My thoughts have been turned towards the parents of the wayward recently. I am often humbled those who feel that I am in any way qualified to answer any of your questions regarding addiction. In all reality I am not. I simply go by what it is that I have experienced, my testimony of the Lords healing power, my studies, and the things which I feel the Lord has inspired me to express. I have recently been approached by parents for guidance, understanding, for that pat on the shoulder.....some comfort and knowledge that they are not terrible parents. For them, I post this today. This is what I have found...
"You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find His sheep. They were His before they were yours- long before He entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as He loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fullness of knowledge brings the fullness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared - and he never taught more comforting doctrine - that 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 in 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." Orson F Whitney
Boyd K Packer also taught, " The measure of our success as parents will not solely rest on how our children turn out. That judgement 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 and 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 will one day 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."
I have not experienced the heartache associated with wayward children and can't fully comprehend what it is that many of you feel or suffer. The anguish you must feel so personally is beyond my grasp. I have however, seen loved ones in this circumstance, and have seen the healing power the Lord has. It is my testimony that through our own faithfulness, through our own obedience to the Gospel, we are a form of salvation for our children. What I do know from experience is that when we give up on our loved ones with addictions, they to surrender and give up as well. We can place appropriate boundaries and still provide support and love. To the parents, I love you, my heart aches with you and for you, and it is my hope that you in turn can use this experience to uplift and support and provide hope for another in these same circumstances.