BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — On the final day of his visit to the South America South Area, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles underscored the importance of strong families in society as he spoke to members of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in Argentina on May 31.
“I am here to offer a faith-based perspective on one of the most pressing needs in society — the strengthening of families, the foundation stone of civilization,” said Elder Holland. “As families go, so go neighborhoods, communities and nations, so what strengthens the family strengthens society, and what weakens family weakens it.”
In discussing the importance of a strong family as the cornerstone of society, Elder Holland drew from renowned scholars and other religious and secular philosophies. He also introduced “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
The document, issued by the Church more than 20 years ago, provides the essential elements to build strong families and states a direct invitation to “responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
Focusing on how to strengthen families and, in turn, communities in Argentina, Elder Holland participated as the keynote speaker on a panel with Ursala Bassett, a renowned family law professor at Austral University, and Rabbi Fernando Fishel Szlajen, the director of the Department of Culture at the Asociaciòn Mutual Israelita Argentina.
Elder Holland encouraged the government leaders to create policies that strengthen families with a special focus on the youth.
“The evidence is clear,” he said. “A solid foundation in children’s early years sets them up for success in school and beyond, paving the way for higher test scores, fewer behavioral problems, better job opportunities and greater income. High-quality care for the child and early education that intentionally fosters healthy growth and development are essential to these formative years.”
Elder Holland was accompanied to the meeting by Elder Mark A. Bragg, a General Authority Seventy in the South America South Area presidency. “Elder Holland beautifully taught the doctrine of families and the spiritual and temporal impacts that strong families have on society,” Elder Bragg said.
In his concluding remarks, Elder Holland stated, “My friends, the family matters. Indeed, a nation’s values and strengths are but the sum total of the values and strengths of its families.”