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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

My husband and I joined the church about two and a half years ago. We are the only members in both our families. The Church always says family first. This has been difficult for me because of the things that go on when the family gets together. They smoke, drink, talk badly and talk about things that aren’t very nice. I have been avoiding such get-togethers so far, but the family has been angry with me for doing so. I have a son at home yet, he is going to be 18 in a few weeks, and he is very against anything having to do with the Church. He doesn’t even like to spend any time with my husband and me. He says we are too boring and too good. My family says I think I am too good to be around them. This makes me very sad. ¬†We have always been a close family. I have tried to explain to them that vulgar things and smoke bother me, but they don’t seem to care. I am not sure what to do. We are also counseled to bring our families into the Church but I am not able to do that. I feel like a failure in my duties to the Church. I hope you have some wise words for me. Thank you for all you do for everyone. This is such a nice thing to have available.

Sister

 

Answer

 

Dear Sister,

I can appreciate how difficult it must be to have close contact with those whose lives run contrary to the beliefs and practices that you and your husband have recently adopted. However, as part of your commitment to obey the will of the Lord, there are some things that you might consider–

Indeed, families should come first in our lives. However, that does not mean that we should violate any of the principles of the gospel in order to please or associate with them. Let me ask this question- How will your family members judge the church by the example of your actions? Apparently you’ve answered that question. “My son says we are too boring and too good. My family says I think I am too good to be around them.” If it were possible to express and show love and acceptance of your family members, at the same time maintaining the integrity of your beliefs, you might be a powerful influence for good in their lives rather than objects of ridicule.

President David O. McKay, in the October General Conference in 1967, said the following:

And now, brethren and sisters, I echo the prayer of the Savior: “Make them one, Father, as thou and I are one. In the world, but not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (See John 17:15) God help us that we may continue to serve humanity; that we may feel in our hearts that we are privileged to serve God’s children; that we shall be united as his people, and that we shall be united as a country.

And Joseph Smith was told by the Lord, as recorded in in D&C 82:22-23,

And now, verily I say unto you, and this is wisdom, make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you. Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you.

Again, a rather lengthy passage from Paul, found in Romans 12:10-21.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

I would not suggest that you try to preach your doctrine to your family. Let it alone. But express your love and affection for them, and show it by your kindness and your willing association with them. Allow them the same privilege that you claim for yourselves: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

 

Gramps

 

 

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