The purpose of this blog is to create a place to provide resources that may help to strengthen marriages and families and to record and share my thoughts, impressions, feelings and knowledge about a broad spectrum of family topics and in exploring and learning more about family functions and the influence family life has on individuals and society. Topics include family relationships, family dynamics, gender, family science research, intimacy in marriage, same sex attraction, parenting, etc. I am excited to share what I am learning about the family and hope that readers will feel free to share as well that together we might strengthen, protect and defend the family as the fundamental unit of our society. ** Please look for the FHE Ideas at the end of certain posts to use as a resource for your families.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Understanding Same Sex Attraction
**Please Note:** This article and the links that follow will take a large amount of  your time to look over but it is well worth it and necessary to be more informed on this important topic.  Please share this with others and I would love your feedback!

In lieu of recent events that have taken place in our Federal Courts of Law... This topic is one that I believe is worth discussing and understanding.  There is much debate and struggle over this issue even among members of the Church.  Many are being deceived by what society, the media and our law makers are telling them.  Statements like "redefining marriage" and being "born that way" are among the most significant and important issues to really understand because these are the issues that have the greatest impact on our society and on the doctrine of the family.  If we believe that it is necessary and morally right to redefine marriage to include marriage between two people of the same gender than we are essentially seeking to reestablish God's eternal doctrine on the family according to ancient and modern day revelation.  "Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God" and "God has commanded that the powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."  (The Family Proclamation).  We cannot makes these changes in the laws or our land and not expect to have some very serious consequences on our nation and on the world. "We...warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets." (The Family Proclamation)
If we believe that people are "born" with same gender attraction then we lose the ability and desire to seek light, truth and healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ regarding this difficult and sensitive issue.  We know that "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal and eternal identity." We also know that men and women were commanded to "multiply and replenish the earth" and that is only possible with a man and a woman. It is so important for us as a society and as disciples of Jesus Christ to seek truth in this matter and the more knowledge and understanding we can gain the more we can help those who struggle with same sex attraction to reach their fullest potential.  We can't just assume that our government leaders and lawmakers are correct and the research they use to support their decisions is correct.  We must act for ourselves and seek light and truth.  Please take the time to read over the below research and discussions/videos on these important topics.
The assertion that was made based on a brief prepared and presented to the courts by the American Psychological Association first in March 2013 and then again this last year states "Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." (APA Brief, 2005,p. 15)  This brief has been used widely to change state and family law and was just currently presented to the Supreme Court to change federal law.  What is so very intriguing and also very sad is that there was also another brief presented to the court which examines the validity of the APA brief... and has found that the research used in the APA brief was far from being sound and did in fact have some very serious and large flaws.  This brief is not so widely used (not surprising) and not so well known and talked about in the media. Please take the time to review this....check out the highlighted parts... you will be amazed at the lack of good judgement and sound research that was used by the Supreme Court (Law making professionals) to make perhaps the most important decision in the history of our nation concerning the definition of marriage.  They made the wrong decision.
 Brief by Dr. Loren Marks

Keeping in mind all of the flaws contained in that research and the above assertion that was made by the APA based on seriously flawed research about children of homosexual parents... please take some time to review the New Family Structure Study (NFSS)... a comparative social science project led by Dr. Mark Regnerus of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin .  This is an amazing study and has been conducted using large random samples, control groups, and over the course of many years following children into adulthood.  There are some extremely helpful interactive tools on this website that make it really fast and easy to see the results they have found in their research.

This is a video:  Understanding Same Sex Attraction that takes a look at a professional counseling center's approach and beliefs about same sex attraction and how one can truly be helped to overcome this struggle if so desired.  (Currently there is a movement to change laws regarding and eradicate "reparative therapy or conversion therapy" which is therapy provided to individuals who struggle with same sex attraction and desire to change.  If this movement continues... which it most certainly will... think of the effect that will have on thousands of individuals who truly desire help and healing in their lives.)

This is a discussion between two Marriage and Family Therapists that sheds new light on the topic and introduces some of the research articles listed below...

The articles below are written by social psychologist Daryl J. Bem, Ph.D (Who actually identifies himself as Gay) and were published by the American Psychological Association. It is worth noting that Dr. Bem was NOT motivated by political agenda or any other agenda other than finding the truth.  Dr. Bem has formulated a theory based on this research showing that individuals are not "born gay" but rather through a process of socialization and often mis-treatments and other factors some individuals who are born with specific traits and personalities often begin to eroticize and sexualize the same gender during adolescence.  The amount of research, evidence and findings is compelling and well worth the time it takes to read over.
Exotic Becomes Erotic: A Developmental Theory of Sexual Orientation

Exotic Becomes Erotic: Explaining the Enigma of Sexual Orientation

Exotic Becomes Erotic: Interpreting the Biological Correlates of Sexual Orientation

These next articles are written by Dr. Dean Byrd who asserts some of the same research, information and theories of Darryl Bem but also adds his own research and findings.
Born That Way - Facts and Fiction about Homosexuality

Same Sex Attraction - Science, Research and Therapy

Great resource websites for anyone seeking help with and understanding of unwanted same sex attraction:
Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction

FHE Ideas:
With the guidance of the spirit, discuss with your families age appropriate concepts and thoughts and feelings about this sensitive and important topic and share any information from the above resources that you may feel prompted to share.
Read over the The Family: A Proclamation to the World and the Instruction Given to the Church Leaders and Members regarding Same Sex Marriage  and discuss the important doctrine of the family.  Also discuss how we should treat others with this struggle with love, kindness and respect just as Christ would treat them.  Help your family to understand that we can offer our help and support to those who desire to change.

Friday, July 10, 2015


"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God and be law abiding citizens wherever they live." (The Family Proclamation)

Parenting is perhaps the biggest challenge most of will face in this life.  However, it is necessary and it will bring the greatest rewards in our lives if we heed the counsel of the Lord and his prophets.  Pres. Brigham Young said this, "Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as their minds are prepared to receive it.  Chastening may be necessary at times, but parents should govern their children by faith rather than by the rod, leading them kindly by good example into all truth and holiness."

The biggest challenge for me in parenting is leading instead of driving.  It requires much patience to "lead" my children rather than force or "drive" them.  In D&C 121:36-37 it teaches us that righteous parenting emphasizes charity, gentleness, kindness, long-suffering, persuasion, and appropriate discipline in a warm and nurturing relationship.  The following are crucial elements for each child:

- Love, warmth and support
- Clear and reasonable expectations for competent behavior
- Limits and boundaries with some room for negotiation and compromise
- Reasoning and developmentally appropriate consequences and punishments for breaching established limits
- Opportunities to perform competently and make choices
- Absence of coercive, hostile forms of discipline, such as harsh physical punishment, love withdrawal, shaming, and inflicting guilt.
- Models of appropriate behavior consistent with self-control, positive values, and positive attitudes.

There are three main styles of parenting.  The first is Authoritative style...(not to be confused with authoritarian style which is the complete opposite) The above list are some of the characteristics of an authoritative style of parenting.  This style is the optimal style and fosters a positive  emotional connection with children, provides for regulation that places fair and consistent  limits on child behavior and allows for reasonable child autonomy in decision making.  The three main concepts in authoritative parenting are love, limits and lattitude.  (Hawkins p. 108)

The second style of parenting is permissive parenting.  "This is characterized by parents who overindulge children or neglect them by leaving them to their own devices.  This style includes a shirking of sacred parental responsibilities as parents fail to provide guidance and constraint when it is required for the child's good." (Hawkins p. 107)  Social science research suggests that children who are raised by permissive parents may have "greater difficulty respecting others, coping with frustration, delaying gratification for a greater goal, and following through with plans."  They tend to struggle in academics and are more defiant of authority, have a higher rate of adolescent sexual activity and drug and alcohol use. (Hawkins, p. 107)

The third style of parenting is the coercive style.  The coercive/hostile or "authoritarian" style of parenting is characterized by parents "who deride, demean or dimish children and teens by continually putting them in their place, putting them down, mocking them, or holding power over them via punitive or psychologically controlling means." (Hawkins, p.105)  This style of parenting has been linked to many forms of antisocial, withdrawn, and delinquent behaviors in children and teens.  It is also associated with high levels of anxiety and depression.  Pres. Brigham Young said "I will here say to parents, that kind words and loving actions toward children will subdue their uneducated nature a great deal better than the rod, or in other words, than physical punishment."  Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley echoed Pres. Young's words when he said, "I have never accepted the principle of 'spare the rod and spoil the child'... Children don't need beating.  They need love and encouragement."
There is much we can learn about good parenting.  Each child is unique and special and certainly there is no exact process or style that works best for each child.  Something that I am striving to learn is to follow the guidance of the spirit when i am interacting with my daughters in any setting.  This is not easy to do and it will be a long time before I master this concept... maybe in the next life but I know this is the only way to help them become who they truly are and who their Father in Heaven wants and needs them to be.  He knows them best and only He knows how to help them.

FHE Ideas:
Song:  Lead, Kindly Light (Hymn #97)

Discuss the different types of parenting styles and ask children to explain which style they think is closest to Heavenly Father's style of parenting.  Play a game and ask the children to be the parents for a time.  Discuss when its over what challenges they had when acting like the parents and what could they do better or different to help others be happy.
For Older Children:
Read or watch one of these conference talks and discuss the principles they teach.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families." (The Family Proclamation)

Much attention seems to be focused on Motherhood and the important role mothers play in their children's lives.  This, of course, is a most worthy and important topic that should be considered and explored in great detail.  However, it seems that the emphasis on motherhood sometimes makes us underestimate the importance of fatherhood and the very specific roles fathers play in the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being of their children. Elder L. Tom Perry said, Satan, in his carefully devised plan to destroy the family, seeks to diminish the role of fathers. Increased youth violence, youth crime, greater poverty and economic insecurity, and the failure of increasing numbers of children in our schools offer clear evidence of lack of a positive influence of fathers in the homes. 5 A family needs a father to anchor it...It appears to me that the crosshairs of Satan’s scope are centered on husbands and fathers. Today’s media, for example, have been relentless in their attacks—ridiculing and demeaning husbands and fathers in their God-given roles." Father's are under attack and I believe it is because Satan understands how critical it is for children to have the influence of their fathers in their lives.  We have discussed in class how the organization and family structure have changed over the course of several decades.  It was much more common for father's to be at home and working alongside their children before the industrialization of our country/world.  It is interesting to see the changes and impact that has had on our society.  Interaction between father's and their children has significantly diminished and it requires much more effort to establish a close trusting relationship with our children now than ever before in the history of this world.  After studying a bit about the affects of father absence it was amazing to see the impact fathers really can and do have on their children.
I had the privilege of studying a dissertation written by Chrysogonus Nwele of M.A. Fordham University entitled  "Fatherhood and a child's education: Exploring the effects of a father's absence on the social, moral, and religious lives of children."
Nwele researched five different roles fathers have particular in importance to a child's development.  The first one is "Father's availability"  I found it interesting that availability was defined as more than just living in the home and being there.  Availability referred to being available to help children with personal problems, learning new things and associating himself with the child's growth and maturity.  Nwele suggests that its not enough for a father to have passive presence in the home where he avoids confrontation, disagreements or interaction with his wife and children.  Children will likely feel "more rejected by a father who is there in body but absent in things a father should do."  The research further suggests that children who are well fathered from birth appeared to be more secure in exploring the world around them, and less timid in the face of unusual stimuli.  They are also more likely to have good cognitive development and achieve greater success in school and extracurricular activities.
The second role is "Father's engagement".  This is similar to availability but this includes a father's attitude and actual time he spends with his child which is measured by how much direct contact and interaction he has with his child through "play, leisure, caregiving and direct communication". Nwele also points out that the amount of direct eye contact a father has with his children is important to consider.  The closeness children feel with their father is a far greater indicator of "positive life outcomes" for the children than just the father's presence in the home.
The third role is "the provider."  This is an important role in a child's life and can have a large negative or positive impact on a child's socio-economic well-being.  Nwele states, "in most cases, children suffer material hardships and even severe poverty if their fathers are exonerated from child support or fail to pay child support after a divorce."  A child's physical and emotional needs can better be met by a father who takes his responsibility as a provider seriously.
The fourth role of a father is "nurturer."  Research suggests that fathers should have an active role as a nurturer in their child's life.  He defines paternal nurturance as a "father's ability to know his child, interact with his child and serves as the child's role model, disciplinarian, protector, enforcer and educator." He also explains that if a father is overly authoritarian then he creates a wall between himself and his child and is therefore "absent" in the child's life.
The final role that is discussed in the father as "guardian, protector and teacher."  One of the essential roles a father has is that of protector.  Sigmond Freud said this, "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."  Nwele discussed the critical role a father plays in protecting his wife and children against physical and emotional harm from themselves and others.  A father's presence in the home creates security.  A father who accomplishes his role as protector and educator "empowers his children to choose rightly, helps them to appreciate the dignity of labor and the right attitude towards it, assists them in connecting effort with reward, standard with achievement and in finding joy through perserverance."  In homes where problem solving skills are taught and emphasized children become "life-long learners and self-confident adults."

FHE Ideas:
Song:  "Daddy's Homcoming"
Read or watch one of the conference talks below with your family and discuss the important points made about fatherhood.  Discuss with your children why our Heavenly Father desires us to address Him as "Father" of all the title he could have chosen and how we can better respect and value the sacred and important role of fathers in each of our lives.
The Greatest Challenge in the World - Good Parenting (James E. Faust)

Courageous Parenting (Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy)