Sunday, June 28, 2015

When Men Oppose God

Last week we celebrated Father’s Day. We paused to remember what our mortal fathers have done for us in giving us life, supporting us, and teaching us to love our Heavenly Father. We remembered that we would not be who we are today without the influence of our fathers in our lives. Studies have show that families with both fathers and mothers provide the best environment for children.

In recent decades, high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children. Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children (“The Divine Institution of Marriage”)

This past Friday (June 26th, 2015) the US Supreme Court ruled that all 50 State must allow same-sex marriages and recognize the same marriages from other states. With this decision the U.S. joins 20 other countries around the world that have legalized same-sex marriages (U.S. News & World Report).

Marriage has always been sacred and ordained by God. It is part of His plan of happiness for all his children and without it God’s work to bring us back into his presence would not be possible. Christ reminded us that marriage was to be between a man and a women when he taught during his mortal ministry (Matthew 19:4-5). What happens when men turn against God’s laws? Mosiah, an ancient American Prophet, taught his people that as long as the people who were brought to this land obeyed the commandments they would be protected, but if the time would come when they chose wickedness they would be destroyed.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.

 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29:26-27)

This land, North and South America, was to be a choice land, a land of freedom and liberty as long as the people here kept God’s commandments but if the time came that they rejected God they would be scattered and smitten by other nations (2 Nephi 1:9-11). The Book of Mormon tells of two nations that were completely destroyed after rejecting God’s commandments and when they were ripe with iniquity.

Two cities in the Old Testament (Sodom and Gomorrah) were destroyed because of homosexual behavior (see footnote b of Genesis 18:20). The Apostle Paul condemned these practices (Romans 1:26-32). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reminded us of the importance of the family and that failure to sustain laws supporting traditional marriage and families would bring the calamities foretold in the scriptures (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

You will not see me out on the streets with a sing warning of the end of the world, in fact I still believe that the majority of the people still choose to keep the commandments of God. I believe as Mosiah said that it is the “lesser part of the people” that are causing these laws to be passed. As in Book of Mormon times, it is our judges and rulers that are brining us under this condemnation. We have been warned that changing the laws to support same-sex marriage does not change the standards and laws set by God.

Many advocates of same-sex marriage argue that traditional standards of sexual morality have changed and that “tolerance” requires that these new standards be recognized and codified in law. If tolerance is defined as showing kindness for others and respect for differing viewpoints, it is an important value in all democratic societies. But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has observed, “Tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”

In addition to using the argument of tolerance to advocate redefining marriage, proponents have advanced the argument of “equality before the law.” No mortal law, however, can override or nullify the moral standards established by God. Nor can the laws of men change the natural, innate differences between the genders or deny the close biological and social link between procreation and marriage. (“The Divine Institution of Marriage”)

While we should not compromise our commitment to God’s commandments, we must remember to follow the Savior’s example to love one another. When he was confronted with the women caught in adultery, he did not condemn her, but he also did not excuse her sin (John 8:11). Dallin Oaks in the October 2014 General Conference warned members to avoid being contentious:

On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teaching s to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

When our positions to not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be person of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non belief, and differences in sexual orientation. (“Loving Others and Living with Differences”)

I am saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court but I know that it does not change the commandments of God, I know that those who support the decision and those who choose to live in opposition the what God has said are still his children. None of us are without sin and should not be casting stones at those who disagree with us. The fact also remains that when we choose wickedness and rebel against God there are consequences. We will all stand before Him when we die to be judged of our works whether they are good or evil and will receive the rewards for the lives that we live here.

Your comments and questions are welcome. To leave a comment, click on the no comments link below.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Today is Father’s Day and I would like to share some of my feelings on being a father and about my father. When I first became a father 38 years ago, I had no idea of the joy and sorrow that I would experience as I learned how to be a good father to my children. I have found joy in every new step, every new experience and every new success that my children experienced. I sorrowed with them and for them as they made mistakes, broke bones, failed a test, skinned their knees and wandered from the gospel path.

Now that I have experienced the blessing of being a father, I wish that I had been a better son and not caused so much grief for my father. I don’t think that I was willfully rebellious or disobedient but like most children I did not appreciate what my parents were going through and I did not always show them the respect that they deserved. Like all parents they were trying to learn how to do the best that they could. They had that same manual for raising children, that I had – the example of their parents. Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the special relationship between a father and his son:

“You see, we’re all on a journey. Dads are a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be.
“I know that father-son relationships are never perfect, but everything I am going to suggest to you tonight is possible if you will put in the effort to make it happen.
“Young men, you are your father’s pride and joy. In you they see a promising future and their hope for a better, improved version of themselves. Your accomplishments are a joy to them. Your worries and problems are their worries and problems.
“Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them. (“Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship”, M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, October 2009)
My father has been gone for almost eight years. He tried the best that he knew how to raise his sons. All of us have grown up to be fathers to our own children and now our sons are fathers and the cycle of life continues. What a wonderful experience it is to see your sons grow up to be wonderful, loving fathers. All of this happens in spite of the inadequacies and mistakes we made along the way.

The best place we can look for good examples of fathers is in the scriptures. In the very first verse of the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us that he was born of goodly parents and that they taught him many things including the goodness and mysteries of God. Nephi and his brothers were taught to keep the commandments and to enquire of the Lord when they needed answers to their prayers. Some of Lehi’s children followed those teachings and some did not.

Another example of a father’s love for his children is found in Mosiah 27. Alma the Younger and the Son’s of Mosiah are among those who are not keeping the commandments and they caused many members to fall away. Because of the prayers of the Prophet Alma an angle appeared to Alma the Younger and the Son’s of Mosiah and called them to repentance. Alma continually prayed for his wayward son and never gave up on him and his friends. We should never stop praying for our children, especially those who have wandered from the gospel.

The best example we have of a father and son relationship is that of our Father in Heaven and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus was baptized and came up out of the water The Father said: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Also after Christ was resurrected and appeared to the people here in America, The Father announced him by saying: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him”. (3 Nephi 11:7)

Moses was taught about the plan of salvation and how Christ was chosen to be the Savior of mankind and how Satan rebelled and tried to take the glory away from The Father.

And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

Christ’s whole purpose was to do the Father’s will and not take any glory to himself. Lucifer on the other hand rebelled against The Father and also wanted all the glory for himself. What are our motives, do we bring honor to our fathers or are we trying to bring ourselves the glory of the world. While teaching the people in Jerusalem Christ taught about how he always does The Father’s will:

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (Matthew 5)

What a great example for us to follow and to teach our sons to do the same. If we want our sons to do our will, we need to have our lives in harmony with the gospel principles. In They Family: A Proclamation to the World it says: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”

I am grateful for my earthly father as well as my Heavenly Father. I am grateful to be a father and as I strive to do my father’s will I hope my sons will do the same. I am grateful that my sons have grown up and are now great fathers even though I made many mistakes. I invite you to click on the video clip below to watch a father’s day message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I welcome your comments and questions.