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Support Group for parents of children rejecting a mission

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I'm learning life doesn't turn out the way you envisioned it and reality is difficult to swallow. I thought my parents and other family members would embrace the gospel when I was baptized at the age of 20, instead I was called "Pushy" just for bringing it up once, and told never to bring it up again. But of course they were willing to watch anti Mormon material from my Brother-in-law after one invite.  The knowledge that the entire family watched the anti Mormon movies was a nice welcome home from my mission. My  mom told me I could have my own family in the church when I got older. Good thing since my nieces thought I was a monster after coming home from my mission from what they were shown about the church.

2. Now I'm older and have a selfish son, that borders on narcissism.  Despite attempts to instill service through scouts, other church activates, and community service nothing has stuck. I remember one Christmas season ringing bells for the Salvation Army and he refused to continue to do it, went into the store, and it wasn't that cold. So I guess the inspiration I felt at the baby blessing that he would serve a full time mission will not be fulfilled. I have not stopped loving my son. I have not even mentioned that I am upset that he has decided not to go on a full time mission. I guess that's why I created this site so I could cry online. My son has said; look at bother X in the Bishopric, he didn't serve a missions and he is doing fine and a better leader then some that did serve missions. I know its just a  justification for not wanting to serve a mission but I fear for him because the mission gave me a giant reservoir of spiritual experiences and I fear he will not have those with his current path. Foolish me for dreaming for others what their dreams would be. 

When I was on my mission I always had good companions that were hard working. That was a change from the missionaries that I knew right before I left for my mission. That was my fear before leaving, a reluctant missionary. On the bright side, my son will not be one of those. I am not driven by any status in the Ward, I have none. I have no friends in the Ward and do not have concerns what others think of me or my son. My concern is deeply rooted in his lack of spiritual experience, or better said complete lack of desire to have them. I always thought that he has not been involved with drugs or gone off the edge, so the opportunity for a mission is there and then he will have the experiences that will hold him in the church. I did have a borderline testimony companion on my missionary, but our experiences seemed to increase his enthusiasm for being a missionary.  Now all those hopes for my own son are gone and its time to move forward. Sad Das signing out.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Regor said:

I'm learning life doesn't turn out the way you envisioned it and reality is difficult to swallow. I thought my parents and other family members would embrace the gospel when I was baptized at the age of 20, instead I was called "Pushy" just for bringing it up once, and told never to bring it up again. But of course they were willing to watch anti Mormon material from my Brother-in-law after one invite.  The knowledge that the entire family watched the anti Mormon movies was a nice welcome home from my mission. My  mom told me I could have my own family in the church when I got older. Good thing since my nieces thought I was a monster after coming home from my mission from what they were shown about the church.

2. Now I'm older and have a selfish son, that borders on narcissism.  Despite attempts to instill service through scouts, other church activates, and community service nothing has stuck. I remember one Christmas season ringing bells for the Salvation Army and he refused to continue to do it, went into the store, and it wasn't that cold. So I guess the inspiration I felt at the baby blessing that he would serve a full time mission will not be fulfilled. I have not stopped loving my son. I have not even mentioned that I am upset that he has decided not to go on a full time mission. I guess that's why I created this site so I could cry online. My son has said; look at bother X in the Bishopric, he didn't serve a missions and he is doing fine and a better leader then some that did serve missions. I know its just a  justification for not wanting to serve a mission but I fear for him because the mission gave me a giant reservoir of spiritual experiences and I fear he will not have those with his current path. Foolish me for dreaming for others what their dreams would be. 

When I was on my mission I always had good companions that were hard working. That was a change from the missionaries that I knew right before I left for my mission. That was my fear before leaving, a reluctant missionary. On the bright side, my son will not be one of those. I am not driven by any status in the Ward, I have none. I have no friends in the Ward and do not have concerns what others think of me or my son. My concern is deeply rooted in his lack of spiritual experience, or better said complete lack of desire to have them. I always thought that he has not been involved with drugs or gone off the edge, so the opportunity for a mission is there and then he will have the experiences that will hold him in the church. I did have a borderline testimony companion on my missionary, but our experiences seemed to increase his enthusiasm for being a missionary.  Now all those hopes for my own son are gone and its time to move forward. Sad Das signing out.

 

 

 

 

Children, at some point, need to choose for themselves to follow what the gospel is teaching them or not.  When my oldest son turned 18 he decided that he wasn't "Mormon" anymore.  While this is not the choice that I would make for him I can take comfort that he is 1) a good person who has good values and 2) he is free to come back at any time.

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Oh, I am so very sorry.   I was every bit such a disappointment to my parents, who mourned much more loudly and guilt intending that you have.   But whether children learn through other's experience, or must go through them alone,  they do tend to turn out to be productive and honest people in their lives.   I sometimes think that learning to accept agency is one of the important lessons that God intends us all to have as parents.   After all, They must also do it, regularly.

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Is this thread about penguin parenting? I am confused.

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None of my children are active in church, and none served missions, so I understand your disappointment. And I disappointed my non-member father greatly because I wanted to serve a mission instead of going to University.

Oh, well. Can't have everything, I guess.

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You got good kids..going to school..other plans???  What in the heck do you need support for?  Certainly not the end of the world.  Be proud of your kids...gees..mission or not!

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5 hours ago, Stargazer said:

None of my children are active in church, and none served missions, so I understand your disappointment. And I disappointed my non-member father greatly because I wanted to serve a mission instead of going to University.

Oh, well. Can't have everything, I guess.

That was my story. My mom and dad thought a mission was a waste of time. I remember the day I told them I was going. You would think I met Jim Jones and had the cups ready and willing to drink the poison. It ended up being the best experience up to that time in my life, age 21. That's why I fear for kids that don't go on missions, they miss out on a highly concentrated opportunity of spiritual experiences. I may not be active today without serving a mission.

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

, “Well, I guess according to your idea of an exemplary family, it seems God Almighty hasn’t been such a hell of a success either!” 

Love that man!  <3

 

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Well, I broke my parents' hearts... came home from Frosh year at BYU (1959), took what I intended to be a summer job before returning to BYU... at summer job met and lost my head over my non-LDS soon to be husband.  Eloped to Las Vegas... yikes!   Eventually becoming inactive, which would last over 30 years... 

My deepest regret is that my mom didn't live to see me reactivate at age 58... or go to the temple to receive my endowment... 

GG

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 3:45 PM, Garden Girl said:

.... My deepest regret is that my mom didn't live to see me reactivate at age 58... or go to the temple to receive my endowment... 

GG

Let me say up front that I realize fully that this isn't the same thing as having her there bodily, but if I were a betting man, I would bet that she was watching from elsewhere, Garden Girl. :) 

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Regor:

Forgive my bluntness, especially since this is the fellowship folder, but your words say one thing ("I don't care what people think of me or of my family") while your attitude says another ("My son is selfish, I don't know how he could possibly think of not going on a mission" et cetera).  My nephew has not served.  I don't know what's holding him back.  My brother (his dad) has been both a bishop and a stake president, and asked to be released from the latter calling at least in part because he was concerned how it would appear to the young men of his stake for him to encourage them to serve missions when his own son had not done so.  I don't love my nephew any less because he hasn't served, nor does anyone else in the family (his dad, his grandparents, et cetera).  I have a cousin who did not serve, yet has held several responsible positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was married in the Temple, and has a beautiful wife and family.  I don't think any less of him.  Truth be told, I'm a wee bit envious! ;) 

Yes, as-yet-withheld blessings notwithstanding, my mission has defined me in some very important ways (and that is so even though I would be prevented from serving a conventional proselyting mission under today's "Raised Bar" Standards).  At my farewell, my brother said that he knew I would consider my mission a privilege and not a sacrifice, and he was (and is) right about that.  But the fact is, it has only been such a defining experience because I chose to serve it.  Your son's choice is just that ... his choice.  What the heck do I know?!  I'm not a parent, and never will be, but in my (perhaps ill-informed) opinion, you risk doing irreparable harm to your relationship if you allow his choice to not serve a mission to drive a wedge between you.  Isn't it possible that your son's hesitance about serving (or even his obstinacy in refusing to serve) is being driven by the apparent fact that, seemingly, you're making your acceptance of him contingent on what he does (i.e., whether he serves a mission) rather than on who he is (whether he serves or not, he will always be your son)?  In my opinion, your son needs to be reassured of two things: (1) you'll love him no matter what; and (2) whether he serves a mission is entirely up to him.

My two cents.  Actual value, as always, much less.  Your mileage may vary.  I wish (both of) you well. :) 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Regor:

Forgive my bluntness, especially since this is the fellowship folder, but your words say one thing ("I don't care what people think of me or of my family") while your attitude says another ("My son is selfish, I don't know how he could possibly think of not going on a mission" et cetera).  My nephew has not served.  I don't know what's holding him back.  My brother (his dad) has been both a bishop and a stake president, and asked to be released from the latter calling at least in part because he was concerned how it would appear to the young men of his stake for him to encourage them to serve missions when his own son had not done so.  I don't love my nephew any less because he hasn't served, nor does anyone else in the family (his dad, his grandparents, et cetera).  I have a cousin who did not serve, yet has held several responsible positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was married in the Temple, and has a beautiful wife and family.  I don't think any less of him.  Truth be told, I'm a wee bit envious! ;) 

Yes, as-yet-withheld blessings notwithstanding, my mission has defined me in some very important ways (and that is so even though I would be prevented from serving a conventional proselyting mission under today's "Raised Bar" Standards).  At my farewell, my brother said that he knew I would consider my mission a privilege and not a sacrifice, and he was (and is) right about that.  But the fact is, it has only been such a defining experience because I chose to serve it.  Your son's choice is just that ... his choice.  What the heck do I know?!  I'm not a parent, and never will be, but in my (perhaps ill-informed) opinion, you risk doing irreparable harm to your relationship if you allow his choice to not serve a mission to drive a wedge between you.  Isn't it possible that your son's hesitance about serving (or even his obstinacy in refusing to serve) is being driven by the apparent fact that, seemingly, you're making your acceptance of him contingent on what he does (i.e., whether he serves a mission) rather than on who he is (whether he serves or not, he will always be your son)?  In my opinion, your son needs to be reassured of two things: (1) you'll love him no matter what; and (2) whether he serves a mission is entirely up to him.

My two cents.  Actual value, as always, much less.  Your mileage may vary.  I wish (both of) you well. :) 

🤗:clapping:

Ken, I want to give you a hug and a clap. I hope Regor pays attention to what you've said here!

Edited by Tacenda

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Well said, Ken.

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14 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Regor:

Forgive my bluntness, especially since this is the fellowship folder, but your words say one thing ("I don't care what people think of me or of my family") while your attitude says another ("My son is selfish, I don't know how he could possibly think of not going on a mission" et cetera).  My nephew has not served.  I don't know what's holding him back.  My brother (his dad) has been both a bishop and a stake president, and asked to be released from the latter calling at least in part because he was concerned how it would appear to the young men of his stake for him to encourage them to serve missions when his own son had not done so.  I don't love my nephew any less because he hasn't served, nor does anyone else in the family (his dad, his grandparents, et cetera).  I have a cousin who did not serve, yet has held several responsible positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was married in the Temple, and has a beautiful wife and family.  I don't think any less of him.  Truth be told, I'm a wee bit envious! ;) 

Yes, as-yet-withheld blessings notwithstanding, my mission has defined me in some very important ways (and that is so even though I would be prevented from serving a conventional proselyting mission under today's "Raised Bar" Standards).  At my farewell, my brother said that he knew I would consider my mission a privilege and not a sacrifice, and he was (and is) right about that.  But the fact is, it has only been such a defining experience because I chose to serve it.  Your son's choice is just that ... his choice.  What the heck do I know?!  I'm not a parent, and never will be, but in my (perhaps ill-informed) opinion, you risk doing irreparable harm to your relationship if you allow his choice to not serve a mission to drive a wedge between you.  Isn't it possible that your son's hesitance about serving (or even his obstinacy in refusing to serve) is being driven by the apparent fact that, seemingly, you're making your acceptance of him contingent on what he does (i.e., whether he serves a mission) rather than on who he is (whether he serves or not, he will always be your son)?  In my opinion, your son needs to be reassured of two things: (1) you'll love him no matter what; and (2) whether he serves a mission is entirely up to him. 

My two cents.  Actual value, as always, much less.  Your mileage may vary.  I wish (both of) you well. :) 

My sons choice is in no way connected with my feelings towards him serving or no serving a mission. I have not spoken to him about it. My wife and I thought him about the importance of a mission and the time has come to serve and he is not. Period. I have not spoken to him about not going. He has replaced going with other things, profession, music pursuits,  education, video game playing. I learned early that my sons character does not respond well to being forced. If he is asked to do anything he goes into a full out rage. I have a hole in our dry wall to prove it.

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On 5/30/2018 at 9:18 AM, Regor said:

I'm learning life doesn't turn out the way you envisioned it and reality is difficult to swallow.

Others on this thread have given you good advice. I will tell you that you are not alone in feeling the need for a support group dealing with a young adult child who chose not to do things the "mormon way." It is a large group and there are steps in this process that are very similar to the steps dealing with grief. Give yourself time to process  the fact your child is going to do things a different way and stuggle with things you don't understand. It is hard to accept the choices of our children sometimes and it is very difficult. A lot of parents blame themselves and some people think it really is your fault but don't go down these paths. The past is done, the present is reality and the future is yours to decide. Your child will decide his own future and you can only pray for the spirit guide you to know how to help them. Love them for the good they do and cheerlead every positive action. Don't quit being a parent but don't let your disapoint in the choices they are making destroy your relationship. 

I have been there, my friends have been there, many in my ward have been there and we should all have a lot of empathy for those parents who struggle through this process. This 'sad' moment does get better with time. Heavenly Father gave me a 'huge' signal to let all the emotional self blame and disapoint go so that I could be a more effective mom. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. He kind of told me that 'He's got this and to just love her." I will never forget that moment. I needed to let her go...for now. We are very close and have a great relationship and I am free to love her as she is. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Regor said:

My sons choice is in no way connected with my feelings towards him serving or no serving a mission.

Well-and-good, as long as he knows that.

Quote

 I have not spoken to him about it. My wife and I thought him about the importance of a mission and the time has come to serve and he is not. Period.

He, not you and not your wife, decides when-and-if the time is right for him to serve.  Now, it's certainly within your prerogative to say, "Son, as much as we love you, you don't get to freeload here: Yes, it's up to you to decide if and when you will serve, but if you do not, as long as you are under our roof, you will: (a) get a job, and/or (b) pay rent, and/or (c) enroll in school, and/or (d) insert other condition(s) here."

Quote

I have not spoken to him about not going. He has replaced going with other things, profession, music pursuits, education, video game playing.

The thing is, you may not have to speak to communicate disapproval.  Often times, young people (even very young people, people who are much younger than your son) are far more perceptive than we give them credit for being.  Perhaps the possibility still exists, however remote, that he has concluded that your acceptance of him is tied to what he does or does not do

Quote

I learned early that my sons character does not respond well to being forced. If he is asked to do anything he goes into a full out rage. I have a hole in our dry wall to prove it.

Follow the policy instituted by not a few retailers, then: "Son, you break it, you buy it."*  And if he has anger-control or other, similar issues, there may well be an issue whether he would even qualify to serve a conventional, full-time, proselyting mission.  Perhaps your desire for him to serve a mission is putting the cart before the horse: A mission isn't a panacea that will solve all of a young person's problems; often, the unfamiliar, difficult setting and the need to get along with relative strangers magnifies them.  It's impossible for me to say, of course, but it seems to me, based simply on what little you've said here, that whether or not he serves a mission is (or should be) pretty far down his list of "issues."  Until things higher up on the list are addressed, it seems to me that the chances that he'll serve a successful mission are pretty slim: Missions aren't meant to "fix" young people; by and large, they're for people who have already been, to a reasonable degree, "fixed."  Perhaps all of you could benefit from some professional intervention.  I'm sure your bishop would be glad to refer you to LDS Family Services.

I wish all of you well. :) 

*That is to say, "You pay to fix it."

Edited by Kenngo1969
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19 hours ago, Regor said:

My sons choice is in no way connected with my feelings towards him serving or no serving a mission. I have not spoken to him about it. My wife and I thought him about the importance of a mission and the time has come to serve and he is not. Period. I have not spoken to him about not going. He has replaced going with other things, profession, music pursuits,  education, video game playing. I learned early that my sons character does not respond well to being forced. If he is asked to do anything he goes into a full out rage. I have a hole in our dry wall to prove it.

That is exactly what happened one night after my son met with the bishop for I don't know how many times. He came home and punched the wall and started to cry because our bishop was putting the pressure on him. Along with his young men's leader. It was mental abuse, especially when the bishop told him it wasn't a choice for him, and that it was his duty to serve a mission. 

My son is still angry about it now, but he didn't use to be. The tipping edge was the 2015 November policy of excluding the married gays and their children not being able to be baptized. I'll never forget his testimony and his love of the Saviour one time during F&T mtg before all this hit the fan.

Also I remember stumbling across a primary lesson he had prepared, it was written all out and he put a lot of work into it. He would have made a wonderful missionary. He had that calling right before this all played out.

Have you asked your son if he's been pressured by his ym's leader or bishop? 

 

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Is it a commandment for worthy, able young men to serve missions?  If one believes the words of modern prophets, yes, it is.  Does one have the moral agency to make a decision contrary to that commandment?  Yes, he does.  Commandment or no, the decision to consecrate those two years, eighteen months, or whatever length of time one happens to serve belongs to the individual.  In at least some cases, the consequences of doing the "right thing" for the "wrong reason(s)" can be worse than the consequences of doing the wrong thing entirely.

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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 10:12 AM, Tacenda said:

That is exactly what happened one night after my son met with the bishop for I don't know how many times. He came home and punched the wall and started to cry because our bishop was putting the pressure on him. Along with his young men's leader. It was mental abuse, especially when the bishop told him it wasn't a choice for him, and that it was his duty to serve a mission. 

My son is still angry about it now, but he didn't use to be. The tipping edge was the 2015 November policy of excluding the married gays and their children not being able to be baptized. I'll never forget his testimony and his love of the Saviour one time during F&T mtg before all this hit the fan.

Also I remember stumbling across a primary lesson he had prepared, it was written all out and he put a lot of work into it. He would have made a wonderful missionary. He had that calling right before this all played out.

Have you asked your son if he's been pressured by his ym's leader or bishop? 

 

My son had no pressure of going on a mission from parents or any ward members, other than what he may have placed on himself. Which would have been no more than a milli second of pressure. I guess we take comfort in not sending a boy off to a mission he doesn't want to be on and why would we want him to go on a mission if he isn't feeling it?  He has our families Rodney Dangerfield legacy, no one took special interest in him from church. He just went forward with his other life interests, just like he was non-Mormon, no regrets. I personally believe its a duty to go on a mission but believe we have to choose for it to be our duty. I did, he didn't. His patriarchal blessing said he would serve a full time mission, since he didn't does that mean all the other blessings contained there in are void? Or,  maybe a full time mission may be with his wife in the future, or maybe he unlike me will be made a high priest and be sealed to go on a full time mission among the nations during the post World War 3, plague, and famine survivors days. Transfigured to go among the heathen nations after the days of the gentiles. He may just be tough enough to not need any transfiguring, I pity the germ that tries to take him on. There should also be full time missions during the millennium too, right?

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On ‎6‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 6:40 PM, bsjkki said:

Others on this thread have given you good advice. I will tell you that you are not alone in feeling the need for a support group dealing with a young adult child who chose not to do things the "mormon way." It is a large group and there are steps in this process that are very similar to the steps dealing with grief. Give yourself time to process  the fact your child is going to do things a different way and stuggle with things you don't understand. It is hard to accept the choices of our children sometimes and it is very difficult. A lot of parents blame themselves and some people think it really is your fault but don't go down these paths. The past is done, the present is reality and the future is yours to decide. Your child will decide his own future and you can only pray for the spirit guide you to know how to help them. Love them for the good they do and cheerlead every positive action. Don't quit being a parent but don't let your disapoint in the choices they are making destroy your relationship. 

I have been there, my friends have been there, many in my ward have been there and we should all have a lot of empathy for those parents who struggle through this process. This 'sad' moment does get better with time. Heavenly Father gave me a 'huge' signal to let all the emotional self blame and disapoint go so that I could be a more effective mom. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. He kind of told me that 'He's got this and to just love her." I will never forget that moment. I needed to let her go...for now. We are very close and have a great relationship and I am free to love her as she is. 

Thanks for the kind words, I think with time all will be well.

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Next son due to go on a mission is probably not going to go as well. Then I will be zero for two. See Heavenly father did do better, he had 2/3 of his children follow the plan. I have 0%. Feeling depressed tonight and an unsuccessful father. While I spent all that time with them in scouts and other parents sat on the sideline, their children go off on missions and mine stay home.

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