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What I Learned About Agency & Hope When My Son Left the Church

MR says: When a loved one decides to live their lives in opposition to our own beliefs, it can bring tremendous heartache. But we must learn to let them choose, love them, and still keep hope.

I want to tell you a poignant story I heard first-person from a father I admire and respect. Years ago he gave me permission to share it, but I’ll protect his privacy at this point by changing the father’s name in the story to Brother White and his son’s to Jared.

God Does Not Give Us Power to Control Our Children, but to Control Ourselves

 Previous to the prayer scene I share below, Brother White had spent several miserable years trying to control his rebellious drug-addicted son’s behavior–and had utterly failed. He said:

All pride was gone; all self-assurance and power were gone. I was broken, beaten and I could not carry on another step. My son was being destroyed and it seemed that God would not help! I went back into the bedroom and knelt down again and began to plead with God for the life of my son with all the energy of a loving father. I said, “Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to reach Jared! I must have more power! I need more power to convince him. Please, give me the power to . . .”
Then, in an instant, my mind opened and I understood as I heard the words clearly spoken in my mind, “No! That is not my way! I will not give you that power! Jared knows what is right and he will learn by the things he suffers. No! That is not my way!”
Read the rest of this story at ldsmag.com