Annette Nay, PhD

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Love the Child, Abhor the Sin
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright 2000

Dear Annette,

I just found out my 19 year old is pregnant, and no, she is not married! My husband will not let her come home so I can help her through this because of the conflict he is sure she will cause, as well as the example she will set for the other children. I am having a terrible time with his decision. This does not seem Christ-like to me. She has been having emotional problems due for the most part to our awful marriage. My husband has conditional love for his family and withholds love, affection, money and assistance if he is not pleased with the attitudes or behavior of any of us. While I feel like she was searching for something to fill up this emotional void in her life, I realize to have sex, protected or otherwise, was her choice. She barely got through one semester of college and hasn't been able to hold a job, even a part time job, and now this. She told me before this happened that she didn't feel like there was anything she wanted to do with her life, she just doesn't care and doesn't have the energy. And yet she has been so restless and unsettled, needing to be on the go all the time. I am so worried and I don't know what I should do---assert myself with my husband in order to assist her, the alternative of just letting her flounder is unthinkable. She is currently living with my parents, but my mother is very frail and my dad, while he loves my daughter dearly, is not equipped at 74 to handle an unwed pregnancy. My husband would not let her rest if she lived here against his wishes. My daughter does not want to give the baby up for adoption. What has been the attitude of the Church about caring for these unwed mothers during pregnancy?


Dear Grandmother-to-be,

We never condone unacceptable behavior and we abhor sin, but we still love the child/sinner. We believe in having unconditional love for all God's children. There is no set way for one to deal with an unwed pregnancy. We do believe in giving love, support and service to anyone in need. We would expect that this especially if it were a family member in need.

Giving love and support to someone only when they please us is wrong. The Savior always gave unconditional love whether the person deserved it or not.

The way you raise your family is a joint affair between the couple and the Lord. The couple decide together on the rules and the consequences for not keeping the rules and then asks the Lord if what they have come up with is acceptable. The couple both back each other up on seeing that the rules are kept and when they are not, they are both consistent in seeing that the consequences happen.

It would be a good idea to point out to your husband that his attitude is not in keeping with the Lord's teachings. This discussion should take place behind closed doors! He should still show love to his daughter regardless of whether he agrees with her actions. This is not to say that he has to let her back into the home. That point needs to be discussed between your husband, you, and the Lord. Make a decision and then take it to the Lord, either for a tie breaker vote or for a sustaining vote to ratify the decision.

The decision of nonsupport of a daughter in need is not your husband's alone to make.

You think the situation through and make a decision as to what should be done. Then ask the Lord if your decision was correct. Ask your husband to do the same.

See: How to Make Good Decisions

If your decision does not match your husbands, yet the Spirit has testified to you that what you decided was correct then you need to ask the Lord to:

1. soften your husband's heart.

2. help you to decide what to do if he does not soften his heart.

It may be that if he cannot follow the Lord and be his mouthpiece and head in your home then he should not be in that position. Perhaps you need to separate yourself from him as you go to your parents to take care of your daughter or ask him to leave so your daughter can return, until he can follow the Lord.

I can understand not letting an ax murder or a drug fiend back into the home, but if the only sin that was committed is that she slipped and lost her virtue, that is between the Lord and her. I don't believe that her sin will contaminate the other children any more then it already has. Besides the children should already understand that she made a mistake and that you still love her but not the sin. If they don't tell them! They also need to know that even if they make mistakes, you love them!

Your daughter will have her mood swings and be uncomfortable and ornery at times since she is uncomfortable. Mothers everywhere have all gone through that and our loved ones didn't throw us out for it, but continued to love us in spite of our orneriness.

Your daughter does have some big time repenting to do between her, the Lord and her Bishop. She has made one of the bigger mistakes. I have included an article on repentance. It talks about what she can expect and what you can do to help her along the road of repentance. It is an excellent article.

See: The Steps to True Repentance

Your husband can also use this article to repent from his wrongful ways.

Good luck in your endeavors and much love to you, your daughter, and your new grandchild!


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