I heard this quote a few weeks ago in sacrament meeting, and it really resonated with me about why the leadership of the church continues to teach the ideal of nuclear families, and husbands and wives with complementary duties as a complete team. Sometimes it feels a little insensitive. But the larger picture came into view with this perspective:
Elder Holland’s mother was a very good seamstress, she could just look at a picture of a shirt in a catalog and then sew a shirt that looked like it. But she wished for, and would have preferred, a pattern every time.
“We are bound to be in trouble if a shirt is made from a shirt that was made from a shirt. A mistake or two in the first product–inevitable without a pattern–gets repeated and exaggerated, intensified, more awkward, the more repetitions we make, until finally this thing I’m to wear to school just doesn’t fit.
“It is precisely because many don’t have, or perhaps have never even seen, that ideal, that we speak about what our Father in Heaven wishes for us in His eternal plan for His children.
“Please be assured we are fully aware of the many different circumstances that exist among our members. We love every one of you. We also realize that as more and more families are in disarray and as many cultural forces devalue marriage, children, and traditional family life, the General Authorities and general officers of the Church feel increased urgency to speak of ideals and gospel-centered principles. Otherwise, the moral drift which the world inevitably experiences could take us to a point where earnest people in and out of the Church are truly at sea when it comes to divine expectations in marriage and eternal family standards.”
Anytime I start thinking that the brethren aren’t saying something “correctly” in conference or anywhere else, I am limiting their influence and scope. These men aren’t just public speakers with a good story to share. They aren’t just representatives of the Church. The Prophet and Apostles are speaking, warning, and teaching to the whole world as the appointed messengers of God. This helps me gain the proper perspective. They are protecting and disseminating God’s truth. God will never apologize for His ways because they are right and true; and neither will they. Our execution of these pure ideals may be clumsy or incomplete, but at least we are trying to follow the pattern. At least we have a pattern.
General Conference is coming up in a mere 29 hours. Please tune in and listen to these messengers of God explain the pure, undiluted pattern for happiness and joy.