A War on Families

A war on families attacks from all directions, among all peoples, and in all countries of the world.

This may seem to be a strong statement, but if you consider the attacks from all sides, you will see this is not overly strong. Families are divided from their support structures, losing basic definition, and children are being lost to the murder of abortion.

From the beginning, families consisted of father, mother, and children. Eve and Adam were the first parents who obeyed the command to multiply and replenish the earth. Life was not easy for these first parents, they continued as parents to the end of their long lives.

A mother and a father is required, can’t exist without them. Even though this is truth, and cannot be denied or changed, people are trying to change the composition and structure of families.

Families always have been a father, mother, and children. There are times when this changed, when dad is lost to a battle, or mom is lost in childbirth or other illness. In the centuries before the middle of the 20th, families most often included grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Industrialization encouraged families in search of employment to separate from the strength and support of extended family. Children became dependent on a parent or neighbors in times of challenge or trouble. No longer were families able to depend on the love and help of nearby extended families when children needed extra attention.

The division of the nuclear family from extended support of grandparents and others leaves many without help in times of economic difficulty. If the challenge is as simple as needing a ride to work or someone to watch the children while parents work, young parents who left the extended family behind find little help, unless kind neighbors step in to help.

Divorce is not a new state in our world, the Savior mentions it in the New Testament, but this sad state of affairs is more common than strong, stable marriages. Couples who are faithful to their spouse and maintain a loyalty to family more than a few years seem to be rare. Even in religious congregations with tenets stressing strong families and stable marriages, divorce is rampant.

Divorce divides families in ugly ways. Children are torn, living for a time with mom, and then must leave to live with dad. At best, parents live close, and are thoughtful of their children, raising them with similar attitudes, in one school, visiting the other parent frequently. In a worst case scenario, parents live long distances away, fighting battles through the children, tearing all kindness and love for the other parent from the hearts of the children. Many variations on these themes litter the relationships of previous families, but in every one a child is deprived of the full love and attention of a parent, often deprived of social and economic stability.

In the past half century, families degenerated to the point that couples “try things out”, bounce from one partner to another, sleeping around, having a one night stand, or forming “relationships” rather than marriage. Children become the “results of a relationship” rather than beloved children brought into a family, wanted by both parents. Often, mothers with multiple children, borne from multiple fathers, find none take responsibility to stay to teach and love their offspring. The once unheard prospect of single mothers and fathers is apparent, sharing children—or not.

Today, men and women living “divergent” lifestyles, claiming to love another of the same sex as husband and wife, are attempting to force a change in the very nature and definition of family, demanding place in the structure. Living together as “couples” is one thing, but the insistence of the appellation of family enforces the contention of families under attack. How can same sex couples possible increase, multiply and replenish the earth, as commanded in Genesis? It is impossible! Children require a father and a mother, not two fathers, not two mothers. Yes, they use means of artificial impregnation, and they can adopt. But to produce children, a mother and a father are required. Other means are biologically impossible in any other situation. Plain and simple.

The vilest attack on families comes in the guise of “liberation” and “choice”. Women are honored by the press when they commit murder of an unborn child. Liberation and choice ended when the woman made the choice of unprotected sex. Abortion is a kind euphemism for an ugly act. Once a child is conceived, the time choice is passed a human exists, and destruction of the child at any stage is murder. Women sometimes lose the opportunity of choice for other children after abortion. Not something to cheer about, unless the hidden agenda is no family, no children.

The attack on families comes from all directions. Families lose cohesion and support brought from living near extended loved ones. Divorce and shacking up force children into single parent homes, with all the attendant challenges. Men and women of the same sex are determined to marry and maintain “families”, though physically impossible for the couple to conceive children. Murder of the unborn called abortion spreads across all peoples in an attempt to “get rid of an unwanted problem”. No people, no nation is exempt. This is worldwide.

Certainly, these are not the only projectiles hurled in an attempt to destroy the family. These are the worst, and the most visible. We cannot solve all these problems. We cannot force others to change. We can stand firm for the family, avoiding the sorrows of broken homes and single parents with all the efforts of our being. We can refuse to abort children, give them to adoption if unable to personally care for them. We can stand with our spouse, determined to continue together, regardless of the struggles. We can stay in touch with children who moved to distant places, and parents, brothers, and sisters from whom we departed. We can reunite in love with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandchildren whenever possible.

Fight back. Save the family. Stand together as families supporting families.

 

The Big Lie

The Big Lie. People are falling for it, everywhere. They don’t think they are; they think they have avoided it. Still, more are falling for it every day.

What is this lie?

Science can answer every question; there is no need for God.

If you believe science has the answer for everything, you are vitally mistaken.

Science can answer many questions, solve many problems. Scientists questions, using logic, seeking proof of a hypothesis. Results must be described in physical, measurable, and objective terms. Try to describe wind. Or measure love. Not possible. You can measure their effects, but you cannot directly measure them.

Scientists investigate nearly everything, and often find a nearly correct answer. Even scientists admit they never “know” the full answer. Each experiment, each investigation may bring them closer to a complete knowledge, but another scientist may ask the question in another way, investigate differently, hypothesize something new, and turn every “known truth” on its head. Consider the flat earth belief.

All scientific results are temporary truths, temporary until someone learns something more or better.

Contrast the variability of science with the constancy of God, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”[1] His laws continue to be constant, whether the laws of gravity or the laws of chastity. God’s laws were introduced to Adam and Eve in the garden, and continue to have purpose for all men and women.

Unlike Jonathan Edwards’ view of “sinners in the hands of an angry god”[2] the One True God gave commandments that his children “might have joy.”[3] We are his children, and God loves us.

The belief in secular humanism and situational ethics leads people away from firm standards toward the insecurity of science and the “it’s all good” attitude, contributing to the slippery slope of no standards, no right or wrong, no sense of propriety. Children have no trouble disrespecting parents and others, students cheat, and adults murder the unborn in the name of choice. People cause others pain and grief because it feels good to them, never considering the effects on another human.

 

Because people choose the disobedient path, they believe the corollary of the Big Lie, God does not love us, or he would not let bad things happen to good people. No one wants a child to have cancer, a husband to be in an industrial accident, family to be killed by a drunk driver. God could prevent these deaths, but in many cases he chooses not to do so, for those left behind learn much more about themselves and others when compelled to struggle in a different manner.

God loves His children, and all who live on this earth are His children. We all have received the gift of choice, and the corresponding consequences that follow.

God allows bad people to hurt others, allowing the choice of action that was the greatest gift from the beginning of time. All actions have consequences, and someone must feel those consequences. If the consequences were taken away, or one was forced to not hurt another, the right of choice of actions—good or bad—would be lost, and God will not deny us the gift of choice.

What do you think? Is this the Big Lie, or would you suggest another?

 

[1] Hebrews 13:8

[2] “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Enfield, Connecticut July 8, 1741

[3] 2 Nephi 2:25

Join My Anti-Erotica Crusade?

I am a member of several author groups, sharing help and trying to sell our work. Most of these are good. Others, I realized jarring in their dance with pornography in the guise of “erotica”.

I have been doing research for the cover of my book, Eve Remembers, the past few days, looking at colors and designs, how they show up, entice a reader. As my book is an historical novel, with a woman’s view, I was looking at the section of historical novels. Occasionally, I would stop; look at the blurb, when a book looked interesting. It was an interesting experience. Many openly advertised erotica.

Pornography, in all its disguises, including erotica, has but one purpose—destroy the family as it destroys the opportunity for healthy love and sex. It is more addictive than the strongest drug. Even an accidental view will replay in the mind until the twisted seems normal. Today, small children are affected by innocent views of this smut.

The written word is no different. Reading and writing explicit sex scenes lives in the mind, with or without the violence and degradation often accompanying erotica. Sweet connections between a husband and wife are personal, and need not be revealed in specific detail. Sex between unmarried couples or those of the same gender do not need all the gory details!

Women are threatened when their man dabbles, and becomes drawn into pornography. It causes trust issues, when he prefers to look at other women. Yet, women read and enjoy erotica, insisting they are only interested in the “relationships”. I have heard good and (supposedly) righteous women thrill at the news their favorite romance/erotica will soon be in visual form. They read it. They vicariously experienced the erotica, the violence, the degradation, the illicit behavior, and thrilling over it. Now they want to see it.

Do they not see themselves as partaking of pornography? Do they not see themselves as unfaithful wives? “We are just reading a fun book, not looking at, nor participating in pornography,” they cry. But the story is forever in their minds, there to raise the thoughts of inappropriate behavior, there to dream of a man who is not theirs.

Incredibly, women write an inordinate number of this type of book. They write of women as objects, and then write ferocious article complaining of men treating women as objects! Readers of these books join the mob in voicing outrage at being treated so vilely. It is fine to read of this, but not to have it be part of their living? Men read the books women write. Some must assume women want similar treatment, or they would not read and write about it so frequently!

Not all women read erotica, nor all men act like women are objects for their entertainment. Enough do to create a problem for everyone.

Leave the erotica alone. If everyone stopped reading it, they will stop writing it.

I know, I am dreaming. There are too many in our world that participate in illicit behavior, and enjoy reading and seeing it, as though it validates their behavior. The destroyer has claim upon a large portion of people, who gladly ignore the good and decent.

Will you join my crusade? Stop reading erotica? Stop viewing it?

Is Depression a Choice?

I grow tired of all the media adulation upon the death of movie stars, while other vital news of greater importance is ignored. However, this week’s loss of Robin Williams is somehow different. Not because his movies were mostly good, clean fun, or that he made me laugh as early as Mork and Mindy, or even that he made me think deep thoughts in most of his movies.

No, the sad event is even darker because he could no longer withstand the darkness of his depression, bipolar disorder, or any of the other mental health issues he had, exacerbated by the drugs and alcohol. The darkness and instability of mental illness, no matter the label, is difficult to bear. Robin Williams was expert in hiding his darkness, giving joy to others with jokes, impressions, and improvisations. He gave to others, providing help to younger actors and giving support to others with mental health problems. For those of us not close to him, he had a good life. All was well.

But the laughter and jokes were a front, covering the darkness of mental health problems and dark depression. Everything was not rosy in his life. He, like many others who suffer with this challenge, tried to find relief in a bottle of alcohol or in one or more of the illicit drugs available. He tried to self-medicate the darkness away. It did not work any better for him than it does for the thousands of others who try the same path. His ability to make people laugh, to feel, helped him financially survive the darkness. Not everyone can do that.

Like many others in the United States, our family has members who struggle with the darkness like Williams did. Countless hours, and hundreds of dollars have been spent talking a beloved child into the hospital or away from that last step. Fortunately for our family, appropriate medication has been prescribed, and the addictions are under control, for now. Lives are improving and hope is on our horizon.

But hope is rarely on the horizon for those most troubled by depression. It is never fully in their court, never certain to drive away the fears and darkness that cause thoughts of ending life by their own hand. Spirituality helps, when there is enough light to allow the truth through, but spirituality, or medication, only lifts the edge of the curtain of hope, then forces it down, as though iron balls were sewn in to ensure the curtain hangs smooth, and tight.

For those who struggle with serious depression, the darkness of the destroyer rules. It requires hope beyond measure, and love from family and friends, lots of it, deeply and for a very long time, to draw the curtain of pain back enough to allow true light and knowledge to fill their souls. It is never certain that the light has won, and the darkness banished.

For many years, the mentally ill were considered lost souls, locked up in back rooms or sanatoriums to prevent their contamination of the general population. They have been perceived as “children of the devil” or worse. It is no wonder children taunt others by calling them “crazy”, and adults flinch when that appellation is directed towards them. Health insurances limit coverage for doctors and medications, further aggravating the chances for most to push aside the dark curtain and walk into the light. In recent years, help for the mentally ill has been drastically reduced, leaving many homeless on the streets of every major city.

No, the tragedy of Robin Williams losing to the darkness, giving in to loss of hope is more than the loss of a talented performer. This tragedy besets our nation. Lives are lost to the darkness. Most fight it; some give in to suicide, leaving behind parents, spouse, and children to pick up the pieces. Not everyone left behind is forced to open their lives to the media like Mr. Williams’ family. But they are called on to answer the questions of friends and neighbors, and the most difficult, unanswerable questions of their own. Darkness attempts to reign. Children believe themselves to be the cause, many falling into the trap of depression themselves.

What can we do? Certainly not damn the family left behind through insidious, grasping messages. Better, love your family; make them the center of your life, as Jack did in “Peter Pan”. If you have someone in your life who faces the darkness of depression, help them know there is light and hope in the world, and you are there to help them through the blackness of despair.

Finally, if you face the hopelessness and blackness of depression, don’t give up. Reach out to someone, anyone. Seek help and know light is behind the curtain. It can be drawn back to view light and knowledge. If you struggle, find one small thing each day that will bring you joy. It may be the laugh of your child, the rain or the sunshine on your face, or beautiful music. Find your joy, and cling to it if you must until the depths of darkness pass, and you are able to find light in your life again.

What Do You Treasure?

“What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” is a motto suggesting opportunities for many activities, few legal, moral, or ethical. (My opinion of the motto is a subject for another day.) People come to our beautiful city hoping to return home with a new car, house, or at the least, lots of cash. Most return home with much less than they brought.

Casinos are brightly lit with no windows or clocks to remind patrons of the time or even if the day, or night, has passed. Colorful areas with enticing noises help to convince one that in only a moment or two, their machine or cards will “hit” and they will become wealthy. Few achieve wondrous wealth. The few who do “win” usually pour it back in a futile effort to win more. Thousands of people occupy the multitude of casinos conveniently forgetting all that glitz can’t come from generous management, regardless of signs touting their latest “winners.”

Contrast this tourist view of the city with another which happens many times each week. A man and a woman, dressed in white, kneel at the altar of God, covenanting with each other and God they will be moral, honest, upright people, treating the love of their life with honor. And they do.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest when Captain Jack Sparrow tells William Turner,

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, Mate.”

Captain Jack is telling him to look far beyond the glittering treasure of gold and jewels. The love of his life is of more value than all the treasure in the cave. Similarly, patrons seeking treasure by winning at a gambling house may lose the treasure of greater worth, their sweethearts and their families.

In surveying her family through time, Eve must surely have seen millions who gave up love, family, friends, and joy for a chance to obtain a treasure that glitters, shines, or buys more of the stuff of this world. She must have sorrowed at their loss.

Is it time to check the treasure you hold dear? Will it rust or corrupt? Or is your heart, your treasure, focused on family, friends, and God?

World Wars, Then and Now

World War l began one hundred years ago this month. That signaled the beginning of wars across the world. Few days have passed in the years since then without war in some part of the world. Many parts of the world continue to be torn apart by warring factions, either from within or without their countries. Much of the world even now abhors the deaths of children. Children are flooding across the United States borders because they are fleeing wars in their own countries.

Our world is war-torn. Brother fights against brothers, neighbor kills neighbors. Hate and envy fills the earth. We desire peace, we cry for peace, we hope for peace, we even pray for peace. But nothing works. War continues. Children die. Hate envelopes love; dark swallows the light of peace.
What will change this? Can anything?

Those of us who believe in Christ and His great love maintain a hope for a future of peace, joy, and love. We know it will come, sometime. Until then, we must face the horrors of war. We must see pictures and movies of the inhuman ways men behave in war. We must fear for our lives and the lives of our children. We fear that the things we see on television and in the news will invade our small peace, or the peace we think we have.

Eve saw the beginning of war in her day. Her family broke up, children chose disobedience, chose to follow Lucifer whose desire was to destroy Father’s plan. They became fearful of their neighbor, greedy for what others had, wanting it without working. They sought for power and fame, with a desire to be better than others.

In the search for power and glory, city fought city, people battled people, and kingdom conquered kingdom. Families were separated. Conquered were enslaved. Worse, women were violated and forced into prostitution. People who lost their gods created their own in idols of wood, stone, and precious metals and gems. Sorrow and grief filled their lives, along with war and death.

How different is their world from ours? Wars increase, darkness attempts to reign. And it will continue until Christ returns to rule and reign with peace and the missing love we crave. Adam saw our time and shared what he saw with his beloved Eve. They knew what we would face. They knew our children would face the horrors of war and hate. But they knew peace will come, sometime.
When faced with the loss of her children after Cain fled to Nod, she foresaw their pain and grief. I feel it as I write her story in Eve Remembers. I imagine she would have written a letter to Cain, which went something like this:

“I grieve for you. You, for whom I had brightest hopes, full of love and intelligence. You with the most to gain from Father’s love. You who walked and talked with God. Your opportunity to be one of Father’s brightest, standing for truth, sharing his word in a way your brothers and sisters would understand. Greatness was yours. And extremely blessed.

You gave it all up. You turned away from the light, thinking darkness would suffice. Darkness never has, nor will it ever provide as the light does. You will find when you are no longer needed, darkness will throw you away. Pray to the dark. Pray to your false god. It will never give you light or joy given by Father in Heaven.

You fell for the trap of power and fame. You wanted something you already had, if you needed less urgently. All that the Father has was yours, and you gave it up. For what?

I do not understand.

You fell for lies. Lucifer said he is also a son of God. At one time, yes, but he has fallen. You stand in his presence easily. Does a light shine from him? No, for he is fallen from the grace of God. Can you touch him? No, for he has no body.

He told you there are many gods to obey. Know you not that Father is a jealous God. He is not jealous like you are, not jealous of another’s good deeds and obedience. Knowing light, love and all good comes from Him, He jealously guards His children.

You will be told you can worship gods of wood and stone, gods of beautiful jewels, all created by your hands. Can you believe that things of wood or stone can solve your problems? Will they heal your babies, fight your battles? Provide you with love and tenderness? How could it? You created it. How can it be a god?

To you, woman is a slave, to be trod beneath your feet, to answer to your every command. You beat her, you abuse her. She no longer stands at your side to be protected. Why? To prove you are big and strong? How sad. She could help you in so many better ways, if you would allow her to be a help meet, rather than a servant.

Your women will create goddesses to soothe them, to give them the peace Father would have given them. More false gods will salve their hearts, when the one true God would gladly hear their pleas, and yours, providing light and love.

Oh, my child. I weep for your bad choices, for the results that must follow. I fear that your life, and that of your children, will be filled with trouble, sin, and sorrow.”

Can we manage to overcome our pride and our selfishness long enough to end war? Stand with me against war and for peace. Stand for love. Let’s encourage our leaders to end war. We do not want another World War, yet the world is fast racing toward it.

Children, Parents, and Grandparents

I’m sitting here in my parent’s living room listening to stories of ancestors. It is interesting to hear about the changes of names after they came to the United States. Some family names have undergone so many changes it is a wonder we can find our great grandparents.

I love hearing stories of my grandparents and great grandparents. One grandfather was known as a runner. Dad remembers his grandfather in his 80s running races with the young men of the town. Running backward his grandfather was able to run faster.

Other grandparents came to the United States from England, and were enticed to return for a short period. He and his wife determined to return to the United States, bringing with them her parents and sisters. The grandmother died in childbirth and the child died soon after.

One grandfather emigrated from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts ten years after the Mayflower. One time he helped to save the colony from the Indians. Our families came from England, Scotland, Germany, across Europe. It is quite a heritage, one I am grateful to know a little bit about.

Eve looked at family from the opposite perspective. Everyone was (and is) her child or grandchild. She listened to their stories. She felt their joys and their sorrows. She must have been hurt when many of her children chose not to listen to her teachings. It must have been painful when more children chose to follow the destroyer than who chose to follow God’s laws.

I know the joy of childbirth and children. I could feel her love each child and her great sorrow as many chose not to listen and obey the covenants and laws she and Adam had agreed to obey. She waited many years for a child to obey the covenant laws. Abel was obedient, and his brother Cain murdered him. Can you imagine Eve’s grief? Her sorrow? She was not a young woman by then and they still needed a young man to carry on the heritage of the Priesthood. It was years later when that son, Seth, was born.

Have you lost children to faiths other than yours? It is painful, especially when your beliefs are strong. Can you imagine Eve’s sorrow? I can. Her love of family permeated my soul as I wrote her story, Eve Remembers. Read an excerpt:

Abel never returned. The next morning, Jed came running from Cain’s fields. He had gone looking for Abel. The front of Jed’s robe was soaked with his tears.

“Mama! Papa! Cain is not in his fields—but Abel is! He is not moving, his head is all bloody, and he will not answer when I speak to him. Papa, come with me! Please!” he cried, tugging on Adam’s sleeve.

Adam and I followed him to Cain’s fields. They were past ours, so we had to run a distance, panting when we arrived. There he lay, our beautiful, obedient, loving son. His head had been smashed by a rock. There was no breath in him. He was dead. I fell to my knees, sobbing, calling his name.

“Abel, oh Abel! What has happened to you? Who did this to you? Oh, Abel! Why did you come here to find Cain? Oh, Abel!” I cried.

Adam knelt beside me, and held me close, whispering in my ear, “Eve, Eve. He is gone and his brother did this. The Lord warned me something would happen. Abel, our only obedient son. Oh, Eve.” He, too, began to sob. Jed knelt behind us, wrapping his arms around us from the side, tears falling onto our necks. We sobbed a long time, heartbroken.

I hope I never have to lose a child in that manner. I hope you don’t, either.