Contract or Covenant

Covenant VS Contract
What is the difference?

Simple Definition of contract

  • : a legal agreement between people, companies, etc.

  • : a document on which the words of a contract are written

Definition of Covenant,

Sometimes denotes an agreement between persons (1 Sam. 23:18) or nations (1 Sam. 11:1); more often between God and man; but in this latter case it is important to notice that the two parties to the agreement do not stand in the relation of independent and equal contractors. God in His good pleasure fixes the terms, which man accepts. The same word is sometimes rendered “testament.”

 

gilbert-arizona-temple-wedding

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the doctrine of  marriage is an essential part of  the Father’s great plan of happiness.

In order for the children of God to progress, men and women need to enter into the sacred covenant of marriage. Both the man and the woman bring to the marriage relationship different, but equal contributions. The union of a man and a women establishes the divinely designed environment where children can be raised.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, “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.”

If marriage has bearing on our eternal destiny then it cannot be initiated by a simple contract, easily dissolved. The agreement, must be made by covenant. As stated above, God fixes the terms for this agreement.

Elder David A. Bednar taught, “The Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point in a covenant marriage relationship. As husband and wife are each drawn to the Lord, as they learn to serve and cherish one another, as they share life experiences and grow together and become one, and as they are blessed through the uniting of their distinctive natures, they begin to realize the fulfillment that our Heavenly Father desires for His children. Ultimate happiness, which is the very object of the Father’s plan, is received through the making and honoring of eternal marriage covenants.”

There are many challenges in life that can weaken the fibers of a marriage. Money problems, raising troubled teens, the death of a child, job relocations, issues with extended family, all have the potential to take a toll, unless the couple is committed to one another and to the covenant they made with God.

Any one of these problems in a contract marriage could send one or both parties in search of a divorce. Many think they can just get out of the marriage if things don’t go just the way they should. That attitude is the basis of a contract marriage. Easily begun easily ended.

An eternal marriage is a sacred covenant not only for time, but for all eternity. It is not a contract that can be ended when one decides they are done. Covenants are binding commitments that require sacrifice and righteousness.  In this world where the value of marriage, and even the definition of marriage continues to be corrupted, children need men and women; mothers and fathers who honor their marriage covenants.

Men and women need a companion that will honor them by honoring their covenants. Think of the world we would have if more marriages were honored and remain in effect for the duration of a couple’s lives. Those marriage, bound by the sealing powers, have the potential to be eternal.

 

For my own edification I put “Contract vs. Covenant Marriage” into a google search and found some very interesting blogs. Interestingly a couple of the ones that appealed most to me are not LDS. I am grateful to see other faiths embrace and teach the principle of a covenant marriage. For the most part we have a contract-oriented mindset about marriage that actually has the opposite benefit of what the term implies.

Here are a couple links to the ones that I enjoyed:

contract vs. covenant

why it matters

I would love to hear your thoughts and see the posts on this topic that inspire you to have a covenant marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

The Decision

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to be addressing controversial topics. Well..here we go

 

 supreme-court-clipart

Should a court of appeals change the historically sound definition of marriage?

 

Is it the right or the duty of a court of appeals to decide the future of a country’s marriage law? Can a small group of judges, forever adjust the anthropological pattern of the family to satisfy the few?  Is it even in their stewardship to make such a far-reaching, impactful decision?

Evidently, five judges believe that it is.

Fortunately, not all of the nine agreed. Justice Roberts made this comment in his dissenting opinion,

“This universal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is no historical coincidence. Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discovery, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of world history—and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship. See G. Quale, A History of Marriage Systems 2 (1988); cf. M. Cicero, De Officiis 57 (W. Miller transl. 1913) (“For since the reproductive instinct is by nature’s gift the common possession of all living creatures, the first bond of union is that between husband and wife; the next, that between parents and children; then we find one home, with everything in common.”)

This war on marriage is likely to be one of the longest battles humanity will ever see waged.  It will be decades – generations – before the ramifications of the change in the definition of marriage are fully realized. Those who think they are being offended or injured now will be woefully unable to make restitution to those who are truth the victims – the children.

The carnage of this war on family, on motherhood, fatherhood and on children’s development will be far reaching. As marriage is re-defined, so have they now re-defined parenthood and family.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse states, “The essential public reason for marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.” Morse goes on to say, “Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. This is justice for the child. Children have an interest in the stability of the parent’s union.”

All that makes perfect sense, still…It is not all there is…

As a defender of traditional marriage. It is my position there is also higher law and Lawgiver who has made a statement on what marriage is and what children deserve,

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

The role of a mother and a father in the lives and development of children is crucial. Laws cannot change this or minimize or build myths around this truth. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Having two adults in the home does not replace the importance of an active, participating mother and father. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony. Children are entitled to be reared by a father and a mother.

To re-quote Justice Roberts, Marriage “arose …to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship.” Marriage is also in place, because it is ordained of God. Families are a crucial unit not only of this society and of heavenly societies. Family is eternal in nature. To toss out our or re-structure it because 5 judges have allowed it, it wrong.

We need to recommit ourselves to our children. With more than 40% of children born outside of marriage, with courts deciding what marriage is, or what parents can now be – we are failing our own children.

I’ll wrap this up by sharing a link to Cathy Ruse ‘s video. She raises some excellent points that are worth considering.

I hope you will ask yourselves – “What do I want my children or my children’s children to gain from this crucial time in history?”

 

Why Marriage?

why-marriage-matters-graphic

In another class I took at BYU-Idaho, I was assigned to read an article entitled, “How We Lost the Plot” by Elder Bruce C. Hafen. In this article he addresses several of the whys marriage has declined as a valuable entity of our society. I remember saying in my mind, “Yes! that’s it”! as Elder Hafen outlined some of the causes. Issues like no-fault divorces and individual rights movements were discussed.  Elder Hafen was addressing an LDS audience, with like-minded beliefs in marriage values. His purpose was clear. He did not mince words.

On a blog, such as this, one attempts to be cautious not to rock the boat of social media in an effort to keep contention to a minimum. The topics I am assigned to address are not popular ones. In the years since Elder Hafen’s article, traditional marriage has declined even further in attitudes and doubt about the value of marriage.  It is my mission and purpose here on this blog to discuss why marriage is important. I will discuss issues that are not always popular. Most importantly, my purpose is to share my beliefs and my witness of the importance of marriage. I will also be writing from my LDS point of view. My views and opinions will align with the doctrines and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is my position that marriage is an ordinance established by God for the union of a man and a woman. Period!  While we may think we can adjust laws and long established values to suit our current societal trends, there will be a cost for doing so.

More than 30 years ago, a prophet of the Lord make the following statement:

” Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.”

– Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4.

 

It is my belief that we live now in the time President Kimball then foretold. Evil swirls around us. Families and marriages are being destroyed and re-defined in countless ways. It is my hope and prayer to stand as a voice of warning, issuing a call to arms, if you will, to defend marriage and the family as God has ordained.

 

A Deseret News version of “How We Lost the Plot” can be accessed here.

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage

salt-lake-temple-copy

 

Marriage: A socially acknowledged union or legal contract between two people, establishing certain rights and obligations between them and for children,in-laws and society in general. 

 

I will be taking my blog on another exploration of my thoughts, ideas, graphics, and articles as I explore the topic of marriage. According to the definition above, marriage is a union or legal contract by definition. In our current society, marriage has taken on many diverse ideas and positions. For me, I stand on the doctrine 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” (Hinckley, October 1995)

It is my position that marriage, as outlined above (between a man and a woman) matters, not just to me, but to people every where. Strong societies depend on the continuation of strong marriage laws and values.

To start off this discussion, I’d like to share a link to an address by LDS Apostle, Elder L. Tom Perry, given in April 2015. His message, like mine, is that marriage matters everywhere in the world.

“Why Marriage and Family Matter — Everywhere in the World”

 

 

 

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

FDREL 200 – The Eternal Family

Brigham Young University – Idaho

Capstone Assignment

by Joi

This blog represents my capstone assignment for my religion class this semester at BYU – Idaho. I’m excited to be taking a class that will be focusing on The Family: A Proclamation to the World. 

The Family

A Proclamation to the World

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

 

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.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, 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.

 

What is the proclamation?


Twenty years after the introduction to The Proclamation, prophets and apostles refer to the Proclamation as a A clarion call


Doctrines outlined in the proclamation apply just as much today as they did in 1995 when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued the document. The Proclamation reflects the doctrine on the family as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the Proclamation is  “a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit” (“What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest,” Oct. 2005 general conference).

As I have worked through each assignment this semester, focusing on the doctrines and teachings of this prophetic document, I have come to more fully appreciate the blessing of having a prophet upon the earth to warn and guide the children of God.  

The words in this document may offend some. To those who take these truths to be hard, I quote the Prophet Nephi, And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us (1 Nephi 16:3).  It is difficult for some to hear truth. The adversary has worked tirelessly to replace truth with lies that he might lead the children of God to destruction.

We live in a world where many want to live by their own ideas, rather than by the laws of God. It is my personal witness, that if an individual were to open their heart, and give this document careful consideration, the Spirit of truth will touch your heart and help you to gain your own witness of this prophetic document. 

 

 

 

UPDATE:  12/1/15   During my morning personal study, I reviewed this conference talk. Elder Martino was the visiting authority during a recent restructure of my local stake. He left my stake with a beautiful blessing and message during his visit. I was excited to hear him speak this past General Conference. I’m sharing his talk here, on this page, because the message in this address on finding answers, is helpful and applicable to anyone’s desire to know of the truthfulness of the words of The Proclamation.

The Importance of the Family Unit

20159eae1705b013ebc800ad895fe97eMy goal is to take each paragraph of the proclamation and devote a post to each principle. Before I begin delving in deeper to the document itself, I want to include a post about why we would even need a proclamation, or any letter for that matter on the family.

Three years before the proclamation was first delivered at the  1995 General Relief Society meeting, President Ezra Taft Benson wrote an article for a recurring section or our Church magazine; The First Presidency Message for July 1992 was entitled, “Salvation – A Family Affair”.

President Benson stated, “The family is the most effective place to instill lasting values in its members. Where family life is strong and based on principles and practices of the gospel of Jesus Christ, these problems do not as readily appear.”

What problems was he referring to?  President Benson answer’s that perfectly when he explained, “Because some parents have departed from the principles the Lord gave for happiness and success, many families throughout the world are undergoing great stress and trauma. Many parents have been enticed to abandon their responsibilities in the home to seek after an elusive “self-fulfillment.” Some have abdicated parental responsibilities for pursuit of material things, unwilling to postpone personal gratification in the interest of their children’s welfare.”

I was curious to see how the family is viewed outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A little internet search brought me to a New York Times article by one of my favorite authors, William Bennett.  In his article he stated, “The family is the nucleus of civilization and the basic social unit of society. Aristotle wrote that the family is nature’s established association for the supply of mankind’s everyday wants. Research clearly shows that the institution of the family is the first form of community and government and, as Michael Novak said, the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.” Bennett went on to say that “for a civilization to succeed, the family must succeed.”

You might find, if you read the article, there those who take issue with Bennett, but he certainly isn’t the only one to make this claim on the cruciality of the family unit. If time presented itself (and I hope it will one day), I’m sure I can provide statistics that are weightier.  For now, and for the purpose of this post, the family unit is the most important unit in the preservation of societies.

From the front cover of the World Family Organization:

“The Family is the basic unit of society and as such should be

strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support.  In different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the Family exist. The rights, capabilities and responsibilities of Family must be respected.”

Paragraph 1 & 2

“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.”

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

 The Family -- An Heritage of the Lord

It is a gift to me to know that we are all spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father.  I have no doubt of my origin and divine nature.  I know that we are all created in the image of this Father.  I know that my gender and yours was not a random chance. I have always been a girl and a daughter of God.  That will never change.

Tad R. Callister said made this impactful statement in an address at Brigham Young University,You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!”

 




Just as God created the earth as a place for you to live and gain experience, He created you. And gave you a body of flesh and blood in the likeness of His glorified body. In the Old Testament God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Jacob declared that he had seen God “face to face”(Genesis 32:30). Moses also spoke with God “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In the New Testament, when the resurrected Christ appeared to His Apostles, He told them, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Paragraph 3

Families Can Be Together Forever“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.’

During the course of my life I have met many people who are not members of my faith, but with whom I share one common dream — that of being with family in the next life.  In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this is a keystone doctrine.  Everything we do in the Church is in support of and for the family unit.

  Covenant Marriage  Elder Bruce C. Hafen, in a conference address in 1996 teaches about the difference between a contract marriage and a covenant marriage.  While some may question the validity of this old and out dated address, these principles are timeless laws and grounded in the eternal laws of God.  Elder Hafen taught,  ” When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other, to the community, and to God. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent.

(Here’s the link   to the whole address in case my embedded video does not work. )

Paragraphs 4, 5 & 6

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

In an address entitled, “Why Marriage, Why Family” Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught, A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive—the setting for the birth of children, who come in purity and innocence from God, and the environment for the learning and preparation they will need for a successful mortal life and eternal life in the world to come. A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults.

Why Marriage Why Family

I have had the privilege of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all my life.  I grew up being taught the value of motherhood. Of all the landmark events of life from primary to young women’s to a mission; motherhood was the period of time I looked most forward to. I’m grateful for parents and church leaders who helped prepare me for this sacred calling. No accomplishment in my life has brought more joy that being a mom.