Why Children (and Adults) Fall Away from The Church

***Disclaimer: Some children just want to leave! This is not meant to incriminate anyone!

The goal here is to get a broad view which can help us all to take steps toward better helping our loved ones (and ourselves) to stay on the good ship Zion. It would be a toxic idea to assume that we know it all and that we have been doing exactly the right thing the whole time. We should all maintain a sense of humility and willingness to improve. It’s the normal human experience to require course corrections throughout life, big and small. God understands and has provided a plan for that.


  1. LACK OF LOVE: Dr. Glen Letham (latter-day saint therapist) says most leave the church not due to loss of testimony but due to lack of emotional kindness from their parents. Read about this in his book Positive Parenting
  2. MEDIA PROGRAMMING Many preachers says kids leave due to being regularly preached to by Babylon through Hollywood rock magic etc. being tutored subtly by the media throughout their lives from what parents thought were innocent movies

Violence desensitizing to spirit

Hidden progressive teachings

  1. PROGRESSIVE CHURCH MOVEMENT The Joseph Smith Foundation Faith Crisis books show a faith crisis due to mass progressive movement in the church to reject fundamental points of our religion
  2. NO LIMITS No limits. Elder Holland says 2nd only to love kids need their parents’ limits
  3. NO TESTIMONY Didn’t teach the gospel. Just perfunctory reading a verse here and there. No personal testimony. No understanding of or appreciation for the Standard Works. Careless attitude toward teachings of the living prophets, church meetings, church callings, etc.
  4. LONELINESS Lack of fellowship in the church
  5. SCHOOL INDOCTRINATION: overly socializing into Babylonian culture and methods; Godless education in history and science etc. which runs contrary to what is being taught at church at home and in the scriptures.


Additional Resources:


  1. A therapist lists these ideas for principles of discipline in the LDS Living Magazine http://www.ldsliving.com/14-Tips-for-Disciplining-Children/s/64602
  2. Hierarchy exists in the classroom. Exercise your authority.
  3. Co-teachers be on the same page & consistent
  4. Age appropriate rules. Ensure they know them.
  5. Punishments related to infractions, not random or “go to” punishments.
  6. Age 1-10 timeouts can be effective. When kids are in timeout, don’t respond to their tantrums.
  7. No physical punishment (including spanking), it instils obedience by fear, there are better ways.
  8. Don’t yell. We want them to learn from our example.
  9. Criticize behavior not character “Use a quiet voice.” not “You are a loud-mouthed brat.”
  10. Positive reinforcement works better than Negative reinforcement by 5x. Praise them for following rules. Establish a reward system to motivate obedience.
  11. Parent Timeout – if you lose it, so will they.
  12. Chose your battles. But once chosen, win. Maintain the hierarchy or the child rules the class.
  13. Be consistent. Don’t say “I will let it slide this time,” or “It’s easier to not deal with it.” Kids keep a tally of every time you give in and plan future rebellion.
  14. Show love. Nothing motivates kids more than knowing you will be proud of them.


  1. Randal A Wright, a teacher in the church education system and PhD in social science, has a book on 25 mistakes latter-day saint parents make. These are his basic ideas:


  1. Home environment (that reflects the gospel)
  2. Quality time (and quantity)
  3. The crossroads (be there at critical times)
  4. Family traditions (have them to teach, indoctrinate, & unify)
  5. Children’s friends (don’t allow them to associate too closely with those who don’t share their values)
  6. Peer pressure (teach how to deal with it)
  7. Television (limit exposure, none in bedrooms)
  8. Music (limit access to inappropriate)
  9. Movies (prevent exposure to inappropriate)
  10. Parental example
  11. Expressing love verbally (daily to family members)
  12. Physical affection (give it)
  13. Support (each other’s events, games, & activities)
  14. Marriage (build it strong to show how it works)
  15. Family fun (& laughter)
  16. Discipline (be consistent, non-harsh, non-lax)
  17. Worldly heroes (discourage over-involvement)
  18. Teaching correct principles (don’t assume church & society will)
  19. Human intimacy (teach the importance and proper role)
  20. Steady dating (prohibit during teen years)
  21. Underage dating (before 16)
  22. Communication (keep the lines open with your children)
  23. Self-worth (build a positive self-image in your children)
  24. Spiritual experiences (take advantage of inspired church-sponsored programs)
  25. Warning signs (recognize)


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