90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

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TheBlackSheep
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90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by TheBlackSheep » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:16 pm

http://100hourboard.org/questions/90363/
http://100hourboard.org/questions/90656/

I'm legit upset about the answers to both of these (I asked the latter) and could use some perspectives from others, if anyone is interested in sharing their thoughts.

Emiliana
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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Emiliana » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:32 pm

Hoooooooo boy. Thorny issues. Thank you for bringing them up. I will try to give some input and I hope it's helpful.

From the original question - the anonymous writer said that the difficulties are pretty much irreconcilable. And....to be honest, I kind of agree. When a religion teaches that people who do or don't do X are wrong, period, and are going to hell (as some of my family members doubtless believe about me) or are "missing out on blessings", how the heck is there supposed to be reconciliation? One party or the other has to fundamentally change, and that's not always going to happen. East is east and west is west.

Beliefs matter. Our beliefs are private in a sense, but they have the power to harm others and we need to be aware of that. The belief that being isolated from one's family is in some sense good, because it maybe could bring about repentance, is hurtful. It just is.

On to the second question.
The Entomophagist wrote:to infer that merely from the fact that suicide has become more frequent in the general population is to assume that straight people aren't allowed to have depression or feel suicidal.
What the non sequitur???? I am a straight person who has dealt with depression and suicidality. That does not change the fact that other people also have depression and suicidality, and that those issues can be made much worse by familial rejection. I have enough empathy to recognize that if I were LGBT, my issues might be compounded by other people's hurtful reactions to my LGBT identity. That in no way invalidates the feelings of depression I have experienced as a straight person.

I don't have facts that either prove or disprove your hypothesis that rejection of LGBT youth is largely responsible for the increased suicide rate. My gut agrees with you. But whether you're right or wrong in no way invalidates anyone else's experience of depression. Good grief.
The Black Sheep wrote: If there had been any way for me to stay an active LDS person, I would have. I tried. I could not, however."
Yes. This. I am 90% sure I understand this. My experience has not been the same as yours (mine didn't involve the same level of trauma), but I understand this. No offense to Anne, Certainly, but she clearly does not understand what you mean because her response.....doesn't match what I'm pretty sure you meant.

Also, although non-doctrinal cultural aspects of religion can be damaging, they're not the only thing that's damaging and could cause someone to leave a religious community. Sometimes the actual core doctrines are hurtful! And it's no wonder that people behave in hurtful ways when they believe hurtful things! (Slightly tangential, but relevant: An example from my own religious upbringing is that some enormous percentage of human beings, who are not in the "correct" church, are going to literally burn in a literal pit of fire for a literal eternity. And somehow they still believe that there is a loving deity. That is a seriously effed up definition of love, and of course it's going to hurt people if your model of love is that deity.)
Sheebs wrote:I think it is justifiable to leave room for the possibility that many people who leave the church are genuinely doing the best that they can.
That's.....kind of condescending?



TL;DR: People's beliefs inform their actions. I am sorry that people's beliefs and subsequent actions have been hurtful to you, TBS.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by TheBlackSheep » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:37 pm

Emiliana wrote:From the original question - the anonymous writer said that the difficulties are pretty much irreconcilable. And....to be honest, I kind of agree.
Yeeeeah, me too. Something's gotta give for anything to substantively change, and an expectation that this will happen is just not usually practical in these situations.
Emiliana wrote:The belief that being isolated from one's family is in some sense good, because it maybe could bring about repentance, is hurtful. It just is.
Omg right? This was my main issue with the original answers, other than the writers discussing Tom Christofferson, which makes me uncomfortable.
Emiliana wrote:
The Entomophagist wrote:to infer that merely from the fact that suicide has become more frequent in the general population is to assume that straight people aren't allowed to have depression or feel suicidal.
What the non sequitur???? I am a straight person who has dealt with depression and suicidality. That does not change the fact that other people also have depression and suicidality, and that those issues can be made much worse by familial rejection. I have enough empathy to recognize that if I were LGBT, my issues might be compounded by other people's hurtful reactions to my LGBT identity. That in no way invalidates the feelings of depression I have experienced as a straight person.
Thanks for saying that. I worried that I hadn't been clear enough on that somehow? But it's also a weird statement to make to me, as you could argue that I started the current trend of writers being open about their mental health struggles and really championed that, even talking about my own suicide attempt when that was not done. For all anybody knew back then, I was straight. I don't think I've ever suggested otherwise? And that's obviously not the point I was trying to make?
Emiliana wrote:I don't have facts that either prove or disprove your hypothesis that rejection of LGBT youth is largely responsible for the increased suicide rate. My gut agrees with you. But whether you're right or wrong in no way invalidates anyone else's experience of depression. Good grief.
I have some stats. I'm thinking of sending in a follow-up question to inquire as to what statistics we need to have to back up that statement. But the major point is, I agree. Nothing about that suggests that straight/cis people are not allowed to have depression or suicidal ideation. Frustrating.
Emiliana wrote:
The Black Sheep wrote: If there had been any way for me to stay an active LDS person, I would have. I tried. I could not, however."
Yes. This. I am 90% sure I understand this. My experience has not been the same as yours (mine didn't involve the same level of trauma), but I understand this. No offense to Anne, Certainly, but she clearly does not understand what you mean because her response.....doesn't match what I'm pretty sure you meant.
Yes, I'm sure you do. I gave believing in the Mormon gospel (because, to be clear, I don't believe in the Mormon gospel anymore) everything I had for a good long while. Her response was fairly invalidating but also fairly typical of active Mormons, because they do believe that theirs is the one true way and if it doesn't work for everyone it kind of torpedoes the whole thing.
Emiliana wrote:Also, although non-doctrinal cultural aspects of religion can be damaging, they're not the only thing that's damaging and could cause someone to leave a religious community. Sometimes the actual core doctrines are hurtful!
YES.
Emiliana wrote:
Sheebs wrote:I think it is justifiable to leave room for the possibility that many people who leave the church are genuinely doing the best that they can.
That's.....kind of condescending?
I appreciated Sheebs' response, actually, because even a moderate response like that one is pretty darn liberal in Mormon doctrine. (So Sheebs, if you read this, thank you.) And really, I couldn't really give active Mormons any more than that if I were being 100% truthful (though I wouldn't phrase it that way, even though I'm about to for parallelism's sake). Yes, they belong to a (per my estimation) harmful institution and are therefore helping it survive, but I do believe that, generally, they are doing the best that they can with their experiences and their feelings with what they have.
Emiliana wrote:TL;DR: People's beliefs inform their actions. I am sorry that people's beliefs and subsequent actions have been hurtful to you, TBS.
Thanks Emiliana. And thanks for talking to me about this.

P.S. Would you be interested in a postmormon podcast that involves a lot of swearing? I have ex-evangelical-type friends who listen to it for the similarities to their own situations. PM me if yes.

(Edited to change a word for clarity.)

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Arcaiden » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:32 pm

Oh man these posts brought up a lot of feelings for me. I also think they are pretty much example A for why I don't want a lot of my family at my wedding.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Emiliana » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:39 am

TheBlackSheep wrote:
Emiliana wrote:
Sheebs wrote:I think it is justifiable to leave room for the possibility that many people who leave the church are genuinely doing the best that they can.
That's.....kind of condescending?
I appreciated Sheebs' response, actually, because even a moderate response like that one is pretty darn liberal in Mormon doctrine. (So Sheebs, if you read this, thank you.) And really, I couldn't really give active Mormons any more than that if I were being 100% truthful (though I wouldn't phrase it that way, even though I'm about to for parallelism's sake). Yes, they belong to a (per my estimation) harmful institution and are therefore helping it survive, but I do believe that, generally, they are doing the best that they can with their experiences and their feelings with what they have.
Okay, yeah, that makes sense, and probably isn't too different from what I would say about many of my evangelical friends, so maybe I was too hard on her.
The Black Sheep wrote:P.S. Would you be interested in a postmormon podcast that involves a lot of swearing? I have ex-evangelical-type friends who listen to it for the similarities to their own situations. PM me if yes.
I've seen it on your facebook and it does look interesting! I've intended to listen to it but tbh I rarely actually get around to listening to podcasts.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by TheBlackSheep » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:53 pm

Oh duh, of course. Honestly, neither do I. Thank goodness Stunt does and then passes on the must listen list.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Emiliana » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:19 pm

Arcaiden wrote:Oh man these posts brought up a lot of feelings for me. I also think they are pretty much example A for why I don't want a lot of my family at my wedding.
Sigh.

Is this a hypothetical future wedding? Or are you getting married?

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by vorpal blade » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:21 pm

I have a few thoughts to share.

About fifty years ago my oldest brother left the church. It seemed to be a gradual thing. One of the first indications to me was the suggestion that I might do better to serve in the Peace Corp than go on a mission. He did not marry in the temple, although he said it was his intention of later marrying in the temple. I attended his marriage, but was not invited to his temple marriage if he ever had it.

Later he divorced his wife and he seemed to not want any contact with the family. At least, that is what my parents told me, and that was the impression we all had. Some few years later I contacted him and asked if I could visit and stay the night. I was surprised when he said yes. When I visited with him he took pains to show me his liquor collection, and how he now drank with friends. He also bragged about how many young woman he had slept with, showing me his bed. I decided to not say anything, knowing he knew exactly what I thought about that. In my brother’s opinion it was not him who had broken off contact, but it was my parents and the rest of the family who didn’t want to have anything to do with him because he had left the church.

When I returned to the home of my parents I told them what he was doing with his life, and that he was not opposed to having contact with us, but he supposed that we didn’t want to have contact with him. My parents were greatly saddened to hear of his lifestyle, but felt encouraged to reach out to him. After that relations slowly began to improve.

A few years later my brother remarried. He did not invite us to the wedding. We continued to try to reach out to him and assure him that he was still welcome in the family. My father had once said that if you really wanted to hurt his feelings just get married and not tell him about it until later. This is what my brother did.

After my brother divorced his second wife I asked if my wife and family could come to visit him. He refused, I later learned that he was living with another man’s wife and he didn’t want any questions asked. I think he felt bad about turning us away, and some monts or years later asked if he and his girlfriend and her child could come to visit with my family. I said I would be happy to see them

As I thought about it I began to worry. I didn’t want him to feel that I was rejecting him, and I did want to see him. But could I really say in effect, “Here. You and this other man’s wife can sleep together in our guest queen size bed. I see no problem with that.” Well, of course, I wouldn’t have to put it like that, but I was worried that this might be the non-verbal communication I was giving, and his thoughts might run along the lines of “I see that my brother doesn’t really believe in the principles he espouses.”

As it turned out my brother must have thought about the dilemma he was giving me, and he insisted that he couldn’t stay the night. They had plans to go camping and had made reservations for that and he wouldn’t think of staying the night with us.

Not long after that he married the woman in his home, and I was invited to the wedding. I attended, and sincerely wished them well. She seemed like a sweet woman and would be kind to him, and I was happy for him.

Many years have now passed. He seems close to the family now, and attends family reunions and visits us and we visit him. He is pretty close to several of my children, who really appreciate him and get along great with him. They think he is a wonderful person. And he is. Curiously, the one brother I have who doesn’t get along with him is my other brother who is not active in the church.

So, after 50 years my brother has not come back to the church. I believe he would be happier if he did, but I don’t say anything about that to him. If and when he wants to talk about his problems with the church I am ready to talk. He will always be my brother.

Thanks for reading.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Arcaiden » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:59 am

Emiliana wrote:
Arcaiden wrote:Oh man these posts brought up a lot of feelings for me. I also think they are pretty much example A for why I don't want a lot of my family at my wedding.
Sigh.

Is this a hypothetical future wedding? Or are you getting married?
Still hypothetical. But honestly most extended family is off the list without any doubt. My parents present a more complicated issue. But I have directly told them that I am very bothered by their enforcement of the November policy change, particularly because of how damaging it is to young people who could be the exact version of me 15 years ago.

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Re: 90363 & 90656 - Interacting with inactive family members

Post by Emiliana » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:13 pm

Arcaiden wrote:
Emiliana wrote:
Arcaiden wrote:Oh man these posts brought up a lot of feelings for me. I also think they are pretty much example A for why I don't want a lot of my family at my wedding.
Sigh.

Is this a hypothetical future wedding? Or are you getting married?
Still hypothetical. But honestly most extended family is off the list without any doubt. My parents present a more complicated issue. But I have directly told them that I am very bothered by their enforcement of the November policy change, particularly because of how damaging it is to young people who could be the exact version of me 15 years ago.
:(
Yeah, I can see how inviting or not inviting parents could be a sticky issue.