The Sacred Responsibilities of Parents – M. Russell Ballard

I have recently been trying to listen to/read more talks by LDS Church leaders.  And I have found this really cool website,  This website has most if not all of the speeches given at BYU over the years.  I was able to pick up 6 years worth in book format for only $20.00.

The talk I wanted to talk a little bit about in this post is called “The Sacred Responsibilities of Parents” by M. Russell Ballard, give during Education Week on August 19, 2003.

Elder Ballard first talks about “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“.  He had this to say about it’s purpose and the process for drafting the document.

As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I participated in the process of drafting that inspired document. It was a remarkable experience for all of us. As we travel the world, we see things–both within the Church and outside the Church. We were troubled by much of what we were seeing. We could see the people of the world wanting to define the family in ways contrary to God’s eternal plan for the happiness of His children. Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. Major agenda items were introduced by some delegates that would have greatly weakened the family; yet, through the significant contributions of Church leaders, members, and other like-minded people, the language and thus the effects of those proposals were softened.In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God. We worked together through the divinely inspired council system that operates even at the highest levels of the Church to craft a proclamation that would make the Lord’s position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood.

Elder Ballard then talks about the tactics that Satan is using to undermined the family, and warns us to be diligent against their attack.   He talks about how the world is allowing abortions, marriage is now a couples relationship, children are a choice rather than a blessing.  He also discusses how gender and gender roles are being confused.  He then tells us the reason why Satan is attacking the family unit.

When you stop and think about it, from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense. When Satan wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O or casseroles. When Satan truly wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he attempts to confuse gender and attacks God’s plan for His spirit children. He works to drive a wedge of disharmony between a father and a mother. He entices children to be disobedient to their parents. He makes family home evening and family prayer inconvenient. He suggests family scripture study is impractical and not doable. That’s all it takes, because Satan knows that the surest and most effective way to disrupt the Lord’s work is to diminish the effectiveness of the family and the sanctity of the home.Look at what he accomplishes when he does that. Couples unhappy in their marriages tend not to give appropriate gospel instruction in the home, both through formal family home evening lessons and through exemplary living. They are less likely to be committed to gospel principles in their own lives. Some drift from the Church. Apathy can overcome even the active members, keeping them away from the temple and weakening their capacity to be effective leaders and teachers–thus leaving countless lives untouched and slowing the Lord’s work. And the Internet, when not properly used, is a vicious influence in the home. So we know, without question, Lucifer is the enemy of the family!

He then gives us 5 things we need to do to protect our family, and uses “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as his text.

  1. Full and Equal Partnership (Men and Women)
  2. Fathers
  3. Mothers
  4. Principles for Marriage and Families
  5. Family Councils

I am not going to give more details on each point.  I want to encourage you to read the entire talk.

In conclusion, he states:

We have spoken together today about fundamental, guiding principles for our homes and families–about full and equal partnerships, roles of fathers and mothers, principles for marriage and families, and family councils. Remember, also, there is great power in prayer. I strongly encourage personal and family prayer–which are important in building strong families–but I want to emphasize something else as well. I’m wondering if many of you parents–you couples–have lost that essential moment of kneeling together at the end of the day, just the two of you, holding hands and saying your prayers. If that has slipped away from your daily routine, may I suggest you put it back–beginning tonight!

NOTE: I have started running on the tread mill as a health goal I have started.  I am going to pick one speech/talk a week, and listen to it while I am running/walking.  I then plan on posting a link to it, and some of my thoughts about the speech/talk.    I hope this is one goal that I will be able to stick to and make a habit.