by Elder L. Tom Perry
I had another conference talk in mind for today, but with the passing of Elder Perry yesterday, I was curious to know what his final teachings were. They were, of course, on the importance of marriage and family a common topic for Elder Perry.
Just last November, Elder Perry attended a colloquium on marriage. What's a colloquium? It's a fancy word for an academic conference or seminar (I had to look it up). At this colloquium, 14 different faiths from six of the seven continents were represented. They discussed the sanctity of marriage and the importance of families as the basic unit of society. What I found fascinating was that everyone in attendance, all these 14 different faiths, "agreed[d] completely with each other and express support for one another's beliefs on the sancitity of the institution of marriage and of the importance of families as the basic unit of society."
Why should marriage and family matter - everywhere?
Being married and having children makes us better - plain and simple. They make us happier, and bring more fulfillment into our lives than anything else.
Elder Perry quotes David Brooks a New York Times columnist who said:
"People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They're better of when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice - commitments to family, God, craft, and country."
It was good to hear that ". . .the solid majority of mankind still believes that marriage should be between one man and one woman. They believe in fidelity within marriage, and they believe in the marriage vows of 'in sickness and in health' and 'till death do us part.'"
"We need to remind ourselves once in a while. . .of the wonderfully reassuring and comforting fact that marriage and family are still the aspiration and ideal of most people and that we are not alone in those beliefs. It has never been more of a challenge to find a practical balance between employment, families, and personal needs than it is in our day. . ." (He totally gets it!)
That is why the Church does so much to help strengthen the family. Elder Perry continues,
"We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God himself established. We also want our voice to be heard in sustaining the joy and fulfillment that traditional families bring. . ."
As a Church, we have he blessing of knowing that families existed before this life and that they can go forward into the next life. "Marriage and family ties can continue beyond the grave-"
"We also believe that strong traditional families are not only the basic unit of a stable society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of values - but that they are also the basic units of eternity and of the kingdom and government of God."
"We believe that the organization and government of heaven will be built around families and extended families."
Reading that makes me realize the importance of building strong, healthy family relationships now.
". . .A committed marriage and family lifestyle is the most sensible, the most economical, and the happiest way to live." HAPPY being the keyword. Marriage and families are meant to bless us and make us happy.
Elder Perry closes his remarks by giving thanks to his family for making his own life so rich - wonderful last words for a man who would die less than two months later.