Tag Archives: The Family

“Now with 100% More Context (as long as it supports my views)”

This will probably be the most political thing I’ve written on this blog. I’m not sure how I feel about that (I’m guessing it’ll be a one-off). Evidently I didn’t make enough people angry with my last post.

Either way, you’ve been warned.

Caution Tape

Speech Anger and Speech Anger Anger

A video surfaced of part of a stump speech our Campaigner-and-Chief gave on Halloween day. The video went viral and everyone lost their minds. Continue reading “Now with 100% More Context (as long as it supports my views)”

Sheepy Wolves and Wolfy Sheep

You can find Part 1 here. This post is really supplementary to that post, and should be read second.

In Part 1, I discussed my surprise at reading the blog of a Latter-day Saint criticizing Elder Russell M. Nelson’s commencement address comments on so-called same-sex marriage. It hurt me in the same way Michael Bay hurt me with his Transformers franchise – in both cases, I felt (perhaps unfairly) that I had been betrayed when certain expectations I had were not fulfilled.

And let me tell you, you can’t even measure that kind of hurt.

Location, Location, Location

The point I tried to really hit home in Part 1 was “This is about expectations.” I’m mixing it up here by emphasizing the other side of the same coin.

This is not about content, at least not directly. For the purposes of this discussion, content doesn’t really matter. It’s all “location, location, location.” Continue reading Sheepy Wolves and Wolfy Sheep

How I Was Betrayed By Michael Bay

Many of you have heard of the movie Dr. Strangelove. That movie’s full title goes like this – “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

Well, you can consider this post entitled “How I Was Betrayed By Michael Bay or: I’ve Had Enough of these Hipster Mormons They Make My Head Hurt Please Stop.”

Let’s talk about Michael Bay for a moment. Continue reading How I Was Betrayed By Michael Bay

The Principles Behind My Prop 8 Support

Yesterday, an appeals court upheld Judge Walker’s decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. This has caused both disappointment and celebration, depending on what side of the line you find yourself. My Facebook wall, perhaps like yours, was filled with a lot of both.

One Facebook friend of mine wrote,

“This is a very bad day for religious fanatics who want to legislate their hate.”

Another, himself a member of the LDS Church, wrote,

“We as a people are witnessing a terrible obesity rate, devastating unemployment, a never-before-seen national deficit, low education scores and somehow we are worried about dictating who can and cannot get married via Prop 8? Unless you are Jesus or Muhammad, don’t worry about it. Live and let live, or move to North Korea.”

I find such comments disappointing. This is not such a simple issue, and these straw man arguments leave far too much out. What’s more, this damning and demeaning rhetoric deliberately muddies the waters of understanding (“fanatics”? “North Korea”? “Hate”? Please). I would expect more of those who find “ignorance” so appalling.

I have thought carefully about this issue. Through this process, I myself have felt anxiety, angst, and discouragement from within; and I have encountered hate, prejudice, and aggression in practically every social circle to which I belong from without.

I have not come to a decision lightly, nor have I blindly followed the whims of my Church or political party. Despite what some may think, this was for me a cognitively active process. I have written on the subject, and I’ve even read the court decisions (who among you can say the same?).

What are the ultimate principles behind my decision?

Prophets on the Watchtower

In the song “I Believe” from the musical “The Book of Mormon”, Elder Price sings,

“And I believe that the current president of the Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God.”

One of the purposes of the song was to present beliefs of the LDS Church that are outlandish. Yet this belief is absolutely central to the Church and its’ teachings. There are few principles more important, and more unique, than the belief that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a man who speaks directly with God.

Why is this so important?

The Lord tells the parable,

“A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees;

“And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard….

“And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:44-45, 54).

You can watch a four minute video, “Watchman on the Tower”, below.

A story from Nephite history illustrates this principle. During a time when they were engaged in war with the Lamanites, the Nephite commander ordered that Nephite cities be fortified (Alma 50:1-6; see also Alma 53:3-4). In order to fortify their cities, they:

  • Dug heaps of earth
  • Built timbers on the ridges of earth
  • Built pickets on the timbers
  • Built towers to overlook the pickets
  • Put men in the towers

Those in the towers were able to see far into the horizon, warn their comrades in the event of an oncoming attack, and then direct the response to that attack. The rest of the men could then ready themselves for an enemy strike.

Do you have trouble seeing what is wrong with same-sex marriage? Perhaps. But, then again, you’re not in the tower. You’re in a ditch. Of course you can’t see the same things that the man in the tower can see.

What is it about the prophet that gives him vision? Why is he so special? Why can’t we each be our own “watchman”?

I’ve written about this subject in my post “Of Paradigms and Prophets”, and I suggest you read that in its’ entirety. Briefly, though, it is impossible to keep from, consciously or unconsciously, filtering out truth from reality around us. We each create paradigms – simplified and incomplete versions of reality that we use like maps – in order to help us process information faster and navigate our world better.

How can we know that some truth we’ve excluded is not an essential part of our paradigm map? In short, we can’t. That’s why a prophet is so important. He can teach us which elements we need in our paradigms, and which elements we don’t.

Why is the prophet the best source for this “map check”? It’s not because he inherently knows more than anyone else. He is imperfect, just like the rest of us. And yet he “talks directly to God”, and God (the only being who’s paradigm is equal with reality) teaches him what to, in turn, teach us.

Prophetic Council on the Family and Prop 8

In 1995, then president Gordon B. Hinckley presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. It highlighted the vital family values that our Church stands for, and called for members and citizens to support measures aimed at upholding the traditional family unit. This proclamation reads, in part,

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children….

“We warn that… the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

When Prop 8 was prepared as a ballot measure, the First Presidency, led by current president Thomas S. Monson, sent a letter to California congregations. It encouraged Latter-day Saints to do all that they could to support the measure. It read,

“Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families:

“In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.

“The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

“A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

“We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

Because “I believe that the current president of the Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God,” I follow his divinely inspired direction. I make this active choice based on my faith in this principle.

In my Facebook friend’s own words, I believe Jesus has worried about this, and he has directed his prophet to teach his Church what to do about it.

The “Hikers” on the Path to the Tree of Life

Not all Latter-day Saints agree with this position. Those that don’t, like my friend above, remind me of the vision of the Tree of Life.

An account of this vision is found in 1 Nephi 8. In the vision, countless men and women are making their way on the straight and narrow path towards the Tree of Life. We learn that the Tree is a representation of the love of God, and our journey along the path is a representation of our journey through life.

Though the goal of most travelers is the Tree of Life, there are a number of “hindrances”  make their journey difficult. One of these obstacles is a dense mist that makes it impossible to see the path. This mist is a representation of the temptations of the devil. In order to find their way, travelers need hold fast to an iron rod which follows the path. This iron rod is a representation of the word of God.

Another of these obstacles is a great and spacious building. It is across a river, and overlooks the path on which the hikers travel. This building, a representation of the wisdom and pride of the world, is filled with people pointing at and mocking those on the path.

If you read the entire account (which I hope you do), you eventually find four types hikers. I’d like to focus on just two.

The first group of hikers follows the path. They cling to the iron rod to avoid losing their way in the mists of darkness, and eventually come to the Tree and partake of the fruit. It feels their souls with joy, and is sweet above all that is sweet.

The second group of hikers is similar to the first. They also cling to the iron rod, and they also come to the Tree and partake of the fruit. Yet after the have partaken of the fruit, they feel ashamed. The taunts of those in the great and spacious building make them feel embarrassed, and they eventually leave the Tree. Some join those in the building, and others drown in the river as they attempt to cross it on their way to the building.

What is the difference between the first group and the second group? They both persevere through their journey, they both taste the fruit, and they both hear the taunts of those mocking from the great and spacious building. Yet the members of the first group give no heed to the taunts.

Latter-day Saints who disregard the teachings of the president and other leaders of the Church are like the second group of hikers. Though they have personally tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life, they lose focus and give heed to the wisdom of the world. Even if they make it to the great and spacious building, the end of that hindrance is clear – it falls, and great is the fall thereof.

Latter-day Saints and Proposition 8

Even though the principle of prophetic leadership is paramount in the rationale behind my choice, it is not the only factor. Instead of assaulting us as “religious fanatics,” become informed. It seems an appropriate duty of those who decry ignorance to not remain in ignorance themselves.

Keep in mind, becoming informed does not mean that you must agree with everything you learn. Still, it is important that you at least understand, whether or not you agree.

I’ve made it easier by providing hyperlinks below to resources you can use to lift yourselves out of ignorance. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, the author of many articles below, is especially suited to comment, as he has spent most of his life as an attorney, jurist, and legal professor.

Why not write on, or summarize this myself? First, it won’t stick unless you pay some price to learn the material. I’m not going to spoon feed you. And second, in the words of C. S. Lewis, “I got the impression that far more, and more talented, authors were already engaged in such controversial matters.” Elder Oaks, for example, is one of those more talented authors, and I commend his comments to you.

Same-Sex Attraction

  • Same-Gender Attraction – An interview with Church leaders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman on same-gender attraction

Religious Freedom

  • Elder Oaks at BYU-Idaho – A speech given to students at BYU-I about the importance of religious freedom, and how Latter-day Saints should act in regard to Prop 8.
  • Elder Oaks at Chapman University School of Law – A speech given at Chapman University about how essential religious freedom is to our nation (you can watch a video of his address below)

Official Church Statements

Elder Jensen Apologizes for… Prop 8?

The other day I came across an article on the website Mormon Matters by an author known on site as “johndehlin“.  The article was entitled “Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8”.  I’d link to it for you, but since then it has been removed because “virtually everyone” found it to be “totally objectionable” (there is now an “Undo” in it’s place).

Basically, the author was an idiot.

That may sound like a strong accusation, but I consider “idiot” generous.  The author was cunning and deceptive, “wresting” the words of a General Authority of the Church to fit his own self-righteous opinions (see 2 Peter 3:16 and Doctrine and Covenants 10:63).

I feel strongly about this.  Let me explain why.

Oh, the Insanity

Why did I have such a problem with the article?  There are three reasons.

Disunity in Church Leadership?

First, the title of the article is intentionally misleading.  It infers that Elder Jensen is apologizing for Prop. 8, or in other words, for the LDS Church’s involvement in supporting and passing the proposition.  This inference carries with it the claim that a General Authority of the Church would speak out publicly against the Prophet and Apostles that lead the Church, and that there is discord in Church leadership.

Certainly Church leaders disagree on occasion.  While this is a mostly conservative church, there are many political liberals.  In the past, one has even become a counselor in the First Presidency. What’s more, I can guarantee that the group of 15 men that I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, who come from such diverse backgrounds, do not agree on everything regardless of political preference.  And the hundreds of men who serve in the quorums of the Seventy come from even more diverse backgrounds and countries throughout the world.  This does not lead Church leaders to backbite publicly or lobby in order to garner support for their views.  The Church is led by Jesus Christ, and when decisions are made, leaders sustain those decisions.

Obscure Citations?

Second, the author used an obscure quote from an obscure stake conference that was little more than a sentence long.  It quoted Elder Jensen as saying, “As far as it is within my power to do so, I apologize.”  There was nothing more referencing what he was talking about other than the title of the article, so this quote reinforced the inference that Elder Jensen was acting contrary to Church leadership and apologizing for their involvement in Proposition 8.

Evidence this important should never be so obscure.  It should be well documented (that’s why we have General Conference) and multi-sourced (talks from multiple Church leaders, wide support in the scriptures, etc).

Biased, Unathoritative Sources?

Third, the remainder of the article was a forwarded e-mail or letter written by a (random) member that attended these meetings.  She had some fringe opinions of her own, and expressed her gratitude that at least some members of the leadership in the Church were admitting their error.

Perhaps the author of the article realized that his quote from Elder Jensen was obscure after all.  He might have thought that citing a lay church member with obvious bias would add strength to his position….  Unfortunately, it was just further perpetuation of the lie that started with the misleading article title.

Idiot.

What Elder Jensen Meant

Elder Jensen was not, in case there is any confusion, apologizing for the LDS doctrine of the family or the LDS support of Prop. 8.  For a much better description of what went on at that stake conference, see the document here by Carol Lynn Pearson.  It seems that Pearson may have biases of her own based on personal experience, but her account is much more balanced.

Elder Jensen had attended a meeting for members of the Church in the area who “continued to feel wounded in the aftermath of the Proposition 8 campaign.”  Many of those in attendance were those who, perhaps like Pearson, had personal experience with homosexuality within their families.  The involvement of the Church brought this issue very close to home, and the meeting gave them a chance to vent.

Pearson comments that after members at the meeting had been given a chance to speak,

“[Elder Jensen] said he had heard very clearly the pain that had been expressed and that “to the full extent of my capacity I say that I am sorry.””

But he also told them that the position of the Church will not change.  Personally, I don’t see how anyone could expect the Church position to change.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World makes the doctrine clear, as do the words of many Church leaders.  Life may be difficult for those with homosexual tendencies, or for those related to those with homosexual tendencies, but the Plan is not going to change, and the commandments are as applicable to them as they are to those faced with alcoholic tendencies, or those addicted to drugs or pornography, or those pre-disposed to violence, hatred, or ignorance.

But the wonderful message of the gospel is that the atonement is also just as applicable! Homosexuality may be something that some people have to live with, but the peace of God surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and the power of the atonement reaches everyone.

Fringe Opinions

I hope that you’re not missing my meaning.

I’m not out to get those who don’t fit some Utah cookie-cutter view of Mormonism (I’m from California, by the way, and I don’t really fit the Utah cookie-cutter, either).  I’m all about sharing opinions, even (and perhaps especially) fringe opinions.  I have some of my own, and I believe that sharing and discussing leads to greater universal understanding and edification. It’s so important to be able to ask questions.

But offering dishonest or manufactured information, intentionally misleading others, is wrong.  If you can’t back up your position logically and truthfully, then perhaps you need to spend a little more time thinking about it.  And if you don’t have time to think about or study your position, perhaps you’re best left out of the discussion.  In the words of W.K. Clifford,

“But,” says one, “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be necessary to make me in any degree a competent judge of certain questions, or even able to understand the nature of the arguments.” Then he should have no time to believe (“The Ethics of Belief,” found here).

Follow the Prophet

There will always be doctrines within the Church that will conflict with the personal opinion of someone, somewhere.  As the Church grows to include a variety of peoples and cultures, many will find that they have opinions or traditions that conflict with gospel principles.

Elder Holland, in one of my favorite General Conference addresses, addressed the thinking that the Church leaders are out of touch with society.  He’s had a stellar career both inside and outside of the Church, which is something to keep in mind as he references his personal and professional life.  He said,

“Some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.

“As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it” (Prophets in the Land Again).

I don’t have a gay brother or sister.  I’ve had very few gay friends.  But if I did, it would not change my desire to faithfully follow the prophet.  I sustain the Prophet and the Apostles as men who lead this Church through the inspiration of Jesus Christ.  It is his church, not theirs, and God will never permit any of them to lead the Church astray – “it’s not in the program” (See Official Declaration 1).  When they announce a position that I find contrary to my own, I hope to have the strength to follow them and live in greater accordance with the Savior’s gospel.

May we not, as members of the Church, mentally stone the current prophets while polishing the sepulchers of past prophets.

For further reading on this, another great article in addition to Jeffrey R. Holland’s address mentioned above is one written by Ezra Taft Benson called “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.”

Dreaming of Motherhood

“Do I have to give up my dreams to be a mommy, dad?”

A Lesson on Incredible Women

This was the question posed by a 9 year-old to her father, and “Dad” was telling us the story in Sunday School. We were going over the General Conference talk “LDS Women Are Incredible”, given by Elder Quentin L. Cook last April, and had come to the point of the talk about the importance of motherhood in God’s plan, according to the LDS Church.

And when I say “LDS Church,” I really mean “restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” Just thought I’d clear that up, seeing as how this can be a controversial subject, even among Latter-day Saints.

Anyway, we reach the portion of the lesson where Elder Cook discusses the role of motherhood, and this father raises his hand. He’s a university professor, and his wife also works as an adjunct professor. According to him, she seeks validation outside the home. Conversation’s about Ben-10 and successfully pooping on the toilet can get old after a while, he says, and so his wife has chosen to expend some effort in ventures outside the home. He thinks this is great, and was torn up inside when his 9 year-old came to him, heartbroken that she might have to give up her dream of saving animals in the African safari to be a mother. Of course, his comforting answer was “no”, and that was his testimony to each of us.

Give Up Our Dreams?

I was very troubled by this. It may seem innocent on the surface, but perhaps a few more examples will clarify why I was disturbed.

The Football Player

Let’s say I have a son one day who is an incredible football player (for some of you who know me, this may seem a bit far-fetched, but bare with me). He has a dream of going on to play college ball, and eventually of starting in the NFL. There’s just one problem. He’s almost 19, the age young LDS men are asked to go on a mission. This mission, for the sake of this thought-experiment, will effectually end his football career.

This son of mine comes to me in a huff and asks, “Does God expect me to give up my dream to serve a mission?”

And do you know what my answer would be? “Hell yeah.” Serving a mission is far more important that any short-lived sports career, no matter how fantastic.

The Perfect Career

Let’s say that I’m an adult (another far-fetched adage), approaching the pivotal decision of choosing a career. Let’s say that this dream career – perhaps for me it would be as an organizational consultant on people and change – will mean that I cannot fulfill my family responsibilities like I should. I would be traveling and away from home far too often. Yet this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I’m good at it, and I can make a difference doing it!

I go to God in a huff and ask, “Do you expect me to give up my dream to change diapers and read storybooks?”

And while I can’t speak for God, I imagine his answer could be paraphrased as “Hell yes.” It doesn’t matter if I wanted to be a museum curator, a marine biologist, or a musical genius; if my dream career took me too far from my wife and children, I would be expected to give it up.

Hugh B. Brown

Let’s say that there was a man named Hugh B. Brown, a member of the Canadian Army and a commander of a cavalry unit. He rose fairly quickly through the ranks, and had the opportunity to become a general. This certainly would fulfill a dream of his. And yet, when meeting with the officer deciding his promotion, he was told this:

“I’m sorry I cannot make the appointment. You are entitled to it. You have passed all the examinations. You have the seniority. You’ve been a good officer, but I can’t make the appointment. You are to return to Canada and become a training officer and a transport officer. Someone else will be made a general.”

Let’s say that the senior officer left the room, and this Hugh B. Brown sees on his file the words, in all caps, “THIS MAN IS A MORMON.” That for which he had been hoping for and praying for, for 10 years, suddenly slipped out of his fingers, and because of his religious affiliation.

Hugh B. Brown goes to God in a huff and says,

“How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done — that I should have done — that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?”

In reply, he hears,

“I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.”

In effect, Hugh B. Brown asked, “Do you expect me to give up my dream to be an active follower of Jesus Christ?”

And in effect, again God says, “Yes. That is what I expect.”

Being Obedient

What is the principle here?

When our dreams are in conflict with living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are expected to give those dreams up, regardless of what they are. We are expected to be obedient.

But the good news? Invariably, God rewards that sacrifice with something much better than we would have gotten had we decided to go our own way. In the story of Hugh B. Brown, God is the Gardener, and we are the currant bush. In the words of Isaiah, God is the Potter, and we are the clay. Either way, He knows what He’s doing.

The Commandment

Keeping the above principle in mind, let’s take a quick look at what prophets have taught regarding the importance of motherhood.

David O. McKay said,

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

Elder Cook, in the talk referenced above, said,

“No woman should ever feel the need to apologize or feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven’s plan (emphasis added).

And The Family: A Proclamation to the World says,

“By divine design… mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

What is the commandment? The commandment is that women can accomplish nothing of greater importance or worth than what they can accomplish in the lives of their own families, as wives and mothers. Because of this, modern prophets have counseled that, whenever possible, women should primarily focus on fulfilling this role.

What if they have dreams that conflict with this? We return to the question first posed by that 9 year-old. Does God expect them to give up their dreams just to be a mom?

Clearly, the answer is indeed “yes”.

The Exception

If we only recognize a few patterns in the gospel as a whole, one of those few should be that extremes are avoided. In the vast collection of “Thou Shalt”s and “Thou Shalt Not”s, there are very few cases where God does not allow for exceptions or individual adaptations. The admonitions above are anything but direction for women to be barefoot and pregnant all of their lives.

I’ll leave finding exceptions to you for the most part, but in this case, let’s take a look at what the Lord’s servants have told us.

In The Family, we’re told,

“Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.”

God isn’t interested in so strictly defining “other circumstances” for us. In fact, those other circumstances may very well include “the need to seek outside validation” by accepting a position as an adjunct professor. That’s not my position to judge. Elder Cook offers, “We should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people’s circumstances.”

In other words, I’m not this man’s home teacher, bishop, or stake president, and it’s not my place to judge his decision. And really, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not he and his wife have chosen to make an exception to the commandment stated above. My problem was how he made the exception the commandment.

The Caution

Still, we’re not just left with a “loophole”. We can’t just scream “Other circumstance!” and be okay.

Elder Cook cautions,

“Husbands and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions.”

In The Family, we’re told,

“Individuals who… fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”

We may decide that something like “the need for outside validation” justifies us to violate the counsel of multiple prophets. And we may be right! But we will be called to stand one day before God, and will have to defend that exception to Him. Do we consider the seriousness of that when we go against prophetic counsel? I would wager that, sometimes, we do not.

And so while I couldn’t care less about what this man and his wife decide to do with their lives, I care when he brings his exception into a Sunday School setting and preaches it like Church doctrine. I care when he infers that it’s okay to break commandments when our dreams are at stake.

That is just not the case.