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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 10:57AM

I know my in-laws are grieving, but I'm still bothered by their's and my wife's response to my nephew's recent paralysis due to a virus. (The doctor's aren't sure yet what the cause is, only that it is viral-related. They've already eliminated GBS; for those of you in the know.)

My wife, her sister, and BIL are all TBMs. My niece and nephews have effectively left the church, but have been going through the motions until they are old enough to move out, which the niece and older nephew have done. It is the youngest who is still in high school and living at home; he is the one who is currently paralyzed. He is also gay, which he announced to the family in October. It caused a minor uproar, but everything had calmed down in short time.

The in-laws are all comforting my nephew and each other with the usual platitudes: You are not yet like Job; fear not, God has a plan even if we do not know what it is; this is your Abrahamic trial; God only tests those who are strong enough to bear it; etc.

My wife had a long conversation with our nephew, and the thrust of what she said to comfort him was encouraging him to pray to know what he should learn from this. Should? That's what caught my attention. What does "should learn" have to do with his paralysis? Is he paralyzed because he hadn't learned something, or had learned the wrong thing?

I would have felt better if my wife had substituted "can" for "should". That would have easily segued into advice along the lines of "you are not defined by what happens to you, but by how you respond to it. You are strong enough to deal with any obstacle put in your path."

What bothered me even more was a conversation between my wife and BIL where they both admitted (with a measure of guilt, to their credit) that a silver lining to my nephew's paralysis is that it would be tough for him to be gay.

It doesn't matter how anybody feels about homosexuality, but is that really what we should be concerned about when a young man is scared to death that he may never regain the use of his legs and that he thinks his life is effectively over?

I believe with all my heart that my wife means the very best for my nephew, but I'm hoping this is all a conditioned Mormon reaction and not something that is actually inherent in her. I've noted before that she has said insensitive things without realizing their impact until repeated back to her what she said.

I'm just feeling a little down right now.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2017 11:09AM by GregS.

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Posted by: frankie ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 11:55AM

This is the typical response TBMs give. And is downright disgusting. Introducing guilt to your nephew. He is being punished for being gay. Like he asked to be gay in the first place. It is a very toxic environment for your nephew. And he probably going to get seriously depressed. Keep an eye on him. He will need your support.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 12:37PM

I am sick for your nephew. Being gay and having been raised in an extreme TBM household as I was, I will say for sure this is last thing he needs at a terrifying time like this.

TBM reactions to such situations are always heavily colored by their Mormonism, meaning they are devoid of true empathy and only concerned with how the trauma relates to "Heavenly Father's bigoted selfish plan." They don't know how to "mean well." It's all about being told to have enough faith. Well, no Mormon has raised anyone from the dead yet with their faith, caused someone with a spinal cord injury to walk again with their faith, or cured anything at all with their ridiculous oil. Shut up about your faith.

As to what your wife said--TBM's are indoctrinated to be that way. We've all been there and we all know that I dare say. Once out of that church, many Mormons will revert to their natural state, which is currently on lock-down, and contains a lot more empathy and a willingness to understand. It all surfaces quickly once one sees the lie. Meanwhile, when my relatives say things like yours are saying, I don't know how to respond except perhaps, "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

Honestly. If I were in your nephew's situation I would just want someone to say, "Man. This really sucks. I hope you can find a good way forward in spite of the bad hand you have been dealt BY CHANCE." And for hell's sakes, don't tell me I have your "thoughts and prayers." That is just the easy way out. Bake me a cake instead or tell me some questionable jokes. Or just listen to me. Don't tell me about faith or trials or that I chose this as a test in the pre-existance. Just listen to me and hold me sometimes.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 01:05PM

Fortunately, my wife isn't as strident as some Mormons (and Catholics) I've met. She has been genuinely shocked when I've explained to her on other occasions how something she had said could be perceived by a non-Mormon...some of us simply don't appreciate being compared to the anti-Christ or in league with Satan, even if we don't believe. She was simply trying to make a point, but did so using words and analogies most familiar to her rather than most receptive to her audience. I usually adopt the same attitude as you: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

With this particular situation, I see no immediate means to respond without adding a lot of unnecessary drama when we should be focused on my nephew. The best I can do for now is along the lines that you suggest: being there for him and giving him the support he needs to deal with this.

I'll swing by after work, and hopefully we'll have a chance for a one-to-one chat if he is so inclined.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 01:14PM

Your nephew is lucky to have you.

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 12:44PM

I can very much understand your feeling down about this. I too am sick for your nephew. When he should be getting comfort and support, he's getting guilt and discouragement.

I hope that you can talk with him and let him know that what's happening to him is horrible and that it's not his fault, being gay doesn't cause debilitating random disease and anyone who puts that idea in his head is wrong. What's happening to him isn't his fault.

I hope he makes it through this.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 05:49PM

GregS Wrote:
> What bothered me even more was a conversation
> between my wife and BIL where they both admitted
> (with a measure of guilt, to their credit) that a
> silver lining to my nephew's paralysis is that it
> would be tough for him to be gay.


I guess they hadn't noticed that it would be tough for him to be straight while paralyzed, too.


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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 09:46PM

I didn't have a chance to really talk with my nephew, but I did spend some time with his parents. They were telling me that the paralysis is an answer to their prayers, though they hadn't asked specifically for paralysis. They were simply praying that their son not be gay, and in God's wisdom their son is paralyzed until he learns not to be gay.

I left as soon as I could because I couldn't hear any more about God's will and how he answered their prayers.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 09:55PM

Sickening. This is like the beginning of some horror movie with both parents channeling Carrie's mother. That poor kid.

How can this kind of homophobic, bigoted ignorance exist today except by religion with Mormons leading the march?

I hate little in life, but Oaks and the rest have given me no choice but to despise and be disgusted by them.

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Posted by: recovered ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 10:12PM

I am so sorry this happened to your nephew!

If I thought that my prayers had been the source of some sorrow, pain, illness or grief for another creature, I would feel so awful, I would stop praying. Prayers are supposed to do good.

It's a sick religion that causes people to be happy to see their son paralyzed. I hope it's something that can be treated or rehabilitated, and/or that he learns to function well. I hope he lives a full, happy gay life.

So sorry!

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Posted by: Pariah ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 02:59AM

You can vent to us, anytime, Greg S.

When Mormons turn into monsters--yet think they are saints--it is very, very hard to keep quiet! You were wise to leave the room. You are mature to overlook your wife's comments, and take it all, as if "they know not what they do."

I excused the Mormons in my family for my whole life. I told myself that someone really didn't mean to hurt me, or break my toys, or insult me, or gossip about me. It's just what certain family members DO. It's just THEM. They really do have sympathy, but don't know how to show it. They really do love me, but don't know how to show it.

Part of my growing up and not being a victim anymore, was to wake up out of denial. I took a long, hard look at the mean people in my life, and realized that they didn't really care at all. There was no love.

Still, the Mormons hold us hostage. You must hold your temper. You must not show your nephew that you are upset. You must act as though he is getting the best, most loving, care. You must pretend that his parents will accept him for his gay self, someday. There's an outside chance they might! I have seen children change their fanatic Mormon parents into decent human beings--it does happen!

In the meantime, you are a lovely human being, who is putting your nephew first--and he really needs that. I'm sure he will recover. I believe in physiotherapy, and his family will surely help him with that.

I can't imagine hating gays so much that it overshadows your love for your own child, but the Mormon cult is all about hatred.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 09:00AM

So much of this is par for the course in how they are conditioned to look for God's blessings in everything. It's how they justify believing that all of their prayers are answered; just not in the way they anticipated. It requires a lot of convoluted thinking and circular logic to make it all work out in God's favor. God punches them in the gut, and they gasp out, "Thank you, God, for not smiting me outright! May I please have another?"

My wife can go on for hours about prayers (hers and other's) for one thing or another, and how they were answered by a series of unrelated events that caused something to happen that kinda, sorta could have been related to what they had prayed about. Hallelujah, our prayers have been answered!

Just last night, my wife was telling me of a sister missionary who told her years ago that some minor disfigurement she had was actually a blessing because it prevented her from having pre-marital sex.

It's all rationalization. I usually see it as harmless along the lines of "whatever gets you through the day," but sometimes it is harmful in the sense that you don't address a very real, underlying problem that will not get better simply because you don't want to deal with it.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 08:12AM

My ex is gay and he put me through hell during my lifetime. I'd NEVER think that him being paralyzed would be an answer to prayer. I wanted him to be changed somehow because THEY TOLD ME he had to change or be damned, which is why you find me on the outside of the LDS church now.

I'm sure his parents and other family are desperate for answers. There is a lot more information out there now compared to when I found out my boyfriend was gay in 1983 and it was NOT discussed. I even hoped we'd die on our honeymoon as he was "right with God" according to how we believed at the time.

They have two issues to deal with now. It is going to be a tough road for everyone, but especially your nephew.

I'm glad your nephew has you.

Thank whomever I gave up a LONG TIME AGO trying to figure out what I should learn from this. Hell, what a load of bullshit.

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Posted by: Anonny ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 10:06AM

Your nephew is in an extremely toxic environment given his parents were praying for him not to be gay and, now, believe that his paralysis is an answer to their prayers. Given the current situation, I assume it's impossible for him to physically move away from the TBM parents and the situation.

Research shows that stress, guilt and anger have a very real and negative effect on the immune system. I'm no doctor but it is possible that the intense stress of hiding and then revealing his homosexuality to his TBM parents weakened his immune system, setting the stage for the virus to take hold.

I say all of this only because it might help his recovery if he could learn some stress reduction techniques. Meditation can be very effective in reducing stress. A Reiki session could be relaxing and helpful. And, some cognitive behavioral therapy could help him deal with lingering guilt and anger. Just because "everything calmed down in a short time" does not mean that everything is okay. The parents' attitude about the paralysis says everything is not okay. And, your nephew likely is carrying all that negative baggage. No doubt he loves his parents -- and they are pleased he is paralyzed. He's actually made them happy by being paralyzed. That is not a situation that will lead to his recovery.

The best thing would be for him to move out. Barring that, stress reduction techniques might help. There are plenty of meditation apps available for download. Also, I personally like Access Consciousness. It's a kind of cognitive behavioral therapy that emphasizes things like "Who does this belong to" and "return to sender". It teaches us that, often, we are carrying baggage and emotions that really are not ours. In this case, your nephew seems to be carrying his parents' guilt, anger and sadness about his homosexuality. One can download the app and set it to beep every hour or so, reminding him to ask "who does this belong to" and "return to sender".

All of the foregoing comes from my personal experience -- I've been in an intense struggle with a life-threatening illness for the past year and have had months of treatment for that illness. I've done everything modern medicine has available. But, I've also added mind healing with meditation, etc. It has helped me deal with the illness, de-stress and, I hope, have a successful recovery.

Your nephew is very fortunate to have you. I'm certain anything you can do to encourage him to love himself, value himself and see himself as worthy and deserving of love just as he is, will add immensely to his recovery.

I hope and pray (yes, pray!) that he will recover fully.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 10:36AM

I'm so sorry to hear about your illness. Please know that I am hoping the very best for you, and appreciate you taking the time to offer such welcome advice from your own experience. I will try to incorporate it into whatever support I can offer my nephew.

It sounds as though my nephew will soon be moving into a treatment/rehabilitation facility that is an hour and a half from his parents. I think that the immediate physical separation from his parents will be good, though I don't doubt that they will make frequent trips to see him and to follow his progress as he learns to adjust, be it to a wheelchair or relearning how to walk. It depends on the extent of the damage already done.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 10:23AM

When we were Mormons we had a shelf for our doubts and for those parts that lacked reason and the questionable history--all stacked on the shelf in an effort to remain Mormon. The shelf could only hold so much and it broke.

When we leave Mormonism but are surrounded by Mormons it seems to me we put up a new shelf that gets stacked with all those things the Mormons we love do: like these parents of the gay kid who are glad he's paralyzed, or the kids who treat their Exmo parents like they are to be feared now, or well, you name it. The list is long for Mormon deeds and sayings that we must put on our shelves if we want to maintain relationships with the Mormons we love.

Well, those shelves break just the the other ones. And one day you find yourself just plain done with making excuses for the shallow, arrogant, appalling behavior. "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." But in stead of leaning out the window we let anger eat us inside. In my case I finally became honest and vocal when that shelf broke. I keep it low key, easy tone, and try to stay classy, but I won't put any of their behavior on a shelf anymore. I broke a hole in the wall and let all of the elephants out of the room.

I keep a little shelf for my elderly mother now, but there is no shelf anymore for anyone else.

I can forgive once or twice because "they know not what they do," but at a certain point I realized they are grown-ups, it's 2017 and we are in the Information Age, and there is no excuse for self administering the brainwashing any more.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 10:42AM

I apologize if this seems to be a thread hijack. I get upset when I read the stories here of those trying so hard to maintain relationships with their Mormon families and keep them reasonable because it seems like the Exmos are always doing all the heavy lifting, and the Mormons just sail through in their surety that they are right.

I can only say, good luck to all of you in that situation, but be good to yourselves. Know when enough is enough.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 11:30AM

Please, don't are not hijacking the thread at all. In fact, the points you are making are perfectly in line with my own secondary motivation for starting the thread.

I'm a nevermo who married a Mormon convert four years ago. I'm an ex-Catholic stopped believing in my early teens. I grew up learning to act Catholic for my devout family to avoid some of the same drama so many ex-Mormons experience. As soon as I was able to move out, I was able to drop the Catholic act. I don't avoid religious issues with my family, but we've all agreed it's best to keep such discussions to a minimum.

Religion bores me and I tend to ignore religious discussions the same way I ignore fans discussing "Friends" reruns. I simply couldn't care less.

All that being said, my Mormon wife and in-laws are very persistent in introducing Mormonism into conversations. Most of it is white noise to me; but more and more of it, especially this situation with my nephew, is becoming more difficult to ignore. I feel moved to act, to intervene, to tear the whole thing down; but, being one who tends to think before I leap, I try to consider whether I am going to make matters worse in the middle of family crisis. But short of that, I am looking for ways that I can at least mitigate the damage that continues to be done because of Mormonism.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 09:31AM

Judging from my wife's recounting of a conversation with our nephew's parents, they really have talked themselves into being relieved that their son is paralyzed.

They're convinced that it's only temporary and will amount to little more, in the grand scheme of things, than an inconvenience for a couple years as he recovers. But hey, it's a small price to pay so long as he learns not to be gay.

Doctor's believe that it is an autoimmune disorder, but don't know yet specifically what it is or what caused it. I asked my wife whether there are medical tests for acts of God. She either didn't hear me or chose to ignore me, but she didn't respond and I didn't repeat the question.

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Posted by: poopstone ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 10:24AM

I have issues with the Job story and people using it to explain their hardships. First off no one is like job. Very wealthy, talented, prosperous, towns people bowing in the streets when you walk past, the most beautiful daughters in the land? Having it all taken away then miraculously getting it all back?

Reality runs more like this for people with problems. Born in a F***** up situation, not quite able to win the beauty contest lets just say, born in the ghetto/hood/barrio, not the favored offspring. Then when maturity hits even bigger problems arise. Like how to get ahead when your not the special, most intelligent, beautiful one. Gender questions often come as well, then chronic illness.

Then as the years go on things get worse. People's lives run nothing like Jobs life.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 11:29AM

My additional issue with the stories of Job, Abraham, and others whose faith are tested is; why would anybody want to worship a god who would to do, and demand of, what God does with his most faithful followers?

The god in those stories is petty, vindictive, cruel, childish, mercurial, petulant, contrary, and the list goes on.

What kind of god would answer your prayers to make your son not-gay by paralyzing him?

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 12:12PM

"The god in those stories is petty, vindictive, cruel, childish, mercurial, petulant, contrary, and the list goes on."

If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times as a youth from my father every time we had a question that could not be answered: "God works in Mysterious ways." What a convenient one-size-fits-all answer! What a cop-out!

Well, God doesn't work in mysterious ways. He works in exactly the ways you listed above. No mystery about it. Petty, vindictive, cruel, childish, mercurial, petulant, and contrary. Just HAD to list them again.

And if you align your self with this god, pledge you allegiance to them, like the parents of this unfortunate kid, what does that make you?

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Posted by: itwasnotme ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 10:15PM

There are people who must find something good came out of a tragedy (or what they believe is a tragedy). It gets god off the hook for being cruel, sadistic and everything Done & Done said, relieves them of guilt (I should never have allowed the children to watch the Teletubbies, you know Tinky Winky is gay), and most importantly, gives the tragedy a purpose, a reason for happening. Your in-laws might be using his sexual orientation as a coping tool, a get-out-of-jail-free card because they blame themselves for causing him to be gay and paralyzed. That or they're the two biggest asshats in the world. F*ck them. He’ll do better mentally and physically in rehab. I wish you, your nephew and your family the best.

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Posted by: cinda ( )
Date: January 13, 2017 10:53PM

I am sorry to hear about your nephew's pain and, as others have already said, the last thing he needs right now is cruel behavior from his family.

I am glad you said that GBS was ruled out because, as a nurse, that was what immediately came to mind since I once cared for GB patient who was hospitalized for about three months before his body returned to 'normal' again. This was a man in his 50s so hopefully your nephew will recover much more quickly. Positive energy being sent his way. Please keep us informed.

ETA: Just reread it and the said the paralysis would make it "tough for him to be gay"....disgusting! That is the most cruel thing I can imagine . It would make hetero sex tough also! Iam paralyzed on my left side, due to a stroke.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2017 03:12PM by cinda.

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Posted by: GregS ( )
Date: January 23, 2017 03:28PM

The official diagnosis is transverse myelitis. It's still unknown whether the paralysis will be permanent, though everybody remains hopeful for a recovery.

I've been sick for the past week, so I haven't had a chance to visit my nephew; but my wife has and has kept me abreast of his condition. Fortunately, there seems to be no further talk about this being "God's will" and everybody seems to be focused on helping our nephew adjust to his new life.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 24, 2017 05:35AM

It's good that he now has a diagnosis. I hope that he recovers as fully as possible.

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