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Posted by: heavy heart ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:21PM

I have a interview next Sunday with the Mo bishop and I feel like the marriage may be on the line.
My Significant Other thinks that the Mo church has all the answers to happiness and we are not happy. I know my lack of belief and inactivity will be the main issue. I know I have the option of not going.. I have done so in the past. I am going and let the chips fall where they may to get this over with. I wish I could give more info but that's it for now. It's a fairly common thread I read here on rfm.
It basically comes down to my S O loves the tscc more than me and has done for since the temple contract oaths that I was unaware of. Anything negative in the marriage is my fault for non belief.
PS there is no infidelity in the marriage.
Just looking for some clarity on what to do and say... sorry for limited info.
I do belive in god and his son but no the the MO version.

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:29PM

His interest is to see if he can ferret out some sort of transgression on your part and then blame marital problems on that.

Do you pay tithing? Or attend temple? And attend Church every week? Do you watch porn? Do you believe every word out of leader’s mouths and follow them literally, because this is what he will probably prescribe to heal your marriage. Pay, pay and obey, there’s no other way.

I would just tell him honestly that you feel marriage counseling by an untrained amateur whose honorary title in no way qualifies him to help you and your wife is like taking advice from Joe the plumber about brain surgery.

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Posted by: Jon ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:55PM

They don't want me back Wrote:
> >
> I would just tell him honestly that you feel
> marriage counseling by an untrained amateur whose
> honorary title in no way qualifies him to help you
> and your wife is like taking advice from Joe the
> plumber about brain surgery.

I agree. I would politely tell him, in front of your wife, that his job as a "whatever his real job is" doesn't qualify him as a marriage counselor, and then turn to wife and let her know you love her and are willing to go to legitamite counseling to save your marriage. From what you have posted I have a bad feeling about how this will go, and I am sad for you. However, I can't imagine living the rest of my life with a spouse that is going to blame my iniquity, for every little thing that goes wrong(ie "two flat tires in one month, god must be punishing us for heavy hearts nonbelief...). You can't live like that. Hang in there.

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Posted by: badseed ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:42PM

The issue is whether or not your spouse will ever be OK with you not believing and living a faithful LDS life IMO. If she won't then you have some choices to make. Can you keep it together and fight the battle everyday, can you/will you live a lie or is it time to call it quits?

The Bishop and the Church and the Bishop's #1 goal should be to help you guys whatever course you take. If not then screw 'em.

I would just be honest with this guy. Tell him why the Church no longer works for you and your concerns about your marriage. If he has any integrity he'll try yo help the 2 of you— although he likely has zero training to do so.

Which brings me to the next point.
Have you tried any couples counseling?

You're not alone. I'm in a similar position. My wife has begrudgingly accepted my inactivity but I worry that it's wearing thin.

Best of luck.

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:53PM

That's it, does she want to be married to you and respect you for who you are or is that always going to be a problem for her?

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Posted by: Crathes ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:49PM

Sad to see this, but at the same time, quite interesting. Last week, our bishop spent quite some time in SM discussing unhappy women in the ward, and how the cause is that their men don't attend the temple often enough.

Hmmm... Too many kids at a too young age, always out of the house with too many church activities, a demand to be perfect, or least to appear to be perfect?? No, none of that could be to blame for her lack of happiness.

Good luck!

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Posted by: SpongeBob SquareGarments ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:53PM

Just in case he wants some specifics why you don't believe - one good one will do like a brief summary of the Book of Abraham problem. Might even be a good way to intriduce this stuff to your significant other.

I'm just assuming that maybe your S.O. is like my wife and didn't want to hear the details but she would be forced to deal with whatever issues you were able to discuss in your meeting.

Just something to consider. I like to put the blame where it belongs - the facts lead you to believe the church isn't what it claims to be so only people knowing the same facts as you can possibly understand where you're coming from.

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Posted by: Steven ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 03:01PM

put the accountability hat back in the Bishops lap. Its not your fault the church isn't true. It's not your fault that Joseph Smith had sex with little girls. Along with your deference to a qualified counselor, affirmation of your love for you wife in his presence - also gently bring up some of the dark secrets of the morg. Watching the Bishop squirm might be fun.

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 11:55PM

...destroyed a printing press (someone's livelihood) becasue it was about to expose nothing less than the TRUTH -- that he was a polygamist who among other things had taken advantage of his own ward along with fourteen-year-old girls. Joseph Smith didn't even have the guts to own up to what he was doing.

Ask them to defend THAT. Martyr my ass.

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Posted by: Stunted ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 12:55PM

Remember to breath during the interview. I can understand why you want to go through with it and just get things dealt with. In your situation jumping through the interview hoop may be your best option.

If you do lay things out don't let it escalate. My inclination is argue point by point and tell the Bishop how stupid his religion is. That never works out very well so I've changed my tactics. Quiet short responses with a couple of breaths in between. Take the time to consider your answers and remember what boundaries you want to set.

Good luck and I hope you return and report.


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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:07PM

When you go in, you might ask the Bishop if he believes that the church is more important than your marriage, and if so, will he counsel S.O. to abandon you for the church.

Secondly, ask the Bishop why can't your S.O. love you for who you are, when you love them so very dearly?

And above all else, this is not about your "worthiness". This is about a spouse who is willing to subject you to possible church discipline for not believing properly.

Keep these in mind and in the front of the conversations.

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Posted by: WiserWomanNow ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 03:08PM

Also, be aware that the problem is NOT your so-called "non-belief," but that you and spouse NO LONGER BELIEVE *SAME* THINGS. S/he is IN NO WAY "better" or "more righteous" than you for having a different belief system; and don't allow the bishop to try to shame you into believing such a falsehood!

Any counseling for you & spouse should be done by a counselor who has NO bias toward either spouse's religious belief systems!

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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Posted by: Comfortably Numb ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:14PM

If the bishop does recommend marriage counselling, he's going to suggest LDS Social Services most likely. Just be aware that the marriage counsellors there are paid employees of the LDS church and will give you advise based on guess what, LDS prophets such as any two people can make any marriage work if they are living the gospel. You can guess how that is going to go for you because you are already mentally out of the church and wide awake.

Your only hope is to get your wife to love you for who you are, not for what you are not. Marriage counselling from a non-Mormon counselor can help towards that end but what you do and how you treat your wife is going to make the biggest difference. You have to up your game so to speak and show your wife just how important she is to you and go the extra mile. Show her just how much you love her and how much you want this to work out.

That's my experience - that tactic worked in my marriage after I walked away from the church in 2007. After the inital fighting over this subsided, I won her over to choosing me rather than choosing the Temple. She listened to the Exmo Conference talks with me this past week and I gotta say, she admitted that it gave her something to thing about.

My only sister was in this same boat except she was the TBM who kicked out and divorced her husband who STILL believes in the church, but just wasn't living up to her standards in living it daily. He didn't cheat on her ever, and her bishop was on his side in not to end the marriage over this but she didn't like that one bit and went to the Stake President to get a better ruling she liked and got it. The bishop was told to let the SP handle it. She divorced him, and she's struggling now to provide for her 3 boys and herself.

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Posted by: They don't want me back ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:46PM

Mormon marriage counseling in "nut" shell. It is just nuts.

If your wife is not happy in this marriage it's because the Cinderella fantasy that the church painted for her is not living up to her reality, and like any good Mormon she thinks the pray, pray and obey thingy will work, so she’s going to double down that bet.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:55PM

What is the purpose?

Why would you need to attend?

What is the outcome you would like to see happen from the meeting?

What do you want to accomplish in this meeting?

What kinds of statements do you think you need to make to be clear about your position? (You might have to repeat them!)

These are some questions that you may want to have clear answers to before you meet with a bishop.

Understand that he is not a counselor, he is not an attorney, and he cannot advise you on anything but living the gospel, reading the scriptures and praying.
That's it. He is unqualified for anything else.

I'm just guessing, but it might be that your husband cannot accept you don't believe the same thing he does, and he wants the bishop to put pressure on you to change to what he wants.
Two against one!

The only thing that saves this kind of marriage, in my experience as I left the LDS Church and my husband did not nor will he, is the member who is willing to live their own religion and live the
11th Article of Faith.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

My husband asked what I wanted from him, and I said: live the 11th Article of Faith. He said he would, and he has!

If your husband wants to be married to someone who is the same kind of believer he is, then there is no hope for marriage as he is unwilling to live his own religion.

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Posted by: Misfit ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:57PM

Heavyheart, I am in the same situation as you are and many others who have replied, who have given great advice already. I have a TBM DW who took my disaffection hard at first, but she is slowly getting used to it. One thing I'd add, if I were you, I would steer clear of any questions or conversation about why you no longer believe. That will not lead anywhere good.
What worked for me is showing my wife that i still love her, and that I am the same person I was before, just without the Mo beliefs. Once she saw that I wasn't going to start coming home drunk and become a wife beater, she mellowed out.
I went with her one time to see her LDS counselor at LDS Social Services, and amazingly enough, the counselor, a woman, took my side. Her POV was, there are only a few criteria that should determine an exit from a marriage:

1.Abuse of any kind.
3.A lack of willingness to work out conflicts/differences.

A change of religion was not on the counselor's list as being a deal-breaker.

We then went home and worked out compromises that worked for our family. And that part didn't cost us a dime in counseling.

I honestly don't see how talking to a bishop could help your marriage. That's like going to a plumber to have your teeth cleaned.

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Posted by: caedmon ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:58PM

This is how I would approach it:

First, clearly state that your issues with the church have nothing to do with meeting church standards or any other “worthiness” issues.

Second, I would insist upon his clear answer to these basic questions:

Will you encourage my wife to divorce me? Will you undermine my marriage and family by directly stating or subtly implying that I am a “less than” husband and father? Will you encourage uncharitable ward gossip or comments about myself and my family?

Or will you encourage my wife and children to continue to love and respect me despite my “belief issues”? Will you support me as father by making sure I am included in all religious decisions regarding my children? Will you chastise ward members who demean me or my family and gossip about my “worthiness”?

Don’t let him weasel out of giving you a clear answers and make sure your wife is clear as well. Either way he answers, you have ammunition. If he says he will be Christ-like in his treatment of you and your family – hold him to it and call him on any BS that comes later. If he says he will not be Christ-like, make sure your wife understands the hypocrisy of the “family values” church.

Good luck.

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: October 30, 2010 12:07AM

In addition, I would tell the bishop that if he interferes with your marriage in any way that is detrimental, he will be held accountable both in this world and the next.

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: October 30, 2010 12:08AM

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 01:58PM

There is no need for you to be on the receiving end of an unbalanced meeting! :-)

YOU ask the bishop why he thinks he has any influence in your marriage?

You ask him what his qualifications are to be interfering?

You ask him if he supports your husband loving the church more than you.

Get my drift? You can take control of this meeting, and set the tone by how you interview the bishop and how you present yourself. Be polite, and kind, and it will go a long way, in my view!

Good luck.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 02:15PM

I still don't understand if someone is TBM--what is it about "enduring to the end" that they don't seem to understand? If your child isn't a TBM, do you divorce them? I guess some people do.

I had an aunt who married a heathen. He smoked, drank, etc., and at age 50, he became reactivated. He then became a bishop and then a SP. She told me he was much more fun before he found religion. She was ALWAYS very active mormon, was always in leadership positions, etc. They both died recently in their 80s.

Where do people get the idea it is all about THIS LIFE? That isn't what I was taught.

Mormonism--even when both spouses are active--causes more problems between couples--always checking to see if the other one is as perfect as you are or perfect enough to get you to the CK. If they believe in mormonism, God didn't say you just have to stick it out as long as your spouse is perfect--

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Posted by: OP heavy heart ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 02:53PM

I really... really appreciate the words from those who have been there and done that.
As suggested I probably will not get into a doctrine and policy fight over the Mo... that's always a losing battle.
Sometimes Less is more... that's the way I will proceed with my side and stay calm and control the tone of our meeting. This is not a new problem either... this particular bishop is a meddler can create problems where there really does not need to be one.

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Posted by: dr5 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 10:10AM

Best of luck. I hope you can find the courage, wisdom and strength to deal with this in the best way possible, while being true to yourself and to your marriage.

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Posted by: dr5 ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 02:59PM

Sounds to me like this situation is ripe for you to be ganged up on.

The less you say, the better.

How about making a deal with DS (dear spouse) that you will go meet with the bishop if she/he will go with you to a bonafide NEUTRAL marriage counselor?

Edited to add: Remember you don't have to answer any questions, and you can always respond to a question with a question.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2010 03:04PM by dr5.

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Posted by: WiserWomanNow ( )
Date: October 28, 2010 03:09PM

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 09:19PM

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Posted by: imaworkinont ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 09:27PM

You choose someone who you can trust and who you have a good personal repoire with.

Someone with experience in marital counseling.

I don't think it's a good idea to go in to a bishop with no experience in marriage counseling, who already thinks the problem is with you and has an agenda to change you.

This is a personal boundaries issue. Your spouse and the bishop are trying to fix you, when you don't want or NEED to be fixed. Let them know that nobody else gets to vote on what you believe. Your brain belongs to YOU. If you go to the meeting, THAT'S what you need to tell the bishop.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 12:46PM

married to you or married to the LDS Church? Is that the core problem? Or is it because he can't control you?

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 02:33PM

As always the questions are
What is in it for me?

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 03:04PM

I'm not sure if anyone else has already mentioned this, but I wouldn't call this an interview at all. I wouldn't even think about it as an "interview."

You are not going for a job, he is not a boss, this is not even "for real." If your wife thinks that this meeting is serious enough to put your relationship on the line for, then I really really am sorry for your situation.

You are just meeting some dude to talk about religious beliefs that you don't even have. That's it. And if that leads to the downfall of your marriage, then that just plain sucks. Because your wife doesn't have much communication going for her if she has to have some guy sit in while you two try to figure out what she loves more.

Good luck. But remember, he is not in charge. This isn't an interview. You cannot be fired, he has no power over you.

I hope everything turns out for the best.

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Posted by: Leah ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 03:33PM

Realize that you are being dragged to the bishop so that he can "fix" you.

If you are a female don't bother going, you cannot win against the delusions of two TBM penisholders.

If you are a male you might question what his credentials are to give unsolicited marital advise. Go to a nonLDS therapist instead.

Either way, if your SO takes the side of the cult against you the marital ship is sinking.
Ask them specifically to decide what is more important to them.

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Posted by: get her done ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 03:44PM

My advice is not to go. You know it's gonna be two against one. You really expect to win?

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Posted by: libby ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 07:21PM

He is not a trained psychologist or clergyman or therapist.

Or friend.

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Posted by: Badger John ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 07:33PM

Since you believe in God the father and God the son, Jesus Christ, pray for guidance.

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Posted by: vhainya ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 07:50PM

Obviously your rift with the church is being blamed for your marital issues. Your wife would interpret your unwillingness to see the bishop as an unwillingness to work on your marriage, so you are literally trapped into going regardless of how destructive it potentially could be.

Is your meeting with the bishop alone, or will she be present? I suggest meeting with him alone first to make the points some of the PPs have suggested. I would absolutely try to avoid meeting with the bishop with her present. If you could get the bishop on board with your needing to see a marriage counselor (and not one through church services) and have him advise her to do that, it would be best course.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 08:00PM

Many of us here have believed it's best to meet the bishop on your turf, not his. There will be more intimidation if he is behind his desk and you're in those little chairs. Make him come over to your house or a neutral location (Starbucks is the ticket!),and reverse the process. Don't allow him to use passive control and intimidation methods (a big desk, pictures of the GA's or Jebus) to bully you.

Keep it in perspective: Unless he is a trained counselor or was once a clergyman, he has no reason to give counsel regarding your affairs. Unless he has a degree in theology or divinity, he has no business trying to dispense spiritual advice. In short, he's nobody. He's a school teacher, right? Or a used car salesman? An accountant? Chances are he's just a random bum scratcher like the rest of us and has no power, hold, or authority over you in any form. Let him know that up front. One can guaran-damn-tee that he will try to force his supposed authority on you.

Good luck. We expect an update!

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Posted by: Heavy heart ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 11:19PM

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Posted by: SaviorSelf ( )
Date: October 29, 2010 11:42PM

Heavy Heart -- Based on your DW’s attitude (that your failure to be a TBM is the cause of all the problems in your marriage), and given the fact that the bishop is summoning you for a meeting, then it sounds to me like you will be put on trial for your alleged “failings and shortcomings.” It sounds like you have grown very weary of the whole situation and would like it to be resolved one way or the other. However, I don’t think that meeting with the bishop is the best way to resolve the problem.

It is difficult for me to envision how the meeting with the bishop and your wife will have any positive effect on the status of your marriage. I think that the odds are stacked against you. The bishop and your wife are very likely to put on a united front in which the only satisfactory solution from their point of view will be for you to attend church faithfully, act like the faithful member, and pay a full tithe. It sounds like that is not a viable option from your point of view. I can easily see how this meeting could be the point in time where your marriage totally crashes.

My best advice is for you to cancel the meeting with the bishop. I suggest that you call the bishop on the telephone and tell him that you do not choose to meet with him at this time. You should say that in the event that you ever do want to meet with him (the bishop) you know how to get in touch with him. Just be firm, keep the call brief, and don’t allow the bishop to draw you into any conversation.

Next I suggest that you have a heart-to-heart talk with your wife. Tell her that you love her with all your heart and want the marriage to be successful. Tell her you fully understand that your marriage is in trouble, but that you refuse to have all the blame for the marital difficulties put on your shoulders. Tell her that you would very much like to have the two of you meet with a trained, qualified, neutral (non-Mormon) marriage counselor so that you can jointly work on the solving the marital problems.

If she accepts your request for marriage counseling, then proceed with that ASAP. If she refuses to go into counseling then ask her if she is ready to proceed with divorce? If she doesn’t want divorce, then suggest that you have a “cooling off” period where you can both collect your thoughts and decide how to proceed. But make sure she understands that you will not allow the bishop to call you into a kangaroo trial where he calls you to repentance.

The foregoing is the only course of action that I believe has a reasonable chance to be successful in saving your marriage in a way that is mutually satisfactory to both of you. Good luck to you.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: October 30, 2010 12:39AM

This is what you give to the bishop.

First Paul says the following supporting an unbelieving spouse.


[12]“If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
[13] And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
[14] For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
[15] But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
[16] For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?"

Then in the next letter Paul teaches the opposite which teaching inevitably tears the previous teaching of supporting non believers/believers in marriage apart.


“14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

Contradiction. Is why you no longer believe. ( I am of course assuming but it is fodder you could use for the Bish)

Lying to protect the practice of polygamy is a contradiction. There was no caveat in the Ten Commandments for lying.

God commanding murder to protect a nation from un-belief? There again are no caveat for certain justified murders in the Ten Commandments.

God curses generations with ugliness and dark skin? There are no caveat for generational punishment.
Man was to suffer for his own sins.

God ceases to be God if his commandments have caveats which Mormonism is full of.

Show the Bish the two paragraphs directly before the despicable treatment of Korihor in the BOM and ask him why these two paragraphs get left out in Sunday School.

Show the Bish some contradictions and tell him that you can no longer live with them, that your personal integrity won’t allow it.

Hopefully your wife will recognize the value in such a position and the value in the man who would have the courage to stand by it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/30/2010 12:40AM by AmIDarkNow?.

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