Tag Archives: World Congress of Families

The Teenage Brain: Under Construction

teen-age brain developmentThe brain; what an amazing computer. Divided into four lobes and two cortexes, each with specific job descriptions, is most undoubtedly the work of a divine Creator.

Anyone who has raised a teenager knows, even without going to medical school, that their brains are not yet completely developed. Some may wonder if their teen even has one. Having raised six children, I can relate. I had those thoughts too. Our six are within a six-year spread; three girls and three boys. Crazy! In fact, there were times that I understood why some mammals eat their young. But I promise, those of you still raising these budding adults will reach the time where you to will laugh, along with them, about those teen years. We have, and it’s just so wonderful and fun.

Believe it or not, science supports the desperate questions we ask our teens while flailing our arms in the air, “Why didn’t you think before you did that? Is there a brain in that head of yours?” Well, yes, there is a brain in there, but it’s not yet fully functioning. The teenage brain is still under construction. Smart people in white lab coats have discovered that the frontal lobe of the brain, the center that controls thinking, planning, organizing and problem solving, emotions, behavioral control, and personality, is not fully developed in the teenage children we love so very much. And in fact, it will not be fully so until those daughters are 25 and those sons are 27. (I don’t know if knowing this brings relief to you in some way or whether you are now slumped down in a chair exhausted at the thought of the years ahead until the structure between your teen’s ears is complete. It’s probably a blend of both.) Continue reading

World Congress of Families: I Can’t Do That!

Humanitarian-CenterI used to be a tour guide at the Humanitarian Center, in downtown Salt Lake City. The building was always a beehive of activity with various groups coming in to spend an hour or two packaging kits, making quilts, or sorting donated items. Dignitaries from all over the world would tour the facility. In many cases, these dignitaries would ask for help for their people and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owners of the Humanitarian Center, would happily make the arrangements.

As a tour guide, I loved sharing information and stories about how the LDS Church was often the first, along with the Red Cross, to arrive at any disaster or crisis throughout the world. And it felt good to be part of a Relief Society that worked to provide hygiene, newborn, and school kits that could be stored and shipped throughout the world at a moment’s notice.

But, times have changed.

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Day 3 Report: World Congress of Families

It was another great day of learning and research in Salt Lake City for thousands of people from around the world.

More to come from other speakers throughout the day.

Plenary Panel

Francisco Tatad – Former Majority Leader in the Senate of the Philippines

– There is no greater gift than the gift of life. There is no greater gift than the ability to procreate. If we truly understood this, it would be mind-blowing.

– How do we move forward in the marriage, life and family battle? We need to have a deep understanding and love for the gift of life at all stages.

Mark Tooley – Institute on Religion and Democracy
– Mark talked about the decline of faith WITHIN America’s religions. Why? Liberal and progressives within churches are moving to post-modernism and secularism,

– Progressives are trying to dilute their faith’s doctrine and moral traditions to accommodate secular culture. How? Minimizing the importance of traditional families and moral values.

– As more Christians cleave to their traditional faith, they will need to stand up stronger against the tide within their own churches and continue to declare the importance of truly living the doctrines of their faith. This will prompt a new generation of people who are willing and eager to take a stance on moral issues.

– Despite what we think of Christian apathy, there has been an improvement of dialogue on tough social issues that have elicited strong responses from various religious leaders. Continue reading

Day Two Report: World Congress of Families (Part one)

There were so many incredible sessions at day two of the World Congress of Families that we will need to break this up into two posts. In short, it was outstanding!
Main Plenary Session
Cathy Ruse, Esq. (Senior Council, Family Research Center):

Wow!  What a powerful and articulate woman!  She received several standing ovations in a packed to overflowing ballroom. She is an accomplished attorney yet she identified herself to us as:

1. A Catholic Christian
2. A mother

– “No man can be a mother and no woman can be a father.  All mothers know this.” Many are so blinded by their ideologies that they can’t see the simplest and most basic of things. If we declare the truth about mothering and fathering, we are now called bigots and insensitive.

– The government institution cannot raise, feed and clothe children. Only mothers and fathers can do that for children, and that is why the government is involved and concerned about marriage.

– Regarding same sex marriage, society is not satisfied with winning SCOTUS.  It was never about tolerance.  It’s about punishing everyone that does not agree with you.  “Society says if you disagree, you’re a bigot.  Well, I disagree!

– The law isn’t interested in love and never has been. Who you love isn’t the government’s business—until now.

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World Congress of Families Report: The Distinctive Roles of Mothers and Fathers in Families

distinctive role of mother and fatherConcurrent Session #6: The Distinctive Roles of Mothers and Fathers in Families

Dr. Candi Finch (Chair)

Jenet Jacob Erickson, Ruel Haymond, Warwich Marsh, Miriam Grossman MD

This segment was EXTREMELY full to overflowing! There were easily 4 times more people standing than there were seated in the chairs. It definitely was a standing room only ordeal. I will give you an overview of what the bulk of the speakers discussed then, bullet points of some specifics.

It appeared to me that the speakers spent more of their time regarding the importance of fathers in the marriage, home, or equation, than all about the mothers role. This was the case with the two male speakers for sure and Jenet spent a good amount of time with both genders. Dr. Grossman did speak primarily about the uniqueness of motherhood and the science behind it.

Jenet Erikson: Dad’s Don’t Mother, and Mom’s Don’t Father Continue reading

World Congress of Families Report: The Economic and Social Costs of Family Breakdown

breakdown of family“The Economic and Social Costs of Family Breakdown”

Panel: John D. Mueller – Lehrman Institute Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Steve Smoot –

Family First Foundation, Christopher Carmouche – Grasstops USA, Eric Teetsel – Manhattan Declaration

The Family: A Proclamation to the World concludes with these solemn words, “…we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

This panel lecture and discussion focused on the negative economic and social effects harming not only the family, but societies in general, bought about primarily through the low birth rate and abortion. Following are just a few drops from the fire hose of research, not opinion, that we were favored with: Continue reading

Wide-Eyes on Feminism at World Congress of Families

Embedded image permalinkOne of the breakout sessions at the World Congress of Families XI, opened my eyes about feminism. Entitled “The Beneficial and Harmful Influences of Feminism”, it threw me some punches. Because feminism is multi-faceted, it was important to clarify that feminism, defined as women speaking up and speaking out for the right to vote and to have equal opportunity, was not going to be the discussion. While these are beneficial influences that have benefited and changed the world and certainly the lifestyle of many women, the discussion would focus mainly on the harm “radical feminism” has done against women.


gayle ruzickaGail Ruzicka, who came from Utah’s Chapter of Eagle Forum, centered her thoughts on Feminine vs. Feminism. Feminists draw upon the acceptable idea that we must fight for strong women and their opportunity to speak up for themselves, but in actuality, they have a political agenda to change laws and traditional moral standards.

Feminists want to remove everything that represents our male counterparts, but “Feminine,” is the Biblical definition of a true woman. Continue reading

Elder M. Russell Ballard Offers Bold Keynote Address at World Congress of Families IX

m russell ballardElder M Russell Ballard offered a bold keynote address to the World Congress of Families as he welcomed delegates from around the globe and reminded them that, “marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

The full text of Elder Ballard’s remarks follows:

Eternal Families and Love for One Another
World Congress of Families
Elder M. Russell Ballard

      I.         Introduction

We thank you for the honor of selecting Utah to host the first World Congress of Families in the United States. I extend an official welcome from the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially Elder Dallin H. Oaks who has supported your work for many years. Our church is also known as the LDS or Mormon Church, and its international headquarters is in Salt Lake City. We hope you enjoy your stay with us.

You may have already seen the Salt Lake Temple. If not, I encourage you to visit Temple Square.

Temples are very important to Latter-day Saints, because in them couples are married for “time and eternity,” not just “till death do you part.” As the Church proclaimed twenty years ago in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and … the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

This doctrine explains our strong position on the family. We also believe we are to reach out to all people with understanding, love, and compassion. The focus of my remarks will be:

First, I will explain the doctrinal reasons that traditional families play such an important role in our church. Second, I will explain the relationship between religious sensitivities surrounding the family and religious freedom. Finally, I will suggest some guiding principles on reaching out to those around us, despite any misunderstandings or disagreements. Continue reading

Elder M. Russell Ballard to Speak at World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City

Elder M. Russell Ballard, one of the greatest champions of the traditional family, will be giving the keynote address on the opening day of the World Congress of Families. Beginning on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, thousands of high profile pro-family religious leaders, lawmakers, dignitaries, parliamentarians, scholars, producers and every-day child and traditional family advocates will gather together in this significant congress. This conference comes at a pivotal time in history when the traditional family and religious freedoms are being threatened around the world. I attended a World Congress of Families in Sydney, Australia and learned from some of the best and brightest international pro-family scholars and religious leaders in the world. So many of these voices are drowned out, buried and even omitted in public discourse and the media. This is why this conference is so important. It provides the opportunity for critical research, presentations, experiences, and first hand accounts to see the light of day.

A highlight of this conference for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be the keynote address by one of our Apostles. This is significant because it shows, without question, the Church’s supportive and firm stance on protecting and defending the traditional family in the public square.  It is also significant because it falls on the 20th anniversary of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Elder Ballard, one of the original apostles who signed his name on this prophetic document, is no stranger to defending God’s plan for the family. In fact, it seems as if at least 50% of his talks have been somehow related to God’s plan and pattern for the family. Continue reading

The World Congress of Families SLC – Young Adult Scholarship Opportunities

In the most recent General Women’s Meeting, Bonnie Oscarson boldly declared,

“[T]here is a war going on in this world in which our most cherished and basic doctrines are under attack. I am speaking specifically of the doctrine of the family. The sanctity of the home and the essential purposes of the family are being questioned, criticized, and assaulted on every front. During this 20th anniversary year of the family proclamation, I would like to issue a challenge for all of us as women of the Church to be defenders of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” (Defenders of the Family Proclamation, May 2015 Ensign).

I wholeheartedly agree with Sister Oscarson. There are so many different ways we can defend the principles and doctrines in the family proclamation. Having said that, here is something that may be of interest to our Mormon Women Stand community.

The World Congress of Families

This October in Salt Lake City, The World Congress of Families IX will be holding the ninth international gathering of delegates, from many professions and a variety of faiths, who are working to restore core family values within society. According to their website, The World Congress of Families IX welcomes friends and people of goodwill from all nations for the premier global gathering of parents, youth, lawmakers, scholars, religious leaders, and advocates united to affirm, celebrate, and encourage the natural family. Past congresses have included keynote addresses from Elder Russell M. Nelson and Wendy Watson Nelson, Margaret D. Nadauld (as General Young Women President),  Mary Ellen Smoot (as General Relief Society President), Sheri Dew (as Councilor in the General Relief Society Presidency),  Elder Bruce D. Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Erich W. Kopischke of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and more. There will be a general authority speaking this year as well. Continue reading