The Family As The Basic Unit of Society
In a document entitled THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declared:
. . . 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.
This statement reflects far more than just a “Mormon” doctrine. It is a principle that has applied to all the world throughout all of time. The family is the basic unit of any society, and a society can function no better than the level upon which its families function.
The American Founders taught that while individuals receive eternal rewards and punishments in the next world, nations can not. Therefore, consequences of national behavior are immediate. Thus when a nation becomes immoral, calamities will result, and all will suffer. A depraved society simply cannot prosper. Its problems multiply, and its ability to solve those problems diminishes.
Self-reliant families are the strength of a nation. Self-reliant families are morally strong. The parents are committed to marriage and to raising well-functioning children. The father presides in loving leadership, providing for the family and protecting it from evil influences. He instructs his children in the principles of good citizenship. The mother nurtures the children, caring for their needs, teaching them, and building strong moral character.
The dependent family is in need of help. This may be because of the sins of the parents, or it may be due to circumstances beyond their control. For instance, if a self-reliant father is taken in death, he will have left his family financially secure. With a little help from extended family and the neighborhood, the family will continue as self-reliant, contributing members of the community. On the other hand, if a father falls into the pornography trap he will most certainly bring destruction to his family. He may have sexually abused his children, beaten his wife, and brought the family to financial ruin through the loss of his job. Is help for this family best achieved by the extended family? the neighborhood? the government? religion? Or is our decadent society now beyond the ability to help its dependent members at all?
On the following pages you will see a simple illustration of the consequence of the disintegration of the family and its role as the basic unit of society. From the illustration, the solution to the problem may be obvious.
Please note that this is a symbolic, not a scientific, representation. It is not intended to be statistically accurate. It is a depiction of the general state of society, not of individual families.