Saturday, June 6, 2009

"other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation"

In his recent Call for Contributions, Alan is seeking responses to the opinions of his friend Craig. Here's my take:

Craig says "...[the Proclamation on the Family's] entire purpose is to define marriage as between a man and a woman."

I read proclamation somewhat differently. I see it as a document that supports strong families, but not just one kind of strong family.

Yes, it says "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God..." but it does not say that other unions are invalid. For example we know that marriages between one man and multiple women are also viable on the other side of the veil.

The Proclamation on the Family speaks of many ideals. Yes, it certainly is ideal for a man and a woman to marry and rear children. No argument there.

But it clearly and directly acknowledges that this ideal is not always met because of a variety of reasons:

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

It doesn't say that other circumstances may cause problems but there's nothing that can be done. It says other circumstances may NECESSITATE individual adaptation.

That powerful, inclusive sentence is a loving acknowlegement that the ideals set forth in the proclamation are sometimes unavoidably mitgated (or is it aggravated, Alan?) by reality.

That single sentence makes is clear that the ideals set forth in the document are not always workable or possible.

More than 80 years ago when my grandmother was windowed as a young mother, her parents did not allow her to date. They believed that would be untrue to her Temple covenants with her first husband. Today she would not be so tightly constained. Today she could marry a second worthy husband in the Temple, but not for time and all eternity. The doctrine hasn't changed, but the intrepretation of it has. It didn't even require a revelation, just a change in attitude and, perhaps, church policy.

After the 1978 revelation, Bruce R. McConkie was questioned about his many strident statements against "the Negro." He said, in effect, forget what I said.

Fortunately we won't have to forget or set aside anything in the Proclamation on the Family if and when it is revealed that in addition to traditional marriage being ordained of God, "other circumstances" require indivdual and church-wide adaptation, and should be handled with as much love, accomodation and support as death or disability.