Judeo-Christian Culture: History Timeline of the Nuclear Family in Western Civilization

Judeo-Christian Culture:

History Timeline of the Nuclear Family in Western Civilization

Defining the Nuclear Family

key“Shaped as we are by long human experience, we must be all the more careful not to lose what has required so much time and so much effort to accomplish. The modern nuclear family is a rare construct; we tamper with its essentials at our peril. As the long record of human experimentation attests, civilizations, even great civilizations, are more fragile and perishable than we think.” (Bennett, The Broken Hearth, 67, 70)

From The Broken Hearth

By William J. Bennett

family-traditional-nuclear3The modern nuclear family . . .did not appear spontaneously in the long-ago, but, rather, was built up gradually, shaped and molded by human experience. But if both marriage and family life have undergone change over the ages, as indeed they have, this hardly means that the 20th century family is an arbitrary construct.

Just as certain characteristics of the family have been malleable, adjusting to times and trends, other aspects, tethered as they are to deep human realities, have remained largely fixed and timeless. (42)

 

Five Periods in the history of the Western Civilization

 

I.  Old Testament times

JacobRachelThe Jewish people made marriage the sexual ideal. They also elevated the status of women by standing firmly for marriage and the family and firmly against infidelity and homosexuality. “Throughout their history, one of the Jews’ most distinguishing characteristics has been their commitment to family life,” writes Dennis Prager, social critic.

Jewish tradition also placed great emphasis on honoring one’s parents.

Much that was taken for granted about family life in ancient Israel is contrary to present-day belief and, for good reasons, unacceptable to us. But much—especially the very conception of the family as the seedbed of moral refinement and individual growth—is already there, not hidden away but right out in the open, waiting to be further developed. (Bennett, 44-48)

 

II. Early Christian Period

 

Jesus-bcome-disciple-lds-churchWestern civilization has been influenced beyond measure by Christianity, from the ethical teachings of Jesus to the doctrines of patristic and later authorities to the evolving institutional practices of the Church and the community of the faithful. Christianity’s impact on the family, and on our ideas about the family, has been incalculable.

Women were among Jesus’ close followers, playing a major role in his ministry and in the spreading of his gospel, and serving as positive models in his teachings. Jesus praised their faith, and graciously accepted their acts of love and hospitality. It was women who were the first eyewitnesses of his resurrection and who were then told to go and relate the news to the male disciples. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was specially favored by God.

Jesus held men and women alike to the same moral standards. . .and taught that all must follow the same path to salvation.

In sum, the relationship of religious faith to marriage and family life is complex and at times paradoxical. If that reminds us, as it should, of the difficulties in any effort to turn either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament into a straightforward brief for traditional “family values,” it should also remind us of how rich, how demanding, and how endlessly instructive is the moral and spiritual legacy we are heirs to. (Bennett, 48-52)

 

III.  Middle Ages

The Roman Catholic Church was influential in prohibiting incest and the marrying of close relatives, in punishing fornication and adultery.

The Church did champion the role of consent in marriage, marking a historic change from the earlier periods we have examined.

As for the attitude toward children, Lawrence Stone reminds us that during the Middle Ages, two or more living children were often given the same name because it was so common that at least one of them would die. This was particularly true during the Black Death, the epidemic that ravaged Europe and Asia in the fourteenth century, and that is estimated to have killed one-quarter of the populations of Europe, including, no doubt, a disproportionate number of children.

 

IV. 1500-mid-1700s

john-winthrop-quoteThis was the period that saw the rise of the first American families, which, with their roots in English Puritanism, soon came to be considered an American ideal.

Consider the relationship between John Winthrop, the seventeenth-century governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and his wife, Margaret.

Margaret states the reasons she loves him: “first because thou lovest God; and, secondly, because that thou lovest me.” Governor Winthrop held his wife in similar esteem.

triangle-marriage-jesus-man-womanDuring the seventeenth century, the position of women in marriage seems to have improved—if only to a point.

Take the attitude toward newborn children in seventeenth-century New England. Many Puritans, adopting the strict Calvinist perspective, considered them products of oritinal sin: inherently corrupt, naturally depraved.

By the late seventeenth century, Puritanism was beginning to decline in England. The English philosopher John Locke—whose ideas did so much to influence the American founding—played a crucial role in altering public attitudes toward children as well. To Locke (who was not alone in this belief), an infant was less a product of the Fall than a blank slate, a tabula rasa. This conception, . . .stimulated the display of parental love and affection.

 

A “silent revolution” had taken place, one that diminished parental control over children’s marriages, differentiated family patterns across social classes, and produced a new conception of childhood in which children were viewed not as embodiments of sin but as innocent and malleable creatures whose characters could be molded into any shape. (Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg)

By the end of the colonial period, then, currents were astir that would find their full realization by the early part of the next century. (Bennett, 58-61)

 

19th Century

By the 1830s, the free choice of spouse was seen as “a distinctive feature of American family life.”

happymarriagewordsWe contemporaries can also learn something useful from our ancestors. Too many people today believe that once a marriage goes flat—once the early love, affection, and intense attraction are gone—a marriage itself is irretrievably broken. In fact, there is plenty of evidence, from the past and from today, that people can fall in love again with their spouses. It may require time, effort, a conscious commitment of purpose, perhaps even outside counsel; but it can be done, and it is almost always worth the effort.

A woman was declared “God’s appointed agent of Morality, responsible for refining a man’s “human affections and elevating his moral feelings.” (Sarah J. Hale)

While Americans did not believe that “man and woman have either the duty or the right to perform the same offices,” they did show “an equal regard for both their respective parts. ~Alexis de Tocqueville

It would also appear that spouses were quite faithful: For American men, there was not gallantry to be found in a love affair, and women were expected to be chaste. One English visitor, remarking upon the “great charm which surrounds all family relations in the North,” made a point of recording that “compared with Europe, domestic scandals are unknown.”

The Industrial Revolution forced sweeping changes in every sphere, shifting people from agrarian to urban settings, crating smaller and more self-contained family units, and encouraging an unprecedented mobility. It took time, and a fair amount of disruptive agony, to adjust to these changes, and in doing so, people tended to draw closer within their families. Men in particular looked more and more to their wives and their homes for emotional support, nurturance, and affirmation.

Child-rearing ceased to be simply one of many activities and became the central concern—one is tempted to say the central obsession—of family life.” (Christopher Lasch)

family-history-victorian               This entire era—the Victorian era—has often been caricatured as sexually and emotionally repressed, patriarchal, tyrannical, and abusive. In fact, the hallmarks of family life included stability and faithfulness, emotional intimacy, and endurance. Things were not perfect by any means . . .But given the problems that plague contemporary family life—out-of-wedlock births and single-parent families, divorce and cohabitation, abortion on demand and the growing embrace of homosexual unions, to name just a few—a bit of humility, not to say appreciativeness, is surely called for.

The emerging attitudes I have been describing were not rooted in unenlightened, authoritarian, or misogynistic ideals. Rather, they were firmly anchored in the liberal political tradition. This was, after all, an America chiseled and shaped by the ideas of the Enlightenment, in particular by the writings of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. (Bennett,62-66)

 

Modern Nuclear Family

“The bottom line is that not all family structures are equal, and not all variations are compatible with basic social and human needs.”

family-traditional-nuclear1“We desperately need to reestablish marriage as an exclusive arrangement between a man and a woman. Marriage, monogamous and freely chosen, must be the institution through which children are conceived and born, loved and disciplined, nurtured and raised. And marital permanence must once again become the ideal to which individuals commit themselves and which they strive to maintain.”

“Shaped as we are by long human experience, we must be all the more careful not to lose what has required so much time and so much effort to accomplish. The modern nuclear family is a rare construct; we tamper with its essentials at our peril. As the long record of human experimentation attests, civilizations, even great civilizations, are more fragile and perishable than we think.” (Bennett, The Broken Hearth, 67, 70)

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 6—Small and Simple Things can still be Important Things

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 6—Small and Simple Things can still be Important Things

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks 

6) Simple and Easy Does Not Mean It Is Unimportant

After reciting a seemingly small event that had great consequences, Nephi wrote, “And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:29). The Old Testament includes a memorable example of this. There we read how the Israelites were plagued by fiery serpents. Many people died from their bites (see Numbers 21:6). When Moses prayed for relief, he was inspired to make “a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole.” Then, “if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (verse 9). Such a small thing for such a miraculous result! Yet, as Nephi explained when he taught this example to those who were rebelling against the Lord, even when the Lord had prepared a simple way by which they could be healed, “because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished” (1 Nephi 17:41).

That example and that teaching remind us that the simplicity of the way or the easiness of the commanded task cannot mean that it is unimportant to achieve our righteous desire.

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 5—Small and Simple Things, Resist Worldly Influences

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 5—Small and Simple Things, Resist Worldly Influences

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

5) Continual Resistance to Worldly Influences

We are surrounded by media influences and cultural deteriorations that will carry us downstream in our values if we are not continually resisting. To move upstream toward our eternal goal, we must constantly keep paddling. It helps if we are part of a team that is paddling together, like a rowing crew in action. To extend that example even further, the cultural currents are so strong that if we ever stop paddling, we will be carried downstream toward a destination we do not seek but which becomes inevitable if we do not constantly try to move forward.

A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 4—Small and Simple Things, Daily Decisions in Life

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 4—Small and Simple Things, Daily Decisions in Life

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

 

4) Commonplace Tasks, Private Decisions

 Howard W. Hunter taught that “frequently it is the commonplace tasks … that have the greatest positive effect on the lives of others, as compared with the things that the world so often relates to greatness.4

A persuasive secular teaching of this same principle comes from former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, who wrote: “The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds and thousands of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.”5

Those “seemingly insignificant” private decisions include how we use our time, what we view on television and the internet, what we read, the art and music with which we surround ourselves at work and at home, what we seek for entertainment, and how we apply our commitment to be honest and truthful. Another seemingly small and simple thing is being civil and cheerful in our personal interactions.

None of these desirable small and simple things will lift us to great things unless they are practiced consistently and continuously. President Brigham Young was reported as saying: “Our lives are made up of little, simple circumstances that amount to a great deal when they are brought together, and sum up the whole life of the man or woman.”6

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 3—Obedience to God in Small and Simple Things brings Small Miracles

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 3—Obedience to God in Small and Simple

Things brings Small Miracles

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks 

3) The Lord’s Pattern: Small and Simple Things

Surely these are small things, but surely they are good examples of what Alma taught his son Helaman: “And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:7).

President Steven C. Wheelwright gave an audience at Brigham Young University–Hawaii this inspired description of Alma’s teaching: Alma confirms for his son that indeed the pattern the Lord follows when we exercise faith in Him and follow His counsel in small and simple things is that He blesses us with small daily miracles, and over time, with marvelous works.3

 

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Biblical Worldview News: US celebrates Israel Independence Day with Jerusalem Embassy move

Biblical Worldview News:

US celebrates Israel Independence Day with Jerusalem Embassy move

Embassy relocates to Jerusalem on Monday

Pastor: Relocation won’t bring peace – but recognition

might

Friday, May 11, 2018

J.M. Phelps (OneNewsNow.com)

A Florida pastor with a heart for Israel says the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while controversial, isn’t the stumbling block to peace in the Middle East that some have been led to believe. The obstacle, he says, remains as it has for decades: the Arab world’s refusal to recognize Israel as a nation.

The United States plans to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day next week alongside its longstanding friend and ally by opening the new U.S. embassy on Monday in the holy city of Jerusalem – a move that has sparked a social and political firestorm on both sides of the Atlantic. In December, President Trump expressed his intent to make that move and signed a proclamation stating the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For decades, past presidents had made promises to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but each one of them has failed to do so.

Concern has been expressed by Israeli authorities that the move could provoke new violence in Jerusalem and in the West Bank – where the Palestinian Authority is based – and hamper the Middle East peace process. But Pastor Steve Kreloff, a Jewish Christian and pastor of Lakeside Community Chapel for 37 years, tells OneNewsNow: “There is no peace process.” He explains why the potential violence in response has little to do with the relocation itself.

“The only nations [that] Israel has really made peace with in the Arab world have been Egypt and Jordan, and even these relationships are tenuous,” he reiterates. “Moving the Embassy doesn’t harm the peace process. There’s been no progress made about peace.”

Kreloff is convinced the move is widely opposed because Israel itself is hated by multitudes of people in the Middle East and around the world.

“I do not believe the Middle East crisis is going to be solved one way or the other based on moving the Embassy. In terms of their view of Israel, they’ll never be satisfied unless Israel ceases to exist,” he argues, adding: “Jerusalem is not the stumbling block. The Palestinians and others in the Arab world have never recognized Israel as a state.”

And President Trump, says Kreloff, not only did the right thing in moving the embassy – he did the obvious thing.

“Everybody other than the Arab world knows Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” he notes. “Everyone who knows anything about biblical truth knows it is the capital. The parliament, called the Knesset, is in Jerusalem. The prime minister’s office is in Jerusalem. Those who live in Israel recognize that Jerusalem is their capital.”

And as the pastor points out, every sovereign country has the right to designate a city in its country as its capital.

“When a country names [its] capital, it would be ridiculously absurd for the rest of the world not to acknowledge it. That would be like a country telling us, We don’t accept Washington, DC, as your capital. We’re going to put our embassy in another city of our own choice. Would this sort of absurdity be tolerated by the American people? I think not.”

Despite all the political rhetoric or threats of violence, Israel has always attempted to offer viable peaceful solutions to their neighbors existing in the region, says the pastor.

“[But] historically,” Kreloff concludes, “every time Israel has offered some type of peace negotiations, the Arab world has rejected them. Specifically, the Palestinians have rejected them. It’s because they won’t be satisfied until Israel disappears, which will not happen. However, that is their ultimate goal.”

One News Now

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Christian Word on Parents, Marriage, and the Nuclear Family

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Dinner Topics Month-Defining Moment Defining Moment: Today there are many who are changing the definition of the traditional family. Here Christian leaders clearly define the real family, and warn of the consequences of abandoning Biblical values and moral absolutes. The … Continue reading

Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 2—Small and Simple Things, Repentance Every Day

Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 2—

Small and Simple Things, Repentance Every Day

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

 

2) Repenting, Even of Small Transgressions

Another source of spiritual uplift and growth is an ongoing practice of repenting, even of seemingly small transgressions. Our own inspired self-evaluations can help us see how we have fallen short and how we can do better. Such repentance should precede our weekly partaking of the sacrament. Some subjects to consider in this process of repentance are suggested in the hymn “Have I Done Any Good?”

Have I done any good in the world today?

Have I helped anyone in need?

Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?

If not, I have failed indeed.

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today

Because I was willing to share?

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?

When they needed my help was I there?2

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Nuclear Family Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Nuclear Family Theme Quotes

A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.

“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

We are created in God’s image and need to mirror Him. My role as a wife must be of more importance than my role as a mother because we are training disciples, not making friends with our children. The payoff will be great in the years ahead because then we will enjoy friendships with our children in a new and special way. ~Esther Saunders

No success can compensate for failure in the home. ~David O. McKay

A man should never neglect his family for business. ~Walt Disney

‘The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.’ ~Harold B. Lee

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. ~The Family Proclamation

We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. ~Bonnie L. Oscarson

“First because thou lovest God; and, secondly, because that thou lovest me.” Margaret Winthrop stating reasons she loved her husband John.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. ~Gordon B. Hinckley, Family Proclamation to the World

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 1—Small and Simple Things, Daily Prayer, Daily Scripture Study

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 1—Small and Simple Things, Daily Prayer, Daily Scripture Study

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

1) Holy Habits and Righteous Routines

We are taught many small and simple things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be reminded that in total and over a significant period of time, these seemingly small things bring to pass great things. There have been many talks on this subject by General Authorities and by other respected teachers. The subject is so important that I feel to speak of it again.

I was reminded of the power of small and simple things over time by something I saw on a morning walk. Here is the picture I took. The thick and strong concrete sidewalk is cracking. Is this the result of some large and powerful thrust? No, this cracking is caused by the slow, small growth of one of the roots reaching out from the adjoining tree.

The thrusting power that cracked these heavy concrete sidewalks was too small to measure on a daily or even a monthly basis, but its effect over time was incredibly powerful.

So is the powerful effect over time of the small and simple things we are taught in the scriptures and by living prophets. Consider the scripture study we’ve been taught to incorporate into our daily lives. Or consider the personal prayers and the kneeling family prayers that are regular practices for faithful KJV BibleLatter-day Saints. Consider attendance at seminary for youth or institute classes for young adults. Though each of these practices may seem to be small and simple, over time they result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth. This occurs because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the Testifier who enlightens us and guides us into truth, as Henry B. Eyring has explained.

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