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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended March 19, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 13Apr00

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. Evans.

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."


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