How do you answer such a question?
What is the best way to define valid?
In the dictionary it is defined as 1.) sound, well founded 2.) producing desired results 3.) authority
Well what is the purpose of family?
> Bring children into the world
> Teach Gospel Truths
And what defines culture?
I don’t think that color, race, or ethnicity particularly define someone’s culture. Sure, they play a part.. But someone who is white might say they live the life of a black man. Or a black man may say that he is a white man in a black man’s body… Totally controversial I know, I know.. But I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down.
All cultures are different and therefore are of a different value to everyone. Of course we are all going to think a culture we aren’t familiar with to be a lil’ different from our own. Would we think it were wrong?
… I think when it comes to declaring whether a culture is right or wrong would say a few things about the culture you were raised in and much more about your character. An example would be in some cultures it is okay to practice forms of polygamy whereas here in the United States see it as a form of oppression. I don’t know if we have the right to proclaim one set of values to be better than another. I think if we start to intrude on other cultures we must do so with care. It would be hard to pass judgment on a culture that we don’t have a perfect understanding of, does that make sense? Honestly this makes me think of war. Which may be very extreme but when we, and by “we” I mean as a nation, intrude on certain conflicts outside of the States it may not always be the best decision. As we pass judgments onto others for how they were raised, who are we? We are just outsiders that think we are civilized. What defines “civilized”? I don’t think that I could give a definite yes or no for this question. What I value may be much different than what someone else may value; and who am I to tell them that they’re wrong because they were raised differently?
I think when it comes to these really controversial topics no one wants to sound ignorant, at least I don’t. I would never want to come across as uneducated, closed minded, or offensive.
But I that after reading Elder Oaks’ talk “The Gospel Culture” and attending class I think there I could change my answer. There are some aspects of different cultures that are better than others. An example Elder Oaks used was modesty. He said that Modesty was among the strengths of African culture. In comparison with how Americans tend dress which is not as modest. He also mentioned a negative cultural tradition in some parts of Africa where some African husbands believe it is the wife and children’s jobs to serve them. I think that these are perfect examples of good and bad cultural traditions because they are supported by the Gospel as to why they are good and why they are wrong. The culture of the Gospel promotes unity in the home where the mother and the father are equal. The Gospel also encourages the importance of modesty. Elder Oaks said that the culture of the Gospel comes from the Plan of Salvation, the commandments of God, as well as the teachings of the living prophets. By giving up our personal and family traditions that are contrary to the Gospel culture will strengthen us.
My professor said in class this past week that we have the responsibility to draft the best practices of different cultures to create our own. Which I think is fair to say… that way we are able to provide the best family experience, right? Now what would define a cultural practice as a good one? Well I think that if it’s what Elder Oaks said, not contrary to the Gospel culture.
I’m still developing my own conclusions about this whole thing, leave a comment with your thoughts!!