June 30, 2015

Real Love, True Gender, and Eternal Marriage.


We live in a day and age when people are confused.  We have wolves who look like sheep and sheep who look like wolves.  We have redefined words so that they have lost their meaning.  And, we are misdiagnosing illness; prescribing antibiotics for broken legs and refusing to pull out splinters from within obviously festering wounds.  

Today I see clearly three misperceptions.
First-- What is love?
Second-- What is gender? 
Third--What is marriage?

I submit to you that our souls are divinely designed to love many people, that gender is an essential part of our premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose, and that marriage is a God ordained license to create life.

We can change the names for these concepts, but we cannot redefine these principles for they are eternal.

What is love?

Two years ago this month, I woke up in Trauma ICU.  I was close to death after giving birth to a high-risk miracle baby, and I felt my husband helping me hold on to life.  Nurses would tell me later that when he was in the room all of my physical indicators would improve.  My body responded to his presence even when I was not aware.  Enduring physical trials strengthened our love, but it was there before.

My husband is someone I love with all of my heart.  He is the man I chose to father the children I would bring into this world. He is not the only person that I love, he is one of many.  My husband is the only person I choose to be sexually intimate with.  Our choice to be one financially, spiritually, and sexually causes us to carve out a relationship that is deeper and more lasting.  

Our commitment and the eternal covenants we have made to raising a family together sets our relationship apart from any other.  I choose to spend more TIME and EFFORT nurturing my relationship with my husband and children than I do with any other relationship.  That time and effort sets our relationship apart.  My love for my family is deeper, but not different from other love.  Love is love.  That feeling is not a result of an instinctual sexual urge.  Love is a bi-product of time and effort.

I have many men and women that I love, REALLY love.  Honestly, my female best friends are often easier for me to talk to about my life.  There are people in the world who are physically HOTTER than my husband.  I love so many funny, good, kind men.  I love my brothers and sisters in-law, and I love their children like my own.  We can and should LOVE many people.  We just shouldn't have sex with all of them.

I believe in the Biblical standard, a law of chastity.  This law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. 

I DO NOT think that this means that God is asking unmarried people to live a life without love.

Those who are unmarried, disabled, plagued with same-sex attraction to the point that they feel they could never marry a member of the opposite sex, those who are young, those who are widowed or divorced...  There are MANY people who are unmarried.  It is RIDICULOUS to assume that abstinence means they do not have access to LOVE.  

Nobody on Earth should live a life without love.  We should LOVE single people more.  We should touch them and hug them and include them.  Nobody can live without LOVE and CONNECTION.  But, you CAN live without SEX.

Please, please do not teach your children or our society that they need sex to feel loved.  Equating sex to love limits our ability to love, it does not expand it.

You can love many people in life.  You love those you serve, you love those that God blesses you to really SEE.  Love is more than a feeling, it is a connection.  

I know with my whole soul that love always wins.  God is love.  Charity, the pure love of Christ, never faileth.  Every human being will connect to this truth because the idea that #LOVEWINS is probably the most eternal of any truth we could proclaim.  

WE MUST LOVE MORE!!

Love is NOT pornographic sex.  In fact, sexual immorality coats your heart, your spirit, and even changes your physical ability to love.  Sexual immorality makes it harder for you to love others and makes it almost impossible for you to feel the love that others have for you.

We see so many in our lands today who are hungry and thirsty, floating on lonely rafts in the middle of a sea of people.  They are thirsty for love, family, and acceptance.  Sexual immorality in all it's varieties is like drinking salt water when you are dehydrated.  Salt water actually sucks the water from your cells and you are left even more thirsty.  Sexual immorality, like salt water, CANNOT quench unless it endures a process of reverse osmosis to make it PURE.  Only pure water, or virtuous love, quenches our internal thirst.

Repentance is the reverse osmosis that takes away sexual immorality and sin.  Repentance is a gift to all that seek it.  Repentance is powerful and transforming.  Repentance helps you to remove the barrier you have built to God's love so that you can feel your eternal worth and His unconditional, transforming, eternal LOVE for you.  His love heals.  Only His holy, pure water will quench our eternal thirst for love.

Specifically teaching a woman who was living an immoral, promiscuous life, Jesus Christ taught this same lesson--

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.  
(New Testament, John, John 4)

What is Gender?

Oh, gender.  Can anything more simple become any more confusing?  Men have sperm, women have eggs.  Together, they create babies.  

I believe our gender goes deeper than our physical appearance, and I believe that gender is eternal.  I think we should spend our lives asking ourselves who we are and how our gender affects our eternal destiny.  We all know a true man and a true woman when we meet them.

Many influences affect how we act, how we think, what we feel, and what we look like.  Genetics play a part, our family upbringing plays a part, physical and mental disabilities play a part, our friends influence us, the things we watch, read, or listen to affect us, and let us not ignore the influence of spirits unseen.

I absolutely believe in angels, and I also believe in evil influences.  If a man says he has a female spirit inside his body, my tendency is to believe him.  I think immorality opens us up to becoming "possessed" by evil spirits who can be either male or female.  We can cast these spirits out or we can give them power over our physical bodies.  Evil spirits do not have bodies and they want ours.  Read the Bible, this should not be a surprise to any of us.

In a small way, we are all fighting to be "who we really are" versus the influences for good and evil that surround us.  Our gender does not change, but our thoughts can change.  We have power to change our appetites, desires, and cravings. 

What does it mean to be a woman?  

In today's day and age men and women are quite androgynous.  I would venture to suggest that the ability to grow a child within our womb is the single most defining physical characteristic of a female body.  And, no amount of plastic surgery can ever give males this holiest of all capabilities.

This brings me to my last question-- what is marriage?

I know that marriage just recently got re-defined.  I am not politically or legally savvy enough to argue with the linguistics or legislative ramifications of the recent SCOTUS decision.  Many have done this much better than I.  

I want to talk about a concept of marriage that is different from a legal definition of two (or more) committed adults who choose to connect financially, physically, or legally.
  
I want to talk about making babies.  

There is a truth irrevocably decreed in Heaven, that no man or judge can change, and it is this...

ONE EGG from a female body, and ONE SPERM from a male body are needed to create a human baby.  

There are many variations of what can happen as eggs and sperm connect-- but no human life can be created without the raw material given from a biological male and female. 

You're welcome if I just gave you your first sex education lesson.

MEN AND WOMEN-- we are accountable for our SEED!!

God has shared with men and women the divine, sacred, and HOLY possibility to MAKE A HUMAN BEING.  This is a GREAT responsibility that we simply do not talk about enough.

I would define "marriage" as the great respect, authority, and even divine approval that every man and woman should seek prior to creating LIFE.   "Marriage" by my definition, is the license that we seek prior to driving our sexual urges in such a manner that we can create a life.

In this world, we cannot drive a car without taking a course, having some time with a learners permit, signing official papers, taking a test, getting a laminated license that we are safe to do it.  

And yet, we hand out colored condoms to 7th graders and let them play with the greatest power that man and women will ever have.  We let pornography teach our children what sex should look like.  

We can do so much better than this.  

Creating life is SERIOUS and POWERFUL and it has eternal consequences and stewardships.

It is SO EASY for us to fight about peripheral and polarizing topics related to creating humans. 

But, we rarely discuss the need for INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY or, the responsibility of society to help those who have created life irresponsibly to provide for and nurture that life.

It is EASY to fight about abortion.
"Abortion is evil"  versus "Abortion is a women's right".

Do you know what slapped me in the face?

Reading a statistic in, I think it was Malcom Gladwell's book The Tipping Point, that said about 18 years after abortion was legal, there was a significant drop in crime in this country?
Why?

Because the mothers who were choosing to abort their babies might just be mothers who were not able to give those children the kind of nurturing, healthy, happy lives they deserve.  The babies aborted were babies whose mother's knew they would be unable to properly care for.
Wow.

It is EASY to fight about abortion.  It is HARD to talk about how we can help pregnant young mothers.  It is HARD to talk about how we can help children born unwanted or inconveniently timed.  It is HARD to talk about how we can heal broken families.  

It is even EASY to fight over the legal definition of marriage.  
Blaming the decline of our nation on the legalization of same-sex marriage is EASY.

But, as I read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, I see some very clear and interesting language.  Men that I sustain as prophets and apostles on the Earth today have testified that, 

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. ...

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.

I find it interesting that this last paragraph does NOT blame national legislature for the disintegration of the family.  Instead, it is INDIVIDUALS who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities that will one day stand accountable before God. 

National legislature is a RESULT of a crumbling nations.  I would dare to suggest that only HETEROSEXUAL sex CAN create the babies that are not being cared for.  

Individual irresponsibility has caused our families to disintegrate and only individual responsibility can heal families.

Oh, I believe in MARRIAGE or whatever you call it.  I believe that WE MUST BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR SPERM AND OUR EGGS.  We must be careful as we make babies and we must help care for the babies that irresponsible, immature, or unhealthy parents have already made.  

Yes, I care about abandoned dogs.  
But, come on people!!  We need to work together to save our children.  

Maybe, gay people are the problem here.  Maybe homosexuality really is the worst evil on the earth at this time.  I simply don't think so.  I think homosexuality is one of life's trials.  I think immorality is sin.  But, I think parental irresponsibility is a greater sin.  

We need MARRIAGE to keep us deliberate and wise as we create life.  We must be wise with our greatest power- procreation.

I would not have voted to legalize same-sex marriage, but I do think there needs to be legislation that protects unions.  I think we need to HELP non-traditional families more.  We need to embrace them not ostracize them.  If we do not, if we create leper colonies within our churches and our homes, then we will be a part of the problem and not a part of the cure.  We will find our children in these colonies.  We must love more.  Christ did.  He was there, he touched those society had deemed dead, unclean, and incurable.  And, because He was with them, He could heal them.  They were seeking to be healed.  They were hungry to be healed.

I have said before, that in this day and age we have so many pieced together quilt-y families.  Often the families that are doing the most to heal broken families are the families that are pushed to the outside of our traditional family images.  I have always found great irony in many who condemn abortion while at the same time turning a judgemental eye on the young, single mother.  We can do better than this.

I hope that legalizing same-sex marriage helps to legitimize families who are working really hard to succeed and to heal the results of moral decline and family disintegration.  These families deserve our support and our friendship, not our condemnation or our judgement.  

I believe with all of my soul the truths taught in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  

I believe that family is central to the creator's plan for His children.  I believe that Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.

I believe in love.
I believe in gender.
I believe in marriage.

I know that love always wins.
And, I see that lies wrapped in love are being accepted faster than truth wrapped in anger.
We must show the world that TRUTH IS LOVE.

I see that we are loosing womanhood as we make gender neutral and negotiable.

I know with all of my soul that what this country NEEDS is a big splash of individual responsibility.

Let's march together for love.  
Love is not sex.
Let's seek to understand how our gender defines us and take responsibility for the sacred seed our bodies produce.
Let's require a deliberate, holy, marriage license for procreation.  
Humans have the power given to create life and destroy life.
We can create families or destroy families.
We can seek love or swallow loves imitation, loves antithesis that keeps us from love.  
Sexual immorality is poison in a vitamin bottle.

Today, I pledge to LOVE more.  I especially want to uncircle my wagons, to include within my family those who are single or untraditional.  We all NEED love and personally, I can love more.

I pledge to BE a woman.  To help DEFINE womanhood.  I know that gender is NOT fake boobs, hair extensions, and lingerie.  Womanhood is holy and divine motherhood.  I want my mother soul to mother many.  We need the influence of both mothers and fathers in our world today.

I want to be a marriage advocate.  I want to preach to those not yet married the importance of this holy contract.  When we choose to create life with another human being, we are assuming an eternal responsibility and we will be accountable for the lives we create.  BEWARE.  Be AWARE.  Playing with procreation playing with life, is more dangerous than playing with fire.

To those of you who are currently doing all you can to love and nurture children whom you did not physically parent, I applaud you!!  You are entitled to Heavenly help.  We all are.  You are also entitled to our help.  Let my family help yours.

Traditional families should be the strong roots, the firm trunks, to which these broken branches may be grafted on to.

Love, gender, and marriage, these ideas are being attacked because they are the most essential and eternal principles of this life and eternity.

Do not be deceived.  Rhetoric can confuse our minds, but in our hearts we know truth.

There is evil on this Earth, but oh there is much good.
Love wins.
Charity never faileth.
Love more friends, love more!!




This post is part of a blog hop with these fabulous bloggers! We're talking about our marriages, giving tips, and sharing what we've learned but most importantly defending traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Marriage between a man and a woman blog hop

Someday We Will Understand @ablisscomplete.com
Creating an Eternal Marriage @ pullingcurls.com
My Marriage @celestialmagazine.com
Together Forever A Man and A Woman @myrandomsampler.com
The Doctrine of Family is Sacred, @beinglds.blogspot.com
Defending Traditional Marriage by cranialhiccups.com
10 Ways to Tell if Your Husband Still Loves You @Chxscratch.com
Why LDS Marriages Can't Be Redefined by the World @mormonwomenstand.com
The Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage @wellbehavedmormonwomen.blogspot.com

14 comments:

Tam said...

Beautiful!

Amy G said...

Thank you!

Summer said...

Very good. Too bad we can't put all that in a one-liner meme- that's all most people can handle nowadays. If you abridge this, it will be more shareable and effective... but I do like this outline and the logic behind each point. Exactly what everyone needs to hear. :)

Richelle Pierson said...

Thank you so much. That was so beautiful. It touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. That's been something that I've been trying & wanting to tell people for the longest time, but have been incapable of putting it into words and you've done it so eloquently.

Richelle Pierson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Thorne said...

I'm genuinely wondering what your thoughts are on intersex people. They are born without clear gender identity. Are they given the choice when they're old enough to decide? I am totally serious - I wonder what that's all about.

jenifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenifer said...

Intersex people? I know there are many people born with disabilities or physical deformities. But, I don't know of any cases where deformities are so great you can't determine uterus or scrotum, egg or sperm, XX or XY. I think this is something that people talk about way more than actually exists. The gender of our spirit matches our bodies, and all deformities are temporary. Resurrection will heal.

I read a book about an early case where a circumsion was botched and parents chose to make one boy twin a girl. They worked with doctors, therapists, surgery, and hormones to convince him he was female- but he knew he was not. He ended up changing back to male later in life before he committed suicide. This life is full of hard things that will all be healed and sorted out in the resurrection. Gender is an essential part of our premortal, mortal, and eternal identity.

I actually taught a class with children who had XXY chromosomes. Females are XX, Males are XY, and although two X chromosomes gave him some female charectorustics (like breasts), he was definitely male. His body was disabled, but he was male.

If I'm completely honest, I really think most gender confusion is mental not physical.

Allison Tenney said...

This was very beautiful and I love your thoughtfulness.

I have many friends who experience gender dysphoria, and I would please ask you to read some of their stories. Many of them believed that they were being immoral and that's why they were having these feelings, and it led to them be ashamed of themselves. To hide what they were feeling and try to be more righteous to make it go away. But that's not how it works. To say gender dysphoria is evidence of possession caused by immorality is hurtful and baseless. No amount of praying or therapy takes away the inherent feeling of wrongness they have. But what does help is people who are willing to understand and have kindness and faith. Based on the kindness and thoughtfulness you put into this, I think you do.

We do believe that gender is eternal and important. But we have no general revelation that 100% of people have bodies whose sex match their gender. These people rely heavily on personal revelation. They are not broken or possessed or more immoral people than you or I. Most of my friends in this situation have chosen not to transition, but some have to varying degrees. It's very personal.

Thank you so much for standing up for our beliefs.

http://northstarlds.org/journeys-of-faith/

jenifer said...

Allison, thank you for your comment.
I too have friends who struggle and I have a sense of their pain. I understand more than you know.

In a talk Same-Gender Attraction by Elder Oaks, he says that

1. God created us “male and female” (D&C 20:18; Moses 2:27; Gen. 1:27). What we call gender was an essential characteristic of our existence prior to our birth.

Our physical gender was our spiritual gender. This is my belief- but frankly, it doesn't matter. I don't have to agree with someone's prognosis before I can love and mourn their pain.

I don't know that we can ever say 100% why we have a certain trial. Obviously there are so many factors to all our life experiences.

But, I do know that devils are real and I believe that they speak to our minds and try to confuse us. What else would they be doing? Devils seek the immoral, but also the strongest amoung us. The great thing about being able to recognize and identify the influence of Satan in our lives is that we have the power to cast him out!

Joseph Smith learned this lesson when he was a fourteen year old boy trying to pray.
You know this story-
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith—History, Joseph Smith—History 1)

That was not something to be ashamed of! That was something he needed to understand and recognize.

We all do!! We all need to recognize the voice of the Spirit and the voice of temptation in our heads. We need to remember that Satan has power, physical power. But that God is stronger.

We should never be ashamed because we have trials in life. Trails are varied but universal.

I don't feel I am one that is standing up for your beliefs as you explained them to me. But, I am one that will stand beside you, holding your hand, as your friend. Your friends would be my friends and I'm certain we have much we could learn from each other.

That us why this crazy life we live is beautiful.
I like your heart Allison. I'm not sure I agree with you completely, but I like your heart.

monica morgan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alissa said...

Great article!!! It's so nice to see someone who gets it post online! Also, great comment by Jenifer. That is exactly true. Gender is actually easy: male, female and while yes there are babies born intersex (with some sort of male and female genitalia), it is SO rare. Even then, the deformities generally are not dramatic, and they still have either female or male DNA. Studies show that those parents who raise these babies to correspond with their DNA and have the surgery to help fix deformities go on to live happy and normal lives. Those who are raised as girls but have male DNA and vice a versa are always at higher risks for depression, anxiety and suicide. Those who feel/think they are born in the wrong body need love and help through their mental health challenges because indeed, gender is eternal!

Jenifer, you should do a blog post about gender because many people (including members) are getting sucked into the false philosophy that gender is just a social construct and is fluid. We need to stop this misinformation and go with DNA ... eternal and biological DNA.

exmish said...

I think the book you're referring to is Freakonomics - http://freakonomics.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/

Kajsa Pace said...

Thank you for your faithful testimony! It definitely helped strengthen mine. We need to read more of this online!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...