Families vs. Dynasties

Image result for dynasty

Dynasties are all about appearances. And shoulder pads.

A disturbing trend surfaced in the last year or so in which parents wrote letters to their young adult children explaining that if they did not stay active in the church, they would be cut from the inheritance.  These letters were shared in various Mormon internet groups. At roughly the same time, LDS Philanthropies published a video featuring a father who said that if his sons continued to follow church teachings, they would keep their inheritance, but otherwise, he would simply donate his money to LDS Philanthropies.  The video was subsequently removed due to backlash.  It’s an interesting parenting trend, some might say alarming.

First of all, my own view on inheritances is that nobody should count on it.  If you are living so close to the edge that the inheritance will make or break you, maybe you should be focusing on more sustainable sources of income.  Furthermore, it is the right of any individual to donate their earthly goods as they see fit.  And yet, it is unsavory to imagine parents using their inheritance as a bribe to control their children.  It also seems like a recipe for hypocrisy, if one’s children are encouraged to pretend to be living one way for the benefit of the parents, but in reality feel differently.  Do some parents really only love their children if those children do as the parents wish?  That doesn’t feel like love.  That’s something more like a dynasty than a family.

A while back, I finished watching The Tudors, the Showtime series about the reign of Henry VIII, the notorious wife killing monarch. The theme of his entire kingship was his insecurity without a male heir.  His father won the crown in battle, overthrowing his cousin, and then Henry VII’s first son Arthur died before becoming king, leaving his second son in the position of power.  Henry VIII was obsessed with having both an heir and a spare.  All that mattered was preserving the Tudor dynasty, and to achieve that goal (or when they failed to produce the desired male heir) he dispatched wife after wife, divorcing or executing them.  For all that effort, his only son died soon after his father, leaving the Tudor dynasty to his daughters in an era in which women did not usually inherit crowns.  Throughout his reign, he used the threat of bastardizing or disinheriting his daughters as a tool to manipulate and control them when he didn’t like their views or felt they were going to act contrary to his will after his death.

Henry VIII’s story illustrates the difference between a dynasty and a family.  A family, at least as we talk about it at church, is a group of related people who love and rely on one another; a dynasty is about power and inheritance, obligation and control.  Our temple rites use the symbolism and language of the monarchy, putting each person in a position of thinking of him or herself as a future king or queen, someone with progeny reaching into the eternities.  When these ties are bonds of love and service, they are a beautiful expression of Christian charity, a proving ground to learn and practice our skills of empathy, service, and patience.  When we instead use this language toward self-aggrandizement or to view our children as an object, a blessing we receive for our righteousness, there is a temptation to try to manipulate them, shame them or push the filial bonds to the breaking point with fear-motivated, self-serving acts of control.  Even if this is done under the guise of keeping a child on the strait and narrow path, when we act out of our own feelings of insecurity about our legacy, that’s self-serving.  It isn’t love.  That’s a dynasty, not a family.

Several years ago we visited the Capuchin catacombs in Sicily.  It’s an odd and somewhat gruesome tourist attraction.  The catacombs display the corpses of hundreds, possibly thousands of people, their faces turned to face onlookers to remind them that they too will die.  According to our guide, the intent of many of these individuals was to provide their children with a stark reminder that the grave would come soon enough for them too.  Scaring your kids straight from beyond the grave.  Apparently, Catholic guilt knows no bounds.  But Catholics don’t corner the market on parental guilt and a desire to control the choices of offspring.  Anyone who has had a child knows the temptation to take the reins when we see them heading in the wrong direction.

One of the interesting observations Richard Bushman makes about Joseph Smith in Rough Stone Rolling is that Joseph lusted for kin, not necessarily for sexual liaisons.  He wished to join himself with others in the church through the sealing process.  He had a vision of one large network of believers.  One reason Bushman argues this is that Joseph’s additional marriages were not necessarily fruitful.  He didn’t seem to be amassing a large pool of offspring as a crowning achievement.

Brigham Young’s vision of polygamy took a decided turn toward the dynastic.  He even boasted that he didn’t know the names of all of his wives.  He viewed the blessings of the endowment being the Abrahamic blessing of having progeny as numerous as the sands of the sea, and if you ceased to have progeny, you were damned.  Celestial glory meant increase, and increase didn’t mean progress so much as more children.  The term “believing blood” was coined to refer to the offspring from prominent polygamous dynasties.  Those with so-called believing blood were considered somehow superior to others, either genetically or through their faithful upbringing.

One corporate training I went through years ago talked about the failure of leadership when leaders rely on control to get results.  As soon as the controlling leader is gone, so is the compliance.  Resentment is also a common byproduct of this kind of leadership.  You get the illusion of the result you wanted, but the minute you are gone, the relieved underlings immediately go about doing what they wanted to do anyway.  The only true leadership is to explain a rationale, influence, persuade, listen, and collaborate with those in your charge, seeing them as rational actors in their own right and helping to promote their best instincts.

What motivates parents to try to control their children through the use of inheritance funds?  The Doctrine & Covenants puts it this way:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen.  No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—  Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death. (D&C 121: 39-44)

The ending “that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death” isn’t referring to one’s faithfulness to the gospel, but to the loyalty one feels toward the other person.  We can reprove betimes with “sharpness” (which in the context of the era meant “clarity” rather than “harshness” as the word is more typically used now), only so long as we make it clear through our subsequent actions that our love is stronger than the cords of death, that our love is not conditional, that our love is unbreakable; in terms of family relationships, this means that we love our child regardless of our ability to control their actions either during our lifetime or after.

This is really important because it’s the whole point of the gospel.  We can’t love the law more than we love our own children.  We can’t love our legacy more than our children.  Both of these are really just examples of loving ourselves–our reputation or our importance to future generations–more than we love our children.  In addition to not being able to take your money with you when you die, you also can’t dictate the choices of your offspring.

The only influence we have is that which comes through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned.

Discuss.

**Originally posted at Wheat & Tares.

Comments

  1. Kevin Barney says:

    It’s remarkable to me that anyone could have possibly thought that LDS Philanthropies video was a good idea. It’s like telling people that if it’s a choice between feeding your family and paying tithing, pay the tithing. Apparently in their heads this sounds super faithful, but to me it screams crazy cakes.

  2. Brother Sky says:

    Agree with Kevin Barney’s assessment. The line between faithful and batsh*t crazy is razor thin in the Mormon Church. Also, I believe parents (and everyone else) can make whatever choices they want to concerning their money, inheritances, etc. But dangling the carrot of money in front of someone who’s struggling with church or who has already left in order to pressure/guilt them into getting back in the sinking “Good Ship Zion” is nothing short of abuse. I don’t know how the church produces people like that, but one is reminded of the idea of a good tree bearing good fruit; IMHO, we’ve got some pretty damn rotten apples in the barrel and we ought to take a close look at the kind of culture we’re creating that produces people like this.

  3. John Mansfield says:

    How many of these disinheritance letters were published? Who has seen the LDS Philanthropies disinheritance video?

  4. I remember that video and watched it before they took it down. Wasn’t that also the video where they talked about another child, maybe a daughter, who was “lost” to them? At first I thought she had died young and tragically, but then I found that she is alive and well, but living contrary to her parents’ standards. She didn’t die, she was disowned. Disowning family doesn’t seem to be in accordance with the gospel. Not the gospel I have faith in.

  5. With respect to money, my multi-generational family pattern is to give while alive and leave what’s left (if anything) to children strictly pro rata. That feels right to me. Of course it would. I haven’t always agreed with the lifetime gifts but with few exceptions they haven’t had a dynastic feel to them. The one exception that comes to mind is selective support for LDS missions in preference to, e.g., school or a secular service opportunity.
    There is a tradition in some circles of giving large residual bequests to a church. I expect anyone charged with philanthropic fund raising, for BYU for example, to try to tap that tradition. It can lead to really objectionable pitches and a certain amount of unseemly ambulance chasing. I think it’s awful, but I’m somewhat philosophical about the people in that spot. At some level they’re just doing their job.
    Money aside, Mormon temple practices create a new extended sense of dynasty, extending well beyond this lifetime. I understand that to be Joseph Smith’s intent and desire. The downside is that a person who resigns from the Church may be told that they are severing eternal ties, breaking the sealing. I have a friend who is now referred to by her father as a “friend of the family.”I have real trouble with this, as a matter of doctrine and dynasty and love.

  6. I saw the disinheritance video. Awful.

  7. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    The dude in the picture looks, disturbingly, like Pres. Uchtdorf.

  8. Seems to me we have some pretty strong doctrines (such as they are in our theology and specifically in our temples) about agency and not coercing others. It boggles the mind that people can utterly miss that and revert to trying to control others.

  9. marcella says:

    When I was in our ward RS presidency a young sister moved into our ward. She only attended Sacrament meeting and then left each week. We learned that her father had called the Bishop to let him know his daughter was moving into our ward. The father helped her financially on the condition that she attend at least Sacrament meeting. The Bishop was expected to report to the father regularly on his daughters attendance. Crazy! I get that the Bishop felt it was better to play along so that the woman got the financial help she needed, but I would have been trying to help her make the money she needed to be self sufficient so her dad’s power games had to end. There’s a lot of crazy that goes on in the world and in our Church.

  10. My will has a disinheritance provision for “any children who reside in the city of Draper and/or give their estate holders’ grandchildren a name from any of the various authoritative ‘Mormons name their kids the darndest things’ posts on BCC.”

  11. it's a series of tubes says:

    It’s remarkable to me that anyone could have possibly thought that LDS Philanthropies video was a good idea.

    Exactly – when I learn things like this, it makes me wonder if I know my co-religionists as well as I think I do…

    Does anyone have a link to some of these posted letters?

  12. My head is reeling over the fact that lds charities actually encouraged the idea that parents should only leave their inheritance to children if they are faithful. WHAT?! I thought our purpose as a church was to strengthen families not tear them apart. Who on earth actually thought this was a good idea?!?! I mean, of course we shouldn’t rely on a future inheritance from our parents for living expenses. But why would we ever want to place the church at odds with a family?! Good luck ever getting those children to come back to the faith. How completely embarrassing.

  13. Tracy M @7:02 am: My cynical self says that the practical doctrine is “no coercion from God or government, but coercion from Church and family is just fine.”

  14. So this totally isn’t my area of law, but a quick Westlaw search suggests that, while children have no right to inherit, testamentary provisions cannot violate public policy. And restraining an individual’s religious freedom through a dead-hand clause generally (at least, according to the Restatement (3d) of Trusts, violates public policy.

    I mean, the Restatement isn’t the law of anywhere, but it’s at least questionable whether a will that only leaves an inheritance to a child if that child participates in Mormonism actively is even enforceable, let alone a good idea.

    Which means that, if you were to disinherit your children based on their exercise of religion, you may alienate them in life, and still not control their religious decisions after death. So oops.

  15. Marivene says:

    I do not agree with the idea that an inheritance is dependent on “faithfulness”, but LDS are certainly not the first to conceive this idea. I am a convert, as was my sister. We are 2 of 4 children. When I was baptized, I was told in no uncertain terms to expect “nothing”. I was still living at home, in my senior year of high school, having just turned 18. I was also told that if I intended to continue to “defy my father”, that I ” was no longer welcome” to live under his roof. I left. Harsh? Yes, but not unexpected, either. My father saw it as a refusal to support that which he thought was wrong, & the money was his to disperse as he saw fit. The loss of an inheritance gave neither myself nor my sister pause. We both were remained members. That left 2 children to inherit; my oldest sister & my little brother. Surprisingly, my brother passed away before my mother, leaving my oldest sister as the executrix of my mother’s estate. She split the estate 4 ways, between her sisters & her sister-in-law. I am not sure my brother would have done the same, had Mom passed first. He tried hard to do as they would have wanted.

    We still visited our parents, & they knew & loved their grandchildren, who loved them back. I could respect my father for being unwilling to support that which he believed was wrong; it just made me a bit more determined to demonstrate to him, through my life, that my choice was not wrong. For me, the bottom line is that the money doesn’t matter. It’s nice, to be sure, but it is not what is important, & if someone is willing to change their behavior for the money, then from my point of view, they were not very committed in the first place.

  16. Marivene’s point is a good one: Mormons didn’t invent dead hand provisions in wills. The big ones I read about when I was in law school were marriage conditions (either children had to be married to inherit or they had to be married to a person of the right religion or race). I’m pretty sure conditions on marriage also violate public policy, and are thus unenforceable (but don’t quote me on that–it’s been several years since I looked), and that doesn’t excuse LDS Philanthropies from making a dumb and tone-deaf argument, but the desire to control what descendants do has a long and storied history.

  17. Interesting to read this. My husband recently did some legal work for a client undoing a trust which had originally had some kind of provision about whether or not the adult children held a temple recommend at a certain age (I don’t know details due to privacy concerns.) Totally backfired when the client left the church, divorced his wife, and himself no longer held a recommend….

  18. Sam Brunson @8:26 — not my expertise either, but what I understand people do is write and rewrite codicils, taking children in and out, in fact depending on “worthiness” but never stating the reason.

  19. Old Man says:

    Don’t try and manipulate anyone with money. Give your money away to those who need it to survive.

    Any person who attends church for money is a gutless fool. Any person who worries about material inheritance during this short stint of mortality is an even bigger fool.

    “For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
    And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
    And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.”

    If people reject the Lord’s servants, they are “disinherited” in the only important sense of the term. They did it to themselves.

    I have seen too many individuals and families destroyed by worrying about and squabbling over material inheritances. It is not even remotely worth it. With the passing of each of my grandparents and parents I walked away from their material possessions. Just how much stuff does anyone need? The important inheritance I gained from any of them I carry in my heart and memory. No bank vaults or storage units hold anything worth more than that inheritance.

    With that said, I am leaving nothing of any real monetary value to my children. I taught them not to value such things. I helped them get an education. I showed them art, discussed big ideas and taught them our family history. I taught them to work. Most importantly, I taught them the Gospel. They do not need my humble earthly estate. It will go to the impoverished members of the Church.

  20. christiankimball, almost certainly true. But if you want that provision to encourage your children to stay in the church, you’d have to let them know about it, right? I’d think the children could then present that as evidence in challenging the validity of the will (though, again, this is far outside of work that I’ve done).

    I mean, I guess you don’t have that issue if the will is meant merely to reward or punish their faithful-/faithlessness. But as long as you’re attempting to influence them, it seems like there would need to be some kind of extrinsic evidence of your purpose.

  21. Sam: This is so much a sidebar that I should stop, but my (now ancient) memory is that the “dead hand” issues have to do with trying to control behavior after the decedent’s death. They are future looking. There is also a long history about whether you can disinherit someone who is a natural heir (based on past or current behavior, presumably) but I think it’s a whole different line of cases.

  22. maebridge80 says:

    Last weekend, my father in law gathered all his grandchildren (ages 2-11)and told them he would give them each $100 if they read the Book of Mormon. I told them they are free and encouraged to read the Book of Mormon, but under no circumstances could they accept payment for doing so.

  23. I imagine that the primary motivation here is not to manipulate children, but to ensure that the material blessings they have consecrated to the Lord will continue to be consecrated for that purpose.

    That said, I don’t think I would ever do this because i believe it would drive a larger wedge between my child(ren) and the church.

  24. This issue (pun!) is key to the long-term health of the church. We recognize that new converts have long been the energy and lifeblood of the church, but we often treat them as second-rate (when we over-emphasize the importance of having ‘pioneer-stock’, etc.). I recall sitting in a religion class wherein Joseph Fielding McConkie taught that HE was more blessed (i.e. important) because he had the Smith & McConkie blood, combined in one divine personage. That guy sure was a hoot.

    The dynastic model is alive and well in my little corner of the kingdom. For the “faithful” children, a lifetime of financial rewards, elite schools, and nepotistic church callings await. One strain of these relatives dominates stake presidencies for miles around (the writer of 3 Ne. 6 would be proud). I can’t complain too much though – their financial donations help keep the lights on in the church buildings across the globe!

    I don’t intend it to be all negative though. The church wants multigenerational families, and for those families that actually balance the agency/conversion/inheritance – there are very real positive effects for the individuals, the community, and the church.

  25. Wow. Wow wow wow. On the flip side of that, I know one fellow whose non-LDS grandparents told him they would pay for his college education if he would not serve a mission. He chose the mission. I know another man whose parents said they would disinherit him if he married the divorced woman with whom he had fallen in love. He chose the woman. Aside from everything else inherently wrong with tying an inheritance to one’s activity in the church, it seems that basic human nature would push people away from agreeing to that deal.

  26. jaxjensen says:

    “Disowning family doesn’t seem to be in accordance with the gospel. Not the gospel I have faith in.” – Umm, that is exactly what the gospel teaches us.

    I’m just stunned with the comments saying that “this isn’t love” and “good parents would never do this.” Really? Because that is EXACTLY what our Father in Heaven, who loves PERFECTLY, does with us. We can become heirs only through obedience. We can be joint heirs with Christ for all the that Father hath. That inheritance is lost by straying from the covenants. That is one of the major themes for persuading people to do well, to inherit the mansions of the Father, otherwise we are “cut off” and “cast out”.

    And that isn’t just the way in the hereafter, but here in mortality too. He routinely gives people a “land of inheritance” but states it is only until the people stray and reject him. As soon they we/they stray from the Father’s will then we are cut off from the inheritance.

    As harsh as it might seem to make a video on it, it is a divinely demonstrated pattern. If we were to ever create Zion it is how people would be punished – by cutting them out of ownership of the groups assets. You can’t say that it is not “love” or “Christlike” when is the described way to deal with people who are unfaithful to their covenants. When it is the pattern used by our Perfect Father, and His Son who we are to emulate and strive to be like, and it is spelled out in the Doctrine in Covenants as how a Zion-like community would operate, then I have no issue with it.

  27. Jax, if I didn’t have to run off to a meeting right now, I’d explain why the analogy to God doesn’t work, and that your view of punishment in Zion is grounded at best in speculation, but I really don’t have time, so I’m just going to carve out my disagreement without elaborating.

  28. So if the daughter who attend sacrament meeting for money, one day hears something which causes her to convert; that’s a bad thing?

  29. I feel like jaxjensen would benefit from rereading the parable of the prodigal son. The father doesn’t kill the fatted calf because his son was a perfect human being who lived up to his every standard. He kills the fatted calf because his son was alive, because his son was his son, because no amount of sin or rebellion or squandering of inheritances would change his desire for his son to be welcome under his roof.

    Show me where Christ tells us to disown our children or judge them in His stead. Show me where He tells us our love should be contingent.

  30. east of the mississippi says:

    jaxjensen… wow… that’s pretty old testament…

  31. Besides this being manipulative, the other problematic message being sent is that parents are trusting in the power of their wealth rather than the power of the Atonement to save their family.

  32. While I can understand how some would put “faithfulness” clauses in an inheritance or estate Will’s,I personally think that it has the wrong intent. Jesus taught us to lay up in store treasures in heaven, for where our hearts are, there will our treasures be also. In addition, there will come a day that it won’t matter how much money we inherited, but rather, it will make all the difference on how we live the Gospel and the reasons why we followed it.

  33. Parents routinely train children by holding out rewards for behavior. You don’t get your chores done, you don’t get your cell phone back until you do. The idea is that after doing their chores, they change and are more likely to be successful in life. Eventually, they do their chores for their own reasons. Putting conditions on inheritance is basically the same. I don’t think it’s immoral. But at some point, this kind of soft coercion is usually counterproductive, and I think that’s got to almost always be the case with grown children. Though, maybe if a grown child is so dependent on an inheritance, he/she’s got enough issues already that coercing them this way might be productive, who knows? I certainly wouldn’t do it with my kids. I feel I’ve shown them my love for the gospel and given them every chance to learn to love it too, and what they do with it is up to them. Same with whatever inheritance I have to leave them.

  34. When I was 8 years old I had two friends in primary who said their dads were paying them to read the Book of Mormon. I went home and told my dad, who said that if I were going to read the Book of Mormon for money, wasn’t going to do me any good, that I should read the Book of Mormon because I chose to, and to never expect that kind of thing from him. As far as I know, both those friends finished the Book of Mormon and got their money. I don’t know if they had a spiritual experience with it. But my dad’s response was memorable enough that it stuck with me, and a few years later, led me to read the Book of Mormon on my own, which did lead to a spiritual experience for me. To me, the idea of manipulating children’s behavior through the promise of wealth or the threat of disinheritance works on the same principle. It might change behavior, but for the wrong motivation. I mean, I get the argument that if somebody does the right thing for the wrong reason, maybe there’s a chance that one day the light goes on and it clicks for them, but that argument doesn’t ring true to me the way Moroni’s teaching does, that doing the right thing for a bad reason is the same as not doing the right thing at all.

  35. Angela C says:

    jaxjensen: “I’m just stunned with the comments saying that “this isn’t love” and “good parents would never do this.” Really? Because that is EXACTLY what our Father in Heaven, who loves PERFECTLY, does with us. We can become heirs only through obedience.”

    God doesn’t bribe his children into obedience because we don’t grow unless we learn the lessons associated with living a Godly life, and you don’t learn lessons when your actions are based on fear. I suggest re-listening to Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk from this weekend. Parental control is a byproduct of fear. Your premise relies on a few things being the same that are not:
    1) human beings’ judgment and God’s judgment
    2) familial inheritance (money disbursed after a parent dies) and divine reward (the outcome of the judgment bar of Christ–one’s eternal standing). We may refer to the second one in earthly terms for simplicity (e.g. “treasures in heaven”) but you can’t actually take them to the bank.
    3) God rewarding people with blessings for being obedient (which is inconsistent because even obedient people have trials and adversity to teach them–the purpose of life) and parents coercing children into doing what they say well past their minority.
    4) Mortal, temporal rewards vs. eternal rewards as a result of our lives after we’ve died. God’s rewards are after one’s mortality ends. Familial inheritances are during our mortality. Mortality is the time in which we are tested.
    5) Controlling behavior vs. teaching lessons. Control is a terrible parenting strategy, at least if you are trying to teach your kids lessons and develop them. If God’s offspring are only capable of being blindly obedient to lap up some eternal rewards, they are going to make some really crappy future gods. I wouldn’t want to live on one of their planets. As Paul would say, god forbid! Kids need to have choice and find their own path or they never become adults.

    God still loves them that hate him, and he causeth it to rain (rain is a good thing) on both the just and unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

  36. “Behold this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance”

    “Inasmuch [they] shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves.”

    Modern language – here’s your inheritance. Keep the commandments and you can keep the inheritance, if not, your inheritance is not only going to someone else, but you’re pretty much getting killed or enslaved in the process.

    I’m not worked up by this at all. Assuming your ancestors are good people, honoring them and their wishes with regard to the faith and heritage of your fathers and continuing on to future descendents seems fine to me.

    You’ve still got agency. No one took it away. You build your own way if you want to do it your way. Certainly there is the coercive power of wealth, but if you lost that, so what? You’d be like the rest of us. We’re supposed to feel sorry for that?

    You’re not entitled to your parents wealth. And your parents aren’t entitled to you keeping the commandments.

    But there’s certainly clear scriptural precedent for losing your inheritance on account of unrighteousness.

    How many generations of Nephites and Lamanites suffered for lack of blessings from the loss of a scripture inheritance? And you guys are talking about losing out on a trust fund? Pfft.

  37. Man, the last few posts have really brought out some gems of comments. I’ve never been as relieved to not live in the heart of Mormondom, where Jehovah reigns with his sword drawn, sitting down at planning meetings with the prophets and apostles to govern over every prayer and speaker and where grandfathers pay toddlers cash money to read the word of God.

    May God save us.

  38. Cqb, you’re correct, nobody is entitled to their parents’ wealth. The issue here is using that wealth AS A FACTOR in whether children keep the faith. That gets people attending church and keeping the commandments, but for the wrong reasons. Or maybe they do have that “particle of faith,” but it’s clouded by the demand placed upon them. And it can understandably drive someone away.

    “Assuming your ancestors are good people, honoring them and their wishes with regard to the faith and heritage of your fathers and continuing on to future descendents seems fine to me.”

    I want to assume your best intentions. However, as a convert to the LDS church, I cringe whenever I hear these sentiments of “faith of your fathers” and “heritage.” First, if Mormonism if the faith of your fathers, someone in your ancestry had to abandon the faith of their fathers to make it that way. Whatever the case, your ancestry shouldn’t be a determining factor in whether you keep the faith. The only difference it makes is in when you hear/are taught the gospel.

    When I told a clergy member of my former faith that I was investigating the LDS religion, he said, “You’re turning away from your tradition!” Do we really need to replicate that attitude in a faith where we preach that a testimony comes from the witness of the Holy Ghost?

  39. jax, here’s the thing, the Father looketh on the heart and can determine whether someone is actually faithful their covenants and grant appropriate rewards. The attempt to replicate through cash bribes (veiled in birthrights or inheritance) is simply not the same.

  40. The Captain says:

    Amen, jaxjensen and Cqb. It’s like the scriptures say in that part about serving God and mammon. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I can dangle enough mammon to coerce my kids into church attendance, eventually we will share a sweet reunion in our McMansions above.

  41. The number of people who do this sort of thing might be large enough to notice yet still in relative terms tiny enough that they don’t represent a serious trend. I’m skeptical many are doing this. That said there are of course no shortage of bad family relations in the church given the reality that the church is made up of humans. Further in the Mormon corridor there’s no shortage of people who don’t really buy the gospel as a guide to life but see it more in terms of social appropriateness. People who are Mormon just because of group identity are far more apt to do these kinds of crazy things.

  42. Such a horrible, manipulative, and abusive practice.

  43. Ocotillo says:

    Amanda–I know, right? It’s unsettling.

    “I imagine that the primary motivation here is not to manipulate children, but to ensure that the material blessings they have consecrated to the Lord will continue to be consecrated for that purpose.”

    Because you know it’s way more godly if your Mormon kid buys himself a stalwart new Mormon boat with the extra cash you kick him when you die than if your Unitarian kid buys himself some kind of wishy-washy Unitarian boat. That just wouldn’t be right.

  44. jaxjensen says:

    “jaxjensen… wow… that’s pretty old testament…”

    No, that is temple endowment wherein it is made perfectly clear that those Kingships/Queenships, as well as all those thrones, principalities, and dominions, are conditioned upon our faithfulness. I mean its very specific that they aren’t guaranteed to us now, that we’re only annointed to receive them, and that “the realization of these blessings is dependent upon your faithfulness” If we are not faithful, then we do not get the inheritance.

    “3) God rewarding people with blessings for being obedient (which is inconsistent because even obedient people have trials and adversity to teach them–the purpose of life) ”

    Maybe you just read different scriptures than I do?? Mosiah 2:24: “And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you” I understand my judgment isn’t the same as His, and neither is the inheritance, but the principle is the same: if you want what I am offering, then you must do what I say. That is exactly what the test is we are here to pass “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abr 3:25)

    Is this really controversial? Really? If you want to be baptized then you must be faithful in certain things. If you want a temple recommend there is a list of commandments you must keep. If you want a Celestial inheritance, then the same pattern is followed, and you must be faithful. This is the pattern given and followed by God. Why the outrage when a person follows the same pattern?

  45. Loursat says:

    When God puts conditions on his blessings, it is just. But we are not gods, and when we use our wealth in the ways the OP describes, it is cynical and manipulative. This is really a common-sense point; buying a person with bribes is obviously a form of corruption. It is perhaps most offensive when the bribe replaces persuasion by love.

    There are many reasons why one might choose not to give an inheritance to one’s natural heirs, and many of them are good reasons. Using wealth to manipulate the religious commitments of “loved ones” is not a good reason. We can’t ennoble our pettiness by comparing it to God’s work.

  46. Chadwick says:

    jaxjensen:

    What you describe above is not the LDS faith. It’s an unfortunate offshoot of any faith called the prosperity gospel.

  47. Of course people *can* do what they will with their money. But I can say from experience, choosing to do this with your money has terrible, long term consequences for families. My grandfather did this, and it has had ugly and painful and divisive repercussions for three generations now. It put my mother in the impossible position of having to decide whether to honor her father’s wish to disinherit her sister after he died. My mom felt the decision was unjustified; her brothers wanted to keep “their” extra money. My aunt no longer speaks to her siblings because she was so hurt by the whole thing. Maybe a more functional family could have weathered the storm. But my mom’s family did not. This decision blew apart the fragile ties the held together that family.

    I beg of you, do not have this ugliness be your parting “gift” to your children. My mother regularly wonders whether her dad’s death could have brought her siblings together instead of tearing them apart had he made a more merciful choice. Impossible to know, but it really couldn’t have been any worse than what happened.

  48. It seems to me that the scriptures make pretty clear that God does not care about wordly treasures, particularly worldly treasures one hordes up until they are dead. That seems like a…hollow consecration.l especially when coupled with an attempt to coerce.

    The church as a mortal institution isn’t wont to turn away money, but it feels pretty icky to even accept it. Might the church do better to *refuse* inheritances as a matter of policy – appearances of evil and all that.

  49. jaxjensen says:

    Chadwick, I don’t in any way think that having wealth equates to being righteous/blessed. I look around at the McMansions in Utah and cringe when I hear their owners sing hymns of Zion. I’m not describing or promoting the “prosperity gospel” at all. I think YOU are assuming that blessings=wealth when I quote King Benjamin. Personally I’d be much more interested in the blessings that Moroni lists in Moroni 10.

  50. I certainly understand where jaxjensen is coming from in his point that “…it is the pattern used by our Perfect Father, and His Son who we are to emulate and strive to be like…” I mean, one can certainly disagree with that reading of relevant scriptural and ritual texts, but it’s not some outlandish interpretation. I fall into the camp of those who desperately hope that when God has been portrayed in that way, it was the result of a lack of inspiration or at least a very limited glimpse and culturally conditioned understanding of the divine will.

    Years ago, I believe there was a post or a comment on this blog that discussed the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. Pullman’s fantasy is a bit controversial due to his completely obvious anti-religious slant. I mean, in the last book–spoiler alert–they kill God. Yet, as the conversation unfolded, someone made the point (was it Ronan?) that if God actually were the sort of nasty, despicable being that he’s presented as in those books, it would practically be a duty to try to kill the bastard (or at the very least oppose him).

    In a similar vein, there is a scene near the end of the (imo, stunning) BBC TV movie, ‘God on Trial,’ in which a Rabbi, who spends most of the trial silently praying and shuckling, suddenly begins to speak, rehearsing the various Old Testament horrors and cruelties attributed to the acts and commands of Adonai. He excoriates that idea of God:

    “We [the Jewish people slaughtered in the holocaust,] have become the Moabites. We are learning how it was for the Amalekites. They faced extinction at the hand of Adonai. They died for his purpose. They fell as we are falling. They were afraid as we are afraid. And what did they learn? They learned that Adonai, the Lord our God, our God, is not good. He is not good. He was not ever good. He was only on our side.

    When he asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham should have said no! We should have taught our God the justice that was in our hearts. We should have stood up to him! He is not good. He has simply been strong.”

    And so, while I think jaxjensen’s sense of who God is and what He is like is not indefensible with regard to the texts of ancient and modern scripture–but that being, if He exists and His characteristics are as described by those who share the his views, is indeed Himself indefensible. I know I am a very flawed person and regularly fail to live up to my own convictions of right and wrong. But I have no need or desire or time for a deity that fails to live up even to my own, imperfect sense of basic decency–who falls at that low hurdle, and would tell me it is “love.”

  51. Ocotillo says:

    L-dG, standing ovation.

  52. L-dg, here here. I have a friend who grew up in a fairly religious Jewish household. He told me that as a teenager he realized that if the God of the Old Testament was real, he really didn’t want to follow Him. If I did not have the New Testament (and the BoM) I don’t know that I would choose to believe either.

  53. “If we are not faithful, then we do not get the inheritance. ”

    We are not faithful.

    I’ll repeat myself. We are not faithful. The whole point of everything is that we are not faithful and we put our hope in Jesus Christ anyway.

    If in this metaphor of money, the parents are God and the children are mortal men/women, who and where is the role of Jesus Christ?

    (Perhaps the lawyers?)

  54. jaxjensen says:

    “if the God of the Old Testament was real, he really didn’t want to follow Him. If I did not have the New Testament (and the BoM) I don’t know that I would choose to believe either.” You do realize they are the same, right? They are the same God. He’s the same one as in the NT who when a couple lied about the money they were consecrating, rather than give them a chance to repent just killed them straight away (Acts 5). The same one you don’t like in the OT is the same one who claims the credit for killing millions by fire, flood, tornado, sinkhole, and dropping mountains on top of whole cities in the BOM (3 Nephi).

    “We are not faithful. I’ll repeat myself. We are not faithful.”

    Really, it is truly like some of you read different scriptures than I do. Moroni 7: 37-38″it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
    38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.”

    You say we’re unfaithful but we trust in Him anyway, but HE says that it is vain to have hope in Him if we AREN’T faithful, he basically says the opposite of what you are saying. If you are unfaithful and trusting in Him anyway, He is basically saying you might as well stop because it is in vain. If you know you are unfaithful but are hoping for some “inheritance” anyway, you are going to be mightily disappointed.

    I honestly am still stunned that so many here are just happy to turn a blind eye to some of the characteristics of God. Yes He is kind. Yes He is loving. Yes He is forgiving. But yes He is vengeful. Yes He is violent. Yes he demands justice. Those characteristics are seen side by side in the OT, the NT, the BOM, and the D&C. He is not a soft, passive sheep, He is the shepherd. The Shepherd gets to nurture and care for the flock (characteristics that seem praised here), but is violent and unrelenting toward those who threaten the flock (characteristics that seem abhorrent here). Would you want to be part of a flock with a shepherd that doesn’t chase off or kill the wolves?

  55. jax, those are human’s interpretations of the world around them and ascribing it to God. The Old Testament is not a transcript or a documentary of what actually happened.

  56. Jax, I think the difference is in how one views grace.

    I see myself as a sinner, doing my best to accept the grace God is offering.

    In my interpretation of what you said, you seem to describe a world where one earns God’ grace.

    “If you know you are unfaithful but are hoping for some “inheritance” anyway, you are going to be mightily disappointed.”

    My (somewhat snarky) counter to that is that if you think you are faithful, you are going to be mightily disappointed at the bar of God when Jesus has to step forward and save you because you are not.

    I don’t know you, maybe I’m reading you all wrong or putting the wrong interpretation on your words. But what you seem to be saying is that the way you sin is acceptable to God. The way someone else sins dams them to hell/turns them into a wolf.

    I say we are all dammed. (and that while wolves exist, they are much rarer than we like to think. Most of us are sheep with our noses on the ground, doing our best to find a few blades of grass to munch on, and thus occasionally getting lost, etc.)

    Pres. Uchtdorf says, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

    Beyond that, I’m not going to bother swapping scriptures with you. I don’t believe the Word of God is meant to be used as a way to bludgeon someone into agreeing “I am Right, You are Wrong.” Also, it never ends. Your scriptures proves one thing. I throw out one that says the opposite. It can go on forever. So not the purpose of God’s Word.

  57. As I think about it, there might be another difference in language usage as well. It seems like you are defining ‘faithful’ as being active LDS (certainly the parents disinheriting their children are). Church attendance to me has very little to do with ‘faithful.’ Faithful to me is a person full of faith. Or full of dedication to God. (hmmm… Even that doesn’t quite feel right. I’ll have to think about it.) While a fruit of growing your faith can be church attendance (and certainly is for many people), to me dedication to God is not the same thing as dedication to the LDS church.

  58. Jax, all true. Your description of, largely and old testament, God is not far from the truth. But, dude, justice is His. He will forgive whom He will forgive, of us it is required to forgive all.

  59. Angela C says:

    At no point did God say it was a good idea to pay people to be religious, and Jesus specifically spoke out against it.

  60. Jax wrote, April 5 at 2:49 pm, “I understand my judgment isn’t the same as His, and neither is the inheritance, but the principle is the same: if you want what I am offering, then you must do what I say.”

    The principle would be the same only if you were comparing like things. Where our judgment is not the same as God’s and the inheritance is not the same either, the principle can’t be the same.

    It’s often a good thing for us to try to be like God—an aspirational thing that leads us to be humble and teachable. In this case, though, I think it only leads to hubris. There just isn’t a good comparison to be made between our inheritances of earthly wealth and God’s wise and loving blessings. The metaphor of “inheritance” gets so distorted as to be useless when we take it literally in this context.

  61. jaxjensen: The main difference between the examples you give and reality is: God is perfect and has perfect judgment and omniscience. You and I do not. Which is why your support of cutting off and casting out, lost inheritances and the like, are not our prerogatives.

  62. Is there any line that can be drawn here? For example, consider the case of Craig Cobb (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Cobb). If he were your son and you were rich, would you will him your fortune, especially considering what he might do with it?

  63. One of the reasons I am still here (in Christianity) is that no, I don’t believe the God of the OT and the NT are the same. If I truly believed God commanded his people to raze cities to the ground and kill babies I wouldn’t worship Him. I believe Amanda is correct that the OT is not a historical transcript. I believe many portions have not been translated correctly. And honestly, some parts are just super weird (hello Song of Solomon).

    Of course, this is just us mortals shooting in the dark about the nature of God. It would be tremendous hubris to think any of us could really comprehend Him. We use our reason and trust our hearts and do our best.

  64. jaxjensen says:

    So Ben (and others) what other actions and attributes of God should we not emulate because we aren’t perfect. Since His divine pattern of making inheritance dependent on righteousness isn’t one of them, please grace us with your list of those areas of our lives where we are supposed to be God-like, and those areas were we aren’t supposed to try to be like Him. I have yet to find that list in my standard works, so please do pass on that information for those of us so ignorant as to think we should try to be like Him in all times, places, and aspects of our lives. I’d just love to have your (surely authoritative) list so I don’t make any mistakes.

  65. jaxjensen says:

    Marian, go check out the BoM again and read 3Nephi. Several chapters of the voice of Christ talking to the people about how HE destroyed such-and-such city by fire and He destroyed such-and-such city with water and such-and-such city by dropping them into the earth. He openly proclaims credit for the death and destruction of many cities and all of their inhabitants. The same God you say you don’t like in the OT is the same one in the BoM having the exact same relationship with humanity (this time AFTER His entire NT ministry). Could we all please stop ignoring large portions of his personality and characteristics and start worshipping and loving Him in his entirety?

  66. Ah Jax, but you are doing the same my friend; you are doing the same.

  67. Loursat says:

    Jax, I don’t think there’s a bright-line rule about this. My strong feeling, based on experience, is that using wealth to coerce people is almost always harmful, and that’s what Angela is talking about in the OP. Referring to scriptures about an inheritance from God in this context seems to me like wresting the scriptures to justify ourselves. When we find ourselves doing that, we’ve taken a wrong turn.

  68. Jax apparently, thinks he can go bomb cities, because , you know, God did it. So of course he thinks coercion is okay too.

  69. jaxjensen says:

    Loursat, I agree wresting the scriptures is a bad thing. But when the temple ceremonies make it a special point to clarify that all of those thrones and such are entirely dependent on our righteousness/faithfulness, then is it me wresting them out of context, or others?

  70. “He’s the same one as in the NT who when a couple lied about the money they were consecrating, rather than give them a chance to repent just killed them straight away (Acts 5).”

    “Since His divine pattern of making inheritance dependent on righteousness isn’t one of them, please grace us with your list of those areas of our lives where we are supposed to be God-like, and those areas were we aren’t supposed to try to be like Him. I have yet to find that list in my standard works, so please do pass on that information for those of us so ignorant as to think we should try to be like Him in all times, places, and aspects of our lives.”

    Jaxjensen,
    When I try to square these two statements of yours into one world view it comes out pretty immoral in my mind. Are you advocating that it would be righteous of us to kill a couple who wrongs us because that is something the Bible shows God doing?

  71. Wresting the scriptures is bad, BUT . . .

    Gotta love it.

  72. I think Leo makes a good point. While I find it counter productive and likely harmful to use inheritance as a bribe to force church attendance, I think there is a line my children could cross that would get them disinherited. I have a family member who writes wills for a living. Many of those have stipulations that their drug addicted children must be clean for a certain period of time before any money is given. I know someone who disinherited their child because mental illness has made it so that having money is more dangerous to that child than not having any money.

    Also, according to my family member who writes wills in Utah, disinheriting inactive children solely because they are inactive is not an uncommon practice.

  73. jaxjensen says:

    Brian… I’ll do no bombing of any kind. But when Nephi (from Helaman) was given power over the earth his first command was for a famine that killed untold people. Sometimes that is the God-like thing for a person to do (just definitely not by me). Your premise is not without scriptural support despite your trying to make it sound ridiculous.

  74. I’m not making it sound ridiculous, Jax, you are. You wrest the scriptures and covenants, and then you qualify that, no, some things we should not do just because God does them. Your position is seriously flawed as everyone here but you can see.

    It’s not those you disagree with, sadly, it’s you.

  75. jaxjensen says:

    Brian, the point of the OP and the supporting comments have been to say how awful it would be to hinge an inheritance on righteousness. I pointed out, scripturally and with the temple endowment, that doing so is a God established pattern. Nothing anyone has said has refuted that. The best anyone can say is that they don’t like it, and they wouldn’t want to worship that kind of God. How does that make me the ridiculous one?

  76. Because, as everyone has said, including you, we are not God. People have refuted it, but you refuse to see it. Plenty of scriptures go against the coercion you suggest. D&C 121 is a great start. The temple says nothing about disinheriting our own children. Indeed, plenty of authorities have stated that even if our children stray, the temple covenants are stronger than their straying. You wrest and you wrest, but the rest you seek will not happen here as long as you continue to be obstinate.

  77. Loursat says:

    Jax, I think we need to understand such teachings from the temple in harmony with everything else we know about the gospel, including God’s perfect love, mercy, patience, and justice. Remembering our own imperfection is also essential. When I consider the teachings about our inheritance from God in that context, I don’t think that they are a very good guide for people trying to decide how to dispose of their earthly estates. I think the OP describes people who are exercising unrighteous judgment, not people who are trying to emulate God. My opinion on that is a practical judgment, not a judgment based on abstract principles. When we’re trying to figure out how the scriptures can guide us, I think we have to start with our sense of what love requires. Duty must be guided by love.

  78. Chadwick says:

    “To hinge an inheritance on righteousness.”

    Oh jaxjensen

    Only God can do that. At best, all a parent can do with money is hinge it on church attendance. Personally, I would rather have an honest relationship with my kids that have them lie about the church for money. But as you point out, this analysis is flawed because I can’t tie it back to what Nephi, Lot, Peter, or Oliver Cowdery did in the scriptures. All I can claim for my answer is the feelings in my mind and in my heart.

  79. stephenchardy says:

    Permit me a brief personal story. I grew up in a highly committed Mormon household. My parents had eight children. One of the eight of us, (one of my sisters) after serving a mission, decided that the church wasn’t for her. She left the church. She left it in a stormy manner, hurting my parent’s feelings. My father struggled with what he ought to do. Once, when I was in college (the same sister was in college as well) my father told me that he was thinking of writing my sister out of his will.

    I knew my father well, who has since passed away, and I loved him. I knew that he had many conflicting emotions about his wayward daughter. But I knew that his main interest was in encouraging her to return to the church so that we could continue to build an eternal and celestial family. He would have seen the disinheritance as something to motivate and shock her into returning to the fold.

    I spoke to him for some time about it, and told him that I strongly disagreed with him. I even told him that if he did that, if he denied her an equal share of what he left, then I would simply give my inheritance to her. Thus, I explained, he was in effect taking my share away. I wasn’t kidding, and my father knew it.

    He never spoke of this idea again, and made it clear that all of his children would inherit equally when he died. In fact, this is what happened. All eight of his children participated more or less equally in his funeral. My inactive sister spoke of her love of her father. If my father had chosen to dis-inherit her, then the entire funeral would have been impacted. My siblings may have spent their energies arguing about the merits of his decision, rather than concentrate on remembering him and our mother (who died at the same time.) The funeral was healing, and I don’t think that it would have been if one of his children had been excluded from my parent’s inheritance.

    Jax: How can someone be so correct, and yet so completely, insanely, up-side-down wrong? God may choose to bless and curse whom he pleases, but we aren’t mini-Gods. We may become kings and queens according to our faithfulness, but believe me when I say this: that faithfulness includes not bribing our offspring to remain in the church by threatening to deny them equal participation in our worldly family.

  80. *jaxjensen

    jaxjensen, I love you, brother! I think everyone here who has commented shares that same sentiment. The inheritance you and I desire, I pray, won’t be dependent on our perfect obedience, or our perfect effort to follow the Savior. The inheritance we desire will be offered to us because of the obedience of the *Savior, not because of our (imperfect) obedience.

    Even “trying” to be like him in all times will not be enough, because that “trying” is imperfect, inconsistent, and incomplete. His ways are higher than our ways; you might see a pattern in His divine reward of inheritance. But what if the pattern you think you see and understand is not so? What if he does not ask you to withhold and condemn because you lack perfect judgment? What if your inheritance was solely based on your love and forgiveness extended to others?

    The older son was angry when the Prodigal returned, that his father would shame himself by rewarding him with not only his inheritance but celebrating his unworthy return, and receiving him back into his presence. The older son. Was angry. That the Prodigal. Received the same inheritance. As the older brother. Who was faithful in all things. The father did not withhold any part of the Prodigal’s inheritance. The father did not require prior obedience or righteousness, or that he clean up his act before being allowed back into his home and presence. That is the good news of the gospel, brother.

    The same mercy you and I hope for, we should happily extend to even our wayward children. The parable of the unmerciful servant is maybe an even better analogy to this discussion. The idea of a parent withholding an inheritance from a child, and yet expecting the Lord to be merciful with the parent, is a sobering idea. Grateful for this discussion!

  81. If you have time, check out my latest blog post at https://tootinghustle.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/is-it-mum-or-mom/ and let me know what you think! Dont forget to leave me a comment :)

    Happy Blogging x

  82. Here’s the link to the video Angela references. Journey to Become

    I wonder how many times this type of teaching was insinuated just this last conference.

  83. EmJen, Thanks so much for posting a link to that video. I’m appalled. Not only does it advocate manipulating children to encourage them to accept what you believe, it also manipulates potential donors in the same way: if you don’t give to us, you are haven’t figured it out yet and are ‘wayward.’ Utterly disgusting.

  84. it's a series of tubes says:

    Thanks for posting the link. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. Like Swedish Fish flavored Oreos, it leaves one wondering how anyone could think it was a good idea.

  85. Wow. . . that video was worse than I was expecting. There are so many more unsavory things in that video than just the suggestion that inactive children should be disinherited:

    -Their family goal is to make sure that their children are worthy priesthood holders but they neglect to mention their daughter in their family goal.
    -Being able to obtain a temple recommend is the ONLY measure of whether a child is “struggling.”
    -The suggestion that adult children who are not attending church regularly are incapable of making good choices with large sums of money, but adult children who are attending church regularly will make good choices with large sums of money.
    -The implication that lack of temple worthiness implies that money will be put to poor use.
    -This quote: “What happens if somebody receives a pile of money who’s not living gospel principles? I don’t about you, but I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘Wow, I inherited a bunch of money so I decided to go back to church and turn my life around.'” (Uh. . . I’ve also never heard anyone say “wow, my parents threatened to disinherit me if I didn’t maintain an active temple recommend. That manipulation really turned my life around.” And I’ve personally known people who have pretended to be devout Mormons for years in order to get their inheritance.)
    -This quote: “If they’re worthy of their priesthood, they can then handle their inheritance.” Once again no mention of the fact that they have a daughter. Does she have to receive the priesthood to get an inheritance?

  86. Wow. Just wow. I feel so unbelievably sad for the children in this family. And possibly the producers of the video.

  87. Robert60 says:

    I perhaps have a unique perspective from the 86 prior comments. I have drafted thousands of estate plans for my clients over many years. Several of my LDS clients have had provisions disinheriting a child/children if the do not have a current temple recommend or similar worthiness criteria. To most of us this seems “crazy”, “insane” etc. If I had that provision in my own estate plan none of my children would receive an inheritance!
    Nevertheless, I respect others choice to do so. One couple whom have known for many years have a temple recommend requirement in their Trust. They are some of the best people I have ever known. They have wonderful children, they have served extensively in the community and obviously in the Church. They are far from crazy and far from being insane.