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JAHS

Letting our kids be friends with Non-church member neighbors.

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This article at KSL talks about that ever present issue about who we let our kids play and be friends with.
Non-members moving into a predominately Latter-day Saint neighborhood find their kids being ignored or even shunned by their neighbors.
The writer of the article gives the non-Latter-day Saint church member some reasons and suggestions for resolving the issue.
1. Fear is likely the problem - They may fear their children will be led away from their religion by friends who have different beliefs
2. Differences scare people  -  It is basic human nature to feel more comfortable with people who are just like you. We all choose friends with whom we have things in common
3. They may fear some specific things in your home - Alcohol, tobbacco, coffee
4. Address the kids' parents directly
5. Talk to some of your other Latter-day Saint neighbors - Let other members of the church who live in your neighborhood know what is happening and see if they might be willing to ask others to make sure your children are included.

Is this a real problem with many members or just a few? Is this mostly a problem in Utah or does it happen with many parents outside Utah also? I think if we keep ourselves aware of what our children are doing and teach them correct principles, and have open communication with them and their non-member friend's parents, there should not be so much fear of letting them be friends with them.  

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I have a friend who is a Christian. He was friends with a LDS neighbor their children hanging out together. Did not take long before the missionaries called. My friend listen but expressed no desire to  join the church. The LDS neighbor suddenly went cold their children no longer associating with my friends children. I have a LDS neighbor who when we talk are not talking about religion. He even offered to look after our dog if we went on a holiday. If we only want friends who have our world view that limits friendships. I have one neighbor who has a little bit of a potty mouth but will without hesitation help me and others if we need help. 

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14 minutes ago, JAHS said:

This article at KSL talks about that ever present issue about who we let our kids play and be friends with.
Non-members moving into a predominately Latter-day Saint neighborhood find their kids being ignored or even shunned by their neighbors.
The writer of the article gives the non-Latter-day Saint church member some reasons and suggestions for resolving the issue.
1. Fear is likely the problem - They may fear their children will be led away from their religion by friends who have different beliefs
2. Differences scare people  -  It is basic human nature to feel more comfortable with people who are just like you. We all choose friends with whom we have things in common
3. They may fear some specific things in your home - Alcohol, tobbacco, coffee
4. Address the kids' parents directly
5. Talk to some of your other Latter-day Saint neighbors - Let other members of the church who live in your neighborhood know what is happening and see if they might be willing to ask others to make sure your children are included.

Is this a real problem with many members or just a few? Is this mostly a problem in Utah or does it happen with many parents outside Utah also? I think if we keep ourselves aware of what our children are doing and teach them correct principles, and have open communication with them and their non-member friend's parents, there should not be so much fear of letting them be friends with them.  

In practice, I doubt the incidents of shunning of neighbor children by LDS are, by percentage, greater than shunning of LDS neighbor children by non-LDS.

That said, my wife was unbaptized till she turned 18, and she, although active and an a seminary participant, was shunned both by the good Christians of Lynchburg and many of the folks inside the Church on this score.  She was considered too risky to be permitted to date the sons of the Stake President and others.  A nasty piece of business to be sure.

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10 minutes ago, JAHS said:

This article at KSL talks about that ever present issue about who we let our kids play and be friends with.
Non-members moving into a predominately Latter-day Saint neighborhood find their kids being ignored or even shunned by their neighbors.
The writer of the article gives the non-Latter-day Saint church member some reasons and suggestions for resolving the issue.
1. Fear is likely the problem - They may fear their children will be led away from their religion by friends who have different beliefs
2. Differences scare people  -  It is basic human nature to feel more comfortable with people who are just like you. We all choose friends with whom we have things in common
3. They may fear some specific things in your home - Alcohol, tobbacco, coffee
4. Address the kids' parents directly
5. Talk to some of your other Latter-day Saint neighbors - Let other members of the church who live in your neighborhood know what is happening and see if they might be willing to ask others to make sure your children are included.

Is this a real problem with many members or just a few? Is this mostly a problem in Utah or does it happen with many parents outside Utah also? I think if we keep ourselves aware of what our children are doing and teach them correct principles, and have open communication with them and their non-member friend's parents, there should not be so much fear of letting them be friends with them.  

I believe it is mostly a Utah thing. We did not pick our kid's friends for them. But, they didn't have a lot of close friends in the Church - somewhat ironically. We are LDS , alcohol, tobacco, caffeinated drink free home, and have been since we moved to Utah. Few LDS families invited our kids over for sleepovers. I believe my kids suffered a bit because of prejudice against me. We went to Church every week, and our boys received callings in their quorums, but friendly overtures were few and far between. This was much different from my own experience when I was a kid. I felt very included by other LDS kids. I don't think my kids felt that so much in Utah. A good number of the kids they played with were not LDS, and we taught our kids they had a chance to be good examples to them. Families in Utah are somewhat insular and governed by cultural upbringing. In other places every new family is very welcomed in my experience.  

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All my friends growing up were either the worst LDS kids or the best nonmember kids. Many of the latter became members and most of the former are inactive. One is now a bishop though so mixed bag. Believe it or not I was a straight arrow back then too. Weird.....

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31 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Is this mostly a problem in Utah or does it happen with many parents outside Utah also?

I think this is mostly a Utah / Idaho thing.

People righteously desire that their children will befriend 'good kids,' who will provide a positive influence on them as they grow up.

Unfortunately, some people use membership in the church as the most important (or only) evidence to consider when determining whether or not someone is a good kid. 

Luckily, I grew up in Texas and learned how to make friends with lots of people who shared many - though certainly not all - of the same values.

A good friend is going to support you and respect your values, even if they don't happen to adhere to them personally. 

 

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56 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I believe it is mostly a Utah thing. We did not pick our kid's friends for them. But, they didn't have a lot of close friends in the Church - somewhat ironically. We are LDS , alcohol, tobacco, caffeinated drink free home, and have been since we moved to Utah. Few LDS families invited our kids over for sleepovers. I believe my kids suffered a bit because of prejudice against me. We went to Church every week, and our boys received callings in their quorums, but friendly overtures were few and far between. This was much different from my own experience when I was a kid. I felt very included by other LDS kids. I don't think my kids felt that so much in Utah. A good number of the kids they played with were not LDS, and we taught our kids they had a chance to be good examples to them. Families in Utah are somewhat insular and governed by cultural upbringing. In other places every new family is very welcomed in my experience.  

I can relate! Comparing to when I was active and now inactive, the difference is striking. I feel like I deserve it, because I wonder how friendly I was while active to those inactive  or nonmembers. It's like when active, I had many friends to choose from. But that disappeared when I became inactive. I hear many times how hard it is to be an LDS member from out of state and moving here. I hope this will improve, and I have heard many LDS conference talks teaching us to not be this way but old habits die hard I guess. About the LDS members moving here from out of state, I wonder when they come from states that have the majority that are not LDS, they have many many friends that aren't and it's all fine. But a shock when moving here and getting that kind of treatment must be a huge culture shock.

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And then they grow up having never known any point of view other than ours and the first day they get on the internet they learn that there are problems with polygamy, BOM archaeology, the BOA and that prophets are not perfect.

Great idea to protect them that way.  (NOT)

I don't know if it's Utah or just church culture but kids need to be exposed to diversity from day 1 before they get their poor little sweet brains filled with xenophobia.

God gave us a beautiful world with all kinds of people and ideas and we should explore them all.

Well when they are little kids they are most likely not going to talk religion much to other little kids, but when they start getting into teen years it could be an issue.  It's just really important to have a good relationship with your kids so you can talk over these things with them  that they might hear from others or see on the internet.  They need good experiences with learning things through the Holy Ghost so they are better equipped to discern what's right and have a strong enough testimony to withstand the onslaught. My kids grew up in California and had friends from different religions and cultures and they were able to get through it without to much damage done.  

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28 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And then they grow up having never known any point of view other than ours and the first day they get on the internet they learn that there are problems with polygamy, BOM archaeology, the BOA and that prophets are not perfect.

Great idea to protect them that way.  (NOT)

I don't know if it's Utah or just church culture but kids need to be exposed to diversity from day 1 before they get their poor little sweet brains filled with xenophobia.

God gave us a beautiful world with all kinds of people and ideas and we should explore them all.

We did not move to Utah to "protect" our kids from the world. I am not saying we are perfect parents, but I discussed other scriptural viewpoints when we did our scripture reading, and we let our kids play with who they wanted - often less active and non-members. Our youngest has had about 12 baptisms on his mission, and our older two are still quite active. I always made it a point to discuss whatever questions they have. Rarely did I answer with "I don't know." I have a view point or opinion on most things. But I never insist that that they believe like me. Sometimes they took their mother's point of view. But all our 3 children remain active, although my oldest had serious questions for awhile. Compared to some very LDS families they grew up around, we seemed to do just fine. I can think of many whose family entirely left the Church, or a number of their kids have. I am not being critical but am just asserting that you are right  that being overly protective is not good in the long run. I left (went inactive) while in college, and I returned. It is not the end of the world if a child goes inactive. It should not be the cause of so much family hubub. 

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As a child, I was not allowed to have non mormon friends.

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39 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

As a child, I was not allowed to have non mormon friends.

I was raised Baptist, but I cannot think of one Baptist friend I had from Church. I had some Catholic friends, friends from my ward and various other local friends. There were just not enough local LDS to be limited to only LDS friends - fortunately. But i really enjoyed my LDS friends. I am sorry you were limited that way. As I have indicated, I don't think that is particularly good parenting. However, even though we have been active LDS our whole time in Utah, I feel our kids have not been as accepted as those who have established Utah roots. I feel they would have had a much different experience back east. It's water under the bridge now though. I guess I've never quite learned how to be Utahn.... 

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Well I know plenty of adults who only socialize with members, as well. 

I once mentioned my observation that we tend to be pretty closed as a whole but a few strongly disagree.  

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3 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

And then they grow up having never known any point of view other than ours and the first day they get on the internet they learn that there are problems with polygamy, BOM archaeology, the BOA and that prophets are not perfect.

Great idea to protect them that way.  (NOT)

I don't know if it's Utah or just church culture but kids need to be exposed to diversity from day 1 before they get their poor little sweet brains filled with xenophobia.

God gave us a beautiful world with all kinds of people and ideas and we should explore them all.

Now I am trying to imagine seven year olds discussing Book of Mormon geography models and the Book of Abraham scrolls.

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2 hours ago, Jeanne said:

As a child, I was not allowed to have non mormon friends.

I have seen this approach but it in my experience it is usually the families more on the fringe of the faith that make these rules. I was born in a “core” family and that was never even suggested. Meanwhile I have seen parents who attend church about half the time trying to get their children to only play with member kids. I have theories as to why but they are not charitable.

Then again I also did not live in Utah. If I was restricted to LDS friends I doubt I would have had many friends that I had much in common with and probably would have been even more introverted.

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5 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Now I am trying to imagine seven year olds discussing Book of Mormon geography models and the Book of Abraham scrolls.

I guess you missed the first part of that sentence 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

Well I know plenty of adults who only socialize with members, as well. 

I once mentioned my observation that we tend to be pretty closed as a whole but a few strongly disagree.  

I think it depends on where you live.  Hard to be closed when living 45 minutes to an hour from the chapel and me and my sister being the only members on our schools ( elementary and junior high).  I barely knew the kids at church even though I saw them on Sundays for Junior Sunday School and Thursdays for Primary.

When we lived with my Grandma for half a year in Provo, the neighbour kids were all members, any activity outside of school was church activity, but I had no clue at school whether the kids were members or not as I attended a different middle school than the rest as there was no room (we started in October, never move your kids in the middle of the school year if you can help it unless they hate they current situation).  I suspect all my closer acquaintances while in .Provo in 6th grade were members, given the rarity of nonmembers at the time in that area.

When we moved to Utah, there was an inactive family across the street and another around the corner.  The kids played a lot while elementary age with neighbourhood kids when it was just running around outside that then moved inside and then back out, etc., but were not included by high school as far as I could tell...but that was their choice.  Of course, if I were them I would have been refusing the invites to church activity which is pretty constant in our neighbourhood.  The family around the corner, the dad hated the church (lawsuit, he had some reason to do so) and he was the one forbidding the kids to be involved.  When getting close friendships requires going to church just because that is where the kids are, it is understandable that those friendships aren't formed...and I know as a lonely kid it can feel like being excluded when it is really just that it doesn't occur to others to include you because you are not noticed or never bother to ask to be included because you think you aren't wanted...becomes a vicious circle.

Edited by Calm
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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I guess you missed the first part of that sentence 

I don’t see how playing with other kids would inoculate you against that stuff unless those kids brought it up.

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1 minute ago, Calm said:

I think it depends on where you live.  Hard to be closed when living 45 minutes to an hour from the chapel and me and my sister being the only members on our schools ( elementary and junior high).  I barely knew the kids at church even though I saw them on Sundays for Junior Sunday School and Thursdays for Primary.

When we lived with my Grandma for half a year in Provo, the neighbour kids were all members, any activity outside of school was church activity, but I had no clue at school whether the kids were members or not as I attended a different middle school than the rest as there was no room (we started in October, never move your kids in the middle of the school year if you can help it unless they hate they current situation).

It is also worth noting there has been a culture shift. When I was young there were a lot more church activities at all levels and previous to my birth there were even more. Many only had church friends because they had no time to cultivate others except at work (meaning men had more friends outside the church). Some added in neighborhood friends but in Utah that was still mostly members. With the consolidated block and decreased activities we can branch out more.

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9 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

It is also worth noting there has been a culture shift. When I was young there were a lot more church activities at all levels and previous to my birth there were even more. Many only had church friends because they had no time to cultivate others except at work (meaning men had more friends outside the church). Some added in neighborhood friends but in Utah that was still mostly members. With the consolidated block and decreased activities we can branch out more.

I know the families around here were asking the inactive families to go to movies or parties, but they were rare enough that if they weren't in classes at school, they really didn't have enough time to become close friends between the church related activities and extracurricular sports and music lessons.  So it likely felt like too much effort to go to neighbourhood family activities where one felt like a fifth wheel anyway since nothing would really change.  The kids you are able to spend time with are generally the ones you make friends with from what I have seen.

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27 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I have seen this approach but it in my experience it is usually the families more on the fringe of the faith that make these rules. I was born in a “core” family and that was never even suggested. Meanwhile I have seen parents who attend church about half the time trying to get their children to only play with member kids. I have theories as to why but they are not charitable.

Then again I also did not live in Utah. If I was restricted to LDS friends I doubt I would have had many friends that I had much in common with and probably would have been even more introverted.

My father was just plain extreme in all things.  I think a lot of my little home town ward members would be okay with that.

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Some added in neighborhood friends but in Utah that was still mostly members. With the consolidated block and decreased activities we can branch out more.

But then there are the parents of the non-member kids who may not want their kids to get involved with member kids for fear they might try to convert them into their "cult". 
We need to think of good ways to break the ice and remove suspicion between both groups of people. If indeed there is any. 
 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I don’t see how playing with other kids would inoculate you against that stuff unless those kids brought it up.

No. No inoculation.

You are sheltered against the world, and then you get older. As in grow up.

Then you get on the internet and learn the anti-M arguments and cannot answer them.

And  no, that's not Auntie Em I am speaking of.

Edited by mfbukowski

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The only experience I have is knowledge of a close friend's experience here in Lincoln City... in her neighborhood, she (RS pres) and her husband (a city police officer) were the only LDS in their neighborhood, and it was their children that were shunned... in fact, none of the other children were allowed by their parents to go into their yard and certainly not to enter the house.   

GG

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