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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 11:38AM

Anonymous Today -

Well said and I agree completely. We don't overtly disrespect their religion in front of them, but we are firm in where we are and how we feel about it all. It's a tricky line to walk, but the grands are worth it. Still, they know where we stand and they feel sorry for us - they feel we have lost our way and need to see their wonderful example so we, hopefully, return to the church and start gaining eternal salvation again. They know that will never happen, but they're deeply indoctrinated to continue to "light the world" and minister to the poor lost souls who need to be led back into the fold. We just continue to be "us" - silly, nurturing, loving grandparents who cannot get enough time with those amazing littles. Our home is welcoming, literate, and nature-oriented, which they love, and we live honest, authentic lives. In the end, that should do the trick. Or so we hope. :)

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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 11:42AM

I wonder how many others on this board deal with the same thing and how they handle it. Is it worth losing the grands to truly stand for what one believes? Or is the fine line worth balancing on?

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Posted by: Anonymous Today ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 12:26PM

Thank you.

I have two wonderful grandchildren, ages 6 and 4, who live in Utah. ( I live in California) My relationship with my son and his wife is strained, which makes our relationship with the grandchildren sporadic and difficult. To make matters worse, my son's in-laws are all active Mormons living in Utah, so my son has latched on to them as his "real" family, while my wife and I are left as the odd parents (and grandparents) out. So, you see, I suffer from the same kinds of estrangement issues you do, and many other exMormons.

My wife and I refused to attend (sit in the waiting room) my son's temple wedding, while another male "priesthood holder" and his wife acted as his surrogate parents. My son's inlaws and extended family were all there. I did not attend the blessings of my grandchildren, and will not attend their baptisms. In fact, I have been in a Mormon Church only once since I formally left 16 years ago, and that was to attend my father's funeral. So, as you can see, my relationship with my grandchildren is very tenuous, at best. But when I do get to see them, its great.

The fallout from the above has been, of course, intense and difficult, and will continue to be as my grandchildren grow up to be adults. Is it worth it? YES! Not only because there really is no alternative moral choice in my view, but because I can now finally live without compromise, and without the Church continuing to dictate my behavior, directly or indirectly. Again, in my view, when we as exMos allow ourselves to be indirectly manipulated by the Church in the form of appeasing the faith and expectations of TBM family members, we remain to some extent in its clutches. I cannot live with that.

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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 12:43PM

I get all that, and I agree, by and large. But, do you not miss the time with your grands now? Do you not feel that your influence, even indirectly, would benefit them greatly? Your absence may be influencing them negatively. I don't know - just thinking out loud, so to speak. I wobble back and forth between what I must be and who I must see. It's one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with. Our family situation is exactly like yours, which puts us in a terrible spot. I need to stand firm - I am an outspoken critic of the church (and all religions), and I love that (stirring the pot, even though I'm not a confrontational person, is interesting and thought-provoking for me), but...there's always the "but". I see where you're coming from and I need to follow suit - as you say, it's the only moral choice. But when I see those cute faces on Skype trying to outshout each other when they share the fun presents they got for Christmas and all...I mean, you know?

This is why (with no direct disrespect to those who remain religious on here, like AmyJo and others) I loathe what religion does to families. We do attend baby blessings and baptisms because we feel they will miss our presence. We want them to know that we are there for them even when we do not agree with what is happening (and really, they have no idea what is really happening, as they are too young to make any sort of choice in the matters at hand, i.e. baptisms). But even those cause me great pain and frustration. Religion deliberately tears families apart. Why can't they see that??

Again, a rhetorical question.

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Posted by: MCR ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 02:12PM

I agree with Anonymous that non-Mos cannot capitulate with TSCC and allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. But also, somehow, we've got to go a step further. We loathe how religion divides families. Somehow we've got to defeat that division. There is a subtle thing going on, that the son isn't really the child, the "grands" are. Because TSCC has so thoroughly sucked in the son, the parents sort of give up--like he's forever lost, rather than suffering from some mental virus. The grandparents, then, focus almost exclusively on influencing the grands, who are really someone else's children.

This is exactly what TBM grandparents do that is so infuriating to ex-Mo parents. Ex-Mo parents start seeing their own parents as a threat to their children because the grandparents can't let go of the dream of indoctrinating their grandchildren with "the gospel."

I'm not saying I know the answer, but I can't accept that religion will continue to divide mother and child. However, I do know that the people who'll come up with the solution will not be Mormons--or, at least it's doubtful they will. TSCC profits too much from the wedges to let them go. It's the nons who will have to find the way forward.

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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 03:16PM

You bring up an excellent point. I think I really have kind of given up on my son and am focusing on his children. I am mindful that they are his, but they are such bright lights in our lives I have a hard time concentrating on any other relationship. We love our kids beyond what words can say, but I suppose we are typical grandparents in that sense. But, I do need to remember that our kids still need to be important in our lives. How I do that when religion has created such a gaping chasm between us is difficult to figure out. I have more to mull over and, I suspect, others on this board do too. I'm playing devil's advocate here (to coin a phrase) so different points of view can be presented.

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Posted by: Anonymous Today ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 04:07PM

This is my approach to these issues, and admittedly they are sometimes complex and difficult to navigate:

I view my moral responsibility as an exMo as first and foremost to act and talk consistent with my exMo beliefs. For me this does not mean I have to be proactive in trying to influence and change my children or grandchildren, or anyone else. I do not force my views on Mormons or proselyte my anti-Mormonism. However, if I am asked, or am present as part of a conversation, I let my feelings be known, and do not sugarcoat anything. And, I do not under any circumstances participate in anything Mormon; be it meetings, parties, weddings, ordinances, or whatever.

I realize, of course, that such an uncompromising attitude hurts my relationship with my son and grandchildren, but it is just a line I personally will not cross. I do not want to associate myself with anything Mormon, not for anyone, or any supposed or hoped for benefit. This rather hard core position is about me; about who I am, and is deeply personal. I hope some day I will be able to explain it to my then adult grandchildren. In the meantime, I want them to wonder why I am not there in Church with them and supporting their Church affiliation.

On the other hand, I totally respect my son and daughter-in-law's right to raise their children as they see fit--including any comments or opinions they might have about me personally. I do not interfere with that. I want my son to know that the kids are "safe" from indoctrination from me, and that I respect their rights as parents.

Once my son agreed to allow the kids to stay with us for a week, but then asked us if we would take them to Church, or at least arrange for them to go to Church. I immediately, without hesitation, said no. I added, politely and calmly, that I did not want to have anything to do with the Church, and especially anything that I think would have an adverse effect on my grandchildren, who I love dearly. My son gave me a bewildered look, but the kids got to stay anyway, and missed Church that Sunday. It is occasions like these, and conspicuous absences from Church functions, that I think provide profound teaching moments. Think of what the message would have been if I had agreed, took them to Church, or showed up at a baptism. Won't it be that grandpa thinks this is all right and good after all? No thanks.

(I just realized that I was blowing off steam. That's for the opportunity. Perhaps my thoughts and experience might help someone.)

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 03:38PM

Anonymous today.

First, let me apologize for that curse (STFU) that I threw at you. I was just so scalded, and should have simply asked you to explain. In spite of me, you did explain. It turns out that we are all in the same situation.

*****

This happened:

I saw an older man get off the ferris wheel at Scheels holding the hand of a four-ish year-old boy who appeared to be his grandson—a little grandson with Down syndrome. I stepped to where I could stare discreetly. I pretended to read a text and snapped their picture. I thought to myself, "Kathleen, you weirdo!" I saw them again, upstairs at the bowling spot. After that, I just went to my car.

*****

Three years prior, I had told my son that Mormonism was a lie, and that was the last time I saw that son and his six children—the youngest with Down syndrome.

If I had STFU, maybe I’d be riding on the ferris wheel with my little love. Maybe I’d be chasing a bowling ball to whatever place it landed. Maybe he’d have been holding my hand.

But, I didn’t Shut Up. I couldn’t keep the truth from my sons. And my oldest dumped all of us, even his father and his four brothers.

Another TBM son's daughter informed me and Grandpa that we WON'T go to Heaven and that we make Jesus cry. I asked that son to correct that, and he did. Now that granddaughter and I are best pals. I stood my ground, and I was lucky there.

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Posted by: Anonymous Today ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 04:15PM

Thanks, Kathleen.

I am deeply sympathetic for reasons I have posted here. When I see other grandpas with their grandchildren holding hands and having fun I get a lump in my throat, and sometimes tear up. I want that so much.

But, later I realize that these are the cards I was dealt, and that I must remain true to myself regardless of the consequences. And it is never hard to find someone who in one way or another has it worse.

All the best to you.

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Posted by: exminion ( )
Date: December 29, 2018 01:46AM

Anonymous Today--thank you, I have taken the same position as you, regarding my one TBM (admitted atheist) daughter and her fanatic RM husband, and their baptism-aged children. The husband's family is huge in size, controlling, and a dominant force in all their children's and grandchildren's lives.

I have learned to live around it. Every family is different, and we can't tell Cathy or Kathleen what do to about their families. When they are your OWN family, we can be sensitive enough to walk that thin wire, without alienating anyone--or, maybe, I would have caved in--to keep our grandchildren close to us.

That said, I'm still standing firm. I did go to one baptism, which triggered a bad PTSD attack, which lasted for 4 days, and caused me to miss work. I was able to keep cool (I've been in therapy) during the baptism, except my daughter accused me of "frowning." Yikes! If she only knew the horrible flashbacks of childhood Mormon abuse, plus months of being beaten by my violent temple ex-husband!

We must not feel guilty that we will not--and can not--support an evil cult working its lies against our dearest ones!

Think of this--what about all the OTHER things going on in their lives? I'm very active in my grandchildren's schools. I've been a "room mother", and on the PTA board. I have played the piano for some of their little sing-alongs and performances. I attend all of the school programs, sports games, recitals, and drive them to practices and rehearsals, etc. We play duets together. Sometimes I help them with their homework. My 6-year-old grandson can beat me at chess. We read together, do arts and crafts, play with the cat, walk the dog.

I am an appreciative audience for their spontaneous songs and dances and plays they perform. One grandchild put on a magic show for me last night--delightful!! IMO, Mormons do not give their children enough attention, not enough encouragement, not enough LISTENING. Like one poster commented, little kids will interrupt each other in their eagerness to tell you about their day!

I've been a teacher, at various times in my life, and kids love to learn. Anything you can teach them helps them to think their way out of their cult prison. We watch nature TV shows together, we go to the zoo, read nature books, and, best of all, I have the grandchildren tell me what they know about the world around them. Children are much smarter than the Mormons think they are.

Children need to overcome their FEAR of Mormon authority, fear of that horrible Mormon God who will condemn us ex-Mo grandparents to a lesser heaven, separate from the Mormons. They must keep courage, in their innocent heart, that they will NOT burn in the Second Coming, and all those other Mormon threats,

Seeing Grandma and Grandpa living a life of love and integrity, and living in joy and love and courage--that is a powerful image for them!

It isn't all or nothing. It isn't either-or. The Mormons want you to think that's the way it is, but it is NOT.
Support the child's 8th birthday, but NOT the baptism. Go to the wedding receptions, but do NOT support the temple. Mormon rules do not apply to you, so go ahead and encourage creativity, individuality, achievement, leadership, questioning, intellectualism, laughter, humor, fun, open communication, honesty, self-esteem, and all those other qualities. Children are so much MORE than just "obedient, reverent, smiling faces. Those college-age years are so much MORE than just to be wasted on missions--there's sports, a college education, earning money for a car, dating, making new friends, finding out who they really are, chasing their dreams....

It's no big deal if you miss an occasional Primary program or a baptism.

There is so much MORE than Mormonism in their lives!

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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 29, 2018 10:34AM

Gorgeous post and spot-on. This is EXACTLY how we approach our lives and our time with them. We still attend the religions functions, but, as I said, I'm conflicted about it. It's something I'll mull over deeply after reading all the comments. But, in all other ways this is our take on things and we love it (they do too). I'm going to read your post several times - it's perfect.

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Posted by: Cathy ( )
Date: December 28, 2018 04:27PM

I see this from both points of view and I remain conflicted. It's good to hear about the experiences of others - it helps me and I know it helps others. Gah. Stinkin' religion anyway...

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