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Elder Andersen’s sweet advice to a young father fearing his children will leave the Church

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In a recent video posted to social media, Elder Andersen shares a portion of a Q&A session he held in San Pablo City in the Philippines.

A young father asks Elder Andersen a poignant question: “My greatest fear [is] for my children to leave the church in the future. So what did you do? What are you doing to make sure that your children will stay and continue moving forward?”

Elder Andersen first asks how many children the brother has.

“I have two now,” he replies. “The oldest is five and the youngest is one. And that is my greatest fear, that they won’t serve missions and get married in the temple.”

Elder Andersen stood up to deliver his response.

“I’m glad you have that fear because that will make you serious about it,” he says. “The first thing President Nelson would tell you [is that] the greatest thing you can do for your children is love their mother. So that’s the greatest thing you can do. Make sure they see that you love their mother very, very much.”

He then counseled the brother to not worry as much about whether his children will serve a mission or get married in the temple. Instead, Elder Andersen advises him to “worry about whether they take into their heart a firm and strong witness of the Savior Jesus Christ.”

Then the apostle gave a few ways to help children develop that testimony:

  • “From the time they’re young, help them learn how to pray,” he says. “Help them love to pray. Pray as a family. Show them how they pray individually, even when you’re not there. If they will have a spirit of prayer and learn the Lord will answer their prayers, they’ll never stop praying.”
  • “Then you give them a love for the scriptures. You read a couple of verses with them and you teach them what it means.”
  • “Then as they get older, you teach them how the Holy Ghost works and how you get answers.”

Elder Andersen also made an interesting point that the Holy Ghost is not something that “just comes upon them at age eight.” Instead, he says “We grow up into the Holy Ghost.” As children begin to wonder about the Holy Ghost, parents can teach them to have confidence in the voice that they hear.

“So then when the time comes to go on a mission or get married in the temple, it’s very natural,” Elder Andersen says. He then acknowledges that parenting isn’t always simple.

“Now we know it’s not that easy because there’s a lot of temptation, isn’t there? And there are a lot of things that can distract them, and they have to choose their own way. But the Lord is kind to us, He’ll help you,” Elder Andersen says.

He also spoke about how important mothers and wives are in teaching children truth.

“When I think of my own children and their faith as I’m older now and we have grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, I am so grateful to my wife Kathy, who has really helped them learn how to pray and learn how to trust in their Heavenly Father and believe in the Savior. So you keep realizing how precious your wife is in that process.”

Watch the full video below.

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