LDS must do better in world where family is endangered

Stand, speak up

Teach children doctrine- Give up an outside interest

"As Latter-day Saints, we need to do better in our families, much better," said Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve in the concluding address of conference Sunday afternoon. "There should be less wringing of hands and more loving arms around our families."

Elder Maxwell spoke of a number of evidences of spiritual decay in society, and commented: "Healthy, traditional families are becoming an endangered species. There will always be a shortage of police, if there is a shortage of effective parents. Likewise, there will not be enough prisons if there are not enough good homes."

While there are no perfect families, there are many good families, he affirmed. "My spiritual applause goes to those heroic parents - left alone by death or divorce - who are righteously and `anxiously engaged' in nurturing and providing for their families, often against such heavy odds."

He said increasingly unhealthy attitudes toward authority are allowing profound social changes to occur "in only a few years." (Moro. 9:12.)

"How can a nation nurture family values without consistently valuing and protecting the family in its public policies?" he asked. "How can we value the family without valuing parenting? How can we value parenting if we do not value marriage?"

He noted that much of the Restoration focuses on fundamental principles pertaining to the family, including sealings of eternal families. "Latter-day Saints therefore have no choice but to stand for and speak up whenever the institution of the family is concerned, even if we are misunderstood, resented or brushed aside."

Attending family duties really includes "teaching our children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God. (D&C 68:25.) What a different view of parenting from that of the world."

He continued, "When parents fail to transmit testimony and theology along with decency, those families are only one generation from serious, spiritual decline, having lost their savor."

He added, "We stress family prayers, family home evenings and family scripture study. Moreover, personal revelation regarding parenting can provide customized guidance and reassurance."

Applying such basic remedies will take time. In a healthy family, though, members can learn to listen, forgive, praise, and to rejoice in the achievements of others. "There we can learn to tame our egos, work, repent, and love. . . . If we sometimes act the fool, loving families know this is not our last act; the curtain is not rung down."

He suggested, with the gravity of the current situation, that parents quit one outside thing, giving that time and talent instead to the family.

He warned that as the number of dysfunctional families increases, their failures will spill into already burdened schools and streets. "It is not a pretty scene, even now."

The "rescuing and redeeming perspective," said Elder Maxwell, requires "coming to know who Jesus Christ is, how He lived, and what He died for."

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