Subject: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24, 2009
Author: Puck   [admin note:  She is a young adult ex-Mormon]

So my sister just moved and doesn't have internet yet, so she asked me to check her email for her. We're pretty close and that's normal. We know each others' normal passwords and trust each other.

Anyway, so I'm looking for message she specified, when I come across an email from my mom to my sister with the subject: "concerning [puck]"

I know it's wrong. I know I violated trust. But I checked it.

And it was a link to this article:

An excerpt from the article:

"Spiritual Rehabilitation

In the process of rehabilitating a troubled child, the issue of spiritual healing must be addressed. Neither a medical doctor nor a counselor can effect spiritual healing; they might help, but ultimately, only a spiritual steward can cure a spiritual sickness. Several people qualify: 1) the parents 2) the bishop 3) Young Men and Young Women presidencies and advisors 4) home teachers and visiting teachers 5) anyone else the bishop assigns.

A bishop from Idaho recounted a success experience in which by virtue of his keys, he assembled a team and helped to bring back a troubled boy:

The parents of one of my priests [16 -18 year old Mormon male] came to visit me. They were distraught. Their son was going off the deep end, and they didn't know what to do. After listening to them, I suggested that we pray and meet again. During that time, an impression came to me. I called a meeting with the parents and men who were influential in the boy's life. These were my counselors, the boy's Young Men leader, his Sunday School teacher, and his coach at school. I explained the boy's situation and asked them to join with me in a fast. Then I asked them to pray and go to the temple to determine what the Lord would have them do to help the boy. A week later, we met again and talked about our impressions. Each man had received specific instructions from the Spirit. We [acted on the answers we had received], and in a short period of time, the boy ceased his downward slide, repented, and made a full about-face to genuine activity in the Church.

Assembling the team of healers is absolutely essential to success. While the medical and emotional healers do their parts, the spiritual healers work on the crucial spiritual issues behind waywardness. Because the bishop holds the keys of the priesthood for this very situation, he has the right to direct the process. That is not to say that his role is more important than the parents' role. But he stands in the unique position to assemble a team from within the ranks of his ward to take assignments in rescuing the child. By virtue of his keys, he can throw a net of support under the parents and provide them much needed perspective, whatever the outcome."  [end of excerpt]

first of all...

WHAT THE HELL. who would send their child to a residential program for TEN frickin' months!? I know that's from the bit at the bottom but still SO WRONG!

But really, I'm kinda depressed by this. Not only did my mom send this to my sister, but to the ENTIRE mormon family. Seriously? I'm probably more upset than I ought to be, but it literally sickens me that this is being passed around.


Subject: apparently there's more (link)
Date: Jul 24 02:04
Author: Puck

crazy blog devoted to helping those with "wayward children."

I'm wayward?

I think this is hitting hard because I thought my mom and I were just starting to start to have a good relationship. And now I think it's all lies.


Subject: That kind of stuff hits me pretty hard too.
Date: Jul 24 02:11
Author: Dark Lord

Most of my family had been telling me this since I was very young. It kind of screws with your head.

Even now. I know most of their judgments have been based on things out of my control; and worse, a lot of it was based on religious drivel which is nothing more than primitive tribal barbarism. Still, it hurts my feelings when I see that they have always considered me to be broken somehow.

Now, being an outspoken atheist (and worse, a very outspoken apostate to the Mormon cult), they just confirm to themselves that they were right all along.

I am, to use cult lingo, not worthy (of their love and respect.)

What can you do?


Subject: Just keep this in mind
Date: Jul 24 02:07
Author: nonamekid

You're OK. The rest of your family are screwed up.

Sorry you have to deal with this crap. You have a right to be upset - your family doesn't accept you as an adult.


Subject: I thought I had seen everything. I am so sorry honey.
Date: Jul 24 02:09
Author: Susan I/S

How very very hurtful. I don't even know what to say I am so shocked.

And you are not a child, you are a bright woman with the world at your feet. The one I feel sorry for is your mother.


Subject: I'm sorry you have a wayward mother. (munchy swears too)
Date: Jul 24 02:19
Author: munchybotaz

I'm a wayward child myself--still, at 48. I suspect my mom complains about me, if only to my brother (because she complains about him to me). But as nutty and frustrating as my mom is today, I could always count on her to sing my praises, or at least not criticize and complain about me, to others when I was growing up. Even when I was being wayward, smoking cigarettes and skipping classes and sort of almost daring to disagree with my dad (aka the Supreme King Boss Man of Everything).

My two aunts on my dad's side would always bitch about their kids; my mom never did. It's wrong.

I can't even force myself to read the article, but I'm sure it's some shit. I'd be more what the hell about broadcasting my waywardness to the family, if it were me, and probably confront her about it. Sometimes parents need to be bombarded with disapproval.

You're the one with the normal life.



Subject: First things first????
Date: Jul 24 02:20
Author: bingoe4

A recently sexually active young woman should first go see her bishop???!!!!!! How can any parent think this is the first thing that should be done?????!!! Shouldn't her physical health, the health of her teenage partner, and the prevention of unwanted pregnancies BE FIRST ON THE LIST!!!!!!

When people say that we as exmos we should leave the church alone this is a very good article to point to when we want proof that TSCC is harmful. How can an educated therapist give such horrible advice!!!!!

PUCK! I am sorry you have to deal with the family you were dealt. I am a college student too. I am proud of you! I know it doesn't make up for family being proud but hopefully it helps.


Subject: I'm sorry, but how...
Date: Jul 24 02:30
Author: zulu1

in the HELL do these "counselors" get licensed??? You have a spiritual "sickness" now go to the bishop? my GOD--can't we have the APA intervene and strip these people of their credentials? I am...speechless (almost). One word, and it is a cliche on this board, but these people are in a C-U-L-T!


Subject: That's the most culty thing I've ever read!
Date: Jul 24 02:49
Author: Adult of god

I hope you accept "wayward" as a badge of honor! You are not following in blind obedience, living in bubble. You are making your "way forward" in a most competent way.

Resolve that you are not going to let her silly behavior make you feel bad about yourself! I feel bad for your mother; she is missing so much by seeing you through a glass darkly.


Subject: although I can usually reconcile with this stuff,
Date: Jul 24 03:29
Author: Puck

not this time.

So I might have just done the most unethical thing in the whole world and just searched for other emails that mention me from my mom in my sisters' email account (I'm staying out of everything else).

and it's so, so much worse. paragraph upon paragraph of how I'm a heretic, how my mom went wrong, how I'm the great mistake and disappointment...and worse than that, I think, is how she (my mom) throws around smaller insults like jokes.

Combined with some other blows I took yesterday (that are completely off topic and have to do with those that carry XY chromosomes)...I honestly think this may be one of the lowest points of my life.

I have less than a week of being in my parents' home before going back to Boston. I may write a letter to the entire family at that point explaining it's quite clear they don't want me. Fine. They don't have to deal with me then, I'll disappear from their lives. Maybe that'll make it easier on everybody.


Subject: Re: although I can usually reconcile with this stuff, -swearing-
Date: Jul 24 09:21
Author: GreenEscape

I am so sorry to hear of all this BS. At least you only have a week left. Just remember that they are seriously mind-fucked. When I think about telling my family I imagine that it will probably be the same way. And I just think that they wouldn't know any better.


Subject: Puck, your mom is fortunate in that...
Date: Jul 24 09:50
Author: Summer

...that she will never actually have a wayward child, at least not concerning you. She just doesn't have the common sense to realize it.

I'm sorry, Puck.

I come from a (usually!) loving family, but I realized the summer after my college sophomore year that it would be my last summer home. My family had just moved and I was having trouble securing a summer job in a new and unfamiliar environment. I was taking a lot of grief from my family for taking so long to find a job. To compound my problems, I got into a significant bicycle accident and was sent to the emergency room. Once I did find a job, I was working 13 out of every 14 days. I was finding it hard to do even mundane things such as laundry. When I mentioned that, I got grief for saying as much. You get the picture.

So the next summer after that, I got a job in my college town. Maybe my family had been stressed or something, I don't know, but putting some distance between us for a while worked out for the best. Essentially, I emancipated myself. I remember a psychology professor saying once that if there was never any friction between older children and their parents, that the kids would never leave home. It's natural and normal (even though you're getting WAY more than your fair share.)

I put a lot of physical and emotional distance between myself and my mom in my early to mid twenties. By the time that I was ready to re-establish a relationship with her, she was ready to treat me better than she had been for a while. Sometimes parents need to be forcibly reminded that the consequence of poor treatment is distance.

Puck, I want to give you some praise. You're bright, thoughtful, articulate, hard-working, and responsible.

Boston is a great town. You'll be out of the house in a week, so focus on that. (((Hugs)))


Subject: This whole article pissed me off in SO many ways, until..
Date: Jul 24 06:11
Author: Gullible's Travel's

...I read this at the bottom:
Larry Barkdull is a prolific writer of Church subjects and general fiction...
fiction is right!


Subject: Enlightening, wasn't it...
Date: Jul 24 06:48
Author: Vee

So we who leave were already known as weaker spirits in the pre-existence. HF put us with valiant spirits to try to save us from ourselves. It's their calling to save us. Right.

As usual, typical Mormon arrogance is intact. They are valiant; we need rescuing because we're just not the great spiritual giants they are. You know, I thought their HF was supposedly a perfect celestial being. How is it possible that some of his celestial sperm is so defective as to be turning out such weak spirits? In fact, in terms of the entire earth's population throughout time, he and his harem of celestial wives turn out far more defective spirits than they do valiant ones. Hmmm...I think HF needs to accept some responsibility ala Pres. Harry Truman and say that the buck stops here. Instead he and his church blame us for what's obviously a disability we were spiritually born with. ;-) Oh, that's right. It was during our pre-existent lives that we first became wayward. Silly me. But then, I thought the fact that we were born in the latter days was proof of how valiant we were in the pre-existence. Valiant or weak, which is it? I'm so confused... :-)

I'm sorry to be so flippant. When I first read that article, it made me a little angry. Now I'm starting to see the absurdity of it all again.

I'm really sorry you're going through this. How do you heal the wounds in your relationship when your family still haven't given up the idea of changing you and even think it's their special calling in life? There aren't any easy answers. I think it just takes a long, long time when the indoctrination runs this deep.


Subject: Strange..
Date: Jul 24 09:10
Author: drewmeister

I thought it was the other way around.. that the stronger spirits were the ones satan wanted to take down the most (why go after a brainwashed pawn when you can make a possible future leader turn apostate?) so he tempted them the hardest. Strange how things can be interpreted so differently over time, though perhaps this was something my mom came up with rather than official cult doctrine. I dunno.


Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" Are you? Good! This is what you must do!
Date: Jul 24 07:08
Author: Matt

Embrace your waywardness! Enjoy it! Revel in it!

Sometimes the wayward path is the RIGHT path!

If a child of car thieves refuses to be a car thief, then that child is wayward, but in a good way.

If the child of members of TSCC is wayward, then that is good!

Hurrah for Puck's Waywardness! :oD


Subject: Your family are sick and vile and...
Date: Jul 24 07:18
Author: Matt

umm, how come YOU turned out so good and right? I'll raise a glass to you this evening, Puck.

In fact... I'll do even more!


Subject: Yeah, moms are like that. - Us Dads are too.
Date: Jul 24 07:59
Author: confused

I know that from what you've said over the years you're just an ordinary person doing ordinary stuff(and excelling). When my teen was arrested it was a total shock. The hours in the courtroom, the metaldetectors at the visiting room, the school dropout, loss of priesthood rights and all that. It is a heartbreaking and frightening experience. Losing him to 'the system' was every bit as frightening as losing him in the CK.

I did the Bishop/therapist thing to my child as well. It was the only resource we thought we had. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. My son did not recognize any authority but the Bishop. He was a lifesaver.

Please don't think this is lumping you into the same category.

My mother was one who thought that a stern beating would help me overcome my rebellious feelings, and if that didn't help my dad would add extra marks for me to hide during gym class.

Anyway, as a woman of apparent faith, it looks like your mom is using the tools available for her effort to have you with her in her faith and eternal family.
It is unfortunate that our moms seem so messed up. But as a dad, I see where she is coming from.

I think I'd give your mother the benefit of the doubt. She loves you and shows it in her own way.
Not that it makes it okay to send emails behind your back. That's just unseemly.


Subject: YOU are FINE!!
Date: Jul 24 08:14
Author: TheStalkerDog™

She needs a good bite in the butt!


Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24 09:23
Author: drewmeister

Though I hate saying this, my advice would be to let it be. Email is far too easy to say the things that normally should remain in our inner monologue. Your mother is concerned about you, misplaced as it may be, and sought to vent her concerns with your sibling.

I can understand this happening because my mom does the same thing with us. My sister isn't "wayward" by my mother's eyes, (I'm the wayward heathen child, and I'm sure she probably discusses me with the other siblings as well), but my mom has talked a lot about my sister's divorce situation and frustrations with her kids because my dad is gone most of the time for work and when he IS home, he's not really there emotionally.

Despite being married for 40+ years, my mom has had to function as a single mother most of the time. With her parents long passed away and not much of a social life/support network, us kids have been her counselor when she needed to vent life's frustrations. She doesn't have anyone else to turn to (except the bishop).

Whether or not mine is a healthy relationship, I really don't know. I'm just using it as an example. But, getting to the point, what you've seen your mother say in the emails may just be your mother letting off steam because she's worried about you. If she were talking to a psychiatrist, what she said to him/her couldn't be taken entirely at face value either.

Beyond that, you also found this stuff by, well, snooping. I'm not criticizing, I would have done the exact same thing. But it kind of neuters things from an ethical standpoint.

IMHO, between confrontation or just letting it go, I'd say let it go. And I'm proud of you, btw. You've escaped the cult and are living a successful life outside the morg. You've got PLENTY to be proud of.


Subject: Gag re the article. Sorry for the pain.
Date: Jul 24 10:09
Author: Nightingale

So I go off on a tangent and analyze the article you linked.

Author: "…they [parents] try to become healers, when they are seldom equipped to be such."

Therapist: "I think your bishop will tell you and your husband that both of you also qualify as spiritual healers because you are her parents."

Sorry, just have to say that inconsistencies like this really bug me. The author states that parents are seldom equipped to become "healers" and then quotes a therapist who says they are qualified exactly because they are parents.

So how does a worried parent process that?

Another excerpt:

Parents: …"we split Elise's [daughter] sickness into two parts, spiritual and emotional, and prayed that it would not become a physical problem. We began to assemble our team."

Nightingale: Picking jaw up off floor after reading entire article.

What is their daughter’s "sickness"? Being intimate with her bf. I can see that religious parents would be unhappy about that (or even non-religious parents who want their teenagers to abstain) but to categorize it as "spiritual sickness" and to further expect emotional and physical illness to come into the picture, as the counsellor suggests, is giving them a very skewed view. This explains why some parents take extreme measures in response to their offspring’s behaviour that doesn’t align with their own values, such as sending their children away for "treatment", such as the LDS Living staff suggest at the end of the article. Your daughter is having sex with her boyfriend and so you should send her away from home to a treatment facility that will inundate her with a specific religious view (on-site missionaries, church classes, etc)? It's making normal human behaviour into a sickness. I understand wanting your teens to grow up and develop mature judgement before making possibly life-changing choices but to regard their choices as sickness because they don't match up with your religious beliefs and personal choices is a big stretch and bound to create more turmoil and pain than the situation warrants. Too, being so out in left field will likely not help to either accept the situation or be a positive influence for change. Not so good for the parent/child relationship either. It must be terrible to have parents go to the bishop, who goes to numerous ward members, so that perhaps dozens of your friends and neighbours become aware of your private life. And having parents assemble this "team" to "rescue" you from your "sickness" is way OTT, as would be packing the teen off to a treatment facility. It is medicalizing a situation needlessly, applying a diagnosis (or label) that doesn't fit, and perhaps irreparably harming the relationships caught up in it all.

The therapist and bishop and other ward members who would go this route are making a catastrophe out of a normal teen dilemma (to abstain or to engage) that is, after all, understandable human behaviour, if not desirable in certain circumstances (like young teens, especially those with religious parents - not that religious belief is the only reason parents would want their children to wait to a certain age or time before becoming sexually active). As with the issue of providing birth control or not, sometimes you have to accept the reality of a situation and try to ensure that safety prevails, rather than flogging a decidedly dead horse, if kids are already sexually active.

Author: "Perhaps Alyson and Jim [parents] did do something that led to Elise's behavior."

Oh yes, that belief is yet another burden for the parents, who already feel guilty. So by all means, pile on the blame. Your child is not adhering to church standards so at least part of it is your fault?

It's scary to see how completely a certain all-encompassing worldview can skew a person's perspective. According to the article's author, an LDS therapist and the magazine staff, this teen, for the understandable act of having sex with her bf, could find herself diagnosed with a "sickness", apparently in need of emotional, physical and spiritual help from a myriad of people drawn into her personal life by her parents, up to and including being sent away from home for "rehabilitation".

Jaw on floor again.

This is not to say that I recommend early teen sexual activity but I think it's always a good approach to keep some kind of reasonable perspective, even in religious households.

OK, end of extreme tangent. Sorry, Puck, I got caught up in reading the article. As for your personal situation, I am surprised that your sister would let you into her email knowing that those messages were there. Obviously it's not ideal to read someone else's email. But if the subject line has your name in it, how many of us could resist taking a peek?

I would likely obsess over something like this, feel hurt, angry, frustrated, humiliated, and would rant and rave myself. But then I would likely go the route suggested by drewmeister, which is to see it as coming from their religious worldview and trying to leave it outside of yourself; i.e., as if it's on the surface because it comes from their religious filter and doesn't really have anything to do with your essence. At least maybe that way it won't wound you too deeply on a personal level. I would do what I could to preserve relationships, which to me is the most important thing, even if they are imperfect. At the least, I would take some time to process it all and not cut ties hastily.

Sorry for the hurt. It's definitely tough to deal with things like this.

And then I also wonder, peripherally, if your sis will be able to tell that you read that mail?

On the up side, if there can be one, now you know how they see things it can give you some useful insights. There can be certain benefits to that.


Subject: What a sick, sick article!!!!!!!!!!
Date: Jul 24 10:50
Author: Tahoe Girl

You're not the "sick" one, Puck. Those around you behaving inappropriately are the sick ones. I'm SO sorry for your hurt and sadness. It's painful when a parent is unaccepting and cruel. Been there, done that (my mom literally abandoned me when I gave birth to a daughter with Down Syndrome.)

You've worked hard in your life to achieve what you have so far, and I've no doubt that you'll continue on your path and be a success. You seem like the kind of daughter that so many parents would be proud to have :)

You're a strong person and will work through this, difficult and sad as it is. Remember that you have all of us supporting you and hoping for the best for you.



Subject: I agree with drewmeister
Date: Jul 24 11:15
Author: samueltheramenite

I'd just try to forget having seen this. We have to remember how hard it is for our family members who still REALLY BELIEVE in all this talk of celestial kingdom and forever families. They love us and it pains them. The best of them put on a good face and work slowly at trying to normalize the HUGE shock to their system and (post)-worldview. And it's not just the suffering by proxy they do for our sakes, it's the feelings of having failed in raising us right, etc. It seriously sucks that they have to go through all that, and I want to just shake them and tell them how much better it is once they let all that go, but those kind of feelings are part and parcel of being a part of such a strong belief system.

It sounds like your family is really trying to put on a good face in Puck-interactions and trying to get over the shock and build a new relationship with the new Puck. That's more than a lot of families would do. So forgive them if they, in private, are still "struggling" with this. And, studying law, I'm sure you're aware of the equitable defense of "unclean hands" :).

My family's awesome. They still believe strongly, but they still really love me and have tried really hard to build a good relationship despite the giant elephant in the room. After the initial stages of clarification and position-staking, talking about the elephant doesn't accomplish much. He's not going anywhere. But the more we ignore him and focus on other things, the smaller he gets and the more my family comes to realize that there's more to me as a person than a check-the-box "active" or "apostate." However, despite my general curiosity, I wouldn't want to check my family's emails to each other. Let sleeping elephants lie.


Subject: Wow, that's messed up.
Date: Jul 24 11:49
Author: Makurosu

So because you don't attend their church services you're physically, emotionally and spiritually ill? This cult is sounding more and more like Scientology. Also, your mom is treating you like a child when my understanding is that you're in your 20's, post-college(?) and on your own. I'm sure she would have no objections if you got married (to a Mormon of course), but you're a child if you don't attend her warped little cult.


Subject: What's ironic
Date: Jul 24 13:33
Author: CA girl

is that I hope my daughter is more like you than like the Mormons I know. I'd love to see her getting an education and working hard in a top school with a firm grasp on reality - esp the truth about the church. I'd pat myself on the back and be all kinds of smug if I were your mom, having raised such a successful daughter.

Your mom is not right about you. Just because you love someone, does not make them right. (although if you could please not tell my husband that ;) It's your life and you are doing a good job with it. Don't let people who are messing up their lives mess with your mind, no matter how much you love them.


Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24 13:41
Author: jujukitty

That article depresses me as well, whether or not my family read it and thought about me. Just the fact that this is how TBM's see "apostates", as some kind of lost soul that needs to be rescued, makes me ill.
I don't try to "save" them from the church, I let them make their own choices and if they're happy, great. It's too bad we don't get the same respect.


Subject: I am SO SORRY your family is so UNchristlike. :-( ps: make copies!!
Date: Jul 24 13:56
Author: Tiphanie

Be outraged enough to MAKE COPIES for your records. If your sister sent you an email asking you to check through her email account, *definitely* make a copy of that, too.

Then, look at them as mentally deficient. Spiritually disabled. Broken. Lost. ''Wayward''.

They are ALL the bad things they try to slap on you. They are VERY MESSED UP.

Now you know. There is so much grief in the knowing, but now you know for sure.

Take a day or so to figure out what's really the best response here. If it was me, I *think* I'd copy and paste snippets of those emails into my email to everyone and tell them how disappointed you are in all of them for being so unChristlike towards you in thought, word and deed.

Unless they're helping pay for your college. Then I'd keep playing the part but on MY terms. I'd get ''real busy'' at college and take longer and longer to reply to their calls, letters and emails. => I'd wean them off of abusing me.

I'd start planning out my Thanksgiving, Christmas and all future holiday breaks withOUT them. I'd surround myself with real, trustworthy friends and take them up on their offers to spend holidays with them (telling le family that I had so much going on that I couldn't visit this holiday/vacation but maybe next time).

I'd get into counseling to work through this huge loss. Loss because you just realized you've lost your whole sick mormon family.

We're all here for you, though!! There are a lot of good people here who'd be happy to have you visit. Heck, there are parents here who'd happily ADOPT you!! :)

You have lots of love in your life, but not from the mormons you know. Let them go, mourn the loss, and things will slowly but surely start to feel a lot better for you.


Subject: I've been thinking about this for a while
Date: Jul 24 15:15
Author: cl2

Not sure what to say to you. Most of the time I finally revel in the life I lead now. Not sure how my parents would have seen THE WHOLE TRUTH--but they are no longer here to judge.

BUT--I realized when I saw this thread again--I found some things my daughter had written about me--or shall I say, they were placed strategically for me to see (her journal on top of the book I was reading on my bed--a letter to someone in the ward to not give up on me). I cried over both. I ran away for the night of the listing in her journal--was suicidal.

I pretty much sacrificed everything I am for my kids--and my ex. I sacrificed EVERYTHING in my life for them when their dad left. AND she was saying to other people that I "used to be" such and such--and for sure didn't see me the way I really am.

I know the pain you are going through. We want our families to love us unconditionally. Mormonism doesn't allow it.

My relationship with my daughter has improved A LOT. She has seen mormons more for what they are--though she still is TBM. I still KNOW that she has decided I have just decided I don't want exaltation (or she also still thinks I believe and am lowering myself to live like I do). At least I can say with my daughter that she has a lot of growing up to do.

AND, obviously, so does your mother. Like so many people on here have said--the LDS church keeps you childlike.

The problem lies with your mother--it doesn't mean it hurts less.


Subject: Puck -My advice
Date: Jul 24 16:04
Author: DNA

Puck, it seems to me that you are in a place where you need to accept that what is…is. The longer you keep hoping that your family will act as though they aren’t Mormons, then keep being surprised that they act as though they are, the more hurt you will keep experiencing.

Your family was trained to see you as a “problem” that now needs fixed. It would be rare that they could be Mormons and not think that way. Sure sometimes they will seem more accepting and loving, and it will be tempting to think “oh, now they value me the way I want to be valued.” But even in those times, remember that you are a problem that needs fixed. You are a stain on the family. At least that is they way it will be in their eyes.

As long as you accept that this is how it is, you’ll expect it. The thing that makes us miserable is the difference between expectation, and reality. Change your expectations more in line with what is really going on in your family, and you will not be as miserable.

We humans are a tough lot. We can get used to about anything, as long as we can predict it. You will have to stop pretending that you have the family you want, or wish for, and accept that you have the one that you do have.

So once you do that, you don’t have to make a big F-You back at them. Just do your thing, and expect them to act the way they do. Expect them to be who they are, and set the amount of involvement/intimacy as you deem wise. My family is TBM, but probably similar to yours. I’ve been TBMish until this past year, but I was still the “bad” one for decades.

I went to a therapist that was very good, and not LDS. She was credentialed enough to have done a psch eval on Ted Bundy. When I outlined my family’s behavior, she said that they were damaging and that it would be wise to limit the amount of contact that I allow with them. I was relieved to find that it wasn’t me just being a bad kid that made me not like having them so close, it was me being wise.

So I never had a, “guess what a therapist told me” moment with them. I just moved further away and didn’t have much contact. I didn’t invite them to special events, or go to family gatherings. I never told them I was doing it, I just pulled back. Telling them that they were damaging wouldn’t have made them believe it, or wouldn’t have changed it. So I didn’t bother bringing it up. Telling them would’ve just made them feel better about it all; it would allow them to say, “see, he is a bad kid… look what he said about us.” So I never said it.

I’m sure that there is stuff said behind my back, a little bit has gotten back to me. But I let it slide like water off a ducks back. Once you stop expecting them to act loving and Christ like or any other thing, and accept that they are what they are…. Things get so much easier.

I would suppose that you know enough about them and their nature, and enough about what they think of you, to know what to start expecting. If you really accept what they are, and your place in it all, nothing like the email will faze you. You will have already expected it. You get to choose how much of your life is wise to let them in on, and how much of you they get to know.

Sure it would be nice to have a loving and accepting family, we all would like that. But expecting it to be so, when it is clearly not, is a roller coaster ride you don’t need to ride. It may be hard to give up on having that, and you may need to grieve what you wish you had, but don’t have. Grieve what you needed, and didn’t get. Grieve what you had to deal with, but shouldn’t have had to…etc. But at the other end of all the grieving is a life that is much easier and predictable.

Sorry to preach, I’m really just hoping that you get to a place that isn’t so hurtful.


Subject: I agree with DNA
Date: Jul 24 17:28
Author: Kirsten

And I think limiting your contact with them until you are able to be around them without feeling abused is also a good idea.

Family first - HA!!



Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24 17:39
Author: sherv

OMG.. Puck that is horrible. So in her eyes you are a rebellious child who is emotionally and spiritually sick. My, my...what to do???? And then the counselor sends the one in the article to the bishop who has NO TRAINING at all. Great, just great. I know it is hard to read the emails of others and not feel guilty but now you know what her thinking is for sure. Someday when you get over being P____ed I would bring the subject up in reference to someone else and she what she says. Let her put her foot in her mouth.


Subject: My therapist the other day said....
Date: Jul 24 18:44
Author: heathjh

that my TBM mom's way of not letting go and still having hope that I would come back was actually healthy. She told me to just let her think that. Reason is, in her mind and understanding I am drowning. I am her child and mothers don't let their children drown. They do everything they can to save them. Even though I say I am fine and I want her to accept me for my choices since they are mine to make, she still needs to have that hope. My therapist said that my mom is probably praying for me and to just let her.

She will contact people, send your name into the temple, read books that help her to help you. This is her way of not letting you drown. She is trying to make sense of it in her mind and it is the only way she knows how to deal with it.

This does not keep me from calling her on her TBM mindset stupidity though. When she makes stupid comments like "the spirit told me to XXXX..... or Brother XXXXXX is doing some work for us on our house (I tell her he does have a first name and you are talking to him on a proffesional level not a church level)....we are so blessed (why is it blessings are $$ related?). I throw little things her way concerning mormon doctrine. Not sure if it is effective. But I figure maybe at some point she will figure it out. Which I'm sure she is thinking the same as I am. I just have to remind myself that some people need to believe in fairy tales to make their world go round.


Subject: Puck you are a crane in a family of ostriches. You can fly and they will never see it because their
Date: Jul 24 18:55
Author: Quoth the raven "Nevermo"

heads are in the sand. They can't even dream of flying and the views that you see.

It hurts that your family can not appreciate you, I know. I am sorry that they are blind. You had, by reading those emails, an experience that I call a "jellyfish attack" (credit to Bridget Jones’s Diary). There you are swimming along, minding your own business, enjoying the water, when suddenly you get painfully stung by something you never saw coming. Your family will do this to you, time and time, again. Great distance and minimum contact it the only way to avoid the painful stings. When in close proximity to your family, have a tough skin at all times, because you never know when they will spring another jellyfish attack on you. They will not change.

My reacting to reading those morg articles was “f**k this.” Those tales of woe have nothing to do with you--You are over the age of 18, attending a top college, smart, and focused. The fact that your mother can not distinguish between a rebellious teenager engaging in self destructive behavior and a talented, independent, motivated young woman, is the core of the problem. And “wayward” is Mormon-speak for Uppity. Uppity is good.

Listen to K.D. Lange singing “Constant Craving” and take a deep breath. You will find what you need outside your family. You have someone brave who marches beneath your skin. If you didn’t, you would not have gone this far. And you will go much farther, while your family will stay stuck with their heads in the dark.

Normal is in the eye of the beholder.
Whoopi Goldberg

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich:
Well behaved women rarely make history.

Abigail Adams
If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

Anna Quindlen:
Recently a young mother asked for advice. What, she wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? "Keep her," I replied.... The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me.

Gloria Steinem:
Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood.

Margaret Fuller:
The especial genius of women I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency.

Constant Craving

Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin

Constant craving
Has always been

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth

Constant craving
Has always been

Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been


Subject: why not name it what they really wanted to...
Date: Jul 24 19:28
Author: Primus

When your lovely child whom you raised puts themselves in danger of burning in the eternal flames of hell with you watching because you were a bad parent.

As David O. McKay would say

'No success can compensate for failure in the home.'

and on the wayward child's end

'No Ph.D and cancer cure can compensate in your parents mind for you leaving the true cult.'


Subject: To find out why this is so... (What Primus said...)
Date: Jul 24 20:57
Author: Adult of god

you might read John Dean's fascinating book Conservatives Without Conscience.

It's more than just a political book. It explains why people follow authority and presents Altemeyer's work in this area. And reading this will pull your weekend out of the dumper. ;)

After I read it, I clearly understood after so many years why my sister and I were so different--she very TBM and me apostate.

Understanding the psychological forces underlying your mother's behavior may take the sting out it and rescue you from self-pity.


Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24 20:54
Author: missanon

Perhaps you can salvage your relationship with your sister.
She did not write the emails - your mother did. It seems that relationship and trust are important to you. Give it some time to rest in your mind and then let her know you saw the email. Perhaps you will get a sense of how she replied to your mother. She may have been supportive of you - we can hope anyway.
In the meantime dna had great advice. You only have one more week and then you are back to school with time to reflect on how you want to handle this. Don't act in haste. You have time to gradually distance yourself from the family. Your family may one day respect boundaries but, you may want to get some therapy to define your own first.
So sorry , this must be so hurtfull. It is sad that they have a lifetime of brainwashing that will forever put a fence between you.
Stay close to your friends -


Subject: Just ignore it
Date: Jul 24 21:33
Author: Mårv Fråndsæn

It's not worth your time.

FWIW a lot of Mormons are entranced with the 'wayward child' socializing organizations because they and their Mormonism have utterly failed some children. Then some organization comes along and promises to solve it all for a price.

People who buy into pyramid selling schemes and other fantasies are going to like 'wayward child' servicing corporations too.

They are just simply clueless and out of it. If they don't control you then just ignore it all and get on with your life.

As I've gotten older I've realized that certain surviving parents and in-laws will just never, ever get it. Build your relationships on the positive and ignore the rest is the only answer.


Subject: Sometimes it's not. that. easy.
Date: Jul 24 21:55
Author: Beth

Puck, I know how you feel, and I know how much this situation sucks stones. I know how you think you see a light at the end of the tunnel, and the damned thing is on an approaching train.

I don't have OCD, but I was very traumatized by my parents, and I had little rituals that I'd perform in my mind to try to be safe: safe physically, emotionally and psychologically. And just when things seemed okay, somebody would pull the rug from underneath me.

And on it went. And on. And on, until recently I told my parents that if they want to have a relationship with me, they had to come to terms with the things they've done and the things they continue to do. My dad took up the challenge, but my mother didn't.

I'm not saying it's ultimatum time, but sometimes there's just no pleasing folks. Ever. Did she fully accept you when you were in TSCC? If she did, maybe that makes leaving even harder, but I bet she didn't. Is she envious of you? It happens. I know it sounds strange, but there are dysfunctional relationships like that.

My advice: keep venting. And if you feel like venting this outrage tomorrow, do it again, and the day after and the day after. Eventually you'll figure out what to do.


Subject: mormonism creates ''lost'' or ''wayward'' children, then makes people feel like crap
Date: Jul 24 22:01
Author: Tiphanie



Wow. Your post just gave me goosebumps.

mormonism **loses** people - it gets them lost on purpose so they can't find any Truth in life. The morg gets people lost by all their intentionally twisting, turning mormon lies. Does mormonism ever apologize for any of this? Not on your life. All it does is make lame, empty excuses and say sh*t like ''I don't know that we teach that'' and other ungodly excuses for their lying, deceptive ways.

When any of us get so lost within mormonsim that we stumble upon the Truth, mormonism flips out. mormonism shames and humiliates these people's lost loved ones for speaking Truth. Sometimes these lost people keep trying and trying to make mormonism into the positive fantasy they want it to be, but many of these lost people that the morg beguiled and deceived just end up walking away.

Then mormonism really goes ballistic, threatening anything to make the people who lost mormonism get back in line because if it's one thing the dark liars hate, it's Truth and anyone who knows Truth.


Subject: Re: I'm a "wayward child?" (article link, puck swears)
Date: Jul 24 21:54
Author: luminouswatcher

So from the mo perspective, the most important side of the triangle is covered by a rank amateur.

Spiritual Sickness - Bishop
Emotional Sickness - Therapist
Physical Sickness - Medical Doctor

Go figure.


Subject: Can we ever buck the Roles and Misperceptions placed on us by our families?
Date: Jul 25 06:25
Author: lamedandy (can't log in here)

Puck's ... "Wayward Child" thread is a must read for everyone on this board. Hopefully it will moved to the front page of under the July 2009 "What's New" column!

Her discovery of how "others" in her family perceive her through an accidentally discovered email between her mother and sister..resulted in many powerful comments creating a thread that IMO is a classic to be archived.

Once a family member is chosen to be the "outsider" there is no going back. No matter how successful that person is to those designated as On the Inside, the family will always let that person know that he or she is the outsider-and labeled "defective" and a project to be worked on.

It gives the group energy...and a definition. They can huddle together and feel smug as they point their bony finger at "the other" going tsk tsk, cluck, cluck, at least we are not like "black sheep" over there.

"The Other" will always find that accomplishments will either go unacknowledged or be dismissed as a fluke of luck, while any perceived failure or stumble will be inflated and duly noted as they huddle together with such comments as: "Well, there she goes again, What can you expect anyway, from such a One"

Those that are cast into the role of "The Outsider" or "The Wayward One" can choose to play into this game by attempting "redemption" by those that see them in need of salvation. And if they choose that path, that path will be one of constant deadends and messy detours. It is a no win set up. The family cannot afford to have the "Wayward One" no longer be Wayward, because then they will no longer have a purpose. Besides, Someone has to play that Role...and they know they do not want to be "It"!

Once the one that has been cast into this Role realizes that the real solution is to choose not to play the game.... Once "The Other" realizes that by choosing not be in The Game as a player anymore, that person is free.

Moving to another community can help, but if the person does not figure out that "divorcing" the whole group and no longer participating in the emotionally charged games that They established (and & they get to make the rules up as the game evolves-& they don't have to tell The Other these rules either!!!) is the solution, they can move to China, and still be Emotionally Zinged by their bony finger pointing and clucking.

So, dear reader, if you can't move to the other side of the world to get away from it, you must learn to "divorce" the group in your mind. You may have no choice but to live in the same neighborhood or even house! but you can, indeed, tell yourself that you have "stepped off of their playing field" when they start up. Just tell yourself, that you are taking your bat and ball and going home...and in fact, that you just might take up tennis instead, with someone else on the other side of town.

Psychologists note that the one on the "outside" is usually the one that is of sound mind and good mental health. So...remember...the joke is really on "them" escaped the looney bin...they are still in it!

Puck, I really feel for you. But, you have discovered this at a great time in your young life. Many have to live through their youth and middle years before they understand what is going on and must then also come to terms with a past that was not "owned by them" but manipulated by the group.

and if you are one of those that discovered all this late in life...think about this...

The Past is called History
The Future is called a Mystery
but the called just that, a present(gift)

Live for today...then you do not have time for all this game playing and hurtful behavior..


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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