On this continent it is against the law for two families to live under the same roof. And since group dwellings have been outlawed, most of the tenement type of buildings have been demolished. But the unmarried still live in clubs, hotels, and other group dwellings. The smallest homesite permitted must provide fifty thousand square feet of land. All land and other property used for home purposes are free from taxation up to ten times the minimum homesite allotment.
The home life of this people has greatly improved during the last century. Attendance of parents, both fathers and mothers, at the parental schools of child culture is compulsory. Even the agriculturists who reside in small country settlements carry on this work by correspondence, going to the near-by centers for oral instruction once in ten days—every two weeks, for they maintain a five-day week.
The average number of children in each family is five, and they are under the full control of their parents or, in case of the demise of one or both, under that of the guardians designated by the parental courts. It is considered a great honor for any family to be awarded the guardianship of a full orphan. Competitive examinations are held among parents, and the orphan is awarded to the home of those displaying the best parental qualifications.
These people regard the home as the basic institution of their civilization. It is expected that the most valuable part of a child’s education and character training will be secured from his parents and at home, and fathers devote almost as much attention to child culture as do mothers.
All sex instruction is administered in the home by parents or by legal guardians. Moral instruction is offered by teachers during the rest periods in the school shops, but not so with religious training, which is deemed to be the exclusive privilege of parents, religion being looked upon as an integral part of home life. Purely religious instruction is given publicly only in the temples of philosophy, no such exclusively religious institutions as the Urantia churches having developed among this people. In their philosophy, religion is the striving to know God and to manifest love for one’s fellows through service for them, but this is not typical of the religious status of the other nations on this planet. Religion is so entirely a family matter among these people that there are no public places devoted exclusively to religious assembly. Politically, church and state, as Urantians are wont to say, are entirely separate, but there is a strange overlapping of religion and philosophy.
Until twenty years ago the spiritual teachers (comparable to Urantia pastors), who visit each family periodically to examine the children to ascertain if they have been properly instructed by their parents, were under governmental supervision. These spiritual advisers and examiners are now under the direction of the newly created Foundation of Spiritual Progress, an institution supported by voluntary contributions. Possibly this institution may not further evolve until after the arrival of a Paradise Magisterial Son.
Children remain legally subject to their parents until they are fifteen, when the first initiation into civic responsibility is held. Thereafter, every five years for five successive periods similar public exercises are held for such age groups at which their obligations to parents are lessened, while new civic and social responsibilities to the state are assumed. Suffrage is conferred at twenty, the right to marry without parental consent is not bestowed until twenty-five, and children must leave home on reaching the age of thirty.
Marriage and divorce laws are uniform throughout the nation. Marriage before twenty—the age of civil enfranchisement—is not permitted. Permission to marry is only granted after one year’s notice of intention, and after both bride and groom present certificates showing that they have been duly instructed in the parental schools regarding the responsibilities of married life.
Divorce regulations are somewhat lax, but decrees of separation, issued by the parental courts, may not be had until one year after application therefor has been recorded, and the year on this planet is considerably longer than on Urantia. Notwithstanding their easy divorce laws, the present rate of divorces is only one tenth that of the civilized races of Urantia.