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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Marriage: A Reflection After Fifteen Years

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Families, father, Gender, Health Care, Homosexuality, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, The Family, Values on April 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Ellsworth Family LDSElise Ellsworth

Next week my husband and I will celebrate fifteen years of marriage together.  Our marriage has weathered the births of seven children, four college degrees, eleven moves (four of them cross-country), job losses, being hit by a tornado, too many emergency room trips to count (we have six boys) and a host of other day-to-day stresses.  Frankly, I hope that the next fifteen years offer more smooth sailing than the last.  But despite having crossed some stormy seas I remain more committed than ever to the institution of marriage and more convinced than ever of the benefits of marriage between a man and a woman.  I am amazed at how many seemingly intelligent persons are being deceived by the popular argument that the best way to go through life is alone, cohabiting, or in a relationship with someone of the same gender.  I love being married to my husband!

There are so many well-documented benefits to man-woman marriage.  Married couples are healthier.  Married couples are wealthier.  Married couples are happier.  Married couples have better sex lives.  Married couples raise happier and more successful children.  These are all proven facts. So, I’d like to digress a bit and share fifteen little things I have loved about being married and being committed to my husband for the past fifteen years:

©     Our weekly dates – snowshoeing, hikes, learning a language, trips to the thrift store – the only date that hasn’t gone over well is tennis – I am a sore loser

©     Early morning runs – and after two near fires we have made the rule for the kids of “no attempts at cooking” while we are gone

©     Middle of the day telephone calls from someone who loves me

©     Making plans together – it drives my “let’s get going” husband crazy but I love to get his ideas

©     The little jokes my husband cracks right when I am in the middle of my serious tirades

©     Shared eye rolls when the kids are going out of control

©     When he “winks” his tail light at me when I’m following him in my car

©     Having an excuse to get dressed up

©     Entertaining together and watching my husband agonize as he tries to set “the perfect table”

©     Our nightly ritual of sharing one thing we love about each other – sometimes it’s “I like your nose hairs” (if we’re really mad), but it’s always something

©     The births of each of our children – touching heaven for just an instant

©     Swinging children between us on hikes

©     Trying to keep each other awake when we are driving on long road trips

©     The seemingly hundreds of soccer games we’ve attended over the years – sometimes I try to pretend I am not married to him when he loses it with the referee but I still love being there

©     Waking up next to my best friend (this is my husband’s addition J)

The cool thing about marriage is that this list is different for everyone but it’s still there.

Yes, today more than ever it is difficult to get married.  And it’s difficult to stay married.  But if you get the chance, if you fall really, truly in love – don’t settle for less.  Commit to lifelong marriage.  It’s been a fun ride.  I’m looking forward to the next fifteen years.

The Price of Citizenship!?

In Civil Unions, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Diane Robertson, Free Speech, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Proposition 8, Religion, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, Values on April 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm

nm-photographerThe role of the Supreme Court in checks and balances is to stop acts of the President, laws of Congress or of states that break a rule in the Constitution. One rule of the constitution is found in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet, the Supreme Court seems fine with a law that requires Americans in New Mexico to put aside their strongly held religious beliefs as the “The price of citizenship.”

Without a word, the Supreme Court Justices refused to hear the case involving Elane Photography. Elaine Huguenin refused to photograph a commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple. The couple turned her into the New Mexico Human Rights commission for “sexual orientation discrimination”. Last year the New Mexico Supreme Court found Elaine guilty and issued a chilling ruling that states:

“Now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” as “the price of citizenship.”

By not taking this case, the Supreme Court has upheld the ruling as final and Constitutional.

While the Supreme Court ignores the Constitutional right to the “free exercise” of religious beliefs, the gay lobby is militantly trampling anyone whom they believe has violated their agenda.

The CEO of Mozilla Firefox, Brendan Eich, was recently voted out of the company for donating money to the Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. Brendan Eich contributed all to the company, formerly Netscape, saving it from ruin and creating the first real competitor to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. He was also the creator of the programming language JAVA script which is widely used in webpage design. Brendan Eich is both a technical genius and accomplished business man. There was no good reason for Mozilla Firefox to get rid of Brendan Eich.

Another person the gay lobby is attacking is Chauncy Childs from Portland, OR. Childs, planning to open Moreland Farmers Pantry, an organic, locally-sourced grocery store has come under attack for comments she made on Facebook supporting traditional marriage. Not only is the gay lobby hosting a boycott of the store, but is threatening all of her suppliers with boycotts unless they agree not to supply goods to her store.

It seems that as judges and legislatures become bolder in proclaiming sexual rights above religious and speech rights and as the Supreme Court ignores the rules in the Constitution, gay rights activists are getting bolder and hunting down anyone who is not either now or in the past in full compliance with their agenda. If American’s continue to stand still and do nothing, forced compliance to the views of a small minority will very well become the “price of citizenship” for every American.

Feminist No More

In Feminism, Marriage, motherhood on April 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

feminist buttonsTashica Jacobson

I used to consider myself a feminist. I have always thought that I could and should be able to do pretty much whatever a boy could. Even when it comes to dating I always offer to pay for myself and I have even straight out told guys not to open my door.  Recently I attended the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women and now I have come to the conclusion that I most definitely am not a feminist. I stand for women’s rights, their equality, their uniqueness, and their contributions to society, but the feminist agenda as it exists today degrades women and the power that comes from being a female.

One thing that many countries were pushing at the United Nations is comprehensive sexuality education. This is an extreme sex education program that promotes fulfillment of sexual pleasure as a right and teaches young children the variety of ways to satisfy these pleasures. These programs make women out to be sex objects. We no longer have self control, nor are we viewed as being worthy or special enough for one person in a lifelong committed relationship. Instead it teaches to give ourselves up for any fantasy of the moment. In these programs women learn that their sole purpose in life is to use their body to please their selves and those around them. As a woman, and a woman who believes in the value of being female, I am insulted by these programs. Not only are we worth waiting for, we are self disciplined enough and strong enough to choose to withhold our bodies from our temporary desires and those of others.

The value of marriage is also being lost at the UN. While there are some marriages that are harmful to women we need to realize the vast amount of good that comes to women when they are in a healthy marriage. Decades of research shows that “Married women experience lower levels of violence, poverty, depression and emotional problems, and live longer than single women.” In addition to these benefits, marriage shows the equality of men and women. It takes both a man and a woman to create a marriage. Man is not greater than women for he needs women to create the unit which society is based upon. Neither one can create a child, the main purpose of marriage, without the other. This is a defining characteristic of what makes us equal. To be able to create life, the greatest thing of all, takes both a man and a woman, and marriage is the union that recognizes this equality. Nations who promote various forms of the family at the UN are degrading both women and men.

A growing movement in many countries is same-sex marriage and giving sexual rights to the LGBT community, and this agenda has found its way into UN debates. Like those threats mentioned above, this idea also degrades womanhood. In recognizing the importance of women we have to recognize their difference from men.  There is nothing special or unique about womanhood if it is something that anyone can choose to be. If it is true, that there is no important distinction between men and women, then the whole Commission on the Status of Women should not even exist. The mindset being promoted is that we don’t need to look at the gifts and contributions of women to society, because it is not something that she was born with that defines her, it is simply another choice.

While I still believe in the strength of women, and their ability to stand strong and independent of others, I cannot say that I am a feminist. I cannot support an agenda or mindset that devalues women and their contributions to society; contributions in motherhood, sisterhood, and their unique talents and abilities that come from the sex they were born with.

Tashica Jacobson

Tashica Jacobson is a senior Marriage and Family studies major at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  She just completed an internship with United Families Utah working during the Utah Legislative session and then spent time at the UN in New York during the Commission on the Status of Women.  Tashica is from Idaho and comes from a large family of eight siblings.

 

What Can I Do?

In Abortion, Abstinence, Courts, Democracy, Diane Robertson, Education, Free Speech, Government, Marriage, Media, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Sex Education, UFI, Values on April 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

FreedomOfReligionL

Diane Robertson

There are many people out there that want to help with the fight against radical feminism, the sexualizing of children, and the destruction of religious freedom but do not know what to do. They do not even know where to begin.  If you are that person, you are not alone. Be assured, this fight needs every willing person. You can find your place.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Educate yourself and those around you. A good way to begin this education is to read daily news articles about family policy and law. Doing this will help you understand how the “sexual liberal” side thinks and will help increase your ability to form meaningful arguments. UFI has a great resource for this: World Family News. The Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse has some very educational articles. Mercator net  and Lifesitenews cover a variety of family policy issues worldwide. Alliance Defending Freedom and the Scotus Blog are good ways to keep track of what is happening in the United States courts concerning families and religious freedom.
  2. In order to help curb explicit sexual education, first learn what the term “comprehensive” sexual education means. Find out about the programs that are being promoted in your schools as well as your state laws on sexual education.  Any programs being promoted that come from Planned Parenthood or SEICUS should be considered a red flag.
  3. Review the curriculum being used in your schools.  Ask to be on any review board when a curriculum is being considered.  This may be either at a state or district level. Getting a team of mothers to read the text books being used in the schools will help you know what exactly is being presented. This will be a lot of work for one person. Finding a group of like-minded people can really help.
  4. Know when your state legislature is in session and know what bills the legislature will be considering. Each state has a legislative website which usually lists the bills as well as all the legislatures. Once you know what is being considered for laws in your area, lobby your legislature for or against bills that will help or hurt the family and religion. You can do this at home through phone calls and emails, or you can travel to your state capitol building. Ask your friends and family to do the same.
  5. Become familiar with already organized groups in your area. Get on their email lists. They will help you know when it is important to contact your state and federal senators and representatives. As you familiarize yourself with how legislation and laws work, you will find that there are other people in your state already organized and even on your team.

Currently United Families and other great organizations and people are working on ways to bring more like-minded people together to help in the fight for the family and religious freedom. As more resources become available, we will be sure to let you know what you can do. Everyone is needed.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Choices Include Marriage

In Cohabitation, Marriage on March 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

marriage and ringsStephanie Hubbard

Over the past four years I have lived the typical college lifestyle. I thrived on ramen and macaroni, pulled several all-nighters and amazingly functioned on little sleep. Not only did I endure the physical deprivations to my health, but also withstood the psychological stress associated with college life. Anyone who has gone to college understands the unhealthy lifestyle students embrace and the sacrifices made to gain an education.

So now I’m free. I’m free to develop the habits and skills needed to live a long and happy life. So where does one begin? Of course it is important to exercise, eat right, and develop healthy habits, but something that is important for our physical and psychological health is relationships. The quality of our relationships has a tremendous effect on our physical and psychological health; especially romantic ones. The path that most college graduates are following is the path of cohabitation. Almost half of college graduates cohabitate­­­­­­­­. You graduate from college, get your career, and want to settle down with somebody. Unfortunately a lot of young adults aren’t settling down the traditional way; they cohabitate rather than get married.

Research is now showing that marriage may be the answer to healthy living, as opposed to cohabitation. One study showed that married couples are healthier than cohabitating couples. These couples spent less time in the hospital, had better sleep patterns, a healthier BMI, and less psychological distress. Another study showed that when couples either divorced or became widowed, they had a decline in physical health. When we compare that to statistics showing that cohabitating couples have a 46 percent higher divorce risk than those that don’t, we find that cohabitation has a greater effect on heath than most realize.

When you graduate and start working in your dream job, you land on working there for a while; retire when you’re 65 and enjoy the next 20 years basking in the sun. Many college grads, and first-time business workers envy the elderly in their freedom and ability to relax. But maybe if we marry, we would actually extend our lives. Research has also shown that mortality rate is drastically affected by marriage. Single men have a 250 percent higher mortality rate than married men. Other facts show us that:

  • A married man who smokes more than a pack a day can expect to live as long as a divorced man who doesn’t smoke.
  • Unmarried people spend twice as much time in hospitals as married people.
  • Cancer cures are 8 to 17 percent more successful when a patient is married; research showed being married was comparable to being in an age category 10 years younger.

*Retrieved from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/family-health/understanding/benefits-of-tying-the-knot.aspx

We’re living in a world where people are overwhelmingly consumed with their appearance and the individual happiness. We want to pursue love, but not commit to love. Societal trends are teaching us that we can have the romantic benefits without the financial and emotional tie down if we just live together rather than say “I do.” But it seems that many people are avoiding the answer that may be the unexpected answer to our problems. We can’t ignore that the decline in health could be related to the lack of marriages in today’s country, nor the decline in overall happiness. When we tell our young people how to be successful and live a healthy life, instead of just focusing on the exercise and the eating right (which is important) maybe we need to emphasize the importance of pursuing and committing to healthy relationships.

Marriage certainly has its emotional and physical benefits, but that doesn’t mean marriage isn’t difficult and stressful. I, myself am not married, and I haven’t experienced the benefits marriage can have and how hard it can be. But when looking at the long-term benefits it seems to be worth it. College was hard, it was stressful, and I definitely wanted to give up a time or two, but the career will be worth it. Accomplishing and achieving hard things brings satisfaction. Taking the easy way doesn’t get you anywhere. Think about how hard it is to lose weight. I’ve never heard anyone say that losing weight was easy. Being and staying healthy isn’t easy! The things we do that are right and good are difficult, but when we develop the habits to do those things it gets easier. Instead of just living my life and taking the route of cohabitation (like most post-grads do), we might be better off making that commitment.

Good habits need to be developed when we are young. Just like eating right and obeying all the healthy living guidelines, I want to get married. Developing a good relationship is important with someone is important, but it is a better choice to marry them rather than just test the waters. We should encourage our youth to do the same. They are emerging from their adolescence with this idea that being self-centered is OK and that they should do the things that they want to do; that is what will make them happy. But maybe we need to point them in the direction of marriage, to look for a satisfying relationship that will enable them to be happier, live longer, and be more successful.

Stephanie Hubbard

 

Stephanie Hubbard is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho receiving her undergraduate degree in Marriage and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Development. She recently worked with United Families as an intern and hopes to make a difference in awareness and exposure to family life issues.

Kitchen in Every Home: How a Utah Case Stands Poised to Alter the Structure of Marriage Law in Every State

In Constitution, Courts, Defense of Marriage Act, Democracy, DOMA, Education, Families, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage, Sovereignty, Supreme Court, Values on March 21, 2014 at 7:59 am

PrintElise Ellsworth

On April 10, 2014, the 10th Circuit will hear the case Kitchen v. Herbert, a case challenging Utah’s Amendment 3 constitutional ban on the marriage of same-sex couples.  This follows the holding in the United States District Court for the District of Utah that found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  The holding in this case could affect the 31 U.S. states and the six Indian Nations (including the Navajo, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes) that have made laws prohibiting two persons of the same gender from marrying.  Past Supreme Court cases have not granted any state the power to tamper with state marriage amendments involving gender and marriage.

I. Loving v. Virginia

This Supreme Court case (1967) overturning a state anti-miscegenation law (making marriage illegal between persons of different races) is the most common one cited by supporters of same-sex marriage and by the District Court in the Kitchen case.  However, Loving was concerned with race, not gender and the Supreme Court made this a clear distinction in the following case of Baker v. Nelson.

II. Baker v. Nelson

In Baker v. Nelson (1972) the Court dismissed a case that claimed that federal constitutional rights were violated for two men who wanted to marry.  The Supreme Court distinguished its ruling in Baker from its ruling in Loving stating: “[I]n commonsense and in a constitutional sense, there is a clear distinction between restriction based merely upon race and one based upon the fundamental difference in sex.”  The Supreme Court finally dismissed the case “for want of a substantial federal question.”  In other words, the Court did not feel it could constitutionally pass judgment on a case clearly within the realm of state marriage law.

III. Hollingsworth v. Perry

                  Hollingsworth (2013) did not overturn Proposition 8 nor declare the proposition unconstitutional. Instead, the Supreme Court refused to make any holding in the Hollingsworth case for lack of standing by the petitioners in the case.  The petitioners in Hollingsworth were citizens who brought the case because elected officials who were supposed to defend state laws refused to do so.  However, because persons without standing (citizens and not elected officials) brought the case before the Supreme Court, the Court held that “we have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the Ninth Circuit.”

IV. Windsor v. United States

Windsor v United States (2013) again emphasized rights of states to enact their own marriage laws.  While the holding of Windsor was a bit perplexing (perhaps intentionally so), clearly federalism and the power of states to enact their own marriage laws were at the heart of the Court’s holding in the case.  In Windsor the Supreme Court found that “The significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning; for ‘when the Constitution was adopted the common understanding was that the domestic relations of husband and wife and parent and child were matters reserved to the States’ … Marriage laws may vary from State to State, but they are consistent within each State.”

Although Supreme Court justices surely and evidently had strong ideological leanings in the case, the actual holding in Windsor was a protection of New York’s marriage law and indeed, the marriage laws of each of the several states.  The Court found DOMA unconstitutional because of the law’s “unusual deviation from the tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage.”

V. A Long History of Supreme Court Cases Leaves Marriage Law for the States to Decide

The Constitution delegates certain powers to the federal government and leaves powers not enumerated therein to the states (Article I and Amendment 10).  There is no power to regulate family law or anything similar to it bestowed upon the federal government by the Constitution.  A long line of Supreme Court cases upholds the power of states in matters of family law.  The Federal District Court of Utah made a large departure from established precedent in its ruling in Kitchen.  As a Utah resident who supports traditional marriage and the Utah Constitutional provisions for marriage (Article I, Section 29 ) I would urge citizens of Utah to speak out in a well-reasoned manner about this issue.  The power to bestow marriage and to define its requirements should rest with the states.

Because I’m Happy!

In Families, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Values on March 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

happyRebecca Mallory

     Yes, despite the yucky stuff bombarding us each day, I AM happy! And since March 20, 2014 is the “International Day of Happiness”, what better subject to write about? You need to watch a great youTube video by Pharell Williams that is sure to make you smile. Just can’t listen to that song without jumping around, can you? Love that! I think I speak for almost everyone that being happy is better than being unhappy. Brilliant deduction, huh? My blog post in January was chock full of great ideas on how to make a mere 5% change to realize huge results in your desired goals. Anyone try that? 2% maybe? Easier said than done for sure. So why even try? I just got the current issue of “Live Happy” magazine. (Pick one up. It is such a huge shot in the arm!!) So get this.
    Positive people have more friends (duh), “tend to be more successful, live longer, have better connections with family and friends, miss less work and donate more.” (Live Happy, April 2014 pg. 9) Many of us think that something or someone “makes us happy”. Not true. We choose to make happiness a priority. We need to work on it; schedule it in to our daily lives. We choose to be happy regardless of our circumstances. Picture a couple of people that you absolutely love to be around. Though I’m not psychic, I’m pretty sure you didn’t pick someone who is always in a bad mood, whining about some crisis in their life, speaking disparagingly about a family member, or gossping about another person. People who are happy are like magnets to others because they’re fun. They lift us up. Are their lives perfect? No. Someone once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you handle it.” Don’t get me wrong. We all have trials and plain ol’ yucky days and it sure helps to unload on a trusted confidant. But you know the one I’m talking about – you see them calling and you don’t answer because you know you’re in for a marathon downer conversation 100% of the time. Dragsville!
Perhaps we need to redefine what happiness is to us. Many people love chocolate, an ooey gooey chick flick and 12 straight hours of “Downton Abby” whereas any of those would put me in a straight jacket. Happiness to me is 24/7 Fox News while sitting at my sewing machine with black licorice and a Diet Coke, working on a quilt or reading political non-fiction. Think I’m nuts?  Perhaps we’re confusing pleasure with happiness or lasting joy. “Happiness happens not where life is most pleasureable, but where life is most meaningful.” (LH April, 2014 pg. 33) That would certainly explain why many Hollywood types end up overdosing or shortening their own lives because they’re truly miserable. What? Didn’t they have all the stuff life could offer? Therein lies the key – “stuff” is not meaningful. Money certainly serves a purpose, but it does not bring happiness. Money can bring instant pleasure; I am an expert on this subject. However, it is very short-lived. The new dress is only new until I wear it. The new car only smells new until it doesn’t anymore… etc. Is there a more lasting reward with true happiness?
     For instance, I get on a stairmaster three days a week for an hour, or do an hour cycle class at 6:15 a.m. Both can be painful and tedious. Then why do I do it? Because the long term reward, or “striving for my potential”, brings me more happiness than the results of being sedentary. Can you say, “post-workout donut payment?”  Or consider this. My fourth daughter’s first baby was due last Saturday and she’s now going stir crazy; can’t sleep, can hardly walk, and is just done. The pain of child-bearing certainly is not pleasureable, but the joy and meaningful happiness of childbirth is unparalelled. (side note… She does get to park in the “Expectant Mother” parking space at Target which is both pleasureable and joyful!) Raising children is not always pleasureable, but the joy of rearing well-rounded and contributing members of a healthy society is beyond description. Joy and happiness personified! So even though I don’t like chocolate or Downton Abby, and you don’t like black licorice and Fox News, I think we can agree that nurturing relationships and being genuinely good to each other is what brings true happiness and joy. I heard someone express it this way, “We live among the weeds, but must take personal responsibility to rise above them emerging as the flower.”
     You might be thinking that this isn’t easy, and you would be right. So how can we experience more lasting happiness? Again, we need to practice. Start with those daily irritants that really bug: the person driving in front of you in slo-mo, ANY 5 minutes at the post office where, despite 6-8 stations, there’s never more than two clerks working! The checkout line with possibly the world’s slowest cashier, or you’re uncomfortably listening to a customer berate a poor little fast food employee because he forgot to put extra tomato on her burger. It’s embarrassing, right? These are the things you have control over, to simply… Favorite Frozen quote “Let it Go!” Try it for a week. You may just heal your own high blood pressure.
     Next time try this. You imagine and empathsize with what that slow driver could be experiencing. Or this could be that cashier’s first real day on the job. She’s petrified! Just like you were on your first day! Or you finally get to the window at the post office, and instead of making the most obvious comment about how understaffed and slow they are, blah, blah, blah, (like he doesn’t know that already!) Instead, thank the guy for his service, or you give that fast food kid a $5 tip just for putting up with that last jerk. Can you imagine the happiness ripple that would erupt if we all did that even just once a day?? Refuse to let yourself get uptight. Take a deep breath and do the Pharell Williams “Happy” dance in your head. Above all, remember that you’re not perfect either. And don’t you expect people to give you a break when you do dumb things? Ok….true confessions. Just yesterday, I had a physical therapist come to my house to work on my sore back. Then she worked on my husband’s shoulder which he shattered in a ski accident right before Christmas. While she was working on him, I ran to the grocery store to get a couple of things for dinner. Got in my car, opened the garage, put the car in reverse, BAM! Hit her car! Why was she right behind me? Why didn’t she park on the street? Why didn’t she say, “hey! I parked right behind you”? But most of all why the heck didn’t I glance in the rearview mirror for a split second?? But here’s the upside. My insurance rates will not go up, I have no prior record, my husband is the sweetest guy ever and didn’t scream and lecture like he could have, (funny how 35 years of marriage tends to diminish useless lectures that won’t change a darn thing!) and nobody died. Stupid move? Uh huh. But life happens. Deal with it and move on.

So remember the International Day of Happiness on March 20, 2014. Choose to be happy regardless of what happens. Make a list of random acts you can do to lighten the load of everyone around you. The great thing is….you’ll take pleasure in participating and feel lasting joy and happiness beyond your wildest dreams. You’ll benefit more than anyone you help. Cool, huh? So put on your dancing shoes, America! And join me because I’m happy!

 

My Latest Shower Debate

In AIDS, Child Development, Education, Euthanasia, Families, Health Care, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Pedophilia, Sanctity of Life, Values on March 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

shampooing hair-Holly Gardner

The internet and I have a love/hate thing going on.  It got me through junior high, high school, college, job hunting, Sunday lesson planning, worry-wart mothering, hobbies, genealogy, my Pinterest phase… I mean, I am an internet fan!  Good, wonderful, informative, uplifting, uniting, blessed things can come from the internet!  But the internet is also rich with things that A) I don’t want to know, B) I really don’t need to see, or C) are overwhelmingly useless in their contributions to humankind.  (I won’t go into the blatantly hurtful and evil corners of the internet; we’ll save that for other kinds of posts.)

Last week, I read a post on the internet that has been eating away at my stray thoughts.  It wasn’t awful.  As a matter of fact, at the time it was unnervingly…funny.  It took a few minutes for it to turn into one of the aforementioned useless contributions.

I’m talking about #firstworldproblems.   It’s a hashtag affixed to posts (twitter, instagram, facebook, etc) talking about any and all annoying things facing the first world masses.  Some are pretty clever, I must admit.  But after a simple twitter search, it wasn’t long before I was ticked.  Who were these ignorant people complaining about their too-short cell phone chargers and un-instant seat warmers!?  Didn’t they know there were people with real problems out there!?

So, while I was still good and angry, I did a little research.  I started with this video from Water Is Life, which would have brought me to tears if I hadn’t been so disgusted with my fellow suburbanites.  Then I remembered a resource I used often in my college micro-economics class: the CIA World Factbook.  Go ahead, take a gander.  I let my soap-box arsenal build—an easy feat when you look at world stats on access to drinking water, per capita GDP, percentage of children 5 years and younger who are underweight, population percentages below the poverty line, HIV rates, doctors/hospital beds per 1,000 people, child mortality, education levels… I could go on and on.

Next I made a mental list of all of the gut-wrenching things I had seen in my life, including the conditions and life stories of the children and people I met while doing humanitarian work in Mozambique.  The news feed on my phone contributed to my disgust as well.  There were people out there complaining about the long line at Starbucks and the Oscars outcomes when hundreds of millions of people (Syrians, Sudanese, Afghanis, North Koreans…) live in fear and violence.   I was armed and ready for an epic shower debate: you know, the kind that you have with imaginary opponents in your shampoo-frothy head as you practice for the day when you get to prove your point to the world!

Do you see where this is going?

It wasn’t long (I believe my hair was still wet) before I realized my mistake.  I hadn’t learned a thing.  I was so consumed with disappointment in others that I hadn’t once taken a moment to be grateful for my own blessings.  I’d read a twitter post saying “Ugh, my Lego Indiana Jones sticker came in the mail today, but it’s too cold outside to put it on my car. #firstworldproblems” and immediately think of how insensitive and ignorant this person was of the countless shivering children with not enough shelter, blankets, or fuel to keep them warm; or those who walk miles and miles without transportation; or the overwhelming numbers of families who don’t have enough money to eat let alone buy a sticker.  I was so busy with my shame on you’s, that I missed a great many opportunities to be thankful.  I had brought judgment into my heart instead of gratitude and awareness.  Shame on me.

I sat down.  I prayed.  I pondered.  Then I did another twitter search—this time, however, I had a new perspective.  These very same posts had gone from unnervingly funny, to useless contributions to humankind, to sources of gratitude and inspirations for service. 

I have a healthy body, a clear and working mind, an incredible husband and two beautiful kids, a graduate education, a home to live in, healthy food to eat, a working car and the ability to pay a mechanic when it’s not.  Because my daily struggles do not include worrying about where to get food for my children or whether or not violence will be a part of my day, I am in a position to help.

I can donate time, money, effort, and prayers.  I can see #firstworldproblems and take the time to learn from it, ponder it, and be aware of the struggles of others—and if possible, I can do something about it.

 There will still be times when I am a hypocrite.  Heaven knows there will be moments of judgmental weakness.  I am a flawed human.  But hopefully it won’t take me too long to remember this lesson.

Divorce Isn’t Declining; Marriages Are.

In Divorce, Marriage on March 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm

marriage not obsoleteMatt Carter

In our society we often follow what is going on in the lives of celebrities. From the fight that Justin Bieber had with a DJ to Miley Cyrus breaking up with Liam Hemsworth. There is something always happening with celebrities, and far too often it is celebrity couples getting divorced.  For example not too long ago we heard about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ending their six year marriage. Who would have ever thought those two would ever end it all. Back in 2005, Tom Cruise was jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s coach declaring his love for Katie Holmes; it seemed as if they were a match made in heaven. What happened?  It seems that these celebrity couples are madly in love and within years they are divorced.

Even though we constantly hear about these famous split ups, do they reflect the trends in society and are they impacting society as a whole?

According to the national vital statistics system in 2011 the United States divorce rate per 1,000 people was 3.6 . In 2000, the divorce rate per 1,000 people was 4.0. That only a .4 per 1,000 people difference looking at this eleven year time period, looking at these statistics divorce is declining in the nation.  However, we also need to look at how many people are getting married back in 2000 there was 8.2 marriages per 1,000 people; in 2011 per 1,000 people it was 6.8 marriages. That is total decrease of 1.4 per 1000 people in this eleven year time frame.

Looking at these statistics we can conclude that marriages are on a down ward trend. However divorces are not they are staying about the same it looks like they are declining only because marriages are.

As we look at the trend of divorce in society we can then ask, what is the impact of divorce on society?  A study that was done by Mark Rengnerus, called “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?”  Findings from the New Family Structures Study. This study is important because it looks at same sex marriages but also single parent homes and stepfamilies.  As we look at stepfamilies and single parent homes, we can say that most of the time they are in those situations because of divorce.

The  Mark Rengnerus study looks at families receiving welfare while growing up. Traditional two-parent families that received welfare growing up were 17 percent. Stepfamilies were 53 percent, and single parent families were 48 percent.  That jump signifies something important.  Those who have been divorced use a lot more of the government welfare services than intact biological families. Mark Renguerus also looks at those who are currently on public assistance. The percentage of those who are currently on public assistance is 10 percent for intact, first marriages, with 30 percent for stepfamilies and single-parent home.  Divorce clearly has implications for broader society as others are force to pick up the tab for family breakdown or for the failure to form families at all.

How do we decrease the amount of divorces in the nation?  The answer to that question is highly complex, but first we need to look within ourselves and decide, unequivocally, that we will not allow ourselves or our children to be part of the divorce statistics.  Educate others as to the harms of divorce and make a commitment to not accept divorce as “just the way it is.”  However we do it, it is clear that children, adults and society will be better off.

Matt Carter

 

 

Matthew Carter is from Lund, Nevada.  He is a senior at BYU-Idaho studying Marriage and family studies. His goal is to be a marriage and family therapist.

 

Work Cited

“National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013

 Renguerus, Mark. “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who  Have Same-  sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” Science Direct. Social Science Research, July 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2013

 

Godlessness and Destroying Families: the Fertile Soil for Totalitarianism

In Abortion, Cohabitation, Constitution, Courts, Divorce, father, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parental Rights, Pornography, Religious Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on February 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

shattered family-portraitMaddi Gillel

Why do weakened/destroyed families and the destruction of a belief in God allow a totalitarian government to flourish?  It tears down the walls of defense and strength that these institutions provide.   The following are some of the goals of Communism for the United States:

  • Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.  An American Communist cell was told to ‘eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms’.  Control art critics and directors of art museums.  “Our plan is to promote ugly repulsive, meaningless art.”
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as ‘normal, natural, healthy.’
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.’
  • Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies.  Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
  • Discredit the family as an institution.  Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.  Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents.  Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents. (The Naked Communist – W.C. Skousen)

Faith is a force from the heavens above, the belief that God’s word is more important than man’s.  Family is a force from the grass roots below, the belief that the fundamental unit of society is what makes up and controls all larger institutions.

When faith and family weaken, the middle institution of government swells – partly because of its inherent thirst for power, and partly to try to do the social jobs that family and religion are no longer doing.  If government is not balanced and held in check, it will expand and grow at the expense of individual freedom and independence.

The problem is that government, when compared to family or to religion, is horribly expensive and inefficient at handling social problems of welfare, justice and moral training.

This is why communist and socialist governments, and all totalitarian regimes, try to eliminate religion and undermine families.  Churches and synagogues are marginalized and eventually banned; and families are unfairly taxed or depleted.  The norms and personal priorities in such societies begin to shift away from responsibility and family focus and toward materialism and self-focus. People begin to abandon parenthood and family ideals in favor of more personal comfort and ‘freedom.’ Even in ‘free’ countries, the secular, materialistic abandonment of faith and family creates a ‘cult of the individual,’ where selfish options are valued more than commitment and sacrifice – and where we hear much about individual rights and individual freedom and being true to yourself but little about family rights and religious freedom.

This creates weaker rather than stronger people.  David Brooks of the New York Times put it this way: “People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want.  They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice – commitments to family, God, craft and country.”

We seem to have a lot of things backwards. We think that poverty and crime and drugs and bad public policy are destroying families.  We even hear that a natural traditional family is now a luxury that only the rich or highly educated can afford.  In fact, it is the decline of families and of faith that is creating poverty, crime, abuse, addiction and bad politics.  Solid family life, far from being a luxury, is the only way to survive and to help society survive.  (Richard and Linda Eyre – New York Times best-selling authors)

There will be many who are stunned that what they thought was a decision that only affected them, is playing right into America’s deadliest enemy. Such choices as abortion, childlessness, divorce, playing into the ‘plot’ to get children away from their mothers, fathers, preoccupation with materialism, etc.

Next blog:  Death by EPA; hiding place for Communism.

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