Here is a progressive moment I’ll share with some “non” progressive thinkers this Sabbath day: “I think everyone should live together before they get married so they can see if it will work out before couples commit to marriage”, my friend said to me a few days ago.  We were talking about the success/failure of marriages within the Mormon culture to which we both belong, when suddenly this comment came out of her mouth.  I didn’t take much of a stand about how I really feel in regard to her statement because I didn’t want to offend her. Since I didn’t know or understand where she was coming from out of her life’s experiences, judging her belief may have proven fatal to our friendship.  Thank goodness I put my “progressive” pants on that day, because we are still friends and neighbors.

Like my friend, there are many people around the world who tend to believe differently than me about sex before marriage and co-habitation.  Most older generations married, stayed married and avoided divorce like the plague, until progressives started the sexual revolution.  How that came about may stem from teenagers being sick of seeing unhappy parents in a “dead-end” marriage and who were looking for peace, love and rock-n-roll? Whatever the reason, since that time, marriage has declined drastically.   People seem afraid of commitment and compromise which ironically, are espoused in marriage.

Marriage takes lifelong work and commitment and I would wager very few people entering within its bonds are equipped for such an endeavor….much like having children (no owner’s manual included…learn by the school of hard knocks).    No one wants to get a divorce with all of its hardship on all parties including legal ramifications.   Most Christian and many non-Christian religious advocates believe in marriage; however, now that religion is on the decline among progressives, traditional marriage may seem archaic. With all that said, and with all we see in our world today and the decline of the family, sexual diseases, sexual exploitation, pornography, sexual identity confusion, mental disorders (from sexual abuse), drugs/alcohol abuses, murder, suicide, corruption of governments, war, famine, pestilence and overall wickedness… our focus on progression really progressive?  Are we in a custody battle wherein progressives must go with one parent while the rest go with the other? Don’t we belong to the same human race family?  Isn’t there a far greater cry to attend in this world family than who is right or wrong?  Who is the source we look toward to find this answer?

“The doctrine and theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints literally start and end with family,” said Elder Ballard   I believe the traditional family is a fundamental pillar in the structure of humanity…but that is only my belief.  Just as my beliefs differ from those of my friend who is of my same religion, and many others around the globe, we must remain civil if we all want progression.  Time may prove that our indifference to our differences will limit or even deny individual rights, beliefs and religious freedom.

“Understanding that reasonable and sincere people may view marriage as only between people of the opposite gender, the public square must accommodate and religious freedom must protect such views,” he said. “Indeed, since religious beliefs can affect how believers view the very purpose of life, such views will inform how they interact with society.”

Compromise, he added, can seem difficult and distant in a time of “extremes.”

“We hear stories of people who have tried to be true to their standards, only to be accused of bigotry or intolerance or punished on a seemingly unreasonable scale,” he said.

Even amid the challenges, there is wide support for the Church’s view of traditional marriage. There can be no surrender in the defense of truth and values, he added.

“If those who oppose us are genuine in their commitment to the values of diversity and equality, we should be able to work together to find compassion and peace,” he said.

Elder Ballard said fellowship can exist between those who disagree.

“Just as we do not or should not shun family members with whom we disagree, we cannot and should not shun those who look or think or act differently than we do,” he said. “We demonstrate our best humanity when we show love and kindness to all of God’s children. We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.”  Elder Ballard defends Traditional family at World Conference of Families

I could sit here at my computer and spout off hundreds of reasons why the Traditional Family is, in my opinion, the best pillar for an honest and civil society wherein its inhabitants can compromise (successful marriages are good at and children learn from parents behaviors) on differences of opinion but would that be progressive?  Should we take a stand and defend what we believe to be the “best” way by bullying everyone else who doesn’t think like us, or do we allow everyone free agency to choose for himself what he deems right?  Isn’t that what a true progressive is?  Shouldn’t a progressive thinker be about compromise and the ability to overlook one’s differences and by espousing the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”15  even if it means people within or without our own religion?

I really like my friend, even to the point of giving her a haircut in the faculty bathroom during our lunch break.  I surely don’t want to “dis” our friendship just because she believes differently than me.  Given more time and not such a “hairy” situation, I would love to sit down with her to go over why she feels that way especially considering it is such a dichotomy from our traditional family beliefs.   We could share our thoughts and feelings about a very controversial subject matter in a civil manner and really come out ahead by learning from one another.  Perhaps we could come to some kind of compromise in our opinions.   Even if we don’t agree, we can amicably disagree while being kind and accepting… that is what I call progress!


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