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Putting Love First


jkwilliams

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My dad is a non member and an adulterer. I want to be a family for eternity, but I know that he has to face consequences for how he hurt my mom. They're still together now, but their relationship is hanging by a thread. I honestly think the only reason they're still together is because I pray every morning and night that they stick together and that one day we'll be a family for eternity. It's hard, but it's worth the effort on my part.

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The parable of the prodigal is hard to follow where the rubber meets the road.

 

It is, indeed, both for the prodigal and the parents. I was just struck at how awful it would have been if they hadn't reconciled. We only have one chance at our family relationships, and if you let things fester, you may never put things right.

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The parable of the prodigal is hard to follow where the rubber meets the road.

It is important to note that in the parable that the son at the very least came home. Sometimes they never return.

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Never is a long time when you have eternity.

 

That's encouraging. I have children who have left the church. I have expressed my love to them; I continue to text, FB message, call, etc. as I did prior to their departure from the church. However, they don't respond, and one of my children who has not officially "left" but is very inactive and lives a different lifestyle tells me that contact is "uncomfortable" and makes her feel awkward, even though I don't talk about the church or religion in any way when we are able to talk. I'm sure it is because they were raised in my home--they know that the Savior and His teachings are at the center of my life, my actions, my choices, and my thoughts; they believe that cuts them out. It is not true, of course, but it is my children's choice (to my deep heartbreak) to minimize our relationship and keep me at a distance because they are so uncomfortable with anyone (yes--anyone includes friends they cut off) who sees living the gospel as the only way to be true to themselves and God. 

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That's encouraging. I have children who have left the church. I have expressed my love to them; I continue to text, FB message, call, etc. as I did prior to their departure from the church. However, they don't respond, and one of my children who has not officially "left" but is very inactive and lives a different lifestyle tells me that contact is "uncomfortable" and makes her feel awkward, even though I don't talk about the church or religion in any way when we are able to talk. I'm sure it is because they were raised in my home--they know that the Savior and His teachings are at the center of my life, my actions, my choices, and my thoughts; they believe that cuts them out. It is not true, of course, but it is my children's choice (to my deep heartbreak) to minimize our relationship and keep me at a distance because they are so uncomfortable with anyone (yes--anyone includes friends they cut off) who sees living the gospel as the only way to be true to themselves and God. 

 

That's very sad. Sounds like you are doing the right thing by continuing to make contact and express love. 

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That's encouraging. I have children who have left the church. I have expressed my love to them; I continue to text, FB message, call, etc. as I did prior to their departure from the church. However, they don't respond, and one of my children who has not officially "left" but is very inactive and lives a different lifestyle tells me that contact is "uncomfortable" and makes her feel awkward, even though I don't talk about the church or religion in any way when we are able to talk. I'm sure it is because they were raised in my home--they know that the Savior and His teachings are at the center of my life, my actions, my choices, and my thoughts; they believe that cuts them out. It is not true, of course, but it is my children's choice (to my deep heartbreak) to minimize our relationship and keep me at a distance because they are so uncomfortable with anyone (yes--anyone includes friends they cut off) who sees living the gospel as the only way to be true to themselves and God. 

I've said this before, but I think we have it backward: We think God is the stern father who will refuse to welcome us home if we don't to [x], [y], and [z].  In reality, He's the one who's pleading for us to do the things that will enable Him to welcome us with open arms and will allow us to stay comfortably in His presence.  Similarly, it's completely possible, and is not inconsistent with the Christian ethic, for earthly parents to love their children while not wishing to enable their bad behavior.  More than a few parents have told their children, "You're always welcome under my roof, but you're not welcome to do anything you like under my roof [e.g., to do drugs]."  Enabling isn't loving, and it's not always the parents who are at fault when wayward children strain or sever relationships with faithful family members.

 

All of that having been said, yes, John, I think you're right: I love you as my brother, even though you're a despicable, reprehensible, reprobate apostate. ;):D

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Too often I think we worry so much about how we will be received, or how we are perceived, that we lose the love in our own hearts and place up barriers to prevent us from being receptive to the love of others.  We worry that we’ll be judged, or worry that someone may influence us in a way we don’t want… all the while, losing sight that there is much more to ourselves and others than a handful of theological beliefs.

 

I'm really glad your friends were able to reconcile.  Hopefully her and her father will be able to do the same.

Edited by Doctor Steuss
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Never is a long time when you have eternity.

Yup it is. The parable is about redemption and returning and finding forgiveness and love.  It is kind of hard to have that if one never returns home.

 

Do you suppose that in the after life you will have a different spirit? Is it not said

 

 

 

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possessyour bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
Edited by Mola Ram Suda Ram
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I would love to share the details of what I went through with my son who was what one could call a prodigal. At the time I was fully a believer in the LDS truth claims as well as a bishop. My son was in full blown rebellion. I don't think it proper to make this thread personal nor do I want to share details. But I will say he asked my once if he was welcome in our home. I told him that I loved him beyond measure and while I did not approve of his choices my door was always open to him.

Love and family should always trump dogma.

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For the parable of the prodigal, I think we need to realize that we are all prodigals.  I really dislike how some members of the church look at those who fall away as prodigals.  Its insulting and dismissive.  Church membership should have nothing to do with whether we love our family or friends.  The church is merely a vehicle for personal spirituality.  If membership to an organization is used as justification for unkind behavior, then people are rejecting the gospel that Jesus taught and church membership becomes a weapon for harm instead of a vehicle for spirituality.

 

Relationships are the key, not membership to a club.    

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Yes for hardliners like you it is. For those who believe in mercy not so much.

I have never been called a hardliner before. Wow, nice. I will put that next to be called a heretic by the real hardliners. If the Giants think I am too short and the people of Liliput think I am too tall then I am guessing my height is not that interesting.

Edited by The Nehor
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Yes for hardliners like you it is. For those who believe in mercy not so much.

Or for people like my daughter who puts all her heart and love out to others and then gets it stomped on a number if times.

Sometimes people assume that the prodigal left and came back and then all was happily ever after.

In my experience the prodigal leaves and comes back over and over again. It's why when my brother has put himself into another drug program that I hug him and I love him, but at this point I can't yet fully believe he has returned for good.

I fully believe that love comes first and it is so important, but mercy showing isn't just hard for hardliners. I think mercy, when it lacks the companion of knowledge of return, is hardest for those who are the most compassionate.

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So what? Does that mean we withdraw love and support?

You know, I don't think he said that or even implied that. He just stated fact, which is sometimes they don't return. It is actually left implied that they would be welcomed if they came back, and the door is open -- otherwise why would it even be worth mentioning?

Sometimes it is you who come across as a hardliner. Opposite direction, but hardliner still.

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My wife and I have kept in touch with some former neighbors in Utah, whom we have known for many years. About 3 years ago, their oldest daughter contacted me on Facebook (we knew her pretty well, also). I told her that I thought (and still do) that her parents are two of the finest people I've ever known. That led to her opening up about how her relationship with her parents had become almost nonexistent over her having left the LDS church, which made me very sad. I'm not going to get into the specifics save to say there was fault and hurt feelings on both sides. I thought it was tragic that I had more contact with her parents than she did and more contact with her than her parents did. About a year ago, the daughter told me that she had made a concerted and sustained effort to patch things up with her parents. Her mother responded well, and they managed to put things right, though the relationship with her father is still strained. Over the weekend, her mother suddenly passed away, and she expressed to me how grateful she was that they had both made an effort to forgive and to love each other, no matter what.

It's very easy for families and friends to get torn apart over such religious differences, but I'm convinced that, as long as we love each other and put our relationships first, we can and must salvage the relationships that matter to us.

Each person has to work at making the relationship work for it to work, though. One person can't do it alone even if he/she tries to stay in contact with the other person because it's not really a relationship if the other person doesn't reciprocate.

My Dad, for example, who said something about disowning me when I joined the Church over his protests about 25 years ago, still doesn't try to make contact with me, and if I didn't still try to make contact with him we wouldn't be keeping in touch. It's all me trying to stay in touch with him and even when we do get together he doesn't talk to me much. He basically just answers my questions and tries to not appear rude. It feels like a very one-sided relationship to me, with me calling now mainly just on Father's day and on his birthday.

For it to be more than something like that BOTH sides have to want to work at it.

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You know, I don't think he said that or even implied that. He just stated fact, which is sometimes they don't return. It is actually left implied that they would be welcomed if they came back, and the door is open -- otherwise why would it even be worth mentioning?Sometimes it is you who come across as a hardliner. Opposite direction, but hardliner still.

Ah well a hardliners is the least of what I am. I often note that while I have become a skeptic I am open to being wrong.

But I am sure I am misunderstood as I imagine I misunderstand others.

Such is the nature of boards like this.

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My wife and I have kept in touch with some former neighbors in Utah, whom we have known for many years. About 3 years ago, their oldest daughter contacted me on Facebook (we knew her pretty well, also). I told her that I thought (and still do) that her parents are two of the finest people I've ever known. That led to her opening up about how her relationship with her parents had become almost nonexistent over her having left the LDS church, which made me very sad. I'm not going to get into the specifics save to say there was fault and hurt feelings on both sides. I thought it was tragic that I had more contact with her parents than she did and more contact with her than her parents did. About a year ago, the daughter told me that she had made a concerted and sustained effort to patch things up with her parents. Her mother responded well, and they managed to put things right, though the relationship with her father is still strained. Over the weekend, her mother suddenly passed away, and she expressed to me how grateful she was that they had both made an effort to forgive and to love each other, no matter what. 

 

It's very easy for families and friends to get torn apart over such religious differences, but I'm convinced that, as long as we love each other and put our relationships first, we can and must salvage the relationships that matter to us. 

Well said, John.  Makes my day.

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This is true.  My parents have stayed together for almost 48 years even though my dad left the church less than a decade later.  They focused on common ground. I think music and humor played a big part in that. 

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