Summarized by Joyce Feustel
Families must strive for ideals
Topeka KS Capital-Journal 17Mar00 D1
By John E. Christensen: Special to The Capital-Journal
TOPEKA, KANSAS -- This is a summary of a talk given by a member of
the LDS church, John E. Christensen, who serves in the stake
presidency of the Topeka Kansas Stake. He and his wife, Carol, former
president of Interfaith of Topeka, are the parents of one son and
seven daughters. They have lived in Topeka since 1979, where John is
library director and professor at Washburn University School of Law.
When asked why he wrote the article, Christensen said, "Because my
wife and I are striving to raise our family according to Christian
precepts, and because of the importance of marriage and family in LDS
culture, I agreed to address the topic 'What would Jesus say today
about marriage and family?' "
"An 1896 story published by Charles Sheldon titled "In His Steps,"
has influenced individual followers of Jesus and Christian
denominations including my own, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints." wrote Christensen, "Talks given at LDS General
Conferences have referenced this work and prominent church leaders
have acknowledged the personal impact of "In His Steps." In 1969, the
Sunday School published a study guide for adult classes titled "In
His Footsteps Today."
He added "The query "What would Jesus do?," which guided
thecharacters in Sheldon's story, can assist disciples today in
applying Jesus' teachings in everyday life. Some of the points
Christensen spoke of included:
Chastity and fidelity (see Matthew 5:27-28) which states in part: No
sex unless you are a man and woman, legally wedded husband and wife
and none before marriage. After marriage there should be no sexual
relations with anyone else.
On communication and mutual respect in marriage Christensen said:
"Marriage requires the giving and keeping of
confidences, the sharing of thoughts and feelings, unfailing respect
and understanding, and a frank and gentle communication."(see
Ephesians 5:25,33); also LDS author and General Authority Richard L.
Christensen used this point on priorities (see Matthew 6:19-21): "No
other success can compensate for failure in the home." (DavidO.
McKay) Bothfather and mother have a sacred duty to rear their
children in love and righteousness." Christensen also said "They
share these duties as equal partners. Careers, investments, sports,
television, Web surfing or other activities shouldn't be allowed to
displace the family in importance for either husband or wife.
On division of labor, Christensen sited 1 Timothy 5:8, and stated
"Ordinarily, fathers are responsible for providing the necessities of
life, and mothers are primarily responsible for nurturing their
children. Fathers should take the lead in ecclesiastical instruction
in the home and insure that family nights are consistently held."
He also stated that "If additional income is needed, women should
work inside the home. Husbands should share household chores with
their wives and see that the children do likewise."
Christensen suggested that to teach values to children we should see
Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Proverbs 22:6. He further stated "It is in the
laboratory of the home that children are taught (or not) about
tolerance, respect, loyalty, the rights and responsibilities of
citizenship; obedience to law, health and nutrition; charity and
service; the thrill of learning; the sanctity of sex; and the
importance of hard work.
Christensen's next point, that of continuing courtship in marriage
said, "Take time each day to communicate with your beloved. sharing.
Spend time together each week, away from the house,talking, planning,
expressing concern for their well-being."(see Matthew 7:12) He also
sited Psychologist Erich Fromm who defined love as "the active
concern for the life and growth of that which is loved."
On divorce (see Matthew 19:3-9) Christensen said, "Marriage is more
than a casual commitment of convenience. In a day when one-third of
all marriages end in divorce, we need reminding: "Marriage is for
'adults only' -- both of years, and maturity of attitude. "
Christensen went on to say that "It is necessary to forgive ourselves
and others in marriage and family life. We often fall short of Jesus'
injunction to be perfect. To forgive and forget offenses enables
imperfect people to grow and improve and exemplify unconditional
love. (See Matthew 5:48, 18:21,35)."
Mr. Christensen summarized his talk by saying, "These are some of
Christ's ideals for marriage and family living. If we find ourselves
lacking -- and we will - we shouldn't despair. Jesus didn't condemn
those who made poor choices. His method was to love, teach correct
principles, forgive and minister to those who needed help. We should
do the same."