07 October 2013

Monday Musings: What our expectations should be

This is a companion post to this post. I discussed cultural expectations for gender.

When I said previously that I believe that our culture has incorrect expectations for gender, there were a myriad of things that I thought about discussing and didn't. A comment on that post helped me decide that I really should discuss some of those things.

I have an understanding of the expectations that God has for us, His children in our respective genders. The Family Proclamation (inspired by God) states, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

There are several implications in this statement for our society. One is that individuals who have decided that they were born in the 'wrong body,' are incorrect. They have clearly rejected one or several aspects of what they understand to be masculinity/femininity, but that doesn't mean that they were born in the wrong body or that they should alter it to be another gender. It really only means that they are unclear on what their gender identity means and what their purpose is. (Note: there are instances of females genetically being males, but their development in the womb didn't happen properly. There are ways to remedy that.)

Another implication from the previous quote is that each gender has a purpose unique to their gender! For more information on that, there were several messages in our most recent General Conference that addressed it, but I touched on it a little bit in my previous post. Both genders are meant to be in a family situation, and in that situation men are to provide for and protect their families, the women are the nurturers, and mother and father are to help one another with their respective roles. A myriad of different personalities/energies can be successful in these roles, and whether or not an individual fits the prevailing cultural expectations for their genders has no bearing on their ability to fulfill their divinely appointed roles.

As stated in The Family A Proclamation to the World, "Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan."  It also states that "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." It's been pretty well publicized that LDS leadership (and at least most of its membership) is opposed to 'same-sex marriage'. I'm not going to get into that topic right now - the first statement pretty clearly states why we're opposed.

The second statement has some pretty interesting implications that I want to talk about. If marriage should be between a man and a woman, and children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, it follows then that not only should children not be placed (adoption) in a situation with two fathers or two mothers, they also shouldn't be placed in a situation with only one parent. I'm thinking specifically of Hollywood people (the only example I'm aware of) who are single and adopt by themselves. Those children, however well meaning and wonderful their adoptive parent is, are being short-changed.

The proclamation is an inspired document and it describes what is ideal, what we should be aiming for, and what we should support (in terms of public policy). Life happens, and as individuals we only have control over our own choices. We may not have an opportunity to get married. We may not be eligible for marriage in this life because we have same-sex attraction and shouldn't act on it. We may not be successful in creating children if we do get married. We may not be able to keep our marriage together. No matter how active we are in helping to shape public policy, we may not be able to keep our laws aligned with God's laws and His plan for us. But we should always aim and fight for the ideal. We are also to love and treat kindly those who choose something other than the ideal. Regardless of whether or not we can achieve the ideal, there is a place in God's kingdom for all those who abide by God's laws and make and keep covenants with Him. And that is done on an individual basis.

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