Lately, I've been reading some of the essays of the 19th century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer. This quote about the indoctrination of children strongly resonated with me.
If, in early childhood, certain fundamental views and doctrines are paraded with unusual solemnity, and an air of the greatest earnestness never before visible in anything else; if, at the same time, the possibility of a doubt about them be completely passed over, or touched upon only to indicate that doubt is the first step to eternal perdition, the resulting impression will be so deep that, as a rule, that is, in almost every case, doubt about them will be almost as impossible as doubt about one's own existence. Hardly one in ten thousand will have the strength of mind to ask himself seriously and earnestly--is that true?
Religion: A Dialogue, an essay by Arthur Schopenhauer. http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/22570/
He expressed similar sentiments in another essay entitled Studies in Pessimism:
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity. For as in the case of animals, so in that of men, training is successful only when you begin in early youth.http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/pessimism/chapter5.html
Schopenhauer clearly describes my upbringing. How I managed to escape from the indoctrination of my youth is still a mystery to me.
Doesn't describe my
upbringing, or the upbringing of my children. I have, by my own choice, been exposed to literature produced by the critics of the LDS Church a large majority of my 52 years, and nobody ever told me that doubt was "the first step to eternal perdition."
Furthermore, when my son spent some time with a female acquaintance in his martial arts class, whose parents began feeding him criticism after criticism of the LDS Church, I didn't say a word
to him about doubt being that first step. He requested I tell him all the criticisms of the Church that I was aware of, and I did, along with my reactions to those criticisms. He indicated that he was satisfied with my explanations.
My daughters are a different matter; they both went through periods of inactivity, though not due to any criticism they'd heard of the LDS Church; rather they both just seemed to be going through rebellious phases. Both daughters are currently showing indications they may choose to come back to activity in the future.