“We Stood before Parliament,” Liahona, September 2020
My husband and I were living in New Zealand during 2012 when Parliament was debating a bill that would redefine marriage and the family. We read the bill and were concerned about how it would affect religious freedom and the sanctity of motherhood, fatherhood, and marriage.
As part of the process, Parliament invited everyone in the country to send in their opinions about the proposed bill. We knew that the Lord’s doctrine on marriage and family was clear on this issue, and we felt we needed to speak up. We noticed a box on the form that we could check if we were willing to stand before Parliament to defend our position. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s check the box!”
We received word several months later that we were chosen to present before a Parliamentary committee. After much prayer and fasting, my husband felt directed to share thoughts from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf,1 and I felt a strong prompting to go back to the moment when President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in the 1995 Relief Society general meeting.2 We both felt led to know what to say; it was undeniable. We also knew it was going to be very hard. We decided to put everything in God’s hands and said, “We’ll do what you want us to do; we’ll say what you want us to say,”3 even if it may be unpopular. We became more concerned about what would be recorded in heaven versus what would be recorded in Parliament.
As the day arrived and they called our names, they told us we had the option of presenting separately or together. We immediately thought, “What symbolism! Of course we will go up and defend the doctrine of the family together.”
After we gave our statements, members of Parliament started their questioning. They didn’t seem happy with what we said, and answering their questions wasn’t easy. Eventually our time was up, but before we left, we handed each member of Parliament and the press a copy of our statements and a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
This was a difficult experience, but it changed our lives. We learned that it is possible (and necessary) to talk to others about the Lord’s doctrine on marriage and family—and that it can be done with courage, clarity, and kindness. Our relationship with Heavenly Father has been strengthened, and our testimony of the doctrine of the family has grown. We testify of the tremendous blessings and joy that have come into our lives as a result of this experience.