Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Unto the latest generation

I'm making my way through Richard Bushman's new biography, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. In writing the story leading up to the First Vision, Bushman tells us about the Prophets forebears.
"Grandfather Smith had been a Congregationalist, a leading townsman, a man of property. Asael broke those religious moorings as surely as he left the family's farm. He was drawn to Universalism, read Tom Paine, and repudiated evangelical religion. Joseph Sr. was even more adrift. In the first generation, Asael experimented; in the second, Joseph Sr. was lost." (p. 26)

I was reminded of a talk by Elder Holland. He said,
"Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised when their children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance. If in matters of faith and belief children are at risk of being swept downstream by this intellectual current or that cultural rapid, we as their parents must be more certain than ever to hold to anchored, unmistakable moorings clearly recognizable to those of our own household. It won'’t help anyone if we go over the edge with them, explaining through the roar of the falls all the way down that we really did know the Church was true and that the keys of the priesthood really were lodged there but we just didn'’t want to stifle anyone's freedom to think otherwise."

Of course, Joseph Sr. nor Asael before him really thought they had something solid to hold on to. So much more important, then, was the Restoration through Joseph Jr. Bushman writes, "If there was a motive for Joseph Smith Jr.'s revelations, it was to satisfy his family's religious want and, above all, to meet the need of his oft-defeated, unmoored father."


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  • Sometimes it scares me just how tender and vulnerable our children are--and I don't mean physically. It is so important for us to not give them more than they can handle. I guess the principle of the wheat and the tares comes into play here. It is okay to talk about obscure and little-known facts with others (Joseph Smith practicing polygamy, for example), but we have to be careful not to damage young faith.

    By Blogger Keryn, at 10/22/2005 8:01 PM  

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