate who can offer emotional support and romance. At full-bloom, it has brought about "starter marriages" and the idea that no marriage can last for long. At the first sign of trouble or dissatisfaction, either partner can bail out of the agreement.
  • Contraception — Be aware that The Church of Jesus Christ is not against non-abortive contraception, but leaves those decisions up to husband and wife to prayerfully decided, warning against postponing or limiting procreation for materialistic reasons. It was not very long ago that there was no reliable method of contraception, and parenthood was an expected, anticipated, very important result of marriage. Marriages were enacted in order to start families. This is the natural order of things and always has been since the beginning of time. We tamper with this definition of marriage at great risk to ourselves and to society. When the potential for parenthood is taken away, then marriage can become something else besides the foundation of a family — a simple, legal union of two people who love each other, easy to dissolve when things get tough. It becomes easy to say that two men or two women, or even many of each, who love each other might be allowed to be married.
  • Co-habitation — Once marriage became temporary, the marriage covenant began to look like "just a piece of paper." Watching marriages crumble around them, many decided just to co-habit. Certainly, dissolving the relationship was made much easier, especially where property entanglements were concerned. Co-habitation provided couples with an easier exit, should things get a little rough in their relationships. With the huge divorce rate, people also thought some practice to test compatibility might be advisable. Trouble is, statistics show that couples who co-habit and then marry have a much higher divorce rate than couples who marry without co-habiting. The results don't pan out. Other statistics are abysmal, including serial relationships resulting in insecure and damaged children, more poverty, etc. Public acceptance of co-habitation has increased, and even churches turn a blind eye, allowing co-habiting couples to marry in church without any kind of repentance. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not baptized co-habiting couples. They must move apart or marry and go through a process of repentance before they qualify for baptism. The highest standards of righteousness are required for temple marriage, and the repentance process can be lengthy, although couples may be married by an LDS bishop until death do they part.

Marriage in Mormonism is the union of two people who love each other, but who are servants to an eternal covenant. Their children not only become part of that covenant, they are also servants to it, participating within the family to make it ever more Christlike. Fun is an important part of this equation, since all these things are meant to bring joy. There is no greater happiness available to people in mortality than what Mormons experience in their own families bound by this covenant. It is meant to be permanent — eternal. Young Mormon couples discern by the promptings of the Holy Ghost whom they should marry. Courtships and engagements are often short. Yet, the divorce rate for Mormon couples married in the temple hovers around 6.5%. This is too high, but with typical first marriages in the U.S. seeing 50% failure, and that rate increasing in second and third marriages, this low divorce rate is remarkable among people who are not co-habiting to test for compatibility, and not engaging in pre-marital sex, either. It might surprise Americans outside the Church that so many married Mormon couples are not only staying in their marriages, they are thoroughly enjoying themselves. The Lord's concept of marriage works, and so do His eternal laws governing sexual chastity and purity. God's eternal moral law is better for marriage, better for families, and better for society, to say nothing about our eternal future after we leave this mortal realm.


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