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HappyJackWagon

What To Do When Loved Ones Leave the Church

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14 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Jesus Christ is my Shepherd (Psalm 23: 1) so why should I be insulted by being called one of His sheeple? 
Can't we turn the word into a compliment instead of an insult? 

Not if we understand that the intent is to minimize . Words are meaningless really.  But if someone wants to put me down I take insult where it’s intended.  I don’t lose sleep over it but I’m not inviting the insulting to my birthday party ;)

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3 hours ago, changed said:

someone has to do something "the church" doesn't believe in or agree with

not "they" but "the church".  If there is no difference between the person and the church, then that feels very much like "sheeple" going on ;) 

What if the person is in agreement with the church on things?  That would seem to mean that in your eyes, either the person has to pretend to disagree with the church, or they are a sheeple.  Am I understanding that right?  

Quote

 

As for those I personally know who have left - I know quite a few who are atheist, some who are Buddhist, others who are Unitarians, others who are meeting with a stoicism group, one who is now Catholic, another Baptist - it is a very diverse group.  The one thing that binds us all is our Mormon past, and doing something like drinking a "beverage" together (some still keep the word of wisdom and prefer chocolate etc.  - I still do not drink alcohol due to family history with that one).  is just a social event that any group would do.  Those who are invited, and come, also have the common bond of not believing all the truth-claims of the church as well though.  The diversity of the group makes for interesting conversations.  

I guess one more thing - everyone is very careful to use "I" statements rather than "you" statements.  No missionaries, and no Pharisees - atheists are not trying to make others into atheists etc. etc.  I think everyone would be open to believing church members attending if - and that is a big if - information was kept confidential, and the intentions were not to criticize but instead to understand. 

I think quite a few who have left would love if someone was brave enough to ask them "Why did you leave" - and have that conversation :)  

 

:good: 

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I suspect there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around :) 

 

No doubt.  We're all hypocrites sometimes.  I only really take issue with it when someone is trying to highlight the hypocrisy of others while pretending they have none.

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3 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I like your comments about redirecting anger. IMO it would seem preferable for people to direct their anger at the church rather than God.

I sometimes attend a Methodist church and I have some Mormon friends who are appalled by that. I have been told that it would be better for me to not go to church anywhere than to go to a different church. When I've suggested that to me it is more important to maintain a testimony and relationship with Jesus than with a church, they act like I've said the most ridiculous thing in the world. "If I don't go to the Mormon church, I wouldn't go anywhere" is something I've heard more than once. And for many that is true, but I think it's too bad. Again, I think it better to maintain a relationship with God, even if the relationship with a church suffers.

 

Yes - so many become atheist after leaving as their beliefs really were in a church rather than a belief in God.  Separating those out can be a hard thing to do.  My newly forming faith comes from a belief that the essence is not within an organization, but within our own conscience - the light of Christ which is given to all.  To me the test is about following one's own conscience, which makes it just, merciful, and equal to all.  Does not matter where you were born, or where you grew up - everyone is given the same inner light, the same guidance, the same love from above.  I have enjoyed visiting others groups as well - have some Jewish friends, some Muslim friends, some Hindu friends, other Christian friends (some who would love to convert me haha) and have even had everyone over at the house at the same time :)  I love the lessons from all of them, but do not feel the need to belong to any single group.  SBNA - spiritual but not affiliated - is what quite a few people choose too, which I guess is close to UU's.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Calm said:

Do you believe using "sheeple" seriously or semiseriously is nonjudgmental and tolerant?

 

Is there a better word?  Sorry for using that - If it is Kim Jong Un, or papal infallibility - anytime any person demands or even claims others need to 100% follow them  ... and those who have decided to do that .... well, it just rubs me the wrong way.  I have a lot more respect for those who admit their imperfections, are not controlling of others in any way... Spiritual self-reliance, personal testimonies - personal freedom - these things are very precious to me now.  

I do appreciate the NT - and the apostles within it who were transparent and apologetic in their mistakes, without requiring anyone to follow them.  It really is about following Christ, not the prophet, no local leaders - but Christ.  Most people have good intentions and are not trying to lead anyone astray - even so, personal testimony rather than relying on following the leader I think is the healthy way to approach spirituality.  

Edited by changed

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bluebell said:

What if the person is in agreement with the church on things?  That would seem to mean that in your eyes, either the person has to pretend to disagree with the church, or they are a sheeple.  Am I understanding that right?  

:good: 

 

For your political party - do you 100% agree with your elected official?  For some other person - your parents, or teachers - do you 100% agree with them?  Don't you think it would be at least a little weird if you ran into someone who said ... "I 100% agree with everything my ____(fill in the blank, mayor, principle, teacher, dad, friend)____ believes?  😅

 

I had this conversation with our Stake pres - he told me - if the prophet asked him to do something really really hard, he would do it.... and I grimaced a little and said - I would hope that you would fast and pray, and receive your own guidance - and follow the spirit, rather than follow any imperfect person on anything... it was almost as if he were telling me that he wanted that test of "faith" but I do not see that as a test of faith in God - test of faith in some person yes, but that is a completely different thing than a test in faith in God... a child must trust their parents and follow their parents in everything, but that does not mean they have faith in God... 

Edited by changed

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6 minutes ago, changed said:

If it is Kim Jong Un, or papal infallibility

Just pointing out that comparing the Pope to Kim Jong Un is quite offensive. If that's how you see it, then you are patently anti-Catholic.

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Just now, changed said:

 

Is there a better word?  Sorry for using that - If it is Kim Jong Un, or papal infallibility - anytime any person demands or even claims others follow them 100% ... and those who have decided to do that .... well, it just rubs me the wrong way.

It is the apparent assumption that agreement in visible ways equates blind obedience.  I highly doubt one can know the motivation of someone's choice of belief and commitment without a thorough discussion and up close observance of behaviour to see if it is in line with how the person describes their conduct.

In much the same way many jump to assume someone has left the Church because of sin if they see any inconsistency of behaviour with church standards and are likely wrong because motivation is usually complicated, messy even, I see use of "sheeple" being carelessly applied given someone who doesn't pick and choose beliefs in some fashion and instead is extremely rigid in accepting everything leaders say is a quite rare beast.  I don't think I have ever meant one in fact and I am not even sure it is possible because of some contradiction and much limited resources (one has to choose to put off some commandments when intent on following others, many leaders recognize the need by speaking of seasons...).

So it seems to me if something like this is rubbing you the wrong way, it very well could be your own misinterpretation of how the person thinks and not their actual behaviour.  If so, then using the term "sheeple" is at a high risk of being a false accusation and at the very least leads to confusion,not understanding of others.

 

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4 minutes ago, changed said:

 

For your political party - do you 100% agree with your elected official?  For some other person - your parents, or teachers - do you 100% agree with them?  Don't you think it would be at least a little weird if you ran into someone who said ... "I 100% agree with everything my ____(fill in the blank, mayor, principle, teacher, dad, friend)____ believes?  😅

Since no one is like that, there are no "sheeple" and therefore no need to use the term.

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4 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Just pointing out that comparing the Pope to Kim Jong Un is quite offensive. If that's how you see it, then you are patently anti-Catholic.

It also appears to misunderstand what papal infallibility is, which I believe is quite limited in its application.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Just pointing out that comparing the Pope to Kim Jong Un is quite offensive. If that's how you see it, then you are patently anti-Catholic.

 

If there is a scenario in which an imperfect person asks others to follow them without question that is not offensive... let me know, and I will use that instead.  

 

take the primary song - "follow the prophet, follow the prophet - fill it in with some other name - follow the Mayer, follow the Mayer... ??  The only thing that works for me is "Follow the savior... " - that is the only name that would fit in that song...

 

Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away.... and then the kids sing "Follow the prophet...".... haha - do they think that through?  follow Jonah?  

Edited by changed

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and the apostles within it who were transparent and apologetic in their mistakes, without requiring anyone to follow them.

They were transparent and apologetic to Christ.  In a couple of cases they were apologetic to other believers in their writings to them.

Not sure there is a great case to claim they were this way consistently in a public manner.

And there were significant consequences for not following them, the same that exist now.  And in one case much worse than now for the couple struck dead over holding back money.

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

It also appears to misunderstand what papal infallibility is, which I believe is quite limited in its application.

 

It is a joke - the pope claims infallibility, and no Catholic believes it.  The Mormon Prophet does not claim to be infallible, but no Mormon believes it.  

It feels like Mormon treat the prophet as someone who is perfect, when no person is perfect.  

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, changed said:

an imperfect person asks others to follow them without question that is not offensive... let me know, and I will use that instead.  

But the person asking isn't the sheeple, it would be people who actually followed them without question that would be the sheeple...and you just pointed out no one follows or agrees with another 100%.  And given in the Church following would require doing everything at least the 15 spoke about righteous people doing and given how we view stewardship, it is more likely an actual sheeple would see a need to do everything all leaders down to bishop taught...that is just physically impossible if looked at closely.

Edited by Calm
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Posted (edited)

ok - this seems to be diverging from the intent of the original thread, which was "how to treat those who have left the church" so I started a new thread.  Have to run - read ya later!  

Edited by changed

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Posted (edited)

It is the mirror image..."how to treat people who stay in the Church".

Rule 1) Don't call them sheeple, it is offensive and unrealistic.

Parallel rule for treating those who leave:

1)  Don't call them antimormon, it is offensive and unrealistic.

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, changed said:

It is a joke - the pope claims infallibility, and no Catholic believes it.

You show your ignorance on the doctrine of Papal infallibility.

And you also show your hypocrisy. You want believing LDS to disregard core beliefs (stop wearing garments, drink coffee) so that former LDS will trust them, yet you disparage LDS beliefs (and Catholic beliefs). How about a former LDS disregard their beliefs, and put on their garments, or go to church, or read the Book of Mormon, so that they can meet the LDS believer?

Why is it a one way road for you?

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Calm said:

So you have someone you want to discuss things with, but she doesn't want to discuss it with you and someone who wants to discuss it with you, but you aren't interested.

I get why you want family to understand that your choice isn't just a whim, but how would you feel if your minister kept pushing for you to discuss it with him?  

Maybe it would be helpful to put yourself in your sister's spot, perhaps she wants to avoid situations where she feels she will more likely judge you or she doesn't want you to feel her sadness because of your disbelief (her being sad because she sincerely believes you would be happier if you believed).  She may not be protecting herself, but trying to protect you.  And if she is trying to protect herself, is there real harm in that?  Would you not want her to respect your choices of protecting yourself?  As long as she is there for you in other ways, it might be best for both of you if you learn not to care as much about sharing personal beliefs and instead share what makes that relationship important to you, the love and caring for each other.

With my sister, I just want to spend time with her. She's running a venue right by the Ogden Temple, and they are super busy with weddings, receptions, and much more. But I wish I could have just a little time with her. One time she said we'd get together for dinner in a month, but she couldn't for the next 3 months. So sometimes it feels like she's avoiding me. But you do make some good points, it might be too painful for her to see that all of her siblings are inactive and some even nonbelieving. 

About my ministering couple, I absolutely love the both of them. They've lived all over the US and I think that's why they so easily talk to us. They've met people from all walks of life. The reason I don't want to discuss with them, is that I like the spiritual stuff he brings up instead, and not getting into all the stuff we may disagree on. Or even things he of all people may not know about nor his wife. And again, that's why I value the board so much! ETA: Last visit we had with them, we did discuss many controversial things, and it felt uncomfortable because my husband would bring things up. I like to keep the peace, but he isn't afraid to say anything. But my ministering guy, asked me point blank to think of anything I need answers to and he'd help. But I'm afraid I know too much already, that even CES teachers don't, by being on this board and other boards 24/7. 

Edited by Tacenda

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Posted (edited)

People leave their churches all the time. They also leave their mosques etc. People often go through transitions because of new experiences. Mormons seem to make a big deal of it. But then, maybe catholics do too. I haven't seen it there. My relatives are catholic. I don't see any of them making a serious matter of it that they no longer go to mass. But mormons need to go to help groups, find support on the internet, speak of a crisis etc.

If one no longer believes in something that they used to believe in they should think that this is logical and normal. We change. We progress. And sometimes we regress. Maybe mormon testimonies are a problem. If one as a surety of belief based on personal testimonies and experiences, and then reads something 'shocking' about church history etc, that testimony takes a broadside and it begins to sink. I have come to never trust mormon testimonies because the next week that person may lose it.

How to treat people who have left the church? As if they have never left it. It shouldn't matter. One goes to church and the other doesn't. For two hours one goes to church and prepares for callings if they have one. And the other doesn't. They are occupied with other things. But there is still time to share a pizza.

Edited by why me
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17 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

This is definitely one of the better articles I've read on this issue, particularly because it validates the feelings and pain of both the individual who decides to leave and also the loved one who is still in the church. This strikes me as a very respectful approach for family and friends to take with those who have left, and also for those who have left in recognizing the impact their decisions have on others.

A lot depends on the way someone leaves, and on why they leave.  Most families tend to be very loving and considerate toward a child who leaves, even if the leaving is accompanied by anger and vilification by the child.  Indeed, that hard break may be followed years later by a pleasant reunion, when tempers have cooled and the child now has a family of his own and realizes how his parents actually feel (because he is now in those very shoes).  On the other hand, if the break was a matter of drug use or other forms of criminality, it may be that the parents don't want to be enablers.  The scenarios are endless and very complex.  One has to imagine how badly that St George family now feels about their son and brother who just went to Southern California and killed a couple of men at random (one an off-duty deputy sheriff).  He'll never get out of prison, of course, and family members will visit him from time to time because they love him.

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9 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

You show your ignorance on the doctrine of Papal infallibility.

And you also show your hypocrisy. You want believing LDS to disregard core beliefs (stop wearing garments, drink coffee) so that former LDS will trust them, yet you disparage LDS beliefs (and Catholic beliefs). How about a former LDS disregard their beliefs, and put on their garments, or go to church, or read the Book of Mormon, so that they can meet the LDS believer?

Why is it a one way road for you?

 

It was not a joke that I made up (half of my family is Catholic).  Most people believe there is a personal part to belief and Individual testimony.  It just very much confuses me how anyone would put all their eggs into one imperfect basket, and rely 100% on the arm of flesh.  It seems very unhealthy to me to allow another person to do all the thinking, to not allow oneself to disagree.  All Mormons do not do this, but a few do.  

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15 hours ago, pogi said:

It is easier to offer empathy for one of your kids, siblings, friends, etc.  If the person leaving is your spouse, on the other hand, that is a different story.  This is what has happened with my in-laws.  My brother-in-law was born into the church, served a mission, married in the temple, had two kids that he blessed and baptized, then decided to leave the church.  He feels disillusioned and is angry, and is suffering a loss. His wife feels disillusioned in him and is angry and is suffering a loss.  They both have lost something and deserve empathy.  He feels cheated, she feels cheated.  She honors the sealing covenant, he doesn't anymore.  This leaves her feeling eternally abandoned by her spouse.  She feels like he is being disloyal to the original vision that they shared for their family, which is partly why she chose to marry him.  All of her expectations, hopes, and dreams of having an eternal companion in him, a priesthood holder in the home to preside and offer blessings etc. feels dashed. She expected her kids to be raised in the church, he doesn't want that now.  You can see how this can be a very difficult situation for both and how empathy may not come easy when you feel cheated.  Despite the initial struggle, they are doing remarkably well now. 

Yes, this is very challenging and I'm familiar with other situations that are quite similar.  The couple has the opportunity to work this out, but it will take strong communication and negotiation skills on both of their parts.  From my experience, they need to be able to align on common values that they still share.  The reality is that all of us change throughout our lives and to have a healthy relationship there is a constant renegotiation happening, however, I think that a loss of faith can be a very quick and acute change that is difficult to cope with.  

The really unfortunate part of this tragic scenario, is that many church members who typically offer help for other kinds of loss (death, physical sickness) have no tools to help couples in this situation.  From what I've seen the typical lifeline of community support that the church provides in other situations is essentially paralyzed when it comes to productively helping couples work though these kinds of problems.  This is a huge problem in our modern church, and having leaders who don't understand and who offer the wrong counseling and advice only makes things worse.  

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, why me said:

People leave their churches all the time. They also leave their mosques etc. People often go through transitions because of new experiences. Mormons seem to make a big deal of it. But then, maybe catholics do too. I haven't seen it there. My relatives are catholic. I don't see any of them making a serious matter of it that they no longer go to mass. But mormons need to go to help groups, find support on the internet, speak of a crisis etc.

If one no longer believes in something that they used to believe in they should think that this is logical and normal. We change. We progress. And sometimes we regress. Maybe mormon testimonies are a problem. If one as a surety of belief based on personal testimonies and experiences, and then reads something 'shocking' about church history etc, that testimony takes a broadside and it begins to sink. I have come to never trust mormon testimonies because the next week that person may lose it.

How to treat people who have left the church? As if they have never left it. It shouldn't matter. One goes to church and the other doesn't. For two hours one goes to church and prepares for callings if they have one. And the other doesn't. They are occupied with other things. But there is still time to share a pizza.

Beautiful, Why Me! The bold is perfect in how to treat them! And the question on why people need support groups or ? is because losing the testimony after finding things that they feel lied to by the church is quite a shock to the system.

The church sets itself up on the highest level, where God is running things.Okay, so if that is so, then even God is questionable to the non believer, because the LDS God is so ingrained and tied in with Mormonism's beliefs. And is a different God basically, then the rest of the Christian world. So any church they try to go to afterwards will feel so different to them.

And the thought that an apostate is going to probably go to the lowest kingdom, not that people are afraid of that because they no longer believe, it's their families and friends that they are afraid they will lose because a lot of families love them but really don't have much in common any longer and some will even shun (I've read it and feel it). That is why non believing members will need a support group and love and understanding, and answers they seem to never get!

Good to see you posting Why Me!

Edited by Tacenda

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, changed said:

It just very much confuses me how anyone would put all their eggs into one imperfect basket, and rely 100% on the arm of flesh.  It seems very unhealthy to me to allow another person to do all the thinking, to not allow oneself to disagree.  All Mormons do not do this, but a few do.  

Our explanations of what other people believe (whether it's some version of 'they are relying on the arm of flesh' or 'their anger is blinding them and leading them astray', etc.) is rarely how those people actually view their beliefs.  We are usually confused by the beliefs of others because we are looking at them from our very fallible perspective without acknowledging that fallibility.

Edited by bluebell
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12 hours ago, changed said:

 

If there is a scenario in which an imperfect person asks others to follow them without question that is not offensive... let me know, and I will use that instead.  

 

take the primary song - "follow the prophet, follow the prophet - fill it in with some other name - follow the Mayer, follow the Mayer... ??  The only thing that works for me is "Follow the savior... " - that is the only name that would fit in that song...

 

Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away.... and then the kids sing "Follow the prophet...".... haha - do they think that through?  follow Jonah?  

Isn't making fun of the church for putting up an example of a fallible prophet for the children to learn from contradictory to your earlier point that the church doesn't acknowledge the imperfections of prophets?  When you put up the rest of the lyrics for that verse, it shows that absolutely yes, 'they' did think that one through.  

Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away,
But he later learned to listen and obey.
When we really try, the Lord won’t let us fail:
That’s what Jonah learned deep down inside the whale.
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