President David O. McKay often is quoted as reciting the phrase, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." Later, President Harold B. Lee reminded us that the most important work that any of us will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.
This wisdom has never been more applicable than it is today. Righteous fathers and mothers see storm clouds gathering all around them as wickedness becomes a social norm, and as societies begin to abandon the foundations of stable family life. Like lightning flashes and rumbling thunder, television and movies bring subtle messages into the home that stealthily work to undermine gospel teachings about morality, commitment and the bounds that ought to properly govern intimacy. Even the official role of marriage itself is being redefined, in some instances, to reflect more of a stamp of approval on a relationship rather than an institution for the proper rearing of children.
Families in Zion may well wonder whether their roofs are strong enough to stand.
In the midst of this onslaught, which President Gordon B. Hinckley recently said is reminiscent of conditions present in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is comforting to know the Lord has not left us alone. A recent leadership training session, broadcast worldwide, highlighted one of the ways He helps us in these troubled times through Church auxiliary organizations. Specifically, this training session focused on the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations, but all auxiliaries have the same general purpose, which is to strengthen and help families fulfill their divine duty to return Heavenly Father's children into His presence.
That places the callings Church members receive in a particularly important light, and it also highlights how the hand of God has helped to organize the Church in this dispensation.
During the training session, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve recounted the origins of each of the three organizations discussed. The prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society in Nauvoo in 1842, saying later that, "The organization of the Church. . . was never perfect until the women were organized."
Today, the Relief Society is several million women strong. It serves and helps the needy, and educates and prepares women for service of their own. Given the changing attitudes toward women worldwide over the past century and a half, it has placed the women of the Church in a position to increase their own stature while standing firm for eternal principles.
President Brigham Young established the Young Women organization about 30 years later. Today it, together with the priesthood quorums and the Young Men organization, stands as a rock of proper training against an unimpeded onslaught of filth that is aimed squarely at the youth of the world.
Next, President John Taylor established the Primary, which gives young children a firm foundation and basic training.
But, while each of these helps families fulfill their responsibilities, fathers and mothers still bear the ultimate load of raising children properly in a time of great distress.
Of this, President Hinckley said, "We have a greater challenge than we realize. As Paul declared, 'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places' (Ephesians 6:12). Never lose sight of the great reassuring power of the Atonement of the Savior to lift and save. Through that Atonement comes forgiveness for past offenses and strength for righteous living."
He also said, "We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. We must then stand on our feet and move forward."
The task isn't easy, but families are not left alone. President Hinckley said he is "absolutely confident that heaven will smile upon us. The Lord will hear and answer our prayers if we will commit ourselves, giving our very best to this work."
Those are tremendous words of comfort and encouragement for weathering the storm.