I only talk religion to them if they start the conversation. If they want to know why I left, I tell them why. Then the conversation can go from there. But, I don't ever start the conversation. I tried that in the beginning, almost 30 yrs ago, but it ALWAYS went bad.
I had convinced myself that all I needed to do was show my wife everything the church tried to sweep under the rug, and she would run away from the church as fast as she could.
Where I foolishly expected gratitude for revealing the truth hidden from her, I was met by righteous fury for daring to undermine her faith.
I think I've made much more progress by simply leading my actively non-Mormon life. She still tells the missionaries that she has a testimony, but she is definitely "less active" with about 25% attendance and no callings. She's talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
My younger brother left and was having an awesome life... his example was the final push I needed to get out. I spend lots of time with my own family, more than what my TBM parents did or TBM sisters do. I guess they are expecting to build better relationships in the next life. Example is my free gift to them.
I thought about doing that once years ago, but most TBM's are driven by that 'witness of the spirit', a spiritual feeling that has confirmed their faith. They don't respond to evidence or facts, and aren't looking for them. It's as though we don't speak the same language anymore.
When talking to TBM's, or people who go to church for appearances I am happy to talk about any topic they bring up.
But everyone I know is aware that the facts don't care about their feelings and until my wife is out, either of the church or of our marriage, I will share the facts eloquently and loudly with no regard for their feelings.
My favorite topic is pointing out the obvious and frequent gaslighting which is taking place at a breathtaking pace in TSCC.
No, because it's pointless as it's their culture as they were raised in it, plus their families are all Mormon. They're the type who get upset about moving into a bigger house because they have to give up their friends as they're in another ward.
I had a good friend that I haven't seen in over twenty years visit from out of town and we decided to get together for lunch. I had told him several years earlier when we talked by phone that I had my name removed from the church records and that I don't believe in it anymore. I think we both figured that our friendship superceded anything involving the church and it probably does. But when we got together, all he could talk about were his callings, how his kids were doing at BYU, and about his work in the temple. I tried changing the subject several times. Finally I said "look (friend's name) I had my name removed from the church records. I no longer believe in it. Nothing related to the mormon church has any part of my life now". After that, the friendship didn't seem to be damaged so much. But he didn't seem interested in anything that was going on in my life, and he had little to say about his own life. He did laugh at one point and did tell me that he ran in to someone in the temple recently who he used to do cocaine with years earlier. I never did any drugs myself but thought that was funny. Other than that, he seemed unable to discuss his life or relate to mine.
Family members are the Mormons with whom I'm generally in contact most. Preserving and strengthening my relationship with them is more important than convincing them that Mormonism is less than advertised. So unless they ask (which doesn't happen), I leave it alone.
But, I do sometimes have direct conversations with missionaries about the issues, because listening to their spiel can be insufferable after about 30 seconds. I'm not thinking they'll just up and leave--although that's possible--but more often I'm just hoping a few things I mention will pile up their shelf a bit. For instance, the last time I met some was in a rainstorm (my dog and I were the only people they could bother). I talked about where I "served" my mission, and mentioned that Hans Matson was in the area presidency at the time and he's on our side of the street now.
A neighbor (and the last person I expected to hear this from) told me he'd joined the church. I told him he's just made the biggest mistake of his life. He looked kinda shocked when I told him that and that I'd left the cult.
As a guideline, I don't try to persuade anyone to do anything.
People are what they are. People do what they do. The world keeps turning, regardless of my opinions or comments.
If someone asks my advice, I give my opinion.
Otherwise, I try to keep my nose out of their life.
Religion, politics, dietary habits, clothing choices, hairstyles, car purchases, vacations, credit card use ... it's all none of my business. And I'm generally happier the less I try to interfere in other people's lives.
One problem with the church is a lack of interpersonal boundaries. Ex-mos often carry this trait into their new lives after leaving the church.Pestering someone to join the LDS church or become more active, is very similar to pestering someone to resign from the church.
It was a good friend of mine almost 20 years ago that one day while out hiking asked me "have you ever thought that it all might not be true?" -- I know we have small talk about it afterward but don't recall much more -- however that question he asked me sunk in deep. I was a different person from that point forward. Yes - I was a naive koolaid drinker, but his one comment really got me thinking. I guess you could say he was "prompted by the spirit" LOL
Now, nearly 20 years later I am a very happy atheist who loves life, his family and his freedom.
I owe it all to my friend who asked me that one simple question - so now, when I get a chance and the moment is right I ask others the same.
It wouldn't do any good with the adults in my family. I would love to encourage my nieces and nephews to find their way out, but if I were to dabble in that sort of thing, I would have very limited access to them until they reached adulthood. The kids know I'm here for them.
My oldest nephew and niece, children of different siblings but both 25, are now out. My brother and sister-in-law handled the departure of their son much better than I would have guessed and haven't cut their son off in any way. He's in med school and subsisting on his wife's salary as a pharmacist, but his parents help him with tuition to keep his debt manageable. I'm quite proud of how my brother and his wife have handled it.
My sister and her husband I'm not so proud of. They are not dealing especially well with their daughter's great apostacy. Her parents are scared she'll take some of her seven younger sibs with her, so she's not welcome in their home anymore. She was something of a domestic slave when she lived there, so she's happy enough being exiled. All of the rest of my siblings, all TBM, and I welcome her. She's in dental school and doesn't get a dime from her parents. My parents are paying her tuition and she lives with another of my sisters. Her parents are not obligated to support her, but they are being hypocritcal in that my parents paid for my sister's education all the way through her M.S. in nursing science, and they even paid a substantial amount of her hsuband's med school tuition.