I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

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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Thoughtful
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I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Thoughtful » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:59 pm

I've been frustrated that every conversation with mom ends with me upset and her thinking I'm an angry apostate, that's reading the wrong stuff, listening to anti Mormons, and basically having a big ole chip on my shoulder about polygamy and gender issues.

I decided I needed to stop picking fights (or heated discussions).

I keep falling into the same pattern.

But I realized, she's starting it.

She's finding some "interesting tidbit" from some cockamamie source like Saints to explain to me why I'm missing the point. Yesterday it was someone in Nauvoo having spiritual wives to get lots of sex and give polygyny a bad name. So it wasn't really that bad, he just made it look that bad.

And then I ended up taking the challenge to provide better facts (JS did it first, but didn't like unauthorized imitators.) And it eventually turns snarky.

Or, for example, Mom: the temple ceremony is so great and ancient. Don't get mad at the church and lose eternity!

Summary--
Me: not ancient, actually ripped off from masons
Mom: but the masons were ancient, from Solomon
Me: that's what BY said, but now we have historical proof otherwise, mason's 1600s, Solomons temple rites nothing like it.
Mom: but someday in the afterlife you will know the truth
Me: Adam-God.
Mom: huh?
Me: BY was psycho. Also Quakers on the moon.
Mom: sometimes they speak as men though.
Me: in the temple endowment?
Mom: ...
Me: ...
Mom: I know what I've felt.
Me: elevation emotion
Mom: or religions can have some truths.
Me: other religions testify God told them they are the only true church.
Etc.

She's picking the fights, I'm rising to the occasion. Going to her house for Turkey soon... help! Help me stay calm and find a one liner to set a boundary and change the subject instead of debating!

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alas
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by alas » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:46 pm

Just learn the phrase, “Mom, I have decided that it is best if we don’t talk about the church.” Then change the subject. “Oh, guess what Jamie said the other day.” Or, “isn’t the snow lovely?” Or, “ I sure hope it snows for Christmas.”

Repeat as necessary.

One of the original type posters on NOM had 2 rules for discussions about the church with TBMs.

1. Do not discuss the church with TBMs.
2. If you must discuss the church with TBMs see rule #1.

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jfro18
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by jfro18 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:41 pm

I'm with Alas. If she pushes you to discuss the church after you tell her no, then maybe tell her you could set another time to do it but not on Thanksgiving. That might help to get it delayed so you can get through the holidays. Maybe even agree to send each other reading materials at a later date to go over at an even further away date. :lol:

Arguing on Thanksgiving is just not going to go anywhere and the last thing you want to do is have an awkward, angry night that snowballs.

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Corsair
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Corsair » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:41 pm

The general advice from Jfro18 and Alas is correct. Your mother is not having a discussion with you. She's presenting a lecture. She is not really interested in your opinion on these matters except whether or not you accept her lecture as gospel. If you don't accept her message then it's your fault ("Don't get mad at the church and lose eternity!"). My mother did some similar things with me primarily with a couple of books she recommended. I accepted them graciously and did read them, but our conversations remained about family, grandchildren, and their church service.

I have some sympathy for scholarly apologists, especially when they take a more pastoral approach like Richard Bushman, Tyrell Givens, and Patrick Mason. They say things that would annoy the fervent believers in my life because their apologetic work is careful, measured, and above all sympathetic to faith transitions. It's rare to see this kind of apologetic in the LDS church on the ward level.

It is unfortunate that the common apologetics of "LDS Living", or the "Saints" book, or that conspiracy theory prepper guy in your ward all take a different approach. Defensive information is thrown at you like this doctrinal grenade. The faithful member tosses it then "takes cover" since they really don't want to engage with you deeply on this truth bomb. Believers assume that you simply haven't heard the right information so this increasingly desperate tone comes out when you can easily swat away the rhetorically poor reasons for belief.

A sympathetic discussion is not wanted. That would require the member to enter the discussion with the idea that maybe they are wrong. This is not considered faithful and usually considered dangerous. I'm quite willing to admit I might be wrong. Let me know where my error is reasoning might be and I will happily change my mind and beliefs.

Thoughtful
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Thoughtful » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:41 pm

Corsair wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:41 pm
The general advice from Jfro18 and Alas is correct. Your mother is not having a discussion with you. She's presenting a lecture. She is not really interested in your opinion on these matters except whether or not you accept her lecture as gospel. If you don't accept her message then it's your fault ("Don't get mad at the church and lose eternity!"). My mother did some similar things with me primarily with a couple of books she recommended. I accepted them graciously and did read them, but our conversations remained about family, grandchildren, and their church service.

I have some sympathy for scholarly apologists, especially when they take a more pastoral approach like Richard Bushman, Tyrell Givens, and Patrick Mason. They say things that would annoy the fervent believers in my life because their apologetic work is careful, measured, and above all sympathetic to faith transitions. It's rare to see this kind of apologetic in the LDS church on the ward level.

It is unfortunate that the common apologetics of "LDS Living", or the "Saints" book, or that conspiracy theory prepper guy in your ward all take a different approach. Defensive information is thrown at you like this doctrinal grenade. The faithful member tosses it then "takes cover" since they really don't want to engage with you deeply on this truth bomb. Believers assume that you simply haven't heard the right information so this increasingly desperate tone comes out when you can easily swat away the rhetorically poor reasons for belief.

A sympathetic discussion is not wanted. That would require the member to enter the discussion with the idea that maybe they are wrong. This is not considered faithful and usually considered dangerous. I'm quite willing to admit I might be wrong. Let me know where my error is reasoning might be and I will happily change my mind and beliefs.
Thank you for this. Ive been blaming myself when it goes badly, but you're right, she doesn't really want a discussion, she wants to get me im the boat.

Reuben
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Reuben » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:01 pm

It's the blame-shifting game! It's like hot potato, except you pass blame, and sometimes both of you end up with it. Fun times.

One important thing I learned from Brene Brown is that blame-shifting always indicates shame. Imagine your mother's! Shame because she somehow didn't do enough Mormon things. Shame because your unbelief reflects badly on her in front of her tribe and God. And in a church where testimony is truth, your public unbelief makes it feel less like it's true, which tugs on her self-worth. How dare you!

I would be amazed if she didn't read from that script.

I wonder if you could take alas's advice, and also counter with something that builds her up.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

Thoughtful
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Thoughtful » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:19 pm

Reuben wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:01 pm
It's the blame-shifting game! It's like hot potato, except you pass blame, and sometimes both of you end up with it. Fun times.

One important thing I learned from Brene Brown is that blame-shifting always indicates shame. Imagine your mother's! Shame because she somehow didn't do enough Mormon things. Shame because your unbelief reflects badly on her in front of her tribe and God. And in a church where testimony is truth, your public unbelief makes it feel less like it's true, which tugs on her self-worth. How dare you!

I would be amazed if she didn't read from that script.

I wonder if you could take alas's advice, and also counter with something that builds her up.

Thanks for this. I can see it. They promised she would have all her children in heaven if she held FHE weekly at all. She has 50% still engaged with the church. She's not going to hold the church accountable for misleading her either.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:16 am

Have you tried sharing the Faith Crisis Report with her?
I'm interested in this because I think that a similar conversation with my mom will be had soon, since we submitted our resignations last week.
“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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Linked
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Linked » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:17 pm

Solidarity Thoughtful. My discussions about church with my mom also go downhill quickly. We hold mutually exclusive viewpoints, so there is no common ground to find. But like you, I am not the one that brings it up.

I've found that trying to focus on the good parts of your relationship can be helpful. I feel some obligation to myself and my beliefs to respond to the religious comments, but I try to make sure we also talk about things we both still enjoy together. We like to play board games, and we all like the grand kids, and family events. Too much focus on our religious differences makes me feel like an outsider and like our relationship is not worth the trouble.

Good luck this week!

ETA - reminiscing can also strengthen relationships, like that time...
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

Thoughtful
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Thoughtful » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:02 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:16 am
Have you tried sharing the Faith Crisis Report with her?
I'm interested in this because I think that a similar conversation with my mom will be had soon, since we submitted our resignations last week.
I have an email drafted with it linked. Frankly, I really want to resign, and I think that is her biggest fear. It's like me writing myself out of heaven, yanno.

Thoughtful
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by Thoughtful » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:15 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:17 pm
Solidarity Thoughtful. My discussions about church with my mom also go downhill quickly. We hold mutually exclusive viewpoints, so there is no common ground to find. But like you, I am not the one that brings it up.

I've found that trying to focus on the good parts of your relationship can be helpful. I feel some obligation to myself and my beliefs to respond to the religious comments, but I try to make sure we also talk about things we both still enjoy together. We like to play board games, and we all like the grand kids, and family events. Too much focus on our religious differences makes me feel like an outsider and like our relationship is not worth the trouble.

Good luck this week!

ETA - reminiscing can also strengthen relationships, like that time...
This is difficult. My childhood was pretty emotionally abusive, neglectful, and such with some really weird dynamics and favoritism happening toward my siblings. So in terms of reminiscing, there is a lot that is bad in my view, in my mom's view, I am just oversensitive, exaggerating and so forth. My siblings have close relationships with my parents and I do not. As an adult, I've been able to forge something a little more positive by sticking to the weather and everyone's health, talking about being proud of my kids, etc. But it's very surfacy. Throwing in a faith crisis and eternal damnation could be a big strain. And as far as my dad, I think hes more able to see and nuance the issues. My mom read Ghost of Eternal Polygamy and was 100% on board with the author's premise that polygamy was a mistake...but now that I'm taking more steps toward the door, she's retrenching and suddenly polygamy was not an uninspired thing, etc.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: I mean, I don't want to wreck my mom's testimony

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:08 pm

Thoughtful wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:02 pm
RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:16 am
Have you tried sharing the Faith Crisis Report with her?
I'm interested in this because I think that a similar conversation with my mom will be had soon, since we submitted our resignations last week.
I have an email drafted with it linked. Frankly, I really want to resign, and I think that is her biggest fear. It's like me writing myself out of heaven, yanno.
Yeah, I'm not sure how my mom will react, but I totally empathize with the TBM view, it's how I saw the world for so many years. I guess if your name is on the COBs db, then your TBM fam always has some hope for you. But the second you have your name removed you are a Judas.

"Judas Iscariot Hogwallop!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McA6bWhuZ8o
“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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