Thursday, May 10, 2012

My View on Marriage

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1905. From left to right: John Rex Winder, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Anthon Hendrik Lund. Public Domain; Courtesy Church History Collections, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Intellectual Reserves, Inc
The gentleman on the left is my third-great-grandfather John R Winder.  Born in England in 1821, he became the manager of a shoe store in Liverpool.  After joining the LDS Church in Liverpool, he arrived in Utah on October 10, 1853, exactly 99 years before his great-great granddaughter (and my mother) was born.

While in Utah, he engaged in several business ventures, including Winder Dairy, which still exists today (as Winder Farms).  Winder led the Nauvoo Legion against Johnson's Army in the Utah War, and served as Chairman of the "People's Party" while seeking to establish a two-party system of politics in Utah.  He also served as a delegate to serveral state Constitutional Conventions.

Winder was called to be the Second Counselor of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church in 1887.  As Second Counselor, he oversaw the completion of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple.  He was called to be the First Counselor in the First Presidency in 1901, a position he held until his death in 1910.

John Winder married Ellen Walters in 1845 in England.  He Married Tilda Jensen (my Third-Great Grandmother) in the President's Office in Salt Lake City in 1855.  In 1857, he married Elizabeth Parker in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.  In 1893, he married Maria Burnham.

That's right, John R Winder practiced marriage that went beyond "one man one woman."  When the government banned plural marriage in 1887, they were in the wrong.  Any attempts since then to define marriage are equally as wrong.

I believe that marriage is a religious ordinance.  As a religious ordinance, it is between men and women.  Much like I believe that baptism, another religious ordinance, is to be done by immersion, and the baptism should only be performed on people older than 8.  Should the State of Utah pass a constitutional amendment banning the baptism of infants, so as to preserve the sanctity of traditional baptism?  Should Massachusetts ban immersion?

And, if we are to regulate marriage, how far do we go?  I'm just waiting for Alabama to pass a law further "protecting traditional marriage" by ensuring that marriage for eternity (as practiced by Mormons) is banned.  After all, the tradition is "til death do we part" is it not?

The "Sanctity" of Marriage

If my friend John has been in a committed relationship for 9 years.  There is a lot more "sanctity" in that relationship than in my friend Sam's 18 month marriage.  Or my friend Tim's 8 month marriage.  Newt Gingrich has married two people who previously held the title of "mistress" before they were his wife.  Sorry, but "marriage," as it stands now, really means nothing.

But, if Gay Marriage were legal, The Church would have to perform gay marriages.

Well, that part is a complete lie.  A Baptist marrying a Catholic is legal, but it doesn't mean they are legally allowed to be married in the Temple.  In fact, I have many good friends who are both LDS that were not allowed to get married in the Temple.  So, to say the Church would have to start performing Gay Marriages is, well, being dishonest.

I'm confused, what is your position?

Well, marriage should be a religious institution, unregulated by the Government.  However, it has also become a civil contract entered into by two people and endorsed  by government.  And, as a civil contract, it should be open to any two adults who want to enter into the contract.

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