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Support Group for parents of children rejecting a mission

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1 hour ago, Regor said:

Next son due to go on a mission is probably not going to go as well. Then I will be zero for two. See Heavenly father did do better, he had 2/3 of his children follow the plan. I have 0%. Feeling depressed tonight and an unsuccessful father. While I spent all that time with them in scouts and other parents sat on the sideline, their children go off on missions and mine stay home.

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Now I'm older and have a selfish son, that borders on narcissism

Maybe you should stop turning your sons' decisions into being all about you and just live your own life and let them live theirs.

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While I spent all that time with them in scouts

If you spent that time with them for what would happen in the future rather than just enjoying being a dad to them then, that is unfortunate.  But it is never too late to stop living for what might be and instead dwell in what can be now.

If you are seriously depressed about this, you might want to go get some therapy to help you change the focus of your thoughts because if your happiness in life is going to rest on other people's choices, you are setting yourself up for a lot of gloom and doom.

Edited by Calm

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You've told us that your love for your son(s) is not contingent upon what they do (or don't do).  Good for you.  I applaud you in those efforts.  I certainly have no idea how difficult it is to be a parent, and never will.  Given my status as a non-parent/never-parent, perhaps I forfeit my right to speak to this issue period, but you might pause, at least briefly, to consider how you're framing the issue might be having a negative effect, however subtle, on your relationship with your sons.

At the risk of oversimplifying, it seems as though you've said, in several subtle ways, "If our sons don't go on missions, we will feel like (will be) failures.  Their refusal to serve reflects negatively on us."  Yet, when someone asks you whether there's a possibility that those feelings are misdirected, you've said, essentially, "Really: It's not about us; it's about them."  But to me (and perhaps I'm all alone in this; it certainly wouldn't be the first time), I'm led to ask, if you spent at least some of the time and effort you've expended here venting your woes on efforts to (further) improve your relationships with your sons, what might be the result?

As I mentioned earlier, my nephew didn't serve.  At least partly for that reason, my brother asked to be released as a stake president.  Do his mother and father, his grandparents, or his uncle love him any less?  No.  As much as we might wish he had made (or that he would make) a different choice, it has to be just that: his choice.  I love him because he's my nephew, period.  His parents love him because he's their son, period.  His grandparents love him because he's their grandson, period.  My cousin didn't serve.  He has a beautiful wife and three beautiful children to whom he has been sealed.  (As I mentioned, I'm slightly jealous).  Neither my aunt and uncle (his parents), nor his aunt and uncle (my parents), nor anyone else in the family, love him any less.  I, as his cousin, don't love him any less.

Intended or not, I've heard a lot of, "We love our sons, but ..."  Is it possible that, because of that, they're not hearing the "We love you, son," and only hearing the but?  How about, "Son, don't ask me to approve of all of your choices.  I don't, I won't, and I can't.  But I will always love you, no matter what choices you do or do not make."  Perhaps your sons will serve missions, perhaps they won't.  But they will always be your sons.  And what your sons do or don't do isn't about you.

I wish you all well. :)

P.S.: You mentioned the hosts who were cast out for following Satan.  Compulsion is a part of whose plan, again? 

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Foolish me for dreaming for others what their dreams would be

Yeah, actually true.  Better to dream they will find out their own dreams and put their passion into reaching them.  Rather than pigeonhole your kid, look at him with curiosity about what he is turning out to be.

Thank God Almighty he has interests like music and education and a profession.  My daughter, I get to rejoice if she feels like getting out of bed.  And I get to be grateful when she feels good enough to be wired up, knocked out, and her brain zapped in hopes it will 'reboot' itself into healthy ways of thinking (they are only guessing at how electroconvulsive therapy works...so grateful it does and it is no longer like talking to a barely animated zombie).

How I would love her to tell me "no, I don't want to go on a mission" because she had an actual chance to do it if she wanted.

Edited by Calm
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Back from making waffles for the grandkids' breakfast.

I don't feel sorry for myself (well, most of the time), though I feel a lot of pain for the might have beens for my daughter.  My heart is broken and won't be healed in this lifetime most likely for all the things she will never now be able to have because that time in her life is now past.  But there is so much richness for her there as well I can rejoice at the same time as tears flow.  I just need to think about my relative whose hope and dream for her daughter is that one day her head will be small enough that she will be able to lift it herself...and maybe if they are very, very blessed her eyes will focus enough she will see their loving smilies at her instead of just moving light and dark patches.  My daughter is loving and compassionate and bright and interesting to talk to and on good days she plays the piano and plays with her dog and every six months or so makes banana bread.  It is surprising how very big little things get when you don't have the chance to see them for years.

I am not saying your pain isn't real or you don't have a right to it just because there are parents who have so much less to dream or countless others who never got the chance to dream at all because the children never came.  

I am saying don't forget all you do have by dwelling too much on what you don't.  Be joyful in what you can have and trust in the Lord that all happiness and love and excitement and pride (righteous of course) will be filled to the brim and overflow for you,  Don't turn your back on what you have because you are hurt and angry over what you think you have lost.  

And trust me, you can tell yourself all you want that you are good at hiding this from your kids, but they know even if they don't know they know.  And the hurt they feel knowing they have hurt you may get blown into anger at you because they can't bear it.  For everyone's sake, don't make your life about your pain.  Don't make it into how you are failing because your kids turned out to be individuals who choose differently then you do.  Put all that energy into making what you do yourself so satisfying you don't have to depend on others to make you feel you are in control or of value.

Edited by Calm
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5 hours ago, Calm said:

Back from making waffles for the grandkids' breakfast.

I don't feel sorry for myself (well, most of the time), though I feel a lot of pain for the might have beens for my daughter.  My heart is broken and won't be healed in this lifetime most likely for all the things she will never now be able to have because that time in her life is now past.  But there is so much richness for her there as well I can rejoice at the same time as tears flow.  I just need to think about my relative whose hope and dream for her daughter is that one day her head will be small enough that she will be able to lift it herself...and maybe if they are very, very blessed her eyes will focus enough she will see their loving smilies at her instead of just moving light and dark patches.  My daughter is loving and compassionate and bright and interesting to talk to and on good days she plays the piano and plays with her dog and every six months or so makes banana bread.  It is surprising how very big little things get when you don't have the chance to see them for years.

I am not saying your pain isn't real or you don't have a right to it just because there are parents who have so much less to dream or countless others who never got the chance to dream at all because the children never came.  

I am saying don't forget all you do have by dwelling too much on what you don't.  Be joyful in what you can have and trust in the Lord that all happiness and love and excitement and pride (righteous of course) will be filled to the brim and overflow for you,  Don't turn your back on what you have because you are hurt and angry over what you think you have lost.  

And trust me, you can tell yourself all you want that you are good at hiding this from your kids, but they know even if they don't know they know.  And the hurt they feel knowing they have hurt you may get blown into anger at you because they can't bear it.  For everyone's sake, don't make your life about your pain.  Don't make it into how you are failing because your kids turned out to be individuals who choose differently then you do.  Put all that energy into making what you do yourself so satisfying you don't have to depend on others to make you feel you are in control or of value.

This, image.png.04b8ab810caa6a746c1a148b2fa406ef.png (along with Cal's post immediately preceding it) x 1,000,000,000!!!!!!!!!

And Cal's a parent, so even if you want to dismiss anything I've said, that's OK with me, because now you have it from a more authoritative source. Again, I wish you (all) well. :) 

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On 6/3/2018 at 8:24 AM, Stargazer said:

None of my children are active in church, and none served missions, so I understand your disappointment. And I disappointed my non-member father greatly because I wanted to serve a mission instead of going to University.

Oh, well. Can't have everything, I guess.

As my mother says, our children don't always make the choices we would have liked, but as long as they are good people, we have to be happy. Or as my wife puts it, "At least none of our kids is in jail." 

My father was semi-surprised that I wanted to serve a mission, and he was flat-out shocked that I wanted to stay the extra six months. None of my dad's siblings had a child serve a mission, and I'm the only one in my family who did (my brothers were preparing for missions when they were killed). I have 6 children, 2 of whom are active in the church. I support my kids' religious choices, and they seem to respect mine.

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19 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

You've told us that your love for your son(s) is not contingent upon what they do (or don't do).  Good for you.  I applaud you in those efforts.  I certainly have no idea how difficult it is to be a parent, and never will.  Given my status as a non-parent/never-parent, perhaps I forfeit my right to speak to this issue period, but you might pause, at least briefly, to consider how you're framing the issue might be having a negative effect, however subtle, on your relationship with your sons.

At the risk of oversimplifying, it seems as though you've said, in several subtle ways, "If our sons don't go on missions, we will feel like (will be) failures.  Their refusal to serve reflects negatively on us."  Yet, when someone asks you whether there's a possibility that those feelings are misdirected, you've said, essentially, "Really: It's not about us; it's about them."  But to me (and perhaps I'm all alone in this; it certainly wouldn't be the first time), I'm led to ask, if you spent at least some of the time and effort you've expended here venting your woes on efforts to (further) improve your relationships with your sons, what might be the result?

As I mentioned earlier, my nephew didn't serve.  At least partly for that reason, my brother asked to be released as a stake president.  Do his mother and father, his grandparents, or his uncle love him any less?  No.  As much as we might wish he had made (or that he would make) a different choice, it has to be just that: his choice.  I love him because he's my nephew, period.  His parents love him because he's their son, period.  His grandparents love him because he's their grandson, period.  My cousin didn't serve.  He has a beautiful wife and three beautiful children to whom he has been sealed.  (As I mentioned, I'm slightly jealous).  Neither my aunt and uncle (his parents), nor his aunt and uncle (my parents), nor anyone else in the family, love him any less.  I, as his cousin, don't love him any less.

Intended or not, I've heard a lot of, "We love our sons, but ..."  Is it possible that, because of that, they're not hearing the "We love you, son," and only hearing the but?  How about, "Son, don't ask me to approve of all of your choices.  I don't, I won't, and I can't.  But I will always love you, no matter what choices you do or do not make."  Perhaps your sons will serve missions, perhaps they won't.  But they will always be your sons.  And what your sons do or don't do isn't about you.

I wish you all well. :)

P.S.: You mentioned the hosts who were cast out for following Satan.  Compulsion is a part of whose plan, again? 

I think this is good advice...it's not about you and it's not your fault. Parents have a hard time with this one..I did. I thought I was a total failure as a parent and that did not help anyone. Usually, as parents we may not know the whole story. Sometimes kids don't share because they don't want to 'hurt' their parents. It took many years before I found out my daughter was raped. She's been self-medicating and made some really bad choices and so did I and her Bishop and her dad etc... If you internalize your childrens choices, you will not be in a good place to help them or love them unconditionally. They will always hear the 'but." I had dinner with a friend who is currently the RS president and all four of her children are inactive. It is not easy out there right now. 

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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

I think this is good advice...it's not about you and it's not your fault. Parents have a hard time with this one..I did. I thought I was a total failure as a parent and that did not help anyone. Usually, as parents we may not know the whole story. Sometimes kids don't share because they don't want to 'hurt' their parents. It took many years before I found out my daughter was raped. She's been self-medicating and made some really bad choices and so did I and her Bishop and her dad etc... If you internalize your childrens choices, you will not be in a good place to help them or love them unconditionally. They will always hear the 'but." I had dinner with a friend who is currently the RS president and all four of her children are inactive. It is not easy out there right now. 

Deserving of another seven-figure number of rep points!  Bravo!  I cannot begin to fathom what you and your family have been through, but I wish you all well.  I'm reminded of the line from the hymn: "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." :)  Bless you and yours.

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On ‎6‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 1:10 AM, Kenngo1969 said:

You've told us that your love for your son(s) is not contingent upon what they do (or don't do).  Good for you.  I applaud you in those efforts.  I certainly have no idea how difficult it is to be a parent, and never will.  Given my status as a non-parent/never-parent, perhaps I forfeit my right to speak to this issue period, but you might pause, at least briefly, to consider how you're framing the issue might be having a negative effect, however subtle, on your relationship with your sons.

At the risk of oversimplifying, it seems as though you've said, in several subtle ways, "If our sons don't go on missions, we will feel like (will be) failures.  Their refusal to serve reflects negatively on us."  Yet, when someone asks you whether there's a possibility that those feelings are misdirected, you've said, essentially, "Really: It's not about us; it's about them."  But to me (and perhaps I'm all alone in this; it certainly wouldn't be the first time), I'm led to ask, if you spent at least some of the time and effort you've expended here venting your woes on efforts to (further) improve your relationships with your sons, what might be the result?

As I mentioned earlier, my nephew didn't serve.  At least partly for that reason, my brother asked to be released as a stake president.  Do his mother and father, his grandparents, or his uncle love him any less?  No.  As much as we might wish he had made (or that he would make) a different choice, it has to be just that: his choice.  I love him because he's my nephew, period.  His parents love him because he's their son, period.  His grandparents love him because he's their grandson, period.  My cousin didn't serve.  He has a beautiful wife and three beautiful children to whom he has been sealed.  (As I mentioned, I'm slightly jealous).  Neither my aunt and uncle (his parents), nor his aunt and uncle (my parents), nor anyone else in the family, love him any less.  I, as his cousin, don't love him any less.

Intended or not, I've heard a lot of, "We love our sons, but ..."  Is it possible that, because of that, they're not hearing the "We love you, son," and only hearing the but?  How about, "Son, don't ask me to approve of all of your choices.  I don't, I won't, and I can't.  But I will always love you, no matter what choices you do or do not make."  Perhaps your sons will serve missions, perhaps they won't.  But they will always be your sons.  And what your sons do or don't do isn't about you.

I wish you all well. :)

P.S.: You mentioned the hosts who were cast out for following Satan.  Compulsion is a part of whose plan, again? 

I remember preparing for my mission 1 year after I joined the church. Everything was a spiritual  life changing experience, receiving the calling, going to the MTC, and serving in the mission field. It simply breaks my heart that my sons will not enjoy similar experiences.  There is a reason return missionaries talk about their missions for years to come. They can be the most spiritual concentration of experiences you can witness in your life. It just breaks my heart that my sons are rejecting that opportunity.

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9 hours ago, Regor said:

I remember preparing for my mission 1 year after I joined the church. Everything was a spiritual  life changing experience, receiving the calling, going to the MTC, and serving in the mission field. It simply breaks my heart that my sons will not enjoy similar experiences.  There is a reason return missionaries talk about their missions for years to come. They can be the most spiritual concentration of experiences you can witness in your life. It just breaks my heart that my sons are rejecting that opportunity.

Just be glad you have your sons. Be glad for each moment of closeness you share. Be glad for the strengths they have elsewhere. Be glad they didn't go to please and end up doing or getting more harm.

Going on a mission doesn't guarantee a great life in the church after, many times they go inactive, in fact it's a thing now. Be glad they are healthy and have a mind of their own.

You were a convert, that is quite a unique thing to go only after being a member a short time. You're right it was a spiritual thing, but it was your spiritual experience. Maybe your sons will have other types of spiritual experiences that even surpass your own. And maybe more pleasing unto God.

There's a whole nother world out there! And don't let the church stifle it. Okay, enough of my lecturing. I've had some bad and depressing thoughts of late, I'm sorry to depress if I have. But I'm hoping you will not let this hurt your relationship with your sons. It's not worth it. 

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52 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Just be glad you have your sons. Be glad for each moment of closeness you share. Be glad for the strengths they have elsewhere. Be glad they didn't go to please and end up doing or getting more harm.

Going on a mission doesn't guarantee a great life in the church after, many times they go inactive, in fact it's a thing now. Be glad they are healthy and have a mind of their own.

You were a convert, that is quite a unique thing to go only after being a member a short time. You're right it was a spiritual thing, but it was your spiritual experience. Maybe your sons will have other types of spiritual experiences that even surpass your own. And maybe more pleasing unto God.

There's a whole nother world out there! And don't let the church stifle it. Okay, enough of my lecturing. I've had some bad and depressing thoughts of late, I'm sorry to depress if I have. But I'm hoping you will not let this hurt your relationship with your sons. It's not worth it. 

I agree.  Mission or not has nothing to do with a child's essential worth.  So many talents and great opportunities to help others is out  there with encouragement from friends and family.

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Just now, Jeanne said:

I agree.  Mission or not has nothing to do with a child's essential worth.  So many talents and great opportunities to help others is out  there with encouragement from friends and family.

Couldn't have said it better, short and sweet is better, thanks Jeanne.

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11 hours ago, Regor said:

I remember preparing for my mission 1 year after I joined the church. Everything was a spiritual  life changing experience, receiving the calling, going to the MTC, and serving in the mission field. It simply breaks my heart that my sons will not enjoy similar experiences.  There is a reason return missionaries talk about their missions for years to come. They can be the most spiritual concentration of experiences you can witness in your life. It just breaks my heart that my sons are rejecting that opportunity.

3

Regor, I think I can understand your position.  We have three children our first son did not serve a mission while our last child, a son, did serve a mission.  He served in the same mission I did some 35 plus years earlier. 

Our first son was the apple of my eye, as the saying goes. I had a dream about him when I was a young man several years prior to my mission. I knew that I would grow up, marry my wife, and our first child's name, what he looked like, and everything about him seemed to be known to me. There was never any question about how things would unfold. I hungered for the time he would enter into the world and the fun times we would share together as he grew up. Our son came into the world and he was perfect and he was everything I knew he would be. Then when he was four days before his 3-month birthday he died of SIDS. That was a hard experience and I felt the sting of losing him for a long time. 

I cannot explain why he chose to leave this earth, but I know that he chose to do so for a righteous cause. I don't know why some children choose the things they do. I don't know why some of our children choose path significantly better than we did; nor do I understand why some children choose so poorly. Regardless of how many warnings we give they keep moving in the same direction and bear harsh consequences for poorly made choices.  

I am sorry that your sons will not enjoy some truly wonderful, amazing experiences serving as missionaries. However, what you need to do is let go of those dreams for them - they are gone now. Now you need to focus on building new dreams and new experiences. Don't attempt to limit them to dreams that attempt to replicate a mission - dream new dreams that your sons will enjoy and that will build even stronger relationships between each of you.  

Lastly, I would ask you to let our Heavenly Father know that you are turning over your sons to him - he was always in control anyway. Let him be their guide and direct them - this does not absolve you of your responsibilities as a father, but it removes the burden of their choices that were never yours to bear in the first place. 

God bless you

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2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Regor, I think I can understand your position.  We have three children our first son did not serve a mission while our last child, a son, did serve a mission.  He served in the same mission I did some 35 plus years earlier. 

Our first son was the apple of my eye, as the saying goes. I had a dream about him when I was a young man several years prior to my mission. I knew that I would grow up, marry my wife, and our first child's name, what he looked like, and everything about him seemed to be known to me. There was never any question about how things would unfold. I hungered for the time he would enter into the world and the fun times we would share together as he grew up. Our son came into the world and he was perfect and he was everything I knew he would be. Then when he was four days before his 3-month birthday he died of SIDS. That was a hard experience and I felt the sting of losing him for a long time. 

I cannot explain why he chose to leave this earth, but I know that he chose to do so for a righteous cause. I don't know why some children choose the things they do. I don't know why some of our children choose path significantly better than we did; nor do I understand why some children choose so poorly. Regardless of how many warnings we give they keep moving in the same direction and bear harsh consequences for poorly made choices.  

I am sorry that your sons will not enjoy some truly wonderful, amazing experiences serving as missionaries. However, what you need to do is let go of those dreams for them - they are gone now. Now you need to focus on building new dreams and new experiences. Don't attempt to limit them to dreams that attempt to replicate a mission - dream new dreams that your sons will enjoy and   will build even stronger relationships between each of you.  

Lastly, I would ask you to let our Heavenly Father know that you are turning over your sons to him - he was always in control anyway. Let him be their guide and direct them - this does not absolve you of your responsibilities as a father, but it removes the burden of their choices that were never yours to bear in the first place. 

God bless you

I am sorry to hear of your first born.  Perhaps his mission is give you the very value of love and loss..and to his siblings an unconditional worth whatever their choices.  Your experience has surely helped so many.

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I didnt serve a mission, I went into the military. Hence the username and yes not serving one makes a male in the church a second class citizen.

That said, I can say that from my perspective with the disappointed parents, a hostile bishop and numerous other well-intentioned do-gooders I have little tolerance for those who put tons of pressure on kids to go on a mission. Initially it was my parents and when they finally accepted the fact I signed an enlistment contract they let it go. My dad was fairly high ranking in the church locally so Im sure he got some heat for it as well from the leadership, but he never said anything to me about it.

My ward and stake adult leadership turned almost psycho about it in some cases. I even got singled out in mutual as someone not worthy of marriage since I wasn't "brave" enough to go on a mission. Lots of nasty rude people and also lots of supportive people.

Over the years of wathing this happen with others, I feel that for many parents this is a status thing or a matter of their son turning out to be a failure, loser, apostate whatever. Go to ANY YSA ward and you will see lots of the above who are RMs so the whole mission service thing is just not a real indicator of future performance in the church or as a husband for that matter. Currently none of the first presidency served a mission so there is that too.

Also, many will quote Pres SWK as commanding young men to serve a mission and they run with that saying it is a commandment. It is not....no where in print in LDS documents or scripture does it say every worthy young man "SHALL" serve a full time two year mission. That is a flat out lie. The same talk if one reads just a few more paragraphs Pres SWK specifically states:
 

"Someone might also ask, “Should every young woman, should every father and mother, should every member of the Church serve a mission?” Again, the Lord has given the answer: Yes, every man, woman, and child—every young person and every little boy and girl—should serve a mission. This does not mean that they must serve abroad or even be formally called and set apart as full-time missionaries. But it does mean that each of us is responsible to bear witness of the gospel truths that we have been given."

That statement is left out of talks about this topic every single time.

That said- not serving is a scarlet letter and he will need to be able to accept that.

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I get it. It is so very hard to want the best things for your child and then see them turn away from them when they have the opportunity. There is a lot of pain that comes from seeing our children make choices that might not be the best for them. 

It's frustrating when people don't understand that this pain is real. When your child hits another child, or cheats on a test, or commits a crime then people understand that you can hurt over their choice. If your child chooses not to serve a mission it really is ok to hurt over that choice as well. 

I think now days sometimes that can be even harder than it used to be. I asked my mom once if it was hard for her to hear about the children of her friends going on their missions. My brother is an addict and often homeless. He never served. She said no.

Then I realized one of the reasons why it was so hard for me when it wasn't for her.  Social media. I have friends who constantly post about the good things that are happening with their missionary children on their missions. While some of what I feel I fully admit is jealousy, really why I struggled was that it was a painful reminder every time it popped up of what my son was not spiritually learning. My mom never had to deal with the constant social media thing.

It IS ok to feel sad. It IS ok to feel hurt over a child not serving a mission. And it is ok to grieve about it. At some point Heavenly Father will guide you past that. He will help you start to heal. And as He does so you will find so much more understanding of how the whole plan works because of it. Hugs. 

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Have you fasted? Really fasted? 

I remember a time when I was serving and asked a young man whether he was going to serve a mission. He told me he decided not to. We prayed for him as leadership and within a week the Lord spoke to Him and changed His heart.

Sometimes it takes fasting and prayer. Continue reaching out in love. 

It sounds like he is very angry. Why is that?

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On 7/7/2018 at 11:52 PM, secondclasscitizen said:

I didnt serve a mission, I went into the military. Hence the username and yes not serving one makes a male in the church a second class citizen.

That said, I can say that from my perspective with the disappointed parents, a hostile bishop and numerous other well-intentioned do-gooders I have little tolerance for those who put tons of pressure on kids to go on a mission. Initially it was my parents and when they finally accepted the fact I signed an enlistment contract they let it go. My dad was fairly high ranking in the church locally so Im sure he got some heat for it as well from the leadership, but he never said anything to me about it.

My ward and stake adult leadership turned almost psycho about it in some cases. I even got singled out in mutual as someone not worthy of marriage since I wasn't "brave" enough to go on a mission. Lots of nasty rude people and also lots of supportive people.

Over the years of wathing this happen with others, I feel that for many parents this is a status thing or a matter of their son turning out to be a failure, loser, apostate whatever. Go to ANY YSA ward and you will see lots of the above who are RMs so the whole mission service thing is just not a real indicator of future performance in the church or as a husband for that matter. Currently none of the first presidency served a mission so there is that too.

Also, many will quote Pres SWK as commanding young men to serve a mission and they run with that saying it is a commandment. It is not....no where in print in LDS documents or scripture does it say every worthy young man "SHALL" serve a full time two year mission. That is a flat out lie. The same talk if one reads just a few more paragraphs Pres SWK specifically states:
 

"Someone might also ask, “Should every young woman, should every father and mother, should every member of the Church serve a mission?” Again, the Lord has given the answer: Yes, every man, woman, and child—every young person and every little boy and girl—should serve a mission. This does not mean that they must serve abroad or even be formally called and set apart as full-time missionaries. But it does mean that each of us is responsible to bear witness of the gospel truths that we have been given."

That statement is left out of talks about this topic every single time.

That said- not serving is a scarlet letter and he will need to be able to accept that.

That's simply not true. I know plenty of men who didn't serve and no one thinks twice about it. One of my former Bishops is one such man. No one would even know if he didn't bring it up.

I came home early for medical reasons, no one treated me any different

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I told my son that if he does not want to serve a mission, I will support him 100%.  People should go on missions because they have a desire to serve.  Not that they want to satisfy the desire of someone else for them to serve.  Also missionaries do better when they want to be out there.  Less problems and harder workers.  Even if he decides to go, I want him to wait until 19.  He needs a good year of being out of the house and growing up more before being sent maybe 8000 miles away.  Going from high school graduation to 3rd world living thousands of miles away may be too much of a shock for some kids. 

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3 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I told my son that if he does not want to serve a mission, I will support him 100%.  People should go on missions because they have a desire to serve.  Not that they want to satisfy the desire of someone else for them to serve.  Also missionaries do better when they want to be out there.  Less problems and harder workers.  Even if he decides to go, I want him to wait until 19.  He needs a good year of being out of the house and growing up more before being sent maybe 8000 miles away.  Going from high school graduation to 3rd world living thousands of miles away may be too much of a shock for some kids. 

Your son is very blessed to have a father like you. I remember being told in a lesson, or somewhere in church can't remember, that we shouldn't say to our children if you go on your mission, but when you go on your mission. Not even have that "if" an option, but keep it at "when" you go on your mission, leaving no choice. 

I don't know that I agree with this approach now, but I know I used it a couple of times, probably not a good idea if it causes your child to think they'd let you down, or that there was no choice in the matter.

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On 7/13/2018 at 5:11 PM, Avatar4321 said:

Have you fasted? Really fasted? 

I remember a time when I was serving and asked a young man whether he was going to serve a mission. He told me he decided not to. We prayed for him as leadership and within a week the Lord spoke to Him and changed His heart.

Sometimes it takes fasting and prayer. Continue reaching out in love. 

It sounds like he is very angry. Why is that?

 

I KNOW miracles happen. I have felt them in my life.

Other times...I can't tell you how many times I have fasted and prayed over one child. Enough that I really hate when people start talking about faith of mothers. I can have all the faith in the world, but my children still have agency. That doesn't mean I will stop fasting and praying, but I now understand that sometimes fasting and praying is not enough. Please don't ask people if they have really fasted and prayed - it gives the impression that it will be enough to change the will of a child.

I really like the quote, "do you have enough faith not to be healed? " - you can read about in Elder Bednar's talk. While someone going against the Lord is not the will of the Lord like some might think after reading the talk,  the principle of agency is.  Do you have faith as a parent for your child to have agency and not make good choices?  

I am still working on that.  

I think we need to quit giving the incomplete picture to parents who are struggling with a child who is using agency in a harmful way. Share an Alma the younger hope story, but also mourn with parents over the possibility of Laman stories. *BE OK TO MOURN WITH THEM, instead of always sharing the miracle.  It is ok to validate those fears.  If one can accept those fears may happen then it is so much easier to gain strength and peace from the Lord. 

Avatar -I'm not saying you never mourn with those who mourn. It was just something like I would share my feelings and fears and 99% of people would share a miracle rather than mourn with me. It really was ok to let me know they see I have it tough, tell me they will be there for me and then ask Spirit guided questions to see how I am doing rather than immediately launch into miracle stories - stories that some people, like my husband, need to hear.

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God knows our hearts and is proud of us in however we serve him to the best of our abilities. Everybody is different and faces different battles.

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On 6/11/2018 at 11:11 AM, Regor said:

My sons choice is in no way connected with my feelings towards him serving or no serving a mission. I have not spoken to him about it. My wife and I thought him about the importance of a mission and the time has come to serve and he is not. Period. I have not spoken to him about not going. He has replaced going with other things, profession, music pursuits,  education, video game playing. I learned early that my sons character does not respond well to being forced. If he is asked to do anything he goes into a full out rage. I have a hole in our dry wall to prove it.

Do you and your wife talk with your son (really talk, not just surface level) about things in general? It doesn't sound like it from your description. While not "pushing" it on him (and I agree with everyone who has said it has to be his choice --- and an actual choice on his part), it would be best (or even good or better) if you were able to have a talk with him where he frankly shares his feelings (or feels able to share). Where such a climate doesn't exist (regardless of why and who's fault it is), it is frustrating for both sides and there is a lot of feeling of being judged and criticized simply by virtue of the situation.

On 6/14/2018 at 7:35 AM, Regor said:

My son had no pressure of going on a mission from parents or any ward members, other than what he may have placed on himself. Which would have been no more than a millisecond of pressure.

We had a convert in our ward who complained loudly and often about people pressuring him about his mission, when in fact, no one ever brought it up. He heaped the pressure on himself and projected that onto everyone else (we were all on eggshells about it because of how he was). I think this is common when boys don't go, and often, when people complain of the pressure they feel from others about their mission, what they really are saying is that they feel guilty or bad about not going. 

His patriarchal blessing said he would serve a full time mission, since he didn't does that mean all the other blessings contained there in are void?

Absolutely not. I have hammered for years on this point --- that warnings and blessings in patriarchal blessings are conditional, and can be voluntarily forfeited or avoided by our choices. We are all free to fully embrace or reject them, and people do. 

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On 6/25/2018 at 2:05 PM, Storm Rider said:

Regor, I think I can understand your position.  We have three children our first son did not serve a mission while our last child, a son, did serve a mission.  He served in the same mission I did some 35 plus years earlier. 

Our first son was the apple of my eye, as the saying goes. I had a dream about him when I was a young man several years prior to my mission. I knew that I would grow up, marry my wife, and our first child's name, what he looked like, and everything about him seemed to be known to me. There was never any question about how things would unfold. I hungered for the time he would enter into the world and the fun times we would share together as he grew up. Our son came into the world and he was perfect and he was everything I knew he would be. Then when he was four days before his 3-month birthday he died of SIDS. That was a hard experience and I felt the sting of losing him for a long time. 

I cannot explain why he chose to leave this earth, but I know that he chose to do so for a righteous cause. I don't know why some children choose the things they do. I don't know why some of our children choose path significantly better than we did; nor do I understand why some children choose so poorly. Regardless of how many warnings we give they keep moving in the same direction and bear harsh consequences for poorly made choices.  

I am sorry that your sons will not enjoy some truly wonderful, amazing experiences serving as missionaries. However, what you need to do is let go of those dreams for them - they are gone now. Now you need to focus on building new dreams and new experiences. Don't attempt to limit them to dreams that attempt to replicate a mission - dream new dreams that your sons will enjoy and that will build even stronger relationships between each of you.  

Lastly, I would ask you to let our Heavenly Father know that you are turning over your sons to him - he was always in control anyway. Let him be their guide and direct them - this does not absolve you of your responsibilities as a father, but it removes the burden of their choices that were never yours to bear in the first place. 

God bless you

Wow, your words brought me to tears. This is evidence of why the church is true. We truly have some of the best men and women on the planet among us, guided by the holy spirit. Thanks for the support, you are truly a minister of our lord Jesus Christ. 

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  On 6/25/2018 at 2:05 PM, Storm Rider said:

Regor, I think I can understand your position.  We have three children our first son did not serve a mission while our last child, a son, did serve a mission.  He served in the same mission I did some 35 plus years earlier. 

Our first son was the apple of my eye, as the saying goes. I had a dream about him when I was a young man several years prior to my mission. I knew that I would grow up, marry my wife, and our first child's name, what he looked like, and everything about him seemed to be known to me. There was never any question about how things would unfold. I hungered for the time he would enter into the world and the fun times we would share together as he grew up. Our son came into the world and he was perfect and he was everything I knew he would be. Then when he was four days before his 3-month birthday he died of SIDS. That was a hard experience and I felt the sting of losing him for a long time. 

I cannot explain why he chose to leave this earth, but I know that he chose to do so for a righteous cause. I don't know why some children choose the things they do. I don't know why some of our children choose path significantly better than we did; nor do I understand why some children choose so poorly. Regardless of how many warnings we give they keep moving in the same direction and bear harsh consequences for poorly made choices.  

I am sorry that your sons will not enjoy some truly wonderful, amazing experiences serving as missionaries. However, what you need to do is let go of those dreams for them - they are gone now. Now you need to focus on building new dreams and new experiences. Don't attempt to limit them to dreams that attempt to replicate a mission - dream new dreams that your sons will enjoy and that will build even stronger relationships between each of you.  

Lastly, I would ask you to let our Heavenly Father know that you are turning over your sons to him - he was always in control anyway. Let him be their guide and direct them - this does not absolve you of your responsibilities as a father, but it removes the burden of their choices that were never yours to bear in the first place. 

God bless you

Wow, your words brought me to tears. This is evidence of why the church is true. We truly have some of the best men and women on the planet among us, guided by the holy spirit. Thanks for the support, you are truly a minister of our lord Jesus Christ. 

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