|Subject:||Divorce and Holland's speech|
|Date:||Apr 12 13:34|
|Thanks to Holland's speech, (April Conference 2003: Holland's
speech ) this past week my wife and I have had divorce on our minds and in the air.
After prayful consideration, and a visit to the temple, my wife has decided it would be
wiser and better to remain married, despite my growing disbelief in mormonism, than to
call it quits and separate for good.
She thinks we'll still be able to raise the kids together as long as we have the same basic goals: raise the children to be healthy, wholesome, educated and independent individuals. She initially feared that as an unbelieving mormon spouse, I somehow was letting everything go to hell in a handbasket.
Discussing my disbelief openly with her was a big step for me and for us. Divorce was becoming a serious option, but looks like for now she is openminded about the future, fully realizing that although I will most likely be an apostate for life, we still have a family and marriage to live for.
I am pleased with her reaction. It was/is a tremendous relief to air my thoughts and disbeliefs with her, without being ignored, shunned or criticized in the usual TBM fashion.
I also feel our relationship, which had been strained for some time now, is stronger because she evidently loves me not for my religion, or beliefs (or lack thereof), but for me.
|Subject:||You're very fortunate.|
|Date:||Apr 12 14:19|
|It sounds as if you're right to believe she really does love you
despite your beliefs. One can only hope, right?! At the very least, it shows that she is
evaluating pros and cons and THAT is a first step to true introspective thought.
Not to make unfounded predictions or anything, but you may have just caught a faint glimmer down the length of the tunnel.
Best wishes to you,
|Date:||Apr 13 07:54|
|...and yes that light at the end of the tunnel is a welcome sight!
|Subject:||It's good she loves YOU rather than...|
|Date:||Apr 13 08:14|
|...what you supposedly represented -- a generic priesthood holder
and faithful saint, a ticket to the CK for her and the kids.
I wish you the best.
|Subject:||That's great news. I never thought my husband would leave [Mormonism],...|
|Date:||Apr 13 13:06|
|but after a year and a lot of struggling, he is free of Mormonism as
well! I never expected that life Morg-free could be so happy. I used to post here all the
time about the very, very difficult time we had when he was still a believer.
Consider that for your wife, she believes that she is actually jeopardizing her chance to go to the Celestial Kingdom for you. She is making a huge sacrifice to stay with you and keep your family together. Since she loves you this much, it will hurt her to see how other ward members, etc. treat you and her because of your disbelief. This is one of the main things that led my husband to leave. His dad told him he needed to "be the patriarch" when I would not allow him to take our kids to church, and the bishop told him that he (my husband) should pray for something bad to happen to me so that I would become a believer. Watching the bad behavior of Mormons is what enabled him to finally see what a fraud Joseph's church is.
Let me say, though, that what you do right now is imperative in your future happiness and that of your children's and wife's. You need to set firm boundaries NOW regarding your involvement in Mormonism and the childrens'. My husband and I fought about this a lot. But your arrangements should be fair. At the most, the children should not go to the Morg more than every other week, and on those off weeks, you should be able to choose somewhere to take them, and make it somewhere fun. If you're going to church, do so every other week and let your wife know that you will make your disbelief known. (One way I was able to keep my kids out of their brainwashing was to tell my husband that I would be going as well if he instisted on taking them but that I would let the kids know--there, at church--everything that I disagreed with. Since the ward members know about my disbelief, and he was afraid I would embarrass him, this was enough to keep my babies home and to get my hubby deprogrammed.) As far as tithing, arrange to pay either on your wife's income only or on half the total household income. Of course, if you can manage it, don't pay anything.
While you're going through all these changes, be the very best husband and father you can possibly be so that your wife can see how much better you are than Mormonism. There was a long period during which I thought my husband and I would definitely divorce, and I was so afraid that he (through help of BOTH our families--even my parents wanted him to have the kids, because he was still a Mormon-believer) would raise the kids as little Mormon drones who thought I was evil. However, the lack of God has blessed us, ;) and we are now free from any cult influence in our lives. It has been so rewarding for us to see how happy kids can grow up when they don't have a religion telling them constantly that they're not good enough and that all they need to do is "follow the prophet." I hope the same for you! Be careful, loving, and assertive, and you stand the best chance of having a Mormon-free family eventually.
|Subject:||Wow. Thanks for that great read|
|Date:||Apr 13 13:38|
|I got teary eyed thinking about what you said is in my wife's head
right now. I hadn't considered that. Looking at it that way, I can better see how
committed she must be to staying together, and of her love and sacrifice for me, if she
truly feels she is putting her eternal salvation on the line.
You said above that your husband was told to pray for bad things to happen to you so you would become a "disbeliever." Don't you mean "believer again?" I can understand why they would think this way, and it is truly sick. If I ever hear of such nonsense in my ward, or from the bishop, or her family, or among our TBM friends, I will bring the fear of God into them all, all by my self.
I stopped paying any tithing at all over a year ago. This was initially a source of argument and guilt for her, but that only lasted a coupla months when she began to see the immediate benefits of extra savings and spending dough.
We haven't discussed it since. I think she is afraid to bring it up, since things are better financially for us and all. She pays I think on her meager income, as she maintains a current temple recommend.
You advice to me to be the best husband and father is right on. I can see how this is imperative.
I cannot fully appreciate your warning about setting boundaries regarding church attendance. I have thought that it may not be so bad to allow them to continue to be reared in the lds church, as long as I was with them, correcting things, and insuring that they understood things in their proper perspective. You must think that is a little over-ambitious thinking. It may be.
Right now, I think we've made tremendous strides in the right direction. If I were to impose limits on their attachments to the church, that might make matters worse. Besides, we only attend half-time anyway it seems right now.
My wife told me that she would like to continue to raise the kids in the church, and she hoped that I would not deter this from happening, or worse, that I would talk bad or negatively about the church and so forth. I assured her that I would not talk negatively about the church to the kids. I think that is wise. No sense in confusing them anymore than they are already.
Could you explain a little more in depth why you feel it is imperative that I set limits Now? I'm not exactly seeing the light on that one right now.
Again, thanks for your kind words and advice,
|Date:||Apr 13 14:29|
> I got teary eyed thinking about what you said is in my wife's head right now. I hadn't considered that. Looking at it that way, I can better see how committed she must be to staying together, and of her love and sacrifice for me, if she truly feels she is putting her eternal salvation on the line.
> You said above that your husband was told to pray for bad things to happen to you so you would become a "disbeliever." Don't you mean "believer again?"
Yes, lol. It was just a typo--I edited my post.
I can understand why they would think this way, and it is truly sick. If I ever hear of such nonsense in my ward, or from the bishop, or her family, or among our TBM friends, I will bring the fear of God into them all, all by my self.
I certainly hope things like this don't happen to you, but I never knew about what people were saying behind my back to my husband until he became a disbeliever. He simply would not tell me these things before that point. There were a lot of secrets in our relationship.
> I stopped paying any tithing at all over a year ago. This was initially a source of argument and guilt for her, but that only lasted a coupla months when she began to see the immediate benefits of extra savings and spending dough.
> We haven't discussed it since. I think she is afraid to bring it up, since things are better financially for us and all. She pays I think on her meager income, as she maintains a current temple recommend.
That's excellent! Just keep in mind, though, that your children's intellectual and spiritual freedom is infinitely more important than money. So if you have to choose between compromising on tithing and compromising on the children's attendance, choose to keep the kids as free as possible.
> You advice to me to be the best husband and father is right on. I can see how this is imperative.
> I cannot fully appreciate your warning about setting boundaries regarding church attendance. I have thought that it may not be so bad to allow them to continue to be reared in the lds church, as long as I was with them, correcting things, and insuring that they understood things in their proper perspective. You must think that is a little over-ambitious thinking. It may be.
Well, this is only my opinion, of course, but based on the thousands of stories I've read here (I've spent WAY too much time!) and on the thousands of Mormons I've known in my personal life, it is very difficult for children to go through the constant indoctrination in Mormonism without buying into it. You need to be aware that their teachings could very well make your children turn against you eventually. Perhaps a compromise would be to offer an alternate "spiritual" support group, such as the Unitarians, or another church group if you're a theist and religious. For me, I might have stayed in Mormoinsm if it weren't for my kids. My desire to raise them in a way that kept them free from mind-control was stronger than my desire to get out for myself. Of course, if you rock the boat too much, you might lose a lot of influence over your kids (if you get a divorce), so you have to weigh all of this for your particular circumstances. For me, though, I would have rather died than see my kids raised that way. I don't think that there's really any way to "correct" what they're taught in church. The problem isn't just that they've got bad information--it's also in the methods they use. I worked with the youth a lot as a TBM and they use so much guilt that many people never recover. My husband is still trying to get over the guilt-trips he was sent on.
> Right now, I think we've made tremendous strides in the right direction. If I were to impose limits on their attachments to the church, that might make matters worse. Besides, we only attend half-time anyway it seems right now.
Yes, that could be. My advice comes from my own experience and observations only, of course. And since you're only going half-time, that helps a lot. But do remember that everytime they go, they are being indoctrinated into what many people consider a cult. Eventually, it may be too late for you to get your children out since they might have their own "testimonies." Maybe they already do--you didn't mention how old they are. My children are very young, so I was able to extract them with minimal damage from the Morg.
> My wife told me that she would like to continue to raise the kids in the church, and she hoped that I would not deter this from happening, or worse, that I would talk bad or negatively about the church and so forth. I assured her that I would not talk negatively about the church to the kids. I think that is wise. No sense in confusing them anymore than they are already.
Why should you not be able to share your opinions regarding Mormonism with your kids? Yes, it might be "confusing" at first, but eventually, they will really appreciate you if you allow them to think for themselves rather than have their thinking done by the prophet. I hope you realize that it's a contradiction to suggest that you will be able to "correct" the Mormon teaching but to also tell your wife that you won't talk about it negatively in any way. There's absolutely no reason that your wife should be able to share her beliefs with your kids, but you shouldn't be allowed to share yours. This is only her way (and the Morg's way) to keep you there, paying for the kids, etc., while they maintain control over your wife's and chidren's thoughts and lives. Keep in mind that when your wife says that she "would like to raise the kids in the church," etc., and that she hopes you won't make that difficult, it is not her speaking--it is mind-control. Why should you simply give into her brainwashing?
> Could you explain a little more in depth why you feel it is imperative that I set limits Now? I'm not exactly seeing the light on that one right now.
It's entirely possible that I'm wrong about this, and that for you to insist that you decrease church attendance, etc., now would lead to divorce, etc. But, in my opinion, this is a period of change for you during which rules are being made (such as your promise not to talk negatively about the church). The way you establish things now could become the way things are for years to come. At this point, you might be so relieved not to be getting a divorce (I've been there) that you'll put up with almost any situation, but in the long run, if you cannot discuss your feelings, etc., with your children about very important issues (the nature of existence, etc.) you might find yourself very miserable in the years to come. Of course, it's possible that maybe you will be more effective in extracting them from Mormonism if you do so slowly. (And I think this should be the goal of everyone who finds out how untrue and damaging Mormonism is.) I personally, though, have seen spouses have much more success in getting their beloved out when they try to do so quickly.
> Again, thanks for your kind words and advice,
It's my pleasure. Good luck to you!
|Date:||Apr 13 14:58|
|Yes, I now realize the apparent contradiction. But I may have been
unclear. What I mean by speak negatively is to find fault and criticism, in a
less-than-kind way. She believes that I may have been infected with an ill, negative,
hateful spirit relating to all things mormon (as she has seen my attention to and interest
in things anti-mormon.) She would not like to see the kids infected with the same
ill-spirit, and to turn on her and her family. I also do not want that to happen.
In my recovery process, I have tried to look for the good in the church and its members, and to find value in many of its teachings. I look for constructive ways to criticize, hoping to do more good within the system, say. In this way I have hopes of keeping my kids free and unaffected by the morg. But this may be impossible. Maybe, however, this is a good alternative approach to pulling them out abruptly, before they've been properly weaned. I dunno.
So, in this particular sense, it is really not a contradiction to strive to correct my kids, and at the same time not speak "negatively" (in a negative spirit) about the church or its doctrines. But ultimately, I suppose any corrections I make to those specific lds teachings I find unpalatable, could be construed as speaking negatively about them, by some. I think my wife doesn't mind if I share alternate views with them, only that I do so in a way that doesn't belittle or mock the church or others for their beliefs in it. BTW: my kids are aged 13, 11, 10, 7, and 3. I don't think any of them has a testimony yet. We're not exactly model mormon parents, are we? lol
Then again, maybe I am in denial over this issue. Maybe, as you suggest, I am too elated that a divorce has been forestalled, that I am not understanding my wife's full intentions of sticking to raising the kids in the church, religiously.
I'll need to clear this up soon enough.
I agree with you, and see it clearer now, that it is imperative to set limits now when all this is in the air. If I don't, when things settle back down, she may expect that things will continue to run in the same course. I was raised by a TBM mom and a non-member, apathetic dad. Mom did pretty much everything with us that related to religion, while dad did absolutely nothing. Subconsciously, these facts may be subtly affecting my current attitudes about raising my family in mormonism.
If what you say is the rule, rather than the exception, I'll need to consider the get-out-quick approach.
|Subject:||It's such a difficult situation. If you seem like the typical "anti-Mormon,"...|
|Date:||Apr 13 16:12|
|you'll be validating their beliefs about people who leave "the
church." But basically, the only way to not seem like the typical anti-Mormon is to
stay a Mormon in your outward appearance.
I do think that you're right about the contradiction being reconciled concerning what you say about "the church." Do consider, though (as you apparently are), that saying anything that falls short of actually preaching Mormonism can be seen as "criticizing," etc.
I was expecting you to say that your children are younger. I think that it changes things when they're old enough to have friends at church, etc. Be glad that you're not the ideal Mormon parents with testimony-toting toddlers! Do you live in "Zion"? If so, consider moving. We're moving from Zion to the East Coast and couldn't be happier about it. Take whatever steps you can to decrease the Mormon influence in your household.
It's interesting that you were raised by a non-Mormon and apathetic father and a TBM mother. You clearly led a Mormon life, etc. Is that what you want for your kids? Maybe I think that being raised Mormon is worse than it really is, but I think that the guilt combined with missions and the exhortations to get married young (to someone you often don't know well) and to have a lot of children quickly are very harmful, and I don't want my kids feeling pressured to do that. Keep in mind that the Morg just becomes more and more controlling through children's teenage years, with seminary, young men's and young women's activities, etc. If you can't get your kids out, offer them as many alternatives as possible.
Also, if I were you, I'd try to get my wife involved in social circles that don't involve Mormonism. Maybe she could go back to school or do something else to fill in the gap that decreased involvement in Mormonism will leave? I wouldn't have been able to leave if I didn't have the university as an alternate social group to my ward.
You haven't said anything about your beliefs, but if you're still Christian, you might try convincing your wife that you all should try some different churches. If you're questioning religion and God in general, you might try taking her and the kids to the Unitarians occasionally, where they will be able to maintain their own beliefs. In case you don't know, most Unitarian fellowships have an array of beliefs in the members--from liberal Christianity to Judaism and Hinduism to atheists and agnostics. This would be a great way for your children to get some perspective regarding religion at an important time in their lives.
Keep us informed on how things are going!
|Date:||Apr 14 18:31|
You might consider looking at the boards at www.newordermormons.homestead.com, which is targeted at people who choose to remain affiliated with the lds church (for whatever reason) in spite of disbelief. Lots of coping strategies proposed, lots of good discussioin. RfM is good, but perhaps a little further away from what you need right now.
|Subject:||I agree with your approach. Absolutely do not play the "negative" game.|
|Date:||Apr 14 18:59|
|Don't rip on the church, its leaders, or it policies. If your wife
wants to know your opinion on something regarding the church that maybe irritates you then
go ahead and tell her but do so reluctantly. This will convey the message that your
relationship with her is more important than your opinions about the Church.
Also, fill the void left by leaving the Church with positive things and teachings. Study other religions like Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, whatever, find the good in them and share them with your family. The best approach is to show that your happiness and spirituality have not been damaged but rather have been enhanced by leaving the Church.
|Subject:||What a Powerful Post|
|Date:||Apr 14 01:57|
|One of the most important things you said was the need for the non-mormon parent to have equal time with the children on Sundays. Where does it state that the Mormon parent has more Sunday rights to the children? To allow them to continue only the Sunday indoctrination is to sit back and kiss them good-by as guilt-free adolescents and adults.|
|Subject:||If I Could Have my Way ...|
|Date:||Apr 13 13:17|
|... I would have walked right up to Holland and punched him right in
his self-righteous face after hearing him deliver this talk.
His aforementioned talk is one of the worst I've seen recently. The message I see is "Don't teach your kids to think, If your spouse is a free-thinker, then your children are doomed."
I wonder, rpm, how many other families had worse luck than you... and perhaps there are spouses who went the other way, and are thinking, "better to be single TBM, than to have a non-TBM spouse drag our children down."
If Holland and his type were in charge of the world, I am sure that we'd still be burning witches.
It is times like these when I have to side with Bertrand Russell, who consistently stated that religions do more harm than good.
|Subject:||Re: If I Could Have my Way ...|
|Date:||Apr 15 02:41|
|A funny thing you mentioned in your post struck a chord with me, and that was the idea of someone deciding it was better to be single than to have a non-member spouse dragging you down. I heard that in a meeting one time, when the Bish was discussing a woman whose marriage was on the rocks, and I quote: "She has found the truth, and wants to bring her children up in the true church and her husband doesn't support it, therefore, she has only one decision to make - and that is that she probably can't stay with him." This floored me, and I immediately derailed the conversation by saying that I didn't agree that was the right thing to say. I said that she and her husband needed professional counselling, and I hadn't previously thought that HF and the church were into splitting up marriages based on theological differences of opinion. WELL! You should have heard the priesthood jump down my throat over that one. (They also objected to my objection that a welfare mom of 9 should not pay tithing on her welfare checks, citing the "Widow's mite" and the blessings that tithing brings superceding her need to feed and her children. I am not kidding.)|
|Subject:||Another example of hypocrisy in the church...|
|Date:||Apr 15 08:10|
|Is how it claims to be pro-family...
... yet it splits up mixed-member families.
I have seen so many times how the church teaches the TBMs in mixed-member families that their non-member are a threat to their faith... especially when the non-members are antagonistic to the church. I have seen many situations in which spouses and children ostracize non-members in their family in order to "protect" their own faith.
I know there have been many threads on these issues, but this is one of those situations where I fault the church almost entirely for its propensity towards teaching members that they must "protect" themselves against people that are not faith-promoting, even when they are family (especially spouses).
It makes me want to make my own "exmo" declaration on the family.
|Subject:||The Church wants your children . . .|
|Date:||Apr 13 14:49|
|Nice post, rpm. Best wishes as you and your wife
"redefine" your marriage--you're not the first!
I think the Holland talk really "raises the stakes" for Mormons, and should (but won't) open some eyes. He was essentially telling parents to teach their kids NOT what they, the parents, think is truthful (about religion) or moral (about behavior). Instead, he is commanding parents to become unpaid agents of the Church Educational System, feeding them phony history and dumbed-down doctrine right out of the manual. He is kind of creating a new parental sin here, the sin of "not pretending the Church is 100% true to your kids." Personally, I'll stick with the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Teaching the Mormon gospel to the kids if you don't believe it violates that commandment, which is a real one.
This should (but probably won't) rub some Mormons the wrong way. Mormons think they teach their kids the Mormon gospel because they believe it. Now they need to admit they teach their kids the Mormon gospel because Elder Holland told them to. Holland's formulation nicely sweeps the parents out of the picture, as if parents don't really have any independent right or responsibility to teach their children what is right or moral. Just another example of how the Church tramples on individuals (all with the best of intentions, of course).
|Subject:||beware fathers, the Church will castrate you|
|Date:||Apr 14 02:17|
|There is little doubt that the Church is desperate to retain it's
children of record, it's multi-generational members. If it can not do that, it can do
nothing. And so the Church begins at a very young age to grant to it's male members their
very manhood, power and dominion. Catch? Oh my yes. It is entirely contingent upon
continued faithfulness (read paying tithing, attending meetings and performing
appropriately). Make no mistake men, your manhood is tied directly to your priesthood, and
your TBM wife believes this in all sincerity.
So there is but one plight for the male apostate who fails to take his wife with him, emotional castration and replacement. You may still be in the home, but you've been replaced by home teachers, by bishops, by aaronic priesthood quorum advisers, by young women leaders, by scout masters, by those that will smile to your face as they steer your child out the door and onto yet another session of youth indoctrination. It is a battle for the hearts and minds and devotion of your children. It is not a benign nor even a benevolent organization. It is an organzation obsessed with power and control over all it touches. Be wise, be wary, and pick your moments. Bide your time well and you may yet have your cake and eat it too.
|Subject:||Divorce is an impulsive threat|
|Date:||Apr 14 11:09|
|That was my wife's first reaction too. "I've been praying about whether I should divorce you or not." After prayerful consideration, she too has decided to keep the marriage together. Our wives have been trained from a young age that only an active priesthood holding mormon man can take care of them. A non-member/ex-mormon will drink, smoke, cheat, abuse her and the kids, etc. I think when they realize that you are the same person you were before you stopped believing, they decide maybe everything will be alright. It probably blows their minds when we remain decent men after leaving the church. It has to be terribly confusing to my wife that I no longer believe but other than that I'm pretty much the same guy. She even asked me if I believed in the Word of Wisdom. I said since JS made it up, no. So she asked me if that meant I would start drinking and smoking. LOL. I told her probably not since I've gotten this far in life without it. The next time she asks me that I am going to tell her that I no longer believe homosexuality is a bad thing either, but that doesn't mean I want to have gay sex.|
|Subject:||say goodbye in the next life?|
|Date:||Apr 15 11:52|
|I seem to remember acording to morg doctrine that if a woman has an unfaithful husband, she will be given to someone else in the next life!!|