Sunday, November 2, 2008

Proposition 102

Yesterday morning, I distributed material in our neighborhood for the proposition to change Arizona's constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

It is controversial in the world and in the church, since the church has been highly influential with the members for both volunteers and contributions.

Personally, I believe that the GLBT folks intent is to establish personal sexual identity and choice as an equivalent lifestyle to traditional marriage and relationships, to make it completely normal, eaning, that the world would have to deal with them with as little differentiation as they would between men and women, black and white, old and young, left handed and right handed, blond and brunette.

It will become a part of the schooling, the news, the popular culture. Those who take a contrary viewpoint will be even more vilified than at present, with legal consequences.

One only has to see how far the "left" has gone on feminism to imagine where this will go. Over the past 40 years, radical feminism has taken control of the debate and insists not just on "equality" but that there is NO DIFFERENCE between men and women. In order to establish this point, they have badgered women of every opinion to abandon their marriages, abandon their homes, and abandon their children, in pursuit of their own identity and fulfillment. They have demeaned the traditional contributions of women, even for those who continue to make that choice. They were not content until every woman and every institution validated their viewpoint

In another 40 years, we may see ALL sexual behavior defined as "normal", there being no difference or rightness placed in any choice. At that point, they will promote a full spectrum of sexual experimentation as a necessary part of normal development for every child, else how will they truly be free of the anachronistic labels of the past.

Saying such things in the world today gets you branded as a lunatic. They say, "We want no such thing. We only want our civil rights. We just want to be treated equally."

Some of you have heard me tell this story from my mission. Since this is meant as something of a journal, I'll tell it again here so that it is recorded forever.

As I began my second year in the Copenhagen Denmark Mission, I was transferred to Esbjerg, a fishing town on the southwest coast. Its fishing harbor looked a lot like Ballard's. I was transferred there as the junior companion to the District Leader, ostensibly so I could take his place at the next transfer.

Each Sunday we met with the Branch mission leader, Ole Petersen. Over the course of the next eight months, the following story about his 15 year old son played out.

I should explain first the nature of the European educational systems at the time, since they are so different from those in the U.S. Education is rationed because they do not have enough money to pour resources into kids that are not likely to use it and beyond what their own economy can use.

At the end of the 8th grade, as kids turn 14, they are tested. Those scoring in the top half get to stay in school. The bottom half are placed in apprenticeships to be service workers, building trades, farmers, etc.

At the end of 10th grade, as they turn 16, they are tested again. The top half go on to college prep and university. The bottom half go on to technical school to be secretaries, bookkeepers, etc. If you fail any class during this time, it is the same as failing the test.

The point is that by the time you get to go to your first dance, your whole life and career may be decided. That's a lot of pressure to put on 13 and 15 year olds. And the only way to undo it would be to pay for it yourself, and since they have a 53% tax rate, that is virtually impossible.

(In the end, I think we get to the same place in the US, but we maintain the sense of equal opportunity and access longer.)

At the beginning of his 10th grade, Ole's son was given the expectations for the health class. 50% of their grade would be based on a final paper. At the end of the year, they would go on a three day, two night trip. The students were to pair up. Boy and girl, boy and boy, girl and girl, it didn't matter. Their paper was to detail the experience. The assignment dealt with living together and sexual relations was a mandatory part of the assignment.

For the president of the teacher's quorum, this was terrifying. He knew he could not complete the assignment without breaking his covenants. He knew that to fail the assignment would alter his life forever.

We prayed often with Bro. Petersen and his family. We had a branch fast. During the year, Ole and his wife petitioned the school, but without success. Jan, his son, continued to plead with his instructor, also without success.

It was at that point that I was transferred to Skanderborg and then four months later released to return home.

Years later, Gayle and I went back to Denmark. Because I had spent more than a third of my mission in Esbjerg, I arranged for us to spend one of our Sundays there. We found a place in the back of the chapel. As the members came in, there were many that I knew and had a chance to chat with. After the meeting started, I noticed a young family several rows in front of us; beautiful young parents about 30 with four little tow heads.

At some point, I recognized the father as the teachers quorum president we had prayed so much over. After Sacrament Meeting, I made my way to him and asked the question that had to be asked. After learning that he had finished college and was working as an engineer, I asked, "So, what happened?"

Late in the year, with prayer and fasting continuing the entire time, Jan went one more time to his instructor to explain how important it was to him to keep his promise to be chaste until marriage. For the first time, his instructor seemed moved. He said he'd consider it. A few days later, he came back with a decision. The reason for requiring every student to have sex was because "you couldn't write a paper about sex without having any experience with sex." The instructor would allow Jan to write his paper about "choosing not to have sex" since abstinence could be considered a sexual experience.

You may draw your own lessons from this story. There are many. Fasting and prayer works. God will not forget those who keep their covenants.

But with respect to where this debate on marriage is going, I think I have already seen the future in Denmark 35 years ago.

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