Having non member friends over for dinner

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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sparky
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Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by sparky » Wed Nov 30, 2022 7:27 am

DW and I are planning to invite some of my work friends over for dinner soon, and I find myself somewhat anxious over how to talk about things if these friends ask questions about the church. Specifically, we have several photos of the temples in areas where we've lived prominently hanging on the wall next to the dinner table. It seems almost certain that someone will ask about them, and even the simple question "what are those buildings?" is giving me anxiety.

The issue is that DW and I would likely have very different answers to those questions. If it were me I'd have taken the photos down ages ago. And if they were still up and someone asked, I'd say something like "oh, those are just religious buildings from the church I grew up in, but I'm not involved anymore." Since most people know next to nothing and don't care about Mormonism, the conversation would probably just move on.

But as I've posted before, though I've communicated to DW that I don't believe in the church anymore and specifically don't want to participate in temple activities anymore, she seems not to want to talk about it and almost can't seem to accept that anything has changed. So I feel like if I answered a question candidly in front of her, she'd be surprised or even offended. But I don't want her to just answer for me either.

We've only ever had ward members over to our home, so those two spheres (member and non member friends) have been pretty much separate. She grew up outside of Utah so is probably more confident talking to non members about this stuff than I am.

I am probably over thinking all this as usual, but do you NOMs in mixed faith marriages have any advice for this type of situation? Should I bring it up directly with DW beforehand and try to talk through how we might answer differently?

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Linked
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by Linked » Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:03 pm

This kind of thing stresses me out too sparky, you are not alone. I try to answer with short, objectively true responses. "Those are temples for the mormon church." Maybe add "That's where we were married." and leave it at that.

I took an hour-long Uber ride with my wife and kids and the driver was a Christian convert from Iran who's life mission was to convert people. I couldn't tell what he was trying to convert me to, but it was terribly awkward. Trying to thread the needle of being honestish while not angering DW and not confusing the kids was impossible. I don't have the heart to ask ride-share drivers to stop talking, but eventually I got him to do all the talking.
"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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Red Ryder
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Dec 02, 2022 9:05 am

A few ideas:

1. Quietly replace the pictures with Greek Orthodox churches from the late 1700’s

2. Quietly replace the pictures with your favorite professional sports athletes. Fake a few autographs for true authenticity.

3. Quietly replace the pictures with nothing. Or better yet, punch a hole in the wall and then explain that a shelf was once there but it recently fell and you’re working on fixing it?

4. Pull a last minute switch-a-roo and have dinner at the Olive Garden?

5. If the conversation comes up you can non-chalantly explain you’re parents were Mormon and they sent you some interesting pictures of Mormon architecture as a gift. You only hung them recently because they were in town for the holidays and that you forgot to take them down after they left. Then get up and remove one while you roll your eyes and mumble about not offending parents by displaying their silly gifts and reference the wall of cuckoo clocks you have in your home office.

6. Explain to your guests that you subscribe to architecture digest and that your subscription comes with wall art from around the world. December happens to be a Mormon theme and your confused at the funny pair of underwear that came with it!

7. And speaking of funny themed underwear, grab a few pairs of Men’s and Women’s Garments and a sharpie. Write a few of your favorite scriptures on them, followed by a few motivational quotes, then fake a few autographs of GA’s. Frame the underwear like other sports memorabilia that way the conversation skips past the temple pictures and becomes all about the underwear memorabilia! “This pair here was worn by the prophet during the 1978 General Conference where black people were unbanned from receiving the priesthood! I’m still trying to get the skid marks authenticated by the DNA lab…”

8. Stop over thinking it.
“It always devolves to Pantaloons. Always.” ~ Fluffy

“I switched baristas” ~ Lady Gaga

“Those who do not move do not notice their chains.” ~Rosa Luxemburg

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Just This Guy
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by Just This Guy » Fri Dec 02, 2022 9:43 am

Option 9, replace pictures with family portraits and artwork by your kids/family members.
"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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wtfluff
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by wtfluff » Fri Dec 02, 2022 10:49 am

sparky wrote:
Wed Nov 30, 2022 7:27 am
I am probably over thinking all this as usual, but do you NOMs in mixed faith marriages have any advice for this type of situation? Should I bring it up directly with DW beforehand and try to talk through how we might answer differently?
Why not bring it up beforehand and tell the wife that you're not comfortable talking about the Polygamy Palace photos on your walls, so if it comes up, it's all her when it comes to answering any questions.

And yes: You're overthinking this. I do the same thing. At times, I'll come up with a list of "answers" that I want to give if "those" questions come up. I've never used one of those answers in an actual coversation.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

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Hagoth
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by Hagoth » Sat Dec 03, 2022 2:02 pm

"Gee, I never noticed those before. I guess they came with the house."
“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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moksha
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by moksha » Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:44 pm

"It's our homage to Soviet-style architecture."
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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sparky
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by sparky » Mon Dec 05, 2022 4:55 am

Well, y'all were right, I was over thinking it. Thanks for the laughs and the reality check!

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Hermey
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Re: Having non member friends over for dinner

Post by Hermey » Tue Dec 13, 2022 10:13 am

Guest: So, what are those?

Sparky: Oh, those. Yeah, just a few pictures of the International House of Handshakes. They've got multiple locations and it makes a great date night. Lots of things to choose from in there. You can wear a baker's hat and apron while sitting on opposite side of the room from each other while watching a movie, chanting a few incantations, and promising to allow yourself to be disemboweled and have your throat slit if you tell anyone about Fight Club Date Night for Mormons. Or, if you're so inclined, you can choose to head on downstairs to the Holy Hot Tub for a quick wet t-shirt contest of sorts. Everyone is welcome, but the price of entry is a bit steep. As a consolation, you do get a new name though....mine is Moses. Again, you just can't tell anyone because it's a secret. Whoops, I mean sacred. Wait, I mean stupid.

Guest: (blinks, repeatedly)

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