Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents encourage religion beliefs and practices in their homes. There are numerous religious principles that are important, but the impact of parents practicing what they preach is essential. Religious leaders and social scientists both say that there is a connection between religious beliefs and successful marriages and families.
In September 1995 the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to the women of the Church and then to the world. This document proclaims that “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” Although, I realize that all these principles are important, this blog post will focus on faith in Jesus Christ.
Prophets, Apostles, and other leaders teach that parents are commanded to teach their children to have faith in Jesus Christ and that faith is more than simple belief. Faith is an action word and requires us to do something. They also teach that faith is a gift from God that develops with exercise. In addition, they teach that faith is the opposite of fear, and they cannot both be present. If our faith in Jesus Christ is strong enough, it will chase away fear, doubt, and disbelief.
Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy made the following comment while delivering a talk titled “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As parents, we have been commanded to teach our children “to understand the doctrine of … faith in Christ the Son of the living God” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25). …
There is no other thing in which we can have absolute assurance. There is no other foundation in life that can bring the same peace, joy, and hope. In uncertain and difficult times, faith is truly a spiritual gift worthy of our utmost efforts. We can give our children education, lessons, athletics, the arts, and material possessions, but if we do not give them faith in Christ, we have given little.
Teaching faith in Jesus Christ is essential to preparing our children to face the world. However, the counsel to teach faith comes from sources other than religious leaders. Even though there is no “proof” that faith makes stronger marriages and families, social scientists have found correlations that it does.
There are many studies that show connections between faith and health – both physical and mental – in individuals. There are also studies that show a connection between faith practices and infidelity. People in happy marriages who are frequently involved in their religious community are less likely to be unfaithful to their spouse or to become involved with pornography. This finding does not hold true if the marriage is unhappy or only one spouse is involved in the religious community. In this case, religious involvement can lead to more conflict and unhappiness.
Studies also show that religious involvement influences whether or not a woman wants to have children and shapes her attitudes and behaviors toward them. Religious involvement also influences a father’s attitudes and how he interacts with his children. Faith grows as couples and families participate in the outward expressions of faith, such as prayer, scripture study, attendance at religious meetings, and sacred traditions.
We have counsel from religious leaders encouraging us to strengthen our families with faith in Jesus Christ. We have researchers in family studies who show a correlation between religious involvement and successful marriages and families. Therefore, it seems safe to say that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations with faith in Jesus Christ and involvement in our religious community.