Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

It Could Never Happen Here’

In Canada, Choice, Courts, Democracy, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, The Family, Values, Violence on November 23, 2015 at 7:49 am

Nazi 2by Ally Fife

Nazi’s didn’t start out by killing Jews. But eventually they killed millions and the average German had allowed themselves to be drawn into the lie. Somehow, the hope of a stronger Germany helped them believe in Hitler. He convinced them they needed to give up their rights in order to be secure. Thus, a slow oppression and narrowing of rights led ultimately to a lack of all freedoms. They were forced to join or be killed. We say it could never happen again, but does that not require us to see the signs that would lead to this slow deterioration of freedom?

France houses Europe’s largest number of Jews. They are now being harassed and killed by anti-semitism in its ugliest form.  Deadly terrorist attacks have left many trying to flee the situation and an estimated 15,000 will leave this year alone. Many of these religious refugees have been quoted as saying they feel safer in Tel Aviv, which faces daily bombardment because of religious differences. Are these signs not enough to remind us of what comes next?

Religious freedoms are being lost throughout the world. In Northern Ireland, Pastor James McConnell is on trial for preaching that “Islam is Satanic and a doctrine spawned in hell.”  

He warns that Christians and preachers should watch his case closely and also step in to protest in his favor, as the ramifications could be profound for every person of faith. In Canada, Dr. Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College, had his television show taken off the air because he preached against homosexuality. Later it was reinstated but only after he agreed to a weekly review that checks for any signs of anti-gay sentiment.

We see these hits on our religious freedom ever increasing. Christian bakers forced to make cakes for same sex  weddings or be shut down.  Employers forced to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health plans.  A church’s  tax-exemption status is revoked if there is any sign of discrimination or political involvement.. Conservative organizations specifically targeted by the IRS. County clerks threatened with termination of employment for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. And that doesn’t even begin to talk about the hundreds of thousands of religious refugees throughout the world.

We are the last protectors of our families and freedoms. We need the vision to see not just what is happening right now, but what that will lead to in the future. It is no longer a question as to whether it could never happen here; it is happening here. The real question is what you will do to stop it before it is too late.

With all that is wrong—There is so much that is Right

In Child Development, Choice, Constitution, Democracy, Education, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Human Rights, Marriage, Religious Freedom, Schools, The Family, Values on November 17, 2015 at 8:42 am

family dinner 2by Mekelle Tenney

It’s easy for us to get caught up in all that is wrong in this world. Last week our Friday night was met with reports of terrorist attacks in Paris where over 200 people were killed. ISIS continues to make the news with acts of terror, torture, and death.Here in America we are dealing with the horrors of Planned Parenthood where thousands of babies are being mutilated and killed all in the name of “privacy”.Just a few weeks ago a shooter on an Oregon college campus went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and injuring another eight. With natural disasters, corrupt politicians, tyrants, terrorists, drugs, and abuse filling up our news feed it’s easy to obsess over all that is wrong. And to a certain extent that’s a good thing. We should be disturbed when we see evil, sad when we see pain, and furious when we see corruption. Those are all important emotions that drive us to action (and I’m not talking about the kind of action where you change your Facebook profile picture). I’m talking about the kind of action that brings about change and impacts the world.

With Thanksgiving only two weeks away I can’t help but think of the impact we could have if our actions were driven by more than the negative that we see in this world. As American’s we are blessed with more opportunities than anywhere else in the world. Our children are not held back by race, ethnicity, or social standing. Capitalism, democracy, and the American dream give each of us the opportunity to succeed and progress as far as we want.

I know that many do not believe in the American dream but all throughout our history we have people who came up from almost nothing. Our Congress is full of Senators and Congressmen whose parents were bartenders and maids. We have had Presidents who were born in one room log cabins, and Supreme Court justices who grew up on welfare. All around us are doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and teachers who were born in poverty, who were the first generation to get a college education. These kinds of stories don’t happen just anywhere. Most people around the world would never expect to be anything more than what their parents are. As Americans we have literally no limitations! Not only are we fortunate enough to be free but we also share in a great heritage. One of patriotism, loyalty, and dedication to principles of freedom and universal rights. This heritage is a big part of who we are and whether we realize it or not it has shaped our view of society. This is one of the reasons why we see so much of what is wrong in the world, because we know what is right.

But our heritage goes even deeper than just patriotism and a love of freedom. In America we stand with the nations of the world who value the family. The family has long been viewed as a fundamental unit of society. Our society recognized long ago that the ideal setting for a child to grow and develop in is a family. We also live in a society that values religion and recognizes it as beneficial to our families and communities. This heritage is unique to America and should be a driving force behind our actions.

When you turn on the news and see all that is bad in the world try to feel more than anger, sorrow, or pain. Feel gratitude for the blessings we have, pride in our heritage, and dedication to our principles and values. And let that drive you to do more.

Millennials’ Thoughts on World Congress of Families

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Religion, Sanctity of Life, The Family, UN, Values on November 13, 2015 at 11:07 am

Youth leadersBy Deborah Wene

The Ninth annual World Congress of Families was packed with people from all over the world who came together to talk about the importance of families, the threats that families are facing, and how to go about addressing those threats. In my opinion, it was more like a big family reunion than it was a conference because everyone came together, leaving their differences aside and focusing on that one thing that brings them together, the family. Every individual that participated in the conference, despite of their religion and cultural background, had one thing in common: Their love and passion for family and their belief in the natural family.

Not only was the conference for leaders and those with experience or background dealing with family threats, but it was also opened to scholars and to young adults ages 18-30  who were referred to as the Emerging Leaders. Those Emerging Leaders came to Salt Lake City from all over the world, including Panama, Guatemala, Kenya, and other places! They were given scholarships to come and learn not only about the World Congress of Families but how they as future leaders can make a difference in the world.

I had the opportunity to talk with many of those scholars about their experiences.

Stephanie Marie Steward, a student currently attending BYU-Idaho said,

“Sometimes, for me, it feels like I am in a losing battle. The fight for traditional marriage and families can seem discouraging, but the World Congress of Families IX gave me hope and a renewed motivation to stand up for what I believe in. There were many discussions about the forces that are attacking the family such as abortion and pornography and I believe knowledge is the first step toward action. I was very privileged to attend the conference. I feel that I am so much more prepared to fight for traditional marriage, family, and life. As a result of my attendance at this conference, I am sharing what I learned with others and it was great to see that there are people with beliefs similar to my own that are doing the same around the world.”

 Taeja Afalava, a scholar and Emerging Leader from the Pacific Islands shared her experience.

“The World Congress of Families was a life-changing event for me. My eyes were opened  and my heart was warmed with a fire that continues to grow as I recognize all that needs to be done to protect my family and to stand with God in protecting His family.

Being together as a massive group from all over the world has been an empowering experience. There were specific presentations geared toward Emerging Leaders.They gave me confidence to know that I can and  must do something. A friend of mine has an organization called Represent and their motto sums up how I feel about this work, “Honor our ancestors. Defend our descendants.” A passion has built up amongst the Emerging Leaders who attended World Congress of Families IX last week. It is my prayer that this passion alongside God’s power, be spread like a wildfire around the world; and because of the purpose behind that prayer, may faith carry our actions every step of the way.”

Afalava is planning to work and study these important issues as she prepares to attend some of the conferences at the United Nations next year.

Some of the scholars admit that the conference was more instructive and more educational  than they expected. One in particular, Krystina Giles, stated,

“My experience at World Congress of Families was a dream come true. It was great to be around people who have a similar point of view and who also see how sacred the family is in our society. The words spoken and the data given helped me better understand my experience as a child. My father was not a part of my childhood.  I had personally felt the negative effects the data represented. There were so many times during the Plenary panels that I teared up due to what the speakers were saying. Their warnings hit home, because I had lived them.  Many times during the conference I had the distinct feeling that the purpose of this conference is to save the family. The family is the backbone of society and if that crumbles, then what will follow after that? This World Congress of Families and the Advocates that presented made me want to be on the frontlines and make a difference to protect the sanctity of the family”.

These are just few of the many scholars and future leaders I was able to interview! These scholars have hope in the future and standing of the family. I stand with them on these and I hope to be able to get out of my comfort zone and do something about what I learned.



Trying to Replace the Basic Unit

In Child Development, Drug Use, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Research, The Family, Values on November 12, 2015 at 9:15 am

family working

Tashica Jacobson

Basic, while typically thought of as simple or easy, it is the most crucial to an outcome. For example basic math, which is elementary material is what makes up our ability to solve calculous and trigonometry problems. Replacing that basic understanding with something else will never contribute to the solving of a more complex equation no matter how much effort is invested. The same is true for society, if we don’t promote the basic unit then the harder societal issues will never be solved.

For centuries the nuclear family unit has been considered the basic unit of society. This idea remained unquestioned on a large scale until a few decades ago. Now alternatives have started to arise promising the same results even though they spring from dramatically different roots. Society has tried to replace the family with many different things including the individual and the workplace, all of which fail to produce the same benefits in quantity and quality as the traditional nuclear family does.

The family—and not the individual person—which is the basic building block of the community and thus of society as a whole … without the cohesion of the family, there can be no lasting community, and without a lasting community, there cannot be a greater society, to say nothing of civilization itself.”

Some of the problems that we are facing as a society include: abuse, drug use, delinquent behaviors, poverty, crime, and poor school performance (at all levels). But social science research continue to show that the family is at the core of reducing these. While there are other contributors to decreasing the prevalence of these in our society the family is at the foundation and is able to produce the best results in the least costly way.

One advantage that the family has over these others is that it is multigenerational. A child becomes a husband, parent, then grandparent, and through all these stages has the support and vison of what came before as well as what he is creating. The bedrock of strong family values and a good support system is generally transferred through generations.

Likewise neglect of the family and the negative consequences that spring from that are also transferred though the years. Poverty and especially multigenerational poverty which is especially hard to break out of is also a cycle of broken families. When the family is neglected there is need for greater government involvement. As families break apart government intervenes in personal family issues with court cases and foster care. Children from intact families are less likely to abuse drugs and commit crime, leading to a better overall community.

So let’s get back to the basics and stop looking for an alternative solution when the solution that we have already works. Strong families are crucial for society to continue to produce competent productive individuals. While other sources are beneficial and need to be used in coordination with promoting families they will never replace the family.

War or Peace?-Resolving Family Conflict on the Front Lines

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Free Speech, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on November 10, 2015 at 7:44 am

conflict resolutionby Christie Masters

There is something serendipitous about the household being in a bit of turmoil when writing an article on conflict resolution. Peacemaking is constantly being discussed. When I asked my twelve year-old what she thought was the best way to resolve an argument, her answer surprised me. “You have to get to the bottom of the problem.” She then went on to say that the answer also depends on the kind of conflict there is. There are those silly arguments where we need to just stop fighting and move on with our day. But there are deeper conflicts, where opinions reign, feelings are hurt, and it becomes necessary to negotiate on another level. But how does one “get to the bottom of the problem” and bridge the void caused by conflict between family members? It was instructive and rewarding to listen to others share what they felt worked best in keeping the peace, and the following advice reveals priceless lessons learned through battles they have fought.

The Heart of the Matter:

As a friend and mentor taught for many years, “getting to the bottom of the problem” with our children can reveal underlying issues of the heart. Heart issues can stem from pride or stubbornness, a lack of understanding, honesty, or kindness in a conflict. Resolving the needs of the heart far outweigh winning or losing an argument. How often though, as a parent, it has been my heart that needed changing as the source of conflict was revealed. True resolution comes not only from understanding the causes of conflict, but also from real restoration between family members. Asking for forgiveness when we are wrong builds trust, and showing grace to one another strengthens bonds.

The Intent to Understand:

There was a consensus among the children in our family about resolving conflict: Those involved in an argument need to be honest about what they think and feel. Letting someone speak their piece without interruption makes them feel like they are being heard, and therefore less defensive. As our dear friend Evie confirmed, we must “listen to the other person before [we] say anything. Get their perspective, perception and intent. Ask questions with the intent to understand.” How wonderful it is to be understood, and likewise to seek to understand others-this requires patience, sometimes long conversations, but is well worth the effort.

Pursue One Another:

My cousin, married for over 34 years, shared that “Physical touch [is] the first thing that goes out the window when a marriage struggles. It is difficult to say hurtful things to someone you are touching. Sit facing each other, knees touching, and holding hands when you discuss those difficult issues.” Separating ourselves from those that we are upset with is sometimes easier, but problems do not get solved when we are distant from one another.   Mutual commitment and resolve to stay in active communication is hard work. Reaching out and taking our spouse by the hand may be the last thing we want to do when we are angry or our feelings are hurt. But even hardened hearts can soften under such a loving and humbling gesture.

Love Communicates:

     “Our voices kept raising and as we got louder and angrier he looked at me square in the eyes and said, “no matter how angry we get, I love you.” He said it loud and clear and it stopped me in my tracks. Love communicates.” As another dear friend who has been married many years shares, ‘love anchors us even in the midst of disagreements.’ Its affirmation not only gives us hope that resolution is possible, it dispels doubts and communicates what is most important-even in the heat of battle. Withholding love accomplishes just the opposite; communication breaks down, division grows, and family members can become withdrawn and fearful of confrontation.

Our Goal is Peace:

Though conflicts within a family are inevitable, to be at peace with one another is our goal and constant pursuit. Often, that which is worthy is also difficult, but take heart-Those who have weathered difficult times in their relationships, and have come through with wisdom and strength, are a wonderful example and encouragement to us.





How To Tell If YOU Are Cheating

In Choice, Families, Marriage, Media, Values on November 6, 2015 at 10:38 am

infidelityBy Patrick Williams

In his book Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage, H. Wallace Goddard presents a list of things to look for in your interactions with others.  He suggests that there is a progression of infidelity rather than things just happening out of the blue.
The following is a list of how things can progress from seemingly innocent behavior to full on infidelity:

  1. Behaviors that seem or may be innocent (i.e., service for a neighbor, going out to lunch with a co-worker, chatting about problems with an old friend of the opposite sex).
  2. An affection grows that claims part of one’s heart.
  3. Extramarital flirting.  (Justification-“no harm intended”).
  4. Relationship declared as “special”.
  5. Opportunities created to see “special friend” (Accompanied may be a worry of what others will say/think if they knew).
  6. Excuses made, lies told to hide time and resources spent on other person.
  7. Spouse is displaced. Emotional intimacy exchanged with “special friend”.
  8. Faultfinding with spouse.
  9. Fantasies about other person.
  10. Physical affection– a squeeze, a kiss, a hug.
  11. Sexual relations.

What to do if you find yourself somewhere along this progression?

In my opinion, wherever you are, you should turn back immediately.  In every case you should disclose to your spouse anything and everything (even if you aren’t sure if it’s a “big deal” or not) involved in what has happened.  It is the secret-keeping that fuels the inappropriate behavior.  Cut off your personal relationship and all ties possible with that other person.  Apologize, express your sorrow and desire to be closer to your spouse.

Even though you are trying to do the right thing now, do not expect your spouse to be “overly pleased” at your coming forward.  This news likely will come as a shock or a severe blow to your spouse.  Be patient (you are throwing yourself at the mercy of your spouse).  They may need time to think about things and come to grips with what has happened.  Be constant in your desire to be true and faithful to your spouse.

You cannot know what will come of these things once they are allowed to progress to far.  My advice is to catch yourself early.  Minimize any unnecessary time with those of the opposite sex outside of your marriage.  Be aware of those who may not be a “friend” to the marriage.  Ask yourself if you have anyone outside of your family that you consider a “special friend”.  Do not be too ashamed that you keep the little things secret or they will lead to bigger mistakes.  The need for emotional intimacy is built into us and as a husband or wife the natural and correct partner with whom to share your feelings and thoughts, big and small, is your spouse.

You cannot decide what your spouse will do, only what you will do.  Trials will come but overcoming such things together will be a strength to your marriage and affections for each

LGBT non-discrimination laws: What am I really protecting?

In Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Education, Families, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Gender, Gender Identity, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, Non-Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, Transgender, Values on November 5, 2015 at 9:22 am

gender identityby Melissa Hinkson

After more than a year of battling what has been dubbed the “bathroom bill” Houstonians showed their overwhelming opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) bill Tuesday night in the polls. This was a major win for those who are concerned with public safety – especially for the public safety of women. In the one-minute anti-HERO ad, paid for by the Campaign for Houston PAC, a woman explained exactly what was at stake, “This ordinance [would] allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. That is filthy; that is disgusting; and that is unsafe”.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is a classic example of a SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity; pronounced So-gee) bill. So what is a SOGI bill and why am I so worried about one being passed in my city?

Let’s go back to the SCOTUS decision on marriage earlier this year. Agents of political correctness weren’t satisfied after marriage was redefined by the Supreme Court. At their core the LGBT community’s mantra has encapsulated the idea of equality in all things. Equality in employment, in housing, and – most alarmingly – in public accommodations. These are the three main civil right protections based on the ambiguous terms of SOGI that gay lobbyists would pass nationwide if given the chance. A SOGI bill can cover any combination of those protections and may contain language which protects both sexual orientation and gender identity or just one of them.

Non-discrimination in employment

Employment refers to bias in hiring, job assignment, termination, compensation, and even harassment on the basis of SOGI. Conservatives often take issue if the ordinance contains limited or no “religious exemption” which would prevent employers from considering sexual conduct. In areas of education and childcare this could become a significant problem.

Non-discrimination in housing

Housing could include bias in buying or renting a home, receiving HUD programs, and mortgage tax deductions. Similar to employment, if the ordinance contains limited to no exemptions for private homeowners or nonprofits then those entities would be forced by law to provide housing and would risk being fined or losing their home to lawsuit fees.

Non-discrimination in public accommodations

Public accommodations is most easily understood as the vast majority of businesses and buildings that are open to and offer services for the general public. This can include parks, hospitals, theatres, and airports. Consider it this way, once you step out of your home you are nearly always in a public accommodation.

According to the Family Research Council gender identity laws (such as HERO) under public accommodations would, “allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower”.

Also under this provision those who provide products, services, or catering could be forced to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding even if the group or business holds strong religious convictions in opposition to same-sex marriage.

Passing bills one city at a time

Even though a nationwide SOGI bill is possible in the future, the LGBT agenda is a slow and calculated approach to win over each state, city by city and county by county, until the entire nation would be covered by non-discrimination legislation. Currently, 17 states and more than 225 cities across the country has in place a non-discrimination ordinance based on gender identity.

Many voters agree that basic protections for employment and housing makes sense and would even favor a law which bans discrimination in these areas. I personally fit into this category. For example, I agree with Utah lawmakers; If I am a business owner with “four or more single-family dwelling units held for sale or lease at the same time” they believe it is unfair to deny housing to a person based on their sexual orientation. On the other hand, I do not favor a bill which would omit exemptions for private individuals, nonprofit organizations, or noncommercial transactions.

This is something most people tend to overlook – a bill’s language and nuances. SOGI bills are all about the language. As an everyday citizen, if I do not know the language of a bill coming through then I can do more harm than good by voting for or against it. The scary thing is that LGBT lobbyists know this and exploit the fact we are uninformed. As these groups continue to tout the “equality” and “tolerance” arguments they are carefully crafting SOGI laws which open the door for reverse discrimination on those people who hold traditional values.

Becoming informed about the SOGI non-discrimination laws being developed and passed in our city is the most important thing each of us can do. When you can, read the bills themselves rather than relying on TV ads. While reading the bill look specifically to see the kind of exemptions the bill has. In general be wary of the SOGI or non-discrimination ordinances you see on the ballots. Ask yourself questions like, which provisions fall under this bill? Does it include employment, housing, and public accommodations or a combination of them? Does it use just the term sexual orientation or does it also include gender identity?

Hope for the family amid anti-family hate

In Education, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender Identity, Grassroots, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values, Women's Rights on November 3, 2015 at 6:41 am

baby-boy-mom-dadby Mekelle Tenney

Last week my husband and I attended the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City Utah. It was the 9th Congress held since the organizations founding in 1997. With over 3300 in attendance the Congress is the largest pro-family gathering in the world. World Congress of Families is dedicated to the promotion of the natural family. That means that they support marriage between a man and a woman, they are pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-children. The conference was four days of speakers and workshops. The presenters came from all over the world and talked on topics like the importance of marriage, morals and ethics in education, abortion, sex education, child development, and advocating for the family. All the presenters did a fantastic job and my husband and I came away from the conference with a deeper understanding of the current state of the family as well as a greater desire to fight for the family.

The congress received a lot of media attention, some good and some bad. After the first day of the Congress I began to scroll through some of the stories that had been published and came across one from the Daily Beast entitled “Queer Spy at the Anti-Gay Conference”. Considering the nature of the publication I should have ignored the story entirely but we had been enjoying the conference so much and I was upset by the author’s attitude so I opened the article and began to read.

“The registration table at the World Congress of Families conference looks like a church lady convention. Greeting newcomers and carefully distributing name badges and swag is a small army of smiling middle-aged women, all decked out in matching orange polo shirts and varying degrees of frazzled enthusiasm. Their hairstyles and footwear scream “sensible,” and I get the impression that if given enough time, any one of them would eagerly regale me with stories of their kids/grandkids, offer a remedy for stubborn stains, and jot down their favorite casserole recipe.”

The article went on to ridicule the Mormon moms in attendance (though when he used the phrase Mormon mom it was more a stab at all mothers). He noted the “notorious anti-LGBTQ” legislation that the members of the congress had been instrumental in passing. He used phrases like “Christian right global medaling”. And stated that the Congress had disseminated a “US born culture war that’s wreaking havoc on women and queer folks all around the world.” In case you are wondering the term queer refers to “sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or cisgender.”

Naturally my first reaction to this article was anger. I told my husband that the writer was nothing more than a hypocritical jerk who began his article about a conference that was anti-women by making fun of women! Fortunately my husband was the only one to hear this rash reaction. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from the conference was the importance of reacting with love……a phrase I have a hard time with because it gives me the impression of hippies sitting around smoking pot and spouting off bumper sticker sayings such as “all you need is love”. But what I have come to realize is that my reactions reflect directly on the family and the pro-family movement. My actions and comments should never be such in nature that they can be used against the very cause I am trying to defend. Responding with love is in fact one of our most powerful weapons. It sets the tone for the whole movement and will be one of the reasons that the family succeeds. My experience at the conference taught me that.

My husband and I brought our four month old daughter to the conference with us. Before attending we had been worried that our baby would not be welcomed or permitted at the conference. Generally young children are not allowed at conferences because they are loud and disruptive. The situation proved to be just the opposite. I have never been at a place where children were more welcome. Everywhere we went with her we were met with smiles. So many people would stop to tell us how excited they were to see her there, how much fun children are, and how much joy they bring, that it took us twice as long to get anywhere. People from all around the world greeted us and congratulated us on our beautiful daughter. Of the whole conference that had the greatest effect on me. I realized that despite great obstacles the family will succeed. Because as it turns out the “queer spy” was right. The pro-family movement is fueled by an army of happy and enthusiastic individuals. Whose dedication to their families will motivate them to persistently, courageously, and lovingly fight for and defend the family.

Feeling small? Getting involved Can have a BIG impact!

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Education, Euthanasia, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender Identity, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on November 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm

WCF9by Erin Weist

The World Congress of Families was held in Salt Lake City last week.  Amid mild protests from pro-LGBT groups, over 3,000 attendees from around the world gathered to support pro-family speech and activism.  Rather than being “anti-LGBT” the conference focused on what has been dubbed the “natural family” or the traditional family.  It seems impossible that any sane person would be “anti-family” but that seems to be the way the world is going.  The groups in attendance at this conference, rather than promote a hateful agenda that strips rights from others, focus on supporting public policy that places the traditional family (a father, mother, and children) at the forefront as the highest possible standard for society.  

Topics for the conference included parenting guides, marriage guides, self-empowerment & the worth of the individual, education regarding the dangers of pornography, support for groups intent on ending sex trafficking around the world, homeschooling, educational ethics, scientific studies behind the pro-life movement, and more.  Most encouraging was the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are not only emotionally invested in very similar ideals & goals, but also going out into their communities to do something about it!  People are looking for the good and doing good in their own part of the world.  

One of the great aspects of this conference was the Emerging Leaders Program.  This inspired program invited young adults (mostly university age) from around the world to attend the conference and go back to their respective countries as leaders in creating positive change.  I met delegates from many countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America and more.  These young men & women have a desire to be the change that they want to see and it was inspiring.  I feel so small but I learned from this conference that even one person can make a difference.  Just by getting involved with a group or talking to neighbors about promoting an ideal or writing letters an individual moment of action becomes coupled with other moments of action and it can turn into a movement.  Or it can create a positive change in one person’s life and those actions are extremely valuable for that one person.  Remember the story about the starfish?  A man wandered along the beach throwing starfish into the ocean when he was stopped by another man who questioned the futility of his actions because of the unending number of starfish…how could he possibly make a difference?  As the man threw another starfish back in the ocean he stated, “I made a difference to that one.”

This conference was tiny compared to the population of the world.  It may seem impossible to make a difference.  But being surrounded by like-minded people working for positive change showed me that it is possible.  There are thousands in my community, there are thousands in many communities all over the world who are dedicated to families.  We are not out to promote hate.  We are not out to trample on rights.  We are out to educate, to promote an ideal, one that places societal values over individual indulgence, one that teaches people how to be happier!  And we can do that one starfish at a time.

Give me Life

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Freedom, Grandparents, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, The Family, Values on October 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

abortion hands heldby Brittany Stohlton

Our day-to-day actions are preceded by choices, and those choice-based actions are always followed by consequences. Each day in the news there are reports of child abuse, abandonment and death. When the life of a child is at stake, parents, doctors and child experts do everything in their power to protect and improve that child’s life. A tragic irony is the acceptance of a woman’s choice to abort her child simply because she is “not ready to be a parent,” her finances are unstable, or one of the worst excuses yet, as a method of birth control.[1] We must ask ourselves if those reasons or justifications take precedence over saving the lives of innocent children.

Losing a Child

After giving birth one year ago to my son, Adam, holding him in my arms for the first time was one of the most magical experiences of my life. He was small, having been born 3 weeks early—but absolutely perfect! As I have watched him grow and develop, I am in awe as to how much I love him. Because my husband and I have experienced such joy from having this little boy in our lives, we wanted to add another child to our family.

When my most recent pregnancy test came out positive, I was so excited, and came up with a brilliant way to announce the good news to family and friends. I didn’t even tell my husband about the pregnancy, because I wanted it to be a big surprise for him as well. The day before the announcement, I awoke at 1 a.m. to some spontaneous bleeding and pain that swept through my entire body. My husband awoke, sensing that something was wrong. Thoughts raced through my mind, “Things weren’t supposed to happen this way. It was going to be such a great surprise…how could this be happening?”

I saw the look of confusion on my husband’s face as I told him I was pregnant but feared I was losing the baby. The blood continued for a while, then slowed. I tossed and turned the rest of the night, hoping and praying that my unborn child would be okay. Later that morning I was able to schedule an appointment to see the doctor for that afternoon. My anxiety mounted throughout the day only to have my worst fears confirmed: my precious unborn child was dead, and there was nothing that I could do, or could have done, to stop it. The heartache, pain, and grief that I felt held me back from finding joy in day-to-day activity. Not only are the thoughts and emotions that I have felt enough to rip my soul apart, but the physical pain has been nearly unbearable. Knowing and feeling each contraction of pain, and thinking about how I had lost that child, was a constant reminder of just how miserable things were.

Seeking support in a time of crisis is exactly what my husband and I needed to do. We contacted our parents and explained the situation to each of them. When they heard that we were expecting a child, the levels of excitement were heightened; however, the excitement turned into despair as they heard of the loss. We found comfort in knowing that each of us has a distinct purpose in life. Indeed, each child that is conceived has a purpose and should not be created or aborted by emotional, unprepared individuals.

As we shared the grief as a family, we couldn’t understand how any woman could choose to kill and dismember their unborn child, literally destroying a developing and functioning person—one that could bring joy and happiness.

Miscarriage vs Abortion

In our quest as a family to come to terms with the disaster that had just taken place we wanted to know what separated a miscarriage from an abortion. We came to understand that the difference between miscarriage and abortion is choice. In a miscarriage the mother does not have control over the situation. The body, in most cases, begins to naturally break down and expel the tissue of the fetus. The mother, therefore, is not choosing to end the child’s life. In the case of abortion, however, the mother has chosen to end the life of the child, undergoing an extensive medical procedure in which the doctor begins labor and delivers the baby piece by piece.[2]

As we understood the difference between a miscarriage and abortion, we could still not come to terms with why people could do such a thing. On that note we began to seek out how frequently this procedure took place and how it affects a woman’s well-being. In our research we found that on an annual basis, 1.2 million American women choose to have their pregnancy terminated. This generally takes place within the first trimester, between weeks nine and twelve—the very weeks in which I miscarried my child.[3] Not only is the life of the fetus terminated, but the mother is at an increased rate of death both during, and after, the procedure. The World Health Organization estimates that, worldwide, 68,000 women die per year from complications from “unsafe” abortions.[4]

The psychological distress that I have felt upon miscarrying a child is within the norm for those who have experienced miscarriage. Would these feelings of distress also be present with those who have had an abortion? Looking at the population of women that have had abortions, we found that they were seven times more likely to commit suicide than women who had given birth. A survey revealed that 28.2 percent of post-abortive women had attempted suicide, and nearly half of those had attempted suicide two or more times. [5]

As disturbing as the truth may be, it is the reality in which we live. For those considering abortion, seek support from professionals and understand that the choices and actions you make affect more than just you as an individual. For the unborn children that were taken from this world because of the selfish entitlement of abortion, we feel heartache, pain, and grief to know that you never entered this world. You are wanted and you are loved. It is with deep regret that we will miss out on what you could have been. There will never be a moment that I forget about the child I lost. I wish more than anything that I could have held, or even just heard the heartbeat of my unborn baby.

[1] Abortion-Reasons Why Women Choose Abortion. (2005). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/abortion-reasons-women-choose-abortion

[2] Abortion Risks and Procedures. (2003). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.midlandlifecenter.org/abortion-risksprocedures

[3] Pending Abortion, Unplanned/Crisis Pregnancy or Possible Pregnancy Information. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.afterabortion.com/crisis.html

[4] “Unsafe Abortion.” Global and regional estimates of the incidence of unsafe abortion and associated mortality in 2000. World Health Organization. (2004). http://unitedfamilies.org/downloads/Abortion_GuidetoFamilyIssues.pdf

[5] Durband, D. (2007). Abortion Deaths: Facts/Research. Guide to Family Issues, 36-37. http://unitedfamilies.org/downloads/Abortion_GuidetoFamilyIssues.pdf

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Brittany Stohlton is a family and child advocate and has been advocating since 2011. Brittany graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She loves being a wife and mother of two.

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