Paragraph 8

Warnings and Accountability

“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.”

A CLOSER LOOK

Sentence A
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.

Violating Covenants

See also paragraph 4, sentence C [Sexual relations: Outside of marriage].

1 Cor. 4:14
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

Isa. 24:5
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

Ps. 81:11–12
My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

John 8:3–11
Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery. … [Jesus] said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. … And they, … being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one. … When Jesus … saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jer. 14:20–21
We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

Mosiah 5:5
We are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, … that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.

I know of no more important ability, and no greater integrity, than for us to demonstrate, in a world from which we cannot flee, that to walk that careful path taking a moral stand according to what God has declared, and the laws He has given, but doing it compassionately, and with understanding—and great charity. … Talk about a hard thing to do—to distinguish perfectly between the sin and the sinner. I know of few distinctions that are harder to make—or at least harder to articulate. But we must lovingly try to do exactly that. Believe me, brothers and sisters, in the world into which we are moving we are going to have a lot of opportunity to develop such strength, display such courage, and demonstrate such compassion—all at the same time.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Israel, Israel, God is Calling,” CES Devotional, September 2012. 

“Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. … The very tool he does not have is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to spiritual destruction. … As we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern that the counterfeit companionship advocated by the adversary is temporary and empty.”
Elder David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” April 2013 General Conference.

“Sexual relations are “one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature.” Our proper expression of sexuality makes it possible for God’s plan to unfold on earth and in the eternities, qualifying us to become like our Heavenly Father. God promises eternal life for the faithful that includes eternal marriage, children, and all other blessings of an eternal family.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.

No accountability for any choice sounds like the ultimate freedom. If we can avoid most worldly consequences by being discreet and careful, what is the harm? Against this backdrop, the law of chastity seems old-fashioned, prudish, or unnecessary. …
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God’s laws are not negotiable. He allows us to disregard them, but we are not free to create our own rules for the eternities any more than a person is free to create his or her personalized laws for physics. God wants us to be a qualified heir in His kingdom. To expect His heavenly inheritance while following a different course than He has outlined is naïve. …

We are free to choose our own course in life, but we are not free to choose the outcome that comes from following our own rules, no matter how many times someone says we can. Heavenly Father is not to blame when we do not receive blessings connected to the law of chastity because of disobedience.
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.

“One who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life, “the very key” to life, as President Boyd K. Packer once called it. In exploiting the body of another—which means exploiting his or her soul—one desecrates the Atonement of Christ, which saved that soul and which makes possible the gift of eternal life. And when one mocks the Son of Righteousness, one steps into a realm of heat hotter and holier than the noonday sun. You cannot do so and not be burned.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments,” BYU devotional, Jan 1988; condensed version in “Personal Purity,” General Conference, April 1998,

We may wonder, though, “Why should I obey the law of chastity? Why does God care about my moral behavior?” To answer these questions, God has revealed doctrine that, if correctly understood, will motivate us to keep the law of chastity and choose to express our sexuality within the boundaries He has set. As with all of God’s commandments, the law of chastity is best understood within the context of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and exaltation (see Alma 12:32). Obedience to the law of chastity will bring extraordinary blessings.
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.  

Abuse

Ex. 21:22
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Matt. 18:6 (Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)
Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

D&C 42:27
Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.

Jer. 6:14–15
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall. … At the time that I visit them they shall be cast down.

1 Sam. 26:21
I have sinned: return, my son. … For I will no more do thee harm. … I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.

Parents or other caregivers or teachers or peers who demean, bully, or humiliate children or youth can inflict harm more permanent than physical injury. Making a child or youth feel worthless, unloved, or unwanted can inflict serious and long-lasting injury on his or her emotional well-being and development. Young people struggling with an exceptional condition, including same-gender attraction, are particularly vulnerable and need loving understanding—not bullying or ostracism. …
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Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur.  Few measures of the welfare of our rising generation are more disturbing than the recent report that 41 percent of all births in the U.S. were to women who were not married.  Unmarried mothers have massive challenges, and the evidence is clear that their children are at a significant disadvantage when compared with children raised by married parents.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Protect the Children,” General Conference, October 2012.

Divorce

See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Marital vow: Lifelong].

Ex. 21:9–11 (see also Deut. 24:1–4)
If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. … He [shall do] these three unto her.

Mal. 2:15–16
Take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away.

In the premortal world, Lucifer rebelled against God and His plan, and his opposition only grows in intensity. He fights to discourage marriage and the formation of families, and where marriages and families are formed, he does what he can to disrupt them.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Marriage, Why Family,” General Conference, April 2015.

“These things I do know: I know “that 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.” I know that the earth was created and that the Lord’s Church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities. And I know that one of Satan’s cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.”
President Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage,” General Conference, April 2006.

Accountable before God

See also paragraph 6, sentence C [Accountable before God].

“In his talk to young adults, President Nelson taught, “Abiding by God’s laws will keep you safe as you progress toward eventual exaltation”—that is, to become like God, with the exalted life and divine potential of our Heavenly Parents. That is the destiny we desire for all we love. Because of that love, we cannot let our love supersede the commandments and the plan and work of God, which we know will bring those we love their greatest happiness.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, “Two Great Commandments,” General Conference, October 2019

We are beloved children of a Heavenly Father, who has taught us that maleness and femaleness, marriage between a man and a woman, and the bearing and nurturing of children are all essential to His great plan of happiness. Our positions on these fundamentals frequently provoke opposition to the Church. We consider that inevitable. Opposition is part of the plan, and Satan’s most strenuous opposition is directed at whatever is most important to God’s plan. He seeks to destroy God’s work. His prime methods are to discredit the Savior and His divine authority, to erase the effects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to discourage repentance, to counterfeit revelation, and to contradict individual accountability. He also seeks to confuse gender, to distort marriage, and to discourage childbearing—especially by parents who will raise children in truth.
President Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and the Plan,” General Conference, October 2018.

“Anti-Christ is anti-family. Any doctrine or principle our youth hear from the world that is anti-family is also anti-Christ. It’s that clear. If our youth cease to believe in the righteous traditions of their fathers as did the people described in Mosiah 26, if our youth don’t understand their part in the plan, they could be led away.”
Julie B. Beck, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” address to seminary and institute of religion teachers, August 4, 2009; printed in Ensign, March 2011.

Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised when their children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance. … Children are at risk of being swept downstream by this intellectual current, [so] parents must be more certain than ever to hold to anchored, unmistakable moorings clearly recognizable to those of our own household. It won’t help anyone if we go over the edge with them, explaining through the roar of the falls all the way down that we really did know the Church was true … but we just didn’t want to stifle anyone’s freedom to think otherwise. No, we can hardly expect the children to get to shore safely if the parents don’t seem to know where to anchor their own boat.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” General Conference, April 2003.

1 Cor. 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

D&C 63:37, 57–58
Lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked. … Those who desire in their hearts, in meekness, to warn sinners to repentance, let them be ordained unto this power. For this is a day of warning, and not a day of many words. For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in the last days.

Jacob 2:7, 10, 35
It grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children. … But, notwithstanding the greatness of the task, I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations, in the presence of the pure in heart, and the broken heart, and under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God. … Ye have done greater iniquities than … our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

Eccl. 3:17; 12:14
God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. … God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Matt. 16:27
The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

D&C 4:2
Serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Rom. 2:12
As many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

Alma 11:43–44 (also Alma 12:12, 27; 40:21; Morm. 3:20; 7:6)
The spirit and the body shall be reunited … and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous. … Every thing shall be restored … and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ … to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

D&C 137:9
I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.

Ether 12:38
We shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.

Moro. 8:21
They are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

3 Ne. 27:16
Whoso repenteth, … him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

Jacob 6:8–9
[If] ye reject these words, … the power of the redemption … will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?

D&C 19:3
[I have] all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at … the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.

D&C 133:2
The Lord … shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you.

D&C 43:29
In mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth.

Morm. 9:2–5
When ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God? … Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? … Ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. … The glory of God … will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.

Mosiah 16:10–12
[All] shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil— … if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation … —having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them.

2 Ne. 28:8–9
There shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin. … There is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines.

2 Ne. 28:11–32
Because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted. … Because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them. … Wo unto them that … revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth. … If the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed. … But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth. … The devil [shall] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security. … And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains. … And all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works. … Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men. … Wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! … Wo be unto him that shall say: … We need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

Luke 12:2–3
There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

D&C 1:2–3 (also Morm. 5:8)
There is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.

D&C 63:13–16
There were among you adulterers and adulteresses. … Let such beware and repent speedily, lest judgment shall come upon them as a snare, and their folly shall be made manifest, and their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people.

Alma 5:15–18
Do you look forward … and view this mortal body raised in immortality … to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? … Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me [for] your works have been the works of righteousness? … Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous … —and that he will save you? Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt, … yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness?

1 Ne. 15:33–34
They must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and … they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also. But … the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.

D&C 19:15–20
Repent, lest … your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not. … If they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused [me] to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore. … Repent, … lest you suffer these punishments, … of which … in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

D&C 101:77–78
The laws and constitution of the people … I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

We must try to keep both of the great commandments. To do so, we walk a fine line between law and love—keeping the commandments and walking the covenant path, while loving our neighbors along the way. This walk requires us to seek divine inspiration on what to support and what to oppose and how to love and listen respectfully and teach in the process. Our walk demands that we not compromise on commandments but show forth a full measure of understanding and love. Our walk must be considerate of children who are uncertain about their sexual orientation, but it discourages premature labeling because, in most children, such uncertainty decreases significantly over time. Our walk opposes recruitment away from the covenant path, and it denies support to any who lead people away from the Lord. In all of this we remember that God promises hope and ultimate joy and blessings for all who keep His commandments.
President Dallin H. Oaks, “Two Great Commandments,” General Conference, October 2019.

Violating Covenants

See also paragraph 4, sentence C [Sexual relations: Outside of marriage].

The surprisingly large number of Americans reporting one lifetime sex partner have the happiest marriages. … Research indeed suggests a complex story between premarital sex partners and marital quality. Psychologists Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley found that the study respondents who had sex with other people prior to marriage reported lower-quality unions compared to couples who slept just with each other. Multiple sex partners prior to marriage reduced marital quality for women, but not men. Along similar lines, sociologist Jay Teachman showed that premarital sex between future spouses didn’t make divorce more likely, but sex with other people did.

Rhoades and Stanley offer two explanations for this finding, one empirically demonstrable and one speculative. Their data show that premarital sex sometimes leads to premarital fertility, and women (but not men) who have children from other relationships have lower-quality relationships. On the speculative side is their notion that having multiple partners increases awareness of spousal alternatives. It’s evidence for this proposition that the divorce ratincreases in regions with more single people; in other words, we’re always willing to consider alternatives to our current mate. By implication, our marriages suffer when we make more comparisons. 

Wolfinger, N. (2018, October 22). Does Sexual History Affect Marital Happiness? Retrieved from https://ifstudies.org/blog/does-sexual-history-affect-marital-happiness

“A very high percentage of people in the U.S. cohabit outside of marriage. It is now normative behavior. Dr. Wendy Manning has estimated that “[t]he percentage of women ages 19-44 who have ever cohabited has increased by 82% over the past 23 years.” For those aged 30-34 in 2009-2010, she has shown that 73% of women had already cohabited with someone. If you combine such numbers with the fact that, as Susan Brown has shown, there is a steady increase in cohabitation among older adults (after the death of a spouse or divorce), it is easy to imagine that the number of people who will eventually cohabit outside of marriage could reach 80% or more.”
See http://www.bgsu.edu/content/dam/BGSU/college-of-arts-and-sciences/NCFMR/documents/FP/FP-13-12.pdf

Abuse

Mounting evidence has also demonstrated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) individuals, particularly young people, are at increased risk for intimate partner violence relative to heterosexuals. … In one of the first empirical studies examining intimate partner violence (IPV) among LGB youth, Freedner, Freed, Yang, and Austin (2002) administered self-report surveys measuring five types of IPV victimization (control, emotional, scared for safety, physical, sexual) to a convenience sample of 521 adolescents and found that, compared with heterosexuals, bisexual male adolescents were more than three times more likely to report any form of IPV victimization and lesbians were twice as likely to report fearing for their safety. …
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Evidence also suggests that severe violence in relationships tends to persist whereas moderate acts of violence tend to remit. … One possibility is evidence demonstrating higher rates of substance use among LGBT youth and young adults compared to their heterosexual counterparts overall (Marshal et al., 2008Newcomb, Birkett, Corliss, & Mustanski, 2014Thiede et al., 2003). Studies have referenced the “bar culture” being more common in LGBT populations, with research suggesting sexual minorities may have different drinking patterns, more permissive social norms, and positive expectancies for alcohol use (Hatzenbuehler, Corbin, & Fromme, 2008Heffernan, 1998).
Reuter, T. R., Newcomb, M. E., Whitton, S. W., & Mustanski, B. (2017). Intimate partner violence victimization in LGBT young adults: Demographic differences and associations with health behaviors. Psychology of Violence7(1), 101–109. 

“In both males and females, significantly higher rates of homosexuality were found in participants who experienced childhood sexual abuse and in those with a risky childhood family environment. (41% of non-heterosexual males and 42% of non-heterosexual females reported childhood family dysfunction).”
Mayer, L. and McHugh, P. “Executive Summary—Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” The New Atlantis, n. 50 (Fall 2016), p. 7–9.

Couples who share the same religious commitment are less likely to commit acts of domestic violence. Men who attend religious services at least weekly are less than half as likely to commit an act of violence against their partners as their peers who attend once yearly or less. Regular attendance at religious services has a strong and statistically significant inverse association with the incidence of domestic abuse.
Christopher G. Ellison, John P. Bartkowski, and Kristin L. Anderson, “Are There Religious Variations in Domestic Violence?” Journal of Family Issues 20, n. 1 (January 1999): 87–113.

Divorce

See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Marital vow: Lifelong].

FT_Updated_Divorce

Divorced single mothers are not significantly different than their widowed counterparts in child rearing, gender role, and family values and in religiosity, health-related behaviors, and other dimensions of lifestyle.
Timothy J. Biblarz and G. Gottainer, “Family Structure and Children’s Success: A Comparison of Widowed and Divorced Single-Mother families,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62:2 (2000): 533–48.

Accountable before God

See also paragraph 6, sentence C [Accountable before God].

Sentence B

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

2 Tim. 3:1
In the last days perilous times shall come.

Jude 1:17–19
Remember ye the words … of the apostles, … how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

2 Ne. 30:10
The Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.

Luke 21:9–11, 22–26 (Matt. 24:6–7, 19–22, 29; Mark 13:7–8, 17–20, 24–25)
When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, … nation shall rise against nation. … And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. … Woe unto them that are with child … in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword. … And there shall be … upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, … men’s hearts failing them for fear.

D&C 34:9
Before that great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood; and the stars shall refuse their shining, and some shall fall, and great destructions await the wicked.

D&C 43:17–22
The great day of the Lord is nigh at hand. … The Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations: Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again. Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked. … Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young. … For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord? … When the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?

D&C 87:2, 6
War will be poured out upon all nations. … With the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the … chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.

D&C 88:91
All things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.

Isa. 24:5–6, 20
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws. … Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, … and it shall fall, and not rise again.

Mal. 4:1 (3 Ne. 25:1)
The day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2 Pet. 3:3–7
There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for … all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that … of old … the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

3 Ne. 1:4
The prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

We are engaged in a battle with the world. In the past, the world competed for our children’s energy and time. Today, it fights for their identity and mind. Many loud and prominent voices are trying to define who our children are and what they should believe. We cannot let society give our family a makeover in the image of the world. We must win this battle. Everything depends on it.
Elder Bradley D. Foster, “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late,” October 2015 General Conference.

“The signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades (pp. 189–90). It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years (pp. 188–89). Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Preparing For the Second Coming,” April 2004 General Conference.

[Our  present situation (war, economy, etc.)] pull[s] us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary.  … I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.
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Now, I do not wish to be an alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake us. I earnestly pray that it may not. There is so much of the Lord’s work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Times in Which We Live,” October 2001 General Conference.

“The rising generation needs that deep learning because the world they will face will be both great and terrible—there will be increased light and power from heaven, and there will be even more terrible wickedness and turmoil and confusion. They will need to be grounded in the plain and simple truths of the gospel, the gospel will need to be deep in their hearts, and they will need what President Russell M. Nelson has called resilient faith in Christ: “Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord ‘shall suffer persecution’ [2 Timothy 3:12]. That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.”
Elder Kim B. Clark, “Encircled About With Fire” Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2015.

“Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness, Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities.

“So fundamental is the family unit to the plan of salvation that God has declared a warning that … the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Eternal Family,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 65.

You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it, because the alternative is to have our “houses” left unto us “desolate”—desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods, and desolate nations.
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So here we have the burden of those called to bear the messianic message. In addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on (that is the pleasant part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon to worry, to warn, and sometimes just to weep (that is the painful part of discipleship). … Unfortunately, messengers of divinely mandated commandments are often no more popular today than they were anciently.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Cost and Blessings of Discipleship,” General Conference, April 2014.

“You and I need to be much better than we are now. The scriptures teach us that the world is now and will be in commotion. Wickedness and darkness will increase. Yet in that darkening world there will be increased divine light. The Lord Jesus Christ has a great work for us to do with the rising generation. It is a greater work than we have ever done before. The Lord is working in power to strengthen teaching and learning in His true and living Church. He is hastening His work, and He is preparing the earth and His kingdom and us for His return.”
Elder Kim B. Clark, “Encircled About With Fire” Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2015.

As the residual societal stability is eroded that was created in the strong marriages and families of previous generations, the prospects for our future grow ever more uncertain and even bleak.
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We certainly recognize that all marriages are not perfect, any more than those who defend traditional marriage are perfect. Regrettably, some children and spouses who are in traditional marriages experience only disappointment and heartache. But these sad outcomes do not occur because the principles of true marriage are in error; rather, failure occurs when we do not live up to those true principles and the serious marriage covenants into which we have entered.
Elder David A. Bednar, from an address, “The Divinely Designed Pattern of Marriage,” delivered at a colloquium on marriage in New York City, New York, USA, on March 9, 2017.

Societal Breakdown

British ethnologist and social anthropologist at Oxford University and Cambridge University, Joseph Daniel Unwin conducted a landmark study of 6 major civilizations and 80 lesser societies covering 5,000 years of history. In his exhaustive examination of sexual behavior and their affect upon society, Unwin observed that monogamous cultures prosper and those disinclined to restrain sex to monogamous marriage remain primitive or, if once successful, they decline.
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“Thousands of years and thousands of miles separate the events; and there is no apparent connection between them. In human records, there is no case of an absolutely monogamous society failing to display great [cultural] energy. I do not know of a case on which great energy has been displayed by a society that has not been absolutely monogamous…”

“The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.”
Unwin, J. D. (1927). “Monogamy as a Condition of Social Energy,” The Hibbert Journal, Vol. XXV, p. 662. See also J. D. Unwin, Sex and Culture (London: Oxford University Press, 1934).

“Civilization requires the regulation of human sexuality and relationships. No society–ancient or modern–has survived by advocating a laissez faire approach to sex and sexual relationships. Every society, no matter how liberal, sanctions some sexual behaviors and proscribes others. Every society establishes some form of sexual norm.

Pitirim Sorokin, the founder of sociology at Harvard University, pointed to the regulation of sexuality as the essential first mark of civilization. According to Sorokin, civilization is possible only when marriage is normative and sexual conduct is censured outside of the marital relationship. Furthermore, Sorokin traced the rise and fall of civilizations and concluded that the weakening of marriage was a first sign of civilizational collapse.”
Albert J. Mohler

Natural Disasters 

Intense climate-related natural disasters—floods, storms as well as droughts and heat waves have been on the rise worldwide. Is there an ominous link between the global increase of these hydrometeorological and climatological events on the one side and anthropogenic climate change on the other? [There are] … three main disaster risk factors— rising population exposure, greater population vulnerability, and increasing climate-related hazards—behind the increased frequency of intense climate-related natural disasters. All are positively linked—with precipitation positively associated with hydrometeorological events and negatively associated with climatological events. Global climate change indicators also show positive and highly significant effects. …
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Nevertheless, scientists are cautious about linking any particular disaster to climate change, whether it is Typhoon Bopha in Mindanao, the Philippines, or Hurricane Sandy on the US East Coast. In the same way, economists are reluctant to pin higher inflation in any given month on rising money supply. But, as with inflation, the broader associations are unmistakable.
Thomas, Vinod and López, Ramón, Global Increase in Climate-Related Disasters (November 2015). Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 466.

“We document an increasing trend in extreme damages from natural disasters, which is consistent with a climate-change signal. Increases in aggregated or mean damages have been modest, but evidence for a rightward skewing and tail fattening of the distributions is statistically significant and robust—with most pronounced increases in the largest percentiles (e.g., 95% and 99%), i.e., the catastrophic events. This pattern is strongest in temperate regions, suggesting that the prevalence of devastating natural disasters has broadened beyond tropical regions and that adaptation measures in the latter have had some mitigating effects on damages.”
Evidence for sharp increase in the economic damages of extreme natural disasters, by Matteo Coronese, Francesco Lamperti, Klaus Keller, Francesca Chiaromonte, and Andrea Roventini, PNAS October 22, 2019 116 (43) 21450-21455; first published October 7, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1907826116.

According to the EM-DAT, the total natural disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970 to 348 in 2004. A portion of that increase is artificial, due in part to better media reports and advances in communications. Another reason is that beginning in the 1980s, agencies like CRED and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began actively looking for natural disasters. … However, about two-thirds of the increase is real and the result of rises in so-called hydro-meteorological disasters, Guha-Sapir said. These disasters include droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons and floods and have been increasing over the past 25 years. In 1980, there were only about 100 such disasters reported per year but that number has risen to over 300 a year since 2000.
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In contrast, natural geologic disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides and avalanches have remained steady in recent decades.
See Than, K. (2005, October 17). Scientists: Natural Disasters Becoming More Common. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/414-scientists-natural-disasters-common.html

Natural Disasters - Our World in Data

 

 

 

Throughout history, nations have been able to survive a multiplicity of disasters— invasions, famines, earthquakes, epidemics, depressions—but they have never been able to survive the disintegration of the family. 

Michael Novak, “The Family out of Favor,” Harper’s Magazine, April 1, 1976, p. 42.

The survival of society depends on the positive outcomes derived from the natural union of a man and a woman.
Richard G. Wilkins in A. Scott Loveless and Thomas B. Holman, eds., The Family in the New Millennium: World Voices Supporting the Natural Clan, vol. 1: The Place of Family in Human Society (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2007), xiv.

Today, marriage and the family are in crisis. … This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings.”
Pope Francis’s address to the interfaith colloquium “The Complementarity of Man and Woman,” Humanum Conference, Rome, November 17, 2017.

Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. The future of humanity… passes through the family. So protect your families!
Pope Francis’s address in the Philippines, January 16, 2015, Retrieved from https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2015/01/16/every-threat-to-the-family-is-a-threat-to-society-itself-francis-address-to-families-in-the-philippines-full-text. 

Calamities and the Family Proclamation

See the full post here

 

We live in “perilous times” (2 Tim. 3:1), in which “all things” are undeniably “in commotion” (D&C 88:91). After a year of calamities in the form of natural disasters, a pandemic, civil unrest, and deep societal division, many wonder what the world and our way of life will look like in one year or ten years from now. Looking forward, what do we see?

That depends heavily on the status of the family. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” prophets and apostles declare: “We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (see Paragraph 8). Why did prophets, seers and revelators connect the disintegration of the family to calamities in a document addressed to the world?

In 2009, Elder Russell M. Nelson stated, “If there is any hope for the future of nations, that hope resides in the family. Our children are our wealth; our children are our strength; our children are indeed our future!” Looking to the history of the world, we see that the most successful and flourishing societies are those which practice the values taught in the family proclamation. Looking to the scriptures, those civilizations which survived are those which heeded the teachings of the prophets. The pattern is clear: strong families = strong societies; weak families = weak societies.

A study by Joseph Daniel Unwin of major civilizations and smaller societies spanning a 5,000-year period showed that completely monogamous civilizations are not only consistently the strongest and most enduring, but also “display great [cultural] energy. … The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.”

In addition, Pitirim Sorokin, sociologist at Harvard University, found that “civilization is possible only when marriage is normative and sexual conduct is censured outside of the marital relationship.” Furthermore, Sorokin traced the rise and fall of civilizations and concluded that the weakening of marriage was a first sign of civilizational collapse. Elder Robert D. Hales pointed to this same concept when he taught:

“So fundamental is the family unit to the plan of salvation that God has declared a warning that … the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

Elder Robert D. Hales

In our civilization, each day seems to bring less respect for the sanctity of life and the divinely appointed means by which mortal life is created. There is justified concern that our society is headed in the direction of so many others whose disregard for sacred things became their downfall. But as calamities increase, there is still hope to be found in the family. Additional studies show that those who have a strong connection to their family roots through family history will be the most well-equipped to face hard times with resilience. For instance, in the report “Knowledge of family history as a clinically useful index of psychological well-being and prognosis: A brief report” researchers found:

Knowledge of family history as an index of well-being and potential for resilience and/or positive change … is related strongly to so many well-established psychometric indicators of psychological well-being and good clinical outcome, attest to the potential of family knowledge as a clinically useful marker. (Link)

Perhaps a knowledge of where we came from can have a greater impact on society than we may ever realize. This positive family history link is fascinating, especially knowing what we know about the Abrahamic covenant and the family history work we do in temples around the world. Of this, Elder Bruce D. Porter testified of the blessings that will be given to faithful parents in the last days:

“Regardless of what the future may hold, God has ordained that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the parents of the Church will be given power to help save their children from the darkness around them. As the hearts of fathers and mothers turn to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents, we eventually will witness the rise of a generation refined and prepared to meet the Savior at His coming. The triumph of God’s kingdom in the latter days will be a triumph not only of the Church as an organization but of tens of thousands of individual families who by faith have overcome the world.”

Elder Bruce D. Porter

While we may not know for sure what our world will look like in one year or ten, we can find assurance in knowing that “that God promises hope and ultimate joy and blessings for all who keep His commandments” as presented by His prophets. As we seek to strengthen our families, past, present, and future, we will be able to “abide the day.” (D&C 35:21)

 

This week, Forbes published an article titled “A Spectacularly Rare ‘Christmas Star’ Is Coming In December As Two Worlds Align After Sunset.” Here, Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University, explains that on December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will align for the first time since the Middle Ages to become one super-bright point of light:

You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky. … On December 21, 2020 when the two planets will be separated by less than the apparent diameter of a full Moon. Jupiter and Saturn’s orbital resonance is such that they [will] align in a “great conjunction.”
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conjunction is when two objects line up in the sky.

It’s thought by some—including legendary German astronomer Johannes Kepler—that the “star of Bethlehem” in the story of the Magi or “three wise men” could have been a rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. …

The rare celestial event will be observable anywhere on Earth where skies are clear. The planets will appear low in the western sky for about an hour after sunset as viewed from the northern hemisphere, and though they’ll be closest on December 21, 2020, you can look each evening that week.

In Luke Chapter 21, we read about the signs preceding the Second Coming of the Savior. I thought of it immediately when I saw this news story about the ‘Christmas star’ coming on December 21. I also thought about all that has happened around the world this year. Believers have always been told to watch earnestly for signs and in these verses, the Savior tells us what to watch for prior to His coming:

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

10 Then said he unto them, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Do Christ’s words here sound anything like 2020? Apostasy, wars (Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Libya), commotions (riots in the streets and looting in the stores since June are still occurring), nation rising against nation, earthquakes in diverse places (see this report), pestilences (locust infestations in Africa and the worldwide pandemic), fearful sights (violent protests and civil unrest) and great signs from heaven (the ‘Christmas star’ on December 21).

Jesus gave His followers signs that would signify when His coming is near. In context of these passages, He is talking about the time when Jerusalem and the temple were about to destroyed. Yet, despite this particular context and others like it (Samuel the Lamanite’s remarkable prophesies), they don’t negate patterns and prophesies for our day. In the 2016 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson said:

These are the latter days, so none of us should be surprised when we see prophecy fulfilled. A host of prophets, including Isaiah, Paul, Nephi, and Mormon, foresaw that perilous times would come, that in our day the whole world would be in commotion, that men would “be lovers of their own selves, … without natural affection, … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God,” and that many would become servants of Satan who uphold the adversary’s work. Indeed, you and I “wrestle … against the rulers of the darkness of this world, [and] against spiritual wickedness in high places. (link)

These sentiments are echoed in the eighth paragraph of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”:

Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

Despite all that is happening around us, President Nelson says that our “brightest days are yet ahead” and “the Lord will perform some of His greatest miracles. And some of those miracles will be in your lives. If you wonder if happy days will ever return, I assure you that they will. Your children will yet have many opportunities to grow and progress, and your families may enjoy a promising future.” (link)

So, what is the beautiful sign from Heavenly Father at the end of an incredibly tough year? He is sending the world a ‘Christmas star’. This event hasn’t happened since the Middle Ages. I feel this is symbolic of the hope and light that is yet to come, despite so many of us having deep concerns about what has happened and what may happen in the coming years. It’s going to be okay because Jesus Christ is our Sovereign. He is our King of Kings. Our true ruler over heaven and earth.

This Christmas, let us seek the One who shines most brightly when we allow Him to guide us. Let us seek after Christ as earnestly as the Wise Men did when they followed the star so long ago. And, as we look to the heavens for the ‘Christmas star’ on December 21, let us remember to give thanks to God for sending His Beloved Son, the Light and Life of the world.

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