2 Nephi 13:12 And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.
This scripture has become a virtual theme for our day. Tragically, we have lived so long in this setting that we have grown accustomed to it, and can hardly figure out what it would be referring to.
There is a scripture elsewhere that describes a people who were so wicked that they could not keep their hands on their own goods. If they laid a sword down the next day it would not be there. They began to sleep with their swords just to ensure the safety of their own goods.
While this sounds extraordinary, one might imagine that if it had continued for 50 years then there would come a point at which it would be what most people remembered as the norm for most of their lives. It would just be part of what life was like, part of the normal backdrop in which life takes place. It would become just part of the reality of a dog eat dog world.
We do live in a setting that is extremely destructive, but which has become perfectly normalized. It is the one described in 2 Nephi 13:12.
Children are their oppressors
The horrible effects of modern ideas about home and family can hardly be overestimated.
One example of these is the normalization of rebellion in our youth. From older teachings it appears that while some youth were rebellious, e.g. the story of the prodigal son, it was also quite normal for youth to not be rebellious, and to be very respectful and diligent. One reads about this distinction a number of times in the book of Proverbs. Respectful and diligent youth seem to have been as much a normal thing in their culture as rebellious youth are in ours.
Our youth grow up being taught that rebellion and disrespect are not only a normal, but even the natural and expected way to live as teenagers.
If you teach every convert to the church that he or she will go inactive for some period of time (and yes, I have heard members tell new converts that), then it will be very easy for that to happen. They will think to themselves “if others who have trod this path before me said that going inactive for a time is normal, then it’s not going to hurt if I slip a bit”. When we use our position as one who appears wise, or a leader, or a teacher to give a nod of approval to rebellion or apathy then we won’t be surprised when more of our members and new converts give way to rebellion or apathy.
Many of us don’t even really believe in respectful and diligent youth.
We read the story of the stripling warriors, but we do not really believe that is possible for our own youth. If we lack faith that our own youth can be raised to be that faithful, then how can is possibly become true?
And by faith I don’t just mean belief. Weak belief comes from weak obedience. Strong faith comes from righteous living. If we lack faith, just believing more is not the whole issue, we must improve and live better, and then rather than just more belief we will find that we have greater faith.
Women rule over them
The scriptures span the entirety of man’s fallen history. They do cover some times in much more detail than others, but they still cover a remarkable range of cultures and times. For example, the Nephite history spans 1000 years along with some history of the Jaredites which spanned from the tower of Babel almost to the arrival of the Nephites. By contrast, the United States has been around for about 240 years. Modern ideas about the family clearly came about primarily in the last century, with the most dramatic changes taking place starting in the 1960s.
It is rather interesting that in the entire history of the scriptures there is nothing that suggests that the at any time in that, the structure of the family that God endorsed changed from the one given to Adam and Eve.
But interestingly, there is a strong tendency to believe that all the new “truths” we have discovered about the family since 1960, are the real gospel truth. We have this remarkable idea that the notions about the family that came from an age when decency was replaced with unabashed sexual immorality are somehow a broad step forward toward the truth.