Comments about ‘Dear parents with young children in church’

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Published: Thursday, May 30 2013 1:25 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Parents, if your kid can't say their testimony on their own, wait until they can. It is disrespectful of the child, the congregation, and the concept of testimony.

Testimony Meeting is a time to share honest, humble thoughts, not to get attention, nor train your child. Family Home Evening and Primary are the times to train.

Adults, are you compelled to bear your testimony, or just looking for attention or something to do? If it is the latter two, don't.

Children of all ages can and do benefit from the Spirit, and from humble talks. Keep those up. Parents, keep the faith.

And whomever thought up the 1-4 meeting schedule, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Not about nap time or small children, or their parents, I assure you.


I see this, and agree with much. But? Parents?? Its still important to at least TRY to keep kids quiet. I have a 17 month old right now. I haven't managed Sunday school or RS in weeks, but I still at least bring QUIET toys, Sunday appropriate toys and books (not a firetruck with lights and sirens). I take him OUT if he is screaming at the top of his lungs -but not to play, the foyer shouldn't be a reward for bad behavior. And slowly? he is learning that there is a time to play quietly. Now, he will stay in the pew, not throwing toys and snacks, and gets my attention quietly. He is learning to enjoy the music, so it doesn't matter if you sing 19 vs.

As a parent? I ask nicely, to at least make an effort. Yeah, its a struggle, we've all been there, some of us are STILL there, but you can take this idea and attitude too far.

birmingham, 00

Great debate here. I'm catholic and I wrestle with some of this stuff about belief with my own kids. Virgil, I can get them to accept historical evidence of Jesus, but not my view that he had divine potency. Big D, their view is that absence of evidence IS evidence of absence i.e. if one contends that something is real, be it a disease cure or the existence of life on other planets, one should be able to prove it (`the burden of proof's on you Dad.`) Grateful for all thoughts. I'm running out of road.

Commerce, Texas

You are right. Also, I'm 74 and this is nothing new. I think I was in junior high when a smart pastor said "Better a crying baby than a snoring saint." We attended church as young children. Now that I'm an Old Fellow and have on occasion snored, I appreciate the comment even more.

Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO

Article makes good points. Children belong in church -- including the deliberate act at an impressionable age of teaching them that God exists, that He is to worshiped, that His laws are set and good, that we can KNOW absolute truth and KNOW He exists.

We mostly agree "Civil" -- except 1-4 is awesome (but I strongly favor not changing meeting times each year; that's what is disruptive), best to not sing a hymn (a viable choice) than to not sing all the verses when a hymn is chosen.

Church is not the place to play or to eat. Neither is necessary! No, your children don't need toys or distractions; and teaching them to be distracted instead of attentive to the speakers and proceedings is a poor parenting choice -- even if the right thing is a difficult struggle. Children can go an hour and ten minutes without eating; they can go three hours without eating. And the obesity that surrounds us is evidence of the excessiveness of reinforcing the idea that we have to constantly be eating and attending to the physical over the spiritual. Toys and food for kids at church is just taking a lazy cop-out.

Novi, MI

I'm of two minds on this. So, I wasn't allowed to go to church as a small child. Well, more precisely I wasn't allowed to belong to a church. My parents were of different faiths (LDS and Islam) and didn't want to influence me. I went to the LDS church with my grandparents and to various protestant churches with school friends. When I was 8 I was allowed to learn about churches and eventually chose to join the LDS church.

I value that my parents waited until I was a bit older. Perhaps also coming from a mixed background I wasn't presented with a unified front of "This is the only thing that is right and you have no choice". On the other hand, my younger sister was raised in the church, she attended from a fairly young age, young primary or so. However our mother reinfoced strongly that we had to have a testimony of our own and that we went to church for the gospel, not because it was part of our social structure.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Samuel B Martineau
"Can you logically prove that it is wrong to kill? "

Yes, treat others the way you want to be treated. Everyone doing harmful things to each other just makes everything worse.

south jordan, UT

to Joggle, You are so wrong about taking children to church. It helps a child to learn and grow in more ways than just religion. It teaches them to sit still and when they start going to school they are better prepared to handle sitting in classes. I have also noticed that even older children have a hard time sitting through a funeral for instance if they haven't had the upbringing to sit, learn, listen, etc in church. As for forcing them to learn a certain religion, better that than roaming the streets or joining a gang when they are older because they never had any guidance. It's not brain washing, it's love and children will always have a choice as they get older. Think of it this way, don't you think that children should be taught not to touch a hot stove? You teach that out of love. Well, I teach my children to love the Lord out of my love for Him and my love for them.

Poplar Grove, UT

You say that religious beleif should be determined by prayer, faith, study and time. I would agree with that, I think that is making Bergermough's point. How can someone who is 8(or nine or ten) really do that? Outside of a child prodigy they can barely read the Bible or BOM, let alone understand or contextualize it. They have little to no life experience to draw on to make that type of decision. If a 15 year old kid wants to make a decision on religion, I can respect that. But how can someone who can hardly read Nancy Drew really understand scripture?

south jordan, UT

You'd be surprised how much little children understand from the scriptures. I have been reading them to my granddaughter since she was 2 and she still asks for the story of Nephi and the "boat" and she's just turning 6. Believe me they are smarter than you think.


A "cry room" and foyer are often used when children are "fussing" and cannot be consoled.

Agreed: older children are best taught to stay seated in the chapel throughout the service. Agreed: a little child can often be taught in a month or two to be relatively silent during meeting. Agreed: a child will not usually be disruptive,(if, when taken out, he's not "rewarded" with having free rein of the halls). Outside he might still learn to sit fairly quietly. Agreed: "appropriate" coloring books and activities be provided and most bambinos should be able to last an hour, even without a snack. Usually I find, in my limited experience, that my infant descendants can learn to be fairly well-behaved while still tots.

I've had lots of enjoyment over the years watching these little ones grow. One boy says "Amen" when the others do. At three he threw a toy into the aisle and across the aisle another little boy (only two) picked it up and gave it him back. Taking tots to Church gives parents opportunity to attend and trains children in good conduct.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Here's a thought, I got from a bishop of mine on this topic. He said have a patient and loving heart and LESS JUDGMENTAL. Then ask if you could be assistance.

B ob
Richmond, CA

When I hear kids in church and they are not mine, I don't worry. I'm not the one straining to pick up the pacifier.

I have hope that each child will learn to sit quietly just as I have hope adults will learn to sit still and not look all around to see who is making the noise

Any one who brings Cheerios to church should be volunteering to clean the chapel.

Layton, UT

"Parents, if your kid can't say their testimony on their own, wait until they can. It is disrespectful of the child, the congregation, and the concept of testimony.

Testimony Meeting is a time to share honest, humble thoughts, not to get attention...."

Where did you get the idea that children cannot have "honest, humble thoughts"? In my experience, the thoughts of children are more honest and genuine than those of many adults. And there are plenty of adults who bear their testimony solely to get attention and sympathy from the congregation.

In fact, I'd rather sit through a testimony meeting filled with nothing but short "I wuv my Mommy and Daddy" testimonies than endure weepy adults reciting 20 minute-long lists of their personal problems, many of which were obviously created by their own poor choices.

I used to think like you did. Then I became a primary teacher, and realized that when a kid says he "knows the Church is True" he's probably being more sincere than an adult who says the same thing.

Novi, MI

I think the comment you're remarking on means the ones whee the kid goes up and the parent dictates what they say. Kids should be encouraged to share their testimonies, one of the most moving testimonies I've ever heard came from a kid approaching baptism. But it needs to be the kid's testimony, not mom or dad whispering the right words into their ear.

Altamont, UT

I found myself cheering some of the comments here, crying at others, but all-around a great article and collection of comments, even the ones I don't agree with.
Good job!

Ephraim, UT

What happened to common courtesy and respect for others? When I was young our meetings were reverent because when a young child became disruptive whether through crying or repetitive outbursts of any kind, they were whisked out into the foyer so an atmosphere of reverence was maintained in the chapel. I did the same when my children were young out of respect for those around me and to teach my child that the chapel was a sacred place. We sing, “The chapel doors seem to say to me, shhh, be still.” But that is not the case. Young parents fight their children to keep them in the meeting. It disrupts the spirit, the worshippers around them can’t hear and it’s disrespectful to the speaker also. One of the biggest mistakes made was taking the cry rooms out of our building plans. This is not only the case in church meetings, but in concerts and similar events also. Our society has lost its manners and it shows up nowhere more profoundly than in church. We should follow Brigham Young’s advice, “Crying children, like good intentions, should be carried out immediately.”

east of the snake river, ID

when our kids were younger, I would hold them at the back of the meeting hall to try to calm them down, but I wouldn't take them out unless it got totally out of hand. Then, in the foyer, they had to stay on my lap or in my arms. No getting down and running in the halls.

Once they learned that going out in the hall didn't result in a positive reward, they were willing to stay in the meeting and remain relatively still.

Our children, like all of us, can make choices regarding their personal worship that are appropriate to their age. Until then, we will bring them with me and they will join us in our faith. If we don't teach them our faith, someone else will teach them something else. It is impossible to have 'neutral' children on the topic.


I’m not sure that the advice given here applies to Latter-Day Saints as much as it does to Lutherans. For us, worship is indeed more about personal scripture study and quiet, contemplative prayer (as the Bible teaches) rather than the group “community” aspect of Church, which while important to some degree, is not sufficient reason to go to church (those who come to church just for the community aspect are often times the first to leave and never return when someone says something to offend them). The reason to come to church is to partake of the sacrament, to learn and grow from the teachings of church leaders and instructors, and to participate in our quorum activities (including RS, YM/YW, and Primary) so that we prepare to serve others and build the kingdom from outside and from within.

@Hutterite, there is no “good reason” not to go to church. There are only excuses. If a child who has behavioral problems is taken out of the environment where he or she is most likely to learn how the values needed to know how behave properly, the odds of his or her behavior improving are substantially lower.

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