“Because of the Example That Ye Have Set Before Them”

Church Educational System

Children constantly learn from the examples set by those around them. Unfortunately, an unrighteous example can have a destructive influence on the young. Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the Seventy cautioned, “A word to adults and parents: Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s father [Oscar Walter McConkie] counseled that when we violate any commandment, however small, our youth may choose to violate a commandment later on in life perhaps 10 times or 100 times worse and justify it on the basis of the small commandment we broke” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 15; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 14).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles admonished parents of the Church to demonstrate personal faith and righteousness to their children:

“I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful, heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.
“Not long ago Sister Holland and I met a fine young man who came in contact with us after he had been roaming around through the occult and sorting through a variety of Eastern religions, all in an attempt to find religious faith. His father, he admitted, believed in nothing whatsoever. But his grandfather, he said, was actually a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ‘But he didn’t do much with it,’ the young man said. ‘He was always pretty cynical about the Church.’ From a grandfather who is cynical to a son who is agnostic to a grandson who is now looking desperately for what God had already once given his family! …
“To lead a child (or anyone else!), even inadvertently, away from faithfulness, away from loyalty and bedrock belief simply because we want to be clever or independent is license no parent nor any other person has ever been given. …
“Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can. Keep the covenants your children know you have made. Give priesthood blessings. And bear your testimony! Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2003, 91–92; or Ensign, May 2003, 86).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)