Last night I read, "Families Can Be Eternal" by Spencer W. Kimball written 30 years ago. He was the president of the LDS church from 1973 - 1985. The talk could have been given yesterday. I was amazed that the problems facing the family then are pretty much still the same. 1980 doesn't sound that long ago, does it? Gulp.
Our obligation to the family:
". . .whenever anything so basic as the eternal family is imperiled, we have a solemn obligation to speak out, lest there be critical damage to the family institution by those who seem to be deliberately destructive of it."
". . . many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us."
". . . There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. The more governments try in vain to take the place of the family, the less effective governments will be in performing the traditional and basic roles for which governments are formed in the first place.
". . . We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism."
". . .We genuinely welcome help, real help, from churches, schools, colleges, and universities, from thoughtful men and women of every race, creed, and culture who care about the family."
A Return to Modesty Point
President Kimball pointed out that "so many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness." After reading Wendy Shalit's A Return to Modesty, where she suggests that if we all respected modesty, women would be safer; we can add that not only will women be safer when we are modest (which goes hand in hand with chastity, etc.), but so will families.
"Rising generations who have been taught that authority and loving discipline are wrong will not keep the fifth commandment, honoring their fathers and mothers (see Ex. 20:12). How can the rising generations honor their parents if their parents have dishonored themselves—especially by breaking the seventh commandment?"
The Feminine Minority Point
Patricia Regar, author of The Feminine Minority, suggested that one reason Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) wanted to restrict birthrates among the poor was so that they'd stop populating the world with more poor people (page 57). President Kimball had different point for a similar scenario: "Delinquent adults still tend to produce delinquent children, and that awful reality will not change simply by our lowering standards as to what constitutes delinquency—either in adults, youth, or children." I would think President Kimball's solution to the problem would be to care for and educate "delinquents" rather than eliminate them.
When times get rough:
"Permissiveness will not pull us through such crises."
". . . parliaments, congresses, and assemblies—cannot rescue us if our basic institution, the family, is not intact. Peace treaties cannot save us when there is hostility instead of love in the home. Unemployment programs cannot rescue us when many are no longer taught how to work or do not have the opportunity to work or the inclination, in some cases, to do so. Law enforcement cannot safeguard us if too many people are unwilling to discipline themselves or be disciplined."
I really like that part about how "unemployment programs cannot rescue us when many are no longer taught how to work." I thought that was interesting in light of today's economic crisis -- you could add integrity in one's work to the mix.