Will We Be Stars on This Championship Team or Will We “Ride the Bench”?
Like many of you, I was saddened on June 27, 2015 when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
In the emotion of the moment, many of us tried to appropriately defend the divine doctrine contained within the Family Proclamation.
However, it is wise for each of us to ask ourselves if we are still striving to defend the family as we strive to stand as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places (see Mosiah 18:9).
This article will focus on powerful reasons why you and I need to continue to be diligent in defending the family.
Teaching the Teacher
In the days following the SCOTUS ruling, one of my university students shared the following email with me:
“I actually wasn’t able to sleep for a couple of nights because I was so worried about the effect this Supreme Court ruling would have on the nation and the world. But then I realized that The Family: A Proclamation to the World was issued not too long after I was born and that my generation are the people who were sent to this earth at this time to defend the family and marriage.”
I confess that my eyes became moist when I read this email. There is so much faith, wisdom, and hope contained within this short message!
The faith of this valiant woman reminds me of a story shared in 2014 during General Conference.
Another Valiant Young Woman
Elder Neil L. Anderson related this inspiring story of a courageous young woman:
“Recently, I spoke with a Laurel from the United States. I quote from her email:
This past year some of my friends on Facebook began posting their position on marriage. Many favored same-sex marriage, and several LDS youth indicated they ‘liked’ the postings. I made no comment.
‘I decided to declare my belief in traditional marriage in a thoughtful way.
‘With my profile picture, I added the caption ‘I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.’ Almost instantly I started receiving messages. ‘You are selfish.’ ‘You are judgmental.’ One compared me to a slave owner. And I received this post from a great friend who is a strong member of the Church: ‘You need to catch up with the times. Things are changing and so should you.’
‘I did not fight back,’ she said, ‘but I did not take my statement down.’
She concludes: ‘Sometimes, as President Monson said, ‘You have to stand alone.’ Hopefully as youth, we will stand together in being true to God and to the teachings of His living prophets.”
Like the student in my class, I am also touched by this young lady’s faith in defending the family – even amongst opposition from other church members.
The faith of these two women again reminds me of yet another remarkable woman. Do you remember the Old Testament story of Esther? (For those who don’t remember all the details, Sister Mary Ellen Smoot beautifully recounted Esther’s story in General Conference.)
Courageous Esther risked her life to save her people. However, while Esther was in the midst of deciding how to proceed, Mordecai (a fellow Jew) famously asked her: “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ (Esth. 4:14).
Now is Our Time – How Will We Respond?
Esther was clearly foreordained by the Lord to help save her people! Is it possible that we, like Esther, were also born “for such a time as this”?
Could it be that our Father in Heaven asked us to be a source of light in an ever darkening world? Were we selected to defend the traditional family amidst so many confused voices? And were we foreordained in the premortal world – not to save a nation, but to help in many ways to prepare the world for the second coming of our Messiah?
A Royal Generation
In 1979, Ezra Taft Benson (then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), spoke to students at Brigham Young University. He shared the following:
For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. … God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God (emphasis added).”
Do you truly believe that the God of this universe intentionally saved you for this final inning – this final battle? Do you believe that you have an important role to play in preparing for the promised return of our King?
Remember that this prophetic statement was given over 35 years ago. Thus, when he is referring to this chosen generation, I believe it applies to ALL of us.
Call to Action
The final paragraph of the Family Proclamation contains a mandate to each one of us:
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 (emphasis added).
Will you follow this admonition? Will you promote those measures designed to strengthen the family?
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”
It is our choice to either be courageous or to shrink from our responsibility! We must choose wisely!
For those overwhelmed with discouragement for the state of our current world and filled with trepidation for the future, let me share a few powerful thoughts.
The Lord Really is Coming
As we look forward to the Second Coming and millennial reign of the Master, I find great comfort in these words from Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
We are surrounded by challenges on all sides. But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score. But we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins! ‘Wherefore,’ the Savior tells us, ‘be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly’ (D&C 33:17–18).
We know our Savior is coming. We know in the end that “our team wins”! I hope this gives you as much comfort as it gives me. Further, I hope this emboldens you to be a contributing player for this winning team!
However, Satan is equally aware that he is on the losing team. He knows that time is running out. His sole objective is to confuse, ensnare, and beguile as many of us as he can before the final whistle blows and the game is over!
Let us then, not only firmly decree our allegiance to this winning team. Let us help our brothers and sisters as we valiantly defend the traditional family!