Mormon Church Magazine Feb. 2004 - "Children Who Stray"
Subject: Article in Feb 2004 Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 15:45 2004
Author: Empowered  (Note: Ensign is the official Mormon church magazine for adults)

My well-intentioned neighbors gave my girls and I subscriptions to all the church magazines. Usually they go right from the mailbox to the garbage can. For some reason, I had to open this Ensign (Feb 2004), and now I know why I left the Mormon church.

This woman chose to remain anonymous. Good thing...I would have hunted her down! The title is "I Won't Give Up on Them!" and is subtitled, "How could I maintain a close, loving relationship with my children when they had rejected the standards of the Church?" GAG! But it gets MUCH WORSE. Seriously, you must read this to believe the judgmental, condescending attitude this woman (and many who think they have the truth) has!

She seems to be totally shocked that her "prodigal" children are actually loving and "work hard at honoring her", that they are "responsible, productive people who manifest the basic values of Christian charity and honesty." She says this as if these qualities can only exist in people WITHIN the "Church." She actually admits to missing them and wanting to be part of their lives but, at the same time, relieved at not always having to participate in their lives!

The part that sickened me most was when she was visiting one her daughters, who invited her to go to an amusement park. It was SUNDAY, so perfect mom declined and chose to go to church her "daughter's ward." This woman actually had the GALL to bear her testimony and this is some of what she said (WARNING: You may vomit!) ""Brothers and Sisters, I am here visiting my daughter, who SHOULD (emphasis added) be a member of your ward but has not been inside a chapel for many years. In fact, three of my four children have fallen away from the Church. (Here goes...) I want to APOLOGIZE to you GOOD people on behalf of my children. (OMG! It gets worse)...I suspect that you have seen them as you walked down these streets, and I am sorry if their behavior has offended you." WHO THE HELL does this woman think she is and what RIGHT does she have to stand up in front of these complete strangers and apologize on BEHALF of her children? (OH...and BTW...I got the impression from an earlier paragraph that one of her daughters has a "female partner" didn't elaborate).

There is much more of this CRAP (trying to be nice) but what REALLY irks me is that the "CHURCH" published this CRAP and BELIEVES this type of behavior and attitude toward others is ACCEPTABLE and even RESPECTED!!! The other thing I noticed is not once did it say anything about leaving the "gospel" was always the "church."

I seriously need to send a letter to the Ensign and tell them what mindless drivel this article is. If you get a chance to read this, you may also pick up the fact that this woman uses a LOT of "victim language"...the "shoulds" and that she is a martyr ("It is painful to remember the dreams I used to have for them. But I don't want to torment them or me with my disappointment, so I work hard at living my life in the present instead of the past.") HELLO! Try living YOUR life for YOU instead of someone else.

Well, this isn't all...but I've ranted long enough. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest!

Any thoughts????

Subject: I read that too
Date: Jan 30 15:50
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac (Like unto Theo, always swearing)

The kindest thing I could think of was, "Narcissistic, self-righteous bitch!"

Personally, I was surprised they didn't throw in that BKP quote about parents who want their children back need to dedicate themselves even more to temple work.


Subject: This topic always makes my blood boil too
Date: Jan 30 16:03
Author: Helen

The other thing I noticed is not once did it say anything about leaving the "gospel" was always the "church."

It's always about the Church not the Gospel. But the Gospel is the Church...the Gospel of Power, the Gospel of Position, The Gospel of Money, The Gospel of Outward Appearance, yada, yada, yada.

That Church really is destructive in how it views families. Sure they have the warm fuzzy PR spots "Families, isn't it about time?" but many do exactly what the woman in the story does.

I could go on but I won't:-) This idea they have the market on families is what is so maddening. We just have to read story after story here on how the Church divides families. All the PR won't change the damage the Church does to its' families.

Okay, breathing in, breathing out. Blood back to normal body temperature.

Subject: link to article
Date: Jan 30 16:03
Author: temple name: Jonathan


My advice? Print it out, then read it while in the bathroom, then flush it down the toilet :)

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 16:10
Author: ronnieg

The lady is too stupid/brainwashed to realize that she has put herself in a position of rejecting the very thing she wants most -- her children. She has put a huge condition on her love, which is probably why they left the church in the first place. She is equally guilty of equating their inactivity with her own righteousness/stature in the church -- hence the apology. This is a verrrrrrrrrrry sick person in a verrrrrrrrrrrry sick church.

Subject: Apologizing to the members for her children is too much.
Date: Jan 30 16:11
Author: activejackmormon

It's like she offered her own children as a sacrifice to the church but when they ran away from the alter, she has to apologize. I feel sorry for this woman because she has no idea what it is like to truly love your children. She qualifies their good qualities but condemns their perceived faults. She has a full glass of water before her and she treats it like a cracked glass full of sludge.

The lady is miserable because of the Morg and writing that article condescendingly berating her children is her only remedy. Very sad.

Subject: I can't believe they published this, seriously (edited for additional ranting)
Date: Jan 30 16:13
Author: effulgent

The issue I had with the article is that the woman finally admits, about 2/3 of the way down, that her husband left her because he was gay and that her daughter is a lesbian and has a partner. She kept calling it a "lifestyle" as if it was a conscious choice and a sin.

My mother doesn't approve of all of the aspects of my lifestyle or my brother's lifestyle. We don't go to church, we drink sometimes, that kind of thing. But she feels blessed that she has children and she loves us very much. She has never been ashamed of us, even when we were doing things that were extremely stressful on us.

How horrible it must be for this woman's daughter to think that her mother is that ashamed of her. How horrible it must be for the gay man to think that his daughter's mother thinks that he is to blame for the fact that the daughter is gay. What negativity and shame and sadness must abound in this family that could be relieved if only the mother would just be loving and accepting of the daughter as she is.


Something else that sunk in after a while is how she talked about having the perfect life ("As a young woman, I was an achiever—a straight-A student, product of a strong Latter-day Saint family. I suppose I saw myself as a valiant spirit on the fast track to the celestial kingdom."). Then all of a sudden her life starts to suck ("But after I married and had children, divorce temporarily derailed my journey. Now, instead of speeding along smoothly toward success, I have spent years painstakingly trying to rebuild my track one tie, one step, at a time.")

It must really suck to have to be a member of a religion that tells you that your eternal happiness has been f'ed up because you had a failed marriage and your children were born with a different sexual orientation than your church allows.

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 16:13
Author: Michael

I've got to ask: does anyone have an address for this so-called publication? Sounds like another name withheld should be written chastising this woman.

Subject: Yes, I read that article as well
Date: Jan 30 16:15
Author: Veritas

Due to family considerations, I'm still very much on the inside now. I picked up the Ensign thinking that perhaps I would find something that made me feel good about still being connected to the church. When I read that article I was disgusted at the tone and content. This woman has a daughter who is happy, who loves her, and who welcomes her mother to her home. It wasn't clear from the content, but it certainly didn't seem like her daughter is giving church members the finger or going out of her way to offend them. Rather, it seems like her daughter is simply minding her own business. That this mother would have the gall to stand up in church and apologize to members in case they were offended by her daughter's behavior is inexcusable. She had no business getting up and telling them about her daughter's behavior in the first place. If she wanted to get up in church and introduce herself and tell everyone that she was in town visiting her loving daughter, that would have been more than sufficient. Then, if anyone there happened to know her daughter and had the gall to make a judgmental comment to her in private, she should have told them to go to hell.

I've always maintained that people who think and behave like this mother don't have a clue what Christian teachings are all about. The fact that this behavior is published in the Ensign and thereby implicitly endorsed by the church compels me to acknowledge that it's an institutional, not individual, problem.

Subject: Good point -
Date: Jan 30 16:23
Author: Susan I/S

"The fact that this behavior is published in the Ensign and thereby implicitly endorsed by the church compels me to acknowledge that it's an institutional, not individual, problem."
Given that, it is easy to see why there are so many boundary issues.....

Subject: My favorite part...
Date: Jan 30 16:21
Author: namyzarc

...was her point #2 where she said that she was "stripped of pride".

Hmmm...anyone who talks and thinks that way ("I just wish my children could be more like me.", etc.) has plenty of pride left inside.

Stripped? Hah!


Subject: If you want to e-mail the Ensign to voice your concerns (or disgust) of this article
Date: Jan 30 16:25
Author: effulgent

The address is:

If you do send a letter, please post a copy here or on another thread, I'd love to see it.

(P.S. If they want the lay members to stop using "LDS" as an abbreviation for the church's name, they should probably change their e-mail address, don't you think?)

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 16:28
Author: wisedup

Unbeliveable!!!!! How pathetic!!!!!! Warped!!!!!!!!

She quoted from Nephi - If he [the wayward soul] repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.

What kind of sadistic - guilt - shame - threat is this? Old joe knew how to manipulate people - didn't he.

I loved the part where she talked about polluting herself through association.

This shows the power the cult has over people - especially those so far out of touch with reality.

I hate moronism and everything it teaches.

Subject: Look at the bright side.
Date: Jan 30 16:36
Author: Stray Mutt

This article wouldn't exist if the church didn't have a considerable problem with the current generations "straying." This has become a recurring theme the past year or so. The upcoming generations are abandoning the church. Yippie! That's great news.

Subject: This arrogant B***h shows the kind of behavior that alienates people...
Date: Jan 30 16:53
Author: Drinks Coffee on the sly

While eschewing pride, she apologizes for her lesbian daughter presuming to walk down the street with her partner or having a drink.

Her ego and pride are off the charts. I can only commend her exMo Children for making an effort to be with her, for she esteems them considerably lower than she does the church.

Rather than go to the amusement park and be with her family, she'd rather bad mouth them behind their back in what would be their own ward.

The gall is breathtaking.

It is behavior like that that continually lowers the possibility of my ever returning to that terrible cult.

Subject: How many of our parents left US to serve in endless Church callings?
Date: Jan 30 16:54
Author: Fly

I would SO love to stand up in my mother's ward and say, "Do you know that my own mother visited her only grandson 4 times in seven months because she's so busy being your kids' Primary President that she ignores her own kids..?"

We lived not 20 minutes from my mom in SLC. And less than 5 minutes from where she works. My son was born in Dec 2002--she was called as Primary Pres the day after he was born-- and when we moved in July 2003 she'd visited him a total of 4 times. I counted.

And she's only got two grandkids, total. Oh yeah, the other grandchild is my older daughter...also seldom visited by my devoutly religious mother.

Family church, my ass. This article has me absolutely apoplectic.

Subject: AHHH! I just had a frightening thought! (language)
Date: Jan 30 17:00
Author: Fly

So if this article is in The Ensign, isn't the Church essentially endorsing this woman's behavior? With her going to her daughter's ward, and everything...?

This will UNDOUBTEDLY give my own TBM mother crazy ideas. Oh, hell.

She's coming to visit me in March. Damn, damn, damn, damn....

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 17:17
Author: Rhema

Read the article yesterday afternoon and wanted to upchuck. These professional martyr types are unbelievable. Her kids are minding their own business living their lives productively and she runs to their ward and practically points her kids out to the Mormons there - I'm sure that's just what her kids were looking for. Her 14 year old daughter probably chose to live with her Dad instead of her because it gave her more emotional freedom, give her daughter credit for straight thinking.

Subject: S.P.O.H.P. (steaming pile of horse poopie)...
Date: Jan 30 17:17
Author: jesus h christ

But, ya' know, this is the sort of thing my mother would just embrace!! She'd say she loves her apostate children, but never call them and basically kick them to the curb and bemoan their FALL in public. And she wonders why I was seeing a shrink??? Never ceases to amaze me...

Subject: I was her (typed with hanging head and eyes full....)
Date: Jan 30 17:29
Author: Brudah12
Mail Address:

No, I didn't stand up in church and say anything - but I felt all the things she mentioned - the drifting kids, the choices to be made, choosing the 'right', grieving while I viewed myself as TBM and righteous.....

I came to know, in time, that I was the one on the slippery path - that I had lost contact because I had made a choice to remain in a 'holier than thou' world.

We, as a family, are making the change. Evidenced by a Thanksgiving car trip of 5000 miles to visit the 'drifters' and reconnect. It was wonderful. I will never be the same. LDS stuff clearly divides families. Mine will never be divided that way again.

Subject: Well, good for you!!! I can only hope my mom will come around as well... 


Subject: Did you notice her definition of a good mother? *swearing*
Date: Jan 30 17:44
Author: Mehina

When she bewails the fact that her daughter chose to live with her father rather than her, the woman asks the rhetorical question, "What was I doing wrong? I was a good mother. I paid tithing, fasted and prayed, attended the temple. What more could I do?"

Perhaps... let your daughter know frequently she is loved, and loved unconditionally, support her in what she does, respect the life choices she makes, do your best to make home a pleasant place to be, rather than ignoring her for a cold, monstrous organization which, in all honestly, doesn't really give a shit about you. Their biggest concern is the lost tithing from the three children. Just a thought.

Also, I can see it now... somewhere, in some classroom, on a Sunday soon to come... a teacher will pull this article out of their bag. And rather than teach about apostasizing children, they will use this story to make the woman a martyr, and will use it to illustrate how gays and lesbians are destructive towards families. Completely oblivious to the fact that it is intolerance which led to all the pain which sprung from pressuring a gay man to marry.

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign manipulating behavior of tbms through fear of humiliation
Date: Jan 30 17:48
Author: Ruth CA/not a problem

From what you said, it sounds like an article from a cult alright! But what would be the purpose? Makes me wonder, if this isn't just about reinforcing the social humbling and social humiliation of adult tbms whose kids aren't temple saints-
but rather, possibly primarily, this serves to terrify younger tbms whose children are not yet adults through making the very behavior and crazy blaming of a tbm for legal adults' they are related to' s non-tbm-ness... 'socalled' "normal".
By making a catch 22, an illogical, uncontrollable thing something which all adult tbms (newly reminded by this publications' article, written in the first person making it all the more humiliating vicariously- "oh if that that were me" "oh I want to avoid that- go go to seminary already" which is profoudly more influencial than being told what to do, think, say, aovid etc. by an 'authority'.)
Thing people within the group are missing is this story, this topic, this writing was all selected by an authority or somebody representing that authority- for the select purpose of telling them what to do-
but indirectly, through a social persuasion. Which in this case, appears to be some cruel form of humiliation and social denigration...obviously making it clear that this poor woman is socially inferior and it is clear to all the tbms- (* how clear is this message: keep your kids in line or this will happen to you. Everyone will treat you like you are unimportant here, too)

By engineering this catch 22, where someone is responsible for something they are not in control of legally or emotionally or physically or financially-- you create a real double bind, it is crazy making.

So this publication engineered this situation and demonstrated to all the tbms how low they will go if they don't snap and do (what is not in their power to do) to avoid the same (happening to them) when they too have children who have aged, left the nest, and make decisions which they the tbms are not (nor should another adult ever be actually) in control of

which is just the issue: this article points clearly to just one more double bind, a crazy making expectation where these poor tbms are socially shamed and humiliated over things they personally have no control of- and it is deliberately supported and promulgated, in as much as it is being communicated- as a teaching tool for keeping more and more of them toeing the line futily

trying to avoid humiliation and shaming moments within the cult over things which they themselves have no control

That is sick
That is SO SAD

Seriously, it is a cult.

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 17:50
Author: Reinventing Grace

Is the Ensign hurting for submissions?

This seems a little over the top. But if they didn't have anything else to throw in,...


Subject: GREAT Responses...
Date: Jan 30 18:04
Author: Empowered

...and thanks to those who posted links to the article and the e-mail address! You guys are SO resourceful! Your comments are all things I thought/felt while I was reading this, too.

I just e-mailed my letter to the Great Publication. I know all of you can articulate your thoughts well, and would love to see them innundated with letters against this kind of rubbish. Here is a copy of mine (succint, as I could have ranted on and on...):

Dear Editors,

I am a single mother of two girls (11 and 17). Our neighbors gave us a gift subscription to your church magazines. They aren't something we have really enjoyed and they usually end up in the garbage, but this month there was an article that made my blood boil.

"I Won't Give Up on Them" was one of the most condescending, self-righteous displays of "Christianity" I have ever seen. No wonder this woman chose to remain anonymous. The fact that you published such an egregious attempt at writing tells me (and the thousands of others who read your publications) that you CONDONE this type of behavior. This woman must have incredibly low self-esteem and live with an enormous amount of guilt if she had the gall to stand in her daughter's church meeting and apologize on behalf of her children. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is articles like this that will prevent me and my family from ever joining a church that, by appearances, embraces family values but, in reality, eschews them.


Linda ______

Subject: Just started reading it but . . .
Date: Jan 30 18:08
Author: síóg

Omigawd, I can't believe she'd write this or that a so-called "christian" church would publish it:

When I visit them, am I polluting myself by spending time in “Babylon”?

HEY! You folks at Edelman [Mormon Church's public relations firm in NY]! HEY! Better make sure the Ensign stays out of the hands of prospects!

Subject: Re: Article in Ensign has my blood BOILING re: Children Who Stray
Date: Jan 30 18:23
Author: Wag

Regrettably, writing a letter to the Ensign will likely do little good, however, there is always the possibility that someone on staff there will read it, realize the reality of it and finally see TSCC for what it really is.

The entire article could be sliced and diced from here to the next millenium, however, the heading that really stood out the most was, "Responsibility to Love." I was more than a little aghast at that and read further to find that yep, she was saying she knows ". . . my responsibility right now is to love them."

Responsibility? How thoroughly demeaning is that?!!! She loves her kids out of responsibility? Somehow, I doubt the quality of her love is worth the electrons it's taking to write about it.

But, like I said, the entire article is crap.


Subject: My letter I sent to the Editor ...
Date: Jan 31 01:58
Author: justmythoughts

... I doubt it will be read, much less printed ;-) ... but I do feel better for writing it for what it is worth.

Here it is ...

I read the story written in the February 2004 issue, titled "I Won't Give Up On Them" written with the name of the author withheld. After reading it, I felt compelled to respond in writing.

I am most surprised that The Church would print such an article, as well as promote its contents with an exercise of sharing it within a family to spark dialogue. This article is wrought with a woman who suffers greatly from a martyr complex, guilt, and shame, based on what she interprets the church teaches. I could write a novel alone on the words of this woman, but due to time and space constraints I address the following key point which are found throughout the entire article

  • The church has taught this woman that being an over achiever and living her life with the 'appearance of perfection' would keep her safe from the world around her. This message seems to be mainstream among members and because of it, they suffer unnecessarily with constant guilt, as life and living are not 'perfect', never have been and never will be. If it were, there would be no reason for our existence upon this earth.

  • She speaks of the success and happiness of her children and the deep love they have for her, but this is not enough. They must be 'like' her in order to gain her total acceptance. Anything less, they will continue to fall short in her eyes. This is a very dangerous message. Jesus Christ taught us to 'love unconditionally'. In the pureness of love there are no conditions. As a parent who loves and nurtures their children unconditionally, love is not a 'responsibility'. Love is a privilege to give and to receive. It is a gift, not a burden.

  • Her position on homosexuality and her definition of 'apostate' which has been born and encouraged by The Church, is also dangerous. It forces men and women to engage in 'false' relationships, resulting in marriage and innocent children born of these relationships that would not otherwise take place if were not for the extreme religious pressures to conform and deny the way they were born. She is a true victim in this regard, but not by her husband, but of the doctrine that he was taught. We are people, not labels ... we all are individually unique ... children of God, made in His image ... there are no mistakes. In essence, it denies the individual spirit of a person to be themselves. Because of this, spouses and children are hurt in the aftermath of full acceptance of identity. Judgement and labels are imposed where none belongs. It is not our place to judge others.

  • This writer speaks of being on the 'fast track' to the Celestial Kingdom. This above all else speaks throughout this article, even though the writer denies it in the end. When a parent or member lives their life to die, it really isn't living. What so many people do, is miss the wonders and joy of this life, thinking that their actions or lack of them are preparing them for the next. How very sad this is to me. They are only seeing a fraction of the picture instead of all of it, in the beauty of the wholeness.

  • The writer makes mention of the "Fourth Article of Faith", however, shows clear lack of knowledge to understand the "Eleventh Article of Faith" which states "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." If this mother embraced this Article of Faith, there would be no need for her to suffer as a self imposed victim because her children chose another path in this life, other than the one she deems proper for them. Spirituality comes from within, and each journey is individual and different. The path she is on, may be the one she requires to cope in this life, as well as the path her children are on, may be the path they require for their spiritual growth. Both are right ... just different. One does not trump the other!

  • As parents, we are to bring our children up in righteousness. To teach them right from wrong to live by the "Golden Rule". We all have our free agency and any attempts to try and eradicate that agency would be detrimental to our spirit as well as to those we are trying to control. Her attempts to 'apologize' in a Fast and Testimony meeting for her children's choices, I found totally obscene. In doing so, she attempted to not only control their agency, but make a public apology because her children did not fit into her mold of who she thought they should be.

  • Her "Three Lessons" are pure until she attempts to put meaning behind them. In doing so she again attempts to control and negate the free agency of others and bastardizes them until they hold no real value.

    Love the sinner, not the sin. Love with judgement is not pure love. Christ did not teach us to love as this writer has outlined in this article which is being promoted by the Church by publishing it. Possibly if she had quoted from the bible as Christ taught, she might have had a better understanding of the unrighteousness of her behavior and thought. With her article, it sends a very mixed message to its readers. It is wrought with hateful, self loathing and judgmental comments towards those she professes to love. How sad.

    Family ... isn't it about time?

    Possibly if she had invested her time with family and spent her day with her daughter, loving her, bonding with her, nurturing and letting her know how much she appreciated her, instead of tearing her and her other children down behind their backs in a Fast and Testimony meeting with total strangers, her life would be much more fulfilling.

    Somehow, I think Christ was there with her daughter on that Sabbath day. Too bad her mother wasn't!


Subject: Re: continuation of thread : Article in the Ensign has my blood BOILING: Children who stray
Date: Jan 31 01:59
Author: Claire

The mother seems a tad unaware that she's the one with the problem while everyone else around her is busy having a life. Plus, it does not seem to occur to her that maybe the weird teachings of the church are to blame for her misery - not circumstances.Some people just love to suffer and nothing but nothing will keep them from doing so.

Subject: Thanks, "DCOTS"!!! I didn't close the thread... (link)
Date: Jan 31 03:36
Author: Empowered

...and hoped it would promote more dialogue, too! I was especially curious to see if anyone else would post letters here and "JustMyThoughts" did just that! EXCELLENT letter! It should be an article in the Ensign! If more people send these types of messages to the "brethern" maybe, just maybe, they might GET IT!! (Nah...too much to hope for)!

This truly has to be one of the most egregious articles I've ever read! Thanks for keeping it going in order to "enlighten" others!

Here's the link again (thanks to "New Name: Jonathan")

Subject: Reading that made me soooooooo glad I left , they make life so complicated ! 
Subject: The sad thing about this article....
Date: Jan 31 09:05
Lara C that I know many who would fit the profile of the woman who wrote it.

They would put the church first, family last, in a heartbeat.

After all, that's what they want you to covenant to in the temple. It's sick and sad.
Subject: "Strumming my pain with his fingers..."
Date: Jan 31 12:44

Thanks so much for posting this letter. I am still so disturbed by this article. In fact, I don't know when something has disturbed me this much for a very long time.

I was trying to think of how to put my feelings into words and you captured so many of them. It made me resolved to write a letter also, which I will probably do tomorrow.

As Empowered said in the previous's not even so much that the article is so awful, it's the fact that by printing it, the corporation is basically endorsing this kind of attitude. How sad, how dangerous, how evil.

Unfortunately, the saddest part is that we all probably know people who could have written this. They are so missing the point. They can't even read their own Bible and see what it plainly says. They love to make their claims to Christ and have no idea what his teachings were about. And yes, probably the most disturbing thing is that I must have had some of this attitude off and on.

Gawd, I am SOOOOO lucky to be the "apostate" of my family. I am so lucky that my life didn't follow the mormon agenda. I am so lucky to be looking at the cult from the outside in, rather than being trapped on the inside.

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