Amazing! I wonder if any of them have said to themselves, Maybe this is all bullshit.
I am sure many of them do, I did. I have a married daughter who lives in SLC who thinks most of it is weird. She has never read the Book of Mormon or the Bible and does not even really know anything about church history. It doesn’t matter because all of her husbands family and even all of his bosses at work are LDS. Her entire neighborhood is LDS and all of her kids friends are LDS.
When you live is Utah being Mormon or even leaving the church if you wanted is entirely different than me deciding to leave the church while I was living here in Oregon.
In Utah it is NOT just a few people you know going to church on Sunday, it is EVERYTHING. It is your neighbors, friends, relatives, family, work, culture, and lifestyle. It would be one thing to move there as a non-member and live amoung them. Ward members would try and be nice to you and fellowship you because they want you to join. BUT, it is an entirely different matter to be LDS and leave the church. If you live in Utah and become an apostate…..you and your kids might as well become lepers.
I remember many woman stressed out to the max and having questions but, if you question too much….the bishop will call you in for a chat and depending on your answers, you could lose your church calling (teaching job) or your temple recommend or even told you could not take the sacrement…..and then, even if no one knew the exact reasons why you were being punished…..they would KNOW you had f—-ed up and not worthy…..then they would stop inviting you to do activities with them and stop letting theyr kids play with your kids…...it is scary.
So, if you are ready for a battle and ready to change everything you have ever known, you need to really prepare yourself for what happens, if not and you are not ready to stand alone, you cave in, take valium, put on a happy face, and pretend you are not getting ready to scream.
(sorry for the lengthy disertations, this has touched a nerve because I have been there and have people I know there now)
Cindy, I really admire you for being able to be true to yourself, knowing it meant ostracism from family and friends and your community. That takes a lot of bravery. I know from my brother and his family how the Church is a part of every aspect of your life in the LDS faith. We were brought up Greek Orthodox Christian, but Church participation wasn’t mandatory and you could keep up appearances while living your own life quite easily.
My own family was torn apart when my brother converted to the LDS faith. My mom and dad are/were devout Greek Orthodox Christians and it was devastating to them that their son left the ‘one true church’. They felt they lost their son forever, and my dad believed that when anything went wrong in his life, God was punishing him for not protecting his son from being led astray. I even asked our family priest to talk to my dad and convince him that my brother had a mind of his own and that God wouldn’t hold my dad accountable for his desicions, let alone ‘punish’ him, but even the priest couldn’t convince my dad.
He passed away this past June. It breaks my heart that my dad suffered so much unnecessary guilt, he was a very moral and compassionate man and didn’t deserve to live with that kind of guilt and self-reproach.
It also made my parents much more strict than they had been before my brother’s conversion. I wasn’t allowed to go to my friend’s parties or stay over at slumber parties, all the normal girl stuff, because my parents were afraid of these non-Greek families would also try to lead me ‘astray’.
It’s interesting because it sounds exatcly like Mormonism and what happened in my family somewhat.
Mormon men who hold the priesthood (God’s power to act in his name on Earth) believe they are held accountable by God for their family either for good or bad. All of my 5 brothers and sisters are inactive except one who lives by them now. My dad blames himself and while he was a wonderful loving father, feels like a failure and feels like God will hold him accountable for the rest of us.
When he was a teen he didn’t go on a mission for the church like the rest of his brothers, he went into the army during the Korean war. He feels that because he didn’y go on a mission, his family leaving the church is part of his punishment.
I am the oldest and was the closect to them, When I left the church and all religion in general, they were absolutely torn up inside. They feel they when we die they will not have their family and worse that I am corrupting my daughters and keeping them from heaven. It is quite sad really.
My youngest brother Jeff was living with them and did not go to church at all. He passed away last March and now my mom and dad have all of these dreams, feelings, visions, whatever you want to call them, that Jeff is with my dad’s father and mother in heaven and that they are taking care of him, They have convinced that because Jeff was clinically depressed and having a hard time living alone that he is not accountable for not going to church and will get a do over with my dead grandparents helping.
I have no idea what to say when my mom tells me she saw Jeff again in her dreams and he is being taken care of by grandpa. I guess they needs this to cope.
I wish we could have a heart to heart conversation about things but we can’t. Nothing will convince him that my leaving is his mistake. It’s interesting also because I have a wonderful life with a loving husband, great daughters, decent job, and great health but to them I am a failure because I don’t go to church. If I called them and said “Hey “guess what, I have been elected senator of Oregon and given an award for the best person alive” Ny dad would still think, “too bad you don’t go to church though.”
I guess these two stories just show more on how religion tears people apart no matter what their belief.