Subject: Why do they keep holding on?
Date: Nov 14 01:06 2002
Author: TLC

The harder we try to pull a person away from something they feel safe with, the harder they hold on. I remember one time with my daughter in a pool when she was very young. I was trying to teach her to swim but she was afraid of leaving my arms and going into the water on her own. I thought that getting her out there in the water by herself would somehow help her over her fear, so I tried to pull her away from me to push her out into the water.

But the harder I pulled on her, the harder she held onto me. I had to give it up because she started to cry and it was obvious she wasn't going to let go. Tossing her out into that water before she was ready to go on her own would have been a pretty mean thing for me to do, even though I was well-intentioned in my desires.

Whether it's a spouse, a friend or a family member, trying to force them to let go of mormonism before they're ready to do it on their own is only going to make them hold on harder. What one of us in our TBM days would have taken kindly and willingly to being forced to let go of the beliefs that we felt safe with?

Sure, we know it's better over here and at times ache for what we see our loved ones still going through as they stumble blindly along through the darkness of mormonism. But do we really help them by trying to force their hands away from the only safety they know? Is there a better way?

Years later when she was a teenager and still trying to be a good mormon girl, I tried to engage my daughter in a conversation about the church and her feelings concerning it. I suppose at the time I was trying to help her understand that she had other choices and that staying in the church wasn't necessarily the best option all things considered. Again, I was trying to get her to let go and maybe pulling on her a little too aggressively.

When she burst into tears and said, "Daddy, I just don't want to talk about it now," I realized that once again, I needed to back off and let her do this on her own. It was hurting me so much to see her getting more and more indoctrinated by mormon thinking as the years went by and there were times when it broke my heart to realize that I was losing her to the one thing I couldn't bear to lose her to. But I knew I had to let go and trust that she'd figure things out when she was ready. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

So the advice I eventually gave her was to make sure that if she was going to be a mormon, to be there with both feet in. I think my words to her went almost exactly like this:

"Listen sweetheart, if you're going to go out and mess around with boys, then do it and be OK with it. If you're not OK with it, then don't do it. But to go out and mess around and then go running to the bishop everytime to try and make things right is only going to cause you grief. Either be a mormon and do it the way they say or don't do it at all."

That she understood.

I think if we can talk to those we love without pulling on them, then we are miles ahead because we don't then force them to hold on even tighter to the only security they know. My daughter saw what my life was like outside of mormonism and she had her mom's TBM life on the inside to compare it to. With time she used her own powers of discernment to choose what worked best for her. And she did it without my pulling on her. Two years ago she joined me on this side of the fence.

Maybe just maybe, if we keep on living our lives the best we can and create a place of safety and tranquility, then those we love might feel safe enough to let go of their worlds for a few minutes and take a stroll through ours. As long as they see our world as an angry place that's inhabited by a monster that wants to swallow them up, they're not going to feel safe letting go. Attacking their beliefs makes them defensive. Pulling on them only makes them hold on harder.

Words are easy: "My world is better than your world."

But the proof is in the pudding: "He sure seems to be having a lot of fun and he sure seems happy. I think I'll check it out."

There is nothing in the world quite so irresisitable as a person having fun.

Subject: Re: Why do they keep holding on?
Date: Nov 14 03:16
Author: Vohaul

Steve Hassan's books were wonderful resources in helping me understand the mind-set a cult member has, and helped me understand that no matter what I did, I couldn't convince my wife of the problems, she had to learn them on her own, or never learn them at all. It was (and still is) a difficult thing to accept. I tried to show her the problems because I cared (still do actually) about her, not because I was trying to crap on her beliefs. Anyway, here is his site, if you have never heard of him:

Highly recommended if you want to understand cult techniques - mind and thought control.

Subject: Thank you.
Date: Nov 14 11:25
Author: smo
Mail Address:

Thank you for your eloquent words of experience. Although I grew up in a fairly liberal household and most members of my immediate family are inactive, one of my siblings has re-committed herself to her Mormon faith. She is nearest to me in age (15 mos.) and has been my best friend/confidant/support for many years. Her re-commitment to her Mormon faith coupled with my choices and faith has resulted in a wall between us. Although we are able to speak openly on many issues, anything regarding religion is off limits. We both experience pain because of this (limited) estrangement.

Additionally, she has made it clear that she believes I am guilty of very serious sin because I accept and embrace my bisexuality. This contradicts her comments and behavior before her re-commitment to her Mormon faith.

Even though we still speak weekly, I feel like I've lost her and it hurts tremendously. Your message of acceptance and love of Mormon family/loved ones, in this thread and in others, has offered me hope that my sister and I will find a way to cause each other less pain and to love each other more wisely and compassionately.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.


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