Latter-day Saint Life

6 Book of Mormon verses every parent should know

Beautiful mother and daughter having fun in bed.
We can pray, like Alma the Elder, “with much faith concerning” our children, and the Lord will hear us.
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So far, getting back into the Book of Mormon in Come, Follow Me this year has felt like meeting up with an old friend. I always try to read the Book of Mormon alongside our regularly scheduled Come, Follow Me programming, but doing a more in-depth study, having the manual, and joining together every other week to discuss it as a Sunday School class is, well, helpful! And refreshing.

And although it’s early in the year, one study approach I’ve seen scholars and friends take is to study a book of scripture by topic. So I challenged myself to do the same: To find verses or stories in the Book of Mormon that might offer a fresh perspective or new approach to a topic meaningful to me. And right now it feels like my universe pretty much revolves around one thing—parenting.

So here are six Book of Mormon verses that shed some new light on parenting for me.

1 Nephi 8:37—“And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.”

First, I think I need “with all the feeling of a tender parent” embroidered on something. What a beautiful phrase.

Here is Father Lehi, having just seen his sons separated from his family and willfully rebelling against God in his Tree of Life dream. Understandably, he’s worried sick about them, preaching and prophesying and practically begging them to listen to him so “that perhaps the Lord would be merciful unto them.” And doing so with as much love and tenderness and emotion as he can gather.

It’s important to remember that along with those feelings of a tender parent, Lehi preached to his sons. I think it was because of his feelings as a tender parent that he felt the need to exhort them to repent and listen to the Lord.

Lehi is a good example of showing that loving your children does not mean shying away from the hardest parts of parenting—that often we course-correct because we love our kids. Because we want them to be happy. Because we want them to make good friends. Because we want them to succeed. And because we want to live with them forever.

Nephi recognized his father’s course correction as the love of a “tender parent” enough to include the sweet phrase in this verse, and I love that.

Enos 1:3—“The words which I had often heard my father speak … sunk deep into my heart.”

The example of Enos is a powerful one. And the idea that the words we say as parents, the things we teach our kids, can “sink deep” into their hearts is incredibly reassuring. Because who among us hasn’t taught the same lesson over and over and over again without seeing any improvement or change in behavior? Or who hasn’t had a family lesson devolve into madness, leaving us parents to wonder if we’re even making a difference? I’m sure Enos’s own father Jacob had his doubts about whether his messages were getting through.

But guess what? It did make a difference. In his hour of mightiest personal prayer, Enos remembered the words of his father. So, I’m shelving this reminder away for the next time our family’s Come, Follow Me study unravels into chaos.

Mosiah 1:5—“Were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, … even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief.”

King Benjamin is maybe the best example of a humble, compassionate parent in the Book of Mormon. And the sentiment of his statement at the beginning of the book of Mosiah is an excellent illustration of both his humility and his love for the scriptures: were it not for the lessons taught in the scriptures, we wouldn’t know the full meaning of what we were doing. Were it not for the scriptures, even our faithful, righteous ancestors would have lost sight of the truth.

And King Benjamin’s perspective has given me some food for thought: how much do I rely on the scriptures in my everyday gospel living? Or maybe even better yet, how much do I rely on the scriptures in teaching my children?

Mosiah 27:14—“Behold, the Lord hath heard … the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee.”

In my opinion, this might be the most comforting message in the Book of Mormon for parents. At the end of the day, every child gets to make their own choices. They have their own passions, their own personalities, and their own agency. At some point as parents, we truly have to just watch from the sidelines and hope that everything we’ve taught has been enough.

And then of course, while watching on those sidelines, we can pray. We can pray, like Alma the Elder, “with much faith concerning” our children. And the Lord will hear us.

In coming to reprimand Alma the Younger, the angel was quick to point out that the Lord was aware of Alma and the faithful prayers of his father. A message that seems to say “both heaven and earth are concerned about you, Alma.”

Because, ultimately, every child is His child too. Maybe that’s why He will always hear a parent’s devoted prayer, and I am grateful for that sweet reminder in this story.

Alma 38:2—“I trust that I shall have great joy in you.”

In my experience, parenting is full of complicated emotions. You love your children unconditionally, but do you always like their behavior? Is it always nonstop fun being a disciplinarian, maid, tutor, chauffeur, therapist, or nurse? Of course not.

But then there are unparalleled moments of joy with your kids that you wouldn’t trade for anything. Those are the instances as a parent when you wish time would stand still. And for me, those pockets of happiness make all the long nights, the tantrums, the fights at the dinner table, the literal headbutting, totally worth it.

When Alma told his son Shiblon, “I trust that I shall have great joy in you,” I believe he was thinking about those tender moments, too. His experiences with his sons had not been perfect (you only have to jump ahead one chapter and read about his disappointment with his son Corianton to see that), but Alma knew that he had experienced incredibly joyful moments as a father—and trusted that he would have more.

Alma 56:48—“We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”

This scripture is the quintessential, reassuring verse for mothers, and for good reason. As a mother with a young son, I love reading about the impact of a mother’s faith and young men having that much trust in the faith of their mothers. Because these righteous mothers shared their testimonies, these young men entered battle without a hint of fear. It gives me more motivation to share my testimony with my own son and make sure he does not doubt that his mother knows it.

▶ You may also like: The ‘Come, Follow Me’ goal I should have set years ago (that you might want to copy)

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