Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Discourse on Marriage

I have been reading much recently on the factual decline of traditional families in the Nordic Countries due to the view their citizens and governments have on marriage and family. According to the research it took only 15 years to descend and adopt a culture where marriage is the exception, not the rule. It has me in a sad place.

I also have had a few discussions on line and within correspondence through my private e-mail concerning my views on birth control and pregnancy control. Over the next few posts I will try to write as distinctly and factually as I can to explain my viewpoints. I know I will offend some, for that I do not apologize, but rather hope to inform.

When I was much younger I heard all of the same talks by parents, teachers and church authorities, "Stay morally clean!" There was even a time in my life when I misunderstood an admonition that implied it was better for me to die than be unchaste. I thought it meant that if I were raped, somehow I was less than pure in the eyes of God and I should have allowed my "death before dishonour." As an adult I know now those well meaning folk were trying to tell me: "Death before you dishonour yourself." No one within the church blames the victim in a sexual crime, they never have, they never will. That being said, many still wonder what's the big deal? If I really love someone, why can't I have a sexual relationship? What if I never marry? Am I supposed to go to my grave a virgin? Well, yes. As unreasonable, unfair -and frankly- almost impossible to achieve as that sounds, yes.

Why the law of chastity; and why is it second only to murder and denying the Holy Ghost? Bruce C. Hafen explains it well.

"Sometimes we give as reasons for the law of chastity the risk of pregnancy or abortion, the possibility of an unwanted or embarrassing marriage, or the chance of a terrible venereal disease. With adultery, we talk about the damage of destroying an existing marriage or family. As serious as these things are, I’m not sure they are the fundamental reason for the Lord’s having placed this commandment ahead of armed robbery and fraud in the seriousness of sins.

Think of it—unchastity is second only to murder. Perhaps there is a common element in those two things—unchastity and murder. Both have to do with life, which touches upon the highest of divine powers. Murder involves the wrongful taking of life; sexual transgression may involve the wrongful giving of life, or the wrongful tampering with the sacred fountains of life-giving power. "(italics added)Bruce C. Hafen, The Gospel and Romantic Love," New Era, Feb. 2002, 10

As unfair and unrealistic as it seems, when we have sexual relationships outside of a legal marriage, no matter our age or ability to procreate, we play God. I decide to give life without God's permission (marriage requirement); I put myself above God and His power. It's the same as if I were a murderer, I decide to take life without God's permission (natural death).

On why marriage is between one man and one woman, those of us who are LDS need not go further than the The Family Proclamation. Not familiar with this proclamation? The following statement also sums it up nicely for me:
"Since becoming a parent is such a transcending blessing, and since each child is so precious and brings so much happiness, a cardinal purpose of marriage and of life itself is to bring forth new life within this partnership with God. Obligations inherent in the creation of precious human life are a sacred trust, which if faithfully kept, will keep us from degenerating into moral bankrupts and from becoming mere addicts of lust.

The responsibilities involved in the divine life-giving process, and the functions of our body, are so sacrosanct that they are to be exercised only within the marriage relationship. Those who do not accept and meet those responsibilities, for any reason, as well as those who do, should never depart from the law of chastity if they wish to be truly happy. All members of this Church seeking eternal joy and peace are expected to and will wish to come to the marriage altar free from sexual transgressions—chaste and pure. Any who fail to do so may find that they have cheated themselves of their own self-respect, dignity, and much of the great joy they seek in marriage. Because of the special inner peace, strength, and happiness it brings, chastity, as the law of God, is and always has been really “in,” and unchastity is and always has been really “out.” " (italics added) James E. Faust, “The Sanctity of Life,” Ensign, May 1975, 27

Above I linked to a (rather lengthly) article about the Scandinavian Countries and the decline of the family and marriage. Within that article are the following paragraphs:

"As Danish sociologists Wehner, Kambskard, and Abrahamson describe it, in the wake of the changes of the nineties, "Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family--neither legally nor normatively. . . . What defines and makes the foundation of the Danish family can be said to have moved from marriage to parenthood."
So the highly touted half-page of analysis from an unpublished paper that supposedly helps validate the "conservative case" for gay marriage--i.e., that it will encourage stable marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike--does no such thing. Marriage in Scandinavia is in deep decline, with children shouldering the burden of rising rates of family dissolution. And the mainspring of the decline--an increasingly sharp separation between marriage and parenthood--can be linked to gay marriage. " (italics and bold added)

When sex is accepted outside of marriage; marriage itself is devalued. Marriage becomes a technicality for an outdated society, a tradition rather than a commandment (or necessary ordinance) and pretty soon heterosexual relationships throw marriage out, produce children without bound parents, and homosexual partnerships pick up the marriage slack, eventually adopting children into a household where both gender representations and role models are unavailable.

The article continues:

"In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for "shotgun weddings." These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we've come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?" (How many times do we hear that a piece of paper is not necessary if two people love each other?)

"Gay marriage is both an effect and a reinforcing cause of the separation of marriage and parenthood. In states like Sweden and Denmark, where out-of-wedlock birthrates were already very high, and the public favored gay marriage, gay unions were an effect of earlier changes. Once in place, gay marriage symbolically ratified the separation of marriage and parenthood. And once established, gay marriage became one of several factors contributing to further increases in cohabitation and out-of-wedlock birthrates, as well as to early divorce. But in Norway, where out-of-wedlock birthrates were lower, religion stronger, and the public opposed same-sex unions, gay marriage had an even greater role in precipitating marital decline." (italics and bold added)

I will end this first post with a repeat of the quote from James E. Faust:

"Since becoming a parent is such a transcending blessing, and since each child is so precious and brings so much happiness, a cardinal purpose of marriage and of life itself is to bring forth new life within this partnership with God. Obligations inherent in the creation of precious human life are a sacred trust, which if faithfully kept, will keep us from degenerating into moral bankrupts and from becoming mere addicts of lust."

add to sk*rt

2 comments:

chronicler said...

Excellent approach. Thank you.

s'mee said...

Thanks Chronicler.