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Posted by: Confusedandtorn ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 05:12PM

Right now I am at a point in my and my family's life where religion is putting a huge amount of undue stress on our family and it has caused my parents to resent me and my siblings because we do not attend church. For background purposes I'd like to say that our family is Mormon even though we have not gone to church or been active in years. Just last year my parents who have been away from the church for more than 30 years have done a complete turnaround and now go to the temple and every little function the church has, now at first it didn't bother me at all and they themselves said that they wouldn't force us to go to church that lasted about 2 months then the threats the of "you either go to church or you get out of my house" started and although that has died down I am starting to think that they resent me and my siblings because we don't go to church. This whole situation is causing a lot of stress and I think I am having small little panic attacks because I am afraid of being kicked out onto the street at any moment, my parents are very hot and cold at one moment they would come
Back from temple and be angry and resentful because we do not go church and the next moment it's like nothing happened. They even asked our former stake president in hopes that he would convince to go back but I respectfully told him that my heart would not be in it, but I feel if I were to go back I wouldn't be doing it for myself but for other people ( my father says to go back for myself not anybody else)
So now the biggest thing about now is I don't know what to do about my situation do you have any thoughts? Also help me on how to post on the boards so I can get more feedback

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Posted by: ronas ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 05:14PM

How old are you?

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Posted by: Heresy ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 05:25PM

I'd sit down and talk one on one to that parent. Tell them you are confused and unhappy about their change. See if you can get them to focus on the process that has turned your home on edge, not the specifics of the church.

Memorize the 11th article of faith, print it up and be ready to hand it to them.

Absolutely don't try to talk about the church, or history or doctrine or any details. The point is that you should have a choice, you've made your choice, and you don't want to argue.

This is a really good time to be sure not to break any of the house rules. If you got caught partying right now, they would use that against you.

It really does depend on your age, however. Are you any where near able to support yourself? And has there been anything else going on in their lives that have cause this sudden shift?

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Posted by: Confusedandtorn ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 05:55PM

Hi thanks for all the feedback and the advice I will definitely take it into account. Just to let you know that I am 23 and I am not able to support myself just yet I just recently started a job but it isn't a permanent position, and I live in Hawaii where rent and the cost of living is extremely high

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Posted by: ronas ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:00PM

Some ideas:

Attend one time. Then tell them, I tried it for you but it was a terrible experience for me.

You can try reviewing 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.

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Posted by: Confusedandtorn ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:13PM

Hey I have attended church on occasion because they've asked me nicely and I did not like it at all and felt a complete disconnect from it

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 08:38PM

It sounds like you have your father's support. So use it. When Mom goes crazy lean on DAD. I understand that doing things Mom wants you to do would just make you feel like a complete fake, so have a stern but polite talk with her about your beliefs and that you are of an age to make your own decisions. Tell her you will attend something if she is speaking or if a family member is, but you will not attend to gain anything from it yourself.

Try to share rent with someone soon so you can be free and not under their roof. You will have less stress and seriously do keep your dad in the loop about your life. I think he is on the fence with this but what he told you is quite respectable.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 05:30PM

"For whatever reasons, you two spent 30 years inactive. So don't you think it would be fair to let us kids determine our own relationships with the church, like you did? At least for a few decades?"

If that fails, then try, "Forcing people to be righteous was Lucifer's plan, remember?"

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Posted by: quebec ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:02PM

Oh, SM I like your thinking! ;)

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Posted by: Confusedandtorn ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:09PM

You are not the only person to think of that my parents friends also think they shouldn't pressure us but for some reason they feel we need to be saved

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Posted by: Mormon Observer ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 02:29PM

On whose time clock?
Your parents or Gods?

God isn't finished with you yet. Are they greater than the Lord??
You're still talking things over with God and it may take a few years, in the meantime you appreciate their prayers, but not their pressure.

How is forcing you to go matter to God?

Ask them if someone at church is telling them they're not good enough (even though they have come back to church) because their kids are not in church.

Give them some responses to tell the folks at church; the spirit is working on my children and time will tell.

The time doesn't have to be right this instance unless they are trying to use you to look good in the eyes of the ward!

Those who give their alms in public get a public reward, but those who give in secret get their reward from God.

Where does God enter into all this??? Are they trying to honor God by "Waiting on the Lord" or are they honoring men by wanting to show you off to the ward????

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:23PM

is a little less likely to get the response "...under our roof you follow our rules."

Another idea that helps is to tell them frequently that you are committed to living good values--the good values that they taught you even when they were not active. You love them for that, you respect them for the honorable people they are, and that stays with you regardless of what church you go to or if you don't go to any. Tell them they are the main influence in your life and it's been a good influence. Tell the often.

Parents are afraid that their inactivity means God will punish them by having their children be evil. They feel terribly guilty and you have the power to lighten that burden.

Imagine, your parents were raising you when the church was teaching that having Family Home Evening would guaranee that your children would never leave the church. Naturally, they view your non-belief as their fault.

Good luck and stay connected here.


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Posted by: dk ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 01:40AM

So that's what the church is now teaching about families? If you don't go to church, we kick you out of the house and into the street? They don't go for 30 years and then take it out on the kids? It's all about family (NOT).

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Posted by: Glo ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:40PM

If they resent you it's their problem, not yours.

See if you can move in with someone else. Even a garden shed is better than living at home under such stress.

I doubt you will be able to reason with your fanatical parents. Focus on getting outta there.

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Posted by: Confusedandtorn ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:51PM

Thanks I'm sure if I was to talk to the bishop about the situation they would be even more mad because they painted themselves as the type of people who wouldn't do a thing as forcing their kids to go to church or kick them to streets. An as far as free agency goes I got the all too familiar "my house my rules" what's worse is that before they went back to church they were disgusted by people who chose religion over their own kids now they became the same people

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 06:42PM

It is against Mormon doctrine to FORCE someone to "follow the gospel." That was Lucifer's plan. Mormons are supposed to believe in "FREE AGENCY" and in return they should respect yours. It's not like you are a little kid anymore. You are a full grown adult and they need to learn to respect YOUR religious views as you religious views. I would tell them this and then talk to the Bishop if this doesn't work. Mormons generally listen to their Bishop. Have him "counsel" your parents to respect your religious choices.

Its one thing if you are breaking house rules (drinking alcohol, throwing parties, etc), but this is NOT the same thing.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: February 17, 2012 11:49PM

You might want to see if you can find a place to share with some other young people. I lived with roommates for many years, even when I had very low-wage jobs and was living in high cost of living areas. You split the rent and utilities with anywhere from one to three or so other people. Look under "Roommates Wanted" in your local newspaper or perhaps on Craigslist. An area where college kids live is the best place to look.

Until you can make that happen just keep reminding your parents that you are a responsible adult and not an underage child. Keep reminding them of the eleventh article of faith. And start setting aside some money so that you can go off and have a life of your own.

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Posted by: elderborracho ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 01:08AM

I was inactive for many years. Then when I went back, I was an absoulute devout nut case! I thought people around me weren't TBM enough. I was about to leave my nevermo wife and the works! Thankfully, I pulled my head out of my ass and figured it out. They are just in their TBM "honeymoon" stage. They will get tired of the demands for home/visit teaching, temple attendance, tithing, callings, stress at home, etc.

I say roll with the punches for a little while. Maybe even attend some meetings, grab a calling and see what seeds of havoc you can plant in the meantime. I kinda wished I would have stayed around just to plant some apostate seeds here and there. That is probably my biggest regret when I left. I didn't do enough damage on my way out.

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Posted by: dcjhallstrom ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 09:05AM


A Story from Early Utah

I've been corresponding with an interesting man (who is even older than I am!), and he passed on a recollection from his childhood to me. I asked him to fill in as many details as he could remember and to allow me to pass along his story, which I found very interesting. Here it is, with his permission to use his name. I have made only minor corrections of spelling and punctuation.
My name is Don C. Hallstrom. I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and come from Mormon pioneers on both sides of my family. There are no indications that any of my forefathers indulged in the practice of plural marriage.
Forefathers on my mother's side of the family were some of the original pioneers who settled San Bernardino, California and my great grandmother was the first white female born there.

As a small boy, we lived just a few doors away from my great grandfather Hallstrom, whom I used to visit quite often. During his productive years, he was a harness maker and did quite well until the advent of the automobile gradually put horses and oxen out of business. While I was just a toddler, he made a harness for me with a long strap which my mother could clip onto the clothes line, giving me quite a lot of room to play, yet keeping me away from the large creek that ran along the back of our yard.

We moved away later on, but I still got an occasional chance to go visit. When my great grandma passed away, I sat with my great grandpa and accompanied him during the services. Then when my grandfather died, I again accompanied him during and after the services. I visited with him only a couple of times after that, due to us moving, and later, his moving. I was about ten years old on my last visit; however, it was a visit that I remember quite vividly because of a promise I made.

Neither of my parents were church-going people, but I was encouraged to go to Sunday School and services at the local Whittier LDS Ward. At the age of eight I was taken to the Temple and baptized into the Mormon religion along with the boys I played with in the neighborhood.

On my last visit with my great grandfather, he was getting ready to move in with one of his many sons, and leaving his house made him feel low. He talked about my great grandma and how he missed her and especially her cooking and he spoke of many things about his younger years.

Then in a very different and more serious tone, he asked me if I attended church regularly. I told him I did and he asked me quite a few more questions about the religion, which I can't recall exactly, and then said to me, "Donnie, I'm going to tell you a story. Do you think you can keep a secret just between the two of us?"

I told him, "Sure grandpa, I can keep a secret." He then told me the following story and I'm going to relate this in the first person, just the way he talked to me.

"Things here in Utah are a lot different from when I was a young man and Brigham Young was in power. Him and the church had their own laws, which were very strict, and you had to obey them or the Danites would take care of you. Has anyone ever told you about the Danites?" he asked. "No Grandpa, what is a Danite?" I asked. "Well, they went by that name as well as the 'Avenging Angels,' and those were the men who were Brigham Young's special police." He laughed and said, "Called themselves the Lord's soldiers." He then told me something about remembering both names because I would hear more about them later on.

"Some people didn't like the way things were around here in those early days and wanted to leave the valley. In order to leave, you had to have permission from Mr. Young before you could leave. If it was to farm in one of the other settlements it was O.K., but if it was to join a wagon train going through to California, it was usually No."

He placed special emphasis on the next thing he told me. "If you had a special trade and you were needed, then you could not get permission to even leave town." I asked him, "Did you want to leave?" "Donnie, there were times that if it wasn't for the fact that I had a good woman and then kids started coming, I'd have probably made an attempt."

"One day, a good friend of mine, who was a blacksmith, was talking to me and told me he wanted to leave and go to California and knew he wouldn't be given a pass to go, but was going to go anyway and asked me if I would go with him. I told him I would like to go but couldn't take the chance because of my family. I told him not to let too many people know what he planned, because it was dangerous."

"A few days later I passed the blacksmith's shed. The forge was cold and he was nowhere in sight. Thinking he may be ill I knocked at his door but there was no answer. Then I remembered our last conversation and wondered if he had really left town. Later that night there was a light tapping on the back door, and when I opened it, it was him. He wouldn't come in and told me he didn't want to cause me any trouble, but he needed enough food to last him a couple of days. I asked him where he had been and told him I had seen his forge cold and thought he had fallen ill, and he told me that he had been approached by a couple of the Church Elders the day before who told him that they had heard that he wanted to leave the valley. They told him how much his services were needed and if he would reconsider they would show him a mine where he would be permitted to go on his off times, and dig for gold. They made an appointment to meet with him and go up Cottonwood Canyon where he would be shown the mine. He agreed and that evening they met. He then told me that there were three 'Angels' that had left for 'Heaven' and wouldn't be back in Salt Lake again."

Grandpa told me, "I gave him enough food to see him through a few days and he left. I never expected to ever hear from him again." Grandpa got up from the table and went into his bedroom. He returned a few minutes later. "A couple of years went by and one day I got this in the mail." He laid an old postcard down in front of me face down. It was addressed to my Grandfather, and written on it was, "Wisht you was here." (I remember how wish was spelled with a 't' on the end) He said, "Turn it over!" I turned it over and it was a drawing of a blacksmith at his forge. I turned it back and looked at the postmark. It was from Sacramento, California. I can't remember the date now, but it was the late 1800s.

I said, "I wonder why he didn't sign the card?" Grandpa said, "The Angels, even today, have a long memory and very long arms and no one is safe if they cross them. That was mailed from Sacramento, but I know my friend* is not there - he's smarter than that, or he wouldn't have been alive to have mailed that card. When you get a little older I have quite a few things to tell you, but I want you to promise me something." I said, "Sure Grandpa, what?"

He was very serious and stuck out his hand for me to shake and said, "This is a man's promise you're making!" Being very impressed by him I took his hand and said, "Yes Grandpa, I promise." He said, "Good. First, don't tell anyone what I tell you for a long time, until you have a son of your own. By that time it won't matter." I replied, "I promise."

He continued, "Second, don't let the church get its hooks into you! Keep as far away from it as you can!" This startled me, and I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. "Donnie, this is very important to you. You may not know it now, but someday you will thank me. Remember now, you promised!"

Unfortunately, the next time I had the opportunity to see him again, many years had passed and he was both almost blind and deaf and was in his late nineties. I was not able to thank him for the promise he made me make, and I have always wondered if he ever told my father any stories and if he ever made him promise as well. It seemed strange to me that my father's sister and brother were both very good Mormons, but not only did my father consider himself a jack-Mormon, but he married my mother, who said she was a Baptist, and I was never questioned about not going to church after my visit with Grandpa.

Over the years, I thought about listening to my great grandfather that day, and can still remember the oilcloth on the kitchen table where we sat. I guess that is why that story stuck in my mind all these years. I remember when my great grandma sat at that table and watched through the back screen door as I, as a small boy, lay in the hammock with grandpa and pulled on a cord fastened next to the back door which would cause us to swing.

I believe to this day that my Grandfather meant to tell me stories that would have included some of the people still alive at that time, which is why he made me promise not to tell anyone until I had a son of my own. That would have been a minimum of at least ten more years, and by then I would not place anyone in jeopardy if it included anything against the church. By that time he probably figured they would all be gone.

Well, other than bits and pieces, that is the most memorable thing I can remember about my Great Grandfather.

* Grandpa mentioned the blacksmith's name during the telling of the story, but I can't recall his name now.

- Don C. Hallstrom

Comments? Write:

© 1999 Richard Packham Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. ... That is the way to love mankind. - Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:220, Feb. 8, 1857

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Posted by: gregbrady ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 04:05AM

It's an interesting switcharoo for me here.

I'm a never mo, born and raised in the Episcopal Church, got interested in the mormon church when I briefly dated a TBM in college.

I've moved back home for a while after school, I'm 23, trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life and one of the things that I have always had constant since I was a kid was going to church with my family.

It was a rough year for my family, my dad suffered and ultimately lost the battle against brain cancer; he was a fantastic dad, he always held the family together and without him here it feels like it's falling to pieces in so many ways.

Going to the church we've gone to forever seems like a such a simple, comforting maybe even healing activity but much of my remaining family has lost all their faith throughout the painful ordeal. I feel like I've taken his death the hardest perhaps, he was my best friend and only real confidant, but I feel like my faith is one of the only things that gets me through this time.

Don't get me wrong, I get their qualms, I've had crises of faith, "Why would God let such a good person (and he really was one of the few really good ones left) die so young, so painfully, with so much left to do?"

But this was a church that my Dad believed in, that I believe in, in a time when I'm grasping for anything to keep me from just tailspinning out of existence the continuity of church services helps.

My more disillusioned relatives are very less than eager to oblige, my Mom was on board with getting a family trip to the christmas service (my dad's favorite because of all the extra music they play before the service) but a lot of it was treated with contempt by my siblings; my mom got something out of it and she is sometimes open to attendance but I'm not sure if she has any desire or if it's just to humor me which I don't want to force her into.

I don't know what to do, I don't want to try to force beliefs on people who don't want them anymore, I don't want to have an argument over whether bad things negate the presence of God, I just don't know if it's fair or far too selfish for me to tell them how I feel, that I miss their presence, that I think the church helps heal these wounds, that their complete abandonment of their faith shakes my own, that I wish they would give their faith another chance to return and strengthen, break though dark times and depression and heal their lives.

I know what I want, I don't know what's fair, what's right, what might help.

I apologize for the hijack, some good points about family relations have been brought up and I just was wondering if you have any advice to offer.

God Bless,

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 08:40AM

GB, you might consider reposting this to a brand new thread.

Everyone mourns in their own way. There is no road map for it other than expected behavior at a funeral and/or a memorial service. But that leaves a lot of extra time in which to figure out how to deal with one's grief.

I would give your family the time and space to mourn your father as they see fit. I understand your pain. The death of a parent can really fracture a family in unexpected ways. You end up facing losses on several fronts at a time when you feel least able to bear those losses.

If you take comfort in religion then continue to let it comfort you. Invite your mom to go to church with you, but be understanding if she's not up to it. Don't pester your siblings about it. They know the way if they want to go. It is not unusual for people to take time off (even many years off) from church at various phases of their lives. It's possible that they might eventually return.

Encourage your family members to seek counseling, either from your priest, counselors at school, or a private counselor. Through counseling, they can sort out their pain, anger, and disappointment at the hand life has dealt them.

My own mom died about a decade ago, and I would say it took me a good three years to fully resolve my grief. My dad died when I was a young teenager, and the grief affected me for many years because I did not get counseling at the time. Please see that all of you get the help that you need so that your family can eventually move forward from this tragedy.

Try to take care of yourself in a way that your dad would want you to. He would want you to prepare for a career, to eventually earn a good living, and to find a kind, loving person to marry. Take positive steps to build a good life for yourself as you are able to do so.

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 09:09AM

What a couple of hypocrites. Everything was all good and fine when they didn't go to church. But as soon as they decide to go back, they become all judgmental and intolerant.

Well if that isn't an incentive to never want to go to that church again, I don't know what is. Look what it did to them.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 09:43AM

I think your parents regret how they raised you for so long and they're doubling up trying to make up for their lapse.

Be strong and don't cave to their demands. If you go to church, they'll demand you start praying and reading scripture, then they'll expect you to get a TR, go on a mission, do geneology or meet dozens of other mormon expectations.

Seriously, there's no pleasing TBMs. They can't even please each other. For example, my TBM sister yaps at our TBM mom for drinking and eating a little chocolate once in awhile. Sis says it's a slippery slope from chocolate, to caffiene, then to final ruin.

It's almost always better to draw boundary lines in a place of comfort because mormons will push you no matter how hard you work at satisfying them.

If you're a minor child, I'd have slightly different advice. I don't know how old you are. But it's almost always a mistake to rev up mormon activity just to satisfy TBM demands when you're not a believer.

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Posted by: dk ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 10:24AM

Read the 11th article of faith and say it's a shame the church doesn't teach this anymore. Instead they tell parents to force their adult children to go to church or else throw them out of the house on to the street. I thought the mormon church was all about family. I guess not.

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Posted by: breedumyung ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 11:06AM

misery loves company.

especially after your dear parents return from the temple;

they are gonna really be pissed off

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: January 06, 2013 11:21AM

You won't do what they want? Not even out of love for them? Well, then, let's see how you like them flexing the last bit of authority they have over you. Yeah, that'll kick you back into line. Desperate people threaten desperate things.

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