My daughter married a Catholic seven years ago. Both her father and I have raised her in the Mormon faith. She will not attend church, and her husband doesn’t attend his church either. What’s a mother to do?
Barbara, from California
As the mother of your daughter, you and her father have undoubtedly already done all that a mother and father should and probably could do. We each have our free agency and are responsible for our own choices. So many times when a child goes astray, the mother will say, “It’s all my fault. Where did I go wrong?” To such mothers I ask a simple question. “When you were a teenager did you ever do anything that your parents didn’t approve of?” The answer always is, “Oh yes, several things.” The next question, “And do you blame your parents for what you did?” And the answer again always is, “Certainly not. It was my own decision, against the advise of my parents.” So, if your parents are not to be blamed for your actions, neither are you to be blamed for the actions of your adult children.
But there are some very positive things that a mother can do in situations like yours.
1) It is extremely important that your daughter feel in her heart that you love her in spite of her decision to adopt a life style different from what she has been taught and brought up with. Can you imagine her feelings of guilt and/or resentment if she feels that you condemn her for her actions? She must think a great deal of the person she married to give up her faith for him; and her decision must have been very difficult for her to made. Could you help her to feel that although you don’t agree with her decision (She already knows that!) you admire her courage for standing up for what she thought was the appropriate thing to do? And that you love her and that you accept her decision and will support her in it?
2) Those who are brought up in the Church always have something tugging at their conscience that beacons them back. We all seem to think that the moment of today is cast in concrete, and that as it is today so it will always be. But this is never the case. Life is as fluid as a stream, and one’s path may change by circumstances that are completely unforeseen. Our Heavenly Father has not lost sight of his daughter. He loves her and longs for her return even more than you do. I would suggest that you might direct your efforts to establishing and maintaining the best possible relationship with your daughter and her family, and leave her return to the Kingdom in the hands of her Father in Heaven. However, in so doing you could do nothing better than pour your heart out to God both morning and night every day, pleading for His intervention, so that she will be guided back to the Kingdom, bringing her family with her.