Advice for Overbearing BIL

Discussions about negotiating relationships between faithful LDS believers and the apostates who love them. This applies in particular to mixed-faith marriages, but relations with children, parents, siblings, friends, and ward members is very welcome.
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notforprophet
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Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by notforprophet » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:26 am

Good Day All,
My little sister is wonderful and I love her to death. She's TBM and married to an absolute blockhead. BIL sent me one of those "I read this and thought of you..." messages recently. His tone and choice of words was unbelievable. I knew this guy sniffed his own farts but I didn't realize how stupendously arrogant he was. He instructed me to "get over what I believe so that a seed of faith can work inside me." Every phrase is dripping with assumptions about me; that I've never received a real spiritual witness (if I had I could NEVER change my mind), that I believe everything I read online, that I'm too embarrassed to come back. You guys know exactly what I'm talking about.

So against my sweet wife's pleas, I responded civilly. I closed off the conversation and actually walked away feeling okay about it.

My question is: how do I move forward now and for the many years to come? I've never liked this guy, even when I was TBM. Luckily this ass-hat lives in Idaho for now(I'm in Ontario), but they'll be back once they're done at BYU-I.

What are some things you guys do, or avoid doing, to keep the peace while remaining true to yourself?
God is either all powerful or all good.
I have yet to hear an explanation on how he can be both.
- Lex Luthor

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:42 am

notforprophet wrote:Good Day All,
My little sister is wonderful and I love her to death. She's TBM and married to an absolute blockhead. BIL sent me one of those "I read this and thought of you..." messages recently. His tone and choice of words was unbelievable. I knew this guy sniffed his own farts but I didn't realize how stupendously arrogant he was. He instructed me to "get over what I believe so that a seed of faith can work inside me." Every phrase is dripping with assumptions about me; that I've never received a real spiritual witness (if I had I could NEVER change my mind), that I believe everything I read online, that I'm too embarrassed to come back. You guys know exactly what I'm talking about.

So against my sweet wife's pleas, I responded civilly. I closed off the conversation and actually walked away feeling okay about it.

My question is: how do I move forward now and for the many years to come? I've never liked this guy, even when I was TBM. Luckily this ass-hat lives in Idaho for now(I'm in Ontario), but they'll be back once they're done at BYU-I.

What are some things you guys do, or avoid doing, to keep the peace while remaining true to yourself?
Never take the bait to enter a religious conversation no matter juicy a softball they throw at you. Your unwillingness to engage will eventually become a force field of social discomfort that will automatically steer all conversations to simple things. I endured an entire family reunion under the protection of this force field.

You win 100% of the battles you avoid.

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notforprophet
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by notforprophet » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:27 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:42 am
Never take the bait to enter a religious conversation no matter juicy a softball they throw at you. Your unwillingness to engage will eventually become a force field of social discomfort that will automatically steer all conversations to simple things. I endured an entire family reunion under the protection of this force field.

You win 100% of the battles you avoid.
Ah, it seems you've struck upon one of my weaker areas. Not engaging will be very difficult for me.
God is either all powerful or all good.
I have yet to hear an explanation on how he can be both.
- Lex Luthor

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alas
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by alas » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:02 pm

Especially with blockhead in laws, you don't get into religious conversations. Actually, avoid getting into ANY conversation with blockheads. Learn the art of smiling while you change the subject. Learn not to care what they think of you. Learn to be around your siblings and pretend their spouse doesn't exist. You didn't marry the blockhead, your sister did, so you do not have to LIKE the blockhead. All you have to do is be civil to him and not bad mouth him to your sister. You don't have to interact with him on anything but a superficial level. Learn to listen to your wife when she says not to respond to the blockhead.

All that being said, you did good to answer him civilly. But that sets up a precident of being willing to discuss church topics. So, end the precident. Next time he sends you a message that is church related, respond with a non answer. Rather than addressing the exact topic, just tell him something to the effect that while you appreciate that he cares enough to want to bring you to the church, that you feel he does not understand how much time and effort you have put into your study of the church and that you are comfortable and happy with your current beliefs. Then after that all you have to do is repeat that you are happy with your beliefs and do not wish to change them. See, easy peasy to not get into discussions. "I am happy with my beliefs and do not wish to change them."

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notforprophet
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by notforprophet » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:20 pm

Hm. I have to say: This advice is not at all what I expected, which is great. What good is advice that I can predict? I can just think of those things on my own.

This would be quite a shift in character for me to just give non-answers and change topics. I'll definitely weigh what you guys have said.

Thanks a lot for the feedback.
God is either all powerful or all good.
I have yet to hear an explanation on how he can be both.
- Lex Luthor

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alas
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by alas » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:59 pm

There is a reason us long time NOMs give this odd advice. And it is kind of counter intuitive. "To convince someone, don't argue with them." Yeah, kind of can see how that might come across as odd.

But if you can think back to the first item on your shelf. How did you react? A normal reaction is to make excuses for this fact that goes against our world view and cling tighter to our world view. It is one of the "rules" of cognitive dissonance. Are you familiar with what cognitive dissonance is? If not, do some research.

It is why TBM spouses often retrench and become more set in the religion when the spouse announces disbelief. They are trying to protect their world view from this fact that threatens it. The more you throw at a person when they are protecting their world view, the tighter they are going to cling. And all you end up doing is ruining the relationship. And if you make jerk BIL hate you, your sister will not be happy with you.

So, the more important point is to protect relationships because you are not going to convince a TBM that he is wrong by arguing with them. So, if you cannot convince them that you are right, and all you can do is destroy the relationship, what makes sense to do?

The best way to corrupt them is just like the church teaches you that Satan does it. One tiny fact at a time. Then let them chew on it. Don't give them more than they can handle because they just get angry and defensive and hate you. The first fact you want them to accept is that leaving the church has not made you "the enemy" or turned you into a miserable drug addicted sinner. You want to show them that leaving the church has made you more loving, more Christlike, more kind, giving, and that you are happy. Because that is not what the church tells them will happen. The church tells them you want to sin, that you will be miserable and your life will fall to pieces. So, you want to show them that the church lies about people who leave.

The second thing you want to do is keep their trust. Show them you care about them, that you love them more than you hate the church. If they trust you, then your opinion will matter. Then they will believe you when you say things about the church that they never heard before.

Then you are in a position where they will care what you think, trust you to be truthful, and then when you say something about church history that is not what the church teaches, they will go look it up for themselves, rather than rejecting what you said as an anti Mormon lie. And then you will have corrupted their testimony.

There was a NOM who was around long before I was even on the scene and she had 2 very important rules about talking with TBMs about church topics.

Rule #1 do not discuss church with TBMs.
rule #2. If you find yourself in a situation where you must discuss church with a TBM, then see rule #1.

Unless someone is open to learning about the nasty side of church, they will not listen to your points and only feel like you are attacking them. That is the argument approach. No matter how civil you are, when you introduce information they do not like, they will defend themselves. They shut their ears to you and you only make an enemy. So, when BIL wants to hear about how the church is not what it claims, then he will come to you. Until then, just be a good guy, the happiest most loving apostate he can imagine and prove that the church lies about apostates.

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Dravin
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by Dravin » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:30 pm

notforprophet wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:26 am
My question is: how do I move forward now and for the many years to come? I've never liked this guy, even when I was TBM. Luckily this ass-hat lives in Idaho for now(I'm in Ontario), but they'll be back once they're done at BYU-I.

What are some things you guys do, or avoid doing, to keep the peace while remaining true to yourself?
Well, as far as emails go an email filter is one route. Face to face, it takes two to really engage. You can either ignore him when he gets started on his "Save the Sheep" rhetoric or listen without comment until a final dismissive, "That's nice. (Obvious intentional subject change)." or "I'm happy that works for you. (Obvious intentional subject change)." The latter will probably tweak the guy's nose which is a negative or a plus depending on how you are feeling. There is a certain type of Mormon who will not accept a grey answer like that, they want you to denounce them as wrong or agree with them. Telling them you're glad they believe what they believe but it isn't for you really drives them up the wall.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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Newme
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by Newme » Thu May 09, 2019 7:08 am

notforprophet wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:27 pm
FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:42 am
Never take the bait to enter a religious conversation no matter juicy a softball they throw at you. Your unwillingness to engage will eventually become a force field of social discomfort that will automatically steer all conversations to simple things. I endured an entire family reunion under the protection of this force field.

You win 100% of the battles you avoid.
Ah, it seems you've struck upon one of my weaker areas. Not engaging will be very difficult for me.
I know what you mean. There’s Sooooo much I could tell them about how wrong they are and how right I am, but I’ve found that backfires. Most people go to great lengths to confirm their biases on a regular basis - so when confronted, they tend to buckle down even more.

Several months ago, my TBM sister sent me a text with a link to an lds talk, “Doubt Not but be Believing” which ignored my main 2 problems with the church (finances & cultish dysfunction). I thought of several ways I might respond, but ended up with: “Thanks for the thought anyway, [her nickname]!” Neither of us have brought up religion since.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by RubinHighlander » Thu May 09, 2019 7:23 am

I have to agree with the NOMer advice here. You can dive into the debate and throw down all the hard facts and it may feel cathartic to you but the TBM will walk away with their dogma jacket wrapped tighter around them and will tell themselves you are possessed with a devil.

The only success I've had in discussing the facts is by expressing them with true emotion; like how much it impacted me, how painful the cogdis was, how much of a struggle I went through. Then follow that up with admission that different people will come to different conclusions sometimes. So instead of throwing the facts at them you offer examples of how it impacted you and others. But if you two are at odds there's no room for a healthy discussion.

Here's a non church example of what we are talking about when it comes to those people to will filter out facts over their own tribal bias:

https://www.netflix.com/title/81015076
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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Just This Guy
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Re: Advice for Overbearing BIL

Post by Just This Guy » Thu May 09, 2019 7:24 am

Sounds like the best advice might be this:

Image



DO you self a favor and have his e-mails set as junk. Also block him on Facebook or whatever services he uses. Chances are it will take months for him to even realize you did it. If he gripes, just blame it on the computer. Everyone knows how finicky spam filters can be...

At the end of the day, you save a lot of headaches if you can avoid getting into it with this guy.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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