Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Traditions of their Fathers

Besides reading from the Bible I also try to read a page or two from the Book of Mormon every day. Tonight my reading was in Alma Chapter 17. Here Ammon and his brothers are teaching the gospel to the Lamanites, a blood-thirsty people raised from childhood to despise humanity, especially the Nephites. Verse 9 has an interesting description of this missionary work. "And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct."

Speaking of "traditions of their fathers" tonight I endured one of my teenage son's rants. He was going on about how hard his life was because of his parent's mistakes. (Since he's adopted I took no offense. Indeed his life has been challenging.) I didn't really know how to respond to him. Sure he's suffered because of his parents issues. Sure he is who he is today in large part because of them and what they did to him and what they did not do for him, what they didn't teach him. In short his father's traditions screwed him up.

But now he knows better. To some extent it's causing him even more trouble because he recognizes that he needs to change, but change is hard. The Book of Mormon recounts powerful conversion stories, wicked nations changed because one man stood up to the traditions of his father. Indeed these are inspirational. I am certain that my son can break the downward spiral that his nature and nurture have dealt him. As he does he will save entire generations to come from this negative force that has plagued him. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. I wished we got more of the details around the post conversion trials many of these changed men experienced. For surely their life was not all perfection just because they found the light.


  1. I suppose there's some indication in the Book of Mormon about the post-conversion trials of Alma and the sons of Mosiah. I for one hope that your son decides to do seminary next year so we can all study the Book of Mormon together. I think he would love it. Even if it is 6 am, I think there's an added strength from pursuing the things of the Lord every morning with others who have the same convictions and beliefs.

    Do you remember Elder Holland's talk "Cast not away therefore your confidence"? I think that would be perfect for Jake right now. Give it a read and see what you think. I've returned to this talk several times over the last ten years myself. I can't figure out how to link to it, but it's in the March 2000 Ensign. Enjoy.