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Yesterday I officially completed my internship as a United Families legislative intern. As a legislative intern, I researched bills and issues relating to the family that were before the Utah legislature. I met with representatives (mostly) and some senators to inform them of what we knew of the various matters of business before them.

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I attended committee meetings and testified in favor of bills.

Attorney General Reyes

I met with the Attorney General and shared with him bills that UFI was tracking. I attended a weekly family coalition meeting as well as a townhall for the city of Layton. I assisted at a booth at BYU-Provo’s Civic Engagement workshop. (And if anyone from BYU is reading, your Civic Engagement minor, well, it’s kind of weak. It pains me to say that because I bleed blue, but your smaller sister-school to the north has an Advocacy major with some real teeth in it. Call them up and learn something from them.) The thing I really liked was writing fact sheets. Legislators really will use the information (always backed by studies) that is on those fact sheets. We heard representatives use the information contained in them on the floor of the house. I learned a lot about tone, and I learned a lot about building relationships. Laura has been expert at that.

I also went to the UN.

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Family Studies students read A Sacred Duty as part of their Advocacy class. We become familiar with the intimidation and coercion that family-friendly countries face from the western world. We also learn that NGOs that support the natural family also face some stiff opposition.

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At the UN, UFI gives presentations, called parallel and side events, where we discuss issues concerning families and things that we can do to strengthen them. This year for our parallel presentations, we teamed up with Fight The New Drug and focused on the dangers of pornography and its link to human trafficking. Our side event featured talks about trends in marriage and child bearing, parental rights and the impact that fathers have in the lives of their daughters. That last topic was presented by Brother Rarick. He does something unique at the UN. So much of what we hear there is negative. Every bad thing going on in the world, every injustice, every barbarous act of cruelty – it can be overwhelming. And every day there are people who are trying to change and destroy that which we know to be God ordained. It’s important to remember that they are children of our Heavenly Father, and they think they are doing good, but often their efforts are terribly misguided. And too often their efforts only compound the problems our world faces. And it physically weighs on you. At least it weighs on me. But Brother Rarick comes and shows us the value of men in society. He brings the spirit into what is otherwise a spiritless space. He reminds visitors that there is something good in family and fatherhood. And people’s hearts are touched. The BYU-Idaho students that attended also bring that spirit with them. They are good and pure and guileless and brave. They are valiant warriors for the family.

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Much of our time at the UN is spent on mission visits. We meet with representatives from various countries, especially those trying to maintain their values and culture, and which clash with the agenda of western nations.

One of the things that UFI does to help these nations resist the pressure they are under to conform is give them the Negotiating Guide which is a catalog of family friendly consensus language found in UN documents. Countries can use this language to protect their interests.

When we meet with representatives, we are often faced with skepticism. These people have been lied to over and over. Western women claiming to support the family come offering help, and then they pull a bait and switch. You can see their distrust in their body language. I met with a woman from a north African country – arms crossed, disbelief written across her face. You could hear her thoughts: Who are these women and what are they trying sell? It took several minutes, but when she finally believed we were friendly, she opened up and told us of the pressure they are under constantly from the west. It is not uncommon for them to say that they ask for immunizations but all they get is condoms and abortions. Because that is where modern-day feminism has brought us. Feminism believes women need to be freed from the home and child bearing, that these things keep women from living a self-actualized life. They believe that in order to have true equality with men, they must be like men and deny that which makes them uniquely female – the godly power to create mortal life.

My patriarchal blessing talks about my education preparing me to be a mother in Zion. When I resumed my education that had been put on a shelf 30 years earlier, I didn’t know how that could be realized, since I was a middle-aged woman whose children were grown and gone from the house, but Advocacy class helped me understand what the Lord meant. My call, however, to be a mother in Zion is not unique to me.

In 1998, President Hinckley said, “Now there is an added challenge for you sisters of this day. Never before, at least not in our generation, have the forces of evil been so blatant, so brazen, so aggressive as they are today…. If anyone can change the dismal situation into which we are sliding, it is you. Rise up, O women of Zion, rise to the great challenge which faces you.”

And from President Boyd K. Packer we heard, ““We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out…

“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous…

Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world.”

Last of all President Russell M. Nelson has called us to be “women who can detect deception in all of its forms… women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity…women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.”

Something I realized while at the UN is that the work of protecting the family is a responsibility we all, male and female, share. But the work of combating radical feminism is the work of mothers in Zion. It is women that have distorted a righteous desire for equality under the law and given us modern day feminism with its slavish adherence to abortion, its denigration of men, its disdain for religion and its totalitarian tactics, and it is women that need to fix this.

“Rise up, O women of Zion, rise to the great challenge which faces you.”

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