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JAHS

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

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On 8/5/2019 at 1:24 PM, 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 a world where humans are physically accosted for wearing a red hat and beat; where university campuses celebrate when individuals who have been asked to speak are physically beat for speaking or protests break out to stop an individual from speaking and university leadership actually choose to comply and then support the protestors; where individuals routinely lose jobs because they dared to support the wrong party or political candidate, it does not surprise me that parents will emulate this terrible example. 

As a young person in the south, I was on the short end of this stick of stupid actions. Mormons were detested by the religious community and Southern Baptist preachers consistently told their congregations not to allow their children from associating with Mormon kids. 

There is a difference between protecting your children and being stupid. Parents should treat all children equally - they need to meet their children's friends to find out what kind of individuals they are. They need to talk to their children about how to choose friends. They also need to help their children distinguish between friends and acquaintances. They need to respect each individual until such time as the individual proves they are not worthy of respect and at that point, to just withdraw. They need to teach their children to know their own standards and to defend them. The list of parental dos and don'ts is long. 

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1 hour ago, rodheadlee said:

Please don't shun non members in your neighborhood. My brother hates Mormons to this day from being shunned through out his life in a small town in Idaho. Even as an adult in his 40s he was asked what ward he belonged to when attempting to get a business license. He failed to get the license he needed because his answers was he did not belong. He eventually gave up and moved his business to California. Have some faith in yourselves and your children to set a good example of why anyone would want to be a member of the Church. Be true friends to these folks, conversion will come naturally if it comes at all.

In my world it is the members who are shunned.   So sad and hard to imagine.

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On 8/7/2019 at 2:54 AM, Kenngo1969 said:

Your wife is a brave soul, Sir.  It sounds like you married well (more than once, too, at that!) ;):D:good:

Well, yes.

I've married well, too, but I am an even braver soul, because I married an Englishwoman!  And now drive on the wrong side of the road.  Fortunately, everyone else here drives on the wrong side, too, so it's not as risky as it sounds.

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We live in Utah and are active LDS.  My kids grew up with non-member and less active friends, but also a couple of active member friends, I got to know parents volunteering at school or as neighbors, so I didn't worry about not knowing the parents.  But, one incident was very surprising when my daughter was jr. high age.  My daughter had an LDS friend who told her that her mom said she couldn't be friends because my daughter had non-LDS friends.  That was so odd, but it also proved to me that there are LDS parents out there who limit their children's interactions and friendships.  These families who say they were shunned by members...I believe them.  It's not rampant, but it does happen.  Some members can be cliquish as well, and it can cause hurt feelings.

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On 8/7/2019 at 9:44 PM, mfbukowski said:

In my world it is the members who are shunned.   So sad and hard to imagine.

Growing up in California, that did happen, but I truly think they were trying to be considerate. My friends would make plans for the weekends without me to attend parties and would tell me, 'we didn't invite you because people will be drinking etc.'  I think you have to realize that if you don't fit in with the prevailing culture, you may experience some isolation.

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Can't believe this is even an issue. My kids (ages 9-15) have many more close friends who are non-members than members. When I grew up, it was the same with me. I currently live in Oregon and I grew up in Southern Cal. Maybe it's a Utah thing.

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27 minutes ago, filovirus said:

Can't believe this is even an issue. My kids (ages 9-15) have many more close friends who are non-members than members. When I grew up, it was the same with me. I currently live in Oregon and I grew up in Southern Cal. Maybe it's a Utah thing.

It shouldn't be a thing...I haven't been out of Utah so my experience has nothing to compare to.  Love and friendship should never be divided by any religion.

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1 hour ago, filovirus said:

Can't believe this is even an issue. My kids (ages 9-15) have many more close friends who are non-members than members. When I grew up, it was the same with me. I currently live in Oregon and I grew up in Southern Cal. Maybe it's a Utah thing.

That's one of the main reasons. Members outside of Utah are more conditioned to have friends from many backgrounds, while in Utah some parents might figure there are so many member friends their kids could have why risk having a friend whose parents might not have the same standards that they live by? But of course what religion a kid belongs to is no guarantee that they will actually live by the standards of that religion.  

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1 hour ago, filovirus said:

Can't believe this is even an issue. My kids (ages 9-15) have many more close friends who are non-members than members. When I grew up, it was the same with me. I currently live in Oregon and I grew up in Southern Cal. Maybe it's a Utah thing.

Totally.

You would socially starve with that kind of attitude around here. There's one member per square mile . Maybe.

You would be that was weird family on the block, members of some cult or something.

They all get dressed up and disappear for a few hours on Sunday.

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2 hours ago, alter idem said:

Growing up in California, that did happen, but I truly think they were trying to be considerate. My friends would make plans for the weekends without me to attend parties and would tell me, 'we didn't invite you because people will be drinking etc.'  I think you have to realize that if you don't fit in with the prevailing culture, you may experience some isolation.

That's how it used to be but today here in the People's Republic even flying the flag is a political statement

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

That's one of the main reasons. Members outside of Utah are more conditioned to have friends from many backgrounds, while in Utah some parents might figure there are so many member friends their kids could have why risk having a friend whose parents might not have the same standards that they live by? But of course what religion a kid belongs to is no guarantee that they will actually live by the standards of that religion.  

That's definitely the case. A lot of hellions are coming from Mormon families. 

I also think it's the case that some parents tend to assume the issue is Mormonism while the issue frequently is the behavior of their kids. I can think of many examples in our own neighborhood where religion was blamed when it wasn't a factor at all. Often those most up in arms aren't necessarily the best at monitoring their own kids behavior. You see it in school too where some parents tend to be a bit quick on the draw to blame a teacher or the school system for their kids failings. But as with school where sometimes you just have bad teachers, sometimes there really are parents who only want their kids to play with other kids from the ward. Honestly having lived in Utah for quite a while now I think it's much rarer than you'd think from the discussions.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, alter idem said:

My daughter had an LDS friend who told her that her mom said she couldn't be friends because my daughter had non-LDS friends. 

I am a bit wary assuming kids are accurate in relaying what their parents say. I think there may be a tendency to imagine parents’ comments into forms aligning with their own wishes or just simple misunderstandings.  I base this on both my own kids and hearing things from both parents and kids of other families and comparing them. My daughter was constantly telling me I promised stuff when she was younger and was quite insistent even when I reminded her I had made a habit not to promise things because my health was so unpredictable.  Other kids had their parents laying down laws when what had most likely happened was the kids overheard some commentary that they extrapolated into thou shalts and shalt not. 

Having said that, I do not doubt that there are parents who don’t allow their kids to play with others just in case they come in contact with friends who don’t hold the same standards. I really feel for those kids and wonder what their social skills will be like in the future.

The cliquish thing is hard to avoid from what I have seen, especially in girls from 11 years old to high school in my experience. Almost made me grateful my daughter had to be home schooled.  Up in Canada one girl got another ostracized from my daughter’s social group at school just to show she could (as far as us moms could tell). My daughter was so ashamed she went along with it and wasn’t able to talk to me about it on her own. Once I found out we worked on her being good friends again, but the damage was done and the girl transferred the next year. It was too late in the year for me to try and influence the group unfortunately.

Edited by Calm
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Posted (edited)

I have lived in Utah 15 years now, four wards without moving lol. 

With my daughter we could not have asked for better treatment, it just broke my heart that she wasn’t able to take advantage of it because of severe anxiety. But I heard from a YW leader a few years ago one YW age group was horrendously cliquish; in the opinion of the leader she was guessing it was one girl’s mom that drove it by her daughter imitating her along with the parent complaining about the behaviour of less actives, etc.

 I also know for my daughter’s age group, the nonmember girl was invited to everything, but slowly withdrew over the years. I would not be the least surprised if from her POV there was some ostracism. Speaking from personal experience, it felt very much like people didn’t want me around when it was most likely my own terminal shyness that had me on the outside. People stop asking you to join if you keep turning them down, even if you thank them for asking in my experience.  I bet it doesn’t feel very good from their side to get turned down. Who would want to keep doing that?

Edited by Calm
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On 8/5/2019 at 7:24 PM, JAHS said:

This article at KSL talks about that ever present issue about who we let our kids play and be friends with.
<snip>

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.  

As a person who grew up a member about as far away from SLC as one can get and thus in a place where very few other member live I find this article and this issue surprising and disappointing.  There was almost no chance of having other members in the same school as I was nevermind having them as neighbours. In other words we had to befriend, associate and play with non-members. Consequently we were taught how to choose good friends and associate with good company and that not determined by their particular church but more by their character. So I think this matter, if it is as big as portrayed, must be a Utah thing, or at least a thing where there is a high density of LDS members. I really hope it isn't though as surely we should be more secure in our Faith and more Christlike in our relationships and interactions with the rest of Gods children all around us. Surely. 

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18 minutes ago, Smith said:

As a person who grew up a member about as far away from SLC as one can get and thus in a place where very few other member live I find this article and this issue surprising and disappointing.  There was almost no chance of having other members in the same school as I was nevermind having them as neighbours. In other words we had to befriend, associate and play with non-members. Consequently we were taught how to choose good friends and associate with good company and that not determined by their particular church but more by their character. So I think this matter, if it is as big as portrayed, must be a Utah thing, or at least a thing where there is a high density of LDS members. I really hope it isn't though as surely we should be more secure in our Faith and more Christlike in our relationships and interactions with the rest of Gods children all around us. Surely. 

I think part of it is a matter of laziness and taking the easy way out. If they restrict their children to fellow members they think they don't have to worry and go to the trouble of teaching them how to choose good friends or make the effort to make sure the friends they choose are good for them.  But of course only going with church members is no guarantee.
Oh. And don't call me Shirley. 😉 

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On 8/9/2019 at 8:25 AM, filovirus said:

Can't believe this is even an issue. My kids (ages 9-15) have many more close friends who are non-members than members. When I grew up, it was the same with me. I currently live in Oregon and I grew up in Southern Cal. Maybe it's a Utah thing.

I grew up in So Cal (San Bernardino) and now live in Oregon (Lincoln City ward on the coast).  Growing up there were few LDS kids...

GG

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On 8/5/2019 at 7:31 PM, JAHS said:

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. 
 

Or pastors. One of my friends in the ward called to ask about me not letting my son play with the son of a non-member". The non-member neighbor had asked about it.

It was kind of odd because 1. I had no idea she considered herself a non-member because she was on the rolls and had attended church at least once. 2. My son had played at her house.

When I asked my son about it I found he had not played there recently because her son said he was not to play with mormons because that was what the pastor where he was currently going to church told him.

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On 8/5/2019 at 10:54 AM, 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.  

Few LDS families invited anyone for sleepovers for some time. It went through Utah while I was raising my kids there that a great percentage of abuse happened during sleepovers and we were counseled not to have them. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/5/2019 at 10:24 AM, 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.  

 All our children had more non-member than member friends. Unfortunately, one child was exposed to drugs and pornography in a non-member friend’s home at a young age. That’s not to say all non-members are porn and drug addicts nor that all members are paragons of virtuous living; however, we wish we had been more vigilant.

It’s like the demon Crowley and the War in Heaven in “Good Omens” — “It’s not that I wanted to rebel. I just hung out with the wrong people.” Peers are important. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)
On 8/7/2019 at 1:22 PM, JAHS said:

So how would this go over. Let's say you as a church member have a small child who met another child in the neighborhood who is not a member and wants to play with him and be friends.
Would it be reasonable for you to contact the other kid's parents and ask if you could come and talk with them (or invite them over) about the desires for them to be friends and get to know the parents
and let them know what your child is allowed to do and see and what he is not allowed to do and see or be exposed to? Would this be asking for too much or would even this not be enough
to alleviate any fears about them playing together at each other's house? Or is all of this completely unnecessary?

With at least one of our kids we wish we had done that. I would not be put out if someone did that with us. None of our grandchildren are allowed to have sleepovers. I think that is very wise. 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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Posted (edited)
On 8/5/2019 at 1:38 PM, 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.

Not all. 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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On 8/7/2019 at 5:38 PM, Jeanne said:

Actually, I should have clarified my truth.  There are not a lot of church authorities that specified that one should stay away from other faiths...other than from lessons taught to seek marriage and good friendships with faithful members.  That being said....I was taught by my priesthood holding father as head of the household that I would not be allowed to play with or invite non mormons to my home. In a tiny all white LDS town with two families maybe that were catholics...going to jr high and high school in Tooele was a new world....!  One that Dad had a hard time accepting.  But there are a lot of teachings that were taught to an extreme in my home that would church authority would see differently.

Real question. Have you ever thought of your views of the church and of members while keeping an eye of how your dad was? Meaning something like, "The church is authoritarian. My dad was authoritarian. Are my feelings about the two related - is the church really authoritarian or have I just felt it was because dad was?"

If you have done this, what was your conclusion? Were there variations? Was there a pattern in variations?

I guess that is more than one question. 😁 The questions just started pouring out and I was wishing I could talk to you about it to see what you had learned in the process if you went through it. I'm constantly doing similarly things with my own upbringing. 

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4 hours ago, Rain said:

Few LDS families invited anyone for sleepovers for some time. It went through Utah while I was raising my kids there that a great percentage of abuse happened during sleepovers and we were counseled not to have them. 

 

3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

 All our children had more non-member than member friends. Unfortunately, one child was exposed to drugs and pornography in a non-member friend’s home at a young age. That’s not to say all non-members are porn and drug addicts nor that all members are paragons of virtuous living; however, we wish we had been more vigilant.

It’s like the demon Crowley and the War in Heaven in “Good Omens” — “It’s not that I wanted to rebel. I just hung out with the wrong people.” Peers are important. 

To be fair, I think I can think of 4 LDS families in which at least one of our kids participated in sleepovers. Which is probably more than I can than I can think of for non-LDS. One child was exposed to porn through a non-LDS neighbor child. Another reported improper sexuality in a sleepover with another LDS family, which really bothered him. So, I can understand the need for caution, but the porn was not in a sleep-over situation. I think it was in an outdoor shed. We talked to all our children about what can potentially happen before allowing these types of sleepovers. And they were quite open with their mother about these events. We never assumed the best. Also all our children are boys. I would have felt more uncomfortable if I had a daughter in a home with an older boy. 

Anyway, it's not just me. My wife commented about it, and didn't really understand why out of all the kids in the ward, our kids didn't seem to get invited over a lot. I think part of it was our living circumstances put us further away from most of the LDS kids, but I may never know the full story. But there were a few LDS kids they were very close friends with, and everything always seemed to go smoothly and happily. Some of the non-LDS kids seemed to get into more trouble as they got older.

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