Wayward Children (Part 2)

We have discussed several powerful influences we have with our children. The first is that we can call down the blessings of heaven upon our children by our faith most powerfully after we have heard the voice of God proclaiming that they cannot be lost. This occurs when someone has their Calling and Election made sure. In previous Un-Blogs we have discussed the principle of C&E and how to proceed to claim that blessing, so I won’t repeat myself right now. The bright hope is that C&E does happen, it is common and many people have this “anchor to their soul” for themselves, and in their children. In this way we can rightly call down miracles upon their heads. This is principle number one.

The second principle we have discussed is that our greatest pull upon them is by the covenant relationship we form by making our families eternal. This does not happen only by an ordinance, but when that ordinance is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is also something we have discussed in Part 1 of this blog, and elsewhere in the Un-Blog. In short, the HSoP is that the Holy Ghost must ratify a priesthood ordinance to make it of eternal effect. We may elect to be married for eternity when we qualify by earthly standards. This is an ordinance performed by authorized mortals. When we actually qualify for the promised blessings by being “true and faithful in all things” then the Holy Ghost, acting as the Holy Spirit of Promise, ratifies the act and begins to pour out the associated blessings. The prophet Joseph taught us that one of those blessings is that in this profound priesthood relationship, our children cannot be lost. (Teachings, p 321)

The principle that our children “cannot be lost” is difficult to wrap one’s mind around because it appears to fly in the face of agency and justice. The answer lies in that all of these blessings were premortally arranged to not violate agency, justice or mercy. We can’t understand infinite things with these finite brains – so we fall back to faith, which is that however it works, it is eternally fair and just. This means that God has it figured out and we don’t. The only way I can think to describe it is that all of these things were known by God before we were born, and the family deck was stacked and shuffled. In other words, God is dealing from a divine deck – for which thing we are eternally grateful.

Families are eternal – not just hereafter, but before mortal life as well. Eternal means that they are without beginning or end. They don’t originate during mortality, they predate mortality, were designed by God, and thereafter endure for eternity. It is my personal testimony that we chose our children, and they us, and that we intimately understood our role as children, and as parents, and that those roles were divinely engineered. We not only agreed to it all, but we rejoiced in it.

I mentioned the Laman and Lemuel clause, which is that agency is the most powerful force in eternity. Prior to the judgment day even God does not infringe upon agency. It is my opinion that no matter how carefully families were arranged, or how blessings are poured out, that these blessings can be rejected. Favored and valiant children carefully positioned in righteous families can choose to reject their status and step out of the “cannot be lost” safety net, and sometimes do.

There is another principle that I choose to believe, which is “Divine Positioning”. I believe people are sent to earth at specific times, in specific families with a specific job. Sometimes that position is to purify a family by not passing on patterns of abuse, alcoholism, false tradition or evil. They come here as a buffer, an abrupt wall that says the abuse may go no further. This is the “heads” side of the Divine Positioning coin. The “tails” side is that sometimes people are positioned to challenge us, to force us to learn specific lessons, to hammer us into faith and humility be giving us no other option but to admit our utter dependence upon God. These people do not seem like valiant soldiers for Christ, but as workers of chaos and impassable obstacles to our peace and a hindrance to growth. Nevertheless, I believe that when we finally see the outcome of our lives from an eternal perspective, we will see that we could not have arrived in exaltation without them.

I certainly don’t believe that every wayward soul or emotional criminal is a divinely positioned soul. But, within the covenant family, I do not believe that the family constellation is the result of chance or a random-child-generator program in the divine computer. I rather find purpose and loving family architecture.

If this be true, then I ask – which is easier, to be the one being motived to faith and spiritual excellence, or the one whose life is going off like a hand grenade to provide us the motivation to excel. Whose life’s mission is the greater task, the rich man looking down at the beggar, or the beggar looking up who agreed to sit there year after year as a thorn in the rich man’s heart that would eventually teach him compassion. Which side of the hospital bed is easier, the sick child, or the loved one learning patience, hope and faith?

Of these things we do not know of a surety, and we see through the glass of mortality darkly, and faith tells me there are truths about families, priesthood covenants and the mission of wayward children that can only be seen on God’s side of the veil. I am grateful the prophet Joseph gave us this pinhole of hope in the otherwise sometimes helpless role we play in parenting wayward children.

Brother John

© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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8 Responses to Wayward Children (Part 2)

  1. Robyn says:

    This is for Robin C. who wanted to know if grandparents had any pull and I want to say that for me it happened. I have not had my Calling and Election made certain but I’m working on it. My daughter went enactive after marriage and did not have her two children baptized. They grew up without guidlines. Last spring I felt prompted to make a covenent with God that if I kept one of my granddaughters name in the temple, prayed daily, thanked God for the small blessings that he gave to her, that he would turn her to the Gosple, . At the time I made the covenent, she was going through a great trial and didn’t want anything to do with religion. I went the extra mile with her. I listoned to her talk and made her feel validated. I made her feel that she was of worth, I prayed with and for her. I waited untill she was open and then I started teaching her. To make a long story short, she is taking the missionary lessons and my faith in covenent making has grown. As a side benefit, her mother has gone back to church but her other daughter hates the church. My daughter has caused me pain since she was 13 but I have grown spritually because of her. She has changed her life around and is a different person. I waited 20 years.


  2. Elder Stroud says:

    Thanks John, I really needed this.


  3. Robin Carlson says:

    Dear Bro John:
    This is very interesting and would you care to extrapolate about grandchildren whose parents have totally failed to teach them the Gospel basics and in some cases even refused to have them baptized?
    Do you think the grandparents covenants could have any influence for grandchildren who were not born in the covenant?
    Robin Carlson


  4. FJC says:

    Beautifully spoken as always!

    I’m wondering about God’s family and the 1/3 who were lost. Certainly Father qualified for every blessing offered to us.


  5. JohnD says:

    Though a bit off topic, I thought for those who need some hope, I would share a good story regarding wayward children. I’ll keep it short. I have two boys; both had gone astray, one, just a few short years ago was a heroin and crack addict, using both multiple times per day. After a billion or so hours of prayer and much covenant making with the Lord on my part, and his, last December he was married in the temple and doing very well. The other is struggling but also headed in the right direction. All I can say is DON’T GIVE UP, no matter how hopeless it seems, miracles are taking place daily and as we know here, the spirit can change ANYONES heart, if they are sincere in their desire for change!


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