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. [Read more…]