I have very rarely used my blog to express my religious convictions. I feel like doing so today. This will be primarily a theological post.
The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).
As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. . . .
“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”2
I believe in moral absolutes. I believe that each individual has the right to choose their own path, but mere selection of a moral path does not make that path correct. I don't walk around judging people who make different choices than I do- I don't have the time, inclination, or right to do so. But I try to make choices based on whether they conform to a moral constant.
I think many, many people do this as well. The unfortunate part is that we, as a society, have failed to maintain a core moral discipline that provides a framework for our behavior and treatment of others. We are afraid to declare societal norms to guide individual behavior. Elder Christofferson continues:
I have heard a few parents state that they don’t want to impose the gospel on their children but want them to make up their own minds about what they will believe and follow. They think that in this way they are allowing children to exercise their agency. What they forget is that the intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, of things as they really are (see D&C 93:24). Without that, young people can hardly be expected to understand and evaluate the alternatives that come before them. Parents should consider how the adversary approaches their children. He and his followers are not promoting objectivity but are vigorous, multimedia advocates of sin and selfishness.