Modern prophets have warned that “the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). This lesson emphasizes that families will be protected if they are obedient to God’s commands. Spiritual power is promised to help righteous parents raise their children in the last days.
Invite a few students to share examples of situations or places in which one would expect to see posted warnings (examples might include on traffic signs, medicine bottles, or hazardous materials containers.)
What are some possible consequences of ignoring these warnings?
What are some warnings that prophets have given about the temporal and spiritual dangers that exist in our day?
Ask a student to read 2 Timothy 3:1–7 and 13 aloud while the class looks for dangers that the Apostle Paul warned would exist in the last days.
Which of the dangers that Paul describes have you seen or heard about?
What effect might these dangers have on individuals, marriages, and families?
Ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite the class to listen for reasons that Satan is so focused on destroying families.
“Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness, Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities.
“So fundamental is the family unit to the plan of salvation that God has declared a warning that … the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (“The Eternal Family,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 65).
Emphasize the following principle: “The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). Remind students that this warning comes from the family proclamation.
Write the following on the board:
Disintegration of the family
Invite students to think about evidences they see that the “disintegration of the family” is happening around the world. (These might include the following: increasing divorces, abortions, and abuse; fewer marriages and fewer children born to married couples; and more dysfunctional families.) Ask them to list evidences on the board under the heading “Disintegration of the family.”
Invite students to think about examples of the individual and societal consequences that may come as a result of the disintegration of the family. (These might include the following: loss of the Spirit, sorrow and unhappiness, increased crime rate, juvenile delinquency, and loss of peace and stability in society.) Ask them to list examples on the board under the heading “Consequences.”
Then ask the following:
How might adhering to the doctrine and principles in the family proclamation help individuals, families, communities, and nations avoid these consequences?
Explain to students that despite the wickedness that prevails in today’s world, it is not too late to strengthen families. They can make a difference in their own families, wards or branches, and communities. Testify that there is hope for individuals and families who obey the Lord’s commandments.
Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 97:22–28 silently, looking for what we can do to escape the Lord’s vengeance and the consequences that come because of sin. (Clarify that in these verses Zion refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.) You may want to suggest that students mark the word if wherever it occurs in these verses. (Help students understand that identifying cause-and-effect or if/then statements is a useful scripture study skill.)
How would you summarize these verses in a simple statement of principle? (Student responses should reflect the following principle: If we are obedient to all of the commandments, we can receive great blessings and escape the Lord’s vengeance.)
Read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands. …
“And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed; prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness.
“For thus saith the Lord: ‘The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come. …
How might this statement help motivate a family to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments?
Remind students that Nephi beheld several visions of the last days. In those visions, he saw that the righteous would be protected.
Ask students to read 1 Nephi 14:14–17 and 22:16–17, looking for ways in which the Saints will be protected. (Note: These passages highlight the common scriptural theme that obedience brings the Lord’s promise of protection. Elder David A. Bednar has emphasized the importance of searching for such scriptural “connections, patterns, and themes” [“A Reservoir of Living Water” (Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Feb. 4, 2007), 3, lds.org/media-library]. This theme or pattern is particularly common in the Book of Mormon.)
How do Nephi’s writings give you hope?
Read the following statement by Elder Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy. Invite students to listen for blessings that will be given to faithful parents in the last days:
“Regardless of what the future may hold, God has ordained that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the parents of the Church will be given power to help save their children from the darkness around them. As the hearts of fathers and mothers turn to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents, we eventually will witness the rise of a generation refined and prepared to meet the Savior at His coming. The triumph of God’s kingdom in the latter days will be a triumph not only of the Church as an organization but of tens of thousands of individual families who by faith have overcome the world” (“Defending the Family in a Troubled World,” Ensign, June 2011, 18).
What blessing is promised to parents of this dispensation who are seeking to raise their children in righteousness?
How have you seen the Lord empower parents in their efforts to strengthen and protect their children from the darkness of the world?
Invite students to consider what influences or forces are working to destroy their own families, and how Satan is attempting to prevent them from working toward having their own families in the future. Encourage students to ponder what they can do to gain the Lord’s help to strengthen themselves and protect their families.