Ken says it best; having children really puts your life into perspective.
So many questions continued eating at me:
How could I ever expect my beautiful children to do exactly as I am doing, like the Primary song, "Do As I'm Doing," conditions them?
How was I going to force my innocent children to listen and obey everything the church taught, like the Primary song, "Nephi's Courage," conditions them?
I knew that Ken and I were on the right path, but what would I do if my children ever fell off that path?
What if they did not want to get baptized at age eight or attend seminary or go on a mission, like the Primary songs, "When I Am Baptized and I Hope They Call Me On a Mission," conditions them?
What if they did not want to get sealed (married) in the temple or do temple work or choose an LDS spouse, like the Primary song, "I Love to See the Temple," conditions them?
What if they did not wear garments or pay 10% tithing?
What if they did not do their home teaching or hold callings in the church?
It finally hit me that I had no control over any of these answers, and I had no right to judge my children on their choice to follow or not.
I can teach my children right from wrong and teach them what I have learned throughout my life. But they are free to make their own choices just as everyone else. They have every right to question doctrines just as I did. What if they reject the LDS gospel and decide to resign from the church? What if they, too, receive an answer that the LDS church is not true? This would put me in a terrible position. I would have no eternal family in the celestial kingdom. I was completely uncomfortable forcing the LDS church upon my children. They are their own person and they have every right to choose for themselves what they are going to believe just as I do.
As a mother full of unconditional love, I was unable to teach my children that they would have to obey the LDS doctrines in order to live in the celestial kingdom with me, Ken, and God. I could not force myself to teach them that doctrine. That is plain and simple harshness that I cannot be any part of. I know how much I love my children, and I am certain that Christ loves them infinitely more than I do. There is no way that HE will not accept them if they are not Mormon or do not follow all of the "rules" to get to heaven. I just could not do that to my sweet, innocent children. HE expects nothing of them besides Faith and Love, and neither should I. I just could not find it in myself to tell them that they will not be in the celestial kingdom with me, Ken, and God if they fall off the LDS path. This is one of the most important reasons that I cannot promote or agree with the LDS church. I believe that is incredibly too much pressure for a child - especially a Child of God.
I have so much love for Ken and my children. My family means the world to me. It is incomprehensible to me how much Christ loves my husband and my children if I love them as much as I do. I never knew unconditional love while I was a Mormon. It took me leaving to be able to give or receive unconditional love. Now that I truly know unconditional love, I know my love does not even compare to the love that Christ has for each one of us. That fills my heart with joy!
* Incomprehensible does not mean unreachable. It means we can never comprehend God's love for us in our human capacity. Nor can we comprehend heaven or how much HE has done for us. As a Mormon, I felt like the church had HIM completely figured out. I was not comfortable feeling like I could comprehend God.
I would never expect my children to do everything as I have. If my children choose the wrong path or do not follow all of the church teachings, I would not love them any less. I would never want them to think that I would love them any less. I would always accept them into my home. I would allow them to live with me for eternity no matter what they believe.
Before children, it didn't seem to matter how often I went to the temple or how "perfect" I was. If I did make a mistake or sin, then I would ruin my chance to live in the celestial kingdom with God and my family. Then my two amazing Blessings were born into this world. I could never teach them that if they do not live up to my expectations that they will not be worthy to be in my presence. I could never allow them to think that no matter how hard they tried, they may never be good enough to live with me. This kind of expectation on a child is absolutely ridiculous and non-Biblical.
Kerri Bodie is able to express what is very clear to me, yet I seem to be having difficulty putting the words together to make any kind of sense. She describes it better in her video than I ever could.
See this link to Kerri Bodie's story on iamanexmormon.com
March 26, 2011
“Families are Together Forever. My name is Kerri Bodie and I’m an Ex Mormon.”
* I hope that works as I am a little computer illiterate...
Matthew 18:3Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (NKJV)
Luke 20:34-36Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (NKJV)
1 John 5:12-13He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (NKJV)
John 1:12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (NKJV)
Galatians 3:26For you are all sons of God through Faith in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
My unanswered question was:
How could one of us live eternally in the celestial kingdom (highest heaven) while one of us could possibly live in the terrestrial kingdom (2nd level of heaven)? The reality is that could be the path one chooses, seeing as none of us have any control over what path another chooses.
This question weighed entirely too heavy on my heart. I was initially devastated when I received the answer that I could not handle the thought of not living eternally with my family, yet I am overjoyed to find the truth that we will all be together in God's presence!