I am an endowed mother of eight who is losing my testimony because I feel my husband has used his Priesthood wrongly and is a hypocrite. My older children feel depressed about the church too. Now we find ways to doubt Joseph Smith’s word. We had counseling but it’s over now and we are so confused. Can you offer advice?
My heart truly mourns for the pain and suffering your heart is enduring. As I read your words my heart ponders the words of Jacob, “the pleasing word of God…which healeth the wounded soul” (Jacob 2:8). As I share my thoughts, I hope that they will comfort your soul in Christ, and that his mighty love, his suffering and death, his mercy and justice, his grace and power rest in your mind forever (Moroni 9:25).
The spirit of our Lord brings back to my rememberance other words spoken by Jacob who shared this regarding the man of his time, “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them” (Jacob 2:35). I believe this is part of the reason why we have been counseled to liken the scriptures unto ourselves; to vicariously experience what others have experienced and to learn from what others have learned, and to further our strength in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that our testimony may be strengthened and that our faith may be enduring.
Unfortunately, the example of your husband has been very difficult for you and your children. As I think upon these words I am reminded of scripture stating:
“And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church–not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God–
“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did was stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” (Helaman 3: 33, 35).
These two verses allow us to recognize that at times, unfortunately, pride (hypocrites) will enter into the Church and God’s kingdom; however, like the true followers of Christ we need to continue fasting and praying furthering our testimony — strengthening our testimony — in the gospel. The actions of others (even of loved ones) should not determine our faith in our Savior and in his gospel. This scripture invites us to come unto Christ by recognizing the people of His Church are not His Church, they are not His gospel. In order to strengthen our testimony we must be able to separate God’s gospel and organization from his children. Although Christ was betrayed by one of his Apostles, the gospel he established still remains true despite the betrayal of someone he loved.
In light of these scriptures, especially the words found in Helaman, I would recommend we remember that the Church and God’s priesthood are NOT your husband. How you respond to this will also affect the future choices of your children. We are better off when we look to the Lord in our difficult circumstances, than turning away from Him.