The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 1

The Gospel Blesses Families

The Missionaries Will Teach...

The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families with spiritual strength and stronger relationships with each other. These blessings are available both now and in the hereafter.  Furthermore, the gospel provides help with the challenges and concerns we now face.

Families are ordained by God.  That is why the family is the single most important social unit in time and in eternity.  The reason God established families is so that His children will have a place to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, prepare for eternal life, and thereby be happy. The best place to learn, teach, and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ is in the home.  If homes are established on gospel principles, it will be a place of refuge and safety.  The Spirit of God can abide in such a home, blessing the family members with peace, joy, and happiness.  Through prophets in every dispensation, God reveals His plan of happiness for individuals and families.

Some Additional Thoughts...

The promises that the missionaries offer in this principle are enticing.  What could be better than the desire for family happiness, except a God-designed plan for family happiness? But I worry that this plan isn't based upon reality, and that depending upon the unique characteristics of you and your family, it will prove to be ineffectual, setting you up for frustration, disappointment and heartache. As an example of what I mean, consider the following story that was shared on a message board:

"Our families have known for some time now that we no longer believe in Mormonism, and no one on my wife's side has said much about it, and our relationships have continued on without a hitch. We were basically pleased with this outcome.

"But it recently came to our attention that my wife's mother has since been racked with feelings of guilt and anguish. "Where did I go wrong?" "I failed as a mother." "If only we'd had Family Home Evening a few more times." "We won't be a forever family" Etc. And apparently she cries quite a bit.

"She feels she has failed as a parent. She didn't; she was a great mother, and both my wife and I are grateful for the love and dedication with which she raised her children.

"Before this, she was very proud of her daughter, and with good reason. She raised her to be kind, smart, fun, considerate. She earned an advanced degree, , has three beautiful, well-behaved children. She's never given her the slightest concern. (Plus, she got married in the temple to a handsome wink.gif RM who loves her.)

"And now she suddenly feels that this child who she thought had turned out so well has been deceived by the Dark One and she and her family are slowly being led down to hell.

"(So far, leaving Mormonism hasn't turned us into beer-swilling-drug-addicts, or bitter, mean-spirited apostates, or even black-market goat-pornographers. Perhaps that comes later. Or just leaving 'the Church' is bad enough.) 

"Anyway, I realize not everyone on the board will agree as to the cause of my mother-in-law's sorrow, but I am open to any helpful advice about how we could help her through this.

"Getting her to realize Mormonism isn't true would do it, but that doesn't seem likely. (I'm open to ideas, but doubt we will try this route.)

"Likewise, our family gaining a testimony and returning to God's True Church would also do it. That also seems unlikely. (We feel like we are doing what is right for our family and feel like we have been blessed for doing so. I know a lot of you disagree, but it honestly is how we feel.)

"I guess we are hoping to somehow get her to see that maybe, just maybe, it isn't Satan leading us away, that maybe that God works in mysterious ways, and this is what we need right now for our progression.

"Thanks in advance for any thoughtful responses..."

Mormonism does seem to work quite well for some people.  But others are intrinsically incapable of believing it or just aren't edified by the lifestyle.  If people in this second category are in your family, then Mormonism could do more to divide your family than to unite it. 


How to Raise Perfect Children, some thoughts on Mormon parenting.


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If you have a question or would like to discuss these topics, I suggest that you go to a Mormon-related bulletin board (here are some recommendations). If you'd like to contact me with comments or feedback, you may send an email to