“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.”
It strikes me this morning that this warning, that our behavior towards our families could “bring…the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets,” is very similar to what Jacob tells the Nephites in Jacob 2 and 3.
There, the Nephites have “broken the hearts” of their wives and children. Jacob contrasts this with the Lamanites, whose “husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children.” The Nephite men are seeking to justify themselves in having many wives and concubines, which God directly told them not to do, but the Lamanites are not. Jacob says it is because of this, “because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people.” It is their relationship to women generally and their loving relationship to their spouses and children that allows them to bypass destruction.
Isn’t that similar to what the Family Proclamation states? Calamities are brought about when we “violate covenants of chastity” (note here that we are talking about those who have entered into those covenants, which, to be honest, is a small number of at least our country’s population), or “abuse spouse or offspring” (including emotionally or mentally, right?), or “fail to fulfill family responsibilities” (this is more vague, but certainly this includes basic things like paying child support, teaching children to be good, working together as husband and wife as equal partners). If it weren’t for this, perhaps the second coming would be put off indefinitely even if there were other sins continually upon the world. Perhaps there is some sense in which the first world-wide destruction of the flood happened because of violence of men against men, nations against nations, and the second may be because of violence and disintegration of love of men towards women and women towards men, parents against each other, and parents against their own children.
Sobering thought! My interest in this is partly because I like finding passages of the Proclamation on the Family that line up with scriptural accounts that I know well. It helps me see more clearly what is at stake in the Proclamation. I also do want to take any stern warning like this seriously, but carefully, so I can see what exactly is meant in the warning. Above, then, are a few thoughts in that vein.