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Posted by: bluebutterfly ( )
Date: April 22, 2023 02:05AM

My parents are still very TBM and always will be. I went 'inactive' at age 18, but formally exited in my late 30's. I have 1 brother who did the same, but the rest are still TBMs, as well as my mom's entire extended family.

I feel like I don't fit in anywhere. If I go to my parent's house on a Sunday, they are blasting tabernacle music and wear church clothes the whole day. They have religious art everywhere. I feel like I can't fully be myself around them and there's an elephant in the room. Being with my parents can be quite triggering sometimes. My nevermo friends can't relate, and many of them belong to a Christian church nearby. It's like a club almost. I would never go to any church again, so I don't fully fit in with most of my friends. I still have a few TBM friends, but I feel like they're always judging me and those friendships don't feel truly authentic.

So I am caught in this strange place. It can feel lonely.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: April 22, 2023 04:52AM

My mother and her first cousin can hold a conversation in Bible verses (an exaggeration but close to how it feels to be around them).

Family Radio blares, but at least my mom didn’t sell all her stuff when Harold Camping predicted the Rapture.

There isn’t one picture of me on display in her house. There hasn’t been since I told her I don’t believe in God. “Beth! You’re a Humanist!” “Yes, and what, Mom?”

I have a younger half-brother who is 16 years younger than I am. When he was living with her, an adult mind you, she’d call me crying after a snowpocalypse or some sort of disaster because she was snowed in and my brother left to do whatever. So, my kid and I would drive IN THE SNOW an hour to her house and dig her out. And then deal with some Creationist nonsense she was babbling when we were done. Captive audience.

The last thing I wanted to do was go to her house. But then she’d call and say, “Beth, the next time you see me I’ll be dead in my coffin.” So off I’d go to pay homage and get an earful about religion. “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” “I want you to go to church with me.” Great. There goes three hours of my life listening to a bunch of bigots singing praises about their god-sanctioned bigotry. And there I was, complicit.

I don’t know if Mormons have a prayer list that’s read aloud in church, but my ass was on it every Sunday. Prayer Meeting was on Wednesday night, and there I was in name only, fervently prayed over. Got a prayer tree? I’ve been on that, too.

On those rare occasions that I went to church with her, a slew of strangers would approach me, always, to tell me that hearing the Word must touch my heart, Mom beaming beside me as I’d bite my tongue hoping I wouldn’t stroke out.

Her love for me feels contingent on belief. Her attempts at manipulation are naked and probably stem from some mental pathology. I know this. Being around her is bad for me.

I started pushing back in my 30s. And I’d get reeled back in. I’d go home when I was overwhelmed. I’d tell her I wasn’t going to listen to her rant at me and hang up the phone. Still, it was very, very painful. Isolating. Lonely.

When I was 45, I secretly moved 3K miles from her, blocked her phone number, emailed her and told her not to try to contact me, and it was the one of the best things I’ve done. For me! My decision was 100% for me and for no one else.

It’s been 10 years and eight months. It’s been hard. It’s been sad and lonely many times. But I am now living MY life. I’m sorry I waited until it was more than half over before I broke free.

But it is a sad thing. Not gonna lie. But please do not underestimate the human need for self-preservation or you will waste your life.

Do NOT do that.

Nothing you do will ever make them happy.

But if you think about, I know you can find a way to make yourself happy.

It’s a difficult transition, but it is liberating!

There’s always hope that things will change with your family. But try to push that to the back of your mind as you practice resisting religious, familial and societal pressure. Those pressures live within you. We can’t help but incorporate them into our sense of self. We’re supposed to belong to happy families, and if we don’t, the thinking is that we are doing something wrong.

Nope, nope, and nope.

Strive to live your life unapologetically. Sometimes you will succeed. Those times are amazing. Priceless.

Those moments will never be possible with the specter of disapproval of those who are supposed to love you best haunting your mind. You can’t banish them, but you can mute them some. When they’re muted, you can hear yourself.

I wish you love. I wish you freedom. I wish you happiness. I wish you joy.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 04/22/2023 02:20PM by Beth.

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Posted by: bluebutterfly ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 08:42PM

I appreciate your thoughtful response and kind words! Fortunately I am married to a nevermo and have 3 wonderful children that will not ever be part of TSSC. So I can be myself completely around my own family, it just gets lonely and awkward in the friend and family of origin spaces.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: April 22, 2023 08:08AM

I have two friends who go to church on Sunday. In each case, it really doesn't affect our friendship that much because they have a lot of other things going on in their lives. I know not to call them on Sunday mornings. Apart from that, I almost never discuss faith with one of them. The other is Catholic, and I grew up in that church, so sometimes we talk about it. But that's by my choice. I'm removed enough from the church to talk about it comfortably. And she doesn't make excuses for her church's problems.

You might want to expand your friendship base. I look mainly to neighbors and colleagues for that. It might be nice for you to have more nonreligious friends.

As for your mom, maybe invite her to your house half the time. Or work on setting boundaries -- "Mom, we're not going to discuss that." I lived with my mom for the last decade of her life, and I could often hear her praying late at night, in bed, for the welfare of her family. I took it as an expression of caring, but then again, she was uninterested in wooing me back to church. You are indeed in a tough spot with your mom. I'm sure that it's a very difficult situation.

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Posted by: bluebutterfly ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 10:27PM

I have definitely had to have those 'we're not going to discuss that' moments with my mom. Setting boundaries with her is hard, as she knows no boundaries whatsoever!

I know she is going to outlive my dad by many years and she has already said she will be a temple worker once he's gone. It will be interesting to be around her once she's at the temple all the time. Ugh

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: April 22, 2023 10:29AM

"My nevermo friends can't relate . . ."

I relate to all you say but that in particular. I was surprised how few Nevermo's could understand. You can't really walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Some people do come with the proper empathy and actually see. That is rare. I would tell some of the cultish Mormon stuff about my Mormon life to exmo's and get a response like, "Yeah I know. I was raised Methodist, or,I know-- I was raised Catholic." And I just wanted to yell, "NO. You don't get it at all. Mormon is a whole other thing altogether." But many saw me as damaged goods even if they didn't get it. But I learned not to lead with "the Mormon". I left it in the dust.

I did have a nice conversation with an exJW and how traumatic it was to leave as far as his parents were concerned. The way he told his father and the way I did mine had so many similarities-- traumatic to heaving tears.


I left Utah, moved to Los Angeles, and found I didn't really fit in with the gay crowd either or anybody. I was too damaged to be around much and didn't even realize how much of the indoctrination I still had to work through. When all you have known is Mormon life you can find yourself a fish out of water when you get out of the pond and into the ocean. Our fabled "formative years" were heavily in play.

At a certain point I had had it with trying to fit in---anywhere. I just built my own life and invited people in. They wanted to come or they didn't, but what you see is what you get. But in the end, a lot of years later, the few with whom I connected are everything to me. The group I found was what they would call diverse nowadays. My black friends could get it more easily--for obvious reasons--and a guy who's mother had been a hooker and had a strange up bringing, and a few others with odd stories. I learned to get them as well. And we found each other and had the best time. We didn't need to know the details to understand each other. But that was at a time when you could still say ANYTHING and people saw your heart anyway.



It was so lonely at times. You can be in a crowded room and still be lonely. I was often lonely when with the family. With friends. Often felt happiest with strangers because it was like having a blank slate.

Leaving Mormonism doesn't fix what they did to you. Just puts you on the right path to fix yourself. Keep plugging along. All the best to you.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 11:08AM

I think that nevermos can relate if you compare Mormoism to the JWS. They may not know much about the Mormons, but most do know about the craziness of the JWs. Or you could compare to Scientology.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: April 24, 2023 07:57PM

I'm not recommending you do this, but I sent my father a last goodbye letter 12 years before his death. He kept trying to reach me, and I ripped up his letters and ignored his messages.

The man was so obsessed by Mormonism that he lost children over it. I found my peace in his absence. My mother publicly disowned my brother and me. We were left nothing. But Mormonism is over in our bloodlines, and that may be the best thing that I've done for my son.

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Posted by: bluebutterfly ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 08:37PM

My parents don't hound me about it anymore. My dad will occasionally say something like, 'you should come hear us perform in the ward choir this weekend'. He knows I won't, though.

I know if a conversation came up about why I don't participate in TSSC, my mother would get raging mad. My dad would just cry. He actually is always getting teared up and it makes me uncomfortable. I imagine he's thinking how he's at the end of his life and he'll never get me back in, or ever get my children in.

Aside from the obvious weeping, my parents seem to compartmentalize it enough for me to have a relationship with them. I live very close by and I have 3 kids that they want to see. I just have to be very careful about them influencing my kids. They have now turned every religious holiday into Sunday school...as in they read scriptures and want to give a 'lesson' of some type.

Despite all that, I think I have inoculated my kids enough. We just refer to Mormonism as 'grandma's church'. My boys just giggle and don't pay attention, and my pre-teen daughter knows how I feel about all of it and she has no interest.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 10:46AM

My split TBM family is the same. Parents passed away years ago, of 6 kids, 3 left the church and 3 stayed, one that left passed away too.

I like my TBM siblings but can't relate to them, and they can't relate to me unless I pretend to be like them.

They all talk about mormonism and behave like we're all still believers, and not one has ever asked about the reasons we left the church. If I chose to behave as myself, like I can do with my never-mo wife's family, they would be uncomfortable and not want their kids and grand kids to be around me I'm sure.

I suppose they would consider me to be "still a good person" so I guess I have that going for me.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 11:28AM

Ditto. Said perfectly.

This in particular: "They all talk about mormonism and behave like we're all still believers . . ." " and they can't relate to me unless I pretend to be like them." Bingo.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 11:36AM

Their world is filtered by Mormonism. They really don't know anything else.

My sister goes on and on about her church jobs, church people, church events, church music, our Mormon relatives, etc. It has all kept her so busy her entire life. She doesn't seem aware that other people are not living in her orbit.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 12:09PM

Seems some of mine assume all other orbits are inferior.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 02:34PM

Like my over-the-top Mormon sister. Their orbit is very circular and completely without purpose. There's no helping the poor, just the church making them *pretend* that they're helping the poor. No community initiatives, nothing benefitting the community, whether city, county, or state level. It's just spinning, and with every pass over ground control, there's only a repeating signal, like the beep-beep-beep of the first Sputnik. (More like a blah-blah-blah, be like.)

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Posted by: bluebutterfly ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 08:27PM

Roy G Biv Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My split TBM family is the same. Parents passed
> away years ago, of 6 kids, 3 left the church and 3
> stayed, one that left passed away too.
>
> I like my TBM siblings but can't relate to them,
> and they can't relate to me unless I pretend to be
> like them.
>
> They all talk about mormonism and behave like
> we're all still believers, and not one has ever
> asked about the reasons we left the church. If I
> chose to behave as myself, like I can do with my
> never-mo wife's family, they would be
> uncomfortable and not want their kids and grand
> kids to be around me I'm sure.
>
> I suppose they would consider me to be "still a
> good person" so I guess I have that going for me.

Yes, very well said! My parents have started having family reunions and they run it like a ward activity. Prayers before every meal, no swimming aloud on Sunday, etc. My nevermo kids and any my brother's nevermo kids think it's weird and don't understand.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 08:32PM

Ward activity! Haha. That is exactly what all our family gatherings were. Boring and uncomfortable. I was "in the family but not of the family" to paraphrase that Mormon saying.

And then my mother would brag what a wonderful family we had. Not even the TBM's were enjoying it, I swear.

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Posted by: matt ( )
Date: April 25, 2023 07:45PM

It took me 40 years before I felt comfortable enough to participate in church services. I feel sad because Mormonism took so much from me.

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