by Jenny Baker
Isn’t it wonderful that we live in the day and age of being able to travel the world via plane, boat or even internet? It has only been in recent decades that this was even possible for everyday people like you and me. We now have friends from all over the world, different cultures, backgrounds, religions, etc. We have been enriched by each other in ways we probably don’t even realize! For instance; we can eat Chinese food for lunch and Italian food for dinner, we can decorate one room in French Country Chic and the next room can have a Bohemian Flare, we say “Gesundheit” to a sneeze and we recognize a blue police box as a Tardis. The culture of even the most remote, farming community has been enriched by this ever-shrinking world.
Each country may have their own art, history, church and traditions, but the fact that we all have these precious things is precisely what we all have in common! Families throughout the beginning of time have helped develop their own culture to be passed down and enriched from one generation to another. This has given us mere mortals flavor and depth that continues to roll forward to following generations.
It is the work of true evil when groups have desired to wipe the culture of a people from off the face of the earth. We have seen this happening throughout the history of time. Conquerers have left a wake of devastation as they destroy art, burn books, force the extinction of a language, and remove religion from any group of people. This devastation not only affects the living generation, but destroys the work of all prior generations and halts the progression of all generations to come.
Is it no wonder that the Lord has commanded: “Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;” The connection throughout generations of time gives us the power to grow from one generation to another as we improve upon what our fathers have learned and we pass to our children something better. Countries that experience frequent wars and genocide have to start over again with each new generation. Each family has to rely on itself to relearn basics such as crop cultivation, industry, education, healthcare and a loving family life because basic knowledge cannot be passed down if an entire generation of people and culture is destroyed. One generation cannot achieve greatness on it’s own!
For those who wish to stop the wars and contentions of this world, renouncing war and proclaiming peace isn’t enough. We must ensure that each generation is allowed to diligently turn their hearts to their children AND to their fathers. As we learn to remember the sacrifices of our fathers, learn from their experiences (good and bad) and work to leave a better treasure trove of knowledge and works for the next generation, we will be able to avoid repeating mistakes and secure a brighter tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, it is not only war that can destroy a culture. Any behavior that focuses on the wants and desires of the immediate generation will leave only consequences for those who follow. The “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die“ attitude can be seen in modern day examples of abortion, pornography, sexual deviancies, the worshiping of money, careers and education, and the accumulation of needless debt. This selfish behavior simply cannot sustain itself into the future.
War and contention never has been between left and right, north and south or right and wrong; they have been between those who want to defend their right to honor the past and defend the future and those who would rather serve their own, immediate needs by destroying the past, present and future of others. It is up to all of us to recognize when political and social trends serve to sacrifice our eternal perspective for a more temporary agenda. It is the job of our generation to defend our eternal families just as so many of our fathers have done throughout time. Elder L. Tom Perry quoted Pope Francis on this subject; “In referring to those of the rising generation, he said it is important that they ‘do not give themselves over to the poisonous [mentality] of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern’; this must be done.”
Let us not forget that covenant families are blessed with great promises that will empower us to direct our families back to God: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (emphasis added). It is our joy to spread the doctrine of the eternal nature of the family with our friends throughout the world. This is how true peace can be achieved in our generation and the generations to come!