Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Essay on Marriage

Since November 4th, when Californians again (without my help this time) affirmed their majority belief that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, I've had some interesting discussions with people on both sides of the issue, and have witnessed questionable behavior as well. I'd like to dispatch with all of those actions, thoughts, observations and votes and state my case for marriage between a man and a woman. I warn you, that my opinions and beliefs on this issue are formed as a result of my faith, conviction and experience, and I neither seek to "understand" or "be tolerant" of others here. My purpose is to lay bare the reasons why I assert that marriage is to be confined to that between a man and a woman. Before I continue, let me state for the record that I do not deny that there are numerous pairs of loving men and loving women who would like nothing more than to pledge their love to someone of the same sex--and who may very well be better at executing their homosexual relationship than many heterosexual couples. As you'll see by reading my commentary, I am not grading the "love potential" for lack of a better phrase of couples--homosexual or heterosexual--but want my friends and family to know why I believe and act the way I do. I also acknowledge both my inability to clearly articulate all that I wish to say and my own imperfection before a God who I will reference in these comments. We are all sinners in this life, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. That is a commentary for another day.

First and foremost, I know that I am a spiritual son of my Father in Heaven. I know that I was spiritually begotten of him before coming to this earth. My earthly parents, married since 1957 in this life, gave me life almost forty years ago--and in so doing, were made participants in God's plan of happiness for each of us--His children--here on earth. I know that God extends to all who will accept these same opportunities to partake of the blessings of creation and raising children in this life. As we are all sons or daughters of our Father in Heaven, He has entrusted us to help one another--our brothers and sisters--to come to know Him in this life and to work together to return to live with Him again, given that we've successfully exercised our agency in this life. He does not restrict us in this life. He has blessed us with the gift of agency--basically the ability to choose our path--in this life. It is why we are here. Life is therefore like a big test. He has provided us with study guides, mentors, proctors for the test and the answer key. He will not, however, force us to use any of these tools as we take this examination. He will merely show us where the helps are and allow us to choose for ourselves.

That kind of lays out the foundation. Another fundamental belief I hold--which has been confirmed to me as truth by a loving Father in Heaven--is that just as we lived in the presence of Him prior to coming to this earth, we have the potential to return to His presence if we are faithful in making and keeping the covenants He has laid out for us. Of course we first must apprise ourselves as to what these covenants are, but once we know--we must do. In addition to this, I know that the rewards for this life are not a "thumbs up--thumbs down" heaven or hell scenario. We are promised a variety or degree of glory commensurate to our disposition and actions here--basically we merit what we're comfortable with. (Think of the common idiomatic expression "as comfortable as a whore in church." We won't be comfortable in the presence of God if we've lived so as to exclude him from our lives or at least not make him the center. He does not want us to be uncomfortable--nor does he reward us or give us something we haven't warranted or desired, hence the situation as I see it.)

Because our Father in Heaven desires that we inherit everything He has, he has designed this life to provide us with opportunities to grow, learn and through trial and error, come to know what He knows and act as He does. He has also provided us the great eraser for our mistakes--our elder brother Jesus Christ. Basically, it's a foolproof plan--except for one thing: our own disposition to err. If we can overcome that basic nature, we can overcome the weaknesses and sins of this world and be blessed with a full measure of God's inheritance--just as a loving earthly father would leave his "millions" to his posterity.

Earlier, I mentioned "covenants" which I define as a two-way contract between God and one of his children--son or daughter. In order to gain this inheritance, God has prescribed that we faithfully attain to knowledge of His plan in this life and make covenants with him. One of the key covenants we must make is that of marriage--what he refers to as "the new and everlasting covenant of marriage." In other words, a marriage that is not just a "til death do us part" promise, but an eternal covenant that has effect after this mortal life has ended for us. In His definition, Father states that this eternal covenant is to be made between a man and a woman. The mortal purpose of raising righteous posterity to him and raising them (as I already noted) is key to our joy in this life. Our desire to make this covenant is critical to our eternal happiness.

So if we are comfortable with the marriage covenant being between a man and a woman, God will bless us with the blessings associated with that desire. He has noted that the reward for faithfulness in this regard is exaltation--in other words, eternity with all that He has, and the potential for eternal increase--an eternal family. If our desire is something else, He promises us blessings commensurate to those desires. My feelings are that any blessing or reward for something other than the eternal marriage God has prescribed will end when mortality for that individual ends. They may be "happy" with their mortal choice, but will never know "joy"--the lasting effects of making choices that are pleasing to God, not just ourselves.

So there it is--poorly written, but from my heart. I am blessed with a beautiful wife here in this life, but even more so, I am blessed with an absolute knowledge that this angel who walks by my side as my mortal equal in theory (and mortal better in practice) and I will be together in the eternities because we have chosen this as a course of action--and we know that God approves. He has spoken it to our souls, we have felt it in our hearts. A loving Father would do nothing less than to confirm that what we're doing is right. A loving earthly father would do the same. "Good job, son. I know you're having a tough time, but you're on the right track."

My Father in Heaven has told me the same. THAT is why I know that marriage between a man and woman is an integral part of God's plan for our eternal joy. I do not apologize for this view. I advocate it. I know there are many who disagree with it. I know there are many who ridicule it. I know that there are many who do not understand it, may call it outdated or any number of other things. Nevertheless, I know it to be true, and for that knowledge, I thank my Father in Heaven daily. I trust that if you do not have this same conviction that you take it to him in prayer--even if it's the first time you've had a conversation with your "Dad." Ask Him. It could be the start of something eternally beautiful.

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