We Are ALL Enlisted
Consider yourself called.
Whether or not you are aware, feel capable, or accept it, you were issued a call.
This calling does not depend on your race, gender, age, marital status, education, or even political party. The Lord himself—through his servants—issued your call over 20 years ago. Here it is:
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.
(I guess there is a catch; if you are not a responsible citizen then I suppose this calling is not for you.)
And yes, it was the Lord who gave the call because it is He who said “whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).
When The Family: A Proclamation to the World was read for the first time in 1995 many Latter-day Saints felt it was kind of stating the obvious. One BYU law professor—who ended up spending years of his life defending the family—recalled hearing it read for the first time “smiling, and nodding,” only later did he realize that “he was damning it with faint praise.”
Maybe you felt that the conditions of the world were friendly to family life in the 90’s, leading you to innocently say to yourself: “Duh! Of course the family is ordained of God and fundamental to society.” Then having nodded and shrugged your shoulders went back to life as normal.
The fatal flaw here is that this attitude leads to indifference, ignorance, and inaction!
If you are a Latter-day Saint then this calling is a much weightier matter because where much truth is given, much is required. And where covenants are concerned–especially temple covenants–all is required.
All is NOT Well
Maybe you are now naively saying to yourself: “The family isn’t really under attack. That’s just a right-wing nut-job conspiracy theory!”
Let me first respond to that as the Grinch:
Would you like evidence?
Keep in mind, that the statistics that I am about to share are somewhat neutral, meaning, depending on your values you could view these as negative or positive. However, there is a raft of research—not to mention revealed doctrine—to support that each of the following trends are not only bad but devastating for both families and society:
- ⅔ of new marriages take place between couples who have already lived together (or cohabited) for over 2 years
- At least 41% of children born today are to unwed mothers
- Nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce
- More than 3 million reports (not actual instances) of child abuse are made every year in the United States
- 50% of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these end in abortion
- More than 40 million abortions are performed worldwide each year
- By 2017, a quarter of a billion people are expected to be accessing pornography from their phones or tablets, an increase of more than 30% from 2013
- At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor
- By the age of 25, 44% of women have had a baby, while only 38% have married; by the time they turn 30, about ⅔ of American women have had a baby, typically out of wedlock
- Over 24 million children in the United States are growing up in a home without their biological father
- The rise of atheism and religious intolerance (not the same thing) is staggering and is only going to get worse in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage
I know, I know, statistics are boring and I may have lost you at this point. But that is the point! Too many of you who are called are lost or taking yourself out of the game because this calling may seem boring, or inconvenient, or you simply may be uninformed.
The stats above are merely a drop in the lake of threats to the family. I haven’t even mentioned the dangers of the popular trend trying to make men and women the same, the rising disgust that the morally relativistic millennials (18-30 year olds) have for marriage and family, and the fact that we humans are wired to connect but are disconnecting wirelessly—with our devices. As the Cat in the Hat once said: “but that is not all! oh, no. that is not all…”
I have seen many of these threats promoted and applauded at academic conferences, in university classrooms, and in my personal advocacy efforts at the United Nations in New York City. I have spoken about the importance of the family at the United Nations for the past 3 years and oh the stories I could tell about what is
happening there. It really is inconceivable!
Waiting on the World to Change
So I ask again: Are you magnifying your calling?
Too many of us have fallen victim to the philosophy in John Mayer’s popular tune:
Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
Wej ust feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it.
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
Regardless of what you think Mr. Mayer meant by these lyrics, on their face they promote apathy and inaction. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland boldly declared:
My friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all!
At this point, you may appropriately be wondering what you can do. First, you must continue to strengthen your own marriage and family. But, don’t stop at your own family! The following list comes from United Families International, a pro-family advocacy group that I personally work with:
1. Register to vote, be an informed voter
- Support pro-family candidates
- Consider running for office
2. Volunteer in your child’s school
- Help in the classroom
- Build relationship with teacher and
principal, share concerns, help solve them
- Serve in parent-teacher organizations
3. Stay Informed
- Sign up for educational emails from trusted organizations such as Sutherland Institute, United Families International, Americans United for Life, etc.
- Use good critical thinking skills when watching mainstream media reports
4. Be an Everyday Advocate:
- Discuss issues with family, friends, neighbors
- Attend School Board Meetings & City Council
- Report indecency – magazines in checkout lines, advertising, billboards
- Write Blog posts
- Forward helpful emails, share things on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Write letters to the editor
- Live out the truth about the family in your home
5.Engage in State Issues:
- Write emails to your own State Representative and Senator
- Visit Capitol and speak at Legislative committee meetings during public comment
- Keep it Civil; keep it Simple.
We may not “win” every time, but it is important to leave a record. Elder Neal A. Maxwell has said:
Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened. . . Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear.
You may be lacking information, direction, ambition, or even testimony. No matter the reason I promise that ”whom the Lord calls He qualifies.”
May each of us rise to our calling to protect and defend “our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46:12).