The conference was presented by Family Watch International, a nonprofit advocacy organization. Participants at the conferences were encouraged to sign a petition stating their support for pro-family causes and were also invited to participate in a yearlong focus on family-related themes in their own homes. Such themes include protecting and promoting motherhood and fatherhood and viewing the family as the solution to world problems.
"(The petition) basically says that people pledge in their personal lives to support efforts to protect marriage, family, life, religious freedom and parental rights," said Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International. "It's our gathering tool for people throughout the world who we know are willing to stand for the family."
Alene Scheffield, of Kaysville, visited the conference and said she enjoyed hearing from the high-level, well-educated individuals who presented. She said she was particularly concerned with parental rights and hadn't heard anything at the conference she disagreed with.
"I think that governments are dictating to schools what will be taught, what values will be taught." she said, "And I feel like that may or may not infringe upon the right of a parent to teach their own set of values."
Russ Ballard, of Cedar Hills, said the pressures building against the family have become almost like a tidal wave.
"The philosophy that's being promoted out there is that the family can be anything you want it to be and the traditional man and woman with children concept is outmoded, outdated and in a lot of cases is detrimental to our happiness and our freedom to do the things we want to do," Ballard said. "I totally disagree. I think the family is absolutely essential."
He also said it was interesting to hear Feder's presentation on population decline and how some countries are in danger of going extinct due to low marriage and birth rates and increased instances of abortion.
"I hadn't really thought of that before," he said.
In order to shift the trends in fertility rate decline, Feder said society needs to cease subsidizing birth control, promote religion, celebrate parenthood and put an end to abortion, for both moral and practical purposes. He said modern civilization depends on robust population growth, and while many living species have gone extinct, humans may become the first to finance their own extinction.
"Obviously the children who aren’t born today won't themselves have children and grandchildren," he said. "This will create a smaller pool of potential parents in each generation, leading to a downward spiral and at some point population decline will become population free fall."
He also said that while some believe that humans are heading into a crisis of overpopulation, this is a result of people living longer rather than an excess of new children.
He compared the scenario to a car driving downhill, in that the vehicle will continue to accelerate due to gravity if the driver takes his foot off the gas. But once that car reaches the bottom of the slope, it slows to a halt.
"The momentum of population growth over the last 200 years has been carrying us forward," he said. "That's going to stop."
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