Mosiah 27 usually causes young people to ask questions about those that they love who are not on the gospel path. I like to emphasize that the Lord does not judge us until the Final Judgment, and so it behooves us to love all of Heavenly Father’s children, while petitioning the Lord for those we love who have strayed.
I am so grateful that the Lord is patient with me! The following quotes come the September 2002 Ensign. I have shared these quotes with many over the years and have found them to extend hope! I do not understand all of this completely, but I trust in the power of the sealing ordinance and have hope that the Lord will continue to reach out to all those who have strayed. I know that he has reached out to me in my life in my shortcomings. A scripture which embodies this sentiment is as follows, “How merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people; but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (Jacob 6:4).
Joseph Smith, First President of the Church (1805-1844)
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.” 1
Brigham Young (1801–77) Second President of the Church
“Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.” 2
Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) Fifth President of the Church
“If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity.” 3
“The measure of our success as parents … will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.
“It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
“It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled. …
“We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them.” 4
1. Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110.
2. Brigham Young, as quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:90–91.
3. Lorenzo Snow, in Collected Discourses, comp. Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. [1987–92], 3:364.
4. President Boyd K. Packer, “Our Moral Environment,” Ensign, May 1992, 68.