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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 05:30PM

Did your DH get much grief from the members when he went to church to be with you and the kids? You said it meant a lot to you to have him go there, that seeing things through his eyes helped you shake off the church. What sorts of things do you remember seeing through his eyes or in the way he was treated that helped you start to think straight?


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Posted by: Can't Resist ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 06:00PM

Our wards were fine. We had some friends yet we both felt more comfortable on the fringe. I ran interference and let people know not to ask him to do certain things. He is somewhat intimidating so we were never bullied. He's also a lot of fun and interesting and people were naturally drawn to him. It was ok for our family.

My family has been a nightmare in their treatment of him. When he joined and took me to the temple they didn't consider it valid bc he didn't do it "for the right reasons." You'd think they'd appreciate a guy willing to change his whole life for their daughter...nope. They blame him for my and the kids exit from the church and everything else in life.

My husband is hispanic and his family is so loving. They aren't perfect but they are very close and healthy. They love each other unconditionally. It was serious cog dis to see his catholic family so kind and loving, yet not talking about how loving they were, and to see my mormon family hating each other and talking about families are forever. When I'm with his family i can do no wrong and i feel total acceptance and no judgment. When I'm with my family I feel on the verge of insanity.

He also has no problem saying "I don't know". He is very careful using the word "know". I think over time I picked up this habit which is actually critical thinking and honest speaking.

Finally, in retrospect, the reason it was so important that he attend with me was bc non-members don't get how it is to be in a cult, and members can't see they are in a cult. It turns out that I needed not only his perspective coming from the outside, but I also needed him to understand where I was coming from. He totally gets it bc he spent the time in church with me.

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 08:16PM

Can't Resist: What was it that you "needed him to understand" in "where [you] coming from"? What is it that "he totally gets"? Is it your perspective of being afraid inside the church, of being controlled, of feeling unable to act of your own free will because of your not wanting to go against the authority of the LDS church and ward leaders?

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Posted by: happilynotmormon ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 06:15PM

I was TBM as my dh was figuring things out and distancing himself from the church. He came to sacrament meeting for a couple of years to support the kids and myself, but eventually decided to stop as so many members would ask him to do things (teach a lesson, help someone move, etc.) and he hated avoiding people and phone calls because he didn't want to do those things. While I really missed him at church, I understood. Eventually he decided to remove his membership from the church so that he wouldn't have to avoid phone calls and he live with more integrity with his beliefs. While this was very devastating for me, it is what lead me to figure things out on my own, as I searched the internet for other people whose spouses had left the church. Ironically, once I found some of those blogs, that is where I found out info about JS and polyandry, and the book of Abraham, I talked to my dh about these things (he hadn't found much of this info yet), and I decided to leave the church within a couple of weeks of my dh. This has lead to much more harmony in our home as we are in much more agreement about religion, finances (no tithing), etc, and I am very happy with how things turned out, although the road getting here was rough at times.

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Posted by: nowI'mfound ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 06:45PM

In general, people were very nice. They tried to go out of their way to welcome him. It was kind of comical really, coming into the chapel and watching people make a beeline for us. When we first moved here, he didn't want anything to do with church or any of the people there, so he typically responded to their pleasantries with one word or smartass answers. I got after him a couple of times for it, and he made an effort to be nicer. Still, ward members quickly learned to give him space and not to pressure him so much. I also talked to the bishop and the EQ president and told them to leave him alone, that he'd come around when he was ready. That made a big difference for him.

At the time, DH was having a hard time getting over the hellish years we went through prior to DS's bipolar diagnosis. DH couldn't get over the fact that our family had nearly imploded. We spent over $10,000 out-of-pocket in under a year for psychologists, a psychiatrist, and medications for our son, all while DH was being transferred out of state for work, and I was in my last semester of school. He was so angry at god and the church for brainwashing people into getting married young and having kids right away, and felt that that choice alone was responsible for most of the problems we were experiencing. Bipolar son's problems were particularly rough on our other kids. For years, our family was literally on the brink. We were seriously considering divorce as well as shipping DS off to a residential treatment facility. We were desperate for help, yet we felt completely abandoned by god.

Once things were better, I wanted to just get past it. I felt like we made it, let's be thankful, and look ahead from now on. He was still bitter and angry.

As I'd sit in SM, I'd listen to the talks waiting for some nugget that would move him. But as I'd hear what was said, I could almost hear the snarky thoughts running through his head. I started to compare what I was hearing to my own experience in the gospel--the prayers unanswered, the promises unfulfilled, the many ways god did not seem to be who TSCC claims...

Then I started looking at all the things that are said as though they are doctrine--you chose your family, god picked you to send DS to because you could handle it, read scriptures and you'll have greater peace in your homes, pay tithing and your temporal needs will all be met, attend the temple and your family will be blessed--all those things that we faithfully did but had nothing to show for...

F&T meeting was the worst--listening to people tell their trite stories about pathetically small problems and how god swooped in and saved the day. I knew what he was thinking; I was thinking the same thing. Where was god when we needed him? I got tired of people insisting that god WAS there, and look how great everything is now, what do you have to complain about? don't you know there are people who have it way worse than you?? But I know what we went through. And I know what it did. It irreversibly destroyed our faith.

I already had my own issues with the church long before this all happened, but I shelved those concerns because I wanted what the church promises. We are both BIC, and church means everything to our parents and much of our extended family. It's a hard thing to turn away from. But, sitting there with him each week I found more issues to add to my shelf, until, finally, I had to admit that I don't believe it anymore either.

Good luck to you as you go back to church. I guarantee it will mean a lot to your wife and children to have you there. Be honest and upfront with people about your reasons. I think it's incredibly admirable to say, "I don't believe this, but I'm here to support my wife and kids." No one can fault you for that. And, if you make it clear that you are not personally interested, hopefully the TBMs will forgo their reactivation tactics.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2012 08:26PM by nowI'mfound.

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Posted by: Can't Resist ( )
Date: February 18, 2012 10:10PM


As I mentioned, my husband was raised in a very loving, non-judgmental, healthy, happy family. Because he came from that environment he can immediately see an unhealthy, damaging environment. When he met my family and went to church with me he immediately knew that things weren't good and it took him about 3 days to decide if he could continue to date me knowing how sick my world had been, and was.

When he finally decided that he could do it, and that I was worth it, he could not ever leave me to the wolves. I think he has been very protective of me and our kids in going to church with us. He looked just like the guy getting baptized in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Because my family and church is just one big continuum of messy integration, it was difficult for me to leave the church because leaving the church has meant leaving my family. I was so brainwashed that i don't believe I would have ever left if he hadn't been sitting there in SM raising an eyebrow when he heard weird stuff, or reading the NYTimes on his iPhone, or complaining about all the time I was spending on my callings.

If he had been at home bitching at me about being brainwashed I would have dug in. Also, I did not have anyone but him to complain to when I had serious doubts. If he had not learned my culture or if I had felt like I could not trust him to discuss fairly, I don't think I would have been able to get out. Also, he understands the crazy doctrine, the importance of image, the pressures... Leaving the church is so lonely bc your non-member and member friends just don't get it.

Anyway, He did not go every week and would tell me when it was time to take the Sunday off with him. He presented a much more relaxed view of Mormonism by taking a cafeteria approach and showed me it was ok to do it that way.

He went to hell to get me, strengthened me, and pulled me out. (Now I'm waxing poetic). We don't have a perfect marriage but I will say that the experience of our family leaving the church together has actually strengthened us as a couple rather than splitting us. He was a good friend and father. And I will always appreciate his approach.

From your previous thread, I wonder, what exactly makes you not want to go? are you embarrassed? are you worried that you will get reincorporated? Are you just tired of the time commitment? I can understand. Perhaps you aren't quite sure that you will be able to be true to yourself if you go. What is it you fear?

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 03:48PM

I fear all of the above, everything you mentioned: The awkwardness of going back after two years, the embarrassment, maybe, the pointless conversations, the members' efforts at feeling out where I'm at vis-a-vis the LDS church; and yes, worries that I'll start actually listening to all the paleolithic conservative poison and start losing clarity about my own values (it's a fear anyway); definitely wary of the time commitment--geezus what a waste of time, listening to all the nonsense, fantasy, and Joseph Smith worship; I don't want to overly complicate my relationship with my family members or lose my present non-relationship with church members--they don't bother me now, we don't have home-teachers; I don't want any church efforts to get in my face or to mess about with my family relationships. Now one argument is that the bastards do that every week anyway and I have nothing to lose by sticking my nose into their mental gas chamber. I also don't want my family members to think that I'm actually changing my mind about the church. I'll have to be clear with them.

Your husband sounds like an awesome guy. What I wouldn't give to talk to him for ten minutes.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 03:51PM by derrida.

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Posted by: Can't Resist ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 06:10PM

Freaking mormon church, they just don't make it easy for anyone, do they? You can't be supportive and casual without it confusing everyone. It makes me so angry.

Just to be clear: I believe you can be an awesome supportive husband without setting foot inside the church. I think the issue is creating a non-opositional environment where both of you can continue to explore emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, etc.

That said, in our case it was very clear that it was going to take some time and patience to get me out. For example, I would not marry him unless he was working on taking me to the temple. (I'm not proud of this.)

I think what he realized immediately is that he was in a very serious competition for me with my family/religion. He would tell you that he was going to church to keep a "dog in the fight." The church is a ruthless and formidable opponent (ask any homosexual) but they come across as so "nice". it's disarming and long-time members, particularly BICs are anesthetized to it. Anyway, if your wife and kids are going to church and getting support and reinforcement and a pity party, then you may want to get a dog in that fight. Face the church as the opponent it is, (rather than your wife) and be shrewd. A frontal attack rarely works.

The other thing that my husband understood from growing up around a lot of women, is that women need social structure. It is very difficult for a man to compete with a woman's social structure. You can understand from a evolutionary perspective why this would be true. Unfortunately, if your wife's family and social structure is integrated with the church you will have an uphill battle in breaking some of the ties. Again, you have to be shrewd and patient. Make sure that it is the people in the church, gossiping women, crazy RS presidents, hard-line bishops that leave a bad taste in her mouth- and not you.

You be the guy that is honest, kind, trustworthy, but assertive, true to yourself, and ALWAYS pushing for more "family time".

We are in the philly area... where are you?

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Posted by: derrida ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 08:53PM

Far from Philly.

Username Sammy Blake on FB.

The pushing for more family time sounds really important.

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Posted by: Can't Resist ( )
Date: February 19, 2012 09:18PM

Aw, too bad... well, good luck, hang in there. :)

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Posted by: nowI'mfound ( )
Date: February 20, 2012 10:27AM

Can't Resist makes a good point. You can "fight" more effectively from the inside. And don't worry, you're NOT going to get sucked in. Honestly, it will probably make your skin crawl just being in the building. For me, the hymns were the only enjoyable part. I'd feel okay during them, and then someone would start speaking...ugh.

If you are honest about your intentions at church (being there to support your wife and kids and nothing else), people won't expect anything from you, and you WON'T be giving your family false hope. Your wife may wish, like I did with DH, that you'll hear some little nugget that will turn things around for you. Eventually, she'll see it's not happening. That may lead her to start analyzing what IS being said.

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