When Children Go Astray

13 May

Cross Oswald Chambers April 6In the past year I’ve had to deal with some serious spiritual warfare regarding my grown child turning their back on God. In so doing, I couldn’t help but find myself asking questions such as:

What if we were still members of the Mormon Church, would he have made the same choices, or chosen differently? Would he have remained faithful to what we taught him and be on a mission for the Church right now?

As a Mormon parent there was so much pressure on me to make sure my boys were baptized, knew the Articles of Faith, attend Primary and Sunday School, joined the Boy Scouts and eventually begin preparing for a mission.

As sad (and disturbing), as it sounds now to see my boys dressing in their white shirts and ties as they headed off on their mission, it was my ultimate goal as their mom. To see that day would have meant that I’d arrived, that I did it! That I produced two young men who would go out into the world and spread the (Mormon) gospel, many would accept its (false) truth, and become faithful members.

Ok, let’s shift back to reality. 🙂

I’ll never know what might have happened had we stayed in the Church, but I can get an idea from quotes and articles written by Church leaders how we might have been advised to handle a situation similar to the one I’m going though now.

First for all, as we need to understand that the family is everything to the faithful Mormon. When an adult child chooses to leave, whether it’s to follow Jesus Christ, or abandons a belief in God altogether it’s devastating to the remaining family members. The whole reason Mormons build and then attend temples is to be sealed for eternity to their family, it’s their deepest, and strongest desire.

Below are a few quotes by Mormon leaders on this topic:

Joseph Smith- “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity.” Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110.(emphasis mine)

Brigham Young – “Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang” (quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:90–91).(emphasis mine)

Lorenzo Snow – “If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity” (in Collected Discourses, comp. Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. [1987–92], 3:364). (emphasis mine)

The first thing that pops into my head after reading these quotes is wow, just WOW! For a religion, that claims to be Christian to teach parents that through their “valiant service” to Mormonism they have the power to actually be a “savoir” to their posterity is unbelievable.

What a burdensome load the Church puts on their members, to use guilt and fear as a way of making parents accountable for the faith of their child is astounding to me.

As with everything else I read about Mormonism, I keep asking myself the same questions over and over again. I want to know where does Jesus fits in all of this, and what role does His grace play in this situation? Sadly, the real Jesus doesn’t play a part in their families being together in eternity at all.

The Jesus of Mormonism however only has a minor role in this process. He only “made it possible” for families to be together in the Celestial Kingdom (the Mormons highest heaven). But before they can even walk through the front door they have to do all they can do here on earth to achieve exaltation, in other words eternal life.

When you get right down to it the nuts and bolts of all of it, it’s the temple, not the cross that provides the clear path for Mormon families to have the assurance of eternal life with their loved ones. This is all very sad to me. God showed us how much he loved us by sending His son so that we can have forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of eternal life. He also gave us His Holy Spirit and His word, and still that’s not good enough for the Mormon Church.

He is alive and active, in the lives and hearts of all who believe, and trust in Him. I wish Mormons could know that, and see how this belief system of theirs is doing nothing but putting undue heartache and stress in their lives. What a difference that would make in the life of a Mormon parent struggling with a “wayward” adult child to not have that hurt in their hearts.

If it’s one thing I’m thankful for, along with my salvation is that I will never have to carry the same burdens Mormon parents have to carry ever again. I will never have to wonder if I’m doing enough to ensure I’ll be able to hold my family together for eternity.

While we can’t control, nor be responsible for the choices of our adult children, we can find peace in Jesus Christ when they’ve pushed us to our limits. We can have complete confidence that when we pray for them God hears our prayers, knowing He will bring comfort our to hearts and minds as we rest in Him.

In Christ,

Melissa Grimes

melissa@lifeafter.org

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