“Only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.” President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985)

After reading the material this week I thought it would be best for me to use the prompts to start the conversation for myself and others. 

  • Think about the community in which you were raised. What trends affecting marriage have you observed, as described in The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2012?

I grew up in a community of mixed religion. My family was larger than most (6 children) and most families were already on the decline of children (1-3 children per family). When I think before that if I were to ask my parents, there were larger families in their neighborhoods.  We had religion in our family; my parents are LDS converts, and most of our neighbors were Catholic, even if only in name.  I know most of my friends attended catechism and made their first communion.  Families on our street were pretty strong. One of the mom’s made the suggestion that because everyone had difficult names that the parents could be called by their first name – for example my parents were Mr Bob and Mrs Cathy instead of Mr and Mrs Santovin.  Our family name was relatively easy compared to Milenich, Svab, Shimko, and Krespo .. we had a lot of Polish and Slavic people in on our street.  I think the first time I encountered someone from a divorced family was probably somewhere between 1st and 3rd grade. And it was probably only like 1 or 2 children in the whole grade that I was aware of; this was about 1975-77.  Families were a priority for most people, and parent involvement was good, but not overwhelming like I think it is these days (Helicopter parents).  By the time I graduated High School (1989) divorce was becoming way more common and I would say, though not a large percentage, I think about 5-10% of our graduating class were from single parent households.  I am not sure how everyone dealt with it but we were definitely aware of it.  

  • What was the central idea of Amato’s article on divorce that stuck out to you personally? Are there specific life experiences you have had that affect the thoughts or insights you had from Amato’s article? Explain.

I like how Amato framed his article 

“My goal in this article is to inform this debate by addressing three questions.

First, how do children in households with only one biological parent differ in terms of their cognitive, social, and emotional well-being from children in households with both biological parents?

Second, what accounts for the observed differences between these two groups of children?

Third how might current policies to strengthen marriage, decrease divorce, and lower non-marital fertility affect the well- being of children in the United”

I grew up in what Amato would call the ” Discordant Two-Parent Families”  It wasn’t always that way, but when my dad suffered a heart attack and lost his job all at the same time (and we almost lost our house) things got rough.  My dad shut down. Communication was never good with the two of them and it just got worse. We made it through a lot of hard times but instead of coming out being positive the spin was usually in a more negative context. My mom clung to the Gospel and I am not sure what my dad clung to? It split our family in two. Half of my siblings leaving the church or having no respect for it and the others trying to cling to the ideas of our faith.  The fighting was there but it wasn’t the overwhelming tone of the house. There was was discord between siblings and parents and siblings and mostly because my siblings knew my parents were not united. This made it very hard to find support for positive ideas and actions which eventually lead me to leaving my house when I was 18-19 years old.  There is still a lot to sort out and come to peace with from how our family operated and I still struggle to know how or what roll I want my family in my life. 

  • In the quote from President Kimball, he stated, “ …only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.” What specific types of things will you do to ensure you preserve your family in the midst of gathering evil?

I struggle to remember to keep in the front of my mind the importance of family. Which has so much irony because I work with families and work to help them stay together and work together. I have some deep seated hurt about families stemming from my family situation and events that happened over the years. I am still working to “deeply and actively in the family” as President Kimball teaches us.  I am not sure which way I am going to go?  It is a journey that I am diving headfirst into and am still figuring it out. 

  • Suppose a person asked you about the Church’s position on divorce. How would you respond to the question based on counsel from Elder Oaks and Elder Faust?

I think two things that Elder Faust said are most important –

1. “I confess I do not claim the wisdom or authority to definitively state what is “just cause.” Only the parties to the marriage can determine this.” I really appreciate this statement for many reasons. I have always believed in the agency of mankind.  I respect President Faust so much for respecting it the same. He does give some really great advice which I have pondered many times in my lifetime. 

2. ” In my opinion, “just cause” should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being.”  I believe that most every difference can be worked out and people can learn to love each other again. I also support this statement because I don’t think anyone deserves to live in a place where there is a long term destruction of someone’s dignity. That is not a marriage, that is a prison. They need to be let go. 

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