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NONIE - I joined the church in 1981 at age 30 and I had 3 children at the time. My 2 oldest daughters joined when I did. They were 10 and 12. My son joined in 1983 at age 9 and my youngest daughter joined in 1996 at age 9. They each made their own choice to join. It seemed to be a very happy time for me and my children. Growing up in the south there was not a lot of LDS influence outside the church. No other family members of mine or the other side were members so we received a lot of negative influence especially from my dad and grandparents. We were not always active but did not attend any other church. They are all grown now and have left the church (not officially) and have joined other denominations. I am sometimes sick inside because I was not born into the church and able to raise my children from day 1 in the church. I feel so responsible for not doing a better job at teaching them so they would not leave the church or getting an earlier start even for myself. I know there is always hope and when you teach your children correct principles God promises that they will come back. I fear I didnít do enough when I had the chance. I suppose I just want words of encouragement. I love and enjoy your website and really feel you have a very deep understanding of the gospel and really relate to how you put things into perspective. This issue really depresses me often and have a hard time coping. I am the only member in my family. All this being said, what would you have to say to me? Suggest some comforting scripture please.
JOEL - You might think you didn't do enough for your children, but it was certainly a lot more than most kids in the world get. They still have those teachings in their minds from their youth which are still a part of who they are now. Some day they may reflect on those happy times they had as children and will want it for their own children. That very thing happened to my own daughter. One thing we can't forget about is a person's own agency to choose what they do and believe. God did say, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Prov 22: 6) But they still have their agency to choose. Now that they are grown up it is they and not you who is responsible for their salvation. All you can do now is just be a good example of gospel living, show them how happy you are being part of the gospel, and continue to love them no matter what choices they make.
There's a good talk called "Waiting for the Prodigal" by By Elder Brent H. Nielson Of the Seventy, who talks about a sister of his who left the church and eventually came back.
"As we sought heavenly guidance as to how we might properly respond to her, it became evident that we had to follow the example of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. Susan had made her choice, and we had to figuratively let her goóbut not without her knowing and feeling our sincere love for her. And so, with renewed love and kindness, we watched and we waited."
(Elder Brent H. Nielson, Waiting for the Prodigal April 2015)
Another thing to consider is that if your children really didn't get a fair chance to receive the gospel, God will not deny them the opportunity sometime in the future according to their desires and agency (D&C 137: 7-10).
Your Bishop has been set apart to receive inspiration for helping his members, so you should have some conversations with him about how you feel. Take care and don't be too hard on yourself about this.