Oct 24

Putting on the Armor of God

As Christian families, we have all been admonished, exhorted, and counseled from many sources on how important parents and children are in a family. We all want to learn to get along with each other and we know the end goal of where we want to be after our life on earth has finished.

 

Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil - Ephesians 6:11From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon Church”), President Boyd K Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to the youth on January 22, 2013, during the 100 Years in Seminary broadcast. He said “Our youth are being raised in enemy territory. . . . he (the adversary) is in homes, entertainment, the media, language—everything around you” (“How to Survive in Enemy Territory”). That is a scary statement. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents—we need to arm our youth with the gospel of Jesus Christ and be good examples. We also need good role models so our youth will have someone to look up to as a righteous disciple of Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 2

Over that past few months, news reports have surfaced about same sex attraction advocates and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (often inadvertently called the Mormon or LDS Church). This is a sensitive topic for sure, and some church members are in a quandary as to where they should stand. From God’s point of view, families will continue on indefinitely if the basis of the family is created by a man and woman.

 

New LDS Website Deals with Same-Sex Attraction

 

A few months ago, The Church of Jesus Christ launched a website called Love One Another: A Discussion on Same Sex Attraction with the idea of bringing all people together on an emotionally charged topic and discussing how we, a part of the human family, can better treat each other as children of a loving Heavenly Father.

 
As it was reported on this website, The Church of Jesus Christ continues its stand as the following:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

 

The survival of the family depends on our stand in this matter. Though we are all loved by God, our society needs to promote and protect the marriage between a man and a woman as this institution promotes morality and virtue as written in the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Being committed to a marriage between a man and a woman and inviting children into the family provides a secure setting for families to grow in righteousness and virtue and enables the future of righteousness in the family in our society.

 
Church spokesman Michael Purdy was quoted as saying:

Being committed to marriage between a man and a woman does not mean that we do not love and care for all of God’s children.

We all do care for one another as a people. We want the best for each other in education, employment opportunity and entertainment. We enjoy freedoms within the borders of our country which allows the American people life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The LDS Church is not the only religious organization who believes that a man and woman constitute a couple in matrimony. There are many others who have spoken out in defense of traditional marriage.

Earlier this year, other church leaders from different faiths joined The Church of Jesus Christ in advocating traditional marriage in an open letter to all Americans.  In this letter, titled “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” it was stated that “the promotion and protection of marriage — the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife — is a matter of the common good and serves the wellbeing of the couple, of children, of civil society and all people.”

 

Which Way Is God’s Way?

 

As devoted Christians, we need to remember the plan our Father in Heaven has for us.  We can love one another and yet still remember the importance of continuing the institution of the family and marriage between a man and a woman. From a wonderful article posted in the Meridian Magazine, “A Letter to Same Sex Advocates,” Jim Smith makes a valid point when he says: “No matter the intellectual acrobatics one might undertake to avoid it, marriage is God’s eternal standard and it is His to define.  Any action or philosophy we may espouse to the contrary in this ignorant present can only be seen as the whining of a petulant child or the height of arrogance”.

 
Jim Smith says:  “A man cannot replace a mother without robbing a child of a mother’s love. A woman cannot replace a father without robbing a child of a father’s love. They are not the same, and to argue that they are, or that children do not need one or the other, is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.”

 

We need the institution of marriage to carry on forever into the future.  We need men and women to be legally and lawfully married and understand the importance of their powers of creation. We need to ponder these important decisions and understand what God has in store for us to save our society regardless of how politically charged it is.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Valerie Steimle’s Website – Strengthen Your Home

 

The Divine Institution of Marriage

 

Love One Another: A Discussion on Same -Sex Attraction

Aug 2

An interesting phenomenon happened after the tragedy of 9-11. For a short time the country became flag wavers and very patriotic. It was really amazing to see, as I have always been a flag waver, but six months later the flags came down, the bumper stickers were peeled off, and the displays of patriotism had disappeared.

 

Patriotism – An Important Family Virtue

 

Sometimes patriotism seems like a fad whenever the country needs a unified people to boast, posting flags and patriotic quotes. Keeping thoughts of a unified country utmost in the minds of its countrymen has always been a positive force in any countries’ history and it should be in ours.  Patriotism is a unifying force which shouldn’t be an inconvenience or a fad to show how our citizens are devoted to our country.

 

American Patriotism MormonPatriotism is an important family virtue. Our children need to learn respect for the flag, respect for the veterans of past wars and what they have done for our country.  They need to learn the U.S. Constitution and remember what it stands for.  Our children need to remember to stand at attention when our National Anthem is played and pledge their allegiance to the flag each day at school.  It is so important to pass down these attributes so that patriotism can be carried on into future generations.  It’s not a matter of blindly following government regulations whether right or wrong, as past world dictators expected.  It’s instilling a reverence in our children to be passed down from one generation to another in remembering the importance of our country’s history, the heroism of those who died to protect our country, and how to retire an old flag.

 

Teaching Our Children about Patriotism

 

Through books and movies, Americans are reminded of the great sacrifices our parents, grandparents and generations before have made in keeping this country free.  With the help of concerned parents, all children can learn to be devoted to their country and learn the importance of patriotism.

 

Here are a few ideas which can help parents teach their children about patriotism:

 

  1. Post a U.S. Flag: Buy a flag kit and hang it on the front of the house, and teach children to be respectful of it.  The flag should never touch the ground and should always be removed when raining or at night unless there is a light on it.  When the flag is being carried at parades, everyone should stand, remove any hats and place their right hand over their heart as it goes by.  Discussing the respect we should have for our country’s flag can help children be more reverent of this great symbol.

 

  1. Vote: The best way for children to learn about the importance of their country’s leadership is if their parent’s vote.  Explain, and include children in the voting process.  Discuss how important we are in choosing our national, state, and local leaders who make decisions for our country.

 

  1. Be Involved in Community: Attending patriotic events and joining the Boy Scouts of America are just two ideas for instilling patriotism in children.  Every year most communities have a patriotic service for Independence Day and this instills feelings of devotion and respect for our nation’s history. Make a fun day of it and children will respond.  Join in singing the national anthem at ball games and other events and attend Veteran Day activities for children to meet those who fought to save our freedoms. The Boy Scouts of America is a fun way for boys to understand patriotism and learn the importance of taking care of our flags.

 

Instilling these patriotic ideals is an investment for the future. While some might feel patriotism is not necessary in these times, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Families need to remember the importance of our nation and its history and revere the flag. Include honoring our veterans for their sacrifice for freedom, and families can instill the importance of patriotism for years to come.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Declaration of Dependence: Teaching Patriotism in the Home

 

But Watchman, What of the Night?

Mar 27

What is it about being virtuous that the world doesn’t like?   The word virtuous means “being of good moral quality.” A virtue is a character trait valued as being good. If we can see how virtue can be valued as something good, then we can see that the character trait of a good moral quality (being virtuous) in a person has a great importance in our culture. How is it that we have plummeted to the very depths of immorality in our society?  How is it that we can watch immoral acts on “pay for TV” stations, buy magazines of nude people or easily rent pornographic videos without thinking about the consequences?  How is that?

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, encourages its youth and all of its members to keep themselves clean and pure until they are legally married, and then to be pure and faithful after marriage. From a very memorable talk given to the youth of the Church, Boyd K. Packer says this:

Do not tamper with the life-giving powers in your body alone or with members of either gender. That is the standard of the Church, and it will not change. As you mature, there is a temptation to experiment or explore immoral activities. Do not do that!

Mormon Youth VirtueFor those who are old enough to remember, the 60’s were the decade of what was called the “sexual revolution.”  This opened the door for what came in the next forty years.  Pornography runs rampant in video stores and on the internet.  Television shows, movies, magazines and books all show sexual acts as a part of the normal function of society for unmarried youth. The messages we remember from this media give permission to participate regardless of what the outcome, and the outcome is teen pregnancy, abortion, broken homes, adultery and family instability. The fruits of this bad behavior are apparent in society, but they never appear in the media, sucking in youth who are misled by the lack of negative consequences.   All this trash we see is encouraging us as a people to think its okay to sleep with someone else without the bonds of matrimony.

 

It doesn’t matter whether we are married to someone else.  It doesn’t matter whether we love that person.   It doesn’t even matter if we are in a steady relationship with that person.  Whatever feels good, do it, and everything will be all right.  How could this have happened? All this because we let our physical passions control us and get in the way of keeping ourselves morally clean. All this because we make fun of those who think it is important to keep our sexual relationships within the bonds of marriage. Words of encouragement continue on from LDS Church leaders for adults to stay clean after they are married.

 

We need to remember the sacredness of procreation and think about a world that refuses to show sexual activity in all entertainment including books, magazines, television shows and movies. In remembering to teach and be virtuous ourselves we can promote virtue and make it important to our youth. We might not see high moral character as being a good thing for our society but it is.  In the United States, one of every ten births involves a teen mother. According to a September 2006 report by the Guttmacher Institute, three-quarters of a million teens between 15 and 19 become pregnant each year in the United States. This is an epidemic, and as parents, we need to help our youth understand the importance of being virtuous while being virtuous ourselves.

 

returntovirtue

Suffice it to say that being virtuous is a great thing. Keeping yourself morally clean is the way to a world that is not out of control.  Being the odd ball virgin is not a bad thing.  It is a good thing and as parents and teachers, we need to encourage all to become as virtuous as possible.  It’s the only way to a life of moral strength and happiness.  It is the only way we can have a stable world.  The virtue of being virtuous. Let’s hope we never lose it.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Valerie Steimle MormonDespite being born and raised a Yankee, Valerie Steimle moved to southern Alabama with her husband and nine children and have found herself partial to the south. She has always been passionate about strengthening families and despite being busy with her own, felt compelled to write about it. Starting with a column in the local newspaper, she has since published several books regarding family issues. During that time her husband passed away suddenly and she was left to raise her five youngest children alone. She has moved forward with faith however, and has found happiness in her God, her family and her writing.

 

Strengthening Families

 

 

Feb 12

January of 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision of Roe v. Wade that overturned state abortion laws and which sanctioned abortion on demand across the United States. Since 1973, women all over the country have been able to  take the life of their unborn children without the thought of consequence or repercussion for their actions.

 

The Heritage Foundation and Meridian Magazine discuss this monumental decision, in an article which reminds the American people that we need to save our children. Quoting President Reagan a few years after the Roe vs. Wade decision he says:

“Abortion has denied [these children] the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss. We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all.”

With the unspeakable number of over 55 million abortions recorded since 1973, we need to take heed of President Reagan’s words and educate and promote the life of an unborn child.

 

Black Mormon Mother and BabyOur society has become desensitized to the effects of abortion. Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which is an organization in research and education for and in behalf of unborn children, says the ruling for abortion will “remain the ultimate in unsettling law, upending the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and creating conditions where human lives are not seen as created equal in value.” With the help of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and others who are willing to write and speak for those unborn people, we might save lives.

 

There are testimonies to be heard from those born instead of aborted.  From The Abortion Survivor’s Network many testimonies are told of these people originally aborted and left to die but somehow survived. They are happy to be alive. They are very grateful for the life they lead, even though many of them are disabled because of what was done to them to prevent them from being born.

 

But there is hope. According to a report posted in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortions have dropped by five percent in the United States.  This information was taken from data of 2009 and shows a definite decline in abortions. Those Americans who promote a pro-life stance are starting to make a difference.

 

The pro-life movement is growing stronger every year. From The Heritage Foundation article posted January 17, 2013, it is reported that,

“According to Americans United for Life, at least 60 new pro-life laws were enacted in states across the country last year alone. Thousands of community-based pregnancy centers have harnessed the best of the power and spirit of civil society, providing compassionate counseling, holistic support, and accurate information to women facing unplanned pregnancies.”

This news is outstanding for the pro-life movement and gives the American people motivation that we can still help young girls to understand why it’s so important to bring babies into the world regardless of their circumstance. We can make a difference to save lives.

 

There seems to be a downward spiral for the abortion crusade. From lifenews.com, Steve Ertelt reports the Time Magazine cover story of the losing battle of pro-abortionists saying from the first year of the decision which allowed legal abortions, the pro-life movement has been gaining ground.  In this January 14th, 2013 issue, Emily Buchanan writes, “Not only does this young generation of pro-life women shun the notion that abortion somehow liberates women; it views abortion as the civil- and human-rights cause of our day.”

 

From an abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen, we read these words from her testimony before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996,

“Today, a baby is a baby when convenient. It is tissue or otherwise when the time is not right. A baby is a baby when miscarriage takes place at two, three, four months. A baby is called a tissue or clumps of cells when an abortion takes place at two, three, four months. Why is that? I see no difference. What are you seeing?”

As pro-life supporters we can make a difference.  We can motivate and support those who are struggling with the decision of whether to keep their babies. Educating young women to keep their babies helps tremendously and can save a future generation of children.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Valerie Steimle MormonDespite being born and raised a Yankee, Valerie Steimle moved to southern Alabama with her husband and nine children and have found herself partial to the south. She has always been passionate about strengthening families and despite being busy with her own, felt compelled to write about it. Starting with a column in the local newspaper, she has since published several books regarding family issues. During that time her husband passed away suddenly and she was left to raise her five youngest children alone. She has moved forward with faith however, and has found happiness in her God, her family and her writing.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Mormon Doctrines

 

Crazy Mormon Beliefs

 

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

 

http://youtu.be/QaBDxkAprjo

 

Jan 22

With difficult times around us, families need positive energy. We need positive energy because positive energy produces positive thought.  If we have positive thought, then our families are at peace even with trials upon us.  Our homes can be a place of refuge, and positive thinking will push away negative energy, which tends to pull us down emotionally.

 

Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), very appropriately quoted William James in a First Presidency message of the church magazine, The Ensign, for January of 2012: “William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, ‘The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.’  President Monson goes on to say,

So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.

 

Mormon FamilyWe can choose peace and contentment, as President Monson says, and we can change our inner attitude. When we are experiencing great trials, those with positive energy and positive thinking will see life much differently, even though we are experiencing these great trials.  We all need to be uplifted and peaceful to fill our spirits with positive thoughts. At times our lives may seem hopeless with trials too much to bear, but with a determination to keep ourselves positive, our spirits can soar.

 

It is touching to read quotes from those who came before us and how they feel about staying positive. From Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

 

The late Zig Ziglar said: “You cannot tailor-make the situations in life but you can tailor-make the attitudes to fit those situations.”

 

Oprah Winfrey says it this way: “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

 

One of the most amazing words came from a very surprising, unexpected source. For those who are old enough to remember Groucho Marx, originally made popular with his brothers in vaudeville and then who went on to make movies as “The Marx Brothers,” he said something amazing: “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

 

How can we continue to keep positive energy in our homes, so we can continue positive thoughts? A few simple tips can help us.

 

1.  Keep uplifting music, movies and books in our homes: If we continue to listen or watch negative or adverse entertainment, including video games, then our negative energy goes up, which then translates into negative thought. That’s why scripture reading each night is so important. It counteracts the entire negative we hear and see. Keep uplifting entertainment in the home as well as reading uplifting words, and your home will feel at peace.

 

belonging-happiness-family-lm Mormon Quote2.  Keep watch of what we say: Hurtful words can be as swords to our spirits. If all we hear are complaints and disparaging words, then negative energy is created, which creates negative thought. Name calling and swearing is out. Uplifting words encourage positive energy. It can’t always be perfect, but if we always try, then we are moving in a positive direction.

 

3. Pray together as a family:  Even when everyone doesn’t feel like it, prayer is important.  It brings a calmness into the home you cannot get in any other way. It doesn’t have to be a long or fancy prayer.  Just pray.

 

4. Remember to have fun: Times are tough, but we still have to remember to have fun.  I remember seeing a father and son throw a baseball to each other in the street a few days after the 9/11 attack.  Investing in fun time is a requirement for positive energy, which lightens the emotional load for the whole family.
Children will remember the fun times and the feeling they have when they are at home when there is positive energy.  Making homes a refuge with positive energy and thought will get us through the difficult times. The power of positive thought is necessary for a happy home.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Valerie Steimle MormonDespite being born and raised a Yankee, Valerie Steimle moved to southern Alabama with her husband and nine children and have found herself partial to the south. She has always been passionate about strengthening families and despite being busy with her own, felt compelled to write about it. Starting with a column in the local newspaper, she has since published several books regarding family issues. During that time her husband passed away suddenly and she was left to raise her five youngest children alone. She has moved forward with faith however, and has found happiness in her God, her family and her writing.

 

Additional Resources:

 

President Monson — The Abundant Life—Ensign, January 2012

 

Mormon Youth

 

The Meaning of Life

 

Dec 29

When tragedy strikes in a community, everyone is affected, as in the recent shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  What can we do to in the aftermath of great sadness for ourselves and the community? Celia Baker discusses this very topic in her article, When tragedy strikes children, what can be done to help survivors? posted in Deseret News on December 15, 2012.

 

Mormon familyMemories from the Columbine High School shooting come back to the minds of those who lived through this terror. Students remember the fear, the panic and uncertainty of whether they would make it out alive with all of their friends and teachers unharmed. The aftermath of these atrocious acts of violence leave many children and even adults with night terrors and bouts of weeping, according to Celia Baker’s article. Here are some suggestions for survivors of tragedy from the “When Tragedy Strikes Children” article by Celia Baker.

 

Talk To Children:

 

Expressing ourselves through talking and sometimes even art can help ease the minds of those involved. Liz Carlston who was a 17-year-old student at Columbine High School in April of 1999 tells of feeling like a “shaken soda bottle.”  “You have to talk and share what’s inside you. You’ve got all this carbonation, and if you don’t let that pressure off — by talking, talking, talking….you can explode.”

 

From David Fassler for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “There is no right or wrong way to talk to children about school shootings and other community tragedies. Parents should be honest with their children yet keep comments appropriate to age and developmental level.”

 

He goes on to write: “Remember that children are likely to personalize situations and worry about their own safety, so limit television viewing of frightening images and violent news especially if a child becomes overly fearful about safety.”

 

Talk time with children is so very helpful after tragedies.  Parents should take the time to talk to their children and others involved and let them express themselves to help the healing process.

 

Sorrowful Lessons Learned:

 

The next tip reminds us to learn from the tragic events through true news reports and not hearsay. From the first shot fired at the Columbine High School massacre, news stations and newspapers released conflicting reports of what was really happening, according to Baker’s article. When a crisis occurs, a call goes out to a crisis team to help families and co-workers cope with tragic situations.

 

“Conflicting reports, the descent of the national media and communication problems between various law enforcement groups added to the aura of fear and chaos.

 Counselors worked to calm terrified students and to help families whose children were still in the school. As the school siege lengthened, counselors offered each family the services of a victim advocate who would stay with them in their homes that night as they awaited word about their children’s fates,” according to the article.

 

Watching the news day in and out can cause unrest and darkness in the home, so limiting viewing news time is very important.  It’s just not worth the time to become so obsessed with a news item that repeats the scene of terror over and over again.  Waiting a few days when the story calms down to just the facts is helpful in dealing with the tragedy so parents can talk to their children to find out their needs in the healing process.

 

Find support and healing:

 

prayers-you-me-lm Mormon QuoteAnother important tip is to find a support group or someone who can help family members deal with what has happened. Grief therapists and special centers can guide parents and others to help deal with the reality of the situation and start the healing process.

 

From the Bradley Center for Grieving Children and Families in Salt Lake City, Carrie Moore, co-founder, says “Grieving children are very different than adults, especially younger children, who don’t have words to express what they are feeling inside. Bereaved children don’t believe adults can understand what they are going though and can be reluctant to talk. Directed play and creative activities help, as does support from families in similar circumstances.”

 

There is no timeline for the grieving process and we shouldn’t expect anyone to “get over” what has happened through any tragic event.  Life will come as waves of normality and sadness until a certain kind of recovery is accomplished years down the road.  It’s a progress and most victims don’t recover as they were before the incident but just learn to cope.

 

Everyone will face or has faced a tragedy in their lifetime and Celia Baker’s article, “When tragedy strikes children, what can be done to help survivors?” can help many begin the healing process.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Valerie Steimle MormonDespite being born and raised a Yankee, Valerie Steimle moved to southern Alabama with her husband and nine children and have found herself partial to the south. She has always been passionate about strengthening families and despite being busy with her own, felt compelled to write about it. Starting with a column in the local newspaper, she has since published several books regarding family issues. During that time her husband passed away suddenly and she was left to raise her five youngest children alone. She has moved forward with faith however, and has found happiness in her God, her family and her writing.

 

Additional Resources:

 

The Meaning of Life

 

Death

 

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

 

 

 

 

Dec 18

From the media, news and entertainment world, we can see that the sanctity of the family is no longer important to our country.  We take marriage lightly as we think we can always find someone else.  Having an affair while married?  No problem, just don’t tell anyone and it will be okay.  These kinds of thoughts and other ideas have been propagated by the underlying agenda to ruin and disrupt the family. Our society is getting sucked into rethinking our normal ways of life—as having an ex-spouse, or buy it now because “I want it now” and that using illegal drugs helps us handle reality.

 

Mormon familyJeffery R. Holland, apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asks an important question in a talk from April 2010 General Conference: “Why is there so much moral decay around us, and why are so many individuals and families, including some in the Church, falling victim to it, being tragically scarred by it?”

 

What was considered back in the 60’s and 70’s as an exception is now the rule: divorce, single parenting, drug addiction, too much debt, immorality and inappropriate entertainment has overwhelmed our society. As you read these six aspects of life, you might be surprised to see how closely you have followed along with these indicators of a decaying family.

 

Divorce: The statistic for divorced couples is now over 50% which shows the world that couples aren’t really trying as hard as they used to in making a marriage work.

 

David B. Haight, another apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells us:

A new self-centered generation has made the family a prime target of continuing belittlement. Marriage is downgraded or shunned, parenthood degraded and avoided. These, with other disturbing influences, have resulted in a torrent of evil temptations for so-called instant gratification and the demeaning of marriage and the sacred roles of wife and mother.

Granted, there are abuse issues in some relationships, but not every couple has an abuse issue. Married couples don’t have to give up too easily in their relationship when life gets a little rough.  There is a mind set in our society that says it’s okay to go separate ways instead of trying to work out the problems and to be married today, there are going to be problems.  There is no such thing as a perfect spouse. Couples have to work to maintain a good relationship so it is very important for young couples marrying right now to realize that there will be troubled times ahead.

 

Single Parenting: Not every “single” parent was ever married and not every “single” parent was divorced. This is part of the problem.  The media glorifies single parenthood, which encourages young women to want children but not necessarily with a husband. Some single parents have “significant others” come in and out of their lives from time to time, and other single parents live by themselves. There are pages and pages of research which show the importance of having both parents present in the home. With both parents present, they give support to the children. With both parents present they give each other a break from parenting.  It is crucial to have both parents, but as there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the U.S. responsible for raising 21.8 million children (according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2009) it is not always possible.

 

Drug Addiction: This particularly harmful habit started back in the 1960s when the rising generation literally went to pot. There were college uprisings, anti-war “sit-ins,” and the introduction of marijuana and heroin. This was the baby boomer generation whose parents were the survivors of WWII.  They didn’t want discipline nor did they want to fit into the “establishment”.

 

The whole world seemed topsy turvey, but the one surviving factor of those times is a large drug addiction, and the use of drugs has climbed steadily ever since.  Young teens want to be cool, so they try these ridiculously dangerous drugs from crack to methamphetamines to get a high. Drugs are expensive, so any kind of budget for living expenses is wasted on a bad habit.  We need to strengthen ourselves and our families against the pitfalls of drug addiction. An excellent source of information is from a talk called “How To Survive in Enemy Territory,” from Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who says we are living in enemy territory and must strengthen our children to survive the world of sin.

 

Too Much Debt: If anyone remembers the old Willie Wonka movie with the spoiled little girl named Veruca Salt, then you have an idea of what “generation X” and “Y” (as they are called) does when they want to buy something.  They want it and they want it now!  Credit card spending is way out of control.  According to Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, the average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt.  There is no way around it, if you have a credit card you will spend more than what you make.  Our parents always saved up for something and then bought it with cash.  That is just the way it had always been since the beginning of time.  You want something, you save up for it. The only exceptions were homes, cars and education.  You didn’t need it that badly that you couldn’t live without it. Now families are up to their eyeballs in debt which creates a tremendous amount of stress. Get out of debt and you get out of bondage.

 

Immorality: Getting married used to be considered the right thing to do when a single girl became pregnant. Fidelity in marriage was always the norm, and if a political leader was caught in an extra-marital affair, then the only right thing to do was to resign.  Now all of that doesn’t seem to matter.  What ever “feels good” is the right thing to do and that is that. We need to teach abstinence until marriage or we end up with countless girls in middle school and high school having babies.  It’s not that there isn’t enough birth control to go around; it’s the fact that girls and boys are not taught to wait to share intimacy with their married partner. There is no sanctity in marriage. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught from their leaders the importance of fidelity in marriage and abstinence when single.  This is a real red flag of a decaying country.

 

Entertainment: This is probably the worst aspect of all six areas that has been so degraded in the last 30 years; families cannot tell what is safe to watch and what isn’t. Movies, television, books and magazines have glorified what used to be considered inappropriate for family time together.  Violence, sex and bad language are used so much in all forms of entertainment, we are desensitized to it. Sleazy magazine covers are displayed at book stores in the name of art. Most romance novels describe explicit sex scenes.  The movie rating system has become like a school test being raised on a scale: what used to be considered an “R” rating is now “PG-13” and sometimes the “PG” version isn’t all that clean either.  Our society has just slipped into the gutter and will not come back unless we teach our children the signs and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Children are not learning the life skills they need to follow Christ’s teaching of becoming decent, contributing citizens.  It takes sacrifice and hard work at home and at work to have a successful life.  Illegal drugs can alter good thinking and sneaking extra marital affairs does not make for a happy, contented marriage.  Being bombarded by garbage for our minds alters good thinking.  The family is an important commodity in our country, and it needs to be safeguarded. By keeping these six aspects in mind, we can guard our house from the outside influences that keep our families from drifting apart and disintegrating.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter=day Saints.

 

Valerie-Steimie-MormonValerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ woman). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Jeffrey Holland—April 2010- Place No More For the Enemy of My Soul

 

Marriage and Divorce

 

David B. Haight talk

 

Boyd K. Packer’s Talk—How To Survive in Enemy Territory

 

 

Dec 6

Over the past few years, an anti-family trend has developed in the European Union. This anti-family trend has affected parents who are attempting to teach moral ideals and religious practices to their children. The question has arisen to many there: Do moral parents make good caretakers?

 

Mormon mother and sonIn Europe, we can read of many examples of parents teaching their children religious and moral values. However, some instituted governments deny these parents rights to teach their children the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, bringing more children into the world and encouraging certain health practices. In addition, parents should be allowed to teach their children high moral values such as honesty, integrity and kindness as it is their God-given right.

 

Sharon Slater, a family advocate who wrote, Stand for the Family, tells us: “These fundamental institutions and values that are so critical to any society are under increasing attack by UN agencies and treaties, un-elected activist judges, politicians, special interest groups, much of the media and popular entertainment.”

 

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been encouraged by their leaders to teach and train their children to know moral, righteous values in word and in deed. From Elder Quentin L. Cook (One of 12 called apostles of the Lord) said in a General Conference talk of the LDS Church in October 2012:

“Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord. With President Monson’s announcement this morning, (young men and young women age change to fill full time missions) it is essential that this be faithfully accomplished in homes which are places of refuge where kindness, forgiveness, truth, and righteousness prevail. Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music. Parents must have the courage to say no, defend truth, and bear powerful testimony. Your children need to know that you have faith in the Savior, love your Heavenly Father, and sustain the leaders of the Church.”

Our world is losing the ideal of righteous behavior, and our society is feeling the effects of that loss. With countless studies supporting the idea that parents should be teaching, persuading, and demonstrating kindness, forgiveness, and courage to their children, our society is moving away from that model. We need to remind ourselves how important this parental task is in our modern world.

 

President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said at the General Conference of the Church in April of 2008, “It is our duty to live our lives in such a way that we may be examples of righteousness.”

 

Our whole society is based on the goodness of others and how we treat each other.  If our children are not securely taught what is right from parents, our society will become violent and cruel, show a great decline of the work ethic and increase in foul language and disrespect for elders. With positive teaching of moral responsibility, parents can save society from disintegration.

 

So to answer that question from the European Union: Yes, moral parents make wonderful caretakers and by training their children in righteousness, they help our society stay intact.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Valerie Steimle Mormon Valerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon” woman). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Can Ye Feel So Now? 

 

ThomasMonson.com

 

Examples of Righteousness

 

Worship with Mormons

 

 

Nov 18

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear before buying a house is “How are the neighbors?”  Neighbors are important to families, and everyone loves to have a good neighbor to depend on in a crisis. But by the same token we also have to remember to be a good neighbor.

 

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church,” being a good neighbor is taking on godly characteristics towards other people. Kindness, patience, courage, honesty, and more are traits we can incorporate into our lives to be a good neighbor. From Thomas S. Monson’s First Presidency message in the August, 2012 Ensign, he writes:

With the parable of the good Samaritan, the Master taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. With His answer to the rich young ruler, He taught us to shed our selfishness. With the feeding of the 5,000, He taught us to see to the needs of others. And with the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us to seek first the kingdom of God.

Mormon familyAs keepers of our families, we are all strapped for time.  Many people work hard all day and have other pressing matters which make it difficult to visit with each other as we did in past times.  Taking a few moments to get to know those who are your neighbors is always a good idea, wherever you live.  It will not only aid in helping each other in times of disaster but it will also give us a sense of community and the feeling that we all belong to each other.

 

There are many inspiring stories of people working together in neighborhoods to clean up the trash or kick out crime and they are great examples to us.   It’s difficult to break the ice sometimes with strangers but in the long run there are blessings to having friendly neighbors and being a friendly neighbor.

 

For example, from the March 2002 Reader’s Digest’s Every Day Heroes, there was a great story of a woman who cleaned up a neighborhood of drug addicts and gangs.   Cordelia Taylor had worked hard to be a nurse after raising eight children, but couldn’t do what she wanted in the nursing home where she was hired, so her husband encouraged her to start her own.  She bought an old house to renovate in her old neighborhood and called it “The Family House.”  It was a great idea, but she had drug addicts, shootings and gangs to contend with.  With the help of the police, slowly but surely she managed to clean up the neighborhood and buy more houses to renovate into nursing homes. It is inspiring to read of someone with enough courage to chase off these criminals and clean up the neighborhood.

 

There are also many great examples of courage and unselfishness from people in natural disasters and how they didn’t even know who their neighbors were until an earthquake, tornado, or flood came upon them.

 

A great example of this is from the recent disaster in the New England area of our country. Hurricane Sandy came whipping through the North Atlantic states with a fury and damaged many homes, leaving many without power. On top of all that a major winter storm followed 10 days later. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wearing Mormon Helping Hands vests loaded up on buses to help whoever they could find to clean up their homes regardless of social status or neighborhood. After starting the project to clean up homes and streets; neighbors came out of their own homes to help along with the Mormon Helping Hands as well. Many lives in neighborhoods all over New York and New Jersey were blessed by these people and their own neighbors reaching out to help.

 

It takes a little courage to introduce yourself to your neighbor. It takes is a little initiative to lend them a hand, even when they don’t ask for it, or invite them to dinner, even though they didn’t invite you first.  But if you try, the rewards are great. Getting to know your neighbors should be even easier than making friends at work because of the closeness of distance where everyone lives.  Let’s not be strangers to our neighbors next door and remember what it feels like to have a good neighbor.  Your family will be blessed by it.

 

This article was written by Valerie Steimle, a member of The Church of jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Valerie Steimle Mormon Valerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon” woman). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.

 

Addition Resources:

 

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

 

Mormon Youth

 

The Lord Jesus Christ in Mormonism

 

Being a More Christian Christian

 


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