Recently, I returned from attending the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. I have walked the halls of the UN, sat in on countless discussions from panelists from all over the world, as well as participated in meetings with world ambassadors and their committee affairs members. I’m writing about some of the attacks on the family that I saw there so more people can be aware of what is happening throughout the world. I do this as a mother, woman of the church, and someone who has seen firsthand some very serious attacks on the family.
We recently were called upon to defend the family by our church leaders. Something very important to remember as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that we are part of a worldwide church. When someone in a general auxiliary is speaking, they are addressing people from Nigeria to New Zealand and from Poland to Provo. What some members in Japan are facing could be quite different than what a member in Great Falls, Montana faces. So as you read this, keep in mind that we are all brothers and sisters in the gospel and we are in this together!
In order to fully understand the importance of us standing for the family, we need to know where the attacking is coming from. The attacks are coming from the top and worldwide. Here is a little UN 101. Simply put, leaders from all over the world come together to create documents that, once signed, become worldwide guiding policy. Countries that don’t follow the rules determined in these documents can face government sanctions. If the family is not protected in this document, our children and your role as a mother and father WILL be affected. This is a direct and real threat to the family. Right now, a document called the “Post 2015 Agenda” is being negotiated, and it will guide UN decisions when it comes to policy for the next 15 years. Currently, no mention of the word “family” has been included in the document. This is extremely dangerous to our rights as parents, families and religions. If the family is not protected in this document, our children and your role as a mother and father WILL be affected. This is a direct and real threat to the family.
Now I’ll tell you about a situation that occurred while we were at the UN with a woman named Kate Gilmore, who is the Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA. UNFPA is a very powerful group that has involvement with your childrens’ curriculum and healthcare. While we were at the UN, a mom in our group asked her a simple question on data collection in our schools. She responded with this answer:
“….we discovered that for millions and millions of women that marriage is not much better than an arbitrary detention cell; that the kitchen is a torture chamber; that the bedroom is a site for the gravest of human rights violations. As much as we wish to uphold the responsibility and the burden of parenting to sustain people in that and to preserve the privacy, I am afraid by performance alone, we can neither trust nor leave alone the care of the most vulnerable to anybody who has power over them, whether it be the state, whether it be the church, whether it be the mosque, or the synagogue or unfortunately the family or the marriage.”
We can see, from this response, what an extremely powerful group within the UN thinks about families. This was not a pro family/marriage response, and these are the types of people who are have influence on what our children are learning.
There are many differing views on education and healthcare worldwide. After hearing panel discussions on gender neutralization and eugenics, I’ve seen a push to teach young and very impressionable children such things as it being okay to reverse their gender and have procedures that can permanently alter their biological makeup without the consent of an adult. Having a teenager make that sort of commitment without the counsel of the people who care and love them most is pretty scary.
What happens if one of our children ends up pregnant in high school, even though we did everything possible to teach her correct principles? Can you imagine her going to an abortion clinic and ending the life of her unborn baby, left to deal with all that comes after an abortion, emotionally and physically, on her own? Do you know the statistics on abortions? The rate of depression and suicide skyrockets in women/girls who go through an abortion. An abortion also puts her future chances of conceiving at risk. Your daughter could be faced with these issues and countless others without you being able to discuss these life altering things with her. This would happen because a group at the UN decided that the age of consent should be lowered, and they put a life changing decision in the hands of a child. There will be a time when a mother will have to have consent to attend a gynecological appointment with her daughter. There is a huge push on “female reproductive rights,” which will directly affect the ability for you to parent your young teenage daughters. An attack on the family? I think so.
One of the panels discussed the need to have complete gender neutrality. The ultimate goal would be to completely eliminate gender distinctions. One of the examples given was the need for doctors to treat babies/children neutrally, not as a male or female. No mention would be made as to what sex the child is, and it would be up to them to decide on their own as time goes by which they would like to be. It was mentioned that a child’s life could be ruined if a healthcare provider mentioned anything that dealt with gender before it had been decided. The fact of the matter is females are generally born with ovaries and males with prostates. Males and females have different growth and developmental milestones and need to be treated as such. I for one want my pediatrician to treat my child according to their biological needs and not some universal gender system.
Another big issue is sterilization. There are women in countries that are dying at home, refusing to go to a hospital to deliver their baby because they could be sterilized without consent due to government population control. No governmental organization should be allowed the power to take away a woman’s right to conceive without her consent or knowledge. Another attack that sickens me is forced abortions. We were told a story about a woman in China who was 7 months pregnant (her story is not an isolated incident). She wasn’t supposed to have another child, and because of government pressure on local officials who use terrible tactics on pregnant women, she was taken to the hospital against her will for her child to be forcefully aborted. As if the agony of having a baby growing inside her inhumanely killed wasn’t enough, when she could not pay for the disposal of her perfectly formed and viable baby, they left the baby in a clear bag on the side of her recovery bed for her to carry out on her own. I have never seen an image of a woman so broken in my entire life. When we are talking about forced sterilization and unconsented abortions, this is an attack on the family.
We cannot forget that our leaders are not just speaking to people within the United States. We are a worldwide church with brothers and sisters that NEED our support. The proclamation on the family was given to the world.
The disintegration of the family has led to broken homes with youth growing up with absolutely no role models to strengthen them and help them learn what it means to be a good respectful man or woman. When you hear stories of the staggering statistics of rapes that are occurring in African and underdeveloped countries, do you realize that our sweet young women who are working on their Personal Progress are a part of those statistics? The family unit has been society’s method throughout the ages for boys to learn to be brothers, sons, men and fathers and girls to be sisters, daughters, women and mothers. We cannot forget that our leaders are not just speaking to people within the United States. We are a worldwide church with brothers and sisters that NEED our support. The proclamation on the family was given to the world. So once again, when we hear our leaders talk of the family being under attack, they are speaking to all of us, from the most developed countries in the world to the most underdeveloped. People all over are needed to rise up and work alongside each other and do what they can to strengthen the future generation of the children they are rearing, and that strength unquestionably comes from a natural family, as described in the Family: A Proclamation.
I am here to tell you that the attack on the family is very real. It is calculated and well-orchestrated. I witnessed the plans to destroy the very connection that our bodies have with our spirits. Satan knows that the process of attacking the very nature of our being will bring about ultimate destruction. Attacking the family and our eternal connection to who we were before we came to this earth is Satan’s way of pulling people as far away from our Father in Heaven as possible. The fight for gender equality doesn’t have to destroy the beautiful roles that a man and woman can fulfill within a family. The power within a family unit is unmatched when both the husband and wife fulfill their roles in a complementary way.
I am very aware that not all family situations are ideal. There are mothers and fathers out there who are raising their children on their own due to things such as divorce, death, or mental illness. Many out there are struggling with infertility and not able to have children of their own, despite their desires to have a family, but all of us are sons and daughters, brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, and part of one big family. We have the ability to strengthen the people around us!
I, for one, will stand and defend what I hold most dear and sacred, which is my family. I will not sit on the sidelines when I hear leaders, who I know are called of God, call us to battle. Just like the women and children in the Book of Mormon who took up arms and fought alongside their men, I too will do all that I can to preserve the basic doctrine of the gospel, because I have seen the armies coming and they are not hiding in the hills.
Mandy Davis is a wife and mother to three children. Mandy grew up in Alberta, Canada and moved to Utah and attended Utah State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, with an emphasis in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She has recently returned from the United Nations with a whole new outlook on the importance of protecting the family. After returning from the UN Mandy realized that all of us average, day to day people, have more power to do good and bring about change than we realize. She started the blog thepoweroftheeverydayyou.blogspot.com to spread the word on things that are affecting the family and what we can do within our own spheres of influence to stand for what is right.