BOOK OF MORMON
. another testament of jesus christ
containing answers and examples
containing answers and examples
BOOK of MORMON Answers: Parenting and Free Agency. The Myth of Control. In the end, Children decide Religion and Faith all on their Own!
It's true! Many parents try to control because they think they can, and indeed they do have success when the kids are YOUNG and still naturally want to please their parents and so harmony in the home on matters of faith/religion is naturally easier when kids are younger. Depending on how the kids turn out when they get older, some parents take credit for it if the kids turn out well and successful. The kids did everything they told them to do and maybe take over the family business as well. Carry on the tradition. They will brag about them. But let's be fair. Let's be real.
Not all kids are like that, and it has nothing at all to do with the parents. It has everything to do with the personality and nature of the kids. Are they followers? Are they obedient? Or are they mavericks and completely independent thinkers? Are they service minded, or selfish? It all depends on the person, doesn't it. We have scriptures to show that this is the case even in very special families. Indeed, it was the way it was in the pre-mortal existence when all of us were in the presence of the Father of us all. 1/3 did not listen to Him, and are forever damned.
In modern times, God commanded parents to teach their children the gospel, and doesn't hold parents accountable if those children rebel against their teachings. He does hold them accountable if they don't teach them HIS teachings. Here are the facts on what the Lord has said on the matter:
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25
All the Lord requires is that parents teach their children the doctrines of repentance, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, baptism requirements, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the time they are eight years old! If not, the sin will be on the heads of the parents, who should have taught their children.
In ancient times we have a great example of a family of a PROPHET of GOD, Lehi, who also had a son who also was a PROPHET of GOD and another son Jacob who also became a PROPHET of GOD so this family had a lot of righteousness in it! They also had a lot of wickedness in it. Laman and Lemuel come to mind. They were the exact opposite of the faithful father and brothers that were in their family... spiritual giants who had visions of the beginning and end of the earth, the tree of life, of the Savior of the World, visits by angels, etc. Nephi, Lehi, Jacob, etc. were very very righteous. But Laman and Lemuel made excuses. They also tried to KILL their younger brother and threatened to kill their father too. They were not only spiritual rebels, they were physically violent and dangerous to the family. So we would call this a "dysfunctional" family in today's terms. But were they really? Or were they just a NORMAL family?
My opinion is the latter. I think it is rare for a single family to turn out all perfect. I believe God smatters families with spirits of different personalities and spiritual leanings and capabilities, probably to give more of HIS CHILDREN a CHANCE in this world because He is so merciful and wants all to succeed. What better way for a Child of God to come to earth who was possibly struggling in the Spirit Realms of Heaven before this life, than to send them to an earthly home with parents kind and dear? And with possibly brothers and sisters who were strong in their FAITH so that they could learn from their examples!
I know I learn from the examples of good people. Probably especially those people in the SCRIPTURES because the Lord had those stories and examples selected for us to learn from. The Book of Mormon has specific and instructive examples of family relationship details, how they were hard, and how good people had to suffer through the learning experiences of those who were not good, and who threatened the peace of the family. These stories showed how the good people in the family learned from the scriptures and so adjusted their lives and attitudes and spiritual strength to do the will of the Lord. Take Nephi for instance shortly after his older brothers tried to KILL him because they were so angry with him for always speaking the truth, the words of the Lord:
1 Nephi 7:16-21
So the next time someone in our families offends us, let alone tries to KILL us, we can learn from Nephi what he did. He did frankly forgive it, and moved on, was positive, didn't hold a grudge, and tried to help again and again and again. For Nephi this was a trial that repeated many times throughout his record, as his older brothers never seemed to be able to overcome their PRIDE and accept Nephi as a prophet of God. They dismissed him as a fool and mocked him many times, and man-handled him many times. But Nephi being a disciple of Jesus Christ, bore all of these afflictions in patience and prayed to God while under situations of great duress. On another occasion when they were on a ship going to the promised land, on the ocean, Nephi preached to them, admonished them on account of their wickedness on the ship and so they tied him up for 4 days with tight cords, and left him to die. But as the Lord threatened them with a sinking ship in a huge storm, they repented, untied Nephi, and Nephi prays to stop the storm and it did. Peace and calm, because of FAITH. The faith that Laman and Lemuel lacked. Nephi once again suffered at the hands of his brothers and yet he remained a true disciple of Jesus Christ, patient in all afflictions and pains:
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
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