Out of line?

Yesterday we asked some more of you guys – who are you, and why are you here?  I was NOT prepared for the amazing response we got in the comments.

First off, I’m SO sorry that life sucks sometimes.  It just does. No matter who you are, what you believe, what you DON’T believe, or whether your problems are first, or third-world trials, life SUCKS.  It’s just hard.  (My world view leaves me pretty okay with that, but that’s a whole different blog post for a different day!)

I’m sorry that in this sucky life some of you are experiencing the same situation we are here because I’m living this one so I KNOW it’s hard.  Suddenly finding yourself at a religious/spiritual/historical impasse with your committed life-mate and all the incredible repercussions that entails is HARDLY the worst thing in the world, but I promise you it’s not easy. Not by a long shot.

So when we hear directly from you that you’re in the same situation, my heart just aches for you.  I don’t know why we have THIS to go through, but we do.

We were asked by an ex-mormon reader if we think it’s out of line for him to wish to share the, um, let’s go with “more historically accurate” version of the Church’s beginnings and early days than the “whitewashed version…[taught] in seminary” with his teenage children.  Currently that practice is prohibited by his Mormon wife, I understand? Please forgive me if I am misrepresenting the situation – I’m watching “Star Trek: TNG” with one eye hahaha (it’s leaving Netflix Dec 1st and we are NOT DONE YET! NOOOOOO!!!!)

Here’s my two cents based solely on the information you shared in your comment: NO YOU ARE NOT OUT OF LINE.

My gosh.

Please, remember, we’ve been married for ten years, and our children are 6 years and 9 months, so we’re in a TOTALLY different place in life than someone married for 18 with two teenagers.  Except the split-religion thing.  But 18 years behind you? You guys are doing SOMETHING amazingly right; keep it up!! YAY!

Here’s what I’ve come to learn and understand to a whole different level in the past year dealing with my hub’s disaffection: LOVE.

Love isn’t just about wishy-washy romance with candles and jewellery, fattening chocolates and fancy nights out. It’s not just hugs and kisses, cuddles and snuggles. Nor is it just the physical connections of more intimate behaviours, of course.

No, love is so so so much more than all that.

Love is an agreement, a promise between two people to honour, respect, tolerate, support, uplift, accept and stand by one another.  Think about it: think about someone you love. What would you do for that person? What wouldn’t you do? Probably not much.  What could he/she ever do to make you stop loving him/her? YES, people end relationships, end marriages, but REALLY REALLY do you ever stop loving that person? (I know there are crazy circumstances with psychos – you survivors are excused my ignorant suppositions 😉 )

So, yeah.  So my husband decides not to be Mormon anymore.

So what?

If I love him, so what? Who cares?  I mean, it’s HUGE, and life-altering, but so what? I love him. I want what’s best for him. I want what’s best for my kids, for me.  I believe whole-heartedly that our family’s affiliation with the LDS Church IS the best for us, but he disagrees.  So, we agree to disagree. He respects me, my decision to remain involved, and I agree to let him disagree.  We are OPEN and HONEST with each other, and especially with our kids.

Now, honestly, the baby…this whole thing is pretty over her head at the moment.  hahaha  And the 6-year-old? Well, she’s six. Kids are amazing, though, they pick up LOTS. So, what is the point in my trying to censor and hide Daddy’s change in faith from her? She’s not stupid; she KNOWS something is up.

In my opinion, the BEST thing I can do, WE can do, as her parents, is be as open and honest with her as we are with each other.

YES, we go to Church. NO, Daddy doesn’t believe in Church. Mommy does, Daddy doesn’t. Mommy believes that warm fuzzy feeling is the Spirit. Daddy believes it’s just the psychological effect of community, safety, of the friendly atmosphere and whatever all other Freudian mumbo-jumbo that makes anyone adhere to one sect or another.

What a tremendous opportunity for learning and growth it will give her, to grow up with access to such wonderful, varying views! Our children will never be faced with the “whitewashed” version of the Church – Daddy won’t let them!  And I’m okay with that. What is this horribly difficult life if not a tremendous opportunity for learning? And WHY, if the nitty-gritty, nasty things about Church history are true, would I want to HIDE those facts from anyone? Does not learning history teach us about ourselves and help prepare us for the future? Would not making the decision to have faith in the Gospel as taught by the LDS Church WITH an advanced knowledge of history, politics, policy…wouldn’t that ENHANCE your testimony?  Or at least allow you the utmost ability to decide one way or the other to leave the Church or stick with it?

So, no, I don’t think it’s out of line at ALL to want to be able to talk to your kids about different views.

BUT, I DO believe it HAS to be done delicately, with respect for the beliefs of your partner and/or the children themselves.  You can’t come out attacking Mormonism any more than you like being attacked for not believing.  And vice versa.  When we feel attacked we get defensive, and when your back is up you’re almost NEVER open to new ideas, just posturing for an increasingly heated conflict.

So…yeah.  That’s what I think.  BUT it’s JUST what I think, so… take it with the grain of salt and all that jazz.

What do the rest of you think?  Is anyone out of line for wanting their religious conversation to be comfortably uncensored within their own families?

Good luck!

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2 thoughts on “Out of line?

  1. Thanks for replying to my comment the other day. I feel I should follow up on this.

    As requested by my wife I met with my father/bishop the other day. The meeting was at his house, my mother was also present and my wife was there too. My main goal of the meeting was to receive permission to teach my girls (15 & 17) the more historically accurate version of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I had created a powerpoint to keep the meeting on track. I also wanted to be professional and respectful. I didn’t want them to feel this was a personal attack or that I was being condescending of their beliefs. I wanted this to be about Joseph Smith, not an attack on the church.

    I began my presentation highlighting the basics of JS and his polygamy/polyandry. I touched on the multiple versions of the First Vision and the inconsistencies of the Pearl of Great Price vs. Egyptologists and native American DNA. I was surprised that my father hadn’t heard of these things before. He’s been in the church his entire life and seemed surprised at my findings.

    Then we discussed the Book of Mormon and the correlations between “The Late War by Gilbert Hunt” Which I had to admit was more speculative than factual but he was gracious enough to listen with intent. We also discussed some anacronisms like horses, steel, chariots, etc. and talked about the origin of the Tree of Life vision being a dream by Joseph Smith Sr.

    After I finished I asked his permission to show my powerpoint to my daughters. He respectfully declined to give his permission. When pressed as to his reasoning he expressed that he feared they would become less righteous without the church. That they would be somehow less moral but gave permission to teach them if they brought up the subject first.
    I have to admit I’m disappointed. I feel people can be good without the church in their lives. Many people are “Good without God”. I should be given autonomy to instruct my children whatever I please but I do respect my parents and I do respect my wife. Perhaps someday my girls will want to know what I know. Perhaps.

    • Haven’t responded for a couple of days because I’m just…floored…. by the whole thing. Sigh. So sorry you’re having a rough time of it, Mike. Thanks for the update. We’re rooting for ya’!

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