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]


Additional Resources: