L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

As we take a long, hard look at the world today, it is becoming increasingly evident that Satan is working overtime to enslave the souls of men. His main target is the fundamental unit of society—the family.

During the past few decades, Satan has waged a vigorous campaign to belittle and demean this basic and most important of all organizations. His success is becoming increasingly evident—the grim facts are seen, reported, and heard about daily and involve the collapse of many family units. With the decay of the family, we see the terrible effects on our society—increased crime, behavior disorders, poverty, drug abuse, and the list continues to grow and grow.

It appears to me that the crosshairs of Satan’s scope are centered on husbands and fathers. Today’s media, for example, have been relentless in their attacks—ridiculing and demeaning husbands and fathers in their God-given roles.
Satan, in his carefully devised plan to destroy the family, seeks to diminish the role of fathers. Increased youth violence, youth crime, greater poverty and economic insecurity, and the failure of increasing numbers of children in our schools offer clear evidence of lack of a positive influence of fathers in the homes. A family needs a father to anchor it.

Surely we have learned by now, from the experience over centuries, that the basic family provides the most stable and secure foundation for society and is fundamental to the preparation of young people for their future responsibilities. We should have learned by now that alternate styles of family formations have not worked and never will work. This was stated plainly by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”:

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. ...

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. …

“... By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. ...

“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.”

Given such urgent warnings about the future of our Father in Heaven’s children, fathers and mothers must search their souls to be certain they are following the Lord’s direction in building up eternal families.
L. Tom Perry, “Fatherhood, an Eternal Calling,” Ensign, May 2004, 69

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A noted historian several years ago summarized the reasons for the fall of Rome as follows:

1. The breakdown of the family and the rapid increase of divorce.
2. The spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending.
3. The mounting craze for pleasure and the brutalization of sports.
4. The decay of religion into myriads of confused forms, leaving the people without a uniform guide.

Our unconquered appetites and consuming drive for material possessions appear to be leading us on a course so often repeated in history. Greed, lust, and desire historically have only led mankind to waste, destruction, and suffering.

James E. Talmage has written:
“Material belongings, relative wealth or poverty, physical environment—the things on which we are prone to set our hearts and anchor our aspirations, the things for which we sweat and strive, ofttimes at the sacrifice of happiness and to the forfeiture of real success—these after all are but externals, the worth of which in the reckoning to come shall be counted in terms of the use we have made of them.” (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, 1919, p. 352.)

Isn’t this the time and isn’t this the hour to follow the admonishion of the Lord to “consider your ways”?

I have spent considerable time since the last general conference examining my ways to determine what I have to do to measure up to the calling the Prophet has issued to me. Let me share one or two of these lessons that this new experience has given me.

For 21 years, before receiving this call, I was employed by some of the great department stores of the country. I have been blessed with some close associations with some of the most talented leaders this industry has produced. I find myself today making a comparison between my former business associates and those with whom I am now busily engaged. Both groups have great leaders, but how different is their motivation! I have found in these Brethren seated before you the fulfillment in their lives of the promise given to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“… let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion. …” (D&C 121:45-46.)

I have watched them armed with the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, taking on enormous work loads at an age when most men would be confined to rocking chairs, and engaging in strenuous travel schedules with great enthusiasm to be anxiously engaged in building the kingdom of God. Then by observation, the realization has come to me that this great Spirit that blesses them in their activities is not a special gift to them alone, but is available to all mankind if they will but be partakers and earnestly seek it and be humbly guided by it. “The office of the Holy Ghost is to enlighten the mind, to purify and sanctify the soul, to incite to good works, and to reveal the things of God.” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 167.)

Isn’t this spirit a constant companion you need in your life? “Consider your ways.” Isn’t now the time to follow the Lord’s direction and receive the divine assurance that he is with you, guiding you in the paths that will make your life meaningful, rewarding, and satisfying?
L. Tom Perry, “Consider Your Ways,” Ensign, July 1973, 20