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Kimberly Houk reporting Thousands of people gathered at the LDS Conference Center this morning to learn how to strengthen their families.
Speakers from different religious faiths encouraged all mothers and fathers to take a more active role in raising their children.
While most are focused on our troops abroad and the terror threats here at home... the speakers at today's conference say America is facing another crisis... the breakdown of the American family.
Steve Young, Former NFL Quarterback: "I CAN'T REALLY REMEMBER THE TIME I BECAME AWARE THAT THERE WERE FAMILIES AT RISK, BUT I DO REMEMBER THAT IT WAS A HARD, SOBERING REALITY WHEN I CAME TO UNDERSTAND THAT IN MANY CASES FAMILIES WERE IN PERIL."
Rick Howard, West Valley City Resident: "FEEL VERY GRATEFUL FOR BEING HERE IN AMERICA AND THE OPPORTUNITY I HAVE TO LIVE AND RAISE MY FAMILY THE WAY THAT I KNOW THAT THEY SHOULD BE RAISED."
Freedom... it's an American right. But many American children have way too much of it... and experts say it's contributing to the problems in the American family.
Rick Howard, West Valley City Resident: "FATHERS AND MOTHERS ABANDONING THEIR FAMILIES AND LEAVING THEM TO THE WORLD, AND NOT GUIDING THEM AND NOT DIRECTING THEM. I THINK THERE'S MORE HARM THERE IN CHILDREN WATCHING PARENTS WHO DON'T CARE OR DON'T TEACH THEM."
It hard to reach parents who don't care... but one organization called American Mothers is committed to reaching out to mothers, and letting them know they're not alone.
ERICKSEN: "MOTHERS NEED SUPPORT. THERE'S NOT A LOT OF SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS. AND MANY OF THEM FEEL ADRIFT AND ALONE."
Ericksen says strengthening mothers benefits the children. And one mother agrees. She says kids need unconditional love.
Jenny Merrill, Bountiful Resident: "THEY JUST NEED GUIDANCE. THEY NEED TO KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING. THEY NEED TO HAVE A SENSE OF SELF AND PURPOSE AND LOVE. THEY NEED TO KNOW THEY'RE LOVED."
The conference also focused on fathers... reminding them to lead by example.
Rick Howard, West Valley City Resident: : "I THINK IT'S INSPIRED ME TO JUST WORK HARDER AT MAKING SURE MY HOME IS A GOOD PLACE FOR MY
About 50-percent of American children come from a divorced family. But experts say whether your a single parent or not, the key to raising children to be productive citizens... is creating a safe, loving environment for them when their young.