September 30th, 2007

Parental Stewardship and the Right to Revelation

photo credit: IvanoMak

During Sacrament meeting today, the following question popped into my mind as I was pondering inspiration: Can parents receive inspiration for their adult children?

We know that parents are entitled to inspiration and revelation on behalf of their children. But when does that entitlement end? When, if ever, are they no longer qualified for such a privilege and blessing?

President James E. Faust once said the following:

If worthy, we are entitled to receive revelations for ourselves, parents for their children, and members of the Church in their callings. But the right of revelation for others does not extend beyond our own stewardship. (James E. Faust, via Quoty)

This then means that a parent can only receive revelation for his/her child during his/her stewardship over them. So, the question becomes: When, if ever, does a parent’s stewardship over his/her child cease?

When speaking about stewardships, Elder Nelson once taught:

In our families, our church, and our work, privileges for stewardship come and go. (Russell M. Nelson, “The Five A’s of Stewardship”)

We learn here, then, that different stewardships have different life spans. In my calling as a missionary, I had a stewardship for two years over the people I was assigned to teach. As part of my stewardship, I was given certain privileges—namely, inspiration/revelation regarding those I taught.

While parents never cease to be parents, I would argue that their stewardship over their children ends not when they reach a certain age, but when they marry. Age means little in the eternal scheme of things, especially when government-dictated ages of adulthood would vary from state to state, country to country. Instead, God has given a commandment regarding when a parents’ stewardship over his/her child seemingly ends:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen. 2:24)

“Leaving” our parents and cleaving unto a spouse seems to indicate a transferral of stewardship, which may be defined as “responsibility”. However, it would seem that while specific stewardship may end at the time of the child’s marriage, there still exists some connection to or authority over the child. Speaking to fathers, and no doubt parents in general, President Benson stated the following:

Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released. …a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity. (Ezra Taft Benson, via Quoty)

So if the parents still retain their “calling” throughout eternity, would this indicate that the stewardship remains intact despite marriage? If so, what “priviliges” are the parents entitled to as stewards over their adult children?

What think ye?

7 Responses to “Parental Stewardship and the Right to Revelation”

  1. Scott
    October 1, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    I think it’s hardly cut and dried. It’s not like when a person turns 18 and suddenly becomes an adult in the eyes of the law, when that person was only a minor the day before. I believe the levels of stewardship and accountability ebb and flow depending on a great number of factors.

    Bear in mind that a sealed family is sealed now and forever. However, the way the intra-family relationships work necessarily change according to circumstances.

    Think about this. Does a child have a stewardship for his/her parents? In some cases, yes. Last year my Dad had a stroke and I suddenly found myself thrust into a situation where I had to handle my parents’ finances and had to help make many life-altering medical decisions. I sought for and received inspiration in doing this. So, you see, the eternal parent-child relationship is multi-faceted and works both ways.

    Your deliniation of marriage is a good one, but I think that this merely marks a point where the type and level of stewardship change. Marriage does not end stewardship. But it is essential to know that things have changed when a child marries, or else the parent can end up overstepping his/her bounds of authority, which can ruin a marriage and other family relationships.

    So, I think that familial stewardship is not often a yes/no thing. It’s more of a degree/type thing.

  2. Jay
    October 2, 2007 at 1:34 pm #

    I still go to my father from time-to-time for a father’s blessing. He is 90. I’m 50. He can and does receive revelation in my behalf, thereby being a steward over me. I believe that a father’s role never ends and that he is responsible to give counsel to me, my children and their children. I believe that is part of the eternal order of things.

    I agree with Scott. It is a degree type of thing.


  3. Travis
    October 3, 2007 at 6:13 am #

    A fathers and mothers stewardship never ends. Thus revelation for them never ends. Responsibility for the child’s adherence to the revelation is not on the head of the parent, unless of course that parent never discusses the revelation with the kids.

    However, most righteous parents will realize that their children are raised in the gospel can and will receive revelation on their own, thus they will not need to step in too often.

  4. Janet
    October 4, 2007 at 10:19 pm #

    I think that Lehi was an excellent example of a parent who understood the nature of his stewardship over his adult children. I think that problems come not with the righteous exercise of stewardship, but rather with unrighteous dominion. It is also important to note that there is a difference between being a parent and an in-law in the stewardship department.

  5. Mom
    October 10, 2007 at 9:27 am #

    As a mom with adult children, I can testify that I do receive revelation for my kids. I also know a lot I want to share. I try hard to delineate between the two when I communicate this to my children. But the reception of either varies with each child and circumstance. I’m also caring for my elderly mother and absolutely receive revelation for that as well. These family stewardships are eternal, as mentioned above. But active stewardship does really diminish upon marriage. . . but that doesn’t mean children should turn a deaf ear to parents at that point. (Keep that in mind, kid . . . .)

  6. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 9:28 am #

    Keep that in mind, kid . . . .

    Yes, mother. 🙂

  7. Amore Vero
    June 1, 2008 at 8:00 am #

    I also know that parents have an eternal responsibility & stewardship to receive revelation & give counsel to their children know matter what age the children are or marital status. But once a child marries, a parent never takes presidence over a husband or wife’s stewardship, revelation & counsel, which always come before a parent’s or bishop’s or any other person on earth, except the Prophet.
    Our Spouse’s counsel is our second defense if we for some reason can’t hear the Holy Ghost’s whisperings. Listening to & complying with all of our husband or wife’s counsel, wishes & commandments is absolutely vital to our progression, righteousness & eternal welfare, even if we don’t agree, as long as it’s not to do something downright evil. The more we comply to their counsel the more righteous we become.

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