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Father In Law Advice


st_anger87

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Hello All,

 

Here goes. Long story.

 

I am a non-member, but my wife is a life long member. In fact, her family is descended from Brigham Young. I met my wife in September of 2013 while I was working as a police officer. She was doing an internship at the police department. When her father found out we were starting a relationship, he complained to the police department. I should mention here that he is a (former) bishop in the church, and now holds a higher calling, and is also a high school teacher.  I was investigated and punished, even though the relationship was not explicitly against policy. I decided not to fight the punishment as I was told by the police chief when I received my letter of reprimand that the relationship could continue because she was kicked out of the program. We continued dating for about another two months when her father used his connections in the community to have me fired from my job. 

 

That's okay, it was only my dream job that I spent all of my adult life plus a college degree working for.

 

When she moved in with me, her father, her mother and her 14 year old brother began to constantly harass us. I ended up calling the sheriff's office, and my landlord signed trespass notices against her family for where we were staying. The harassment stopped with the condition that my wife would reach out to her family when she was ready. We were married in a quick and dirty civil ceremony not long after.

 

Flash forward a few months. Family relationships are being repaired. Her aunt even hosted an actual wedding ceremony for us, in which her mom did a lot of work for us. Her mom has been trying to help everyone reunite, but in a shadowy behind the scenes kind of way.

 

I have been talking to the missionaries, and they asked me to prepare for baptism next month. 

 

Her dad is the problem though. About a month ago I met him for the first time face to face at a Fireside meeting, he shook my hand and treated me like a man. I thought everything was on its way up. But she keeps getting nasty emails from him, and every time they meet in person he just wants to criticize. My wife is now pregnant with his first grandchild, which is due in March.

 

I have tried to pray about it, talked to my Bishop, tried to ignore it, and tried to cast a Christ like love on him. For a long time I even thought I had forgiven him for his transgressions against us. But every time he hurts my wife, it feels like I am getting stabbed in the gut.

 

This situation is making me want to put off my baptism, maybe for good. I don't know if I want to be part of an organization that can breed such a cruel man. I certainly don't want to be like him.

 

What do I do?

 

Thanks in advance. 

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First of all... let me tell you something right off... this man's actions are his alone and not because an "organization" (the LDS Church) "breeds" those actions into its members... If you think the LDS Church does, then you don't know very much about the Church... his actions are totally against what we as LDS are taught... in fact, I don't want to be judgmental, but it does sound like this man is not following the precepts nor honoring his priesthood...

There's always two sides to every story... and you've told us your side.  And it does raise lots of questions... like, how could one man be able to influence a Police Dept to fire an officer, and did not that officer have an appeal process, etc.  A hearing in which to present the officer's case?  There are such things as fair labor laws... including legal action for unwarranted firing if the officer's record of performance has been satisfactory.

Also, there are ways within the Church to address this man's actions, i.e., going to the bishop, and if the bishop does not address the concerns, going to the stake president, and if the SP does not address the concerns, going on up the line until someone addresses the situation. 

Again, do not condemn the Church for personal actions of an individual... those actions you've described do not reflect the standards we as LDS are taught to follow in our "dealings with our fellow man."  Your father in-law would recognize that terminology.

 

GG

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Thanks GG,

I didn't mean to say that I think all men of the Church are like him. I love our Bishop right now, he is an incredible example of what a man of the Church should be. Going to church I have met many people and have felt welcomed by everyone of them. I am growing to love the Church, but I still have my concerns.

 

Yes, we only have my side. Too bad he won't take the time to talk to me so I could hear his side. Trust me, I have tried. 

 

I hired a lawyer, and we ended up settling with the city. How could he influence my firing? I wish I knew, but like I said he used his position in the church as well as his position in the school district. 

 

My wife told me that the Stake President was on his side, so that option is out. I am afraid if I press the issue with the church, then I will only end up hurting my wife. 

 

One more question. Would his behavior, as I have described, make him not worthy to enter the temple?

 

Thanks again.

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One more question. Would his behavior, as I have described, make him not worthy to enter the temple?

Thanks again.

 

That is not for me to judge... it is between him, his bishop, and his stake president and what he answers to the questions asked of members when obtaining or renewing a temple recommend... and in his subsequent decision on his part if or when he enters the temple. I said he would recognize the terminology I put in quotes... which happens to refer to a temple recommend interview question.  Individuals who enter the temple unworthily do so at their peril.   And people know if they are worthy or not.

If your bishop is aware of the situation as you described, it is up to him to take what action he would deem appropriate, including addressing any concern about temple worthiness.

 

GG

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Sorry, I shouldn't have brought the temple up. Its really none of my business. I will not sink to his level and try to get him in trouble. 

 

I just want my wife to be happy. I am starting to see this is a helpless situation.

 

I'm sorry you have this situation... and do hope that it can be resolved so the family will not have contention or stress...  I would say to you... continue to meet with the missionaries... take the discussions... study, ponder, and pray... and think of the Church and what you learn independent from your father in-law... Do this for your wife and for yourself, and for your life together.  Good luck.

 

GG

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I'm sorry you have this situation... and do hope that it can be resolved so the family will not have contention or stress...  I would say to you... continue to meet with the missionaries... take the discussions... study, ponder, and pray... and think of the Church and what you learn independent from your father in-law... Do this for your wife and for yourself, and for your life together.  Good luck.

 

GG

 

 

Thanks, I will do that. I am not going to give up over this. I just feel the hardness in my  heart is slowing my progress.

 

 

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

 

But you do have a cool avatar.

 

 

Thanks Steve, you can borrow it if you like.  ;)

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Hello, I am sorry that you had this experience with you wife's family.  The relationship and love of a father for his daughter can cause a diverse set of reactions; all of them based upon his love for her.  It may not look like that, but as you become a father and watch your children grow you will understand what I am talking about.  

 

It is is great that the family is on the pathway to healing itself even though there is more that is needed.  Your forgiveness, not just for this, but for a number of other things that will come out in the future, is always needed.  We forgive others because Christ forgives us.  We do this for our Savior not because of the actions or behavior of others.  

 

Keep your focus on the Savior and honoring him.  Everything else will fall into place as everyone aligns with the direction of the Spirit. 

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Would you not eat your favorite dessert because your father-in-law also likes it?  Your decision to join the church should be based on whether you have a testimony that it's true.  If you make decisions based on your father-in-law's actions, you're just giving him more power. 

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I just dropped this quote in another thread but it may be helpful...

 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 
― Viktor E. FranklMan's Search for Meaning

 

My wife has struggled with her step fathers behavior for decades.  He is not LDS, but she often struggles with forgiveness because of some horrible things he did when she was young.  We finally decided we could forgive and honor her parents but they also had to abide by some conditions.  One of those conditions is respect for her, and us.

 

His actions are wrong, and he is trying to deny you one of the greatest gifts of the God, your agency.  That is unrighteous dominion, and particularly not worthy of a High Priest.  You are now an adult, and so is your wife.  You can honor your parents but that is reciprocal, and you can make it clear that you expect your agency to be respected, as you honor them as parents.

 

You and your wife are the center of your family now.  She has left his family and now cleaves unto you.  Your relationship with each other is even more important than your relationship with your children, because it is the relationship that your children's family is now built on.  Only the Savior should be equally important in your lives.  Everyone else comes second.  Of course you may wish to make it as easy on your wife as possible, but not to the detriment of your relationship with her.  Parents and Grandparents must check their egos and take a backseat to your relationship.  That is Biblical and consistent with Latter-day revelation.

Edited by KevinG
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Thanks GG,

I didn't mean to say that I think all men of the Church are like him. I love our Bishop right now, he is an incredible example of what a man of the Church should be. Going to church I have met many people and have felt welcomed by everyone of them. I am growing to love the Church, but I still have my concerns.

 

Yes, we only have my side. Too bad he won't take the time to talk to me so I could hear his side. Trust me, I have tried. 

 

I hired a lawyer, and we ended up settling with the city. How could he influence my firing? I wish I knew, but like I said he used his position in the church as well as his position in the school district. 

 

My wife told me that the Stake President was on his side, so that option is out. I am afraid if I press the issue with the church, then I will only end up hurting my wife. 

 

One more question. Would his behavior, as I have described, make him not worthy to enter the temple?

 

Thanks again.

 

Garden Girl's answer was much better than mine so I'll go with it.

Edited by ERayR
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You can have your wife remind him that, if he wants to be an important influence in his grandchildren's life he need to treat their parents respectfully.  That needs to come from her not you.  If it appears you are pulling strings, or if she feels like she is in a tug of war for the affections of the two most important men in her life everyone will lose.

 

You may have to draw a line, and tell him that his actions towards you can be overlooked, but making his daughter "choose" between you is not appropriate or righteous behavior.

Edited by KevinG
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1)   You must not join the church to help this situation.   Only do it when and if you get a testimony of the doctrines, and commitment to the covenants you will make.   It doesn't help to try to make someone like you by adopting their faith (or in this case, the faith they proclaim: your report suggests he is not living it at all.)

 

2)   My parents tried to have me committed to a mental institution when they found out I was living with a non-member person of color.  They even went to church headquarters to find someone to help them fix me.  They say it as young me who couldn't possibly be making this as a real choice having been bamboozled by older more worldly person.   My dh refused to have anything to do with the church that would produce such behavior.  (And we didn't make it because I believed the doctrine even though I didn't live the covenants.  There was no way for him to get what he needed and wanted and me too when those things became so very different.)  I never spoke with my parents about it, but as I watched them and heard what they told my siblings who remained at home, I think they just didn't understand how I could make the choice, and therefore they blamed it on dh.    They thought of it as saving me from the big bad wolf.   Parents can do really stupid things in what they see as defense of their children --- you have surely seen this as a police officer.

 

3)   How your dw's family of origin treats her or interacts with her is not your problem.   If you make it yours, you'll become part of the problem.   What your job is is to be a sounding board for dw as she sorts out what she thinks is appropriate, and then back her up.   I presume that she will tell you that you need to hang up on them or leave immediately if they trashtalk her (she should do the same if they trashtalk you).   I presume that you will agree in advance what family events you will attend and how long you will stay and what topics will prompt you to change the subject.    I presume you will agree on what questions you will answer and when you will tell them to MYOB. 

 

4)   Sometimes it can really help to get family counseling to work through some of the misbehavior.   If you assume that however stupid and misguided arrogant and bullying and unrighteous her father has acted, he did it not because he hates you but he is afraid of losing his daughter eternally, then you can work on changing the behavior that has to change in order for you to actually become a family.  

 

5)   You do not say where you live. If you live in a state that allows you to record others without their consent (or if you do it in your own home with a sign posted next to the door saying you are recording therein), then recording the interaction can help your FIL (and others he may have misrepresented you to) see himself as he is coming across.  For some that is enough to get them under control.  

 

6)   Whether or not you get a testimony of the principles of the Gospel and choose to be baptized, the more you learn about those principles, the more you try to apply them and seek inspiration of heaven, the more easy it will be for you to stand up calmly to challenge his misunderstandings and misapplications of those same principles.  (I'd suggest you memorize the scripture about abusing power and the end to priesthood, as it seems that you might have opportunity to quote that to him in the short term. --- you aren't quoting to be arrogant, but to remind him of what should change his behavior.)

 

7)   One of the most poignant doctrines of the gospel is that the atonement of Jesus Christ makes up all of the difference between a baptized member's personal best and quick repentance, and objective perfection required to live with God in His glory.   What that means is that some of those who have had lots of gospel experiences, service and testimony but for whatever reason keeps little sins like unrighteous judgment, or lack of unconditional love, are actually worse off with God than someone who is still struggling to conquer even basic gospel struggles.   So concentrate not on living up to FIL's expectation and judgment, but on doing your own personal best to live the commandments and quickly repent.   That will help you avoid taking personally stupidity that will only hurt you and your wife if you harbor it.

Edited by rpn
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Hello All,

 

Here goes. Long story.

 

I am a non-member, but my wife is a life long member. In fact, her family is descended from Brigham Young. I met my wife in September of 2013 while I was working as a police officer. She was doing an internship at the police department. When her father found out we were starting a relationship, he complained to the police department. I should mention here that he is a (former) bishop in the church, and now holds a higher calling, and is also a high school teacher.  I was investigated and punished, even though the relationship was not explicitly against policy. I decided not to fight the punishment as I was told by the police chief when I received my letter of reprimand that the relationship could continue because she was kicked out of the program. We continued dating for about another two months when her father used his connections in the community to have me fired from my job. 

 

That's okay, it was only my dream job that I spent all of my adult life plus a college degree working for.

 

When she moved in with me, her father, her mother and her 14 year old brother began to constantly harass us. I ended up calling the sheriff's office, and my landlord signed trespass notices against her family for where we were staying. The harassment stopped with the condition that my wife would reach out to her family when she was ready. We were married in a quick and dirty civil ceremony not long after.

 

Flash forward a few months. Family relationships are being repaired. Her aunt even hosted an actual wedding ceremony for us, in which her mom did a lot of work for us. Her mom has been trying to help everyone reunite, but in a shadowy behind the scenes kind of way.

 

I have been talking to the missionaries, and they asked me to prepare for baptism next month. 

 

Her dad is the problem though. About a month ago I met him for the first time face to face at a Fireside meeting, he shook my hand and treated me like a man. I thought everything was on its way up. But she keeps getting nasty emails from him, and every time they meet in person he just wants to criticize. My wife is now pregnant with his first grandchild, which is due in March.

 

I have tried to pray about it, talked to my Bishop, tried to ignore it, and tried to cast a Christ like love on him. For a long time I even thought I had forgiven him for his transgressions against us. But every time he hurts my wife, it feels like I am getting stabbed in the gut.

 

This situation is making me want to put off my baptism, maybe for good. I don't know if I want to be part of an organization that can breed such a cruel man. I certainly don't want to be like him.

 

What do I do?

 

Thanks in advance. 

Just out of curiosity, how old was your wife when you met her?  First of all, as a parent, I think it would be easier for me to accept such an arrangement for a daughter if she was well into her twenties or older than if she was 18 or so.  Also, as an anthropologist I can tell you that cross culturally, men tend to be much more protective of their young daughters than their sons when it comes to mating--certainly not something unique to LDS.  At any rate, it sounds like he has some control issues beyond what is acceptable in our country or in our church.   I do know that pain of having a child who rejects their upbringing, but it sounds like your wife and her mom are trying very hard to do the right thing.  At this point, his best course of action would be to act in a conciliatory manner.  Maybe he'll see that when he becomes a grandpa.

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At the very least you know what to expect of your new in laws.

 

I wish I had something cozy to say. But I don't. You had to know what you were getting into when you married this girl. Good luck with it.

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Thanks GG,

I didn't mean to say that I think all men of the Church are like him. I love our Bishop right now, he is an incredible example of what a man of the Church should be.

To edit: this statement is where it should end, because your Bishop is like most men in the Church. As Bishop's are called from within their Ward, and many others could fit the bill or what a Bishop is, or could be. I would take GG's advice, and not speak of accusations of unknown people in the Social Hall.
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It appears to have been less than a year since you were married and most of these events occurred within a year. that is not that long of a time for most people to deal with an emotional shock, especially if they've contributed to making it worse because now they also have to deal with guilt and defensiveness over what choices they made.

Be patient. Some can change quickly, others can't. We need both because stubbornness can be the only thing that allows us to keep fighting the good cause when hope is gone, but like many good traits it can be inappropriate in some context (we applaud the persistent or determined, condemn the stubborn and yet the behaviour is much the same...it is the situation that is different. If in the future if his heart is soften and he changes and allows love to dominant all of the relationship and not just the parts he wants to be right now, his strength that once made him your enemy may be what makes him a great supporter. You never know.

All things are possible with God, put your faith and hope in him, love your wife and support her and let God take care of your father in law for awhile and hopefully for his own and his family's sake he will grow in charity and faith himself.

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Some people can be great helping other people but be screwed up when it involves their personal feelings.

God doesn't protect people from their own sins and that includes allowing them to be placed in situations where sins can have a greater impact on others.

It can be hard to see someone else who is injuring others appear to have a great life or even benefit from their sins. The only one that can really answer the"why" is God and I think he has allowed a lot of this apparently unreasonable situations to occur so that we will turn to him more, seeking answers and getting the opportunity to grow spiritually because we do so.

God can use hard things to bring people to him. Doesn't mean he is the creator of harshness, just means he uses the opportunity that arises...much like a parent can use a child being injured as an opportunity to help the child feel loved and cared for without going around creating an unsafe environment intentionally....there are more than enough dangers in mortality for all the opportunities for needed personal growth. (the corollary to this is if a parent removes too much danger or hardship from a child's life they don't grow up into independent, self aware and observant adults but stay in many ways childish. God created a world for mankind and then allowed them to create the type of society they wanted so we could have the experiences to grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally; significant growth requires significant opportunities to grow.)

Edited by calmoriah
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First of all, people are often called because of what they need to learn - not because they are the closest to perfect.  Second, the scriptures are full of stories of imperfect people the Lord has called. 

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Thank you everyone for the advice.

 

I guess feelings sum up to one question. 

 

How can a man called of God to such a position in the Church be such a terrible person?

You need to let go of your anger and judgmentalism. It is not going to help anything or anyone, your marriage included.

Instead of focusing on what you perceive to be the imperfections in others, you should instead be focusing being the best person you can be. You are not perfect, either. Indeed, by your own admission, your relationship with your wife started out in

appropriately. I think that would give any parent pause to wonder what kind of person their daughter was involved with.

Even if you are right and he is a "terrible person" (and he's probably not), nothing is going to be accomplished by obsessing on it. Focus on your behavior, not his.

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