Monday, September 20, 2010

A Life-Changing Experience at the World Congress of Families

The activities this letter describes took place in August of 2009. Becky, pictured below, is the sister of a friend in my ward. She shared this email with me, and at the end of it Chris and Becky say to feel free to forward it. So, I hope they don't mind, but I'm posting it instead :-)  For many years I've been aware of the international war on the family taking place at the UN level, and the very real dangers we face.  When the natural (traditional) family is undermined, all society is attacked. The family is the fundamental unit of society. Destroy the foundation and you destroy economies, and then nations.

Dear Family and Friends,
     Most of you know that Chris and I were able to take a trip to The Netherlands this past week - and it was amazing!  It was a life changing experience for both of us, and therefore we have to write about it...   We’re sending this letter to you because we think you might be interested in the things we experienced and in what we have learned.  And! We think this is information that everyone needs to be aware of.  So here goes...

     Several months ago I received a monthly newsletter from Family Watch International (FWI) explaining that they were looking for volunteers to help their organization at the World Congress of Families V  in Amsterdam in August.  Chris had been wanting to go back and visit because he served a 2 year mission there for our church - so I forwarded him the e-mail and said "Are we going?"  And we did.
     We were able to visit several cities on our trip, but the World Congress that we were able to attend, for 2 out of the 3 days, was unbelievable.  I would say it was a "once in a lifetime experience", only Chris and I hope to be able to become more involved and attend again sometime in the future.  The World Congress of Families brings together government, religious and community leaders; scholars, experts in family issues, and concerned citizens who are working to preserve the family around the world. 
     There were over 60 countries represented at this Congress.  We heard speakers from the USA, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Budapest, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Poland, Italy, Russia, Nigeria - to name a few.  Never have we been in the presence of so many people with "titles".  We were rubbing shoulders with the likes of those in the European Parliament, high profile case lawyers, doctors, the Archbishop of Utrecht, members of the Australian parliament, a King from Africa, presidents of several international organizations, a Chief Rabbi, etc.  This gives you an idea of the caliber of people that were in attendance; however, the final day of the Congress Elder Nelson (a member of the Quorum of the twelve apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and his wife Wendy were in attendance.  We were able to talk with him, shake his hand, and be in close proximity to him for most of the day.  What an experience that was...

     At the Congress we were taught, and even experienced, the forces that are threatening "the natural family" - as it was referred too (a family consisting of a married husband and wife with children).  We knew the traditional family was under attack, but had no idea what has really been going on.  We were not aware of the magnitude of influence of those who would destroy our family and yours; my role as a wife & mother and Chris's role as a husband & father. 

     For those of you who have never been to Amsterdam I will try and explain the atmosphere.  This is going to be pretty blunt.  The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex marriage.  They promote (yes, promote) their famous "red-light" district (legalized prostitution) as a recreational activity, with pages of "playboy" style ads in their city guides that are distributed everywhere!  You can find every form of pornography on the streets of Amsterdam - you don't have to look for it, it's just there - in the form of postcards, posters, shirts, socks, cigarette lighters, even candy.  They have legalized marijuana and have koffie shops (spelled with a "k") where you can order and smoke it.  One could probably get a high just walking down some of the streets - it's everywhere (along with alcohol).  The attitude is "live and let live" and pretty much anything goes.  Aware of this "free to do what you want" prevalence we were dumbfounded when we learned that the speeches given at the World Congress of Families were censored by the Dutch government!  They did not want anyone speaking or distributing material against homosexuality.  The double standard was unbelievable! 

      As stated earlier, we went to the Congress as volunteers for FWI.  We were able to talk with Sharon Slater, the president, about some of her experiences at the UN in her fight to preserve the family.  Amazing to me is the fact that there really are organizations out there who are trying to destroy the family - literally destroy it!  They are well organized and well funded - sadly, even through our tax dollars. Sharon has just printed a book tilted "Stand for the Family".  This book is a must read for everyone.  She goes through her experiences at the UN and how NGO's (non-governmental organizations) are heavily influencing legislation that is effecting how you and I live.  Regardless of whether the US ambassador to the UN signs the treaties (which would bind us to certain international laws), some activist judges as well as the Supreme Court are actually interpreting our constitution based on the treaties that other countries have signed - which is completely ridiculous.  I am not aware of any other book in print that explains what actually goes on at the UN.  Sharon has over a decade's experience that she shares with us, and she started her journey as a stay-at-home mom, just like many of us.  I have two copies of the book that I am going to let people borrow for 1-2 weeks at a time on a first come first serve basis.  Although I would highly recommend purchasing your own.

     Here's a link to FWI's website  Make sure you sign their petition while you're there!  The signing of the petition allows FWI to represent all those who support families when at the UN.  Thus giving them the backing they need to help fight legislation that destroys the family.  Imagine the difference between, “This is bad legislation” and , “This is bad legislation and these thousands of people support us on this.” So please sign the petition whether you buy the book or not!

     I hope this doesn't sound like a whole lot of political mumbo jumbo.  These threats are real.  This was such an eye opening experience in seeing the reality of the war that is at hand.  There were several examples given at the Congress where religious rights and freedoms are being taken away - even here in the US. 
    As we were literally being taught at the feet of an Apostle of The Lord at the Congress, I was struck particularly by one paragraph of Elder Nelson's speech... 
     "Furthermore, those who seek to undermine traditional marriage and family would effectively limit the rights of those who do uphold the sanctity of these institutions. This consequence leads to another major concern— the eventual erosion of religious liberty, including the liberty to defend, promote, and practice traditional family values.7 Religious liberty is essential if we are to raise up righteous children. Morally responsible families will not marginalize religious liberty, they will nurture and protect it." 
    If this is not motivation enough to do something, then I don't know what is.  You can read all of Elder Nelson's speech here at the lower portion of the page sses-international-conference-on-families along with Sister Nelson’s and Sherry Dew’s.

[Interjecting here -- I could not find the talks on the link above, but they were easily accessible on the World Congress of Families website. 
Elder Nelson's talk:
Sheri Dew:
Index of talks, click on the title of the talk to see it:]
   We met with so many good, religious people from many countries who stand up to the attacks on the natural family.  There are those, like the religious of Holland, who face incredible obstacles on a daily basis.  Those that stand for the family are NOT in the minority as the media would have us believe.  However, it would seem there are smaller, developing countries who need our numbers to make a difference, and in turn we need their fortitude.  It was mentioned more than once at the Congress that if it wasn't for the Muslim countries (who are very pro-family) much of the anti-family legislation proposed at the UN would pass.  We have learned that even ONE person can make a difference; that a stay-at-home mom with a belief in the traditional family can influence UN legislation that in turn influences millions, even billions. 

     Now if you've read to the end of this letter - thank you!  And we hope you'll now go out and do something about it.  Here are a few things you can do:  If you have the means - donate to FWI or other family-oriented organizations.  Even small amounts add up, and they surely can use it right now.  Subscribe to pro-family newsletters and educate yourself about what is going on.  Read Sharon's book - you will have so much the advantage of knowing what is really happening.  Educate others.  And do missionary work.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the key to saving the family.  If you have any questions let us know. 
Chris & Becky

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