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Ask Angela: Teen responds to article, 'It’s unfair that I’m forced to go to church'

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  • Spikey Layton, UT
    Aug. 17, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Amy, I think you are a mature girl for 16 years old. I am a convert to the church, I became a member when I was 18. The other side of the fence "ain't all it's cracked up to be" either. :(

    I am sorry some comments were hurtful, but I am also glad you were able to see the positive through the negative. Your parents sound very patient, and loving. You are SO very lucky! I wish I had that growing up! I am in therapy as we speak due to the hurt and lack of caring my parents sometimes showed. I hope that you continue to make the mature decisions (as hard as they can be) throughout your life and that when you make mistakes, you'll know that "God allows U-turns." :) Love and luck to you!

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 17, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    You can't imagine how much it irks me to see a good opportunity for one of my kids and they brush it off like it was nothing. You can't imagine how hard it is to move past the issue. I'm so stuck confounded I'm at a loss of words that all I want to do is heal my broken heart. But my hopes and dreams for them isn't what theirs are. I want them happy, I say to my self but I don't want to see them going down a dead end street, or the road to nowhere, running just to keep on the run.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 17, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    Making a child go to church doesn't ensure their happiness. An adult may think that because it has made them happy. But many people are miserable in church, and not going would make them more happy then going. Those people shouldn't go. If you need church then go, if you don't then don't go. Not everybody needs 'church' or 'religion' to help them be a good person. Not everybody believes the same things their parents believe. What is wrong with that?

  • Movingforward Anchorage, AK
    Aug. 17, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    Amy, I was one on the inside wanting to step outside of the norm. I mean, I thought I wanted. Somehow, my decision deep down inside didn't feel right. On the outside, one choice led to another before I met misery because of choices made that I wouldn't have done otherwise. Afterwards, I was the one on the outside wanting back in.

    I love the analogy of a horse in safe boundaries but is looking for an exit and finds one. He convinces another horse to go with him and they leave together. Off in the distance they find a shed with a bag of feed and they eat it all but later found dead for the bag was of rat poison.

    Another analogy is of the fly asking why other flies still fly towards the hot light bulb when they see dead corpses beneath it.

    I share these to say, that when we go to His Church we are taught by His Spirit how to stay spiritually safe avoiding the dangerous traps outside. The scriptures are filled with stories similar to these i.e. Lehonti leaves his safe mountain for the trap of Amalickiah, Alma 46-47

  • Movingforward Anchorage, AK
    Aug. 17, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    I want to finish in saying that you are right your parents love you. I join your parents and Joe5 in pointing the way of happiness.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Aug. 17, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    Amy,
    I just want to comment on your remark "Adults get so far removed from being 16 years old that they forget that you’re not "just a child" at this age. You can have real concerns and you don’t just have to do what you’re told."
    I wish you would step back and realize that adults have all gone through their own version of being 16. They remember it to varying degrees. Their experiences were all different.
    The converse cannot be said. No 16-year old has ever been 18, 25, 30, etc. The vast majority have never been married, never had a child, and certainly never been the parent of a teenager.
    With each passing year as I've moved beyond a half-century of life I become more and more chagrined at my naivete as teenager or twenty something. My life went pretty well and I made mostly good choices, but there was so much that I didn't yet understand and appreciate about life.
    No, "you don't just have to do what you're told." You would be very wise to listen to what you are told and heed it.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 17, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    Article quote from 'Amy'....

    "I guess this comment just reminded me of what I already know; that my parents love me....I think they just want me to be happy and I want them to be happy with me. It won’t kill me to go to church one day a week and maybe if I change my attitude it can be a good thing for our family."

    Now you're talking, girl!

    Best wishes. And, please, remember, that no matter what happens, we can always take our problems to the Lord. My son gave me a jewel of wisdom the other day when he said when we take our problems to the Lord, we don't become free from the responsibility to try and work our way through our problems but we CAN give the HEARTACHE of our problems to the Lord. We would all be wise to never forget that.

    Good luck!

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 17, 2013 6:23 p.m.

    @Brahmabull

    "Making a child go to church doesn't ensure their happiness."

    I have two problems with your implication.

    First, letting them stay home from church doesn't ensure their happiness either. You're implying that it does. So the argument is a wash. But the advantage of making their daughter go to church is that it may instill some values in her that may help her later in life.

    Second, it's not a parent's job to ensure their children's happiness. A parent's job is to guide their kids on a path that will bring them long-lasting joy, which is different from happiness. For example, my kids would rather play video games than do homework....video games make them happier than homework does. If I was concerned about their happiness, I would let them skip the homework and play video games. But, like most parents, I don't. And why don't I? Because I know that doing their homework will put them on the path to be successful and productive people, which ultimately will bring them joy.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 17, 2013 7:00 p.m.

    Stick with it Amy. You're already asking yourself what value there is in an ideology that has to be forced upon you, and possibly recognising that values don't necessarily come from religion at all. It sounds like soon you'll be able to evaluate who you are based on what you know, what you've observed, and what you learn. There is a better life waiting for you, and won't have to keep lying to yourself.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 17, 2013 7:11 p.m.

    Brave Sir Robin

    Unfortunately you are under the false impression that people can only gain moral values at church. That is one place you may get them, but not the only place. If the parents force the child to go to church they aren't going to listen anyways. Parents can teach their children moral values outside of church walls.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Aug. 17, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    Amy, it's in our nature not to want to be forced. We fought a war in heaven to ensure our right to choose for ourselves. Even when our parents are trying to persuade us to follow a good path, some of us balk because we feel coerced. That being said, let me tell you about my 4+ decades observing/analyzing my numerous siblings. Those that chose to "go their own way" and leave Church teachings behind have had the most struggles. My most rebellious sibling is a single parent whose life has brought her fleeting moments of excitement and a lifetime of painful consequences. She is miserable. Other siblings who left the Church are drifting through life, looking for meaning. On the other hand, my most active, church-attending siblings are by far the most successful, happy, and fulfilled individuals in my family. They are stable, focused, contributing members of society. The contrast is amazingly stark. I'm not claiming that it's the same in every case; this is just my personal experience. The Gospel brings peace. Sooner or later, everything else proves to be a counterfeit. I hope you find that which brings you lasting joy and peace.

  • crawfordzoo Barstow, CA
    Aug. 17, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    I was in the opposite situation. I learned about the LDS Church when I was 14; by 16 I knew I wanted to be part of it, but my parents wouldn't let me. I had to wait until I was 18. I was often not allowed to attend Sunday meetings or activities. At that time the church was not very well received in my country and my parents were worried that I would be making a great mistake by joining and they didn't want me to blame them if at one point I found out that it was a mistake. Our parents have a lot in common: they are just worried about us making mistakes and are trying to protect us. These 2 years gave me time to think about what I really wanted.... cool my heels so to speak. In the end I joined the church and the 2 years of waiting took nothing away from me. They gave me a greater appreciation for the church and all it has to offer. Use the time to find out what you really want. Good luck on your journey!

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 17, 2013 11:51 p.m.

    Hutterite

    You question the value of an "ideology that has to be forced on you." In essence, you make the argument that if the LDS church were of true value, parents would not have to force their children to attend.

    I disagree. Curfews are a good idea, so is hard work. Both of these things are part of an ideology that many children would not choose left to their own devices. I'm sure that you can see that parents force their children to do many good things.

    You would think me ridiculous if I were to claim that the ideology surrounding basic laws for society is of no value because laws are required to force compliance.

    Parents of children play a critical role: making good choices for their children because their children are not yet mature. There is nothing shady or unethical about that.

    I can also say that the LDS church has offered great value in my life. It is a source of peace, happiness, and fulfillment.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Aug. 18, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    I have to go back to when I was your mom's age. I chose to be inactive then. No church, no young woman and young men for my two kids. No seminary, no institute for them either. My son didn't go on a mission. My son and daughter have as yet not had a temple marriage. I was so sad to read your letter. My son and daughter didn't even get the choice to go to church. Please think about the gift your parents have given you. It's one you will treasure when you are an adult and have children of your own. Ask yourself; "What would I be doing if I weren't in church? Is that something your Heavenly Father would want you to be doing? It's hard being a parent and knowing the right thing to do. I think your parents have done the right thing. Be patient with them and remember who you are.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    Why do I have a feeling that a lot of the people who criticize this teen for considering other options would consider a teen in another church considering other options a "missionary opportunity"?

    Should missionaries not baptize any converts below the age of 18 if their parents disagree? At least be consistent...

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Aug. 18, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    First off Amy, I have raised five sons. I do remember what being a teenager is like and I am well in to the half century mark. Let me give you some fatherly advice. Parents are given a stewardship over you. Your agency is in trusted to them till your of age to be emancipated your parents have the legal right to raise you how they see fit. Second you been around the sun a total of what 16 times? Your parents have been down roads you have not. I as a father am not here to be my sons friends or to make life "happy" for them. I am there to show them the way that has brought me the most rewarding, the most happiness and peace in my life. Which is going to church. My rule is this go to church till 18. So far all of them have served full time missions. Last you need to stop being insolent.

  • lars Pittsburgh, PA
    Aug. 18, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    @atl134

    From the LDS handbook for missionaries (it's available publicly online):

    "Before you can teach and baptize an investigator who is under legal age, you must obtain permission of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s), preferably in writing."

  • Samuel B Martineau Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    atl134:

    The church's position in this regard is incredibly consistent just as you recommend. Missionaries are not allowed to baptize children under the age of 18 without parental consent. It would appear that we agree on this point.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 3:19 p.m.

    I stopped going to church when I was 16, as I realized I was physically bigger than my mom. She could no longer make me go. 20 years later, I haven't been back. I am a very happy individual and I will argue I have greater moral values than the majority of the people from my old ward. You don't need religion to be happy, to be compassionate, to know love and joy. You just need to think for yourself and follow your own path.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    @lars and Samuel B. Martineau

    Thank you for that information.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 18, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    I am rather surprised to read all the "follow your own path" and “think for yourself” comments. Amy is clearly already thinking for herself and considering her own path. And that is good. God loves a sincere question.

    A testimony is not gained by simply following your parents (certainly not for me and even for my own children). It is something you have to gain on your own. As parents we hope that the experiences at church and home will eventually lead to the questions every convert must ask for themselves. And the answers they can only gain alone.

    There is little doubt her parents want to do the right thing (most do). The question is how and what should the requirements be of living at home?

    I hope God will bless this young lady with good insight and a strong desire to know for herself the truthfulness of the gospel. I think these two articles show she already has some of these things. I hope God will bless her parents to know best how to shepherd her through the transition to adulthood and that they will find joy together.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Aug. 18, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    People need to take care of their own salvation and not judge this girl. I love being LDS, I enjoy church. I will not judge another person for not wanting to go. I would encourage this girl to look for the good that comes from going to church. Once she is on her own, she can make her own decisions.

    The people with harsh comments are only going to push her away from church and the Gospel. Do you all really want to answer to God for that? Mind your own business.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    Very cool response by this Amy. I hope she finds happiness.

    And the more I read Angela's articles, the more I am so impressed with this woman! She gives such sage advice and handles things so wonderfully. She's a great example for me.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Aug. 18, 2013 9:25 p.m.

    Samuel B.,

    Be careful, you might shake atl134's world view. Burdening him with the truth and facts might be more than he/she can handle.

    With that caution in mind, I know several people that wanted to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as teenagers. Their parents objected and it was frustrating to them to have to wait. They eventually joined the Church once they reached 18. In retrospect they were very grateful for the Church's policy because it reduced the strife and conflict with their parents in the long run.

    The Church is very consistent in its position regarding the relationship between minor children and their parents (regardless of their religious affiliation).

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Aug. 18, 2013 9:29 p.m.

    JohnJacob,

    You seem to be forgetting that Amy asked for people's opinions. Thus, she made it their business. I agree with you that harsh comments are not productive. Perhaps you might consider the harshness of the admonition "mind your own business."

    Just saying.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2013 10:15 p.m.

    Schwa:
    Going to church isn't just about learning moral values. If you are a practicing Latter-day Saint, it is about receiving the ordinances (religious rites) that God requires, and making the covenants (sacred promises) to follow His plan. Yes, moral values can be learned in more places than just church, but there is more to the picture. If you want to be a pilot, you must follow the path of learning the material and taking the check rides. If you want to be a lawyer, you have to pass the bar exam, even if you have studied law for years. There is a specified path that God outlines, also.

  • IMAPatriot2 PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 4:15 a.m.

    Who really cares what a sixteen year old thinks? When they can make their own way in the world then their opinions might mean something. Until then, follow the rules and try to become a contributing citizen in your home and community. Adulthood, with all of it's responsibilities and opportunities, will come soon enough.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    If one chooses to stop going to church while on this earth, they will live there life to what they feel is right.
    Will they have missed blessings? Well if I believe in the gospel like a do, I would say yes.
    Heaven is going to be a great blessing to everyone, church goers or not.
    Many answers up there.

  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    As a couple of my kids became teenages and started to not want to go to church I gave them to choice to stay home and do choirs (mow lawn, weed garden), since they didn't feel they needed to keep the Sabath day holy, or come to church with the family. They chose to come to church. Life doesn't let you choose your actions and the out come. At my home laying in bed all day wasn't an option.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 19, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    fish8

    Of course life lets you choose your actions and the outcome. I choose to go fishing with my family every sunday instead of go to church. I have never once regretted that decision, and my kids would say the same.

  • noellecampbell ,
    Aug. 19, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    Schwa, who, when he was 16, used his physical body to intimidate and not cooperate with his mother. We call this abuse, whereas making a child go to church is not considered abuse. WHy is that, do you suppose?

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    Aug. 19, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    Morals.. what are morals? Is it moral for two people who are not married to live together? The morals of our society are not in line with the Gospel morals at all. Try being moral when you are single and dating and not having sex with the other person until marriage.. now that is having morals. No.. our society does NOT teach that. Having babies is ok if your not married. So is aborting them. Some speak of words like love and joy. They are not the same meaning as when the gospel is applied to them. Society has perverted the meaning of words like love, joy, and happiness. It will be in the eternal worlds that the true meaning of these words will be understood. Then those that say they were "happy" in their lifestyle will change their tune and will one day proclaim.. Wickedness.. never was happiness. You can be compassionate.. and still be wicked.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Aug. 20, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    So an eight year old is old enough to make eternal covenants while a sixteen year old is too young to decide for herself whether she wants to attend church or not?

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    I have read response after sanctimonious response to not only the first article, but this one as well. Even after "Amy" followed up with a report that she has found peace and somewhat come around to her parents' way of thinking, the accusations continue to flow like wine. Twice, my objection to Amy being accused of being "unchaste" was rejected before I was able to modify it to something more pleasing to the moderators. I guess that the inflammatory accusation was not considered a "personal attack" but my vehement objection was. I have read comment after comment where belief in unseen deity was confused with morality, work ethic, gratitude, personal responsibility, respect for one's parents, self discipline, etc.
    Here are some facts: Not everybody needs religion in order to be moral. Not everybody will "come around" with age. I'm in my late 30s. I can name countless people much older than me who reject all the world's religions (instead of merely 99.99999% of them). Moreover, rejection of organized religion is not necessarily synonymous with ignorance, and entitlement complex, disrespect, fickleness, laziness, lack of patriotism, inability to be "chaste", etc. (I'm sure I've left things out.)

  • ARA5353 Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 20, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    Amy, I hope that you have reach some resolution with your parents on this. In my own case, I was 13 when I began taking the missionary lessons. My older brother had been a member for 2 years and he had some bitter arguments with my Episcopalian father. He finally got permission to be baptized, but my father would not have let me take the same course if he had not seen the good in what going to the LDS church was doing for my brother. I was baptized by my brother on my 14th birthday and have never regretted my decision to become a Latter Day Saint. I know that a lot of my father's opposition was based on a lack of knowledge about the Church. Eventually he and my mom were baptized as well and we were sealed together as a family. This is something that I treasure and I hope that you will come to value it as well. Your parents love you and so does Heavenly Father.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Aug. 21, 2013 11:29 p.m.

    They are your parents. You live with them. I think them making you is only going to distance you further, but every parent can muck it up on their own.

    I wish for you church was an hour a week and religious education done or another hour. I find it interesting you are considered an adult when you got baptized at eight, yet you are not an adult in the church allowed not to go. I don't understand why LDS church on Sunday means 3 hours. Then addition youth activities, then seminary for five hours. With morning prayer you are spending 10 hours a week during the school year at something church related. Only not all the activiites are worship and study of scripture. You were allowed to decide to be LDS at eight but not allowed to decide NOT to be LDS at 16? No wonder you are confused. If a friend of yours wanted to be LDS but was raised in another faith your folks would be offering to take that child to the LDS church and help them participate in activiites. Would your parents allow you to investigate as well another faith? Double standard.

  • Kazbert VAIL, AZ
    Aug. 22, 2013 1:00 p.m.

    NCFA was upset by some of the comments? This blog can be read and commented by anyone on the planet with an Internet connection. Of course there can be some negative comments. I'd suggest ignoring those and focusing on the postive ones.

  • oldschool Farmington, UT
    Aug. 24, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    Satan's plan was to force people to do good. God rejected that idea. Today many people have adopted Satan's plan. It doesn't work. Forcing people to do anything against their will is evil. We kept this in mind when raising our children and constantly pointed out to them that they could reject or accept our advice but that they had the freedom about whether they wanted to live the gospel. Once or twice they chose to stay home from church, but because they had the freedom to choose, they didn't feel as though they had to rebel to gain that freedom, and they went back to church the following week and went weekly after that. Today each of our children is an adult with children of their own. They each have unique parenting styles, but each child knows that they are loved and encouraged to do the right thing but have the freedom to make mistakes. I suspect that all will continue to strive to abide by gospel principles when they become totally independent.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:41 p.m.

    Nobody should be forced to go to church, but I would guess that there may be a reason she doesn't want to go and find out what it is. It may be simple to fix. I have family members who never went to church and some of them are more spiritual than those who did attend. I always hate it when they say that someone is in active as if they are not as good. The one bad thing about religion is how it leads people to judge others! Don't force someone because they may feel resentment and give it up permenantly

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Sept. 8, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Well, I'm glad she made the right choice in the end, regardless. I may have been one of the ones who responded to this harshly, but the main thrust of my harshness was towards her parents, for robbing her of her agency, rather than towards her herself.