Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

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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stuck
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Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by stuck » Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:16 pm

My wife has been seeing a counselor for some anxiety. Recently she saw her and told her that one of her main sources of her anxiety was my faith crisis/transition. The counselor told her that she shouldn't be like Satan and not give me agency. In my mind I was like yes! She says that she feels like she has the sole responsibility of saving her kids because I am not helping much or I don't believe anymore. Gee it would be nice if Mormons were like born again Christians right? That would mean that they would only have to believe in Jesus and try to follow him and then they would be saved. Anyway, it doesn't help that her parents have said things to make her feel like she is solely responsible for the kid's salvation now.

Going forward I think the challenge will be to have her allow me to have some influence on the kid's beliefs. I think she would prefer to only teach the kids the faith promoting church approved stuff. She doesn't want them to learn about the other side of things in case they lose their faith and belief. I think if she insists on this that it will be doing our kids a disservice because they will probably end up going on missions without knowing the "skeletons in the church's closet. And so they will not have the appropriate informed consent. Perhaps I will just have to let her know that if they ask why I don't believe in the church as much or what my thoughts are on the church or BoM that I will feel obligated to tell the truth about those things.

Hopefully she will loosen up a bit and come to a "knowledge of the truth" before too long so that we can be on more or less the same page. I think her fear is that our family may fall apart if we leave the church. She has some cousins where that has happened, but she has others that it hasn't happened. She does have some concerns about polygamy and maybe that could be a starting point. Do you guys have any suggestions for books that might get her thinking etc.?

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Red Ryder
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:32 pm

Here’s a great podcast she can relate to. Take a listen first and determine if you think she will like it then find a way for her to listen. Show her you have empathy for her “extra responsibilities” and perhaps she can understand why Mormon women feel the way they do in your situation.

At Last She Said It
Episode 5: Men Don’t have a Giant Church Bag.

https://atlastshesaidit.libsyn.com/epi ... urch-bag-0
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Linked
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by Linked » Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:08 pm

stuck wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:16 pm
Going forward I think the challenge will be to have her allow me to have some influence on the kid's beliefs. I think she would prefer to only teach the kids the faith promoting church approved stuff. She doesn't want them to learn about the other side of things in case they lose their faith and belief. I think if she insists on this that it will be doing our kids a disservice because they will probably end up going on missions without knowing the "skeletons in the church's closet. And so they will not have the appropriate informed consent. Perhaps I will just have to let her know that if they ask why I don't believe in the church as much or what my thoughts are on the church or BoM that I will feel obligated to tell the truth about those things.
The way I have handled this with my DW is to not focus on the "skeletons in the closet" issues but to provide balance with experiences and lessons to broaden their view of life in general. Things like science youtubes and documentaries, critical thinking, and studying or visiting different cultures. Sometimes a skeleton issue will come up that I can't let go without correcting, and in those cases I try to be brief and just make sure the facts are known.

With the recent "being a missionary is not a choice young men" messaging I chatted with my wife about it and then we told the kids that they 100% have a choice on if they go on a mission and we will support them either way. I included some examples of how some people may put pressure on them with comments like "when you go on a mission..." so that they can understand when it's happening.
"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

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:55 pm

I would avoid any conversations on it or it usually just turns defensive where each hunkers into their corner. I would instead, double down on being a great spouse. Don't give them any reason to make you out as a poster child for their Beelzebub. Your being a better husband and father should not be tied to anything relating to that religion, try to tie it to things like great outdoor activities, preferably some that spill over a whole weekend where you start to miss maybe one or two weekends a month (as many as possible without drawing suspicion. Getting your DW out of house out into nature is gaining some neutral ground. Getting your DW and kids out of church for an overnight in the great outdoors is usually going to be a win for you, if it's planned well so the creatures have some comfort and it wasn't miserable experience (again, DW might see Satan trying to punish you for not being in church).

Just before my DW's shelf broke, we were taking more weekend trips to go adventure together, maybe just a drive out on some dirt roads for some rockhounding or kayaking or camping in the mountains. It was DW who said how much better she felt Monday morning after a weekend not at church. She started to see the BS and the stress it was to have to go into that F-ing building every week. Me being a better husband, outside the church, being happier, helping her feel more happiness (outside the church), gave her the mental and emotional cushion she needed to know things would be just fine if she entertained the thought it might be BS...and she did! So I think the more you can distance you, your DW and your whole family with positive experiences far away from the institution, then you can eventual win with nature on your side. You might find she will find her own way out once she can get out of there and just think for herself. But the minute spouse starts to doubt, the other panics and is constantly trying to figure out how to fix it. It's a terrible level of stress! Sometimes you just have to back off and let things be normal, then maybe make some moves toward reducing the exposure while you increase the love.
“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

stuck
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by stuck » Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:24 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:32 pm
Here’s a great podcast she can relate to. Take a listen first and determine if you think she will like it then find a way for her to listen. Show her you have empathy for her “extra responsibilities” and perhaps she can understand why Mormon women feel the way they do in your situation.

At Last She Said It
Episode 5: Men Don’t have a Giant Church Bag.

https://atlastshesaidit.libsyn.com/epi ... urch-bag-0
I listened to this one and also the one about infertility on Mormon Stories. In the one above, like her I thought it was funny or strange that they called those over 45 "Elite singles". I was almost one of those but got married at 45. That makes me think of an interesting question, how many of us on this site married a little older than average? There probably isn't a correlation between that and those of us who are in mixed-faith marriages but it is an interesting question to me.

Then the other thing she had a problem with is still having to be sealed to someone who caused her a lot of pain and so they divorced but kept the sealing intact. I'm sure that would be hard for most people. What is interesting about that is that her grandfather became an alcoholic after ww2 because of ptsd. As a result his wife divorced him. He died at a young age and then after that she got sealed to him and never re-married.

stuck
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by stuck » Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:46 pm


What is interesting about that is that her grandfather became an alcoholic after ww2 because of ptsd. As a result his wife divorced him. He died at a young age and then after that she got sealed to him and never re-married.
I should clarify, this is my wife's grandfather.

stuck
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by stuck » Fri Aug 12, 2022 2:00 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:08 pm
stuck wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:16 pm
Going forward I think the challenge will be to have her allow me to have some influence on the kid's beliefs. I think she would prefer to only teach the kids the faith promoting church approved stuff. She doesn't want them to learn about the other side of things in case they lose their faith and belief. I think if she insists on this that it will be doing our kids a disservice because they will probably end up going on missions without knowing the "skeletons in the church's closet. And so they will not have the appropriate informed consent. Perhaps I will just have to let her know that if they ask why I don't believe in the church as much or what my thoughts are on the church or BoM that I will feel obligated to tell the truth about those things.
The way I have handled this with my DW is to not focus on the "skeletons in the closet" issues but to provide balance with experiences and lessons to broaden their view of life in general. Things like science youtubes and documentaries, critical thinking, and studying or visiting different cultures. Sometimes a skeleton issue will come up that I can't let go without correcting, and in those cases I try to be brief and just make sure the facts are known.

With the recent "being a missionary is not a choice young men" messaging I chatted with my wife about it and then we told the kids that they 100% have a choice on if they go on a mission and we will support them either way. I included some examples of how some people may put pressure on them with comments like "when you go on a mission..." so that they can understand when it's happening.
That's really good Linked. My wife and I need to have a "come to Jesus" moment where I can assert my right to express my belief also. But like Rubin said that he would avoid the skeletons, and focus on nature and you focusing on science those are good areas I can focus on. However, her counselor has told her that she should assert boundaries for herself and so perhaps she would be more open to that so that I can add my voice or beliefs on certain topics.

stuck
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by stuck » Fri Aug 12, 2022 2:16 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:55 pm
I would avoid any conversations on it or it usually just turns defensive where each hunkers into their corner. I would instead, double down on being a great spouse. Don't give them any reason to make you out as a poster child for their Beelzebub. Your being a better husband and father should not be tied to anything relating to that religion, try to tie it to things like great outdoor activities, preferably some that spill over a whole weekend where you start to miss maybe one or two weekends a month (as many as possible without drawing suspicion. Getting your DW out of house out into nature is gaining some neutral ground. Getting your DW and kids out of church for an overnight in the great outdoors is usually going to be a win for you, if it's planned well so the creatures have some comfort and it wasn't miserable experience (again, DW might see Satan trying to punish you for not being in church).

Just before my DW's shelf broke, we were taking more weekend trips to go adventure together, maybe just a drive out on some dirt roads for some rockhounding or kayaking or camping in the mountains. It was DW who said how much better she felt Monday morning after a weekend not at church. She started to see the BS and the stress it was to have to go into that F-ing building every week. Me being a better husband, outside the church, being happier, helping her feel more happiness (outside the church), gave her the mental and emotional cushion she needed to know things would be just fine if she entertained the thought it might be BS...and she did! So I think the more you can distance you, your DW and your whole family with positive experiences far away from the institution, then you can eventual win with nature on your side. You might find she will find her own way out once she can get out of there and just think for herself. But the minute spouse starts to doubt, the other panics and is constantly trying to figure out how to fix it. It's a terrible level of stress! Sometimes you just have to back off and let things be normal, then maybe make some moves toward reducing the exposure while you increase the love.
Great thoughts RH! I will definitely try to get out more. My wife still wants us to go to church on Sundays even if we are traveling, but it's only 1 hour and not 2.

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Linked
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by Linked » Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:51 pm

stuck wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:24 pm
[That makes me think of an interesting question, how many of us on this site married a little older than average? There probably isn't a correlation between that and those of us who are in mixed-faith marriages but it is an interesting question to me.
I was in my mid-20s.
stuck wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2022 2:00 pm
That's really good Linked. My wife and I need to have a "come to Jesus" moment where I can assert my right to express my belief also. But like Rubin said that he would avoid the skeletons, and focus on nature and you focusing on science those are good areas I can focus on. However, her counselor has told her that she should assert boundaries for herself and so perhaps she would be more open to that so that I can add my voice or beliefs on certain topics.
Good point about the boundaries discussion, that is a great opportunity to have the discussion about concrete examples of where you feel the need to be more honest with your kids than the church is.
"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

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alas
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Re: Baby Steps: I get to have more agency?!

Post by alas » Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:20 pm

I liked what RH said. Good points about getting her out in nature. But if she resists missing church, do not push. Tempt her but do not push her.

If she is the kind of gal who doesn’t do outdoors stuff you will want a different temptation. Your idea of getting her to think more about polygamy is good. But once again, do not push or tell her more than she can deal with without retrenching. Take it slow and don’t become the bad guy trying to make her leave the church. You want to lead her, not force her or push her. If you want to very gently start her on some of the problems, then Tod Compton’s book on polygamy, called in sacred loneliness is good, or the church approved book, Saints. Compton’s book is stories about JS’s wives lives where Compton tried to make them into human beings. Compton was still a believer when he wrote it, although it sounded a bit like he no longer is in a recent interview, but it is well researched and not “anti” at all. I haven’t read Saints, but it is supposed to be accurate history. Do not ask her to read them but buy a copy and just leave it around as you take your own sweet time getting through it, and occasionally read an interesting tidbit to her. Nothing anti church, just fun little stories and things that might catch her attention. Not too many, you don’t want her to see a hook or think you are trying to get her to read it. If she is anywhere ready to start questioning, one book or the other just might trigger her thinking a bit deeper.

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