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Resign or Not to Resign


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I think it would be better if he decided he wanted to remain a member of the Church, maybe after you explain and he understands a bit more about the benefits he can continue to receive as a member, and while he continues to pay his tithes to the Church, and take the sacrament in your home after you bless and pass it, and while he also continues to pray to our Father in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ, and does all of the good things he can think of that he is able to do.  Yes, I think that would be much better than him deciding to resign (abandon?) his covenant that he made when he chose to be baptized.

But, you know, kids will be kids, and there really isn't anything you can make them do once they decide that they would rather do something else.  Just do your best to give them the very best counsel you can give them while sharing your own testimony with him.

His future is in his own hands to the extent that our Father in heaven will continue to let him make his own choices with whatever consequences come from his choices.

Edited by Ahab
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38 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Does it make much difference between a child not going to church and not resigning or not going to church and resigning.  One part of me suggests its a big deal but the other is if one is not going to church, does it really matter if his names are on the roles.  Am I stressing too much on this?

One difference it makes is that if his name is still on the church records he might get visited by well-meaning members or missionaries. But maybe he won't mind that so much. I depends on his personality. 

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I have a different take than jkwilliams. My dad asked me to not resign also. I have not done so, but mostly for my very old grandmother. At first blush, I think you might risk eventually alienating your son with this contingency. 

That said, from what you've said, it sounds like so far you have shown him very importantly that you care for him no matter what. Don't underestimate the value of what you've shown him already. When you're discouraged, remember that there are many ways a person can live a good life. Cheer on his efforts even when his version of good is not the Mormon way. 

My oldest was secretly agnostic for several years, about the same timing as your son. This was years before our family experienced the ecclesiastical abuse which led to our disaffection, and so she didn't tell us. She did however, make some changes that departed from our values. She practiced veganism because of her moral beliefs. Although it was inconvenient to support her choice, I, too, had noticed a change in her and wasn't sure of her testimony of the church, and I was proud of her for making a difficult choice to live her values. 

Supporting my daughter has made it possible for me to, surprise-surprise, continue being a positive part of her life. I'm glad that my believing-Mormon-self was able to respect her path of trying to be good, although her path didn't look like the way I believed in. That respect helped lay a good foundation for us.

This is tough and I am sorry this has depressed you, but I understand the pain. I wish the best for you and your family.

 

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1 hour ago, carbon dioxide said:

Does it make much difference between a child not going to church and not resigning or not going to church and resigning. 

The focus should not be on his "membership in the Church" so much as the covenant he made when he chose to be baptized.  He is breaking his own word, and that is a big deal. I would tell him that he should come up with some good reason(s) to justify breaking that covenant.

correction:  he hasn't broken his word or the covenant yet, but he is thinking about doing that.

Edited by Ahab
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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I have a different take than jkwilliams. My dad asked me to not resign also. I have not done so, but mostly for my very old grandmother. At first blush, I think you might risk eventually alienating your son with this contingency. 

That said, from what you've said, it sounds like so far you have shown him very importantly that you care for him no matter what. Don't underestimate the value of what you've shown him already. When you're discouraged, remember that there are many ways a person can live a good life. Cheer on his efforts even when his version of good is not the Mormon way. 

My oldest was secretly agnostic for several years, about the same timing as your son. This was years before our family experienced the ecclesiastical abuse which led to our disaffection, and so she didn't tell us. She did however, make some changes that departed from our values. She practiced veganism because of her moral beliefs. Although it was inconvenient to support her choice, I, too, had noticed a change in her and wasn't sure of her testimony of the church, and I was proud of her for making a difficult choice to live her values. 

Supporting my daughter has made it possible for me to, surprise-surprise, continue being a positive part of her life. I'm glad that my believing-Mormon-self was able to respect her path of trying to be good, although her path didn't look like the way I believed in. That respect helped lay a good foundation for us.

This is tough and I am sorry this has depressed you, but I understand the pain. I wish the best for you and your family.

 

I am depressed but I know in time it will ease.  I sort of figured that he probably would stop going to church at college.   I was prepared for that part.  Its the resignation part that I was not prepared for.  He is 18 and at that age their views change. I was not very committed when I was 18. Things change with time so it does not bother me that much if he goes inactive.  I just don't want him to cut the cord at least not yet.  I suppose I put in my mind expectations in my life of how things would happen.  He is the one of my brothers and sisters kids who has gone off in this direction.  I suppose if others also did it would be easier.  It makes me feel like a failed somewhere. I should have done better at things but I know I did not fail.  He has his agency and he is using it.  But its a thought that will stick in my mind for a while perhaps.  I just will have to do better and be a better example to him. That is all I can really do at this point.  He is a great kid and I will always support him.  What other option do I have?

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14 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I understand.  His response is that he was baptized when he was 8 and though he made a choice, it was a choice of an 8 year old.  I can understand his perspective on that.  He says he has not problems coming back but it has to be on his choice and not because he was born in it. 

I started a new thread on this topic.

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While the ages of 18 to mid-20s are the period members are most likely to leave it is also the time period in which you are most likely to come back.

2 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

My mother once said something that has always stuck with me: "My children may not have made the decisions I hoped they would make, but they are all good people, good citizens and neighbors, and I would like them even if they weren't my children." You can be proud that you brought up a good young man, one who is thinking for himself. That has to count for something.

I think you're doing the right thing by counseling him to take his time to decide what he really believes and wants to do with his life. From my apostate perspective, the resignation part doesn't make much of a difference. I've been mentally and spiritually out of the church for 15 years, but I haven't resigned because my wife asked me not to do so. Either way, it's not the end of the world. He will sort things out on his own, and it's the parents' job to love him.

The jerk in me wonders what the reaction is if they are bad people, bad citizens, and bad neighbors and I really would not like them if they weren't my children. I have seen that happen. :( 

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So sorry you are going through this!  I have several of my children - actually, most of them - that have followed this same path.  It's hard to keep an eternal perspective and know all will work out in the Lord's time and way - much as Kenngo said.  They all their journey and need to learn in their own way and time.  

As far as resigning - I see two sides to the issue.  On the one hand, it feels good to think they might have an easy road back should they choose, but on the other hand, if they are not going to live up to covenants made, perhaps being released form them for a time is a more merciful option.  

Either way, I will include you in my prayers for comfort.  A father's grief at a child's loss of faith is real. 

 

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2 hours ago, 2BizE said:

One thing to keep in mind is your son’s happiness.  Many people in the church are not happy because they don’t believe and don’t want to leave because of family pressure. And so they stay in a status of misery.  I hope your son finds happiness and that you are able to find the peace you need as well.

I don't support anyone living what they consider to be a lie simply to make someone else happy.  That said, pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.  (And that was said by someone who was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if you're wondering. ;))  I wish you well.

P.S.: Keep in mind: While we may be talking about an adult here, chronologically speaking, an eighteen-year-old and his perspective, coping ability, and so on, is not the same as that of, say, a forty-year-old or a fifty-year-old.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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3 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

Last night my 18 year old son threw one at my wife and I.  I suppose I was not shocked because for a while know I have questioned how much of a testimony my son had.  I however did not want to push him to much and give him his space.  He is going off to school in a few days for how long with COVID I don't know.  Anyway he said he does not have a testimony, does not plan to go to church and put in a resignation.   He says he stopped believing in 8th grade and went to church for his friends.  He read some anti stuff when he was younger and it sort of set him off.  Over time he has put a lot of it aside and is just wants to live life.  He does not rule out coming back to church but plans to continue living most of the how he has grown up.  No drinking or coffee ect.  Needless to say I am super depressed right now.  I have not been the best example in home church stuff though I don't  think it would have mattered even if I was.  He said as much to us.  I know my kids are not my possession.  We raise them and hope for the best and even the best parents like Lehi have problems.  Thankfully my son is not near a Laman or Lemual. 

Anyway the one thing I asked him was not to resign.  Take time off.  Don't go to church.   I feel that resignation is just a serious step that he should not take.  I don't know what he will do.  Am I right on this?  Does it make much difference between a child not going to church and not resigning or not going to church and resigning.  One part of me suggests its a big deal but the other is if one is not going to church, does it really matter if his names are on the roles.  Am I stressing too much on this?

If he is open to it, encourage him not to resign, and hopefully give him an example of how something similar happened to you and you are glad you kept your options open (it doesn't have to be Church-related).

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I have a different take than jkwilliams. My dad asked me to not resign also. I have not done so, but mostly for my very old grandmother. At first blush, I think you might risk eventually alienating your son with this contingency. 

That said, from what you've said, it sounds like so far you have shown him very importantly that you care for him no matter what. Don't underestimate the value of what you've shown him already. When you're discouraged, remember that there are many ways a person can live a good life. Cheer on his efforts even when his version of good is not the Mormon way. 

My oldest was secretly agnostic for several years, about the same timing as your son. This was years before our family experienced the ecclesiastical abuse which led to our disaffection, and so she didn't tell us. She did however, make some changes that departed from our values. She practiced veganism because of her moral beliefs. Although it was inconvenient to support her choice, I, too, had noticed a change in her and wasn't sure of her testimony of the church, and I was proud of her for making a difficult choice to live her values. 

Supporting my daughter has made it possible for me to, surprise-surprise, continue being a positive part of her life. I'm glad that my believing-Mormon-self was able to respect her path of trying to be good, although her path didn't look like the way I believed in. That respect helped lay a good foundation for us.

This is tough and I am sorry this has depressed you, but I understand the pain. I wish the best for you and your family.

 

It sounds like this was around 5 years ago. This was a challenging time for many, many people.

 

3 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

Last night my 18 year old son threw one at my wife and I.  I suppose I was not shocked because for a while know I have questioned how much of a testimony my son had.  I however did not want to push him to much and give him his space.  He is going off to school in a few days for how long with COVID I don't know.  Anyway he said he does not have a testimony, does not plan to go to church and put in a resignation.   He says he stopped believing in 8th grade and went to church for his friends.  He read some anti stuff when he was younger and it sort of set him off.  Over time he has put a lot of it aside and is just wants to live life.  He does not rule out coming back to church but plans to continue living most of the how he has grown up.  No drinking or coffee ect.  Needless to say I am super depressed right now.  I have not been the best example in home church stuff though I don't  think it would have mattered even if I was.  He said as much to us.  I know my kids are not my possession.  We raise them and hope for the best and even the best parents like Lehi have problems.  Thankfully my son is not near a Laman or Lemual. 

Anyway the one thing I asked him was not to resign.  Take time off.  Don't go to church.   I feel that resignation is just a serious step that he should not take.  I don't know what he will do.  Am I right on this?  Does it make much difference between a child not going to church and not resigning or not going to church and resigning.  One part of me suggests its a big deal but the other is if one is not going to church, does it really matter if his names are on the roles.  Am I stressing too much on this?

Are you sure it was "anti" stuff. Is it possible it was church authorized material like the essays? They roughly fit that time frame.

In any case, as others have said, expressing unconditional love is a fantastic approach to maintaining and building strong relationships.

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26 minutes ago, Maestrophil said:

... As far as resigning - I see two sides to the issue.  On the one hand, it feels good to think they might have an easy road back should they choose, but on the other hand, if they are not going to live up to covenants made, perhaps being released form them for a time is a more merciful option. ...

 

 

This.👆

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51 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I understand.  His response is that he was baptized when he was 8 and though he made a choice, it was a choice of an 8 year old.  I can understand his perspective on that.  He says he has not problems coming back but it has to be on his choice and not because he was born in it. 

I can understand that too, and it should be his own choice, just as it should have been his choice when he was 8 years old.  Hopefully someday he will choose to honor that covenant as a covenant that is worthy of his commitment to honor it.

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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

... In any case, as others have said, expressing unconditional love is a fantastic approach to maintaining and building strong relationships.

👆 This, too! :)

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38 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

While the ages of 18 to mid-20s are the period members are most likely to leave it is also the time period in which you are most likely to come back.

The jerk in me wonders what the reaction is if they are bad people, bad citizens, and bad neighbors and I really would not like them if they weren't my children. I have seen that happen. :( 

My mom would have reason to be disappointed if that were the case (heaven knows some people think at least one of her kids is pond scum). My point is that, given what the original poster said, the son is a good young man, and he should be proud of him. 

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2 hours ago, JAHS said:

One difference it makes is that if his name is still on the church records he might get visited by well-meaning members or missionaries. But maybe he won't mind that so much. I depends on his personality. 

I wonder if anyone has ever had his name removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, while he wasn't particularly bitter toward the Church before he did so, grew bitter afterward because, Gosh, if it were really the true Church, why would everyone (in a church that supposedly is so good at looking after the flock) ignore him? :huh::unknw:

Cain't win fer losin'?

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17 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

My mom would have reason to be disappointed if that were the case (heaven knows some people think at least one of her kids is pond scum). My point is that, given what the original poster said, the son is a good young man, and he should be proud of him. 

Right.  We don't just disagree with you, John, we think you're pond scum. :rolleyes:

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3 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I wonder if anyone has ever had his name removed from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, while he wasn't particularly bitter toward the Church before he did so, grew bitter afterward because, Gosh, if it were really the true Church, why would everyone (in a church that supposedly is so good at looking after the flock) ignore him? :huh::unknw:

Cain't win fer losin'?

I can confirm this has happened. Shock and outrage that we did not suddenly show up when their life inevitably imploded. By "inevitably" I do not mean because they left the Church. I mean "inevitably" because it was obvious to anyone that knew what they were doing how it would turn out.

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