Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Reversing Our Moral Decay

The other day, I read an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Rabbi Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (in the United Kingdom).

Many have blamed moral decay for the recent riots in the UK
Rather than summarize the entire article for you, I will excerpt a few points and strongly urge you to read the rest:  In the recent British riots, of those charged with crimes,
60% had a previous criminal record, and 25% belonged to gangs.
This was the bursting of a dam of potential trouble that has been building for years. The collapse of families and communities leaves in its wake unsocialized young people, deprived of parental care, who on average—and yes, there are exceptions—do worse than their peers at school, are more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, less likely to find stable employment and more likely to land up in jail.
The truth is, it is not their fault. They are the victims of the tsunami of wishful thinking that washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.
Indeed, I'm unsure whether many would agree there even is an objective morality, anymore.  On the other hand, there used to be.  Consider, for example, the words of President Thomas S. Monson, 84:
We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position.
I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.  (Priesthood Power, April 2011 General Conference.)
So what is the solution to this moral decay and ever widening chasm?  According to Lord Sacks, a return to religion.  According to British Prime Minister David Cameron, and as I understand it, a return to families.

The family must be the focus of our efforts to reverse moral decay
I am in favor of both solutions, with particular emphasis on the family.  In 1995, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a prophetic statement on the family, which reads, in part:
Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE 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.  (The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.)
So, what can you and I do to reverse moral decay, in promoting the family as the fundamental unit of society?  We can vote, we can write letters to the editor, we can blog, we can tweet, we can email, we can shut off the vulgarity and violence found on TV, the Internet, and countless movies.  We can stand up and say, "enough is enough, and this is where I draw a moral line in the sand that I refuse to cross."

In closing, I love this quote, shared by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words."  (Waiting on the Road to Damascus, April 2011 General Conference.)

What else are God's prophets and apostles teaching about the family and other important topics, today?  "Come and see."  (reference to John 1:45-46.)

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