Updated: 7 days ago
I never imagined I’d get married or have a baby.
Now, it's my greatest source of joy.
I never prioritized the family life because my family’s example was far from inspiring, and society’s worse. I feared I’d be one of the 50% divorced, or 40% bringing a child into the world out of wedlock. I lived a fast life thinking I was free, unconsciously perpetuating the sins I resented.
I grew up in a contentious home. Not a day passed without heated debates concerning the kids, $, or the dog. My siblings and I were no strangers to dishes flying across the room or the belt used liberally as a way of discipline. At times, it seemed like the only reason my parents had kids was to clean the house, pull weeds, and buy Preparation H from the grocery store. Don't get me wrong. I love my parents, but their example was no motivation to get married or have a family of my own.
Outside of the home, America’s portrayal of sex and relationships in mainstream media is so confused. Sex is the sacred act that creates families, but in music, film and tv, it's all titties, fornication, and pornography. Wearing less to gain more attention. I remember being in 6th grade when Britney Spears' “Baby One More Time” hit the radio and all I can remember thinking was: “Hit me baby, one more time… What the hell does that mean? Should I, as a female, want to be hit?” Growing up in America, with our potent media, we've witnessed the relationships of 90210, American Pie, Gossip Girl and Riverdale normalizing fornication and desensitizing that which is sacred.
Sexuality is a life force. Sex is the act that creates life, and yet so many people are having sex with the deliberate intent to shut that down. Society’s normalization of fornication has led to an ever-increasing “partner” society that accepts all the responsibilities of living and sleeping together, yet somehow fears commitment. Make no qualms about it, fornication is a sin in the eyes of the Lord that kills motivation and weakens the foundation upon which to build a family.
“The family is the fundamental unit of society. It is the most important aspect of life throughout time and eternity.” - The Family: A Proclamation to the Earth
Our strongest impressions of the world come from our family. Our prejudices, musical tastes, understanding of relationships are all shaped within the walls of our own homes. Everything we learn in the home, we take and recreate in the world.
As much as I vowed to do good and be nothing like my parents, I was insane just like them. "Honor thy mother and father" was a difficult commandment to keep. How was I to honor people who didn't honor themselves? They'd say, "you need God" or "you need to do some serious soul searching." All that did was exactly the opposite. Their anger, gossip, and resentment trickled in my blood, bubbling bitter disdain towards them and increasing distance from God. The further I grew from God, the closer I delved into the world.
I moved out at the first opportunity and had a fall from grace time and time again. Unconsciously, I was creating problems that replicated the familiarity of home. All of my roommates were assigned "roles" formerly played by my family members. There was the brother that drank all the OJ. The sister that stole my makeup, and the hypocrite parents. At first the problems were small, but quickly escalated into a full blown shouting match over (I kid you not) the dog. That last one affected me. Home after home. Breakup after breakup. As much as I wanted to blame someone, I knew it was all me.
The Book of Mormon often mentions "the traditions of our fathers." Good if the traditions bring you closer to God (Alma 30), wicked if the traditions lead you away from God (Alma 23:3). Applying this to my family, I had inherited both good and wicked traditions and knew it was time to change.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
The more I delved into the teachings of Christ through the LDS Church, the more I recognized the importance of understanding our ancestors. Knowing them creates a deeper sense of why we are the way we are and how we can overcome difficult, inherent situations. Genealogy became the building block of my faith.
Latter Day Saints believe that families can be together forever. Sacred ordinances performed in the temple strengthen our bonds with past, present, and future generations. When we live for more than ourselves, life takes on greater meaning. Everything our ancestors did, they did it for us. They sacrificed their lives to bring us into the world and like Christ, they live on through our memories and expressions of them. It's up to us to come unto Christ and break the chains of any wicked traditions in our bloodline. We must forgive the things that need forgiving and heal our families throughout time and eternity.
"If ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel."
- 2 Nephi 31:13
Always is a good time to take upon the name of Christ and forgive. My family and I yelled and brawled with each other for 15 Years. We'd point fingers, hearts hardened, all quick to get offended. That ended 2 months before I was baptized. I am so incredibly grateful I can have a good relationship with them before it's too late. We can inch forward by our own accord or grow leaps and bounds with God. If Christ can forgive the men who crucified him, then we can forgive anyone for anything. All it takes is believing. No discord or abuse is worth festering knots in our bodies. When we forgive, we heal. We'll never control how people flow back at us, but we can control our innermost desires to do good. Our relationships are imperfect, but through God we can refine ourselves, humble our hearts, and experience the transformation that forgiveness brings.
The moment we listen to God, life changes for the better. We're motivated to make the best choices and are encouraged to treat ourselves and others with respect. We teach people how to treat us and when we treat ourselves with loving kindness, we find others who will do the same. “Our Father knew exactly what he was doing when he created us. He made us enough alike to love each other but enough different that we would need to unite our strengths and stewardships to create a whole. Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other. Thus, no marriage … is likely to reach its full potential until husbands and wives … work together in unity of purpose, respecting and relying upon each other’s strengths.” Sheri Dew.
In college, I attracted a nice, loving husband. A real companion that's a gift from God. “Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to him.” L. Whitney Clayton. “A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another.” -Gordon B. Hinckley. Unless we're working at it, we're working against it, searching for something else or hoping to fill the void. "None of us marry perfection. We marry potential." -Robert D. Hales.
Now, we have a beautiful baby boy who makes our lives amazing. He teaches us everything through his pure innocence. There is no greater joy than giving life to a human that is equally you and the person you love. “Fathers and mothers, your foremost responsibility is your family. By working together we can have the kind of home the Lord expects you to have. By showing love and consideration for one another and for your children, you can build a reservoir of spiritual strength that will never run dry.” -Spencer W. Kimball. The family is a worthwhile goal.
We're all family.
We are all brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of a Heavenly Mother and Father. We're here for a great purpose and with God, life is light. Family is the greatest source of joy.
“Family life is the best method for achieving happiness in this world, and it is a clear pattern given to us from the Lord about what is to be in the world next.” Spencer W. Kimball