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Posted by: savingelderf ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 10:52AM

For context my family life is extremely complicated, toxic, and less than perfect. To keep things short but to provide background I’ll explain. My parents are divorced, my father is normal and healthy and my mother is abusive and toxic as well as her husband. She kicked me out of the house at 17 after my rape because she considered me a whore and I went to live with my father in Utah. I attempted to bring my brother with me (she lives in Montana) but he refused to leave. She threatened to kill herself if I went but I went anyway. Fast forward several years my brother is extremely depressed and suicidal living with her. We’ve attempted to move him in with my father multiple times but she has an episode and threatens to commit suicide and ultimately my brother stays. My brother doesn’t believe in Mormonism and did not wish to go on a mission but after so much pressure and threats from my mother he began to serve on in England. He’s homesick and depressed and has asked to come home but she says that is not allowed under any circumstances. He’s spoken to his mission president asking to come home and the president had told him that he cannot and instead will be prescribed anti depressants. My brother suffers from situational depression, outside of the toxicity he is a happy kid. I’ve told him that my mother will not kill herself when he comes home and will eventually talk to him and that the rest of the family loves and supports him. I’m terrified he hurt himself in some way if he’s forced to stay. How can I rescue him?

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Posted by: dogblogger ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 10:56AM

He doesnt need his mission presidents permission to leave.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 10:59AM

If the mission president refuses to produce it, he'll need the assistance of the US embassy. If he decides to just leave, get him a credit card number, with expiration date and the special number on the back. So, in an extreme case, he can buy a ticket online, and just go.

The family and church issues? That's another matter.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 11:05AM

You need some counseling yourself since you need to get healthier to try and be there for your brother more when he's in a position to come home. The home life you describe is very dysfunctional and toxic. You cannot fix your mother, or the situation as it's out of your hands. Your brother is a grown man now. He has to be willing to want to change on his own and seek the help he needs or he isn't going to.

What a mess your family is in. Keep in as close contact as possible with your brother and an open invitation to visit when he returns home from mission. He may need somewhere else to live than mommy dearest. Knowing he has somewhere else to go may be a lifesaver for him.

Seek help for yourself meanwhile. There are co-dependent chapters all over the country for co-dependency to help children of dysfunctional families self-help in 12-step programs get out of trying to fix others when the focus first needs to be on yourself. The healthier you are, will help your family by extension get healthier too. And if not, it will also enable you to detach with love.

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Posted by: Devoted Exmo ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 11:20AM

Is your father willing to get involved? If so, he should call the mission president and insist he come home to live with his father.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 11:31AM

Missionaries don't seem to grasp the concept that they are volunteers and are free to leave.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 11:38AM

England and was extremely homesick and HATED IT. The family tried to make him stay. Finally, they had him see a nonmormon psychiatrist, who immediately SENT HIM HOME. The family is very mormon and his father is a doctor in St. George. his mother was stake R.S. president at the time. They did everything in their power to make him stay until the psychiatrist told them he was in danger of hurting himself.

If you can, go get him. We had a member of this board who went and got her son some years ago.

My twins had a friend who left the MTC and disappeared for a month. His family didn't know where he was.

The situation is more likely to get worse as time goes by.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2019 11:39AM by cl2.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 12:22PM

Your brother is a volunteer and is free to leave at any time. However he will need to stand up to the MP in order to do this. The first thing that he should do is ask the MP for his passport (normally the MP holds the passport.) If the MP refuses to turn it over (which will likely happen,) your brother should ask if he needs to get the U.S. Embassy involved. If the MP still refuses to hand it over, then your brother will need to contact the embassy for further instructions. If worse comes to worse he can get a replacement passport, although normally getting the embassy involved is all it takes.

Your brother should also state to the MP that he wants to come home. If the MP continues to refuse or delay, your dad can become involved. Your brother has a couple of options. He can refuse to work, simply telling his comp that he is staying in the apartment or going sight-seeing. Sometimes this is enough to force the MP's hand. Some missionaries have refused to leave the mission home without a plane ticket. He can also simply purchase a plane ticket home and leave.

Your brother also needs to learn how to stand up to your mother. Your mother is using threat of suicide (which may or may not be genuine) in order to control him. If she pulls that again, he should ask her if he needs to contact emergency services in her area for an EMT response and a possible short-term psych hold at the local hospital. This may be enough to call her on her threats.

It would be best if he went home to your dad, even if it's just for a short term respite. He can make further plans from there. I would frame it as, "Fly home to SLC for a two-week stay with dad. You can decide from that point on what you would like to do."

Best of luck, and do check back in with us. I hope that you have received care for your own trauma as well.

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Posted by: PollyDee ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 02:47PM

Agree. The MP withholding your brother's passport is illegal as it is, in effect, kidnapping.

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Posted by: numbersRus ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 11:25AM

holding someone in a place against their will.
It doesn't have to be by gunpoint; witholding travel documents, etc, is enough. Have him call the US Embassy in London or see if they are willing to contact the MP at the request of a third party (you).

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 01:42PM

summer Wrote:
> Your brother is a volunteer and is free to leave
> at any time. However he will need to stand up to
> the MP in order to do this. The first thing that
> he should do is ask the MP for his passport
> (normally the MP holds the passport.) If the MP
> refuses to turn it over (which will likely
> happen,) your brother should ask if he needs to
> get the U.S. Embassy involved. If the MP still
> refuses to hand it over, then your brother will
> need to contact the embassy for further
> instructions. If worse comes to worse he can get a
> replacement passport, although normally getting
> the embassy involved is all it takes.


As with any cult, these thrive in darkness.
Even a simple threat of illumination with light causes the biggest cockroach to scatter.

But he's been brainwashed so will need some real support to pull this off. Tough to leave the cult; tougher from a hive-mind mission.

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Posted by: logged out today ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 01:06PM

Get dad involved. MPs are more likely to listen to other male authority figures. If MP says brother "can't" return home, dad can threaten MP with a call to the US embassy that brother is being held against his will, and that MP is withholding brother's passport. That will probably scare MP.

As for toxic mom, remind brother that she threatened suicide when you left & didn't follow through, and she won't follow through this time either. It's just a childish manipulative ploy for compliance. He's not responsible for her actions, but he does have to grow a bit of a spine. He can't expect everyone else to get him out of tough spots if he's unable or unwilling to make any effort on his own behalf.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 01:46PM

I operated under similar pressure and then one day I realized that I didn't have to take it any more.
I refused to surrender my passport to the MP and almost got sent home over the issue.
I operated under theological abuse for the next 45 years then one day O just said "What's in it for me?" and that is when my life made a jump toward the positive.
Only a government agency can demand the surrender of a passport.

My thought is Do like the sheppard did when it started to snow
:Get the flock out of there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:

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Posted by: Jaxson ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 02:01PM

Sounds to me like your brother needs to grow a nut-sack. Until he is willing to stand up for himself and chart his own course, he will continue to be controlled by others.

How do you rescue him? Have your father book him a flight home and get him some cash for a cab ride to the airport. If the MP is holding onto any paperwork he needs to leave the country, have him make a demand of the MP for that paperwork. If the MP refuses, go to the police, media, U.S. Embassy, etc. and create a shit-storm that won’t soon be forgotten.

Don’t even tell mom until he is back and living with his father. If mom threatens suicide, tell her “Been nice knowing ya”. Then have him sit down with dad and make some real plans for his future (work, school, car, place of his own, etc.).

But…none of this can occur unless HE gets some balls and takes control. It won’t be easy, and if he can’t do it, he probably deserves to stay where he is.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 02:15AM

He's 18. And BIC I assume. Understandable that he doesn't suddenly "rebel" Needs support not judgement.

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Posted by: notmonotloggedin ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 02:05PM

However, this situation is a good example that it exists. For those who have never been involved with the cult or even those who have left the remedies here seem so simple.

No real reason an adult should feel trapped in any given situation. Objectively speaking your brother is free to walk out; even if they refuse his passport the reality is that they have no real power to do so. His reaction should be to "demand" it with the expectation they will hand it over; the idea that they would not is absurd in itself.

Yet here we are. And people ask why Mormonism is called a cult and why they are not "Christian".

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Posted by: tig ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 02:24PM

I am in the UK. Do you know where he is serving? Feel free to get in touch with the mods who can pass on my email.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 03:17PM


You have an audience here that might reach 50 people, tops.

You should post your and your brother's plight on reddit[dot]com, the subreddit, r/exmormon, where of the 128,000 registered exmos, 1,200 are currently online.

They freaking love these types of adventures!! You will get people leaping to help in oh so many ways.

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Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 05:52PM

Having been informed here that nut-sack development is the sine qua non, what possible further light and wisdom can be had elsewhere?


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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 05:36PM

You can'the can only save himself

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 05:56PM

The problem as I see it, is that your brother has to want to go. He says he wants to go, but he's living in fear of your Mother. She's made threats and she sees them as credible. (I'm willing to bet they are not, she's using the threats as a form of manipulation to keep him in line with her worldview).

Until he accepts his life is HIS to control and live and gets out of the thumb of your mother, there isn't much you can do except chipping away at the wall your Mother has built around him.

You know him better than I, can you outright tell him that your mother is manipulating him to control him? Point to the fact that she threatened to kill herself if you left, even though she kicked you out and she didn't follow through with that. Remind him that he is the child and she is the parent, he's not responsible for her actions and she "should" be adult enough to let him live his life.

The danger of course is if she follows through, even as a fake. This could amp up the guilt complex he's already dealing with. This is why he needs to understand that he's not responsible for her actions, she's an adult, his parent no less, he's not in charge of how she feels or responds.

I do question the idea that, "outside of the toxicity he is a happy kid". He's going to have a lot to deal with if he can get out from under her thumb, his examples of relationships have been toxic and his emotional learning has likely be stunted.

I suggest getting the book "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder" Even if no one involved has Borderline Personality Disorder, the book provides a good set of tools when dealing with people with emotional disorders.

Maybe someone here or from another Ex-mo board can contact him directly and talk to him and let him know what it'd be like if he were on his own or living with family that actually loves him.

Do take care of yourself too, this is stressful and it sounds like you've been dealing with a lot of your own things.

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Posted by: Heartless ( )
Date: July 29, 2019 06:52PM

You and your father go get him otherwise they'll want to send him back to his mother.

With the multiple suicide threats has anyone considered having your mother committed?

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Posted by: presleynfactsrock ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 04:18AM

I think this is a solid and healthy suggestion. A friendly, caring face or faces would mean the world to your brother.

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 01:22PM

presleynfactsrock Wrote:
> I think this is a solid and healthy suggestion. A
> friendly, caring face or faces would mean the
> world to your brother.

This is an excellent idea.

Plus suggest have a temporary protected landing-spot for him so he can re-establish some orientation before he proceeds with life.

He needs to leave. This condition is really toxic to the brain - the sooner he can recover the better.

Mom is unwell. She is a terrorist holding a hostage (herself). He needs to know mom is unwell; and that he is not responsible for her unwell-ness. He may be interested in the following, which may be applicable:

Not making a diagnosis, but rather affirming: neither you, nor your brother, is the problem here. You are not responsible for her happiness.

Do you notice - you are concerned about the well-being of your brother, and who is MP and mom concerned about?

Best wishes.

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Posted by: exminion ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 04:25AM

The threat of suicide is a very powerful manipulative tool! No, your brother is not at fault in any way, and does not need any Mormon-style "tough love", as Jaxon suggests. This is your brother's mother, who is making the threats--and a mother is a very powerful figure in a person's life.

Your brother needs to learn about suicide. It might take a good therapist to teach him that his mother will off herself if she wants to--and it makes absolutely no difference what your brother does or doesn't do, and no difference what you do or don't do. My ex had several suicides in his family, and the survivors had to go through counseling, but they did get over the guilt and horror, and moved on with their lives.

Don't dwell on the specifics of your mother's threats; rather, deal with your mother's mental illness. Define her as "mentally ill." Figure out what you can "do about Mom and her mental illness." Your mother owns this, and no one else! I pity her poor husband! I'm sure your mother uses this ploy on him, too. I have a sociopath brother who would threaten to kill himself almost daily, to avoid punishment for doing bad things (like beating me up or bullying other kids or defying my parents) or to avoid working ("I'll kill myself if you make me mow the lawn.") He died young, but of lung cancer from smoking, not suicide. He did cause my mother, my siblings and me a lot of grief.

I agree with Heartless.

My son's best friend is an amazing, handsome, successful, nice young man, who's fiancee cancelled their wedding, an hour before. She had always seemed sort of crazy. There wasn't time to tell the guests, so the groom had to stand in front of the temple, and tell everyone that the wedding was off, including some of his family that had flown across the US, to attend his wedding. A week later, his ex-fiancee asked him to take her to dinner to talk, and she told him that she had made a mistake, and wanted to get married, after all. He didn't want to plan another wedding, but offered to date her for a while, and see how things went. She threatened to kill herself if he didn't marry her, and became hysterical, screaming at him, and telling him exactly how she was going to kill herself. He got her out of the restaurant and into his car, but instead of driving her home, he drove her straight to the University Hospital emergency, and called her parents. She spent two weeks in the psych ward. My son's best friend didn't get married until 10 years later, he was so shaken.

Your mother might need to be committed. It might save her life. She needs meds, as severe depression/suicide results from faulty brain chemistry. (It is not due to something someone else does.) First of all, she is not your responsibility or your brother's or your father's. She is her husband's responsibility first, and next, because she has threatened a violent act (even upon herself) she becomes the responsibility of the community, the hospital, or the police.

It is not about your mother. It is not about the cult. Not about the divorce or your father, not about you and your brother.

Focus on saving your brother! He could have a great life with his father. He could go to school, work, do both, go fishing and hiking for a few weeks, get healthy, thrive on the love of good people like you, his sister.

BTW, I don't think he can stand up the the Mormon cult and the MP alone--and there's no shame in that. I am a career woman, and I couldn't stand up to them--I just took my kids and ran, locked the door, called the police when the kids were abused. Mormons have no respect for any woman, that's for sure, and no respect for anyone's rights. You aren't dealing with rational, reasonable human beings--you are dealing with cult members! Call the Embassy, and go through legal channels. No, there's no way you can be polite, and get your brother home, easily, without nasty confrontations and threats. Yes, threaten them right back. I threatened a lawsuit, and also threatened to have my story printed in the media, with names of my Mormon abusers, who were well-known. It worked. The harassment stopped.

Have someone else there with your brother!

I hope your father steps in to at least encourage this, and stand behind your brother, if not more.

Please return and report! Most of us here on RFM have been abused in some way by Mormons, so we love to hear success stories! (((hugs to you for caring about your brother)))

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Posted by: EXON46 ( )
Date: July 30, 2019 05:48PM

You guys are all great. I wish I had this forum when I was out on my own and serving a hellish mission. I've been back a long time, but the damage is still done. Now I'm just living life the best I can.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 03:36AM

When mom threatens suicide, that is the time to call for professional help. Let the pros deal with her. Anyone who threatens self destruction is not even thinking of his or her own best interests, let alone another person's. Call 911. If she's serious about her threats, maybe she'll get the help she desperately needs. If she's not serious, maybe she'll think twice about using that particular manipulation tactic in the future.

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Posted by: Jordan ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 08:48AM

This is a wild suggestion, but I suggest you go over there and try ans meet with him. Work out some way you can get him away from his companion for half an hour at least to chat with him in person.

This is an expensive option, but you're talking about a drastic situation.

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Posted by: Betty G ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 02:34PM

I'm a Never-Mo but what is stated in the OP doesn't make much sense to me.

While I've been in the Morridor I've seen multiple people who have had children denied going on missions or who have come home from the missions for Depression.

Basically, it seems as if depression or other mental difficulties are seen as something to kick people off a mission for if it is actually diagnosed.

If they are saying they can give him anti-depressants instead of sending him home, it makes me wonder why the policy is different specifically for him than for all the others that I've seen who have not been able to go because of it or who were sent home because of it.

I think this may be one of the things that have contributed to the high percentages of missionaries coming home. It would seem to me that something is amiss with this. From what I've seen recently the typical response is to send them home the second they appear to be costing medical bills of any sort (including anti-depressant medication).

If they are lucky they MIGHT get to go out again to a US mission, but I only saw that with one of the kids.

Why is this one so different than what I've seen among neighbors and co-workers around me and their families?

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 03:15PM

a friend's nephew was not allowed to come home. They did many things to keep him there like moving him to the mission home so the MP could keep an eye on him. It took MONTHS to get him home. He was a mess when he got home. I don't know how he is doing now. I'll have to ask. The parents were taking him to the temple all the time when he got home.

But the MP was NOT going to let him go home.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: August 01, 2019 09:06PM

cl2 Wrote:
> a friend's nephew was not allowed to come home.
> They did many things to keep him there like moving
> him to the mission home so the MP could keep an
> eye on him. It took MONTHS to get him home. He
> was a mess when he got home. I don't know how he
> is doing now. I'll have to ask. The parents were
> taking him to the temple all the time when he got
> home.
> But the MP was NOT going to let him go home.

Detaining someone against their will is called KIDNAPPING!!

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: August 01, 2019 09:19PM

...or false imprisonment...

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Posted by: logged out today ( )
Date: July 31, 2019 04:39PM

Because much of it is simply the luck of the draw. Some MPs are more reasonable about sending missionaries home. This MP is apparently an a-hole on a power trip and wants to keep him in the field at all costs. Most families, even Mormon Central, do not have mothers who threaten to kill themselves in order to get their way. Bishop and Stake Prez roulette are also very real things. All these people with their fat greasy fingers in the pie can influence the outcome. One of the few consistent things about mormonism it its inconsistency.

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Posted by: scmd1 ( )
Date: August 02, 2019 04:10AM

Betty G, I don't know how many cases to which you may be referring. You may not be aware, however, of the degree of autonomy and lack of oversight with which mission presidents typically operate. You seem somewhat skeptical of the OP's account based on discrepancies between your own knowledge and what OP has said.

Mission presidents are probably still given handbooks of general guidelines and are definitely provided with policy-related training, but are then given considerable latitude. A whole lot of decisions concerning the well-being of individual missionaries are made totally at the discretion of mission presidents. Mission presidents have almost dictatorial status with regard to sending missionaries home versus keeping them in the field. While you may very well know of prospective missionaries who were denied opportunities to serve due to diagnoses of depression or of other mental health conditions or were sent home for those reasons, such does not always happen. Many of us with actual experience as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints do not feel that the OP's story lacks credibility.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2019 12:53PM by scmd1.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: August 02, 2019 04:19AM

Right. We've also seen a lot of variation in stories shared over the years. If anything, IMO there has been a bias toward keeping sick and distressed missionaries on the mission.

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