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Resign or Not to Resign


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16 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Can you help me understand the process here. A person resigns from the LDS church, I'm assuming by letter or some such. How does that cancel their baptism, temple marriage, etc? A ceremony gave the baptism and marriage, how does a letter or phone call get rid of it? The latter seems bureaucratic -- taking a name off of a membership list. How does that connect to the former -- a religious rite?

I'm curious as to your theology here. I'm not being critical of it. 

Like most things, “resignation”, means rejecting it all, and all the blessings that accompanies it. Also a simple phone call, or a simple letter is not how it is done. 

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38 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Since one is “opening a door to a larger Spiritual world”, and the the other is “closing the door to a smaller Spiritual world”. I would say, opening the door is better, so I am going with 8 years old. 

Except that joining the church at 8 is also rejecting all the other possibilities precluded by church membership, which can also mean that it is restricting their opportunities to know God.

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1 hour ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

As far as possessions, if our children don’t belong to us, who d they belong too? True we cannot live their lives for them, or direst them, but they do need to know they are ours. 

Our children belong to heavenly father.  We have been given stewardship and guardianship over them and if we are faithful we are an eternal family.  My son is an adult now.  All I can do is be an example and hope the best.  I suppose I just have to learn from this and be more attentive with my 10 year old son.  He is the one that requires more work with ADHD.  My 18 year old I can say is more mature than others his age.  He always has been.  He has never been a problem child.  Lots of self initiative.  Always did well in school without me once needing tell him to do homework.  I guess that is part of the difficulty I have not.  I have run out of time being a full time parent with him.  He leaves for school tomorrow and probably will not be back until Thanksgiving.  Its hard enough to see him leave and this was a double hit for me.  I am not 100% shocked by it as I had some suspicions but I guess I was in some denial.  He knows that we will always love him and he always has a place in our home.  Except I did tell him that if he ever plans to sell drugs out of our house, that is a red line.

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4 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Except that joining the church at 8 is also rejecting all the other possibilities precluded by church membership, which can also mean that it is restricting their opportunities to know God.

Sorry, but I don’t see it that way, obviously. I believe our membership allows to known God, on every level, rather than believe every “wind and doctrine”. So, we will have to disagree. 

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6 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Our children belong to heavenly father.  We have been given stewardship and guardianship over them and if we are faithful we are an eternal family.  My son is an adult now.  All I can do is be an example and hope the best.  I suppose I just have to learn from this and be more attentive with my 10 year old son.  He is the one that requires more work with ADHD.  My 18 year old I can say is more mature than others his age.  He always has been.  He has never been a problem child.  Lots of self initiative.  Always did well in school without me once needing tell him to do homework.  I guess that is part of the difficulty I have not.  I have run out of time being a full time parent with him.  He leaves for school tomorrow and probably will not be back until Thanksgiving.  Its hard enough to see him leave and this was a double hit for me.  I am not 100% shocked by it as I had some suspicions but I guess I was in some denial.  He knows that we will always love him and he always has a place in our home.  Except I did tell him that if he ever plans to sell drugs out of our house, that is a red line.

Sorry, but my children and grandchildren are mine, not on loan, and as far as they are concerned, I am their Father and Papa. 

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14 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Except I did tell him that if he ever plans to sell drugs out of our house, that is a red line.

I thought you were being a little strict there, but I am glad to see that stolen vehicles are still on the table.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rpn said:

You are right.   His baptism gives him the gift of the Holy Ghost, which matters, no matter how little one follows commandments or attends church.   I have a son who resigned when he wasn't living the gospel (and had done what he felt was unforgivable although I don't think it was something that church members would deem unforgiveable).  He's still having difficulty with that, but he feels stuck because he isn't a member.   Being on the membership rolls can mean that someone gets inspired to reach out to him at some time.   (If you are contacted for a new address, be sure to ask his permission to give it before doing so.  You need to respect his agency.)

And you may be the only example of discipleship of Jesus Christ that he sees.  Make sure you are a good one.   And help him understand that his discipleship of Jesus Christ is waaay more important than how often he attends church on Sunday (though the latter is important also).

Also, get him a copy of his patriarchal blessing, and the book "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson and "When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered" by Wilcox  to tuck in the bottom of one of the boxes he packs as he leaves.  Put a $20 bill in the little book so he'll have incentive to read the bigger one if he finds it.  Oh, and help him set up his free ancestry and other family history apps ---another good reason to maintain his membership) and and his own membership account and LDS Tools so he can easily find help if he ever needs it.

I pleaded with him not to resign.  I told him I was fine with him not going to church.  One of the main reasons he seemed to indicate he wanted to resign is he did not want people bothering him at school.  I suppose if I can work with the bishop not to forward any records, than he can be at school and that problem for him will be eliminated.  We have a good relationship so I have hope things in the future will change. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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8 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

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?

The same thing happened with me and my daughter.  It is gut wrenching because I think she would benefit greatly from the hope and comfort faith can give, but she manages fine most of the time and it is unrealistic to expect her to try and recognize the Spirit when she knows she can't always trust the feelings, ideas, and sensations her body and mind create at this point due to malfunctioning processes (her thyroid is a whack job and that is only the latest).  There is no way the still, small voice can be heard among the cacophony that is her current internal existence.  Maybe the Spirit will use a sledgehammer one day to get through, or healing will get her to a place listening becomes an option, but so far doesn't seem to be happening.  I know a bit of her experience due to medication cutting me off from the experience of feeling the Spirit for several years.  If I hadn't already been aware of it, I would never had notice it started communicating with me through others.  She never had the chance to experience that assurance.  Why would she therefore trust?

She was thinking of resigning, but I pointed out to her at the time there were a lot of 'statement' resignations and it might be taken to mean something that she did not want to convey, opposition rather than simple disinterest.  Part of me wonders if it would be better for her to resign so the covenant of baptism is officially no longer in force,  but minus belief (which I understand is the most important component) she lives the standards of the covenant in my opinion.  I believe God will accept as her part what she is currently capable of giving, so as long as she chooses to live the standards of the Church, I think that is okay.  Though we will probably revisit it in the future as I think she is less identifying with "Mormons" over social  issues and if she doesn't see herself as part of the community, it may be time to officially leave.

When she was first diagnosed with diabetes as a preteen, I received direction this was to be her life, not mine and her choices to make and I was not to try to force her down the path I preferred and that in the end all would be well for her.  Outside of insisting she take the insulin initially a few times when she was obviously irrational, I have tried to follow that guidance by giving her choices and not trying to manipulate her into the ones I prefer.  Most of the time I am okay with my own choices, she is a good, kind person I can be confident of in many ways, but sometimes I do get some panic I have let her down by not pushing her more to do what I thought was important.  But if I have done wrong, at least that is on me and not her and the Lord won't let her suffer or lack eternally for my weaknesses.

My advice, this is a burden the Lord is willing to carry for you if you let him.  Talk to him about it, it helps.  He won't make it all disappear, that is not what mortality is about, but he can give us the peace he promises if we ask him for it.  At least that is how it is working for me.

Edited by Calm
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Not necessarily to the OP, but to the general topic:

I don't think it is good to hold a person to such a promise they supposedly agreed to at age eight. What an unkind thing if a parent holds that over their older child's head. I do not think God would do that or want us to do it.

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3 hours ago, Peppermint Patty said:

I wonder how many 8 year olds are truly capable of understanding the ramifications and magnitude of their baptismal covenants?

I have my doubts adults can actually understand.  I don't believe we can until we have truly lived them.

It is why we have to experience mortality, to understand the ramifications and magnitude of our eternal choice to be one with God.

Edited by Calm
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36 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Except I did tell him that if he ever plans to sell drugs out of our house, that is a red line.

I tease my daughter about being a pagan (making sure first she is okay with it as the intent is to ease feelings of awkwardness we might have).

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The covenant is simply to learn and do what God wants us to do, as Christ did and would do.  If we don't know what the will of God is on something specific we can still learn and then do what God wants us to do. 

We're not expected to wait until we learn everything before we do something,  It's a process.  The more we learn and then know about what God wants us to do, the better we are able to do what we know God wants us to do.

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11 minutes ago, Calm said:

I have my doubts adults can actually understand.  I don't believe we can until we have truly lived them.

 

I agree. However, there's still extremely important differences between eight years old and eighteen.

Edited by Meadowchik
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3 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I agree. However, there's still extremely important differences between eight years old and eighteen.

Sure.  But 18 year old brains still haven't finished developing, so I don't think there is anything special about that age that signals 'now' they are mature or even 'this much more' mature.  It is an artificial social milestone created by our culture.

Edited by Calm
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1 minute ago, Calm said:

Sure.  But 18 year old brains still haven't finished developing, so I don't think there is anything special about that age that signals 'now' they are mature or even 'this much more' mature.  It is an artificial social milestone created by our culture.

The milestone of 18 is artificial, the age closer to a fully developed brain is a bit older. That only makes age eight even less reasonable and valid for the baptismal commitment.

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My two sons resigned last year. They are 31 and 28. The 31 year old son went on a mission. But he took the plunge into researching the church along with several of his returned missionary friends. And then my 28 year old son as well. Luckily I've been disillusioned as well, but it was quite a shock to think they are no longer members. I didn't want them to. I know, strange huh. But if I were a true believing member like I was, it would have killed me. And made my heart sick. But when you think about members like Don Bradley that went that route and then some, and returned, there is still hope. Your son is ahead of some though because you're aware of all of the warts, where he can have an open conversation where others would be afraid to bring things up. I'm with most everyone on the thread, lead out with Christ like love. :)

Edited by Tacenda
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3 hours ago, rpn said:

You are right.   His baptism gives him the gift of the Holy Ghost, which matters, no matter how little one follows commandments or attends church.   I have a son who resigned when he wasn't living the gospel (and had done what he felt was unforgivable although I don't think it was something that church members would deem unforgiveable).  He's still having difficulty with that, but he feels stuck because he isn't a member.   Being on the membership rolls can mean that someone gets inspired to reach out to him at some time.   (If you are contacted for a new address, be sure to ask his permission to give it before doing so.  You need to respect his agency.)

And you may be the only example of discipleship of Jesus Christ that he sees.  Make sure you are a good one.   And help him understand that his discipleship of Jesus Christ is waaay more important than how often he attends church on Sunday (though the latter is important also).

Also, get him a copy of his patriarchal blessing, and the book "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson and "When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered" by Wilcox  to tuck in the bottom of one of the boxes he packs as he leaves.  Put a $20 bill in the little book so he'll have incentive to read the bigger one if he finds it.  Oh, and help him set up his free ancestry and other family history apps ---another good reason to maintain his membership) and and his own membership account and LDS Tools so he can easily find help if he ever needs it.

I would so NOT do this.  The most important thing IMO for you to do is love your son and make sure he knows that love is based on who he is as a person and not who you want him to be.  If he starts to feel like your relationship with him is based on him reading what he would probably consider to be more Church propaganda, it may very well push him away from you.  Tucking some book in one of his boxes sends a message that you don't respect him unless he is in the Church and you certainly don't respect the choices he is making for his life.

When I came out, I honestly thought there was a strong possibility that my father may never talk to me again.  Yeah he was so sure that I wasn't gay and probably just going through a phase or something so he was bound and determined to straighten my life out for me.  He occasionally would call me up and ask if we could have dinner when he was in town.  I always was responsive and hoped that I could keep that door open in our relationship.  But every time we got together, he would start in about this scripture or that book. It started to define our relationship.  I told my ex wife that it was becoming unbearable.  She actually had a talk with him and he quit doing it.  Well he also quit seeing me, but that honestly was better than the constant "I am going to save you" attitude and if you just read the right scripture or read the right book, you will see that you should still be in the Church.  

Personally, I think the most important thing you can do for your son is let him know you love him no matter what.  The second most important thing you can do is to let him know that he can still believe in Christ and have a relationship with Christ even if he chooses to resign from the Church.  

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2 minutes ago, california boy said:

I would so NOT do this.  The most important thing IMO for you to do is love your son and make sure he knows that love is based on who he is as a person and not who you want him to be.  If he starts to feel like your relationship with him is based on him reading what he would probably consider to be more Church propaganda, it may very well push him away from you.  Tucking some book in one of his boxes sends a message that you don't respect him unless he is in the Church and you certainly don't respect the choices he is making for his life.

When I came out, I honestly thought there was a strong possibility that my father may never talk to me again.  Yeah he was so sure that I wasn't gay and probably just going through a phase or something so he was bound and determined to straighten my life out for me.  He occasionally would call me up and ask if we could have dinner when he was in town.  I always was responsive and hoped that I could keep that door open in our relationship.  But every time we got together, he would start in about this scripture or that book. It started to define our relationship.  I told my ex wife that it was becoming unbearable.  She actually had a talk with him and he quit doing it.  Well he also quit seeing me, but that honestly was better than the constant "I am going to save you" attitude and if you just read the right scripture or read the right book, you will see that you should still be in the Church.  

Personally, I think the most important thing you can do for your son is let him know you love him no matter what.  The second most important thing you can do is to let him know that he can still believe in Christ and have a relationship with Christ even if he chooses to resign from the Church.  

Your father has a wonderful son.

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Hello Carbon Dioxide...  I suppose I have as much experience with this as anyone... When I came home from BYU- Provo after my first year, I took what I intended to be only a summer job, returning to Provo in the Fall... but I met the man who would become my non-LDS husband.  I soon slipped into inactivity and pushed my testimony into the background... The difference between your son and me is that I didn't lose my testimony, just suppressed it.  I simply did not attend Church... I  did not resign, and as I look back am so thankful for that decision.... I know I broke my parents' hearts.  As for them, they continued to love me and live the gospel by example... and did not push me, nor did they stop talking about Church doings and mutual friends.  (Our family was sealed when I was 14 years old). They accepted my husband because of the wonderful person he was... but they continued to live by example even though I would not attend... this went on from my age 20 to age 55... 35 years... it was the sudden death of my  mom, and my staying with my dad for a month and attending Church... and my working with the Rel Soc pres in donating my mom's sewing/quilting etc., that I couldn't run back to the Church fast enough... when I got home, I told my husband I was really feeling the need to reactivate and he encouraged me and was supportive of my activity...   Now I am 80 years old, alone, but I'm sealed to my husband... I like to think of him waiting for me, perhaps a little impatiently.  I hope your son will not resign... he doesn't know what might happen.  He should not close any doors... I hope you'll continue to love and support him, and by all means live by example...

from the beach... GG

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11 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

He does not rule out coming back to church but plans to continue living most of the how he has grown up.

If he has tasted the sweetness that I have tasted, there is a good chance that he will come back. And if he hasn't tasted it yet, God has a plan to make sure that he does.

What was restored through Joseph Smith is expansive and beautiful and gives us the greatest possible hope. In the end, the Father will redeem all mankind through the mediation of the Son, barring those who are openly rebellious and, despite having experienced the pains of hell, prefer separation from God over repentance. And then He will pour out rewards to the fullest measure possible based on our willingness and capacity to receive them. Don't you give up, no matter how long it takes.

All you need to do is to enjoy as fully as possible all the blessings yourself so that when he's around you, he'll wonder what he's missing. Oh, and love him unconditionally so that he'll know that he's safe to return when the day comes.

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6 hours ago, Peppermint Patty said:

I wonder how many 8 year olds are truly capable of understanding the ramifications and magnitude of their baptismal covenants?

 

3 hours ago, Calm said:

I have my doubts adults can actually understand.  I don't believe we can until we have truly lived them.

It is why we have to experience mortality, to understand the ramifications and magnitude of our eternal choice to be one with God.

This is what I was thinking.  

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

That only makes age eight even less reasonable and valid for the baptismal commitment.

That depends on what one believes the commitment means. If it means basically that one wants to try and be like Jesus and be part of a group of people who are also trying....which is how I was taught and how I taught it to the many 6 and 7 year olds in Primary, I think they are capable of knowing that much. 

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10 hours ago, Peppermint Patty said:

I wonder how many 8 year olds are truly capable of understanding the ramifications and magnitude of their baptismal covenants?

My aunt told me a story once about a less-active sister who was coming back into activity.  Her Primary presidency asked her to teach a class.  She was terrified.  They asked her to teach the Sunbeams (3-4 yrs. old, for the benefit of the uninitiated.)  The subject of that particular week's lesson?  Repentance.  Not only was she terrified, she was utterly confused about how she might explain such a complex subject successfully, so that it might be grasped by those of such tender eyes, of tender ears, and of tender years.  She goes to the class, determined, at least, to try to do her best.  She asks her young charges, "Okay, so what is repentance?"  Whereupon, one of her young charges replies, "It means we git to twy agin."

The three-year-olds, the four-year-olds, and the eight-year-olds aren't the ones who complicate the beautiful and simple Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, or who are incapable of understanding it.  You and I, the adults in their lives, are the ones who do that.

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9 hours ago, Calm said:

That depends on what one believes the commitment means. If it means basically that one wants to try and be like Jesus and be part of a group of people who are also trying....which is how I was taught and how I taught it to the many 6 and 7 year olds in Primary, I think they are capable of knowing that much. 

I was blessed to teach a 7-8 year old primary class before ( and then after as well) my children were that age. I always thought 8 was just a number, but in that class I saw each of the kids make a change.  More awareness of being able to make their own choices.  Less childlike.  Harder to manage.  It wasn't exactly at 8.  Some a little before and some a little after.

I also taught a number of other ages as well. While the kids definitely matured through the year I never saw that fundamental shift.

You might think it was just from being taught about baptism etc, but I spent 3 years (each 3 years apart) coming in every week in every grade to grade school to help out. I saw this there in inactive and non member homes as well.

There is just something about age 8.  Giving them the opportunity to follow Jesus though baptism is a good thing. Expecting them to understand consequences fully then shows that we don't really understand their maturity and/or are naive as to our own lack of understanding as adults.

We can only do the best we can with the knowledge we have.

 

Edited by Rain
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