Subject: I was told my kids don't respect me!
Date: Sep 16 10:50 2003
Author: bizeemom

I was recently (in a subtle, indirect sort of way) informed by my TBM mother that my children, ages 15 down to 5, do not "respect" me because of my choices regarding the church over the past few years. I stopped wearing temple garments a long time ago and although I still attend somewhat, I have not pushed the church, youth programs, scouting etc. on my kids, mainly due to the fact that I don't really want them indoctrinated into something that I don't really believe in myself. There are many Sundays that we have happily spent as a family out on our boat instead of in church. And, (horrors!) I drink coffee in front of my children as well.
So, she informed me that if SHE had issues with the church, she would just keep them to herself and deal with them privately while pretending to believe in the whole thing and go along with it, for the sake of the kids.
Now, tell me how this would make the kids respect me more? When they got old enough to figure it out, would they respect the fact that I pretended to believe in something all those years? Would they appreciate being brought up in an orthodox culture with contradictory doctrines and never being given a choice about what to believe in - especially when the parents didn't even believe it? This seems rather hypocritical to me. Her argument is that we are being inconsistent because we started out early on in our married life being active members and have gradually drifted away - so the 'rules' have changed, so to speak, and now they can't possibly respect us for the way we live our lives. I feel like this is a big manipulation tactic on her part. Am I wrong?

Subject: Inconsistent? What about converts?
Date: Sep 16 10:53
Author: Soho Preacher

Would she make the same comment about an Orthodox Jewish family that abandon their Mosaic practices to convert to Mormonism? Or would that be acceptable? Perhaps consistency is just relative - only important when applied to active Mormonism.

Subject: Maybe this is her subtle way of telling you
Date: Sep 16 10:54
Author: Terrasanct

that she was pretending for your benefit and she thinks you should have to do the same.

Subject: Re: Maybe this is her subtle way of telling you
Date: Sep 16 12:09
Author: bizeemom

Interestingly enough, and I neglected to mention this, that is what my dad did - he made a decision (I suppose) that since he had to live with my rather fanatical mother, to go along with the church agenda in spite of his own disbelief and doubts. I cannot say that as an adult, realizing that this is what he did, that I respect him more for having made that choice. He allowed us to have to go through a rather painful process of confronting our own issues later in life because he never owned up to the truth of a lot of things about the church once we were old enough to understand.

Subject: of *Course* it's a manipulation tactic!
Date: Sep 16 10:54
Author: TheGleep

She's TBM, isn't she?

(I realize this is a biased and possibly incorrect statement).

What your mother is asking you to do is to earn your children's respect through lying. It might work for the short-term, but when the children learn the truth later, the respect will be completely destroyed.

You might ask your mother how many times she lied to you growing up, and how she expects you to respect her for having lied to you?

Earl
TheGleep@bigfoot.com

Subject: Sounds like she was influenced by Jeffery R. Holland's talk...
Date: Sep 16 10:56
Author: The Walrus

He was the one in the most recent general conference that counseled parents that have doubts to go on pretending that they'll perfectly faithful.

They really don't care about intellectual integrity; all they want is for the parents to act faithful enough to produce yet another generation of full tithe payers.

Subject: You're not crazy, your mom is
Date: Sep 16 10:59
Author: Joe

Don't tell her that, but why would anyone want to allow their children to be taught values that they don't believe in. Ask her if she would give this same advice to a disbelieving member of the Jehovah's Witnesses or Branch Dividians. Ask her if your children went to a school that was teaching things you didn't agree with, like 2+2=5, or better yet, things that your mom dosen't agreee with like homosexuality is better than heterosexuality, should you also just be quiet and pretend and let the school indoctrinate your children. If your kids were recruited by skin heads and started bringing home racist literature, should you just be quiet and pretend to agree with the literature. Geez, this type of thinking is what gives dictators like Hitler total control over a population.

Subject: Children are so much smarter than some give them credit for.
Date: Sep 16 10:59
Author: Lilith

If you were to lie to your children, they would pick up on the hypocrisy easily, and THEN they would lose respect for you. I hate when people try to drag me down to their level because they are doubting their choices away from their own authenticity.

Subject: So now your ma is sticking her nose in and saying
Date: Sep 16 11:04
Author: sg

she thinks your kids don't respect you.

What kind of respect does she show you?

I'm sorry, I don't have kids, so I don't know, but it seems to me your mother is being the stinky one here.

I don't like the sound of her interference.

But what do I know? Maybe you asked her opinion . . . .

Subject: Do your kids show you love and appreciation and. . . .
Date: Sep 16 11:14
Author: wrighton

do as you ask them (as much as any kid does!) If so, they respect you.

Your mom said a few things that really defy logic and reason . . .

". . . she informed me that if SHE had issues with the church, she would just keep them to herself and deal with them privately while pretending to believe in the whole thing and go along with it, for the sake of the kids."

Your response to that is absolutely correct. How can you respect someone who lives a lie? So your kids grow up TBM only to have you inform them that you don't believe it at all, haven't for years but pretended to for their sake. File that under how to screw with the mind of your adult child!

"Her argument is that we are being inconsistent because we started out early on in our married life being active members and have gradually drifted away"

People change as they grow older and they change their minds. It's called life.

Tell your mother your children do respect you and you'd appreciate her respect, as well.

Just a thought, does she ever try to undermine your authority with your children?

Subject: Re: Do your kids show you love and appreciation and. . . .
Date: Sep 16 12:15
Author: bizeemom

In her subtle way, she tries to give the message to my kids that what I'm doing isn't right. For example, back in the old days when she would come visit me, she would do anything to get out of going to church with us ("Oh, you go, I'll stay home with the baby, that sort of thing). Now, since we are 'falling away', she is absolutely adamant about going to church when she's here. She even went out and bought my kids new church clothes while I was out of town the last time she visited! I think that was a pretty clear message.

Subject: Re: Do your kids show you love and appreciation and. . . .
Date: Sep 16 13:16
Author: wrighton

I'm sure this is really hard for you - she's your mom after all. But I think I'd limit her access to your kids to only when you're around.

My in-laws pull the same kind of manipulative kind of stunts with their adult children, as well as the grandkids. One of these days I'll have to post what my FIL did to one of my wife's nephews who is no longer TBM and bordering on atheism.

Just stand your ground and call her on her inconsistencies. But be "respectful!"

Subject: Re: So now your ma is sticking her nose in and saying
Date: Sep 16 12:12
Author: bizeemom

Nope, I did not ask her opinion - I don't really want to hear her opinions most of the time because they come out like this. This advice was given to me unsolicited in the context of a discussion about another one of my siblings' problems she is having with her children. She just grabbed the opportunity to turn it on me.


Subject: My brothers told me to do this, too.
Date: Sep 16 11:27
Author: Fly

So, she informed me that if SHE had issues with the church, she would just keep them to herself and deal with them privately while pretending to believe in the whole thing and go along with it, for the sake of the kids.

Many Mormons believe that those who leave the Church still "know" it's true. Ask your mother if she'd raise her children as Jehovah's Witnesses. Then ask her why not.

"If you can't live the Gospel because of your own sin or weakness, why should your daughter suffer? You should at least be going to Church for her sake," my older brother told me.

"If you do not raise your children in the Church, their sins will be on your head," was my father's advice.

"Mormon kids and families are just better than any other place I've ever been," said younger bro #4. "Don't you want your daughter to be the same way?"

My mom sent us copies of The Friend, and gave my daughter Primary lessons in the kitchen whenever I went upstairs to hang out with my brothers on Sunday.

If Mormons can't use your kids to guilt you back into the fold, they'll go behind your back to "teach" your children that the Gospel is True and Mommy is kinda-sorta-not-so-good because she drinks coffee. It took me nearly two years to dispel the notion planted in my little girl's head that I was evil for drinking coffee!!

Your children will respect you when you live your lives in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. Kids can sense hypocrisy...starting at adolescence, that particular skill becomes very acute. Love your kids, spend time with them, talk with them, make sure they know they're the #1 priorities in your life. The "consistency" kids crave is your love and support. It's not a tired persistance in dogma, be it right or wrong.

Subject: Have you asked your kids how they feel?...
Date: Sep 16 11:34
Author: PassingThrough

Sounds to me like your mom just may be putting words in their mouths. If they've been having fun with you (and I'm assuming your husband) on Sundays boating, etc., it doesn't sound like they feel any guilt for not attending church. If your kids were really concerned about your spirituality (or lack of), I think if they were truly TBM, they would have had no qualms about approaching you with their concerns.

Subject: Re: Have you asked your kids how they feel?...
Date: Sep 16 12:19
Author: bizeemom

Ironically, my kids hate going to church. On the occasions when we say we're going, they put up a huge fight. They'd MUCH rather be boating or something like that - but they're also amazingly cooperative about household chores and things like that when they don't have to go to church. I think this bothers my mom a lot and she blames me for it.

Subject: Sounds like you've got some happy kids....
Date: Sep 16 17:44
Author: PassingThrough

and your Mom could be a little jealous! :) Keep on doing what you're doing because you're obviously doing something right! Best of luck with your Mom!

Subject: It is never wrong to be true to yourself
Date: Sep 16 11:36
Author: jolimont

There is no virtue in pretending you believe something if you don't. And lying to your kids about something as important as faith makes a mockery of the whole thing.

Maybe your mother is really saying she hasn't believed for a long time but she lied to you when you were a kid. She wouldn't be the first one to be so entangled in the cult that she can't even tell herself that it's a crock of shit and decides to forge ahead despite the nagging fear that maybe it's not true. Just like jack mormons get really defensive when you say anything bad about the church, grandmas who don't really believe may get really defensive when their kids are true to themselves. Of course I don't know this for a fact, but it's one of the possibilities.

Sounds to me like you want to be a cafeteria mormon. Why not? It's not for me, but there are lots of people who attend on occasion and take everything with a grain of salt AND still consider themselves mormons and like to show up at church when it suits them. It's a free country and you should be able to take whatever parts of the mormon faith you like and ignore the rest--ESPECIALLY in front of your kids!

Subject: People can fool themselves about messages they send.
Date: Sep 16 12:01
Author: Cheryl

Do what your mom says and this is what you're telling your kids.

"I am a hypocrite. I want you to follow my lead. Don't deal with your true thoughts and feelings. Just play along for the sake of pleasing church authority and somehow hope for the best."

Subject: Hmmmmm there's a word for that...
Date: Sep 16 12:04
Author: Baura Kale

When you claim to believe something you don't really believe...Gosh it was on the tip of my tongue...Jesus used it a lot when addressing the 'scribes and Pharisees'...Golly gee whillikers, what IS that word...?

Subject: Tell your mom you don't respect her because of her choices regarding your beliefs
Date: Sep 16 12:23
Author: Harry

After all, she believes differently than you, so based on her thinking, you shouldn't respect her. If only she would pretend to believe in the things you believed in, maybe you would respect her more. Say, "Mom, you need to believe the same as me and if you don't, just fake it 'til you make it. Lie to yourself really well and convince me that you believe the same way I do, I might respect you."


Subject: Re: I was told my kids don't respect me!
Date: Sep 16 14:30
Author: bizeemom

I was thinking about this further as I was running errands and I decided that a big part of what bothers me is the idea that if I have issues with church doctrine or simply don't believe it, then there is something wrong with ME! I am quite sure that this is what my tbm mother was implying by her suggestion that I just keep it to myself. I guess I'm not supposed to impose my problems on my kids - just fix them! The problem is that they will taught this same thing at church - that if I'm not living the mormon way that there is something wrong with me.

Subject: I think you nailed it. Church doctrine is the only truth, if you don't believe in that truth, you're the crazy one. 
Subject: No, you're not wrong.
Date: Sep 16 14:53
Author: LauraD.

Have your kids told you they don't respect you? Do kids that age understand the word respect as an adult would? If they haven't told you anything of the sort then it's just your mom using emotional blackmail.
 

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church - www.exmormon.org   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page