To paraphrase what Bednar famously said: ‘children need to act, and be not acted upon’. Taking his words and running with it, did the church and its culture make it harder or easier to parent your kids?

I would say I had a pretty good relationship with my parents when I was in primary, and again when I moved out. Like most teens though our communication took a nose dive when I hit puberty. It didn’t help that we lived in a difficult ward at the time. My senior year was the worst part of it.

I felt completely lost with no idea what my life after graduation held. During YW I was told I would get married and have babies, and due to the distaste I had for such a message—I was not going to be a child bride—it’s easy to see why I didn’t enjoy Sunday, let alone Wednesday, in the stake center. Mom and Dad were adamant on church attendance from day one. The only times I recall skipping church were when I was sick or we were on a weekend getaway.

We didn’t hold FHE regularly, but it seemed roughly around the times of conference my dad would get on an FHE high and want them every Monday. Usually by the first of May (or November) Dad would settle down and we’d go back to the ‘only when the missionaries are here’ routine. My brother and I were busy on Mondays anyway so FHE wasn’t a big loss for us with band and work respectively taking up our evening time.

One could say the reason for my difficulty in finding comfort at home was because the extremism taught on Sunday was not supplemented with common sense on Mondays (I’m 99.9% positive that’s the only reason I’ll be having FHE at our house regularly). Thus, in a teen’s mind, it seemed as if my parents were backing each and every doctrinal/cultural marker I disagreed with by remaining silent. If I couldn’t go to church to seek likeminded, I also couldn’t go home.

The other conundrum I faced was when the Strength for Youth pamphlet took over parental rights. I didn’t learn how to dress appropriately from my parents as they didn’t create the rules—the culture did that for them. I also didn’t learn about the risks of drinking, and how to do it safely (in case my mom reads this: I have not drank one drop so far) because it’s part of the Word of Wisdom not to drink. Sex Ed I learned in middle school, and again in high school, but no one taught me about the emotions that go into it. Rape and Molestation, SVU taught me that one, how to choose your friends my parents never touched because the Strength for Youth said to seek people I aspire to be like. I eventually befriended nice atheists that silently understood I was naive.

To be honest the only thing my parents taught me that was not part of church was breast development, acne, and periods. Those three subjects were covered through the All About You by American Girl book. I was a reader and mom took the right stance in giving me a book than an uncomfortable lecture about body development.

From a parental standpoint, it helps to be a part of an organization that shares your views. It is hard however to prevent this from replacing your parental dues. How did you prevent the culture from taking over as you were trying to guide your teens? Was there anything you corrected your children on that was learned at church?

From a child’s standpoint, it is hard to be a part of an organization that is at odds with the culture you are experiencing. I could not agree, and still cannot agree, with the seminary teacher’s stance on gay marriage because it went against my gay friends. What did you do to set yourself apart from the things you disagreed with? How did you handle juggling a relationship with your parents and a relationship with your ward members?