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Converting against family's wishes: seeking PM advice


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My beloved FIL was the only person that would have been able to attend our wedding. So we eloped. Only six in the wedding party that day. My wife, and myself. My Bishop, Relief Society President, the officiator, and a witness we pulled from the Celestial Room. We went home and had bacon, eggs, and Ginger Ale. 45 years later it seems to have worked out well. Both sets of parents and parents-in-law are gone now. I miss them.

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1 hour ago, thesometimesaint said:

My beloved FIL was the only person that would have been able to attend our wedding. So we eloped. Only six in the wedding party that day. My wife, and myself. My Bishop, Relief Society President, the officiator, and a witness we pulled from the Celestial Room. We went home and had bacon, eggs, and Ginger Ale. 45 years later it seems to have worked out well. Both sets of parents and parents-in-law are gone now. I miss them.

45 years...this is wonderful!!!

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14 hours ago, thesometimesaint said:

In much of Europe a religious wedding is not recognized by the state. Not so the US.

I wasn't speaking of cultural/legal differences. Such things as borders can be largely irrelevant in the context of marriage and inclusion.

I was speaking instead of simply pivoting tradition to become more inclusive...to allow others to witness/celebrate the happy union of the people they love.

Edited by hagoth7
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On 06/02/2017 at 2:03 PM, Jane_Doe said:

Nope, they flat out refuse.  All they did is attend 20 minutes of a 6 hour anti-Mormon course which confirmed all they already "knew".   They also expressly don't want to talk about it (unless there's no LDS people in the room).  Why?  Because they admit I am a so much stronger in my faith and knowledge of Christianity then them.  (Sorry for the vent, this is a long source of frustration).  

 

Hi Jane Doe,

I'm a non-LDS Christian who can empathize with both sides here.

And I can understand your frustration (added to previous years of frustration, it seems) that your in-laws seemed more adamantly opposed to your husbands conversion to the LDS faith after attending a segment of the anti-Mormon course you mentioned.  

It would appear that there's not much point in trying to talk about your reasons for recommending your faith, or about what you would see as their false and wrongful impressions about Mormonism.

I'm thinking it would be helpful for you to talk instead about what you have in common ... the centrality of Jesus Christ, trusting in His atonement, listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, etc.  If you were able to do this, it would probably also be helpful and respectful to them if you could be positive about their faith choices ... even if their faith seems to you to be much more weak and less knowledgeable than your own.  Perhaps this disparity (which you say they "admit") has been a source of negative feelings such as guilt or inferiority for them.  Perhaps they would be more "open" to seeing things your way if they felt understood and validated.  I realize that I may be reading too much into your words here, and am on the wrong track.  But it's worth considering, and of course you know the real situation, so you're in a good position to evaluate this and reject my thoughts if they don't apply.

 

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Nice to see you again, Paloma.  Your avatar always makes me smile (Kanga and Roo were some of my favorite characters of my favorite books growing up).  First book I ever bought myself.  I think I still have it.

----

speaking in general on the subject of the pain conversion may cause in a family....

It is important in my opinion to recognize not only those beliefs we share, but also the beliefs that cannot be reconciled...the ones we shouldn't just agree to disagree on because that would mean in essence we were refusing to declare our faith and our God....though we may need to learn that such declarations need to be done in very specific ways if we wish the other to continue to listen and not shut their ears.

In most Christian faiths, God is the Creator and Man his creature with an unbridgeable gap between the two even for those faiths that believe in theosis/deification of mankind.  To believe that we are the same species as the Father as LDS doctrine teaches, that not only can the gap be bridged by Christ, but it doesn't really exist in the first place is blasphemy for those who hold this belief and may doom us to eternal hell.  Even if one wisely rejects antimormon lies, there is still that fundamental problem with the contrary fundamental belief of our faiths.

I think it is important to let people know you are aware of problems that actually exist and not dismiss them or devalue their importance.  It can help them believe you when you tell them something is not really an issue, but a misrepresentation of our beliefs.  

For example...

In the case of the father who saw rape as preferable to baptism, that is a reasonable view given that he is a firm believer in the ability of Jesus to heal and that mortal life is so short in comparison to the pure bliss that is promised the righteous in his beliefs.  Rape's emotional and physical pain and torment that comes with it ends at death; with resurrection for those who are saved the pain is left behind.  Baptism into a false faith in his view cripples the soul, separates the person from God and quite likely, if not repented, damns that person to eternal suffering much more painful that what would have been experienced through rape.  Instead of being disgusted with the father for saying that, we need to hear the very real, very deep fear he has for his child and his love that wants to protect her at all costs.

Last I heard there was a strong chance the couple had convinced her parents to attend a temple open house.  I need to find out the rest of the story.

Edited by Calm
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On 2/6/2017 at 9:11 AM, Jeanne said:

I really can't answer to your specific questions but I believe that you and your husband will find a way to make things work..

Just a thought and/or experience I had that has made me empathetic to your situation..and mine.

I had a former co-employee that used to work with me part-time.  He was a young man and had the biggest heart and we got a long so well.  We were doing some dishes together in the bakery and just kind of got into a conversation about religion.  He said that he had to move out of his home as he had just become baptized in the mormon church and was presently working to save for his mission..He asked of me and what I thought.  I smiled and told him that I had to move from my county because I could not associate with my father as he thought he would not get a Temple recommend by his association with me.  We both stopped working...looked into eachothers eyes and tears flowed.  There was some great love and compassion on both sides...what to do?  Follow you heart and love ye one another.

Not that it matters now.  I'm sure the damage already has been done (Alas! :() but your father's interpretation of that temple recommend question is pure bunk, and any bishop or stake president who wouldn't call him on it (assuming they knew about it, which I believe (and hope) is a big if) needed to be counseled seriously by his file leader.

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16 hours ago, thesometimesaint said:

My beloved FIL was the only person that would have been able to attend our wedding. So we eloped. Only six in the wedding party that day. My wife, and myself. My Bishop, Relief Society President, the officiator, and a witness we pulled from the Celestial Room. We went home and had bacon, eggs, and Ginger Ale. 45 years later it seems to have worked out well. Both sets of parents and parents-in-law are gone now. I miss them.

Dang!  Now I'm hungry! :P 

(Seriously, kudos to you and your beloved.  While, perhaps, this prospect does not dull the pain of current separation, here's to some joyful reunions in the life to come. :))

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6 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Not that it matters now.  I'm sure the damage already has been done (Alas! :() but your father's interpretation of that temple recommend question is pure bunk, and any bishop or stake president who wouldn't call him on it (assuming they knew about it, which I believe (and hope) is a big if) needed to be counseled seriously by his file leader.

You know..I am sure this Bishop tried.  He and I went to school together and I dated his younger brother when in college.  You cannot convince my Dad of anything.  As it is now, though, he is in his late 90's with cancer...he has mellowed and we are beginning to have a relationship again.  It has been a sad 10 years for me and I want him to know that I am that little girl who tried so hard to ride those horses they way I was taught..that I still love and have some redeeming qualities..;)  We have missed out on so much because of his belief in this.  May I say stubborn????:)  I want to just mend fences and let it be. 

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18 hours ago, Calm said:

Nice to see you again, Paloma.  Your avatar always makes me smile (Kanga and Roo were some of my favorite characters of my favorite books growing up).  First book I ever bought myself.  I think I still have it.

----

speaking in general on the subject of the pain conversion may cause in a family....

It is important in my opinion to recognize not only those beliefs we share, but also the beliefs that cannot be reconciled...the ones we shouldn't just agree to disagree on because that would mean in essence we were refusing to declare our faith and our God....though we may need to learn that such declarations need to be done in very specific ways if we wish the other to continue to listen and not shut their ears.

In most Christian faiths, God is the Creator and Man his creature with an unbridgeable gap between the two even for those faiths that believe in theosis/deification of mankind.  To believe that we are the same species as the Father as LDS doctrine teaches, that not only can the gap be bridged by Christ, but it doesn't really exist in the first place is blasphemy for those who hold this belief and may doom us to eternal hell.  Even if one wisely rejects antimormon lies, there is still that fundamental problem with the contrary fundamental belief of our faiths.

I think it is important to let people know you are aware of problems that actually exist and not dismiss them or devalue their importance.  It can help them believe you when you tell them something is not really an issue, but a misrepresentation of our beliefs.  

For example...

In the case of the father who saw rape as preferable to baptism, that is a reasonable view given that he is a firm believer in the ability of Jesus to heal and that mortal life is so short in comparison to the pure bliss that is promised the righteous in his beliefs.  Rape's emotional and physical pain and torment that comes with it ends at death; with resurrection for those who are saved the pain is left behind.  Baptism into a false faith in his view cripples the soul, separates the person from God and quite likely, if not repented, damns that person to eternal suffering much more painful that what would have been experienced through rape.  Instead of being disgusted with the father for saying that, we need to hear the very real, very deep fear he has for his child and his love that wants to protect her at all costs.

Last I heard there was a strong chance the couple had convinced her parents to attend a temple open house.  I need to find out the rest of the story.

Hi Calm,

While I completely agree with you that it's important to recognize the distinctives and differences in faith traditions, I'm thinking here that they could melt into the background for the present purposes as outlined in the OP ... and that prioritizing respectful relationships is the most harmonious, productive and hopeful way forward at this juncture.

I appreciate that agreeing to disagree may appear,  in essence,  that we're refusing to declare our faith and our God.  But here in this case (and I'm kind of bending backward in deference to the LDS need here, as opposed to the opposite view where I more naturally fit!), it seems to me that both sides know their own positions and there is a kind of "stand off".  What remains, it seems to me, is the possibility of  working towards a good relationship, despite the differences.  And since the person moving toward conversion in this case is moving toward LDS conversion and not the other way around, I would hope that the LDS spouse, Jane, would exercise as much reaching out in grace and humility as possible, for everyone's sake.

In the example you described above, you delve into the viewpoint of the father in the story and recognize the need to hear the very real and deep fears he has for his child.  I see this as really important ... making a real effort to see where others are coming from and appreciating the value of their concerns at a deep, empathic level.

A big part of my reason for stressing the importance of relationships is because of my own life.  I have a number of close friendships with people from different faiths, including LDS friends.  Usually, we're able to communicate our spiritual beliefs, despite our differences, because we recognize and appreciate the reality and depth of each other's faith.  With some friends, i find that it's best to simply enjoy the relationship without talking about our differing beliefs because to do so would lead to unproductive disagreements.

I used to be much more "exercised" about differences in faith, but, without compromising my own beliefs, I've become much more ready to enjoy people where we each find ourselves and trust God with it all.  I sense His love is way higher, deeper and broader than I can imagine ... and I take comfort in that.

 

 

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