Date: October 29, 2018 06:29PM
I just felt the need to vent about something that has been bothering me the past few years and hear some other perspectives.
First, a little background is in order. I apologize that this will probably be long-winded. I am an exmormon of several years now (I am 25 now and left the church shortly after turning 18). I was raised in the church, with mostly active parents and three younger brothers. One of those brothers became fairly rebellious in his teenage years, and became “inactive” after my parents gave up on trying to force him to go to church. This bothered my parents, but it was my refusing to go on a mission and subsequent leaving of the church that seems to have sparked their total deactivation. Now, those still practicing in my family are the most committed they have ever been, to such an extent that I feel like I barely recognize them. While I have found this change in my parents a little bewildering, it has not affected me as deeply as the changes I have seen in my brothers.
The oldest of my younger brothers, to whom I was always the closest, became somewhat of a Mormon crusader after I left, loudly voicing his opinions about my brother and I not going to church, and making grave predictions for our souls. We eventually had a fight following one of these tirades against my brother’s godlessness that resulted in our not keeping in contact after I left home (I had enlisted in the Navy). This continued for the next couple of years until he went on his mission. At that point, my parents implored me to write him. I did so, still reluctantly, and found in his reply that he seemed even less the brother I had known. He wrote about his mission in an uncharacteristically positive, sickly sweet tone and took every opportunity to preach and exhort. I found it harder and harder to write him, as I received each of his letters in return. Eventually, following my deployment (in which communications were limited), I stopped writing to him completely. He never reached out.
Now he is married and going to BYU, living the life of the perfect RM. Meanwhile, my youngest brother is beginning his mission in Arkansas. I had hoped that this time would be different. Afterall, he had always been very casual about the church and was generally just a care-free, goofball of a kid. He was the only brother that I had been in regular contact with in recent years, so I took his leaving pretty hard. I promised to write often, as did he, which I initially honored.
Once again, I am starting to find it very difficult to write. Like the older brother, he is beginning to reply only in missionary jargon and a non-sensical, half biblical manner. In his most recent letter, he wrote about having to give up on a prospective convert, due to her lack of commitment. This is how it read: “We were heartbroken, we collapsed, she was so perfect and prepared, and finally to be a fruit of our labors, and we knew how happy she’d be, but no. It was very hard. We lamented a lot.” I can’t hear my brother’s voice in any of this. It’s like he was replaced with a Church computer program, writing a Book of Mormon mad lib. I don’t want to stop writing him and lose contact, but I can’t figure out how to cut through all of the brainwashing and get to talk to my real brother. Do I just ignore his bizarre letters and write to him in pure small talk? Do I try to confront him about writing to me in mormonspeak? I’m at a loss.