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Friday, December 10, 2021

Is There a Prophet Among Us?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals listen to the prophet’s voice. A true prophet is a man who speaks for God. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s prophet on earth today. He is also a seer and a revelator. He speaks for God and relays His message to His children.

            The Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation designated as a “prophecy on war” in the heading to Doctrine and Covenants 87. This revelation was given through the Prophet at or near Kirtland, Ohio, on December 25, 1832. The heading continues: 

At this time disputes in the United States over slavery and South Carolina’s nullification of federal tariffs were prevalent. Joseph Smith’s history sates that “appearances of troubles among the nations” were becoming “more visible” to the Prophet “that they had previously been since the Church began her journey out of the wilderness.

Maureen Proctor described conditions in America at the time: “Congress had passed laws that favored northern factories over southern plantations, and South Carolina nullified the tariff and forbade its collection. In response, President Jackson called out federal troops.” A few weeks later, the military action was over, so it seemed that the prophecy went unfulfilled. Here are the first four verses of Doctrine and Covenants 87: 

Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

            We have the vantage point of history, so we know that the prophecy was fulfilled some years later when shots were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and the Civil War began. Proctor shared the following information:

A writer for the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury remarked that he had a pamphlet containing Joseph Smith’s 1832 revelation and he could not help but note the parallels. In the paper, the writer speculated about the prophecy concluding, “The war began in South Carolina. Insurrections of slaves are already dreaded. Famine will certainly afflict some Southern communities. The interference of Great Britain, on account of the want of cotton, is not improbable, if the war is protracted. In the meantime, a general war in Europe appears to be imminent.” Then the article in the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury ended with this stark question, “Have we not had a prophet among us?

            The prophecy of Joseph Smith on war became real when the United States erupted in war between the northern states and the southern states. Other prophets have received revelations that Proctor continued with this statement about a different kind of one, a war on marriage and family:

Have we not had a prophet among us? Part of the gift of a prophet, seer and revelator is to see what’s coming. That’s the see-er part of seer. On September 23, 1995, President Hinckley announced and read The Family—A Proclamation to the World to the women of the church in a General Relief Society meeting. It reaffirmed so many things that are precious to us. God’s eternal plan is about families. The plan of salvation is a family story. In fact, the pre-mortal world was a place where we were nurtured by Heavenly Parents who were invested with extraordinary love in our growth and progress. It is not surprising that connection and relationships would be our foremost joy in this life. Our eternal souls were raised in a place of connection. It is what we are made for. It is an eternal yearning inside of us. Our heaven is not a place of lonely individuals who play harps alone on clouds, but a place of families and communities united together in love. It is a people who have learned to love, even when loving seems difficult.

            “The Family – A Proclamation to the World” was first given to the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From there it went to the entire Church membership and to the world. It was a warning to the world about what would happen if the family were destroyed. Remember, the proclamation was published in 1995 – before legalization of same-sex marriage. 

            Most people were not aware of the dangers quickly approaching, but the Prophet and Apostles saw what was coming and sought to warn members of the Church and the world. Proctor said that she had “an unusual opportunity [in 1977] to see first-hand what was happening – and it actually wasn’t a whirlwind at all that was brewing, but a carefully calculated, intentional, well-planned, strategically orchestrated ideology whose goal was to deconstruct the family as a basic unit of society.” It started with the ideas of giving more rights to women. Proctor had the opportunity to attend the International Women’s Year Conference in Houston, Texas, as a press secretary for Utah’s delegates. “This conference is widely considered as a turning point in the women’s movement in the United States.” The delegates came from every state. Proctor described the conference as follows:

What I didn’t know is that this conference had been carefully orchestrated long in advance to place a radical, anti-family agenda before the nation and the UN as the will of American women, and so, the delegates from other states had been carefully managed and recruited to represent that point of view. It was a political operation. They had been connected and communicating with each other for some time. Not only were the women from Utah outliers and marginalized at this meeting because of their family point of view, but when I picked up the press materials, one of the resources was about the women from Utah specifically. The official IWY organization disdained our group and falsely claimed they had been dishonestly elected. The Utah delegation’s so-called crime, of course, is that they were conservative. All the press were given that point of view with their materials.

This conference opened my eyes in every way—first to how radical the agenda was. Family was cast as the oppressor, marriage as a kind of bondage. Children were seen as a relentless burden, and underlying it all was a sense that there was no objective reality, no truth, but only the subjective, expressive, authentic feelings of individuals that should be a guide. Today, we might call it “you do you.” Family relationships were an assault upon womens’ authentic identity and search for liberation.

            The assault on marriage and the family began in 1977, but it was moving slowly and methodically. By 1995, the Brethren could see where it was going, so they published the proclamation on the family. Within the next ten to twelve years, same-sex marriage was being discussed and made legal, and opposite-sex couples were putting off marriage in larger numbers.

            Today, more than twenty-five years after the proclamation, I found this headline: “We’ve sold young people an uninspired version of marriage. That has to change. It’s not just the U.S. where marriage rates are declining.” This article is about single adults in Canada, but the situation is not unique to Canada.

Simply put, more than three-quarters of partnered but unmarried Canadian young adults do not tie the knot because they lack faith in the institution, they have financial considerations or they’re happy coasting in their current relationship.

There is nothing uniquely Canadian about this phenomenon. Across the world, from South Korea and Australia to Bolivia and Italy, people are spurning marriage in droves. The global marriage crunch is reshaping the landscape of child rearing and family stability as policymakers are rushing to understand the downstream effects of cohabitation and solo living.

These trendlines bode poorly for couples and offspring, as a growing body of research is beginning to show. Richard Reeves, of the Brookings Institution, found that cohabiting parents, compared to their married peers, were considerably more likely to separate. One dataset found that two-thirds of cohabiting parents parted ways before their child turned 12, as opposed to only one-quarter of married couples. Stronger findings were echoed by W. Bradford Wilcox in a 2017 report for the Institute of Family Studies.

Such evidence reminds us that marriage remains one of the few stable life rafts capable of weathering the rapid changes wrought by modernity. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to children, in which the shortcomings of cohabitation disproportionately cascade down onto offspring.

            Proctor and her husband Scot titled their podcast “Why “The Family – A Proclamation to the World” Came Just in Time.” They discuss the current situation in America with children growing up in poverty in fatherless homes, becoming violent, and committing crime. The Lord’s plan, as outlined in the proclamation on the family, would eliminate all those problems and others. The prophets gave the warning, but the world did not listen. Now America and the world are reaping the consequences. The only way to safety and strong families, communities, and nations is to follow the prophet because he knows the way.

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