Every now and then, a perfect confluence of things learned in study and separate social events come together with great force. I had one such experience over the last 24 hours.
First, the California Supreme Court came down and upheld Proposition 8. As I briefly looked over the comments for the news article, I noticed an increasing vehemence and anger building not just on that side, but on all sides. I also noticed how the world in general was turning from long-held beliefs, what some might call traditions.
Second, on my drive home, I listened to the final chapter in the book of Helaman in the Book of Mormon. In this chapter, we read of the faithful who heard the words of the Prophet Samuel and fled to Nephi to be baptized. We also read of the increasing hardness of the people despite the power and wonder of the signs readily apparent in those days. And then we read these remarkable gems:
- 18–It is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come.
- 20–But behond, we know that this [belief in Christ] is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing … therefore they can keep us in ignorance.
- 21–And they will, by the cunning and the mysterious arts of the evil one, work some great mystery which we cannot understand, which will keep us down to be servants to their words, and also servants unto them.
And third, I encountered another gem in our family scripture study. We are currently reading in the end of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Jerusalem has just been destroyed by the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar, and Jeremiah is counseling with the remnant of Israel left in Jerusalem. These people came to the prophet seeking counsel on what to do with their lives, and Jeremiah turns to them and tells them not to go into Egypt and that if they do, they will be destroyed. In a pitiful response, the people respond as follows (verse 16):
- As for the word that thou [Jeremiah] hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee.
The Proclamation to the World: The Family clearly states the Lord’s opinion on marriage between man and woman as revealed to His chosen prophets in these latter days. As I pondered the attitudes and responses of the world at large to Proposition 8 and the Church’s involvement with those issues, I was distinctly startled by the closeness of the attitudes of the Nephites in the Book of Helaman and the Israelites in the book of Jeremiah. Both groups had access to prophets and prophetic words and signs and wonders. Both groups also rejected those words out of hand despite the evidence to the contrary because they chose to place their faith in their own abilities and strength and wisdom.
Today we see the world in general moving from a reliance on God towards a broader spectrum of open mores and disestablished social order. As President Monson so aptly pointed out in a past conference, the cry of intolerance is often used as the opening salvo in truly disarming the commandments of God, and we are witnessing exactly that here. Satan is determined to ruin the family. Prophets have told us this for generations. The cry of intolerance is being used here as a means of driving a wedge in an ordinance and social structure revealed by God. Intolerant or not, modifying the things of God has always been one of the fundamental and initiating principles of apostasy.
As a Mormon, a Christian, and a Father, I proudly declare my support for the family and Proposition 8 not because it is what my prophet has asked me to do but because I have of myself a testimony of the family and the foundational element the family plays in the plan of our God. I will not be as the Nephites or Israelites who, hearing the word of the Lord, determined their own wisdom to be greater, their own priorities higher, and their own faith stronger than relying on the Lord and the righteous traditions of their fathers. God has spoken and He has spoken plainly on this matter.