Holding it in

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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Five
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Holding it in

Post by Five » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:33 am

At least once a day I have the urge to speak about the things I am learning and have learned about the church, to one of my family members. I am usually pretty vocal about political antics or any regular books I might be currently reading. But this is the one subject that I cannot break my silence about.

When I first had everything laid out in front of me, early on, coming to the definitive conclusion, "omg, it's not true. None of it is true." I had fantasies about telling my mother and how I might introduce her to each part of revealing the fraud. I wondered how far I might go. Would she need to hear all of it, or would she reach a certain part in my seminar where it'd be enough for her and she'd no longer believe? Would she want to hear more? She's not active but she is like I was, true believing in her core and existential identity.

None of my prepared lectures came out of my mouth when I found the opportunity. It was a simple, "I'm not Mormon anymore. Because it's not true. It's a cult." Her response was, "I don't want to hear anymore. I can't take any more bad news today." That was the second week of August; we have acted like I never said a thing.

I worry that having me in her household with my still active younger siblings occasionally living with us, if I came out with it and challenged any of them on these things, the church would counsel the children to move out of this "dangerous" and "troubled" home. I would be the instrument of ruining her relationship with her other children simply for being associated with her.

I sometimes fantasize about not necessarily coming right out and openly challenging my siblings or other family members(I come from a big family of Mormons, surrounded on all sides) but being blunt yet subtle about it. Essentially lying and maintaining my belief in the truth of the church doctrine and claims....but also correcting them. Basically, taking FAIR Mormon's apologetics and squeezing them right in there, contradictory points and all.

Me: "Joseph Smith did not get the Book of Abraham from the papyrus. Egyptologists translated it and it's just a common funerary text. When they say "translated" he meant he got it as inspired revelation from God."

Sibling: "Wait...what?? It says he got the book from the papyrus. It even says it was written by the hand of Abraham."

Me: "They didn't find all of the papyri, only some. The rest burned up in a fire and the book of Abraham was on those missing pieces."

Sibling: "Wait...what about the facsimiles in the Pearl of Great Price?"

Me: "Joseph got some of his interpretations of that sort of right. How could he get some of it right if he wasn't a prophet of God?"

Sibling: "..."

In actuality...it would not be as subtle and clever as I imagine in my daydreams. And I would still be seen as attacking, introducing this off-brand information, even if I professed belief. Besides that, what if I prompted an awakening? As someone who knew this information yet still has a testimony, I would not be a safe person to reach out to.

My biological father who doesn't live near me is a never Mormon, Protestant Christian. I remember, over the years, on our phone calls, occasionally he would brush against my LDS faith and slightly challenge it. My father, the sweetest man I know, does not challenge harshly. Even still, my internal cannons sensed the attack and would shoot it down, stifling that area of conversation. It eventually became something we just didn't talk about out of mutual respect but I always knew he didn't believe in the LDS church and there was a negative emotional current there regarding it.

I am glad he didn't push me or didn't try to convert me out of it. It was very painful coming to these truths on my own and I was so angry at almost everyone involved with the church for a bit of time. I still harbor bitterness towards the GAs and the authority of the church. If someone had tried to bring me to the truth, I might be inclined to get distracted with them being my enemy, rather than giving up my faith. If I were to be that for someone else, especially when I don't have any hopeful faith path to offer them in exchange for Mormonism(I tried to hang onto Christianity but it just doesn't feel right or sound. Any of it.) I'd just be the orchestrator of pain. And they might even see my attempts to snap them out of it as malicious and not altruistic.

In a way, it is selfish. I just really want to tell people, everyone who will listen, about the stuff I read and watch in my research. Because that's how I comfortably process the things I learn.

Anyway, not sure why I wrote all this out or what I expect in response. Another conversation about the ethics of keeping our mouths shut and letting them find the truth by themselves, perhaps?

Cnsl1
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Cnsl1 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:53 am

I feel for you. You want to talk and discuss, but the things you want to discuss is uncomfortable for loved ones at best

So, find another avenue. Vent and discuss and process in this forum. Continue to be a supportive son and brother, and find your way to navigate life as a kind, good, loving, non believing person. Reach out to your father and discuss with him.

That's my two cents.

I feel your consternation. While the world is filled with non Mormons who are awesome kind amazing happy people, when we're inside the bubble we don't see those models, so tend to believe the things we're told--that only strict adherence to the path will lead to true happiness. We also don't want to think that those who deviate or leave the path could possibly be happy or blessed, or at least not as happy and blessed as those who stay in the boat (even as it's sinking, heh).

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Five
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Five » Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:12 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:53 am
So, find another avenue. Vent and discuss and process in this forum. Continue to be a supportive son and brother, and find your way to navigate life as a kind, good, loving, non believing person. Reach out to your father and discuss with him.
I have and it has definitely been an outlet of sorts. But there is a big difference talking to someone who was never in the church and someone else who has been raised in it and also left it, like I have. Plus, I cannot really share my findings about Christianity with him. I've tried and been preached to.

Which is why I seized upon this forum as soon as I found it. Genuine exmos and resigned members have a different take on the experience than those, like me, who likely will never have the opportunity to resign officially. They have the ability to walk away, move away, and move on from Mormonism. Even if I moved out of my mother's house, I would sacrifice these relationships either by getting shunned or the TBM patriarchs in my family coming at me with the heavy conversion guns. I don't want to be gaslit and shamed into submission. Quietly disbelieving and remaining inactive gives me some freedom from scrutiny and contention.

So, yes, I think I will continue to hang out here and share my burstings with you all. I've been reading the backlogs and feeling soothed by the arguments(and the humor) of these members. Even if I don't say much yet, I feel like I belong. Thank you for the supportive words and understanding the turmoil of my situation.

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Corsair
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Corsair » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:40 am

Five wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:33 am
None of my prepared lectures came out of my mouth when I found the opportunity. It was a simple, "I'm not Mormon anymore. Because it's not true. It's a cult." Her response was, "I don't want to hear anymore. I can't take any more bad news today." That was the second week of August; we have acted like I never said a thing.
You should consider yourself lucky that she simply acted like you never said a thing. You can toss around the word "cult" when you are among apostates. Calling the LDS church a cult when you around believers will start a fight you don't truly want.

It's not a useful fight either, particularly with someone you want to live with happily. I suppose you have wandered into https://reddit.com/r/exmormon and seen the much angrier souls over there. Those guys are certainly entertaining, but rarely a day goes by before we get a story of a heated argument that ended in divorce. The "C" word got thrown around ("Cult", not that other "C" word). If you want to avoid the financial and emotional ruin of divorce then remaining civil about this divisive subject is advised.

We have to acknowledge that some marriages are simply never going to work after a faith transition. Despite Paul's advice in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, many believers simply cannot abide being married to a non-believer. It takes wisdom to calmly come to know if your marriage needs to end for the good of both of you.

Strangely enough, you need to be the Christlike person in this relationship. Technically, that was still true before you lost faith in Joseph's adventures in plural marriage and religious fan fiction. But now you need a new level of understanding, tolerance, and Christlike charity in your relationship with your spouse, children, parents, friends and any other believers in your life.

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Five
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Five » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:48 am

I thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support. It hasn't really gotten any easier to resist telling my family about these things. I mean, the urge is still very present anytime I read or watch something new.

My mother, who I haven't spoken to about anything religious since my brief admission in August, has occasionally been dropping references to Jesus. I feel like she is trying to push me to admit that I'm not Christian anymore. I don't know. It was an odd exchange we had last night, where we were talking friendly about something through a doorway; she was in the kitchen and I was in my bedroom with the door open, yet we couldn't see each other. She mentioned something jokingly about Jesus; I forget what she said exactly, but I deliberately cooled my response to be non-commital. I don't know why. I do NOT want to have an open and honest conversation with her about any of this....but that selfish, bursting part of me craves catharsis. SO, I think he makes me respond in a toeing line manner, when really, I need to be playing pretend.

Anyway, from the kitchen, she continued to reference Jesus in this joking manner(essentially, repeating the joke) three times, with me "uh-huh", "Hm", and "Yep" from my bedroom to her. It's like when you say something really funny and you want someone to acknowledge it. Except, it wasn't funny, I didn't have a good return joke, and I feel suspicious now that she was poking my buttons deliberately. Not maliciously but possibly curiously. Like, I sincerely doubt she wants to have any conversation with me about this. I felt like she was trying to reassure herself that I am still a believer, rather than actually trying to get me to open up.

But she keeps catching me off guard and this internal guy that craves catharsis, no matter how stupid and idealistic that dream is, keeps making me react lukewarm. This morning, she joked about Jesus again(a different joke) and again, it felt like a blind person patting searchingly on my lap, looking for a Bible that should be there.

I know that it will go bad if we talk about it, if I admit to how I feel and what I know. She's not Molly Mormon but she's an inactive TBM; she used to be a devout Mormon mom but then all us kids grew up and she didn't have use for that demanding structure in her life. But she still believes it is absolutely true. I would not convince her. Even with her inactive status, she would run in fear from the truth. She would reach out to my Branch President grandfather for guidance and spill the beans. He is a man I fear because as a TBM, he was the most spiritually strong man that I knew. He holds a lot of respect and power in my life and at different points in my life, looking back, I recognize ways that he manipulated and indoctrinated me. I think, out of love and faith, he would crash down upon me like a hammer and steal away the emotional and intellectual independence that I have gained.

I don't look back on my TBM self with any gratitude or trust. There were so many shelf items before I even read the Gospel Topics Essays. I just...ignored them. I didn't push, I didn't search. I look back at the man I was and I still see my reflection, even though I think of that person as weak and submissive to authority. It could happen again. So, the last thing I'd ever want is for my grandparents to learn about me.

Part of me is tempted to deal with any confrontation from my mother in asking her to stop. We don't have to talk about it. And she can't tell anyone. I am tempted to tell her what Mormons do to families, how they would "help" my TBM younger siblings by not allowing them to live here anymore. They would go live with my stepdad full time, which would hurt my mother tremendously. I want her to be aware of that reality, so, she'll leave me alone. But no, I can't do that either. She wouldn't believe me that the church would do that and she'd end up telling my grandfather about it.

This is all me catastrophizing over my nerves in regards to her talking more about Jesus in just two days than she has for the past two years. I need to go into protection mode and act like a believer next time she questions my faith in this indirect way. Just laugh, Five. Just laugh.

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jfro18
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Re: Holding it in

Post by jfro18 » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:22 pm

I know I have posted about this elsewhere, but when I was visiting my in-laws last October on their senior mission, there were THREE times where they brought up things that had direct parallels to church issues, and on each one they agreed that the subject was completely wrong...

Each time I was having a conversation with them in my mind and was responding as if I was talking about the church issue but keeping it about the topic they were talking about.

Long story short, I wanted so badly to bring up that what they were agreeing to would blow up then church truth claims as well, but it just wasn't worth the fight. I can't even make those connections with my wife and she says things constantly that I just want to reply with "Now apply that logic to XYZ church claim."

I'm not sure there's a good answer here, and as others have said finding alternate outlets to vent are really helpful. If there's one thing I've learned personally and from others, it's that you can not possibly get someone to leave the church that is not already having cracks in their shelf. If they're all in, nothing you can say will do anything but create the backfire effect.

My ONLY advice would be to ask a lot of questions when things don't make sense... not confrontational, but just super gentle questions when something comes up... and then don't argue. Ideally putting that question in their head might prompt them to think about it more and it might not, but that's about as far as I would go to start with if I could do it over again.

Good luck... it doesn't get "better" per se, but seems like most of us on here have found ways to process it and get around it a bit better with time.

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alas
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Re: Holding it in

Post by alas » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:30 pm

What I found was that when I was confident in what I believed/no longer believed, that urge to tell people the things I was learning got less until it was just kind of gone. Now I have no more desire to tell a believer about the things they don’t know about church than I do to teach someone who can’t balance a checkbook about trigonometry. It is so far over their heads that it just isn’t something I want to teach them. But I had to be confident in what I knew first, unshakable in my knowledge that Mormonism is not what it claims.

So, for now, just realize that the conversation you want is impossible and attempting it will just make your life difficult.

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Hagoth
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Hagoth » Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:40 pm

Most of us here have been through a very similar rollercoaster and a lot of us end up in a place similar to what Alas is talking about.

On one hand you don't want to cave to their expectations. On the other you the need to dump your entire data load on them, but it turns out that if they actually do ask why you have changed your beliefs (very rare) and you start to tell them they will usually shut you down quickly and get away fast, as your mom did. And that's ok. My wife knows a lot of the issues and seems to completely understand and accept why I have had to step away, but she admits that she decides to believe because she feels like she needs it in her life. I respect that. When she asks questions I answer to the degree that she wants to hear and no more. When I hear bogus church claims I do my best to hold my tongue (unless it's something so egregious it just has to be plopped on the examination table). We have progressed from fearing that we are stuck in an eternal tug-of-war to respecting each other's right to pursue their own spiritual path.

It seems like the ultimate big step is to whittle the elephant in the room down to an open-minded discussion in which both sides can say whatever they want and the other can respectfully acknowledge where they're coming from without feeling threatened or bullied. After you have been through a faith crisis that is much easier to do that because you have been on both sides of the fence, but some people simply cannot ever get to that point, and any comment you make about the church will be taken as a personal threat. That's just something we need to accept. Best to be kind while trying to set example of open-mindedness for when they might need to confide in you.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Five
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Re: Holding it in

Post by Five » Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:58 am

Thank you for understanding and acknowledging these struggles. That, more than anything, gives me a soothed feeling, like I can get through this. Also, I can see what each of you has said is true, that there is a process, and some moments will make me feel like bursting but eventually I will come to a place of security in my own knowledge. I know this because of already how much has changed about me and my mindset from the beginning of this journey.

Also, upon reflection, she might not have been doing anything. Nothing like that has occurred again. I might just be uber sensitive because I am keeping secrets but in actual day-to-day, this stuff never comes up. Even before my shelf broke, my mother and I were at a point of TBM inactive, but all my younger siblings go to church with my stepdad. This kind of stuff rarely comes up at all, compared to more active Mormons. Plus, before my shelf broke, my mother and I had occasional discussions about the end of the world(which is what got me looking up youtube videos on prophecies in the first place, and led me down the exmo rabbit hole). With Covid concerns ramping up and this dreadful election, her bringing up Jesus might not have anything to do with me but instead just be another worry for her about how it all ends.

I'm glad at least I have this place to hash all these things out, so I don't end up saying something based on a false interpretation of the situation. I can find ways to offer her comfort and compassion.

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moksha
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Re: Holding it in

Post by moksha » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:01 pm

There was an excellent series of podcasts regarding the Book of Abraham at Mormon Stories hosted by John Delhin and our own Consiglieri.

Perhaps Five might view these to help shore up his testimony with some factual data:
https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/robert-ritner/

Some other helpful historical data in a podcast with Shannon Montez:
https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/b-h-roberts/
https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/s ... ll-montez/
https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/d ... of-mormon/
https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/s ... s-of-1922/

They saved the best for last.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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