Subject: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 09:16
Author: John Corrill

Getting married, having kids and living happily ever after for eternity was something I had alway looked forward to, and I still do, but I must admit that the thought of raising kids overwhelms me, particularly since losing faith in the LDS church. I was raised in a very conservative LDS home, and growing up the LDS way, is all I know really. I would have been a great LDS Dad. I can see how the church would be a resource to parents, if you're willing to do things the churches way.

I guess I'm looking for thoughts, ideas, etc on what it's like raising kids without the LDS church. Do you attend another church or do you do just fine without a church environment? Do you teach religion, prayer, etc in the home? Do you encourage your kids to get involved more at school and community inleiu of religion? How have things gone for you? What have been your challenges? Your sucesses? How did/are your kids "turn/ing out"

Subject: I don't see the church a positive resourse in raising kids.
Date: Oct 28 09:36
Author: Cheryl

We do all hope our parenting will help kids "turn out" well. But mormons are taught not to separate what their kids do from themselves. I can see a mormon mom being as embarrassed by a kid spilling something in public as if she had done it herself, for example.

I think the mormon church gives parents false promises. "Do what we say and your kids will be a credit to you."

Kids are kids and they can be a credit to parents, but to no where near the extent the church expounds. When they reach adulthood, they make choices just like we did.

All parents have to read, think, and find their own way with their kids. Parenting is like everything out in the real non-mormon world. It has more possibilities for gratification, but no guarantees. But we know the mormon guarantees were phony. So, I'll take real life parenting over mormon parenting any day.

My kids are grown. I never missed mormonism in raising them. The church does at least as much to hamper good parenting as to promote it

Subject: We're new to this about 1 year and so far so good. The board was extremely helpful
Date: Oct 28 09:37
Author: SamIAm

we received much good advice. We have been open with our older children ages 9 and up. We have told them that the church has lied to us and that they lied to control us, our time, our talents and our money.

We have told them that the values we hold are still the same (mostly) and we expect great things from, hard work etc. My kids have expressed several times how they wish everyone would study and find out about the lies.

They are getting pressure from friends about coming back to church. We have given them several options for response. My kids love our current Sundays. We go to movies or for rides or out to dinner or just sit around the house and do family things. It is so much better.

Our old Sunday routine was a fight. Get ready, don't mess up your hair, come on we're going to be late, tuck your shirt in, he hit me, she's stupid. I don't miss that!

How's it going? We just had parent-teacher conferences and were delighted with the report. Not just grades but also social skills and what the teachers told us on personal notes. Good luck!

Just FYI, if you look closely at what you're loosing, it's not that much. You think the church has some good stuff for raising kids. I think that's bull. I carefully watched what my kids were being taught for months before leaving and the one dominant theme that the morg teaches is how to be a morgbot. There was very little on values and a ton on follow the prophet and go to the temple and serve a mission. What a crock!

Subject: Re: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 09:40
Author: Switz1

John, the majority of the population in this world has raised their kids without the mormon corporation in their lives and turned out just fine. Some teach religion in their homes, some leave it to their church and some don't teach any religion at all. Some of the most moral people I have ever known were without a church at all in their lives.
Their children were raised with values, they did things together on a daily basis, not just one night a week. Their kids were active in 4-H (much better than Scouts imo),bowling, school sports, and many other things with parental help and approval. Not ONE was involved in crime, gangs or drugs.

My kids were raised without a church in their lives. We taught them right from wrong. I raised 4 kids without any of them being involved in the bad stuff. In fact I often wished they would go out more and mix with other kids but they preferred staying at home. The neighborhood kids congregated at our home. Most of the time they were growing up we lived in the country which was fortunate for them. When we moved to town they were more lonely because there wasn't as much to do so we tried to be living "out of town" for most of their raising.

I found that a good game of Cribbage was a good thing to be doing while wanting to have a serious conversation with a child. Milking cows was another good opportunity. :-) Me milking one while the kid was milking the one next to me.

Morality has nothing to do with the mormon corp. In fact the corp. teaches anything BUT morality.....i.e. lieing for the Lord, encouraging early marriage, cheating to get an Eagle Scout badge, circumventing BSA rules by calling a BS outing a Young Men's Outing subject only to the Bishop's approval, asking personal sexual questions during Bishop's interviews, among other things.

Speaking of mormon morals, they have been announcing on the radio that Utah is 15% higher than the rest of the United States in date rape. Now of course the mormons will say it is the nonmos doing this. BUT since statistics say that only 30% of Utah is nomo it is obvious that the mormons are doing the date rape for it to be so high.

Subject: A few comments..what worked for us.
Date: Oct 28 09:47
Author: Dagny

My two kids were raised as atheists. We had an environment in our home where family REALLY came first (every night), and we were involved in everything my kids wanted to do, from sports, music, to trivial homework assignments.

We basically taught morals by examples and discussion. Kids learn WAY more than we like simply by watching their parents. They know when love and support are genuine. They know when you are spending time with them if you really would rather be doing something else or not. They know if you are really interested in their concerns and ideas.

In our home we discussed everything openly, skeptically, and searchingly, including sex and religion. My children have excellent logic and rational thinking skills and are nobody's fools. We stressed basically Burtrand Russell's 10 commandments. We discussed books, great thinkers, and read constantly. Honesty was important.

My husband spent probably most weekends cycling with my son and running with my daughter where they created a very strong bond.

We are lucky so far, because our kids are now doing very well in college as well adjusted individuals. Knock on wood...a lot can happen to people after age 21!

To be honest, some kids are just rascals. Obviously the same parents can have a great kid and a terrible kid. All you can do is your best and let them fly.

Subject: Re: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 09:50
Author: Honey

My parents were both converts to the church.When I was 7 they divorced and I lived with my mother.They divorced because she no longer believed.I was still forced to get baptised and go to church.My Dada pressured me into it.At the age of 12 I refused to see my father.He was never a good father to me.Since having no contact with my father and leaving the mormon church i have been so happy.I had fabulous years as a teenager.when I had my first boyfriend my mother didn't make me feel guilty because I was 15.I wasn't forced to wear modest clothes.I decided my standards and nobody else.My mother was open with me and treated me like a human being.She didn't lie to me about anything and was totally truthful..

I am so greatful for not being brought up in the mormon church and not having to go through my teenage years in the mormon church.My best friend was mormon.He teenage years were absolute hell for her.She was told what to say,how to dress,who to talk to,what to read.I don't see mormonism as a good way to raise children at all.

Nobody needs religion to be a good parent.All a parent needs is love for their child and to teach them how to be good.

My mother may not have been mormon but she was/is the best mother in the world.I couldn't wish to have a better mother.Unfortunately I can't say the same about my father.He was/is too wrapped up in the church to care about me.

Subject: Re: It's about love...
Date: Oct 28 10:08
Author: SD

not religion. The trouble with letting go of Mormonism is we so often believe the crap that the church has a lock on goodness. We're out almost two years now and my boys are doing fine. They're core character is intact. They are not on drugs. One is in college and the other is on his way. Be engaged in your children's lives and you'll already be ahead of most Mormon parents.

Subject: Children will be exposed to religion.
Date: Oct 28 10:23
Author: Mrs. Eszterhas

As far as religion goes, well, our two boys went to a non-denomintional Christian school until they were in the 1st & 3rd grades. We talked about what we agreed with and didn't agree with. After that, I got tired of following their rules based on religion, ie, memorizing bible verses, corporal punishment, and Hellfire B.S. then enrolled them in the public school.

Our daughter went to public schools all her life. I was quite impressed with how much the public school teachers cared about the children! I often read children's bible stories to our children anyway. The reason why is because in our society, bible stories are known as much as Dr. Seuss' stories. People are considered uneducated without some knowledge of the bible. Sometimes we would laugh at how rediculious they were. Today they are nonreligious individuals. One goes to Cal Poly, majoring in computer science, the other goes to Cal Arts as an annimation major, and our girl is a Realtor.

During their growing up, I think we went to church maybe 4 times to show them what it was like. Thay thought it was okay. They might have gone with a friend a few times, but that is all the exposure to religion they've had besides news of cults, ie, Heven's Gate, and a few religious celebrations. I think, and hope they turned out well rounded enough to get along in the world, but most importantly, they think for themselves about religion.

We still had rules to follow. We had a crewfew and chores they had to do. I think every family finds their own grove, so to speak, that fits them. Like everybody, children need love, and to be appreciated for their individuality. They can get involved with activities at your local recreation center and at school. We enjoyed being parents, and talked about everything from astronomy to sex!

We had left the LDS church before our children started school. They don't know much about Mormonism except what we've told them, and when the missionaries have come-a-knock'n. They just say, "no thank you" ;)

Subject: I maintain it would be easier to be a Marine than a Mormon parent
Date: Oct 28 10:28
Author: Helen

Cheryl wrote:>>The church does at least as much to hamper good parenting as to promote it>>

Having our daughter was the final curtain call for me making my decision to leave the Church.

We had already started the process, or in other words thinking:-) and coming to terms with what we believed and felt about Mormon doctrine/policies/practices. At 2 and 1/2 our daughter already knew "President-a-Kimball" was the Prophet, she loved "Bishop-a-Bybee" and prayed to Heavenly Father "inthenameofjesuschristamen"

One day the light bulb went on as I heard this precious little person parroting Mormon speak. We knew we couldn't and wouldn't teach her "Mormonism" and we knew we wouldn't allow the Church to teach her. We took heat from the local leaders when we decided not to have our daughter attend Junior Sunday School anymore. In four months we left the Church.

We brought her up in no religion, no church, and we have no regrets. Mormonism does not have a monopoly on teaching children respect, honesty, integrity, decency, fairness, thinking. Save your money and enroll your future child in a Montessori school. That's a blatant plug for Montessori education:-)

>>What have been your challenges? Your sucesses?>>

Life is challenges and successes, we've had both. But without the Mormon Mormon baggage in the mix was a plus.

I maintain it would be easier to be a Marine than a Mormon Mother,Mormon Father.

Just my MOO

Subject: Re: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 10:29
Author: Bob

After rearing six children in the church, I feel that the example that parents set for their children is much more important than anything they will learn in church. I do feel, however, that attending church as a family can be very important....depending on the family. If there is contention about going, then it becomes counterproductive and should not be forced upon anyone.

I firmly believe in the concept (paraphrased) that if you teach a child healthy principles when the child is young, those things will usually stay with him as he grows older. Parents along with older siblings are critical for teaching such things as honesty, work ethics, being kind and thoughtful to others, respecting the belief systems of others, kindness to animals, empathy, etc., etc., etc.

My wife (who is still a TBM) and I both agree on the above statement and we both STRONGLY believe that older siblings have a profound influence on how the younger ones turn out. A good, strong example set by parents and siblings is the combination, we feel, that works best.

If a church makes adults and children live in guilt and under the treat of constant punishment, then I think it is time for parents to intercede and correct that sort of nonsense. To teach children that they are valuable and loved is most important. Also, if a church demands too much time away from the family....a wise parent will curtail that to an acceptable level.

Best wishes to you on your great journey. Ours are all raised....and I often wish I could make that journey again.

Subject: my thoughts----
Date: Oct 28 10:43
Author: amember

Why do you have to give up association with the church?

Your options are:
1.raise your kids without religion. There are pros and cons to this. You won't have to hassle with the parts of religion that you don't like, but you won't have a context in which to pass on a spiritual life to your kids.

2. Raise your kids in a different religion. Pros-they will expect less of you in comittment, but you will probably never be really comfortable there. Cons--all religions, if looked at deeply enough have baggage and stuff that really bugs the thoughtful. Also, no other christian church does "support system" like the lds.

3. Stay affiliated with the church and write your own script. I have been doing it for 5 years, raising kids and being successful at taking the good and leaving the bad. Of course there are some compromises, but far less than what is feared on this board. Compromise is part of healthy living, contrary to the purist mentality you find on this board at times.

Subject: Re: my thoughts----
Date: Oct 28 10:52
Author: Switz1

So you don't have a problem with the Bishop interviewing your children and asking personal sexual questions of them? NO other church which has confession allows ANY questioning of activity of any person, child or adult.

Subject: Re: my thoughts----
Date: Oct 28 11:14
Author: amember

Go to the interview with your kids, I do, no inappropiate questions will be asked.

Subject: depends on what the compromise is......
Date: Oct 28 11:07
Author: Helen

>>3. Stay affiliated with the church and write your own script. I have been doing it for 5 years, raising kids and being successful at taking the good and leaving the bad. Of course there are some compromises, but far less than what is feared on this board. Compromise is part of healthy living, contrary to the purist mentality you find on this board at times.>>

For us the price was too high for compromise. Yes compromise is healthy but we couldn't make it work for us in the Church. We tried keeping the good and leaving the bad but we couldn't do it, wouldn't do it, and didn't want to give that confusion to our child. The "We don't accept that part of Church teachings, doctrines" and then have her learn just the opposite at Church.

I think of Hinckley's statement:

"They can carry all the opinion they wish within their heads, so to speak, but if they begin to try to persuade others, then they may be called in to a disciplinary council. We don't excommunicate many, but we do some."

To me that teaches dishonesty, or at the very least confusion, and not to mention "discipline for thinking outloud". "carry all the opinion they wish within their heads" but say something else outloud, that something else being what the Church decides can be said outloud. We couldn't live with the cognitive dissonance. But to each his own.

Glad you can make it work for you.

Subject: My two cents on raising kids in the mormon church....
Date: Oct 28 11:06
Author: Saucie

I agree with the person on this post who said that the Mormon church doesn't have a lock on goodness... Far from it, I raised my kids in the church, but I always encouraged them to be independant thinkers and to search for truth and knowledge and all the beauty of the world. Because of that they all rebelled against what they perceived to be the blatant hipocracy, bigotry, small mindedness, yadda yadda yadda that is in the church. I think that if teaching your children the TRUTH is important to you.. why in hell would you raise them in the Mormon church?

Subject: my kids, and their friends, are terrific people!
Date: Oct 28 11:17
Author: msmom

There is nothing like a houseful of teenagers from all over town to make you appreciate that our world is populated by really decent human beings. No way do mormons have a corner on raising nice kids. I truly believe the future us in excellent hands supported by many faiths and by no faith.

You and your partner will have to decide how you want to raise the kids. No pressing need to have a church involved, but it is sometimes nice to have some benevolent authority figures in your life in the form of pastors, rabbis or whatever.

Maybe you'll coach youth sports or do 4H or girl scouts. Follow your and your children's interests. Life is great!

Subject: Having raised three to adulthood
Date: Oct 28 11:20
Author: Lilith

I have earned my right to speak. Mormon Church had nothing to do with my children's upbringing. Had no connection whatsoever to it. Never joined it .Never left it. Never heard of it. We attended church when they were small. And we didn't attend church later. I always told them what I liked and didn't like about church...what I believed and what bothered me. I taught them to think AND to feel. to use their rational minds and their gut feelings. I taught them to trust themselves before anyone/thing else. I concur a lot with Dagny's post, though different 'beliefs' perhaps. maybe not so different. Mostly I taught my children to be tolerant and that people don't have to agree to get along. I taught them different can be GOOD not BAD.

And they've turned out rather well. If you can raise them and LIKE them as the adults they are, I think you can pat yourself on the back. My kids are good decent human beings who have respect and compassion for others. One is a teacher and coach well loved by his students. One is sharing his gift of music, one is a stay at home mom of two with one on the way...and we're not even LDS...go figure.

Subject: Our experience
Date: Oct 28 11:33
Author: Elwood

Our kids were what pushed us over the edge to leaving. My wife and I decided that while we could sort through the crap that is said in church and take the good and ignore the rest, our kids weren't old enough to do that yet. We tried to make it work, but after having to have many talks after church about the crap that was said, and leaning over in church and telling our kids not to listen to what was being said, we got them, and us, out.

Even with that, one of our fears was raising kids without the moral construct of a church. After almost two years, I have decided that that fear was nothing more than insecurity and a holdover of our Mo training. We are the same people we were before, teach the same values to our kids, and the kids are doing great. And it is so much better to teach kids to do the right thing because it is the right thing, and not because they will be punished if they don't.

And yes we encourage the kids to get involved in school and community things, but they are not old enough yet to be much involved. My wife and I are though, and they see that and we talk about it. We have more time for that, and for our kids than before too. And Sundays have become great family days - much better for us than when we were going to church.

So, the bottom line is we have no religous training in our home. We just teach them to be good people. They are smart kids too, and reason and intellect are highly valued in our house. And we have lots of love, and lots of fun. As we have told the kids, leaving Moism was probably the best thing my wife and I will ever do for them.

Subject: Your example is the best teacher.
Date: Oct 28 12:45
Author: Sobriquet

My husband and I have raised four children without religion, and they're all terrific people. Our eldest is 25 and our "baby" is 16. They've all had problems and have made some bad choices, but who hasn't? They've mostly made good choices, and we're very proud of them.

We're far from perfect parents, but there are three things I firmly believe in: (1) Be a good example (i.e., don't be a hypocrite), (2) respect your children, and (3) incentives are much more effective than punishments.

You can't expect your kids not to lie, cheat, and steal if you do. I also think it's really important to respect your children as human beings. They're not your pets or your possessions. They have a right to privacy, to have preferences, and to form their own opinions.

If you don't agree with them, don't just bark out, "You're wrong!" Listen to why they feel the way they do, and respectfully express how and why you came to your opinion. They'll be much more receptive of your ideas if they feel that you have an open mind too. There have been plenty of times when my kids have taught me a thing or two, and I've had to concede that they were right and I was wrong or perhaps just had a better idea than I did. I've learned a lot from my kids.

One thing I've told new parents is not to sweat the small stuff. Learn to pick your battles. Don't dictate what your kids wear (unless it's clearly inappropriate for the occasion) or how they want to style or cut their hair. If it won't kill them or cause irreparable harm, it's not worth the fight and bad feelings. Kids need the freedom to make choices and to deal with outcomes whether they're good or bad. That's how they learn responsibility and to solve problems and to deal with life when they become adults.

Of course, the big stuff is different. For instance, my son took up smoking in middle school, and my husband and I knew we had to nip that in the bud right away. He's nearly 21 now and hasn't smoked since, thank god. We've just found that if you don't squabble with your kids over the small stuff, when the big stuff comes along, you have much more leverage and less resistance.

I believe that kids are much more apt to stay out of trouble if the rewards of doing good are focused on rather than the punishments for doing wrong. For instance, instead of punishing our kids for bad grades in school, my husband and I pay our kids for good grades. You'd be amazed at how well that works. In fact, it got our two youngest to start competing to see who could make the most grade money.

Anyway, I believe that religion teaches a "false" goodness because it stresses being good to avoid punishment from God. IMO, being good for "goodness's sake" is much more honest and fulfilling. It just feels good.

Subject: Re: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 13:23
Author: Joe L

My wife was raised in a TBM family, however after a divorce she became inactive. I was raised Catholic and when we decided that we wanted to marry it took a while for us to sort out the religion thing. I was willing to take a look at the LDS church, however, she had it was was ready to move on (no support from her Bishop or Ward through the divorce). Since she was already married the Catholic Church wanted to have her LDS marriage annulled (fat chance sine it would have required an interview with her ex). THis upset me enough to look elsewhere. We spent a few Saturdays looking for a church in SLC that would "have us". After discussions with local church leaders from the Episcopal, Lutheran, Protestant and Baptist churches. We settled on the Lutheran Church close to the UofU. What a great bunch of folks, welcomed us with open arms and we've been Lutherans ever since. (This is the ELCA not the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church). I find the ELCA to have very few hang-ups and is a very accepting church. Our kids grew up in the church as we moved across the USA. Like any group it has it's good and bad. Over all the god far out weighs the bad (whoops freudian slip I guess). Our kids are now grown and out of the house. If you are going to look for a church I recommend the ELCA it worked for US. Unlike mormonism the ELCA seems more focused on your personal relationship to God and not to the Church. I find it to be a difficult church to belong to in th esense that there is no one to tell you specifically what to do or what to believe. You have to work at it and decide for yourself what kind of relationship with God works for you!

Interestingly my wife's parents whom I have always though of as semi TBM go to services with us when they vist. My mother in law has always commented that she likes the services and if she were not Mormon would probably be Lutheran. SHe and I have had numerous short discussions on the topic and she seems intrigued by my observation the MOrmonismn is the easiest Religion there is (no shortage of people telling you what and when to think and do) while Lutheran is much more difficult because you have to figure so much out on your own.

For what it's woth that's been my experience and the experience of my family.

Another interesting point is my son. He married an inactive Mormom girl three years ago and (under pressure from the Mother-in-Law) has attended the Mormon church. His reaction was "where do they get this stuff?", needless to say they are both searching for another church. My guess is that he will end up back in the ELCA. It is his faith journey not mine and I wish him well. The only guidance I have is that he and his wife take the same journey.

Subject: Our kids aren't old enough yet but
Date: Oct 28 14:36
Author: I am someone

we are taking the approach that we want to teach them to think intelligently for themselves.
We've been out for 15 months now, and the kids are more peaceful and happy than when we attended, probably because we were always stressed about callings and meetings and so forth and the kids hated going to primary.
Now we have a lot more family time and far fewer things to stress about now that the church checklist is gone.
One thing I worry about in the future is the teenage stuff- dating, drinking, drugs, sex, all that good stuff.
We are trying to get them to think things through based on what it will do for them rather than fear of god.- like drugs are bad for legitimate reasons instead of "god says just say no!"
same for all the rest.

Subject: Re: Seeking thoughts from those raising kids without the (LDS) church
Date: Oct 28 19:23
Author: thunderdownunder

John, My formative years were not as a member of the church, I joind as an adult. We were raised by one parent not in the church but we were still a religious family. The end result? I loved the way I was brought up, it was simple, based on wholsome values and principles, it was loving, we were taught to be independant and question everything. I think we turned out fairly well adjusted responsible people. My siblings and I shake our heads when we here hear things that have happened /are happening to my wifes family (all LDS)some of them are absolutely screwed mate, I tell you, abuse of all kinds is rife, neglect of kids, separations, divorces, greed and materialism. and to think in rthe beginning we used to admire them because they were better than us bcause they were churchy-what a bloody joke. As time and experience has shown me LDS people are spme of the most screwed up I 've ever met. Young church husbands and fathers I know in my area are some of the most arrogant, unskilled, abusive people out-srry for their wives.
It was while an active TBM that I suddenly realised that I REALLY MISSED the upbringing I had. You dont need the church to raise good kids I know that.
My wife and I are about to part, she adament that the kids will 'can only be raised in the gospel'. Not if I can help it mate! I dont want my daughters lives buggered up by the effects of church teachings just as she is but will never realise. Non LDS kids are damn good kids too! it's all up to the parents.

Subject: Thanks for all your great thoughts
Date: Oct 28 23:20
Author: John Corrill

I just love hearing your experiences and thoughts on this topic. I'll save it for whenever I need reminded that things can be just fine outside the church. I hope to share your thoughts with family and friends one day also, when they ask me, "how will you ever manage without the church?".

I realize that it is possible to teach kids good values with the church or religion. The thing that has nagged at me is the whole meaning and purpose of life thing. It was pretty much defined for me as a Mormon. I'm comfortable making my own way, now, but I worry about having something to tell children, you know, a life story.