I’m currently 17 and have been interested in the Mormon Church for a long time. The problem is my family is totally against the Church and its teaching. Last time my mom found a Book of Mormon, she threw it away. I’ve had to hide all of my books and scriptures because of this hatred my family has against the Church. I want to get baptized when I turn 18, but I fear the recalcitrance of my family’s reaction. What do you think I should do?
Your’s is a problem faced by many young people, and it requires some courage to deal with. First of all, until you become of legal adult age you are obligated to obedience to your parents. It would be highly appropriate to fulfil this obligation with honor. Honor your parents; respect them and obey them.
Secondly, although you cannot formally accept the covenant of baptism yet, there is nothing to prohibit you from obeying the principles of the gospel. You undoubtedly believe in God the Eternal Father and in his Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. Sincere prayer should be a constant part of your life; and in your prayers you might ask the Father to soften the hearts of your parents, which I’m sure you do. There is nothing to prohibit you from treating others with the kindness that comes with the recognition that they are treasured sons and daughters of God- (Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.) You could practice complete compliance with the Lord’s commandments to keep the Sabbath Day holy; you could contribute to the Church a tenth of your income as a tithing to the Lord; you could obey the Word of Wisdom, abstaining from tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco; and you could practice the strict law of morality and virtue, continually struggling for purity not only of actions, but of your words and thoughts.
Then when the time comes that you are legally responsible for your own decisions, you could assume that responsibility by acting according to your conscience, regardless of the opinions of others. When that time comes you might announce to your family that you love them and respect them, but that your first allegiance is to the Lord. Although your family may be initially angry and upset, and may even disown you, if you give in to their wishes rather than following your conscience, you will demonstrate to them that the Church is not that important to you after all, and they will be reinforced in their opposition. If, on the other hand, they see you giving up the things that you love the most in order to follow your conscience, it may be the most powerful example to them that the Church is indeed the true church and merits the sacrifice of all things in order to obtained the blessings that come those who love God and obey his commandments.