In a stirring speech broadcast worldwide to members of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, LDS Church leader Boyd K. Packer charged the lawyers and judges hearing his voice Saturday to be on alert to spiritual danger present in the world.
"The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you it will not get better," President Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said from the Conference Center.
"I know of nothing in the history of the church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now."
Satan, he said, uses every intrigue to disrupt families. "The sacred relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, through which mortal bodies are conceived and life is passed to the next generation, is being showered with filth."
Profanity, vulgarity, blasphemy and pornography, President Packer said, "are broadcast into the homes and minds of the innocent. Unspeakable wickedness, perversion and abuse not even exempting little children once hidden in dark places, now seeks protection from courts and judges.
"The Lord needs you who are trained in the law. You can do for this people what others cannot do. We should not need to go beyond the members of the church to find superior legal counsel."
After praising the life of J. Reuben Clark, who graduated from Columbia Law School in 1906 at the head of his class, President Packer told the audience it lives in a morally mixed-up world much different than Clark faced.
"Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. It is now spread across the world, wherever the church is. The first line of defense the home is crumbling. Surely you can see what the adversary is about. We are now exactly where the prophets warned we would be."
In quoting the prophecy of the apostle Paul, President Packer named the 21 vices Paul said would beset men and women in the last days and noted with "check" as he read them off.
Adding to the litany of vices, he noted the recent words of Judge Robert H. Bork, who said judicial invention of new and previously unheard-of rights accelerated over the past half century has now reached warp speed.
"The court has created rights to televised sexual acts and computer-simulated child pornography and, in direct contradiction of the historical evidence, has continued its almost frenzied hostility to religion. . . ,' " he said, quoting Bork.President Packer urged the lawyers to stand as defenders of the faith. "Be willing to give of your time and of your means to the building up of the church and the kingdom of God and the establishment of Zion, which we are under covenant to do, not just to the church as an institution, but to members and to ordinary people who need your professional protection."