JaKell Sullivan is a founding member of a group called Gathering Families which was formed in January 2015. About ten mothers gathered in St. George, Utah at the home of founder, Jenny Baker to discuss secular challenges facing the natural family. We talked about how to empower more families to become the primary educators of their children–and to help those families shine a light on the blessings that the natural family brings to society.
Soon after our meeting, we learned that the World Congress of Families' 20th annual world conference would be held on US soil for the first time ever. And, in Utah!
While not associated with the World Congress of Families, Gathering Families felt like this was an answer to prayer. The media will be in Utah to see what light Utah families can offer the rest of the world, and WE CAN SHOW THEM! We are hosting a nationwide Family Night on Oct. 26th called "Family Lights the World." This is the night before the World Congress of Families' 4-day conference starts.
"Family Lights the World" will be hosted from a few Utah locations and be open to families everywhere to participate online from their own homes and neighborhoods. The goal of the event is to: Gathering Families together in their homes, neighborhoods, communities, and at our events to celebrate the natural family, and to have participating families shine a light into the sky at 7:30pm MST as a symbol for all the world to see—that the natural family truly lights the world.
Gathering Families' wishes to heed the call from religious leaders to publicly stand in defense of religious freedom and in support of the natural family. Our three-fold mission is to:
1-Champion the role of fathers and mothers in a covenant marriage
2-Help parents reassert their roles as primary educators of their children
3-Gather families who recognize the wisdom of natural law, who espouse a Biblical worldview, and who will rise up in the public square to preserve the family as the fundamental unit of society
As a founding member of Utahans Against Common Core, JaKell believes that one of the greatest threats to religious liberty at this time is a federal monopoly over testing that has occurred in the last 5 years with the Obama administration's Race To The Top program.
In this short span, the federal administration has created a monopoly over education testing from the International exams known as PISA to classroom formative assessments given online and adapted in real-time. Already, over 300 learning and testing platforms have synched their coding specs to Common Core's Common Education Data Standards so that curriculum and test items can be "interoperable" between platforms. The end-goal was to use two federally funded testing consortia to change the goals of assessments. The goals are now to assess values, attitudes and beliefs through the use of computer adaptive, online learning and testing platforms in the classroom AND at home. "Personalized" learning, or adaptive learning—with the advent of the Obama administration's testing takeover—allows for children's values to be shaped in real-time via computer.
The dangers to parental rights have never been more real. The threats to independent thought have never been more real. The time is truly now for parents and families to gather together and gain strength from our faith and our belief in God. And, then to use our united strength to promote policies that will uphold the rights of parents to educate their children according to the dictates of their conscious.
After the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, the LDS Church issued a revised statement called, "The Divine Institution of Marriage." In it, they stated, "Strong, independent families are vital for political and religious freedom."
Gathering Families believes that LDS homeschool families are "strong and independent." For this reason, we are excited to join with you and Center Point in defending the natural family and parental rights—particularly homeschool rights. We believe that it is time to forge a coalition between like-minded groups around the country, and the world, in order to defend and preserve the family as the fundamental unit of society. The Supreme Court's ruling portends great challenges for the natural family, particularly in the public school realm. See: "What 'Gay Marriage' Did to Massachusetts." It effectively removes parental rights by making family ties subject to the state, not presupposed by the state. The state now determines what is and isn't family and what rights are now granted, by the state...not just acknowledged by the state. Once the courts elevate 'legal' parenthood, endowed by the state, over 'biological' parenthood endowed by the Creator, parental rights can be curtailed and regulated by the state. The attack on the natural family was directly strategized to negate parental rights over curriculum in schools—and eventually, at home.
The time is NOW to shine a light on the blessings that the natural family—particularly strong, independent families—bring to all people.
Visit www.GatheringFamilies.com to learn more