Family or Church?


As a Latter-day Saint I have been taught since my conversion over 30 years ago that there is nothing more important than family. In my search for answers I have been slowly abandoning certain teachings of my LDS faith and embracing more traditional Christian beliefs. I feel more and more drawn to the Catholic Church and realize this could cause great conflict and division in my family. Would it be better to stop my search now, rather than risk greater condemnation if I should discover the Catholic Church to be true?

I know the Lord taught that those who choose family over Him are not worthy of Him. Frankly, it is not a choice I’m prepared to make.


Dear Searcher,

The only reason anything that exists has value is the direct result of the goodness of its Creator. Therefore it stands to reason that the origin of that good is even a greater good. So as good as the family is, God is even a greater good. Bishop Sheen used to say of creation, “If this is the spark, what must be the flame?”

We’re speaking of objective good here—not how we feel about it. If something is good in itself, how I feel about it does not change that reality.

If God is drawing you to the Catholic Church, go with it. It means that He is drawing you more closely to Himself. He is not at war with His creation. He created human beings in His own image and likeness. Creatures though we be, we are like Him in that we can love. It is ordinarily in the family that we learn this. There is no organization on the face of the earth that has had a more exalted understanding of the family than has the Catholic Church for over twenty centuries. No world-wide organization has been more consistent in its defense of life and sacredness of the marriage covenant.

As I understand it, your worry is about dealing with the distress to your family, your conversion to the Catholic Church would cause. This is very understandable. There are others who have indeed experienced such hardship, but put God first. The truth is that despite the initial pain, their conversion was a precious gift to their families and eventually some other family members followed them.

You cite that our Lord said that those who put family before Him are not worthy of Him. Catholics believe that He chose to suffer and die rather than let us perish. That reality is THE center of our lives. NOTHING matters more than being loved that much and living every second of our lives in response to it.

If you can’t make that choice for Him now, pray for the grace to be able to. It is only possible for any of us through His help. By ourselves we aren’t strong enough. Know that God’s hand is on you and that this attraction is already the work of His grace. We will be praying with you.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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