Comments about ‘Ask Angela: Teen responds to article, 'It’s unfair that I’m forced to go to church'’

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Published: Saturday, Aug. 17 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Layton, UT

Amy, I think you are a mature girl for 16 years old. I am a convert to the church, I became a member when I was 18. The other side of the fence "ain't all it's cracked up to be" either. :(

I am sorry some comments were hurtful, but I am also glad you were able to see the positive through the negative. Your parents sound very patient, and loving. You are SO very lucky! I wish I had that growing up! I am in therapy as we speak due to the hurt and lack of caring my parents sometimes showed. I hope that you continue to make the mature decisions (as hard as they can be) throughout your life and that when you make mistakes, you'll know that "God allows U-turns." :) Love and luck to you!

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

You can't imagine how much it irks me to see a good opportunity for one of my kids and they brush it off like it was nothing. You can't imagine how hard it is to move past the issue. I'm so stuck confounded I'm at a loss of words that all I want to do is heal my broken heart. But my hopes and dreams for them isn't what theirs are. I want them happy, I say to my self but I don't want to see them going down a dead end street, or the road to nowhere, running just to keep on the run.

sandy, ut

Making a child go to church doesn't ensure their happiness. An adult may think that because it has made them happy. But many people are miserable in church, and not going would make them more happy then going. Those people shouldn't go. If you need church then go, if you don't then don't go. Not everybody needs 'church' or 'religion' to help them be a good person. Not everybody believes the same things their parents believe. What is wrong with that?

Anchorage, AK

Amy, I was one on the inside wanting to step outside of the norm. I mean, I thought I wanted. Somehow, my decision deep down inside didn't feel right. On the outside, one choice led to another before I met misery because of choices made that I wouldn't have done otherwise. Afterwards, I was the one on the outside wanting back in.

I love the analogy of a horse in safe boundaries but is looking for an exit and finds one. He convinces another horse to go with him and they leave together. Off in the distance they find a shed with a bag of feed and they eat it all but later found dead for the bag was of rat poison.

Another analogy is of the fly asking why other flies still fly towards the hot light bulb when they see dead corpses beneath it.

I share these to say, that when we go to His Church we are taught by His Spirit how to stay spiritually safe avoiding the dangerous traps outside. The scriptures are filled with stories similar to these i.e. Lehonti leaves his safe mountain for the trap of Amalickiah, Alma 46-47

Anchorage, AK

I want to finish in saying that you are right your parents love you. I join your parents and Joe5 in pointing the way of happiness.


I just want to comment on your remark "Adults get so far removed from being 16 years old that they forget that you’re not "just a child" at this age. You can have real concerns and you don’t just have to do what you’re told."
I wish you would step back and realize that adults have all gone through their own version of being 16. They remember it to varying degrees. Their experiences were all different.
The converse cannot be said. No 16-year old has ever been 18, 25, 30, etc. The vast majority have never been married, never had a child, and certainly never been the parent of a teenager.
With each passing year as I've moved beyond a half-century of life I become more and more chagrined at my naivete as teenager or twenty something. My life went pretty well and I made mostly good choices, but there was so much that I didn't yet understand and appreciate about life.
No, "you don't just have to do what you're told." You would be very wise to listen to what you are told and heed it.

Dan Maloy
Enid, OK

Article quote from 'Amy'....

"I guess this comment just reminded me of what I already know; that my parents love me....I think they just want me to be happy and I want them to be happy with me. It won’t kill me to go to church one day a week and maybe if I change my attitude it can be a good thing for our family."

Now you're talking, girl!

Best wishes. And, please, remember, that no matter what happens, we can always take our problems to the Lord. My son gave me a jewel of wisdom the other day when he said when we take our problems to the Lord, we don't become free from the responsibility to try and work our way through our problems but we CAN give the HEARTACHE of our problems to the Lord. We would all be wise to never forget that.

Good luck!

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA


"Making a child go to church doesn't ensure their happiness."

I have two problems with your implication.

First, letting them stay home from church doesn't ensure their happiness either. You're implying that it does. So the argument is a wash. But the advantage of making their daughter go to church is that it may instill some values in her that may help her later in life.

Second, it's not a parent's job to ensure their children's happiness. A parent's job is to guide their kids on a path that will bring them long-lasting joy, which is different from happiness. For example, my kids would rather play video games than do homework....video games make them happier than homework does. If I was concerned about their happiness, I would let them skip the homework and play video games. But, like most parents, I don't. And why don't I? Because I know that doing their homework will put them on the path to be successful and productive people, which ultimately will bring them joy.

American Fork, UT

Stick with it Amy. You're already asking yourself what value there is in an ideology that has to be forced upon you, and possibly recognising that values don't necessarily come from religion at all. It sounds like soon you'll be able to evaluate who you are based on what you know, what you've observed, and what you learn. There is a better life waiting for you, and won't have to keep lying to yourself.

sandy, ut

Brave Sir Robin

Unfortunately you are under the false impression that people can only gain moral values at church. That is one place you may get them, but not the only place. If the parents force the child to go to church they aren't going to listen anyways. Parents can teach their children moral values outside of church walls.

Utah Native
Farmington, UT

Amy, it's in our nature not to want to be forced. We fought a war in heaven to ensure our right to choose for ourselves. Even when our parents are trying to persuade us to follow a good path, some of us balk because we feel coerced. That being said, let me tell you about my 4+ decades observing/analyzing my numerous siblings. Those that chose to "go their own way" and leave Church teachings behind have had the most struggles. My most rebellious sibling is a single parent whose life has brought her fleeting moments of excitement and a lifetime of painful consequences. She is miserable. Other siblings who left the Church are drifting through life, looking for meaning. On the other hand, my most active, church-attending siblings are by far the most successful, happy, and fulfilled individuals in my family. They are stable, focused, contributing members of society. The contrast is amazingly stark. I'm not claiming that it's the same in every case; this is just my personal experience. The Gospel brings peace. Sooner or later, everything else proves to be a counterfeit. I hope you find that which brings you lasting joy and peace.

Barstow, CA

I was in the opposite situation. I learned about the LDS Church when I was 14; by 16 I knew I wanted to be part of it, but my parents wouldn't let me. I had to wait until I was 18. I was often not allowed to attend Sunday meetings or activities. At that time the church was not very well received in my country and my parents were worried that I would be making a great mistake by joining and they didn't want me to blame them if at one point I found out that it was a mistake. Our parents have a lot in common: they are just worried about us making mistakes and are trying to protect us. These 2 years gave me time to think about what I really wanted.... cool my heels so to speak. In the end I joined the church and the 2 years of waiting took nothing away from me. They gave me a greater appreciation for the church and all it has to offer. Use the time to find out what you really want. Good luck on your journey!

Samuel B Martineau
Bountiful, UT


You question the value of an "ideology that has to be forced on you." In essence, you make the argument that if the LDS church were of true value, parents would not have to force their children to attend.

I disagree. Curfews are a good idea, so is hard work. Both of these things are part of an ideology that many children would not choose left to their own devices. I'm sure that you can see that parents force their children to do many good things.

You would think me ridiculous if I were to claim that the ideology surrounding basic laws for society is of no value because laws are required to force compliance.

Parents of children play a critical role: making good choices for their children because their children are not yet mature. There is nothing shady or unethical about that.

I can also say that the LDS church has offered great value in my life. It is a source of peace, happiness, and fulfillment.

Carson City, NV

I have to go back to when I was your mom's age. I chose to be inactive then. No church, no young woman and young men for my two kids. No seminary, no institute for them either. My son didn't go on a mission. My son and daughter have as yet not had a temple marriage. I was so sad to read your letter. My son and daughter didn't even get the choice to go to church. Please think about the gift your parents have given you. It's one you will treasure when you are an adult and have children of your own. Ask yourself; "What would I be doing if I weren't in church? Is that something your Heavenly Father would want you to be doing? It's hard being a parent and knowing the right thing to do. I think your parents have done the right thing. Be patient with them and remember who you are.

Salt Lake City, UT

Why do I have a feeling that a lot of the people who criticize this teen for considering other options would consider a teen in another church considering other options a "missionary opportunity"?

Should missionaries not baptize any converts below the age of 18 if their parents disagree? At least be consistent...

Montesano, WA

First off Amy, I have raised five sons. I do remember what being a teenager is like and I am well in to the half century mark. Let me give you some fatherly advice. Parents are given a stewardship over you. Your agency is in trusted to them till your of age to be emancipated your parents have the legal right to raise you how they see fit. Second you been around the sun a total of what 16 times? Your parents have been down roads you have not. I as a father am not here to be my sons friends or to make life "happy" for them. I am there to show them the way that has brought me the most rewarding, the most happiness and peace in my life. Which is going to church. My rule is this go to church till 18. So far all of them have served full time missions. Last you need to stop being insolent.

Pittsburgh, PA


From the LDS handbook for missionaries (it's available publicly online):

"Before you can teach and baptize an investigator who is under legal age, you must obtain permission of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s), preferably in writing."

Samuel B Martineau
Bountiful, UT


The church's position in this regard is incredibly consistent just as you recommend. Missionaries are not allowed to baptize children under the age of 18 without parental consent. It would appear that we agree on this point.

South Jordan, UT

I stopped going to church when I was 16, as I realized I was physically bigger than my mom. She could no longer make me go. 20 years later, I haven't been back. I am a very happy individual and I will argue I have greater moral values than the majority of the people from my old ward. You don't need religion to be happy, to be compassionate, to know love and joy. You just need to think for yourself and follow your own path.

Salt Lake City, UT

@lars and Samuel B. Martineau

Thank you for that information.

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