What happens to children who stray?

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

Family

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Print Friendly

Question

Gramps,

Our children were all born in the covenant and although my husband and I are converts we did our best to teach our children the Gospel. We are not scriptorians by any means and are still learning “line upon line” ourselves. One child is inactive, with doubts about his testimony. I am distraught about the idea that we won’t all be together in the Celestial Kingdom (providing the rest of us make it there.) and that this child’s doubts may be due to our deficiencies as teachers of the Gospel. I’ve read that there is no progression from Kingdom to Kingdom, but are we not also promised in the Scriptures that if we teach our children when they are young, when they are old, they will return to those principles? Would this child be able to be taught during the Millenium, better than we as earthly parents have been able to do so as to strengthen his testimony?

Pam

 

Answer

Pam,

First, I want to let you know that there is nothing wrong with doubts. As a convert, I am sure you understand what it feels like to have questions and concerns about the direction your life is going. Some of us question and struggle more than others, but truth remains eternal and unchanging while our own lives are as fluid as a stream. You can take comfort in the words of Proverbs 22:6-

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
train-up-a-child mormon

This life is our time to prepare to meet God, and part of that preparation includes facing our doubts in order to set ourselves aright. Your son is going through his own preparatory phase and with time will make his own discoveries of truth and his own wisdom through study and experience. Many parents have shared your fears for their wayward children, but those fears come only because we get lost in the moment, unable to see an end to our distress. So long as you continue to teach him through your loving and charitable example, like the lost sheep, the prodigal son, and Alma the Younger he will return.
I am going to repeat the main points of an Ensign article as advice for you and suggest that you read it in its entireity when time permits. It is titled “Keep the Door Open and the Stew Hot: Loving and Helping a Wayward Child and can be found here.

Exercise Charity- “Charity can soften hearts; it can be the catalyst for the prodigal’s homecoming. But it carries no guarantee. Sometimes the young adult needs to leave home for a while. And sometimes the child’s life-style may not change. Just as a parent’s righteous example often—but not always—encourages children to be faithful, exercising charity may—but won’t always—keep them close. But even when love isn’t reciprocated and when the prodigal does not return, an anguished parent’s love must be the kind that ‘never faileth’ and ‘endureth forever’.”

Teach Correct Principles- “The very steps necessary for prevention are the ones that will produce the healing. In other words, prevention is the best cure, even in advanced cases… There is much… to all of these special lessons—subtle, powerful magnets that help to draw your child closer to the family circle.” Boyd K. Packer

Build Self-esteem- “Teach your child to be competent. If your child is to have confidence, to think of himself as a competent person, he has to have some objective proof that he is competent. And the only way he’ll get that is if you introduce him to experiences that he can succeed in.”

Take Time to Listen- “The most common complaint of rebelling children is that their parents don’t understand them. They want chances to express themselves; they need their parents to listen.”

Give Him Room to Breathe- “Trying too hard to be helpful, some parents set their children’s goals for them, and then they don’t allow them the freedom to make mistakes—or the blessing of learning from them. They attempt to maintain their power and influence by force, instead of ‘by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge. … Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love.’ (D&C 121:41–43.)

Never Give Up- “No matter how dark it gets or no matter how far away or how far down your son or daughter has fallen, you must never give up. Never, never, never.” Boyd K. Packer

Hope and Pray- “If you are lost, He is not. If you don’t know what to do next, He knows. It would take a miracle, you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not.” Boyd K. Packer

Hold yourself to these steps. Remind yourself of these things, and you will have no need to fear the future. Someday, you will experience the joy of the return of your wayward son. I will leave you with some final words from Elder Packer:

“God bless you heartbroken parents. There is no pain so piercing as that caused by the loss of a child, nor joy so exquisite as the joy at his redemption.”

 

Gramps

Summary
Article Name
Children who stray - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Author
Description
Our children were all born in the covenant and although my husband and I are converts we did our best to teach our children the Gospel. We are not scriptorians by any means and are still learning "line upon line" ourselves.

Follow Gramps:

How did Christ get anything done while on the earth?

September 1, 2014 6:00 am

Question Dear Gramps, I was just wondering how Christ, when He was on the earth, was able to get anything done, with so many things distracting Him.  For (more)

Why did God need Jesus to atone for our sins?

August 31, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, With all of God’s knowledge and power, why did he need Jesus to atone and sacrifice for our sins? Sherlene   Answer Hello Sherlene, In teachings (more)

Why did we have the Civil War?

August 30, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, Why did we have the American Civil War and what does it mean as said in DC 87? Will those people be saved due to fighting (more)

Did Joseph Smith use a hat during the translation of the Book of Mormon?

August 29, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, There was a question about Joseph’s stone and hat but you never mentioned either. What is this about a hat? I was taught that the seer (more)

Did Adam and Eve get baptized?

August 28, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I have what I think is a simple question.  Were Adam and Eve baptized?  If not, why? Kalola   Answer Kalola, We read about Adam’s baptism (more)

Is it okay to swear during a play?

August 27, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, I used to go to my brother’s plays and he would have to swear in them.  Is that bad and will he get punished? Also what (more)

Why do my prayers seem to hit the ceiling due to my depression?

August 26, 2014 7:00 am

Question Hi Gramps, I have been suffering from depression and anxiety most of my life.  I don’t know if the Lord will remove it in this life or (more)

Was the celestial kingdom empty before the LDS church was restored?

August 25, 2014 12:34 pm

Question Hi Gramps,I understand the three levels of Heaven. If non-Mormons cannot enter the celestial kingdom, does that mean that it was empty of spirits before The Book (more)

Why are the words Christ and church used in the Book of Mormon?

August 24, 2014 7:17 am

Question Hi Gramps! My husband and I have recently started reading the book of Mormon. I would like to know why in Alma the word Christ and Church (more)

Are there degrees of Priesthood power?

August 23, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, Are their degrees of priesthood power?  The Savior said that if we had the faith as a grain of a mustard seed that we could move (more)

Why do we use Old English when saying prayers?

August 22, 2014 8:50 am

Question Gramps, Why do we use old English when we say prayers?  Also, how do we do it correctly?  Words like “Canst” “Wilt” and similar conjugations can be (more)

Should the talents we have be freewill offerings to build up the Kingdom?

August 21, 2014 6:48 am

Question Dear Gramps, Many of the hymns we have in the LDS hymnal have copyright restrictions, which prevent us from fully utilizing the material as we would sometimes (more)