Maxwell on the Family and Moral Relativism

This talk, “Take Especial Care of Your Family” from April 1994 by Neal A. Maxwell on the importance of the family is worth reviewing every few years.  Its predictions are proving true.  Significant quotes include:


The eminent historian Will Durant wrote of the human need “to seize the value and perspective of passing things. … We want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem forever—‘in the light of eternity.’”

Moral Relativism

If there were no eternal truths, to what principles would mortals look for guidance? If not accountable to God, to whom are we ultimately accountable? Furthermore, if nothing is ever really wrong, then no one is ever really responsible. If there are no fixed boundaries, then there cannot be any excesses. …

…this…represents the bitter harvest of ethical relativism, the philosophy of choice of many, reflecting no fixed, divine truths but merely the mores of the moment. No wonder Ortega y Gasset wisely warned, “If truth does not exist, relativism cannot take itself seriously.”2

Parental Roles

More parents should be remembered as a prophet’s daughter, Helen Lee Goates, remembers hers: “A father who was gentle beneath his firmness, and a mother who was firm beneath her gentleness.”

Family Focus

Parents and grandparents, please scrutinize your schedules and priorities in order to ensure that life’s prime relationships get more prime time!

Trouble Ahead

Society should focus anew on the headwaters—the family—where values can be taught, lived, experienced, and perpetuated. Otherwise, brothers and sisters, we will witness even more widespread flooding downstream, featuring even more corruption and violence (see Gen. 6:11–12; Matt. 24:37).

If the combination of rainmakers prevails, however, the rains will continue to descend, and the floods will continue to come. Dikes and sandbags downstream will be no match for the coming crests. More and more families, even nations, if built upon secular sand instead of gospel granite, will suffer.

As the number of dysfunctional families increases, their failures will spill into already burdened schools and streets. It is not a pretty scene even now.

Nations in which traditional idealism gives way to modern cynicism will forfeit the blessings of heaven, which they so urgently need, and such nations will also lose legitimacy in the eyes of their citizens.

Hope Through a Redeemer

Therefore, as this Easter day draws to a close, how fitting that we contemplate atoning Jesus—bending and curved in Gethsemane. His bleeding curvature transformed the grammar of death. Until Gethsemane and Calvary, death was a punctuating, rigid exclamation point! Then death, too, curved—into a mere comma!

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