M. Russell Ballard, another apostle, also laid out some of the damage done to society by unbelievers.
In an increasingly materialistic world, about half of babies are born to unmarried women, more than half of marriages end in divorce, and fewer families embrace traditional values.
"Equally worrisome is the ever-growing gap between rich and poor," the apostle said. "Statistically, those who have less education and consequently lower incomes are less likely to marry and to go to church, and much more likely to be involved in crime and to have children outside of marriage."
Values come first, he said, and better situations follow.
"When children are born in wedlock and have both a mom and a dad, their opportunities and their likelihood of occupational success skyrocket," Ballard said. "And when families work and play together, neighborhoods and communities flourish, economies improve, and less government and fewer costly ‘safety nets’ are required."
Gasping, even spitting, I retrace the logic:
1. the world is increasingly materialistic
2. as a result marriage and families are crumbling
3. because families are crumbling there is a growing gap between rich and poor
4. family values will make us wealthy
5. and finally we won't need government with its social security and health insurance
There we have it. From the mouth of an apostle. Repeated, unrelenting tax cuts for the rich are irrelevant. Deregulation of banks and oil companies so they can make even more obscene profits is passé. Massive subsidies to oil companies mean nothing. People without health insurance don't have family values.
In short: if we were less materialistic we could be more materialistic.
It takes me back to 1969 when I was a missionary in Germany. I was talking with some university students who wondered if my being a missionary was a way to protest the Vietnam War and undermine the establishment.
20-years old, politically naive, I had no answer other than to say that wasn't it at all. I did want to change the world but believed that that was done one person at a time. If I can convert a person to Mormonism and make him or her a better person, and if that is done thousands and millions of times, then the world will become better without protest or forced political change.
The students tried to explain some work by the Frankfurt School they were reading that argues that governmental and social structures can either aid or hinder us as we try to be decent human beings and that changing those structures is important.
They went back to Adorno and Habermas and I went back to knocking on doors to convert people and only later did I read Marcuse and teach a graduate class on the Frankfurt School.
Little did I know that now, in 2012, after the Occupy Movement, all that Frankfurt theory could be refuted simply by shouting "big government" and "safety net"!