Straight and narrow path or fall away

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Posts: 56
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 08:46

Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Havefaith » 28 Jul 2019, 11:13

So in relief society today we talked about staying on the straight an narrow path. The teacher broyght up a family she new that was very strict and did everything right. One of the kids didnt turn out that way. He is in prison she said. She told us the parents believed he ended their because his first bad choice in getting a job on sunday.
I was thinking about that and to be hounest and at one time belived that in part. But today i thought about my family growing up. As i said in my intro my siblings went inactive during teenage years. None of them went to prison. Sure they were stuck in some bad situations and one even was in jail for a time. But although far from perfect and i believe they have some wrong beliefs ( which i belive came from how we grew up not because they didnt stay in the church) non of them are even close to prson life and even have good in them. They all changed and are pretty good parents Its not like they are teaching there kids to do the same stuff they did. Although some of there kids did some of the same stuff. Some of my siblings are and have been involved in the church here and there but i would say still not strick like i was for so long.
So I guess my point here is that i think there are other factors involved when someone goes inactive in the chuch. Its not just because they sinned. Maybe the person wasnt feeling accepted. Which might have been the case with my siblings. Maybe there was family problems. There was that in my home. Im sure there are other reasons. I just have a hard thime thinking that this guy in prison didnt have other issues.
What do you guys think? Am I the only one that feels this way? I would love to here what others have to say about this?
I got the feeling people left chuch today feeling they and their kids have to be perfect.

User avatar
Posts: 7276
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by SilentDawning » 28 Jul 2019, 14:16

Humans are complex beings. I believe parents can provide negative parenting that can lead to negative behavior in their kids, absolutely. But I also believe that average or even excellent parents can produce kids who are rebellious to the church, testimony-barren or a menace to society.

It's tough to know what causes what without intimate knowledge. There seems to be some evidence that narcissism is a trait that is learned from parents. These parents transmit the idea that a person's worth is based almost entirely on looks, money, power, talent, etcetera. They resort to high praise for these things, yet give no warmth for who the child is. This leads to unempathetic, narcissistic traits in these children as they become adults.

Parents also transmit certain values to their children through their conversation and behavior at home.

But there will always be kids who reject wholesome upbringing for less desireable behavior patterns and for which the parents shouldn't be considered responsible.

I have a friend who did everything right according to our church's short-sighted view of what it takes to produce testimony-filled children. They read scriptures every night, went to church weekly, had their kids in Seminary, taught them to pay tithing and live the commandments and held regular family prayer. Their boys are completely inactive and want nothing to do with the church in adulthood.

I took a soft road of encouragement and support, with an openness toward liberal interpretation of the gospel commandments. I couldn't get my wife to support me in family home evening or other wholesome activities prescribed by the church at home. I spent my kids teenage years as a disaffected Mormon due to leadership abuse and other traumatic experiences in the church that affected my mental and physical health.

Yet my daughter is married in the temple and fully active and testimony-laden, and my son has made it all the way to a priest. He has a temple recommend except he doesn't have a strong testimony we can see. But he does church things if encouraged, such as youth trips. I never made him go to Seminary, partly because I feel it's too much of a sacrifice for me personally to get him there at 5:30 am and sit around while he misses the bus each day. Particularly when the church has the means to hold online seminary.

Neither me, nor my wife could sustain this, and the price of insurance is far too much to have him as a driver in my state. But he is still "on" regarding the church and not totally rebellious.

Why have my kids seemed to have made more progress in the gospel than my friend who did everything by the book?

I think it's the interaction with parenting behavior and children's personality. It's also a result of the child's basic personality -- with some kids, even having the best parents in the world won't lead to normal citizenship behavior.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Minyan Man
Posts: 1868
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Minyan Man » 28 Jul 2019, 15:57

Havefaith wrote:
28 Jul 2019, 11:13
...I got the feeling people left church today feeling they and their kids have to be perfect.
Recently I was with my son & his family. My Granddaughter had a softball game & we went to cheer the team on. Her brother was with us to
play with his friends. Frasier was about (5 yrs old) then. The game was over & we were heading to the car when Frasier realized he was missing
a part to his Star Wars toy. It was my job to keep everything together as we were going to the car. When Frasier realized the toy was missing he
started to get angry & had a major meltdown. We got home with weeping, wailing & gnashing of teeth. Things started to calm down, we watched
some TV & life was getting back to normal. So I decided to have a little conversation with Frasier. I said toys can always be replaced. But, it is
how we treat other people that is more important. I finished by saying: we must treat everyone the way we want to be treated & try not to get
angry. Frasier said: "I know Grandpa. I'm trying really hard". Then the tears began to flow. I've tried to use that analogy as how our relationship exists with our HF.

I'm down here on earth trying "really hard" to live the gospel. And HF is saying to me, "I know you are but try to do better". I set in Sacrament meeting as the sacrament is being passed & think of my conversation with Frasier. All of us in that meeting are trying our best, I believe. None of us are perfect
and don't have the right to expect complete perfection from ourselves or others by following a check list of rules or by following the "narrow path"
whatever that is.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16764
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Jul 2019, 16:29

There are lots of reasons. "Sin" is a reason for some people, but, in many cases, that is our fault for shaming them (directly and/or indirectly).

Read "Concern for the One" by Elder Wirthlin (April 2008 General Conference). There a part where he talks about three reasons why some people stop attending church. There are a lot more, but the three he mentions are extremely common.

Here is the link:

( ... e?lang=apw)
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Posts: 56
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 08:46

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Havefaith » 28 Jul 2019, 19:42

Im glad to see that a former apostle cane see other reasons for inactivity. Thank you for sharing. I do agree with the shame thing too. I think i felt shame growing up from a variety of people i would say. thats no reason to follow commandments. There has been many times i decided against a conversatiin with my teenage daughter an decided to work with her instead. It sounds more christlike to me.

Thank you all for you perspectives.

User avatar
Posts: 7027
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Jul 2019, 04:50

Also read "Come, Join With Us" by then Pres. Uchtdorf. He also talks about reasons people don't come to church and says there is never just one reason. More of them get it than we think - they just don't know how to articulate it or what to do about it (but loving one another is important). ... s?lang=eng

Also just because this is one of my soapbox issues, the word is strait, meaning difficult, not straight, meaning undeviating.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Posts: 56
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 08:46

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Havefaith » 29 Jul 2019, 06:41

So i guess what im thinking is that the boy the teacher was talking about in church who is in prison could have taken that first job on sunday for many reasons. It could definetly be other reasons than breaking the sabbath day. I guess we will never now for sure but maybe he was already not fitting in. Thr thing is too, people change and there is still hope for this guy. I would hope his parents still felt that way for him to make better choices.

User avatar
Posts: 4375
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by nibbler » 29 Jul 2019, 10:00

I think we make a very big mistake when we use loyalty to the church or activity in the church as a measure of whether someone is a good person. Leaving the church does not equate to abandoning a principled life in favor of a life of hedonism.

Relating to the story about the kid that went to prison...
  • It sounds like someone framing the kid's story to support whatever narrative they're trying to tell.
  • Sometimes we live up to our labels. If our surrounding culture (family, church, society, etc.) label us a bad seed we may run the risk of internalizing that label and living up to it.
  • I think the idea that working on Sunday is a slippery slope that leads to prison is quite a stretch.
  • I wonder what god did wrong in the parenting department that caused Lucifer to have to get kicked out of heaven. If god didn't make a parenting mistake, I'll try to second guess whether I did. If god did make a parenting mistake, I'll do my best to emulate. :P
  • It's another example of how other people exercising their agency somehow reflects on us. Low baptisms on a mission? We're not obedient enough. A kid that doesn't make all the same decisions that we'd make (where our decision making benefits from a lifetime of experience that they do not have)? I failed as a parent.
  • Life is a series of ups and downs. We're all going to fall at some point, therefore I don't get much out of lessons where the takeaway is, "Don't fall." I'd rather have a lesson where we talk about getting back up and helping others get back up instead of having object lessons where we point out how others fell, then telling people not to.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

Posts: 5998
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Roy » 29 Jul 2019, 10:54

strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
Notice that the word used here is "strait" like the Bering Strait. Jesus, in this verse, was not saying that the way to heaven is a direct, linear, undeviating, and uninterrupted express route. Rather Jesus was repeating the idea that the way is narrow. Considering the message of the new testament, I believe this to mean that there is only one right answer and His name is Jesus. "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." Even after everthing else that we might do and/or every other door or gateway that we might attempt - it is still only through the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved. All of our personal towers of Babel that we might build for ourselves out of our good works are ultimately futile and will not save us - "For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

This doctrine is all over the BoM, but we LDS do not seem to understand it well. I think that we prefer to have a checklist formula for controling our destiny. It is natural to overestimate the amount of control that one has over their life journey. Those that are successful deserve it and those that are not successful don't deserve to be. This can provide comfort because we feel like we know what we need to do to never become like the "other". In the scenario you described, the young man broke the rules and this led him down a slippery slope. It is a cautionary tale to follow the rules and not follow his sad misfortune. If we are diligent enough, so the thinking goes, we might control our children's destinies as well as our own.

None of us want our kids to spend any time in prison - but we really do not know if this young man was saved or not. Jesus forgives and cleanses us of our sins. What makes my sins any less eggregious in the cosmic sense than the sins of this young man. In this life we see through a glass darkly. Because our vision is so distorted it would be wise for us to "judge not" and apply an extra dose of charity in all of our interactions with our fellow brothers and sisters. In the words of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you."
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Posts: 56
Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 08:46

Re: Straight and narrow path or fall away

Post by Havefaith » 29 Jul 2019, 17:11

Im still learning about how to paste others post onto mine an hopefully i learn that soon
I wanted to coment on the good and bad labei. I agrre that using those labels is not helpful for any one. I used to say this instead. I dont believe in good or bad people but there are good or bad choices. Ive been thinking about that. Maybe Irresponsable choices is a better word for some choices. Im sure there is mamy others that could be used. As i write this i dont think i even like the good or bad choice wording. Like that kid who broke the sabath day by going to work. Maybe his choice wasnt bad it was more a less spiritual choice. A choice that wouldnt aliow him to go to church. I would think that would be a responsable way to talk about that with the child
So aa i write this im getting memories of being taught (maybe in semenary) that once you make one bad choice it will be easiee for satan to tempt you to make another then another. I hate that and dont want to believe that and at the same time am having a hard time letting that teaching go. Why? I cant believe i even wrote that when i was just saying before in my first post that that kid in prison didnt do that.

Post Reply