Some parents want what God wants for their children. Other parents want what
they want for their children. God leads those who will follow, but he
doesn't force anyone to become a member of His church. If the parents
really want what's best for a child, they will be pleased that the child
listened to the Lord and then acted on what the Lord revealed to the child. If
the parent is offended that the child followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost,
then that parent's understanding of God's relationship with HIS child
is less than perfect.Of course, the child should be respectful of
the parents, but the child's first allegiance is to his Heavenly Father.
One thing that I don't see mentioned in previous comments is just as much
for you as for your parents: keep the eternal perspective in mind. This life is
full of challenges, trials, joys, disappointments. But a central purpose is for
us to work towards ours and our family's eternal destiny. That will take
time, even time beyond this mortal life for some. That's where hope in
Christ comes into the picture. Whatever you do with yourself, your future life,
and your family relationships, never, never, never give up; and wait upon the
Lord. He will sustain you through it all.
However you decide to tell them, I think that the most important thing is what
follows. It may take a few weeks, months or many years, but how you live your
life "After" you tell them will play the biggest part! My wife joined
the Church when she was 18 and broke her Mother's heart (being a member of
a well known very Anti-Mormon Church). She even told her, "How could you,
they don't even believe in Christ?" Well, that was 38 years ago and
although my wife's family are still not interested in the Church, they do
have alot more respect for it and let what their preacher says about us go in
one ear and out the other. The respect they have for us and our children and how
we have lived our lives is what matters. They know we are not hipocrites. Good Luck and I hope everything turns out well.
I avoided this by telling my parents BEFORE I got baptized (although they kind
of knew it was coming), but it was still a blow to my mother at first, who had
tried to raise me Catholic even though she didn't go to church very often
herself. As it turns out, many of her beliefs are more Mormon than Catholic
anyway, and she has since started gaining her own testimony. My wife however was
raised in an extremely hostile Baptist family and thus had a totally different
experience from my own. Catholics cling strongly to tradition, but they are
generally far less likely to become violent or disown a family member who
converts than Protestants. Praying and ask the Holy Ghost for
guidance. Above all, do NOT let them shame you into believing you
"betrayed" them or made the wrong decision. Remember Jesus said that he
who put his mother or father before him is not worthy of him. When family joins
the Great and Spacious Building, it is hard, but through your example, you may
be able to soften their hearts.
JoeBlow,Not quite the same. For many, many Christian people, the
particular congregation they choose to associate with is analogous to choosing
one of the the many flavors at the ice cream parlor. There are a handful of
favorites (or just one), some to try once in a while, a few that one has tried
and didn't like, and some that never have sounded appealing. It is very
possible, and I would say likely, that the writer's parents are in this
group and that she/he is worried that "Mormons" are in one of those last
two categories for his/her parents (and most likely the last).Most often
it is prejudice or bigotry against "Mormons" that causes others to
object to a family member's conversion. If they had joined the Methodists
(for example) the reaction would be very different. True, in some cases, there
are people that have deeply held denominational beliefs and no ill feelings
toward "Mormons" as compared to other Christian sects. Those situations
would be equivalent, as you stated. These are much less common than those that
object, not because of any change, but because of what the specific change was.
The fact that you are unsure about it may be the most telling thing. I would
recommend that you not tell them until the Lord tells you to. Once you know it
is what he wants you to do then your dilemma is solved.
Most possible outcomes have been mentioned and the advice to rely on inner
feelings might be a good one, however... !Having gone through a lot
of terrible problems in my family due to baptism, I want to remind you of this
possiblilty :The fact that you were not willing to talk about it
with them, could be an inner forsight,that it would just make it worse.
And in my case it made it civil war among my relatives.So what I
could tell you from my experience is, never try to convince them that your
decision was the right thing to do, it will make it worse.If that new
information would break their heart or activate an arms race then you have no
choice but go by the shugar piece by piece a way.Mention superficial
comments that will lead to more information, or such a way that they will figure
out by themselves what road your are taken. They need a lot of time to adjust
and get their feelings calmed down. Over the years grass will grow, and you
don't want them to have a heart attack, do you ?
Sometimes things don't go well. If that happens, I have to tell you that
in every case I've ever witnessed (including my own), angry, hurt family
members have softened considerably and even joined the Church themselves after
observing the wonderful effects of the gospel on a convert over months or years.
Pray first, have faith, be patient, and be an example of the believers always.
Alma 5:14. "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye
spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances?
Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"Just tell
them you followed your heart, that you love them and then live to make the above
manifest to them you did well for yourself. It will all work out, did for my
Be prepared for a lot of questions, disappointment, insults, and anger.
That's what I encountered when I told my father, who was a Baptist
minister, that I had become a Mormon. It took the rest of the family severL
years to accept me, but after they observed how I had changed and how peaceful
and dedicated I had become, they softened up. My mother now goes to church with
me, and the nieces and nephews have become Mormon sympathizer and supports. Who
knows what will become of it in the end. At least the seeds have been sown and
they no longer base their opinions of Mormons on what they see on TV or hear
from their Protestant SundaySchool teachers.
At 17 when I told my Northern Irish Catholic father I wanted to be baptized the
explosion that took the roof off our house could be seen anywhere in North
America. Not all families react in a kind loving manner. Affer
a year the roof settled back down and I left for BYU as a newly baptized
member.After many many years my mother actually told me she felt
better about it I guess that had something to do with my brother becoming an
Evangelical and frequently accosting her and telling her she was going to
hell. I'm sure he was doing it out of love and concern, she just was not
happy about it.
Donn,Thanks. I know.
To: Semi-Strong, There are many misconceptions out there (be prepared to hear
them and gently turn them away).Most of all, as Angela recommends, rely on the
Holy Ghost.The Holy Ghost, Same Greek word (pneuma )used for Holy
Ghost and Holy Spirit.(1 Cor 3:16 & 6:19), See A of F #8.
Give your parents a chance, they might respond to this better than you fear. If
they don't this is ok, too. Allow them to feel what they feel. Love them,
honor and serve them as you always have. Think of why you joined the church and
what this means to you. They will probably want to know why you were baptized.
Think of all the things your parents have taught you. How does what you have
learned by joining the church build upon what they have taught you?
Some very good suggestions here. Since your parents are religious, you may wish
to consider asking to pray together with them before explaining your choice. Or
sing a hymn with them. Or both. Praying and singing sacred music together can
bring the Spirit, soften hearts, and help you say the right things in the right
way.Above all, express your love, respect, and gratitude for your
family. Help them understand that their good teaching and example helped lead
you to the path that the Spirit has told you is the right choice for you at this
time. Help them see that you are happy and that you love God.
When I was investigating the Church I was so excited I shared my excitement with
my parents. I received a loooong letter telling me about those
"Mormons." I decided I would not tell them of my progress and eventual
Baptism. When my parents visited my mother cried and I explained that because
of my upbringing I recognized the fullness of the gospel when it was presented
to me. After that I let my life demonstrate the gospel in our relationships.
Over the years they have attended church with me and my family and have stated
that we do live our religion and they have admired the Church. They have
embraced many gospel principles and shared them with others. They have invited
missionaries into their home,fed them, and listened to their lessons. IT WILL
ALL WORK OUT.
Nice article,Maybe one of the reasons you feel like you need to tell
your parents is because it will eventually lead them to being baptized? Also, as
a former missionary, I learned that the biggest thing for me when people
questioned my actions or tried to put me down for what I did, was simply to tell
them that God had answered my prayers and told me it was true. No one can
question what you felt in your heart. I respect you for doing something so hard,
1.96Good point. No mention of her age in this article. I waited
three years till I was 21 (or very close to 21).This is not like
joining another church. To many parents this is like joining a cult, hence,
telling parents could be a rough thing to do.What to do? Good
question. God gave us agency and I think it starts at birth. Because I was
married in the Temple (another subject), my Dad would say, every chance he got,
"I dont think he is really married". I had to hear that until my dad
died. Actually, he quit saying it after about 20 years so the last 15 years was
OK. Point is, reaction from parents can linger for a long time.
This is a tough one because the Lord himself warned his followers that they will
face some very difficult times, even from their own family, when they choose to
follow his teachings. You're not the first to face this challenge and
certainly will not be the last. Being a mormon is not easy and it's not for
whimps - it has been that way from the Savior's time on earth to the early
converts of the church in 1830s. I would break the news over the phone to mom or
dad depending on who you think will be more willing to listen. Give it time and
let them digest the information before talking to them in person. Expect the
worse and hope for the best will be my approach because there is no easy way of
doing this. Always remember whatever happens your ward will provide you with the
supports to get thru this. I know this because my ward wherever I go had been my
comfort even when family is not around. Best of luck
sukiyhtaky-Just some information: The bishop doesn't interview
investigators for baptism. A missionary will do it (with some exceptions, the
mission president may). Also, the article didn't mention "New
Member" was discouraged from telling her family. Sounds like it just never
happened yet. If you want more information on who does the baptismal
interview, how the interview is conducted, what questions are asked, etc., read
pages 203-207+ of the "Preach My Gospel" manual. It has some good stuff
about this subject. Also note that when a person is of "legal
age," permission from parents is not required for baptism. "New
Member" is a junior in college, so she is likely of "legal age."
@sukiyhtaky, why are you assuming that the bishop and missionaries did not
advise her to talk to her family? She never said it was not counseled to her,
only that she chose not to. I have a friend that was baptized and the bishop
told her to pray about letting her parents know and inviting them to the
baptism, but she chose not to and felt it was the right thing to do. This was
HER baptism and it should be HER choice.
Its wonderful that you were baptized. When I was leaning from the missionaries,
my parents were not happy and warned me about the Mormons. When I was baptized,
I waited years to tells them. I wanted to tell them through my actions and not
my words. But I won't have hid it, if it was brought up. I was a young
widow with two little children. When we would visit my parents, we would talk
about christen things, or standards. They just thought I was improving my life.
The kids never brought it up. They might have said "we went camping with the
Church" or other things like that. No one asked "what Church?" Maybe
after 6 years I told them, "remember when I was wanting to be baptized in
the Mormon Church?" I was." They said it didn't matter. Church is
Church. They couldn't deny how I raised the kids and how it changed me for
It was hard for my mom but easier for my dad (who had known LDS folks). My
recommendations are just my own:Let them know you love them - that
this will not mean less contact with them or your other family members.Don’t let the church dominate your conversation with them. As new
members we can be guilty of bringing the church into many of our conversations.
I am not saying that you should not talk about the church, just that you
don't let it dominate your conversation.Acknowledge the good in them
and their religion and the good you got out of it.Help them understand
that we are Christians and love the Savior. There are many misconceptions out
there (be prepared to hear them and gently turn them away).Most of all, as
Angela recommends, rely on the Holy Ghost – and love them.God
bless and best of luck.
You should have been advised by the bishop who interviewed you to tell them
before the baptism. That was the right thing to do from the start, but since
that didn't happen, you need to gather up the courage of your convictions
and just do it. As adults we need to make many decisions that are difficult,
but if we believe they are the right decisions that strength carries us through.
I would strongly emphasize again though, the right thing to do would have been
to be up front with your family from the start and for leadership to not advise
you to do so was wrong.
I remember being in a similar situation. I had been attending church and
participating in Institute choir where I lived. I knew that I wanted to join
the church, but the limited conversation with my parents about the church had
not been very positive. I put it off for awhile, but soon I felt like I
didn't want to wait any longer. So, I went forward and was baptized with
the love and support of my ward and Institute friends. It was a special day and
I'm glad I made my decision. I remember thinking afterward that I needed
to tell my parents. I told my mom over the phone, since couldn't fly home.
I'm not sure I made the best decisions in how I talked to them about my
decision, as many heated discussions followed. However, a year (or less) later
things had calmed and we were back to the relationship we once had. Now (almost
9 years later), I think my parents know that this was the best decision for me
and I know they're happy with the way my life has turned out (especially
compared to other family members).
I would advise make sure you let your parents know that you love them and
appreciate the values that they taught you, but that you believe and have a
god-given testimony of something a little more that makes you really happy.Make sure your parents know they are loved and appreciated.
I suggest you tell your parents the old-fashioned way -- do it in person (if you
are not away from home) or give them a telephone call. However, before you tell
them, consider praying and fasting to soften your parents hearts. If it be
Heavenly Father's will, your parents can be prepared some way in advance to
be more receptive to your news.I don't know your parents, but
it may be helpful to focus on commonalities. Since they are Christian, perhaps
you can mention how you have come closer to the Savior through scripture. You
can also mention your stronger belief in Christ's atonement and
resurrection. You can mention your spiritual rebirth with your baptism.Even though you are an adult, you can also consider sending them a link to the
For Strength of Youth material from the church. You can do a google search for
"For the strength of Youth" and it is the first result. This will give
them an idea of what standards you will follow, and may help put them at ease
knowing you will be making good choices and will be trying to live a wholesome
I can understand the want to be totally honest. I wouldn't want to make a
bad situation worse. Even tho it's not like you cheated on your spouse, or
your gay coming out of the closet. How close are you to your family they
probably could guess. I can't tell you weather it's any of their
business or not.
Telling ones Non LDS parents that they joined the LDS church is akin to telling
ones LDS parents they joined a different church.I will keep that in
mind as I read the comments.