Sign in to follow this  
Grannyd

Son leaving the church

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I'm new here and I'm not sure exactly what I expect to receive back in response to this post but I guess I'm just wanting some emotional support.

I am the mother of 4 grown children. My oldest is a son who is 30 years old. He served a successful mission and returned home to go to college. He has lived on his own since returning home. He's still single. As all of his younger siblings married in the temple, he was never able to attend any of the ceremonies. He has gradually grown farther and farther away from the church. Recently, he has been reading anti-Mormon literature and it is so hard to watch.

I know I need to just continue to love him, pray for him and welcome him as always into our home and family events, but I guess maybe I'm just looking for someone who has experienced this to give me some encouragement and hope. It breaks my heart to see this happen and other than the things I've mentioned I don't know what else to do.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand your pain. My 2nd son told me at age 17 that he didn't believe in God. Then he met a girl in High School. She made seminary important for him. Invited him to Youth activities and I saw his testimony grow. She wanted to marry a return missionary. So he got himself ready and went on a mission. You could see the spirit blossom in his countenance. The missionary grapevine is faster than the phone. Even though they had agreed she wouldn't "wait" for him, he found out she went to a bar with a friend from college. After six months in the mission field he came home. He was heart broken, but he still had his testimony.

He got a job working graveyard shift. There really isn't much of a social life for people who work graveyards. He started hanging out with the crowd from work who went to bars. You can guess where it went from there.

He is no longer active. He has taken off his garments. This fall he made home made beer for Christmas. He has been drinking and has been drunk almost every day off until the last year or so. He's an alcoholic. The new girl in his life has helped him see he needs to stop drinking. Hopefully he will. She's not LDS.

I love him. I pray for him every day. I pray for an Alma the Younger moment for my son. I know the he was Heavenly Father's son before he was mine. I know the Lord knows him and loves him. I know that some day he'll remember his testimony.

Its still painful to watch him make decisions I know will make him unhappy.

What I know more than anything is that I can only work on my own salvation. I can't save myself so I most certainly can't save my children. All I can do is hope and pray they will someday remember who they are and what they were taught.

I hope that helps. btw...he's 31 this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know that my son has been drinking as well but I don't think he is an alcoholic, at least not yet. It's just so painful to watch. Of course logically I know there are a lot of parents facing this sort of thing, but hearing another story and struggle, it somehow brings me a bit of comfort to really know we are not alone. I too am praying for an Alma the Younger moment. We'll just keep praying and loving. That's all we can do. Thank you again for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey keep your chin up, just remember that it is his choice, there is not much you can do but show him love and caring. Which by the sound of your OP you do. You dont know what will happen in time.

I was not raised in the church, I did all of the drinking, smoking ect. but something changed one day and I found the church. Now it might take time but your son will find his way back.. sooner or latter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. I too am a convert to the church and lived my 'wild life' before joining. I guess that's one reason it seems so strange to me that someone would leave what we have for that lifestyle. I have lived both and would never, ever go back. I suppose he will just have to learn this the hard way. I am praying that you are right and he'll come back eventually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will need to be very, very patient. Regardless of his actions, continue on your path. Let him see the joy and comfort that the gospel brings into your life. Eventually he will come upon a trial or need and he will look back at what he left behind.

It is hard, I know. I am the only one of my family (outside hubby and kids) in the church. Sometimes one of our siblings looks at us and says, "What is it that you are doing differently that your family is so different?" They see our relationships with each other, and our long standing care of each other and wonder how it all happens. Your life will be a testimony. It may take a lifetime for him, but let him tread the path he chooses, and enjoy the path that you are on. Eventually, the grass will look greener to him on your side of things.

What it will take for him to awaken, well, it could be anything...a girlfriend, a life-altering moment of some kind...for my hubby it was me going to the temple without him. Everyone is different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Jayanna. I am also the only member of the church in my family (outside my husband and kids). We get the same kinds of comments from my side of the family. I appreciate your wise advice. I know you are right. I'll just keep praying that our 'greener grass' looks appealing sooner than later.

Thanks so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My older brother has been through something similar. He has never denied a belief in the doctrines of the church, but he's always had issues with authority. He was "falling away" through his choices fairly early (as a teen), but he tried to keep it hidden. We could all tell he was doing wrong, but had no way to know exactly what he was getting into aside from small hints and clues here and there. Then came the surprise.

He had engaged in pre-marital relations with an older married woman. He pretty much blamed it on her, claiming she'd manipulated him into it, but while he was working on his repentance, he got into a relationship with another woman who then became pregnant. The double-offense resulted in an excommunication for my brother.

It has been about seven years since this all happened. My brother had become bitter toward the church leadership and wanted nothing to do with coming back, though he still never denied his testimony of the gospel itself. He got into everything- drinking, smoking, bars, affairs.... Then he had a live-in girlfriend who saw "The Miracle of Forgiveness" sitting on his table (she wasn't a member). Curious, she started reading it, started asking questions, had the missionaries over, started going to church.... She and my brother are now married and she was recently baptised, and my brother has met with his bishop to begin working on his repentance process so that he can rejoin the church.

It's been a long time coming, and he likely still has a long way to go as he works on his repentance, but we are all happy to see this positive change for him, his kids, and his new wife. :) I can almost certainly guarantee that things will get harder before they get better, and there is no way of knowing how long it will take for your son to start turning things around, if ever. But you can be comforted in knowing that all things work in the Lord's time, and that sometimes spending time away from the "light" helps us realize how wonderful it is and find a greater appreciation for it. Whenever your son regains his testimony, no matter how many years it takes, it will be stronger than ever.

I will pray for the both of you, just as I pray for my brother and his family. I can only imagine how hard this must be on you, as I reflect on how my brother's decisions affected my own mother. She took it the hardest of all of us, and she has struggled mightily. I don't know if it would be of help to you, but my mother at one point was praying in the temple about my brother and was inspired to read the parable of the olive garden in Jacob 5. Read it with your situation in mind, and it might bring you some comfort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your comforting words. I do worry about what it might take to turn him around but there is nothing I can do about it. I'll just keep praying and remembering the stories that have been shared with me here. It's really a great help to me.

Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be faithful and keep loving and praying for him. Interestingly, Presidents Faust and Packer have stated in General Conference that if parents are faithful, their children will eventually return, either in this life or the next. So, you do your part, and let God do his part.

This happened with my Dad. He was inactive and an alcoholic for most of his adult life (and most of mine). So inactive was he, that I was converted to the Church by some LDS friends in high school. His mother was faithful and prayed frequently for him. Then, at 50 years of age, he started turning his life around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grannyd,

I am a prodigal son, who finally found his way back to the truth after 22 years of inactivity. I was born in the covenant to goodly parents. I am of pioneer lineage. I was strong in the church in my youth, and after one year at BYU, I lost my mind. I don't remember the silly ideas I had for leaving, and at this point, I want to look forward, not back.

The good news about my coming back, is that it happened. The bad news, is that it took the death of my mother to finally wake me up.

All I can tell you, is that Mom never lost faith in me. She kept my name in the temple, she took my two sons to church with her (thankfully we lived close), and she never gave up. She bore the pain I inflicted on her with long-suffering and patience.

I suppose my example of reactivation bares little relief for you. I just wanted to speak as someone who lost his way, and found it back, it is possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I'm so happy that you found your way back. Of course I am sorry that it took the death of your mother to help you find that path. I'm sure she is celebrating your return on the other side though. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It gives me hope and encouragement for our situation.

Thanks again and 'welcome home'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no pit too deep, no distance too far, no cave too dark, but that the Lord can still reach down and lift your son up into the light of his love and forgiveness. He simply hasn't received enough light to have passed the point of no return and at this rate he never will.

So yes, there is always hope.

Ultimately you know that what ever it takes to bring him back, so long as he eventually comes to a knowledge of the truth and finds the Lord's forgiveness through repentance, it will be worth it.

Sometimes my prayers are towards that effect. Since sometimes when a man is compelled to be humble he will repent, sometimes I pray that the Lord will humble some of my loved ones if there be no better way.

Know that by your faithfulness you are helping hold on to him. Yes it is worse for him to fall having receive his endowments and having made those covenants for God will not be mocked but I feel that the blessings that come from having covenant keeping parents will be great for his aid. I sincerely feel that they were for me at least =).

Ultimately we're all hoping that individuals like your son will eventually desire to repent. When that comes a solid understanding as to why repentance is needed and how it works will be needed. Such information can be found in many places but I found it in the book "How Great Shall Be Your Joy" by Steven A. Cramer. I recommend it to you in hopes that someday it will prove useful.

Have hope and do all you can to live worthy of your covenants and short of your son willfully and intentionally rebelling against God, I feel he will find his way back one day.

Edited by Martain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grannyd,

I think another thing to remember is the idea that just because someone leaves the church does not make them a bad person. I think we can think of examples in our life where a non-members Christlike attributes shine through, sometimes even greater than many of the members that we know.

I don't know your particular situation, but look for the good in your son. Recognize it, reward it, and cherish it. You both have much more in common than just the church. Missionaries are taught to build on common beliefs, you can do the same. Continue to invite him to all the family events, including church activities. Love him, and care for him. Build your relationship together.

-RM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this