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What would you want?


Bloom

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Hello! I hope this isn't against the guidelines, but I'm not sure where else to ask. I'm 28 years old and an ex-mormon, but my family are all still very devout members. I resigned 4 years ago and my family and I are still close, but it's definitely been a difficult process for them, especially with my new religion. I feel like there's been plenty of time for them to accept my new faith and my new life, but whenever I'm around them, they pretend I'm still LDS, and don't acknowledge my relationship with my boyfriend (whom I've lived with for 5 years). My mom still tries to hook me up with single members. I'm overjoyed with being out of the church, and I feel like I'm constantly moving forward. I'd like the same happiness for my family, but it seems like they're stuck and stagnant. So my question is, how can I help them accept me and my life outside the church? If you were a parent, what would make it easier on you? Is there something you would like your child to do or say if they left the church like I did? My parents and I have never been very good at communicating, and if I asked them these things they'd just say "you can help by coming back to the church." Which, unless I'm willing to accept being miserable for the rest of my life just to appease them, this is out of the question - and then they wouldn't want to talk about it any more. So what would you do?

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I don't know. I've never been a parent, and I've never cared about anyone else's religion. I have no idea where my folks and family are coming from. It's been 4 years and they still can't accept my decision and move on. I guess I'd like to know how to bring them the same peace I have - if there's something more I can do to give them that. 

I try to go to church with them on special days like their birthdays, or if my nieces and nephews are giving a primary presentation - but I work most Sundays so this doesn't always happen. Is this leading them on? When they're around their church friends, they refer to my boyfriend as just my 'roommate' and I don't correct them because I think it'd embarrass them. Am I doing more harm than good? 

Also sorry if I didn't reply correctly, I'm not used to forums and don't really know how they work.  

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My mother-in-law has known me for 20 years now and still does in no way approve of my faith -- in fact she still tries to manipulate my husband behind my back to 'change' me.  My husband and I are both very very sick of her antics.  And she now also pulls the same stunts with our daughter (whom I'm raising in my faith with husband's approval).  So I have an decent idea of where you are coming from.  I also happen to be from your neck of the woods physically ;)

8 hours ago, Bloom said:

So my question is, how can I help them accept me and my life outside the church?  If you were a parent, what would make it easier on you? Is there something you would like your child to do or say if they left the church like I did?  My parents and I have never been very good at communicating, and if I asked them these things they'd just say "you can help by coming back to the church." Which, unless I'm willing to accept being miserable for the rest of my life just to appease them, this is out of the question - and then they wouldn't want to talk about it any more. So what would you do?

For the specific issue of trying to set you up: simply have that be an off-limits conversation.  You don't need to sit through it.  

For the larger picture:   All parties need to learn to learn to love each other despite "Bob" not approving of "Sam's" beliefs & "Sam" not giving "Bob" his approval.  Love should never be dependent on belief agreement or approving/getting approval beliefs/actions.  For LDS, there is the concept of free agency and accountability which extra highlights this.  

39 minutes ago, Bloom said:

I have no idea where my folks and family are coming from. It's been 4 years and they still can't accept my decision and move on. I guess I'd like to know how to bring them the same peace I have - if there's something more I can do to give them that. 

They need to love you as you are, without trying to change you or make you what they think would be happy.

Likewise, you need love them as they are, without trying to change them or make them what you think would be happy.

It's a two way street.

39 minutes ago, Bloom said:

I try to go to church with them on special days like their birthdays, or if my nieces and nephews are giving a primary presentation - but I work most Sundays so this doesn't always happen. Is this leading them on? When they're around their church friends, they refer to my boyfriend as just my 'roommate' and I don't correct them because I think it'd embarrass them. Am I doing more harm than good? 

You can make it clear that "I'm here to support you on your day of ____.  I'm not here because I'm interested in rejoining the LDS church.  I'm here because I love you and want to support you, despite our differences".  

If they want to keep holding the torch despite you making it super clear you're not changing... frankly that's their problem, not yours.  Just like I've had to accept that my mother-in-law's choice is her own.  I still love her.  And if she wants to ask questions, I'm game.  But I'm not changing to 'win' her love, nor do I require her to change for me to bestow my love.

39 minutes ago, Bloom said:

Also sorry if I didn't reply correctly, I'm not used to forums and don't really know how they work.  

You're doing great.  Hopefully something here can help you.

Edited by Jane_Doe
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Just know that I feel for you and your circumstance.  Eventually...with your help as you have done, things will get more accepting...but do not expect that accepting is embracing.  They love you..they do..and in their minds their is sorrow for you.  That is something YOU have to accept.  To acknowledge your new religion and life they feel thay maybe they will offend the Lord.  But I hear you..and may  you find a way to bridge..it is different for everyone.  You are loved though..don't forget that. I speak from experience..my father accepted me..and loved me in his own way. but embracing my life and difference was questioned always.

Edited by Jeanne
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I wouldn't correct them in front of other people as that would embarrass them.  Other people are probably going to get the subtext with "roommate" anyway.  If he isn't there and it is not an issue with him, it is probably not a big deal since those you are being introduced to aren't going to be interacting with you elsewhere.  If he is there, you can hold his hand or link arms....the relationship will be very clear then.  

There is also no reason for those thinking you are roommates to have hurt feelings if they find out it is more unless they are the ones you are being set up with...if they are you could smile and say "my very significant roommate" or something else that gives a correct impression but comes across more clarification than correction.

So not a hill to even climb up, imo, let alone fight over.  Save that for when it has an impact on your relationship with your boyfriend.

I would talk to him about whether it matters to him that they are still trying to set you up, etc.  If it bothers him, then it sounds like something you might want to attempt to set up boundaries for.  Point out that if they continue to push things at you that are unpleasant, they will more likely push you away as it becomes uncomfortable to be around them and they are doing the opposite of convincing you the family is there for you and helping you to want to be there for them.  If they keep pushing it, they are making you feel that getting their own way is more important than you spending time with them and since you know you won't be doing what they want in those areas, you might begin to believe it is better for everyone to stay away and avoid conflict and dissapointment.

You might want to mention they are teaching you their idea of the gospel is to force others to do what they want, not that it means love and agency and fulfillment and personal and family growth.  Point out it has the opposite effect of what they want, you want to spend less time with family, less time celebrating with them at church.

They will likely never stop believing you may convert back, so why not be honest about it and say something along the lines of "I don't believe I will ever change my beliefs again, but I know for sure I won't when I am learning from you your beliefs mean it is okay to try and cage me with your rules, which makes me feel less.  Why would you think there is any appeal to me in those beliefs?  Teach me by example that the gospel makes you happier, not that it gives you permission to force those you love into being  your puppets."  (Use words that aren't very edgy for them so you avoid strong offense as that will shut down their thinking, keep it generally soft but a little pushy, so they keep listening, but get the idea still).

Assuming you pray (you aren't specific in your current beliefs), you might tell them that you are willing as a constant part of your prayers to ask God to let you know the truth of his will and you will try to remain open to the Spirit teaching whatever God wants you to learn.  Tell them the Spirit will be what converts you to God's will while their efforts make it harder to hear the Spirit, not easier because you feel hurt and frustrated when you think of how they are trying to push their desires, their understanding onto you and you feel the need to push back, push those ideas away, not to think about whether or not they might be true.

Again, if they believe they are right, they will be assuming that one day you will accept their beliefs as truth no matter what you say or do and if you state there is no way, they will probably just push harder as their fear of losing you eternally will grow stronger.  If you instead approach it from the standpoint of you are doing your best to follow God's Will for you and will continue to do so, but you need to seek him in your own way and time, they might have enough hope and trust to back off and let you proceed as long as they believe you are open to the Spirit.

Otoh, since you describe them as still setting you up even though you are in a relationship, they may not be capable of listening and you will need to decide if you can just interact with them without engaging with their games (saying "not interested" and leaving it at that may get the message across sooner than arguing with them as paying attention even in negative ways canfeel rewarding, appearing bored and uninterested is generally not rewarding to the person trying to engage you).

Edited by Calm
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Mom and Dad, I've been living with bf for 5 years now and you keep interfering with our relationship by offering to set me up with a "good mormon _____".   Will you please stop doing that.  I claim the privilege of worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and I hope you'll let me, since that is supposed to be one of the articles of your faith.  I want you to love the authentic me, which means that when I visit I shouldn't have to wear or talk like I did when I was a kid.  I'm happy to honor the normal family rules (though I won't be staying here any longer unless I can share a room with bf), while I'm in your home, but I want to be able to talk about ideas and things outside of your church things.   I want you to accept and love me and my partner, even if we don't share your faith."

Worst case is they reject you (and if their first response is not good, I'd still work with it until some time has passed before giving up, as it can take some space and time).   And also consider talking more openly with other family members, as your siblings or others might be more open than your parents.

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I like what has been said so far, especially by Jane.

I find a lot of worth in trying to see something from the other person's point of view.  Not so that you can learn to agree with them, but so that you can understand them better.  You might never be able to change their feelings but at least you'll know you actually understand their feelings and have approached the problem from the perspective that matters to them.  You said yourself that you've never cared about anyone's religion, so one thing that might be hard for you is to understand WHY your parents are acting the way that they are.  Maybe if you can understand why (the deep why), and really come at it from that angle, it would help.

For your parents, this is about your soul.  Specifically, this is about their belief that you are making a choice that will separate you from them and the family after you die for eternity.  If your boyfriend was making a choice that you sincerely and literally believed would sever your relationship prematurely, how would you feel?  How would you react?  How long would you work to change his mind?  And, what could he do to help you get past that without changing his behavior?

Answering those questions might help give you some insight into how to approach your relationship with your parents.  Good luck and best wishes.

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I'm replying as a parent.  Bluebell is so right. I cannot tell you how painful it is to have a child who makes choices that I believe will separate the child from God. I'm not just talking about a choice of church or boyfriend, but a number of things.

You cannot give them peace. The changes you want them to make may not give them peace either. That has to come from inside. You feel you have found peace outside the church. They may feel they feel peace inside the church. They want you to change, but you want them to change as well. Just like Jane said, this is a two way street.

For me I have found that I needed to be clear as rpn describes, recognice agency and just love my child. While I knew this in my head, it took awhile to understand in my heart that love doesn’t mean agreement. Love just means love as God gives it. 

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