The Richest Man

We took our family on a trip with my parents recently to visit my sister and her family and attend the baptism of their oldest child. It was a very enjoyable visit and I was really glad to get to spend some time with them and my parents.

While we were there, my dad got up and bore his testimony (that Sunday was a fast and testimony meeting). He talked about how the fruits of the gospel have become much more apparent to him as he has gotten older, and one of the ways in which that is so was in his family. He talked about keeping a photo of his family on his desk at work and often thinking to himself, “I am the richest man I know,” because of the treasure of family that was his–children and grandchildren.

I am so grateful for the parents that I have. They have worked and struggled and prayed and taught and showed a good example to me and my siblings all of my life. I love them, and I love the relationship that I have with them. They taught us to love and live the gospel. They taught us to work hard and be self-sufficient as much as possible. They taught us to serve others and accept service when we need to. They taught us to study hard and get good educations. They taught us to be together as family and to enjoy each other’s company.

My dad’s comments made me think about the picture I have in my office dad

 

This was a Father’s Day gift from my wife last year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. To me it is a reminder of the great treasure that my family is. Anytime I’m having a hard time at work (for whatever reason), I can look up and see my kids, cheering me on.

And that’s what they do. They love me. Despite my shortcomings and regular idiocy, they still love me. They love to be with me, to do things with me, to watch me, to have me explain things to them, play games with them, talk to them, anything. Everything.

Looking at this always give me a sense of joy and encouragement. I have three kids who love me with their whole hearts and are rooting for me. Happy for me. Loving me.

Being a dad is truly a treasure.

Primary Class Notes for Father’s Day

From Ada:
My daddy’s name is Jeremy
He is 22 years old and 7 tall and weighs 100 pounds.
His favorite food is cereal (in his) milk.
My daddy is really good at morking (working) and fixing.
He loves to go hiking.
My favorite things to do with my dad is play games, puzzles, puppets, jobs.
I’m just like my dad because I’m cute!
What I love most about my daddy is when you tickle us!
It makes Dad happy when I cheer him up.

From Sam:
My daddy’s name is Jeremy
He is 9 years old and big tall and weighs 100 pounds.
His favorite food is milk.
My daddy is really good at playing games (Star Wars and Tickle Monster)
He loves to do things that are right.
My favorite things to do with my dad is play the rope Star Wars game.
I’m just like my dad because I am just as tall.
What I love most about my daddy is that he’s nice and plays with me.
It makes Dad happy when I play tickle monster with him.

Opposing Same-sex Marriage

So I support traditional marriage. Why do I oppose same-sex marriage? What’s the big deal? And if I’m supposed to love my neighbor, including homosexuals, then how is it OK to tell them how to live?

In 1997, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement concerning the family and its importance to God’s plan. This statement concludes with this warning:

“WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. 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.”

So, on one hand, the leaders of my Church feel that this is an important enough issue (preserving the family) that we should be actively engaged in it. And I do believe in the leaders of my Church.1

On top of that, so far it seems apparent that same-sex marriage is contributing to the erosion of the family. I believe that same-sex marriage decreases the focus of marriage from the family to simply “two people in love.” And yes, I’ve heard the arguments about old or infertile people marrying, and in my opinion, those kinds of unions can (and do) exist without changing the definition of marriage. Marriage by definition is still focused on family (including children) as the ideal. Once we decide that it’s really just any two people that want to extend a commitment to each other, well, that’s changing the definition.

This brings up another interesting trick that’s being played on those who support the traditional family, and that is simply the idea that it’s up to us to prove that same-sex marriage is bad for society. If traditional marriage is the status quo, then why isn’t the burden of proof on those who desire same-sex marriage to prove that what they want will not harm society?

So far what I’m seeing is a continuing erosion of morality, family, and religion. And same-sex marriage is pushing those bounds even further. What’s more, it doesn’t seem to be stopping with same-sex marriage. Our country has been here before. Initially the idea was that civil unions would be the answer and that would be fine. Now it isn’t anymore, and we have to have same-sex marriage. And even as that is being pushed, calls are being made to further erode the idea of marriage, and/or to simply do away with it altogether (at least from a legal stand point).

I’m sorry, but to me, this is not progress. This is not how our nation, communities, and homes can be healed (and what is the definition of home without a family, anyway?). We need families. We need morality, and we need religion. I believe these things are fundamental in a society that believes in responsibility, work, and serving others. Those are the ideals that can build  (and repair) our society. And I firmly believe that family is the best place to learn those things. I also believe that religion is an important support for the family in this regard.

This is why I oppose same-sex marriage.

This does mean that I (and those who support traditional marriage) are indeed “telling people how to live.” We are forcing our ideals upon others. What a horrible, evil thing to do!

But…

Isn’t that exactly what law is supposed to do? Isn’t that exactly why we have governments? Not to dictate every moment of our lives, but to establish order. To debate and decide upon rules, regulations and ideals that will help us to live together as a society (Where the line should exist between “dictating every moment” and “establishing order” is a different topic). In forming such laws and regulations, we should discuss our ideas and beliefs. And yes, our morals will definitely affect that. And they should.

So if the chance to vote on same-sex marriage comes up, then I will vote against it. If I have an opportunity to discuss it with others, I will take it. That is true for lots of things both moral and otherwise. That does not mean that I hate homosexuals. It does mean that marriage and family are very important to me and that I feel the need to do what I can to protect and strengthen them.


Footnotes
  1. Of course this makes me one of the mindless “sheeple” who just does whatever my Church leaders tell me to. In my Church, we are expected to follow the prophets, but more importantly to gain our own independent witness of the things we are told to do. Essentially, we are to seek confirmation from God that what they are telling us is correct. See Elder Oaks talk, Two Lines of Communication. Another answer to this is simply, “Yes, I am trying to follow a Shepherd.” []