Whew! I have so much to share that it will just take time to sift through everything. There are incredible stories of sacrifice, strength, courage and resilience with these remarkable people. All of them have made personal sacrifices in order to follow promptings and desires to support and defend the family.

Looking around the auditorium today, I felt that I was sitting at the feet of giants and great leaders. There were about a dozen (or more) members of the LDS Church from all over Australia and the USA. They are doing incredible things at the United Nations and have fantastic organizations. These people have started by walking out into the unknown with one single step, placing one foot over the cliff...but it is the second step that really takes faith because you're truly committed.

Gosh, so much to write! I come back exhausted and it's a lot of walking back and forth on the subway and all over the place. Whew. Definitely not a relaxing vacation (and I didn't expect that one bit).

More to come! ( Just got word, right before I hit publish, that I have a part two of this report, coming later tonight! Whoa! ~ Kathryn)

Plenary Opening Session – Main Auditorium *Packed to capacity, standing room only = exciting!

Patrick Parkinson (Family Law Attorney, Consultant to Family Law – London). Speech: The Economic Rationale for Governments to Invest in Family Stability

There is a rapid increase in the fragility of families around the Western world. There is a tipping point in which it is likely too late to reverse the trends. Unfortunately, social calamity is the result of the collapse of the natural family. There are intergenerational impacts such as poverty, diminished educational opportunities, and downward mobility in socioeconomic status. This is all manifested in a rise in parental stress, neglect, abuse, poor mental health and so forth. Ultimately, the public costs for fragile families are very high.

 There is a growing crises in mental health with adolescents and the trend is correlated with divorce in all cases (the data proves it). There is an alarming crisis in particular with teenage girls of divorced, broken homes. Of all the girls ages 12-14, ¼ have some serious mental disorder and attempt self harm and binge drink, at a rate of SIX times greater than boys. There is a 90% increase in the rate of self harm for girls aged 10+. Reasons: Fragile families have serious impacts on children’s wellbeing.

·       Implications: How much family instability can we cope with before we finally get serious about reversing the trend? It is an inconvenient truth, but it needs to be addressed.

Peter Meurs, Area Seventy, distinguished businessman. Speech: The Impact of Work on the Family

·       The LDS Church is a tremendous part of the World Congress of Families and always has been.

·       There is a shift and change of even the most basic values in society. This was illustrated in a personal experience he had. He shared story of a business dinner he was at with a group of colleagues.  His phone rang and it was his daughter’s boyfriend calling to ask for her hand in marriage. Elder Meurs returned to his business dinner and shared the conversation he had just had with his colleagues. These men (who considered themselves family men) were utterly SHOCKED at 1) the young man asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage; 2) his daughter wasn’t already living with her boyfriend; and 3) they were actually going to get married. This story illustrates the change in our culture. 

Elder Meurs shared the stories of his company working to employ the Aboriginee people of Australia and showcased the incredible changes that hard work and family values made in their lives. Pulling people out of poverty and getting them to work rather than be on welfare is key.

Dr. Miriam Grossman, Psychiatrist, author and UN Status on Commission of Women. Speech: A Brief History of Sex Education: Where Today’s Madness Comes From.

Sex education used to be about the facts of sex and something more special and bigger: the relationship between husbands and wives. Things have changed. Now we have sexuality education which involves complex issues such as gender identity, sex, abortion, non-discrimination policies, gay sex and children are taught that they are sexual as soon as they are born. The terms “husband and wife” are never used. They also teach that gender is a complicated matter and to them, a boy might turn into a man or he might turn into a woman, or something else. 

Alarming video clip from Planned Parenthood Childhood innocence?

     Forget about it with the current and trending sex education lessons. They are providing website and resources for children which include astonishing, bizarre and disgusting behaviors. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you what recommended websites are teaching children.  So where did all of this stem from?  The book “The History of Sex Education” by Dr. Grossman. 

To sum it up, modern sex Ed. began in the 1960’s. A deeply disturbed psychologist named Alfred Kinsey believed that anything goes when it came to sexuality. His biography documents his horrible beliefs, including “traditional morality and religion is destructive and damaging.” His research wanted to prove the way he lived was normal. SECUS is the group behind sex Ed. and they aggressively promote teaching guidelines around the world based on Dr. Kinsey.

Another disturbing sex Ed. promoter was Mary Caldrone. She went on a crusade to change morals and society and felt there were too many rules in sex Ed. She wanted to teach that children are sexual beings. The book she authored, “Talking with Your Child About Sex” (1982) was unbelievable. Modern sex Ed. is all about breaking boundaries.

In 1955, John Money, PhD started the false premise that being male and female is just a feeling and we are born “gender-neutral” and society conditions us to determine if we are male or female. He was a pedophile who believed incest was normal love.  These people used fraudulent data and their personal ideas to succeed in transforming Western society’s sex education. It quite literally came from disturbed individuals who wanted sex Ed.’s end goal to have children open to any and all sexual experimentation. Change society one child at a time.

·       How does this continue to remain unchecked? SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, etc. are incredibly strong voices. Where is the accountability?

·       Sometimes it appears as though this situation is like David and Goliath. However, the secret weapon is biology and scientific truth, which refute all of the aforementioned people’s false premises. The battle is uphill, but think of David and Goliath: Who won that battle?

Faith, Family and Civilization: Page Patterson USA and Rabbi Shimone Cowen, Australia

·       We’ve heard about much of the darkness that has invaded our civilization. But it is very important to not focus on the evils but it is important that we bring to the floor the light that can transform society. We reflect on the sources of our values. Let’s tap into that light and make it more conscious to all of humanity.

·       There are eternal values found within the human spirit. We need to begin again and discuss the human spirit. This is part of the Charter for the World Congress of Families. There is a moral template for society here.
     The values of the Abrahamic religions are fundamental principles for governing the relationship between God and man. If we can reveal the human spirit, these values will return and resonate with people.

·       Current moral libertarianism is only one voice. Over and over again, they say to leave religion aside. They deny that we have a spirit. They only go for reason. The key is to uncover the human spirit and soul, and there we will find that morality isn’t an imposition but a realization.

·       There is freedom in being good, freedom in choosing the right. Human beings were created for a divine mission and this is perpetuated in future generations with the union of a man and a woman with God.
Break Out Sessions: How various sectors impact marriage and family life.

Panel: UN Issues, globalization and human rights.

1st Speaker: Human Rights Agenda and the War on the Family, Sharon Slater USA (an LDS woman who presents regularly at the United Nations) www.familywatchinternational.org

·       Children have rights to protection i.e. food, shelter, water, clothing, safety. However, we are moving towards a “sexual rights revolution” where they believe that children have a right to fluid sexuality, to do whatever pleases them and they are defined as sexual beings. Also, there are about seven different ways to identify with a gender. No longer two (male/female).

·       The United Nations funds programs that promote sex education from International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) and Sex Education Committee (SECO). These groups comment that the biggest obstacle to sexual rights is 1) Religion and 2) Parents.

·       The United Nations is not supposed to be interfering with each country in the world; instead, countries are supposed to decide policy for themselves. However, with sex Ed. they are interfering. The wealthy countries of the world are blackmailing the poor countries into their ideas of sexual revolution (abortion, homosexual marriage and adoption). If these countries don’t comply and help promote these agendas, their aid and help is threatened to be pulled. The main offender? The USA.

Video: Documentary - Cultural Imperialism, The Human Rights Agenda

State and UN Policies to Strengthen the Family: Farooq Hassan, Pakistan/USA, Distinguished scholar and legal mind

There is a great deal of adversary at the United Nations. The UN is not as important as is your individual country. One side of the UN is family based; the other is non-family and antagonistic to the family. The enemy is not necessarily the UN, but the wicked countries that make up the UN.

The UN only does what the countries want it to do. Two specific matters: Homosexual marriage and adoption.

·       Who is the biggest culprit for leading the charge against the family? Sadly, the United States.

·       Interestingly enough, the third world countries are the strongest voice in standing up to same gender marriage and adoption.

·       What can we do? We need more young people to be educated in the law, public policy, international affairs, etc. We need more professionals in the field and on our side!

Parental Rights: Sweden’s Failed Policies – Dr. Ruby Harrold-Claesson
**This was done via video due to the time constraints and travel to/from Sydney and Sweden. However, they have made her presentation available on YouTube and it will literally blow you away. The whole audience gasped at what Sweden is doing in their family policies and this particular story she shares is literally unbelievable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domenic_Johansson_custody_case

Bob McCoskrie, Director of Family First New Zealand: Government Policy to Strengthen Marriage and Family

In dealing with legislators and the general public, it’s not what you say necessarily but how you say it. The book “After the Ball” outlines the homosexual lobby’s strategy and end game. Very organized and they admittedly (and unfortunately) have done a brilliant job in pushing acceptance onto the public and the youth. How did they do this? They used the manipulation of verbal labels. For example:

- Instead of pro-abortion, pro-choice (made it sound better).

- Instead of homosexual, they use the word gay (they don’t like it when the word homosexual is used).

- Day care changed to “early education center”.

- STD changed to “STI” Sexually transmitted infections. (disease sounds so terrible)

- Pornography changed to adult entertainment.

-Transvestite changed to transgender.

- Gay marriage changed to “marriage equality” to make it sound like a positive thing.

How do we use this same strategy now? Turn the label around and make it sound negative. i.e. instead of the liberal term “right to die” use “assisted suicide”. Sounds much more negative.

Session on Promoting Family in the Media
Miranda Devine, Australian News Columnist and Writer (She was very articulate and gave a great presentation).

Started by talking about the movie “The Sound of Music” Why was it the top grossing movie of all time? What made it so successful around the world? It is a story about the family unit, love, marriage, and the family triumphantly standing up to tyranny. A prime example of media that celebrates the family.

The dominant mindset of the media is hostile to family values. The elites control the media … insiders vs. outsiders.

People still hunger for virtue even if they aren’t sure how to achieve it. That’s why wholesome media pulls at the heartstrings. We can protest immorality and violence in movies; we can make a stand that WILL matter.

We each have the power to change the culture. The trick is to influence the culture directly. Shape attitude.

Lessons: 1) Individuals and small organizations must work together to make noise and an impact and 2) Action makes a difference.

Human beings have an innate moral compass. The pendulum can swing back—we just need to give it a stronger push.

Karl Faase (Media and Radio Personality) – Promoting the Family on the Air

TED Video – Alone Together (Sherry Turkle: Connected, But Alone?)

Media does a great job of isolating us and creating an inability to make meaningful relationships.

We need to rebuild and reframe the marriage discussion. We’re sold on the idea of same sex
marriage by the media. However, if we want to shift the values, we need to be kind and very well spoken.

In any debate, you only hear the noisy extremists but there is a much larger middle ground we need to focus on. Yes, we need to acknowledge the noisy opposition, but we need to talk to the middle.

Loud and extreme words and actions don’t make differences. If you attack someone’s position, you are more likely to reinforce it.

We need to get cleverer about how we communicate. Let’s remember that the middle groups are desperate to hear us. We just need to find the best way to have them hear us.

Don’t write blogs, news articles, media postings in caps, exclamation points, bold, etc. It’s not
necessary or more effective. Just say it…don’t go into hysterics.

Michael Cook – Promoting the Family in Online Media

Don’t be terribly despaired about society.

The new media: Blogs, web, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are influencing public opinion on the
internet. These things are the future.

People are looking for diversity and different points of view on conventional news.

1.     Some people think you can set up a blog and make it work. You have to post a lot! Recommend posting 3 new things per week. New things is key = News.

2.     Everything you do must be done with professionalism. Good writing, conform to grammatical standards, keep it interesting and have flair, personal stories.

3.     Don’t allow your writing and commentary to border on hysteria or over reaction. It is much more effective if you write and present things with calm, concise words. Presentation is critical.

4.     You have to be knowledgeable. You can’t just give your opinion. The writings must be fact based and original.

5.     When setting up your site, remember that your website or blog is about creating a community. So when you’re writing, draw people together in a community of commentary that will attract them and keep them coming back.

6.     Comments from readers are invaluable! Always have comments allowed on your posts. Don’t worry about the nasty ones. What will happen is your fans will come in and support you. The conversations between both sides are valuable for everyone in your blogging community.

7.     Sometimes you may feel you are preaching to the converted. Remember, there is always a constant need to be converted. We all need support for our ideas.

Robert Bahr, The Movie Guide

New media, aka social media, can reach the next generation in a cheap way. There are one billion active Facebook users.

1.     Understand your audience. For social media, the main audience is women ages 12-34. The 15 year old girl is the MOST effective for getting things to go viral.

2.     Understand your medium. Google is a research tool, Facebook is an entertainment tool.

3.     Be real and authentic.

4.     Allow conversation to be real and raw.

5.     Humor or controversy are very effective.

6.     USE PICTURES. People are very visual. Also, 90 second video clips are usually the most people are willing to watch.

Note: Once again Angela has provided us with some amazing information in regard to the family,  from day two of the World Congress of Families conference, because both of us feel it is that important for all of us to have it. Clearly she has done an excellent job of sending to us uncensored, unfiltered content, that I'm sure not everyone would be happy to see coming out of the conference, or feel is credible --  for whatever reasons. Nonetheless, here you have it, take it or leave it, agree or disagree with it. We are doing what we have set out to do... deliver it all of you! Now, go share it!

Kathryn Skaggs

World Congress of Families Gather to Inspire on Day One!

Photo credit: MGF

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