Linda & Richard Eyre: Why only faith and family can save America

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  • jamesb Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    In order for us to know why the Roman Empire fell, we would be wise to consult the inspired words of our prophets, seers, and revelators, rather than the ever-changing theories of scientists. From the Prophet Brigham Young, we learn:

    "Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy ... and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout all Christendom, and which has been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious." (Journal of Discourses, 11:128, and many other similar statements made by prophets)

    Thus we can know with a surety that is was actually Monogamy that led to the "rottenness and decay" and eventual fall of the Roman Empire. This is why we who know the truth, even the Latter-day Saints, know with a certainty that polygamy, although temporarily not practiced by us here on earth, is the irrevocable law of heaven.

  • Nanook of the North Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 31, 2014 10:31 p.m.

    Many recent "attacks on the family" are thanks to the plutocrats in the USA over the last 30+ years. Ever since Reagan's 1980 election, most of the nations's growth in productivity and wealth have gone to the top 1%, while the average income of the "ordinary working American" has stagnated. The "king-men" who bought our politicians and made a government "of the dollar, by the dollar, and for the dollar" have made it harder for men to provide for his family. They "outsourced" jobs, cut workers' hours, and their HR departments toss away the resumes of those who suffered from their greed; if working men were paid like they were 60 years ago, more wives/mothers wouldn't have to work outside the home. More men are jailed in America's Gulag simply for using something which is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. If America, its Constitution, and its families are under threat, it's because of the king-men who have bought the government with their ill-gotten billions. The "free market" has hurt America far, far more than "over-reaching government". And if America becomes totalitarian, blame the "conservatives", NOT "socialist" boogeymen. Terrible, terrible article.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    GL W8,

    Sorry, just because we think of the Soviets and Nazis most readily as totalitarianism, doesn't in any way mean they have an exclusive hold on that title. Notice that the authors even labeled socialist and communist AND all totalitarian regimes in their article. Totalitarian regimes are defined by their control over their citizen's daily lives though oppression and removal of personal freedom. Theocracies fit the bill every bit as good as do communists. Put yourself in the shoes of a Germanic tribe during Christian Rome. They invade your city, restrict your movement, force conversion and enslave you. How is that not totalitarian? The Taliban are totalitarian, are they not? How about the Catholic Church during the Inquisition? Or the Aztecs? Or the Japanese Emperor's use of Shinto?

    Please don't think I'm arguing religion results inevitably in totalitarianism. But to think it is immune, and that only atheists can be totalitarians is disingenuous at best. Quite the contrary, religion has a lot longer history and has had more time to be used in this manner than communist/socialist ideas ever had.

  • MoNoMoInUT Davis County, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    The unanswered questions here are: Which religion? Which God? What type of Family? The source of much of the divisiveness in the world today and throughout history is differing opinions on these questions. “Family or Religion” is not the answer. If it was, we wouldn’t have the divisiveness we have today. Secularism in politics and policy is the only way. Have your religion in your personal lives all you want. I will defend that right! Be Secular!

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 6:37 p.m.

    We were warned of pride and political apathy among other things. We were warned to read and support the Constitution. Now we're "paying the piper".

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 29, 2014 6:35 p.m.

    It is difficult to know where to start with the criticism this article merits. The article is an obvious attempt to tout the authors' commitment to limited government by connecting its virtues somehow with family and faith. The level of conflation by the Eyres in forging this connection makes my head spin. Yes, plenty of DN readers will like the sentiment because it conforms with their values; however, the arguments made in the article are at best specious. Throughout history families have fared well or poorly in a broad range of political societies. In one limited example, I spend considerable time in China and eastern-bloc countries and I can say with confidence that families in China are at least as strong there under a totalitarian regime (and without religion) as they are along the Wasatch Front where the values of limited government and religion are accepted and adopted norms. Much of this has to do with the culture of "clan" in China. Culture and many other intangibles matter far more than the size of government when it comes to family values.

    Jan. 29, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    OHBU, I looked at the article again to check the Eyres use of the term "totalitarianism." I think most of us think in terms of the Stalinist/Nazi regimes when the term is applied, and that's the way I took it.
    It may be that the Eyres could have given more attention to state-controlled religions, some of which you have listed. But I think their main point dealt with faith, not any particular religion. Some of the posters on this thread seem confused on that point.
    I believe that America, with its historical emphasis on freedom of religion, as well as privacy and other rights of individuals and families, is being threatened by excessive governmental interference in faith and family. Wasn't that what the Eyres were trying to warn against?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 29, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    Family often falls short of the holiday greeting card image that seems to enthrall us. The excesses that stifle freedom and stunt growth originate within the home as often as from without. The Eyres paint a cozy idyllic picture no decent person wants to trample on but it’s just not the whole picture or the real world.

    Did family play a role in the American Revolution? Perhaps, but powder and lead had much to do with the outcome. A crosscut of colonial America made up Washington’s Army whose volunteers weren’t asked if they were gay or straight when they enlisted. They were black and white, Protestant and Catholic, atheists, Jews, farmers, and drifters. Americans all.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Jan. 29, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    Many, many issues in this article. But I'll challenge the notion that all totalitarian regimes work as hard as they can to create a secular society and eliminate religion. That completely ignores some of the worst totalitarian regimes in power right now, for example Saudi Arabia. Totalitarian regimes use whatever is at their disposal. At least half of the time that has been religion. To use your own example, the Roman Empire was a Christian, totalitarian regime that imposed conformity through baptism or demanded your execution. I really hope people aren't naive enough to believe that the mere presence of religion is any kind of guarantee against totalitarianism.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Will any one remember the guy who died trying to live free.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    The Eyres deserve credit for a wonderfully tendentious column and for displaying courage in preaching to the choir in an era when fewer and fewer people ever get a pat on the back for doing so. Also, I didn't detect a single attribution problem in the column, so congratulations on that, too.

    Sometimes it's best just to give credit where credit is due.

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    Jan. 29, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    I choose faith over fear, I feel like this article is catering to peoples fears. What exactly are we saving america from? America is doing pretty good right now if you ask me.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    "The greatest institution — of the sovereignty of God — and the most basic institution — of family — are the only elements powerful enough to stop government from excesses and from sucking away individual agency." Individual agency is lost in many ways - for example being laid off as a breadwinner at age 55 when one's job is shipped off to China. It's happened over and over again. I don't think the Eyres are able to see how people can become trapped by the forces of the market they presume to love so much.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    RE: Faith is a force from the heavens above, the belief that God’s word is more important than man’s[JS]. True,

    Ephesians 6:2,3. Honor your Father and Mother”[not mothers],which is the first commandment(Not a suggestion) with a promise. God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth, chooses them and sets them next to Himself, occupying the highest place in our lives next to God..
    The Apostles did not maintain any .O.T.pattern of polygamy and they and the early church condemmed it:
    Justin Martyr (c.160) rebukes the Jews for allowing polygamy: "Your imprudent and blind masters [i.e., Jewish teachers] even until this time permit each man to have four or five wives. ..." [ANF, vol. 1, p. 266].
    Irenaeus (c.180) condemns the Gnostics for, among other things, polygamy: "Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives..." [ANF, vol. 1, p.353].

    Tertullian (c.207) was also explicit: "Chapter II.-Marriage Lawful, But Not Polygamy. We do not indeed forbid the union of man and woman,

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    Thank you for this article! I enjoyed hearing something positive about traditional marriage. I agree with the points this article highlights. Faith and family are paramount to having a thriving society. Only faith and family can prevent a complete collapse of principle and duty. The government, though it may try to help, is as the article describes, insufficient to meet the needs of all people without compromising their faith and their family. What America needs to stay unified is more faith and more traditional families.

    Jan. 29, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    Kings Court, as a historian myself, I find your point to be more in support of the Eyre's thesis than against it. Athens, though a city-state, still built a power base, eventually imperial in structure under the Macedonians, that established many of the conditions that Rome later followed—as outlined by the Eyres.
    Our present-day political quagmire in America and the turmoil in much of the rest of the world fits the profile the Eyres delineate. Given enough time and space, you, I, or they, could portray how our world-wide large governmental/political structures suppress individuals and families that are striving to live according to the dictates of their own conscience.
    As to the political parties in America, George Washington warned us about the dangers inherent in their existence and use. They are extra-constitutional at best, and manipulative, oppressive, and counterproductive at worst. Wishful thinking, perhaps--but I for one wish they'd just go away! In the meantime, as you say—we’d better do something quick!

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Jan. 29, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    Thank you very much for this. I find it shameful when incredibly obvious and basic ideas such as this have to be repeated so frequently. It's like people today are stabbing themselves with needles in an attempt to cease the pain of being stabbed with needles, willingly ignorant of the needles as the source of their pain.

    To those who don't quite agree with this article; Without trumpeting my studies or credentials, I invite you to look more closely at history and to exercise critical thinking in doing so. This article's assessment has held consistantly through all recorded cultures and ages thus far.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    "Going back to the Roman empire, the decline of family solidarity and of religious faith ..."

    Actually, any "decline" in faith in the Roman Empire was the result of embracing Christianity and abandoning their own gods.

    I can get by without faith in god's "sovreignity" and without religion.

    My (LGBT) family is just as strong and necessary as the "traditional" family the Eyre's promote.

  • Ohio Cougar Dayton, OH
    Jan. 29, 2014 4:58 a.m.

    Scott & Maurine

    Thank you for having the courage to write this piece. We do in fact live in a world where some think that government and force will answer/solve society's pressing questions and problems. I wholeheartedly agree that if all of us as individuals and as families take responsibility for our lives and place faith in God we will be much better off. There are many things in life that money cannot buy. The family is the best place for our children to learn personal responsibility and the need for boundaries. The family is the perfect place for children to learn that with freedom and choice come responsibility and consequence.

    Keep writing!

  • Johnny Moser Thayne, WY
    Jan. 29, 2014 12:06 a.m.

    I have lived in China now for a few years and I agree that Family AND Religion are required for a strong nation. The Chinese have a strong family connection but have had the religious aspect persecuted for last 65 years. There are many examples in their recent history that prove that the missing component for them to feel happy in their situation is not something that can be provided by a government. If the Socialist and Communist version of government, clearly feels responsible for providing everything, then how can any version that includes more freedom imagine it could be any more successful.
    In discussions with my colleagues here it is even recognized by those who are Party members that Religion cannot be substituted by government.
    If American's want to save the America that was respected and looked to as an example for democracy then a change to the original concepts needs to become a priority for the citizens.

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    This article was wonderful. Thank you for writing it.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    As a historian myself, I would suggest the Linda and Richard Eyre go back a little further and study Ancient Athens. It was a mix of strong exceptionalism (they were better than everyone else), interventionism (control and interference in the affairs of other city-states), and a shift towards extreme conservatism (the killing of their greatest mind, Socrates, and the suppression of visionary, do-it-together ideas) that brought at end to that once mighty civilization. Family problems is the least of our concerns. We are following the politics of Athens almost exactly. That is our pressing problem right now. Family is important, but our political system is in dire need of some soul searching, and it better be fast.

  • oragami St. George, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:51 p.m.

    I don't think many people would argue with the premise that strong families are important. I don't think many people would argue with the premise that self-control is an essential skill that helps restrain selfishness for the good of the group (religion often serves the same purpose).

    However, the belief that only the family structures and religions preferred by the majority can accomplish these goals is quite myopic.

    For example, even non-theistic (e.g. no God) religions like Buddhism very effectively promote self-control and familial/community responsibility. Arguably, they do so without the self-righteousness and animus so common among practitioners of the Abrahamic religions.

    If we want a further the ends the authors promote, perhaps we should consider alternative means.