Monday, September 29, 2014

2 Great Granny's House We Go: A Hepworth Family Trip Memoir

Squire had his big Step II CS (clinical skills) exam to take up in L.A. this past week. We decided to make it a family trip so we could all spend a little time visiting with my Granny Shanks. The only problem was, our Jeep has been kind of having a lot of problems lately. The air conditioning? Yeah, it hasn't worked since I got back from visiting my family at the beginning of July.

*Speaking of which: Did I ever tell you all about that time I drove to Phoenix and back with two kids, by myself, huge, pregnant - in a Jeep with no air-conditioning in 110* degree weather? To buy a nice bunk bed for a great price? And how I (with help from the gal at the consignment store) took apart the bunk bed and tied it on top of the Jeep with my big pregnant belly and two children, ages 3 and 1? And all my granny knots kept the bunk bed attached to the top of the Jeep the whole time? And how I got us all home alive - with crazy 70mph wind-blown hair, but alive and happy nonetheless? We made sure to visit to the Mesa Temple Visitor center to cool off, enjoy a break, and to feel some peace on those sacred grounds before we made our way back to Tucson. I'm sure that contributed to the success of the day. But, I kind of consider that day one of my major life accomplishments at this point. It prepared me for what we did this last week . . .*

Yeah, we drove, to California - without air-conditioning. About an 8-9 hour drive with kidlets. With no air-conditioning.

Here is Squire preparing for that trip, the kids helping him fill the tires for the long drive . . .  


This time however, we were not unprepared! Haha! ;)

Like the routered edge on that high-class solid wood fan stand? :)
And these little ice pack pillow beauties I whipped up for the kids, to help them keep cool?
Now, not only were we prepared to face the lack-of air-conditioning. We were also able to get there and back without the car overheating, which it had done a couple of times recently. Long story short, the fan wasn't cooling the radiator. Squire did lots of stuff to fix the problem. Perhaps there is a problem with the computer in the car, or the temperature sensor, but the fan wasn't turning on on its own when the car was idling and due to time constraints, we couldn't fix the problem completely in time. So, Squire came up with this genius little fix - a manual switch inside the car to turn the fan on and off. The red-neck creativity of this switch and the fan stand, perhaps rival the "fix" of our hand-held immersion blender . . . but, it's a close call. You'll have to decide for yourself:
 


A red-neck solution it was, but work - it did! We got all the way to California and back with no car trouble.

But, let's get back to the beginning of our trip - and our absolutely adorable children:


Ready to embark with her ice pack:


Ready to go, too. Although, not really wanting me to be taking a picture of him:


The kids helped to wash our whole car with the window wipers at a gas station called, "Zip" on the way. Little did we know how appropriate the name of the establishment was. As we loaded our kids into the Jeep, we battled about 200 flies that were zipping all over the inside of our cozy space. I am not exaggerating about there being 200+ flies, either. We fought and flailed and shooed those little buggers out the windows for at least an hour. Note to self: Don't go to gas stations that are located right next to large cattle outfits. Oh, and don't leave your windows open at gas stations, either. :) Lesson painfully learned.


Lincoln, showing his little sister the ropes of car care:


At another gas station stop - Lincoln still smiling. He wanted me to take a picture of him:


And one with me, too - in all my sweaty glory. Love that boy's cheesy little face.


Lincoln and Atley did great on this leg of the trip. They especially loved the rolling roads leading into Palmdale, where my Granny lives.


Crazy, sweaty hair on a happy little girl!


We had a fantastic visit with Granny Shanks. My kids haven't seen their Great Granny Shanks since my sister's wedding last May - over a year ago! Atley is a bit stand-offish with people she doesn't know very well. She certainly gives no affection to us or anyone else who she doesn't want to. Which is alright with me! Though, it is a bit sad when we visit family members she doesn't know well, and she doesn't warm up with them in time to have (m)any nice close lovey moments. But, with Granny, she was different. She held Granny's hand to walk into her house from the moment she got out of the car, and was happy to be held, cuddled, tickled, and kissed the rest of the time, too! Gran called Atley her little pal. And she was! Lincoln loved seeing his Great Granny, too. They really enjoyed visiting with and being close to her.

Lincoln and Atley loved seeing Granny's Desert tortoises. They helped to feed them:


They watched them:



They blew bubbles near/on/all over them:


And so, they got to wash their shells:


Those tortoises, Max and Maxine, they were well-tortured loved during our visit. The two mornings we were there, they were up before six, staring into their little tortoise house, to see if they were awake. I'm pretty sure Lincoln also pulled up half of Granny's back lawn to feed them. Oh, kids.

While Squire was away taking his test, we went to a great little park near Granny's, to help Lincoln and Atley get their energy out. They had a great morning:



Gran even rode the slide with them:


They were very tired after their time at the park and lunch - they slept for 3 hours! Which was great. Gran had a HUGE tote full of family history documents: piles of amazing old photos, (auto)biographies of several ancestors, and a whole lot more. I was able to go through the box with her and get a messenger bag full of precious family documents that I am going to scan, transcribe, and make available to my family through email and www.familysearch.org. I felt like I was going through buried treasure, finding all of that stuff. Happy day! :) The project was so much work it gave Gran a headache, but I am grateful she stuck it out with me - I needed her help to identify many of the people in the photos, and we got a lot of work done together. Plus it was nice to be able to get some time with Gran all to myself while the kids were down.

When Squire got back from his 8 hour test (for which he left at 4:55am to beat L.A. traffic), Granny treated us to dinner at the Hometown Buffet. It was delicious. The kids enjoyed dinner, and playing Pat-a-Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider with Granny before they went down to bed for the night.





The next day we had a lazy morning with Gran, and packed up all our things. Gran treated us to Shakey's pizza and Mojos, because Squire had never had Shakey's before. Quite the shame - now finally put to rest. ;)

We got pictures with Gran on her famous porch swing before we left to go back to Tucson:



Squire wanted a picture with Granny - Twilight Zone style:


And true-to-life style:


I love my Gran. Isn't she just beautiful? She is one of my most favorite people in this world. She always makes me feel so loved and more centered on the things that matter most in life. I love spending time with her. I was so sad to go.


Squire took a shot of my pregnant belly - 34 weeks, 1 day in this photo. Baby is a comin' soon!


And Gran got a shot of our family: A little crazy - because that's just how things go with photo shoots with kids this age. They were done. :)



And they were done about three or four hours before our trip back to Tucson was complete. But we made it home safe and sound - with fewer flies (and a few more cries) than the leg up to California. All-in-all though, it was a wonderful visit. The only thing that could have made it better, would be for it to have been longer.

We love you, Granny! Thank you for the wonderful time!! We hope we can see you again soon!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Strengthening Family Ties in Safford, Arizona

This year, one of my maternal ancestors has been on my mind, BIG time! I mentioned her in this post a while back. Her name is Lena Hinde-Lide Libe Blumenthal - my great, great grandmother through my maternal line. Here is a photo of her (sorry, I can't make it any larger):


I've done some light searching for family members through www.familysearch.org the past couple of years. (Just so you know - you can research your own family tree for free at that link. It's pretty awesome!) But, I've had very little success in finding new ancestors to add to my tree - or in finding ancestors who needed their temple work done.** (See note below for further explanation if you're scratching your head at my lingo, here.)

But on Sunday, I finally had a breakthrough. But I'll get to that in a minute while I fill you in with this little semi-related tangent. On August 22, Squire and I celebrated our 6th Anniversary - by staying home together. Squire doted on me all day because I was sick and feeling pretty crummy. My friend who was going to babysit for us was also sick with the same crummy thing, so our careful planning which would have allowed us to be able to get out for a few hours alone, fell through. Squire and I talked about it, and decided we should plan a temple/family trip and use the anniversary money we had set aside for the trip instead. Squire had a big test to take (his Step II CK Exam), so we planned to go the day after his test was done.

Anyways, back to Sunday and my breakthrough. The Sunday before we were supposed to leave for our temple trip, I got the strong impression that I should try again to find some of my ancestors so that I would be able to bring their names to the temple and do their work for them. We were leaving Wednesday. It seemed a long shot - but hey - I just do what I'm told.

So I got on Family Search and started searching all around the ancestors who were related to Lena Blumenthal - the ancestor who has been on my mind all year. I was drawn to look at the children of her grandpa Aron Blumenthal and grandmother, Chaya. I saw her aunt - Roche, had a daughter, named, Ida Rivka Kanzor. Ida - my great, great grandmother's cousin! Ida needed ALL of her ordinances done! Talk about an exciting find! Shortly after I found Ida, I felt prompted to type her name into google. I did, and my search brought me to this site where I found out that Ida had a husband who wasn't listed - as well as 8 children. Many of those children, had spouses, and children - and parents-in-law. NONE of whom were listed in Family Search. ALL of them, needed temple work done! These records were complete with many photos of gravestones, links to census/social security index death records, newspaper articles, and even some photos of individuals. A genealogical gold mine! (or black hole as Squire calls it.) ;)  A black hole, because once you start plugging in names where there are open holes of research, you really can go on forever. So, I put Ida, her husband, children, and a handful of others in to the system and reserved their names for the temple work we would perform for them, before we left for our trip. I had to stop my entering my findings due to time constraints, but I was ECSTATIC! This was the first time I would ever be able to bring my ancestors names, who I researched and found on my own (well, with the help of the Spirit - let's give credit where credit is really due!), to the temple, in order to perform their ordinances for them!! Let's add a few more exclamation points in here!!!! I was really this excited!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

We stayed with the family Squire stayed with in Safford when he did his away rotation for rural family medicine this Summer - the Marble family. They are the parents of one of the other LDS med students at the U of A. They were so gracious in sharing their space - and offering their time to watch our kidlets so that we could go get some temple work done together, instead of in shifts.

On Wednesday afternoon, we went and got all the name cards printed up, and Squire and I went to the baptismal font to do baptisms for all my ancestors who needed baptisms and confirmations. Finding a jumpsuit to fit my 7 month pregnant belly was a bit of a task, but we we found one large enough. :) The spirit in the room was so strong. I felt overwhelming joy. Squire performed the baptisms and confirmations with me as proxy for 7 female ancestors of mine. And then Squire was then baptized and confirmed in behalf of 12 male ancestors of mine. The confirmations - usually performed in a separate room - were performed sitting in a chair, font-side, dripping wet. I loved that experience. I loved that my ancestors didn't have to wait even 20 more minutes to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! We were the only ones in the font room and we didn't have too many names, so they did it that way for us.  The man who performed the confirmations for Squire, got emotional and began to cry with the last man he confirmed - Homer Cox was his name. He said, "Brother Cox is here with us today. We've done work for some of our bretheren in Israel today." I smiled and felt the spirit confirm that what he said was true for the bretheren - as well as the sisters. Squire and I changed our clothes and decided to get all the initiatories for these same individuals done before we headed back to the Marble home. The spirit was thick and palpable in the air as I went through the ordinances for my sister ancestors. I couldn't keep the tears from flowing during most of the work. It was a beautiful, uplifting experience.     

After we got back to the Marble's home, we went out for a late dinner with our kids to Casa Mañana - a great little Mexican restaurant in town. We topped off our dinner with fried ice cream.

The next morning, we did a babysitting swap with one of the Marble's daughters and son-in-law who were there visiting with their two girls so they could go to the temple and do some work together, and we could, too. The picture below is of me, holding Ida's name card. I performed her Endowment ordinance that morning (a much lengthier process than the other ordinances.) Squire performed the Endowment ordinance for an ancestor through his Grandpa Hepworth's line - Clarence O. Pyles. We spent some time enjoying the peace and spirit of the Celestial room together.
Me (32 weeks pregnant) holding the temple ordinance card for my ancestor, Ida Rivka Kanzor.
The whole experience at the temple was just perfect. Now, a very special memory for Squire and me.
The temple - the best place to celebrate an anniversary. :) 6 years now, baby! Woohoo!
 This is the Gila Valley Temple (near Safford) in Central, Arizona where we performed all the temple work.
The Gila Valley Temple - in Central, Arizona.
That afternoon, after we had some lunch we decided to go swimming at a pond nearby - Cluff Pond #3. Apparently, somebody died there about a week before we went there!!!!! Squire conveniently decided to tell me that today, two days after our trip. He didn't want that little detail to dissuade me from swimming there. . . I'm glad he didn't. We ended up having a very nice afternoon swimming together as a family. Having that information would have creeped me out.
At Cluff Pond #3 with the fam - ready to go swimming on a nice warm day! Atley is making a stink face - a pretty cute one at that.
The water was perfect, the sun pleasantly warm with light cloud cover, the scenery picturesque. And we had the pond all to ourselves the whole time . . . (I wonder why!)  ;)
A beautiful view of the cattails, other plant life, and mountains. A perfect day for a swim.
 Heading back to the Marble home - being silly in the car:
Being a goon. Atley, after our swim, holding her Dinosaur "Eggggssss!" (Rocks.) She learned that one from her Big Brother, who insists on carrying a large collection of "eggs" around the house and in his pockets at all times.
Lincoln, trying to mess up all the pictures we were taking of him - got a cute one despite your efforts buddy!
One more picture of Squire and Me - together. Just how I like us to be.
We picked up a Little Caesar's pizza for dinner, and visited with the Marble's for a bit before heading back to Tucson.

This was truly an inspired trip - one that brought Squire and I closer to each other, to our children, and to our ancestors!  We most definitely will return again. Hopefully at least one more time before baby comes. :)

**For those not familiar with LDS terminology/doctrine, when I say I talk about my ancestor(s) needing their temple work done, I am referring to specific religious ordinances that we perform by proxy (or in behalf of) the dead, inside the temple. These include: baptism, confirmation, initiatory and endowment ordinances, as well as sealings to spouses and children. We believe that when Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) that He meant it! We perform these ordinances for our family members in the temple, and we believe that once they are performed, our ancestors can choose whether they will accept or reject the work that was performed in their behalf, and thereby continue their spiritual progression, which is halted in the spirit world if they have not had their work performed for them. They may also reject the ordinances performed in their behalf. It's all up to them. But by doing this work, we in our estimation, are extending a loving opportunity for our ancestors to follow Christ. It is a very special and sacred experience for us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be able to participate in this work. We believe that when the scriptures talk about Elijah the Prophet coming and turning "the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers . . ." and if He did not, "the whole Earth would be utterly wasted at (Christ's) coming." That this is a reference to genealogy work which enables us to perform sealing ordinances in behalf of our family members who have passed on. The Spirit of Elijah is catching not only amongst members of our faith, but people around the globe. I heard from our ward's (congregation's) Family History Consultant, that after pornography - family history research is the #2 researched thing on the web. I don't know how to confirm that, but if it's true - it's pretty awesome! (And would be more awesome if it bumped porn down from it's #1 spot. On a semi-related note - this is an awesome video of a man who was able to overcome his addiction to pornography, due to his getting in to family history work.) Today's technology is giving us the ability to do work for our families like never before. Today is an exciting time to live.










Saturday, September 6, 2014

Are You Prepared? Food Storage Calculator and Presentation Handout . . .

Hey bloggy friends! Tonight I gave a little presentation to a handful of people at church on food storage. I thought I'd share the handout from the evening here, as well as the food storage calculator that my husband made to assist those starting out their food storage journey. I hope you find it helpful!


You can find the handout to my presentation, here.


 Here is the link to the food storage calculator.

This is written unabashedly to an LDS audience, though I think you'll find that there is a lot of helpful information for everyone interested in this topic regardless of faith, because - we all need to eat, right?! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

True Disciples of Christ Defend the Doctrine of Traditional Marriage

"To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.” - Spencer W. Kimball (Full Talk)

I'm going to claim my glorious privilege as a woman in the winding up scenes on earth, today, by defending the doctrine of the family in this blog post.

Some misguided people declared yesterday that an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, is wrong when he said these things at a BYU Commencement speech this past week:

“Wherever we go, you and I as disciples of the Lord bear a solemn responsibility to proclaim the will of God to all people,” he said. “And one of the more demanding opportunities of our time is to stand up for the truth regarding the sacred nature of marriage.”
“Male and female are created for what they can do and become, together,” Elder Nelson said. “It takes a man and a woman to bring a child into the world. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Men and women are distinct and complementary. Children deserve a chance to grow up with both a mom and a dad.”

 

Well if Elder Nelson is wrong . . .

Then so is President Packer:
"One cannot degrade marriage without tarnishing other words as well, such words as boy, girl, manhood, womanhood, husband, wife, father, mother, baby, children, family, home." (Full talk)
"The single purpose of Lucifer is to oppose the great plan of happiness, to corrupt the purest, most beautiful and appealing experiences of life: romance, love, marriage, and parenthood. . .The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave." (Full talk)

And Elder Perry:
. . . I want to publicly profess my opposition to those who are so caught up in their own learning they believe with their enlightened minds they can change the laws of God. A consensus of mankind is not and never will be empowered to change these divine laws. . . these seemingly enlightened minds are trying to destroy the sacred institution of marriage with their erroneous doctrines and teachings. . . The union between husband and wife is sacred to the Lord, something not to be trifled with. The marriage covenant was essential to the Lord God to accomplish his mission and purposes for which he created the heavens and the earth. (Full talk)

And Elder Oaks:
"Because Satan desires that “all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Ne. 2:27), his most strenuous efforts are directed at encouraging those choices and actions that will thwart God’s plan for his children. He seeks to undermine the principle of individual accountability, to persuade us to misuse our sacred powers of procreation, to discourage marriage and childbearing by worthy men and women, and to confuse what it means to be male or female." (Full Talk)
Latter-day Saints understand that we should not be “of the world” or bound to “the tradition of men,” but like other followers of Christ, we sometimes find it difficult to separate ourselves from the world and its traditions. Some model themselves after worldly ways because, as Jesus said of some whom He taught, “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). These failures to follow Christ are too numerous and too sensitive to list here. They range all the way from worldly practices like political correctness and extremes in dress and grooming to deviations from basic values like the eternal nature and function of the family. (Full Talk)

And Elder Ballard:
" Brothers and sisters, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the proclamation to the world on the family, which was issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1995 (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). It was then and is now a clarion call to protect and strengthen families and a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit. . . Today I call upon members of the Church and on committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to this great proclamation [The Proclamation on the Family], to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s “title of liberty,” and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts. As we are all part of a family, the proclamation applies to everyone." (Full Talk)
"Let me say again that the family is the main target of evil’s attack and must therefore be the main point of our protection and defense. As I said once before, when you stop and think about it from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense to Satan. When he wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O and casseroles. When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family. It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception.
We need to remember Edmund Burke’s statement: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 6 We need to raise our voices with other concerned citizens throughout the world in opposition to current trends." (Full Talk)

And Elder Scott:
"The scriptures record, “And I, God, created man … ; male and female created I them.” This was done spiritually in your premortal existence when you lived in the presence of your Father in Heaven. Your gender existed before you came to earth. You elected to have this earth experience as part of His plan for you. The prophets call it “the plan of mercy,” the “eternal plan of deliverance,”  “the plan of salvation,” and, yes, “the great plan of happiness.” You were taught this plan before you came to earth and there rejoiced in the privilege of participating in it.
Obedience to the plan is a requisite for full happiness in this life and a continuation of eternal joy beyond the veil. Essential to His plan of happiness is agency—the right of personal choice. Also fundamental is the holy privilege of procreation to be exercised within the commitment of legal marriage. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. The family is ordained of God. As husband and wife, you have the responsibility to bear children and to nurture and train them spiritually, emotionally, and physically." (Full Talk)
"Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity." (Full Talk)

And Elder Hales:
"I wish to speak to all those who would like to know about eternal families and about families being forever. One year ago the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a proclamation to the world concerning the family. It summarizes eternal gospel principles that have been taught since the beginning of recorded history and even before the earth was created.
The doctrine of the family begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them. The Apostle Paul taught that God is the father of our spirits (see Heb. 12:9). From the proclamation we read, “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 proclamation also reiterates to the world 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” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102)." (Full Talk)

And Elder Holland:
". . . let’s be absolutely clear on what God wants for each of us. He wants us to have all of the blessings of eternal life. He wants us to become like Him. To help us do that, He has given us a plan. This plan is based on eternal truths and is not altered according to the social trends of the day.
At the heart of this plan is the begetting of children, one of the crucial reasons Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden (see 2 Nephi 2:19–25; Moses 5:10–12). They were commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Moses 2:28), and they chose to keep that commandment. We are to follow them in marrying and providing physical bodies for Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Obviously, a same-gender relationship is inconsistent with this plan.
For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful." (Full Talk)

". . . rather than redefining marriage and family as we see increasing numbers around us trying to do, our age ought to be reinforcing and exalting that which has been the backbone of civilization since the dawn of it." (Full Talk)

"No, we can’t do everything, but as the old saying goes, we can do something. And in answer to God’s call, the children of Israel are the ones to do it—not to flee Babylon this time but to attack it. Without being naive or Pollyannaish about it, we can live our religion so broadly and unfailingly that we find all kinds of opportunities to help families, bless neighbors, and protect others, including the rising generation." (Full Talk)

And Elder Bednar:
"After the earth was created, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden. Importantly, however, God said “it was not good that the man should be alone” (Moses 3:18; see also Genesis 2:18), and Eve became Adam’s wife and helpmeet. The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females was needed to enact the plan of happiness. “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other.
The means by which mortal life is created is divinely appointed. “The first commandment … God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force today. Thus, marriage between a man and a woman is the authorized channel through which premortal spirits enter mortality. Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred channel.
The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. Specific guidelines for the proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father’s plan. How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity." (Full Talk)

And Elder Cook:
"The need for civility in society has never been more important. The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes. It is not surprising that our public discourse has declined in equal measure with the breakdown of the family. The family is the foundation for love and for maintaining spirituality. The family promotes an atmosphere where religious observance can flourish. There is indeed “beauty all around when there’s love at home.” (Full talk)
"My challenge is that we join with people of all faiths who feel accountable to God in defending religious freedom so it can be a beacon for morality. We caution you to be civil and responsible as you defend religious liberty and moral values. We ask that you do this on the Internet and in your personal interactions in the neighborhoods and communities where you live. Be an active participant, not a silent observer." (Full talk)

And Elder Christofferson:
"Most sacred is a woman’s role in the creation of life. We know that our physical bodies have a divine origin and that we must experience both a physical birth and a spiritual rebirth to reach the highest realms in God’s celestial kingdom. Thus, women play an integral part (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) in God’s work and glory “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” As grandmothers, mothers, and role models, women have been the guardians of the wellspring of life, teaching each generation the importance of sexual purity—of chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. In this way, they have been a civilizing influence in society; they have brought out the best in men; they have perpetuated wholesome environments in which to raise secure and healthy children." (Full Talk)
"In large measure, true manhood is defined in our relationship to women. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have given us the ideal to pursue in these words: '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. … 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.'" (Full Talk)
 
And Elder Anderson:
"As the world slips away from the Lord’s law of chastity, we do not. President Monson said: “The Savior of mankind described Himself as being in the world but not of the world. We also can be in the world but not of the world as we reject false concepts and false teachings and remain true to that which God has commanded.”8
While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman—Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven.9
Why do we continue to talk about this? As Paul said, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”10 As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to teach our Creator’s plan for His children and to warn of the consequences of disregarding His commandments." (Full Talk)

And President Uchtdorf:
See this speech where he discusses and defend the Proclamation on the Family at a conference on the family.

And President Eyring:
Referring to the Family Proclamation, President Eyring said, “Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those proclaiming it are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators,” he says. “All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ (D&C 1:38).” (Full Talk)

And President Monson:
"We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families. At times television and movies portray worldly and immoral heroes and heroines and attempt to hold up as role models some actors and actresses whose lives are anything but exemplary. Why should we follow a blind guide? Radios blare forth much denigrating music with blatant lyrics, dangerous invitations, and descriptions of almost every type of evil imaginable.
We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families." (Full Talk)

This talk from the Worldwide Leadership Training on the Family.


And General Relief Society President Sister Burton:
"The priesthood of God is a sacred trust given to bless men, women, and children so we can return as families to live eternally together in God’s presence." (Full Talk)
” Help wanted: covenant keepers to stand firm for truth and right. Help wanted: true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ." (Full Talk)

And General Young Woman's President Sister Oscarson:
"True conversion is more than merely having a knowledge of gospel principles and implies even more than just having a testimony of those principles. It is possible to have a testimony of the gospel without living it. Being truly converted means we are acting upon what we believe and allowing it to create “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts.”3 In the booklet True to the Faith, we learn that “conversion is a process, not an event. You become converted as a result of … righteous efforts to follow the Savior.”4 It takes time, effort, and work. My great-great-grandmother had a strong conviction that the gospel was more important for her children than all that the world had to offer in the way of wealth and comfort because she had sacrificed, endured, and lived the gospel. Her conversion came through living the principles of the gospel and sacrificing for them.
We have to go through that same process if we want to gain that same kind of commitment. The Savior taught, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”5 Sometimes we try to do it backward. For example, we may take this approach: I will be happy to live the law of tithing, but first I need to know that it’s true. Maybe we even pray to gain a testimony of the law of tithing and hope the Lord will bless us with that testimony before we have ever filled out a tithing slip. It just doesn’t work that way. The Lord expects us to exercise faith. We have to consistently pay a full and honest tithe in order to gain a testimony of tithing. This same pattern applies to all the principles of the gospel, whether it is the law of chastity, the principle of modesty, the Word of Wisdom, or the law of the fast." (Full Talk)

And General Primary President Sister Wixom:
"Tonight we gather together all over the world as His disciples, with a desire to defend and sustain the kingdom of God. We are daughters of our Heavenly Father. We are covenant-making women of all ages walking the path of mortality back to His presence. Keeping covenants protects us, prepares us, and empowers us." (Full Talk)

And former General Relief Society President Sister Beck:
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (vv. 1–3).

How early did the Prophet Joseph Smith understand that this was going to be a theology about the family? He understood it when he was 17 and he began to be taught. What are the promises made to the fathers? Who were the fathers? The fathers were Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah—those ancient prophets who understood the doctrine of eternal families. The promises of the children made to the fathers was that their hearts would turn to their fathers. Their hearts would be turned to the blessings of eternal life that they could have. This is talking about temple blessings—temple ordinances and covenants without which “the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.”

So, if we teach about what is in every section of the Doctrine and Covenants, if we teach so that our students know all the rivers in the Book of Mormon, if they can name all the prophets of the Old Testament, if they can describe to you the pioneer trek and the history of the Latter-day Saints in the restored times but they don’t understand the promises made to the fathers and their part in it, it is “utterly wasted.” I would submit that all of our teaching is utterly  wasted if they don’t understand the context that all of this is taught within.
The proclamation on the family was written to reinforce that. It reinforces the family being central to the Creator’s plan. Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for it. I’m not certain that everyone of the rising generation understands that with clarity." (Full Talk)

And former President Joseph Smith, Jr.:
“Marriage [is] an institution of heaven, instituted in the garden of Eden.” (Source)

And former President Brigham Young:
"The ordinance of sealing must be performed here [in the temple] … woman to man, and children to parents, etc, until the chain of generation is made perfect in the sealing ordinances back to Father Adam; hence, we have been commanded to gather ourselves together to come out of Babylon, and sanctify ourselves, and build up the Zion of our God, … until the earth is sanctified and prepared for the residence of God and angels (DBY, 407)."

And former President John Taylor:
"The gospel that we preach is the everlasting gospel; it reaches back into the eternities that are past; it exists in time and it stretches forward into the eternities to come, and everything connected with it is eternal. Our marriage relations, for instance, are eternal. Go to the sects of the day and you will find that time ends their marriage covenants; they have no idea of continuing their relations hereafter; they do not believe in anything of the kind. It is true there is a kind of natural principle in men that leads them to hope it may be so; but they know nothing about it. Our religion binds men and women for time and all eternity. This is the religion that Jesus taught—it had power to bind on earth and to bind in heaven, and it had power to loose on earth and to loose in heaven [see Matthew 16:19]. We believe in the same principles, and we expect, in the resurrection, that we shall associate with our wives and have our children sealed to us by the power of the holy priesthood, that they may be united with us worlds without end." (Source)

And former President Wilford Woodruff:
"When all the family are united together, they enjoy a heavenly spirit here on the earth. This is how it should be; for when a man in this Church takes unto himself a wife he expects to remain with her through all time and eternity. In the morning of the first resurrection he expects to have that wife and his children with him in a family organization, to remain in that condition forever and forever. What a glorious thought that is!" (Source)
And former President Lorenzo Snow:
Encourage marriage, … and impress upon [others] the sacredness of that relation and the obligation they are under to observe that great commandment which was given of God to our first parents, to multiply and replenish the earth [see Genesis 1:28]. This is all the more necessary, in view of the present tendency in the world to disregard that law and to dishonor the marriage covenant. It is saddening to note the frequency of divorces in the land and the growing inclination to look upon children as an encumbrance instead of as a precious heritage from the Lord.4
[The Lord] has shown us that if we are faithful we will associate with each other in an immortal and glorious state; that those connections formed here, that are of the most enduring character, shall exist in eternity.5
The associations that are formed here, will be possessed by [us] in the eternal worlds." (Source

And former President Joseph F. Smith:
"God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other.4
The lawful union of man and woman [is] the means through which they may realize their highest and holiest aspirations. To the Latter-day Saints, marriage is not designed by our heavenly Father to be merely an earthly union, but one that shall survive the vicissitudes of time, and endure for eternity, bestowing honor and joy in this world, glory and eternal lives in the worlds to come." (Source)

And former President Heber J. Grant:
Every father who loves the Gospel is ready and willing to go to the ends of the earth to preach it, and one of the greatest joys that any man can have is to be found in bringing souls to a knowledge of the truth. It ought to be a greater joy to us to train our children in the plan of salvation.7
Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: “Multiply and replenish the earth.” [Genesis 1:28.] He has repeated that command in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. He has restored to earth the authority for entering into that covenant, and has declared that it is the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife, and the only means by which the sacred family relationship may be carried beyond the grave and through eternity. He has declared that this eternal relationship may be created only by the ordinances which are administered in the holy temples of the Lord, and therefore that His people should marry only in His temple in accordance with such ordinances. (Source)


And former President George Albert Smith
"Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant. If in this life only had we hope, we would indeed be of all men most miserable [see 1 Corinthians 15:19]. The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven, and that this is but the beginning of a great and glorious kingdom that our Father has destined we shall inherit on the other side, fills us with hope and joy." (Source)

And former President David O. McKay:
Teach the young people that marriage is not merely a man-made institution, but that it is ordained of God, and is a sacred ceremony, and should receive their gravest consideration before they enter upon a contract that involves either happiness or misery for the rest of their lives. Marriage is not something which should be entered into lightly … or ended at the first little difficulty that might arise. The least young people can do is to approach it with honest intentions of building a home that will contribute to the bulwark of a noble society.4
 “Young men and young women who would live the happiest lives would do well to prepare themselves to be worthy of that form of marriage which God has ordained.”
Young people of both sexes should be taught the responsibilities and ideals of marriage so that they may realize that marriage involves obligation and is not an arrangement to be terminated at pleasure. They should be taught that pure love between the sexes is one of the noblest things on earth and the bearing and rearing of children the highest of all human duties. In this regard, it is the duty of parents to set an example in the home that children may see and absorb the sacredness of family life and the responsibility associated therewith." (Source)

And former President Joseph Fielding Smith:
This plan of salvation is family centered. … [It] is designed to enable us to create eternal family units of our own.28
Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will have the “continuation of the seeds forever.” They will live in the family relationship.29
We are taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ that the family organization will be, so far as celestial exaltation is concerned, one that is complete, an organization linked from father and mother and children of one generation to the father and mother and children of the next generation, and thus expanding and spreading out down to the end of time. (Source)


And former President Harold B. Lee:
"Let us consider the first marriage that was performed after the earth was organized. Adam, the first man, had been created as well as the beasts and fowls and every living thing upon the earth. We then find this recorded: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” After the Lord had formed Eve, he “brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18, 22–24.) … With the completion of that marriage the Lord commanded them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28.)
Here was a marriage performed by the Lord between two immortal beings, for until sin entered the world their bodies were not subject to death. He made them one, not merely for time, nor for any definite period; they were to be one throughout the eternal ages. … If you have carefully followed an explanation of this first marriage, you are prepared to understand the revelation given to the Church in our generation . . ." (Source)

And former President Spencer W. Kimball:
"Marriage, honorable marriage, is ordained of God. He decreed that the basic unit of society should be the home and the family, and we must be warned that the false culture of the day is turning away from this God-ordained plan. …To offset and neutralize the evil teachings in the media and on the cameras and in the show and on the street, we must teach marriage, proper marriage, eternal marriage." (Source)

And former President Ezra Taft Benson:
"Marriage is the rock foundation, the cornerstone, of civilization. No nation will ever rise above its homes. Marriage and family life are ordained of God. In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. God holds parents responsible for their stewardship in rearing their family. It is a most sacred responsibility. Today we are aware of great problems in our society. The most obvious are sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drug abuse, alcoholism, vandalism, pornography, and violence. These grave problems are symptoms of failure in the home—the disregarding of principles and practices established by God in the very beginning." (Full Talk)

And former President Howard W. Hunter:
"There is no more powerful principle of life to promote love, forbearance, and devotion in the home than that of eternal marriage. Good adjustment and performance in adult life depend largely on the quality of home life. The principle of eternal marriage is a most powerful stabilizing influence in promoting the kind of home needed to rear children who are happy and well adjusted. No church lays greater emphasis on producing a close, cohesive family life." (Full Talk)

And former President Gordon B. Hinckley (and all the apostles/prophets who signed this document):
“With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.”1 Then he read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” This was the first time the proclamation was read publicly. (Full Talk)

And the Doctrine and Covenants (please note that the scriptures shared are by no means an exhaustive list):
Sections 2, 49:15-17, 131, 132

And the Pearl of Great Price:

And the Book of Mormon:

And the Old Testament:

And the New Testament:

And Jesus:
Matthew 22:23-33 and Luke 20:27-38 (worldly marriages only last for time - not for eternity), the scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants are direct quotes from Christ as well.

And Heavenly Father:

"And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him." (Moses 3:18)
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Contrary to popular belief of many well-intentioned but misguided folks  these days, the doctrine on the family as explained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, is not some new-fangled policy implementation for our day, but it is an essential and fundamental doctrine directly from God that has always existed! It is special in that it explains with much more clarity what could only be discerned from the scriptural cannon with much careful study and prayer. But I digress. . .

If Elder Nelson is wrong, then so are all the other witnesses who have testified of the truths contained within it, including all the prophets, Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father Himself.

But they are not wrong. None of them are wrong. Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God. It has always been so, and will always continue to be so, here and throughout eternity.

A true disciple of any individual, makes it his or her goal to follow and share the doctrines of the person to whom they consider themselves a disciple. As is clear to see from this post, we have myriad modern disciples who have testified of the truthfulness of this doctrine on the family, as well as those who bore their testimonies by the written word from the past

If we are unsure about this doctrine or any other thing, we can bring these testimonies to God and ask Him about the truthfulness of them. If we ask in faith and with trust in God, He will confirm them for us through His Holy Spirit. We don't have to be confused if we look to the correct sources for guidance.

We can choose to put our loyalties wherever we may, but as Elder Nelson beautifully and accurately spoke, true disciples of Jesus Christ defend the traditional family! Christ instructed His disciples, and all of us - that if we love Him, we are to feed His sheep. What do we feed them ? The Good, True word of God as taught by the Bread of Life Himself, and all His disciples throughout the ages. To be feeding Christ's sheep anything else, would surely be an act of giving them stones.

Have courage fellow disciples of Christ! If you are defending the eternal doctrine of the family as ordained and explained by God, you are fighting for the right side. You're gonna win in the end, too, by the way.:

“Principles which have been revealed,” President Wilford Woodruff said, “for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men … are principles you cannot annihilate. They are principles that no combination of men [or women] can destroy. They are principles that can never die. … They are beyond the reach of man to handle or to destroy. … It is not in the power of the whole world put together to destroy those principles. … Not one jot or tittle of these principles will ever be destroyed.”

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