A couple nights ago in wonderland--where dreams are had, both happy and sad--I found myself in a cavern of sorts. In the cavern I saw all sorts of tangible pieces of the population of humanity--questions, tools, concerns, thoughts, experiences, desires, problems that needed fixing, and the like. As I do I found myself arranging the pieces, creating matches, until at last my service was complete.
Expecting to see a new growth along with a rich assortment of fresh pieces to work with from a now prosperous population whose economics problems I had fixed, I was bewildered to find nothing. What happened? The population disappeared. The new pieces in the cavern were few and they were very different. The population didn't exist. Families didn't exist. The problem to solve now was family. How to help the people to recreate themselves? To have families. To create a population from...nothing.
The shock was tremendous. How is it that when I enhanced their prosperity and solved their economic problems they all of a sudden disappeared? How can something in the present affect something in the past? Their own individual births? Because I made them prosperous in the present they now didn't exist in the past, or present either for that matter. How can that be? The present affects the future, but how could it also affect the past? And why did it affect the past in that way?
I thought on this for some time in my wonderland as I looked at the pieces in the cavern and pictures of the empty land that had once been peopled to its brim. Though the people were not prosperous and had problems to be fixed, at least there were people! Running through possible explanations for this weird happening, I came to the realization that when they became prosperous their thoughts and desires no longer concerned their families, past, present or future--they had become focused on their work, their wealth, their own prosperity. And somehow when that happened in the present it affected the past, leaving nothing but a barren land riddled with family problems.
I had done this. I matched their pieces to solve their economic problems. It was my job to repair what I had done, to recreate what I had erased, to teach the few remaining people about families. To repopulate the now barren land with new families.
I could go on to extrapolate meaning, thoughts that have come to my mind from my learning and experience. For the sake of time, however, I will leave what I have written for a parable, if you will. And I will end with a couple verses of scripture from tonight's reading that are relevant. The verses describe a people who had become coarse and unfeeling as a result of placing their hearts on their own greatness. They caused much suffering and loss in the land. The prophet (spokesman) of God who recorded the history of this people called Nephites described it here:
"Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God. And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, witholding their food from the hungry, witholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites--And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites (their enemies), until they had lost possession of almost all their lands" (Helaman 3:11-13).
All of this happened "in the space of not many years" (26). Because of their transgressions they had become weak like their enemies who persistently invaded their lands, killing their people and forcing them into submission for the pride of the battle and traditional egoisms.
While money is important I am of the firm belief that it does not define a person so much as how one cherishes family and God, of which community and society I believe is a part. There is no price that would satisfy a loss of these greatest goods.
I fear that though many countries will willingly acknowledge the family as the basic unit of society, the focus of our everything couldn't be farther from it. Societies everywhere prize our economic welfare and prosperity above and beyond the treasurehold of the family, making economic talk the basis of their decision-making in many respects. Consider public education and other sectors of society providing various services and functions to our unique populations--where is the focus of our time, energy, resources, discussion, and instruction? Talk of the family as the basic unit of society is in many respects just that. Talk. I believe that our economic welfare only has worth in the context of family. But when families are torn asunder by or because of it we are essentially getting negative value.
Who are we without family? We are nothing. We don't exist. We don't have a place on this Earth--not without family.
I am sorry to share a dismal picture and viewpoint, and I am sure there are some who will disagree. I hope that you will at least consider these thoughts, though, and ponder their meaning. While I could have stayed up even later to provide further reasoning and examples I will leave that to you.
I hope that 2015 will be a year of refocusing. May we start on the right foot.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great week!
ps I want to acknowledge my gratitude for organizations, institutions, and leaders that enhance public knowledge of the family and support its growth as opposed to trivializing its meaning and importance. I want to thank those organizations, etc., for not leading people to think that they are wise in matters of the family when they have but an economically-driven education--by means of any source or media: educational, business, popular, et al.