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What do the Biak Tiger, the Bee Hummingbird and the Family all have in common? Each is an endangered species.
My wife, Buffie, and I just added two little grandsons to our expanding family. New life is such a miracle! A microscopic cell, carrying the DNA of the father and the mother, divides then divides again with programming that creates organs, the mind and circulatory system, hands, feet, eyes, nose, mouth, skin and myriad other body parts, all of which combine harmoniously to form a totally unique and independent person. Buffie and I feel incredible joy watching our girls become mothers and our boys become fathers.
Sometimes we stand back and wonder how we could be so blessed. In 1972, I was twenty-one and Buffie was nineteen, when we knelt at an altar in the Salt Lake Temple and made eternal vows to each other and to God. That beginning has now become a little kingdom with ten children. Seven married in temples, adding spouses to our family, and together, they have produced seventeen grandchildren. Thirty-six lives are now connected because of Buffie’s and my initial decision to marry and start a family.
And we are just getting started!
If each of our children and grandchildren average three children each, our posterity could approach 900,000 in the same period that the United States has been an independent nation. My calculator doesn’t have enough digits to calculate the size of our family by the end of the Millennium.
Abraham was promised seed in quantities that would eclipse the number of sands on the seashore or the stars in the heavens. Buffie and I received similar promises when we were married. We stand at the beginning stage of building our “kingdom,” but we are starting to see how those Abrahamic promises will come to pass.
We are told in the scriptures that a primary purpose of the Earth’s creation was that the sons and daughters of God could establish eternal marriages and families, and the Earth’s destiny is to become the celestial home of eternal marriages and families.
But the Earth’s purpose is being severely attacked and the Earth will only put up with the wickedness for so long. President Kimball warned, “The earth cannot justify nor continue its life without marriage and the family.” What an amazing revelation! Apparently, the Earth has the ability to react to things that happen on its surface. Moreover, its life can be threatened by assaults against marriage and family, central purposes of its creation.
President Kimball continued, “Sex without marriage, for all people, young or older, is an abomination to the Lord, and it is most unfortunate that many people have blinded their eyes to these great truths.”
Who is the leader of the army that attacks morality and seeks to destroy marriage and family? Satan, of course. We know that his aim is to destroy the work of God and cause as much misery as possible. Where better to concentrate his efforts than the procreative power of God and the sacred relationships that define his exalted lifestyle?
In 1994, Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “The ultimate purpose of the adversary who has great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,’ is to disrupt, disturb, and to destroy the home and the family.” There it is: Satan’s “ultimate purpose” revealed by a prophet of God!
A year later, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles issued “A Proclamation to the World on the Family.” I recall wondering why the prophets felt the need to define marriage and family, but now I think I am beginning to understand.
The scales have tipped. The will of the people, as regarding their desire to uphold traditional marriage and family, is being cut down by single, unelected judicial voices that stand on constitutional interpretation, personal preference or who pander to special interests.
The definition of marriage has migrated radically since 1995 when the “Proclamation” was issued to the world. Present laws could not prohibit a man forming a marriage with his sister or even his dog.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks clarified, “Our twelfth article of faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.’ But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority-to love and serve God-requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior….Laws legalizing so-called same-sex marriage’ do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it.”
Elder Oaks preceded that statement with staggering statistics:
“The United States now has the lowest birthrate in its history, and in many European Union nations and other developed countries, birthrates are below the level necessary to maintain their populations. This threatens the survival of cultures and even of nations.
“In America, the percentage of young adults ages 18 to 29 who are married fell from 59 percent in 1960 to 20 percent by 2010. The median age for first marriage is now at its highest level in history: 26 for women and almost 29 for men.
“In many countries and cultures (1) the traditional family of a married mother and father and children is coming to be the exception rather than the rule, (2) the pursuit of a career instead of marriage and the bearing of children is an increasing choice of many young women, and (3) the role and perceived necessity of fathers is diminishing.
Co-habitation is becoming the widely preferred substitute for the engagement period or for marriage itself, and sex has become a recreational sport.
Elder Oaks said, “Our knowledge of God’s plan for His children explains why we are distressed that more and more children are born out of marriage-currently 41 percent of births in the United States-and that the number of couples living together without marriage has increased dramatically in the past half century.
Five decades ago, only a tiny percentage of first marriages were preceded by cohabitation. Now cohabitation precedes 60 percent of marriages. And this is increasingly accepted, especially among teenagers stating that out-of-wedlock childbearing was a worthwhile lifestyle.'”
A high percentage of children are being reared by a single parent, creating a huge population of people who have no concept of making a long-term commitment in a loving relationship or knowing the security of being reared in a home with a married mother and father.
Divorce has become expected. Many people enter relationships with the view that the union is attached to a short fuse. One resource reports that in America, 50% of first marriages will end in divorce, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages. Clearly, the family is an endangered species. Should we be surprised that the Earth might react violently to these statistics, which are paramount to its survival?
President Packer warned of the coming danger: “Now we are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces.”
President Hinckley told us unequivocally, “The home is under siege. So many families are being destroyed.”
Then continuing, he said, “Never before, at least not in our generation, have the forces of evil been so blatant, so brazen, so aggressive as they are today. Things we dared not speak about in earlier times are now constantly projected into our living rooms. . . .There is a reason for it. I feel it is simple to define. I believe our problems, almost every one, arise out of the homes of the people.”
Imagine! Almost every problem in the world can be traced back to the home.
President Kimball voiced his concern: “Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing.”
Then he offered this sobering prophecy, “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.”
Are we listening?
- “The earth cannot justify nor continue its life without marriage and the family.”
- “The ultimate purpose of the adversary is to disrupt, disturb, and to destroy the home and the family.”
- “Unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces.”
- “The home is under siege.”
- “Our problems, almost every one, arise out of the homes of the people.”
- “Many of the social restraints which…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.”
Who will oppose Satan’s efforts and stand for marriage and family? Which divinely appointed institution is charged to be the primary defender of marriage and family to the world? Although there are many people and organizations that support traditional marriage and family, one has a God-given mandate to safeguard these sacred relationships: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The issue of traditional marriage and family is divisive. It is dividing families, neighborhoods, states and countries; it is dividing the electorate; it is even dividing some members of the Church from their leaders. Despite the arguments for alternatives to traditional marriage and family, the issues really have nothing to do with the rhetoric of tolerance, equality or the protection of civil rights. Such rhetoric is a smoke screen to distract us from Satan’s true strategy. According to the prophets, Satan’s “ultimate aim” is to disrupt, disturb, and to destroy marriages and families for the purpose of destroying of God’s plan of happiness for his children and causing the wreckage of civilization.
Traditional marriage and family are crucial to God’s plan of happiness. They are essential to the Earth’s survival and to the survival of civilization. Listen to some of the language of the prophets of God in the Proclamation.
- Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
- Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
- The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.
- We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
- We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
- Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.
- The family is ordained of God.
- Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.
- Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
- Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
- By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
- Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
- In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
Then come the prophetic warnings:
- We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.
- Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We are wont to blame the calamities of the last days upon rampant wickedness-and wickedness will certainly be a cause-but the primary cause for the calamities will be the destruction of traditional marriage and the disintegration of the family, which is caused by wickedness.
What is our responsibility?
“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
How can we safeguard marriage and family? Listen to the First Presidency:
“We counsel parents to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
There is an opportunity, should we choose to embrace it. If we will rise to our divine calling to safeguard traditional marriage and family, President Packer promised that something remarkable will happen: “Across the world, those who now come by the tens of thousands will inevitably come as a flood to where the family is safe.”
My definition of hell is to be without my wife and family. I cannot image eternity as a single man, being separated from the woman to whom I have given my heart. I shudder at the thought of being removed from our children to whom we have given our lives. My definition of heaven is to be with Buffie and the children and to continue in the family unit forever. No other pleasure or pursuit could replace the joy I feel by being a husband and father. These relationships are my highest priority and worth my every effort to protect.
I am willing to stand for traditional marriage and family. I am not willing to allow these precious relationships to become an extinct species.
Special thanks to Ted Gibbons, who provided some of the research used to write this article.
 D&C 2:3; 49:16.
 D&C 88:18-20.
 Spencer W. Kimball, “God Will Not Be Mocked,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 8.
 Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, 19.
 Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” Ensign, Nov 2013.
 Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” Ensign, Nov 2013.
 Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, 19.
 Gordon B. Hinckley, “Walking in the Light of the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 98-99.
 Spencer W. Kimball, “Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4.
 First Presidency letter, 11 Feb. 1999; cited in Church News, 27 Feb. 1999, 3.
 Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, 21.