I have been taught that for those that have been sealed in a Mormon temple that we can look forward to a life in heaven if we are faithful. My concept of heaven includes all of my children being there. My son is lost and will not be found. I understand the consequences the Lord gives to those who have very grievous sins. If my son won’t be joining me in heaven, how can I have my heaven? How can I hope? I asked my bishop and he laughed at me, and told me I just need to have faith. I know the gospel is true, I just don’t have hope. How do I reconcile the condemnation spoken of in the scriptures with my concept of heaven?
We often live self fulfilling prophecies. If you have no hope that your son won’t repent, then if you pray for him, it will undoubtedly be without hope. You may not expect that such prayers would be answered. But if you were to pray sincerely, with hope, with trust and confidence that the Lord will hear your prayers, then it may be that he will intervene in your behalf.
Consider Alma, who had a son that he admitted was “a very wicked and an idolatrous man.” Nevertheless, because of his fervent prayers in behalf of his son, the Lord sent an angel to him, who said,
Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers . . of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith (Mosiah 27:14).
Alma listened to the words of the angel, and became one of the great leaders in the Book of Mormon.
Yet there is more, if your son was born under the covenant or was sealed to you and his father following your temple marriage, and if you faithfully obey all the covenants that you make in the holy temple, your children are sealed to you and they will be yours in eternity. If they do not repent of their wrong doings they must suffer for all their own sins, just as if there had been no Savior. So they will suffer as He suffered until the demands of justice are satisfied in their behalf. Then shall they be saved in the celestial kingdom and will live in the family unit of their exalted parents. Here are the words of Orson F. Whitney, recorded in the Conference Report of April 1929.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught a 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. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.
And Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation–
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.”