Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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Advocate
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Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:01 am

I had a challenging discussion with DW last night and am hoping for some advice.

DW and I have been married 20 years, we love each other, have great kids, I have a great job, DW stays at home; we are the picture-perfect mormon family. Except for one issue and that is that I am no longer a believer.

I've always been a reader and a detail person (my username will give you a clue to my profession, which I am well-suited for). While serving a mission I had my parents send numerous church books and I read them all. About five years into our marriage I found FAIR-LDS and I remember my wife being worried about it. I never went deep into FAIR-LDS (I found the explanations unsatisfying) but the thirst for knowledge and truth was there. Around 12 years into marriage (while I was faithfully serving as EQ President) I started digging more and learning more, but was still a believer. Around 5 1/2 years ago, I let myself ask the question: "what if the church isn't true?" As you can probably guess, it was downhill from there. I have read, I have prayed, I have hoped for a message that would put things back in place, but I am unable to put things back in place. As I have continued to study I have become more convinced that the church is not what it claims to be.

I broke all this to DW around 6 months after asking myself if it was possible that the church isn't true. She took it horribly (she was 6 months pregnant at the time), I caved and said I would try harder to be the perfect priesthood holder. 6 months after that, we had another major discussion about it with similar results. That was the last major discussion we had, and we have had an uneasy truce where we don't talk about it in-depth, but she knows I don't really believe (but secretly hopes I will come around) and I maintain appearances. Now we are a picture-perfect NOM family.

Last night DW brought up that she is not happy that I have not taken her to the temple in several years. In her defense, she has brought it up a several times and I told her that we would go, but then life gets busy and I never get around to it. She feels like I have lied to her. I feel I was truthful (I did intend to take her), but certainly lack follow-through. Then she brought up that she is unhappy feeling like she has to be the spiritual pillar in the family. She is annoyed that we don't study come follow me, have daily scripture study, FHE, etc. She wants me to lead on those things and make sure we do them. I think a lot of this is brought on by DW's recent calling (2 months ago she was called to be an auxiliary president, so she is in ward council every week) and some of the discussions that happen in ward council.

A couple things about DW:
- She is worried about being embarrassed. Acceptance by our tribe is very important to her.
- She says she doesn't care whether Joseph Smith did bad things, or whether Rusty is making good choices. She says they will be judged for what they did, not her. She knows what she has felt and thus knows the church is true.
- Sometimes I'm not sure that she really loves me. She loves me when I'm a good priesthood holder, but when we get in these discussions I feel that her husband being a good priesthood holder is more important than her husband being me. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it hurts.
- She says I don't value our marriage because I don't want to return to the temple (we don't live anywhere close to where we were married, so she is talking about returning to any temple), and since I don't value where we were married and what goes on there I must not value our marriage.
- She questions what the point is of being married if we won't be in the celestial kingdom forever.
- She hates that she can't talk to me about spiritual matters because I don't look at things the same way she does.
- She is mad that I had to go "digging around" in church history/doctrine and can't understand why I couldn't just leave it alone.

DW is fed up with me not being all-in; I'm not sure my heart is in it enough to do all-in and I'm thinking about stopping my participation in church. I don't want to promise her that I'll be some amazing priesthood holder when I know it won't last as long as she wants (not that I'm planning on stopping, but life gets busy) and I won't be able to do everything she hopes for (the church's expectations here are unrealistic in my view).

So the way I see it, I have two choices:
1. Tell her I will try harder to lead the family in those things, take her to the temple, etc. OR
2. Tell her that me living a double-life obviously isn't working, and it is time I act on my beliefs and stop participating in church.

Right now I'm leaning towards option #2, but I know it will cause a lot of emotional turmoil. I don't mind the arrangement we've had, but my heart is definitely not in trying to be the perfect priesthood holder.

Thoughts? Advice? Words of emotional support?

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:48 am

Really crummy choices. I have found some compromise to work, but ultimately I don't think faking everything is sustainable. You will have to find the balance that works for your situation.

In my case I go to sacrament meeting to sit with the family and help with kids and prevent my wife looking like a widow. Once that closing hymn and prayer is done, I drop the toddler off in nursery and I am out of there (we drive separate). That hour is my hour (sometimes selfishly wish church was still 3 hours long).

I have opted out of temple recommends, tithing (wife still pays a minimal amount), and ordinances.

While it isn't perfect, our marriage seems to be surviving and it is workable for now.

I certainly empathize with your situation.
If you are waiting for permission to stop things or do other things, it will never come from your spouse, you simply have to start living life on your terms slowly introducing those changes you need and want.

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MoPag
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by MoPag » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:20 am

First of all ((hugs)) This rough, and we are here for you.

Before you chose a path, I want to tell you a few things about your DW. I don't know her personally. But I know some things that might help you chose your path.

Young women in the church are taught that if we don't marry a worthy return missionary in the temple and then proceed to be a SAHM and have lots of kinds our lives are basically worthless and meaningless. Most leaders won't come straight out as say this, but it is in the subtext of everything young women are taught in the church both formally and culturally.

The only identity we are aloud to have is "wife of a worthy priesthood and mother of righteous children." Every TBM woman's sense of self worth is tied up in this identity. Every woman who falls outside of that identity are "less than." And women in the church are second class citizens to begin with. Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.
One more time:
Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.

The way shes reacting isn't a reflection on you, or her love for you. It's a reflection of how she loves herself. And how do you love yourself if your life is meaningless?
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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2bizE
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by 2bizE » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:51 am

I’m very much in the same position as you, except my wife hasn’t had the take me to the temple talk with me.
My wife is also similar to yours. She doesn’t care about history. Her testimony is not based on fact.
I’m a very factual person like you are. If the facts don’t fit then I have to dig deeper.
The problem I have when someone says not to dig too deep is that if the church can not hold water on a deep and thorough examination, then it should be exploited.
Do you think after the space shuttle Challenger disaster, NASA said, “only do a shallow review of the incident because we really don’t want to know too much of what happened?”
I’m reminded of the movie Lorenzo’s Oil where a father had to do considerable research to help save his son’s life. There has to be a way for your wife to understand the need to fully understand church history.
Others have provided great thoughts, that I will not duplicate. I think helping your wife to understand your point of view is important.
~2bizE

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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:36 am

Thanks Fivefinger for sharing your experience. I would be fine with your arrangement. Every so often there is a good talk in sacrament meeting and I don't hate going. It's just frustrating for me (and I'm sure you too) that we have to hope that marriage can survive a faith transition. I mean, does anyone really expect their spouse to stay the same their entire life? Yet in this one area that seems to be the expectation. No progress for you, no thinking for you, just get in line and shut up if you want a happy marriage.
Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.
Thanks MoPag for your thought. I have seen similar comments before, but it really hit home now. I think this is entirely true with DW. She is very worried about social repercussions and how people would look at her if they thought she didn't live the perfect life. I need to be more understanding of her feelings. It's hard when I feel like I'm getting blamed for the church's mistakes.

2bizE: Glad to know there are others in my position. The idea that we shouldn't dig to understand church history and doctrine is frustrating because in every other part of life she appreciates that I research things thoroughly and she trusts my judgment. Yet in this one area we should just trust what church leaders say and my judgment is wrong.


I don't know. It will be an interesting discussion tonight. I know I can't commit to being a perfect priesthood holder, so I'm thinking I'll lay things out and see what happens. I suspect that if I tell her that I am considering not attending church at all anymore, that the status quo we have might not be so bad. At the end of the day though I don't care about winning the argument, I want a happy wife and a happy marriage. I'm willing to sacrifice for it, but I don't want to create unrealistic expectations that are later used against me.

What is really frustrating is that I genuinely believe and have seen that our family is happier when we are less entangled with the church. We went on vacation and didn't go to church and everything was great! Then we come back to busy callings and boring meetings and we aren't happy.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:45 am

My wife used to be like that.

Here’s a few things that changed the perspective.

1. Be your best self. Show her that your happiness and self confidence isn’t built around the church. Find things that make you happy and make sure she sees your happy.

2. Set boundaries around church activities. Over the years I’ve been “active” in attendance and a lot of church things for the sake of appearances to prevent her becoming the ward “inactive husband” church widow. But I’ve done this with a constant disclaimer. For every church event or activity I politely state that I’m not interested in going but would do so “to support her and the family”. This way she knows I’m supporting her and not the church. It also creates a feedback loop in her brain that she knows I’m not interested in church activities but that I choose to love her more than I hate the church. There’s been many times where she “gives back” by skipping church things.

3. Don’t be too critical of the church around her. Allow her to have her beliefs and feel safe. As Mopag said, she’s been indoctrinated to believe in fairy tales.

4. Use a 1:3 ratio to rebuild your relationship and life outside the church. For every minute you spend researching the church and dissecting your faith you should be spending 3 minutes on rebuilding and repairing your relationship and developing emotional bonds not connected to Mormonism. You see, the thing with the church is that it’s designed with heart sell in mind that creates an EMOTIONAL bond and connection to THE CHURCH and THE CHURCH LEADERS. Think of it this way; she’s having an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR with HF, JC, the HG, Joseph Smith, the FP, the Q12, the SP, the BP, maybe even the EQP. Then add in Nephi, the muscular Captain Moroni, Alma, King Benjamin, and all the other BOM dudes! We lousy half assed priesthood holders can’t compete with dudes that walk on water, cut off heads of evil drunk leaders, and Kings that give amazing speeches. Then there’s that HG guy that goes around giving the FEELZ and TINGLES to every Mormon woman whispering in her ear “your husband isn’t good enough.... he hasn’t taken you to the temple in 6 months... he doesn’t lead FHE... he scratches his butt a lot and burps too.... he can’t sing Praise to the Man with enough gusto! No wonder your wife is so sad, depressed, and longing for a righteous priesthood holder!!

4. Remember the overused couplet: what’s good in the church isn’t unique, and what’s unique in the church isn’t good. This means to go find meaningful spirituality wherever you can find it and share it with her. Pro tip: nature is full of spirituality. Go hiking, biking, to the beach, etc.

5. Spend time with your family and have fun! Overtime everyone will choose fun over the church monotony. Make a habit to go on mini vacations over the weekend. Once a month is great if you can do it.

6. Remember, you're not the crazy one.

7. We’ve all been there. It gets better when you make your beliefs and unbeliefs known.

8. Divorce is always an option.

9. Living in misery is not.

10. Don’t do anything Kishkumen might do. :lol:
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:51 am

A few more for good measure.

11. Love wins! Love your wife more than you hate the church.

12. Self love is ok if your faith crisis interferes with your intimacy and sexual relationship.

13. Don’t look at porn, get caught looking at porn, or ever admit to having seen anything related to porn because if you do; YOUR FAITH CRISIS WILL BE A RESULT OF YOU WATCHING PORN!

14. See number 13 and read it again a few times.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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alas
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by alas » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:12 am

MoPag wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:20 am
First of all ((hugs)) This rough, and we are here for you.

Before you chose a path, I want to tell you a few things about your DW. I don't know her personally. But I know some things that might help you chose your path.

Young women in the church are taught that if we don't marry a worthy return missionary in the temple and then proceed to be a SAHM and have lots of kinds our lives are basically worthless and meaningless. Most leaders won't come straight out as say this, but it is in the subtext of everything young women are taught in the church both formally and culturally.

The only identity we are aloud to have is "wife of a worthy priesthood and mother of righteous children." Every TBM woman's sense of self worth is tied up in this identity. Every woman who falls outside of that identity are "less than." And women in the church are second class citizens to begin with. Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.
One more time:
Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.

The way shes reacting isn't a reflection on you, or her love for you. It's a reflection of how she loves herself. And how do you love yourself if your life is meaningless?
This.

If you can help her establish some identity besides “mother in Zion” it will help.

It is hard to be a stay at home mother because in our current society, there is zero support for mothers being full time homemakers. Oh, there is pressure from the church, but no support. So, the church pushes women into a role and abandons them to to it all by themselves. It didn’t used to be that way. When RS was during the week, and on work days essentially lasted till the older children came home from school, then primary also during the weekdays gave women another chance to be around other adults. At RS, women made contact with other women for play dates for toddlers, contacts to trade babysitting with, contacts and friends with other stay at home Moms. Then RS and primary were changed to Sunday. And the church considered the social needs of teens, but forgot that adult women need anything but babies and an occasional evening out with hubby. Now a stay at home mom can go all week and not see an adult except a husband who comes home at 6, then runs off to church meetings, then comes home and goes to bed. Day after day after day she is alone with babies. It is enough to make a person crazy. Some women abandon the church’s stupid idea that all women need is a husband and baby to be perfectly happy and they go to work. Others just go crazy. You are married to one who has just gone crazy. Mother in Zion does nothing to make people fulfilled and happy. It is half of a life, not a full life. Women need social contacts, they need friends, they need an identity that is more than their relationship to husband and kids. But the church has taught them that to even want more than that is somehow evil. Lucky women whose husband doesn’t make enough for them to be SAHMs. They can have a job and a life outside of being an appendage to others.

Now, you can’t push her to get a job. That attacks her identity, even if it is only half of an identity. It is ALL she has and she will cling to it desperately. By not being a good priesthood holder you take away even what she is an appendage to. Yikes, she is only an appendage and you want to maker her a second class appendage? No wonder she is angry. It has nothing to do with the church, except for being that the church taught her to be this way. It has to do with being less than fully human.

So, the first step is understanding the real problem. If she was a full human being she could taker herself to the temple or what ever. If she believed Come Follow Me lessons were important, she could teach them. But she isn’t a human being. She is only a helpless appendage.

Now, you can cut off her identity all at once, or an inch at a time. Both very painful options. Or you can work toward a different identity for her. Find a hobby she will love and get into it yourself and drag her along. Start volunteer work, like habitat for humanity and drag her along. It has to be something she will love. Buy a boat, or corvette, or ATV and join club for your new hobby and drag her along. It has to be something she will love. Buy her an oil painting kit, or musical instrument and sign her up for lessons. The trick is finding something she will love, so maybe something she gave up when she got married. Encourage her to finish her college, or get a Masters. The thing is, she has to be more than just a mother and wife to a good Mormon.

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Angel
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Angel » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:55 am

Advocate wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:36 am
... I mean, does anyone really expect their spouse to stay the same their entire life? ...
I have told others - I have not changed. My values are the same - I seek health and happiness for my family and myself, I seek love, peace, justice, mercy - I believe in hard work, I value honesty - these are things I have always prioritized, and always will. It is not me who has changed. New information has caused me to re-evaluate what organizations and communities best support the values I have always had, and will always have.

For some reason the 'you have changed, it is your fault" opinion gets my gander up. the dishonest church is NOT the fault of any ex-mo. The BS going on in the church is not my fault - put the blame where the blame belongs please.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Advocate
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:02 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:51 am
A few more for good measure.

11. Love wins! Love your wife more than you hate the church.

12. Self love is ok if your faith crisis interferes with your intimacy and sexual relationship.

13. Don’t look at porn, get caught looking at porn, or ever admit to having seen anything related to porn because if you do; YOUR FAITH CRISIS WILL BE A RESULT OF YOU WATCHING PORN!

14. See number 13 and read it again a few times.
I LOL'd about #13. What is funny is that I was traveling for work last week, and on Saturday she pushed me pretty hard about porn and masturbation while I was traveling. It kind of surprised me, but now I wonder if she was trying to figure out how to tackle the problem of me not taking her to the temple.

Also love #2 that we do things to support her, not for going to church. So much good advice in your posts. Thank you.

Definitely agree with being my best self and putting 110% into my marriage. This is some of the best advice I've seen on NOM and taken to heart. What is frustrating is that I firmly believe our marriage has improved because I've put more into our marriage as a result of moving (mentally anyway) away from the church.

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Angel
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Angel » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:05 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:45 am
.... go find meaningful spirituality wherever you can find it and share it ....
Love love love this list Red Ryder, and especially love the above.

I like to ask TBM's "What lesson to get from Judas? Why do you think an apostle (rather than atheist etc.) was the one who betrayed Jesus?"

after they reply (or remain silent with no answer for a bit), I give my spiel about the importance of personal and individual light and testimonies. To me, all spiritual groups are imperfect to provide room for personal thought and testimonies. No middle-man, not even if they are prophets or apostles.

She needs her own testimony (not a group thing, not - you need to go to the temple with me, and you need to host FHE, and everyone else needs to do xyz - not what everyone else should be doing, but their own personal spiritually self-reliant thing.

She needs to respect your spiritual choices as well as taking ownership of her own spiritual well-being.

**Edit to add, if she can see herself as an individual, perhaps she will then start being able to see others - like her husband - as an individual rather than a means to an end.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Advocate
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:13 pm

alas wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:12 am
MoPag wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:20 am
First of all ((hugs)) This rough, and we are here for you.

Before you chose a path, I want to tell you a few things about your DW. I don't know her personally. But I know some things that might help you chose your path.

Young women in the church are taught that if we don't marry a worthy return missionary in the temple and then proceed to be a SAHM and have lots of kinds our lives are basically worthless and meaningless. Most leaders won't come straight out as say this, but it is in the subtext of everything young women are taught in the church both formally and culturally.

The only identity we are aloud to have is "wife of a worthy priesthood and mother of righteous children." Every TBM woman's sense of self worth is tied up in this identity. Every woman who falls outside of that identity are "less than." And women in the church are second class citizens to begin with. Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.
One more time:
Your faith crisis is her identity crisis.

The way shes reacting isn't a reflection on you, or her love for you. It's a reflection of how she loves herself. And how do you love yourself if your life is meaningless?
This.

If you can help her establish some identity besides “mother in Zion” it will help.

It is hard to be a stay at home mother because in our current society, there is zero support for mothers being full time homemakers. Oh, there is pressure from the church, but no support. So, the church pushes women into a role and abandons them to to it all by themselves. It didn’t used to be that way. When RS was during the week, and on work days essentially lasted till the older children came home from school, then primary also during the weekdays gave women another chance to be around other adults. At RS, women made contact with other women for play dates for toddlers, contacts to trade babysitting with, contacts and friends with other stay at home Moms. Then RS and primary were changed to Sunday. And the church considered the social needs of teens, but forgot that adult women need anything but babies and an occasional evening out with hubby. Now a stay at home mom can go all week and not see an adult except a husband who comes home at 6, then runs off to church meetings, then comes home and goes to bed. Day after day after day she is alone with babies. It is enough to make a person crazy. Some women abandon the church’s stupid idea that all women need is a husband and baby to be perfectly happy and they go to work. Others just go crazy. You are married to one who has just gone crazy. Mother in Zion does nothing to make people fulfilled and happy. It is half of a life, not a full life. Women need social contacts, they need friends, they need an identity that is more than their relationship to husband and kids. But the church has taught them that to even want more than that is somehow evil. Lucky women whose husband doesn’t make enough for them to be SAHMs. They can have a job and a life outside of being an appendage to others.

Now, you can’t push her to get a job. That attacks her identity, even if it is only half of an identity. It is ALL she has and she will cling to it desperately. By not being a good priesthood holder you take away even what she is an appendage to. Yikes, she is only an appendage and you want to maker her a second class appendage? No wonder she is angry. It has nothing to do with the church, except for being that the church taught her to be this way. It has to do with being less than fully human.

So, the first step is understanding the real problem. If she was a full human being she could taker herself to the temple or what ever. If she believed Come Follow Me lessons were important, she could teach them. But she isn’t a human being. She is only a helpless appendage.

Now, you can cut off her identity all at once, or an inch at a time. Both very painful options. Or you can work toward a different identity for her. Find a hobby she will love and get into it yourself and drag her along. Start volunteer work, like habitat for humanity and drag her along. It has to be something she will love. Buy a boat, or corvette, or ATV and join club for your new hobby and drag her along. It has to be something she will love. Buy her an oil painting kit, or musical instrument and sign her up for lessons. The trick is finding something she will love, so maybe something she gave up when she got married. Encourage her to finish her college, or get a Masters. The thing is, she has to be more than just a mother and wife to a good Mormon.
Thank you Alas and MoPag for helping me understand the situation from a woman's perspective. It makes more sense to me why DW likes being an auxiliary head, it makes her somebody (at least at the ward level). She is looking for fulfillment, for something to do. And you're right, she is threatened because it wouldn't be good for someone with her calling to have an inactive husband. That's a terrible example (said sarcastically).

Your comments give me a lot to think about. They're easy to understand (at the surface anyway), but it will take some thinking and work to implement them.

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Advocate
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:09 pm

Angel wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:05 pm
Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:45 am
.... go find meaningful spirituality wherever you can find it and share it ....
Love love love this list Red Ryder, and especially love the above.

I like to ask TBM's "What lesson to get from Judas? Why do you think an apostle (rather than atheist etc.) was the one who betrayed Jesus?"

after they reply (or remain silent with no answer for a bit), I give my spiel about the importance of personal and individual light and testimonies. To me, all spiritual groups are imperfect to provide room for personal thought and testimonies. No middle-man, not even if they are prophets or apostles.

She needs her own testimony (not a group thing, not - you need to go to the temple with me, and you need to host FHE, and everyone else needs to do xyz - not what everyone else should be doing, but their own personal spiritually self-reliant thing.

She needs to respect your spiritual choices as well as taking ownership of her own spiritual well-being.

**Edit to add, if she can see herself as an individual, perhaps she will then start being able to see others - like her husband - as an individual rather than a means to an end.
Love that question. I'd never that about that and love how it makes others think.

Agree with the rest of your post, but that is easier said than done (especially for me as her husband).

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græy
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by græy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:54 pm

Hey Advocate! I wanted to respond this morning but... work happened.

I could have written your same post, almost word for word. You've got some great advice here and I don't have anything to add other than moral support.

Have you looked into the marriage on a tightrope podcast? My DW has recently started listening to that again after not listening at all for more than a year. I think it has helped open her eyes to the possibility of a faith-crisis not being about a desire to sin or be lazy. She talks about the people in those podcasts like real people with real concerns. We're not there yet, but that puts her at least a step closer to viewing our relationship and future in the same way.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:31 pm

15. Ask your wife what she thinks your marriage would be like if you were Catholic or non-denominational Christian. Church wouldn’t be the lifestyle it is with Mormonism. Point out that nuance.

16. Don’t ask her what she thinks it would be like if you were FLDS! :lol:
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Linked
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Linked » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:06 pm

Count me in this boat too. Solidarity.

I've tried to be honest with my DW that I'm done, but I continue to go to support her. I made it clear early on that I don't believe anymore, and over the years she seems to have come to get used to it. She now goes to the temple on her own. She doesn't seem to mind when I leave after sacrament meeting. But she still hates talking about it.

I think you may have a 3rd choice that's similar to #2, but where you continue to go and support her (as others have said they do). In the initial discussion make it clear that your belief is not coming back (don't spend too much time talking about that, she doesn't care about the specifics and it will make her cry more). Then do the things you can to support her, like Red Ryder's 16 theses. My line for support is attending church activities where I get to be with my family. I don't have a temple recommend. I baptized my son this year. Your line may be different.

In a painful discussion with my wife I listed the things I would do if I could do anything. Things like, no more church attendance, no tithing, try coffee and alcohol, etc. It was horrible at the time, but I think in the long term it may have been a good thing because she knows what I feel and can decide if she is willing to stay with the real me.

Good luck with this!
"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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Mormorrisey
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:52 am

So many of us on this board are in the same boat, and there is some great advice here, and RR's list is invaluable, including his addendums.

The only advice I can give is to realize that however hard it is, don't take the fact that your wife loves the priesthood holder you over the REAL you personally. It's very hard to do, I fail at this regularly, but when I don't take it personally is when my marriage is better. Our problems go even beyond church, and maybe yours do too over this issue. I was raised by a narcissist, so because I never "earned" my Mom's love, so as a result I'm very sensitive to not feeling loved. Sis. M was raised by parents who showed love only when children did the right things, so right from the get-go we had some real emotional intimacy problems. She would become very distant when I did the things she didn't like, and I would feel unloved and angry. It's taken us 25+ years to work on this, and the church was just the monkey in the works. So what I've done, and to echo RR's advice, is to take the church out of the equation. Help your wife see the REAL you, the good guy that she wants to stay married to, and give her good reasons.

How do I know this is working? A couple of weeks ago, just out of the blue, as we were sitting watching a movie, Sis M turns to me and just says I really love you. Now, this is quite the accomplishment, she never said this to me even in my bishop days, so I know this plan is working. Just so you know it's the long game, after this last Sunday when I wasn't at church with her, she expressed sadness that she's worried we won't be together in the eternities. Now, the old me would have been a little upset, but putting the two events together I recognized that she was simply expressing her love for me - that she loves me RIGHT NOW, and wants it to last. So instead of starting a fight over her statement, I just gave her a hug and told her I loved her. That led to better marital activity than a fight, I'll tell you.

So it does get better, it just takes a lot of WORK. From both sides.

I wish you godspeed!
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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alas
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by alas » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:35 am

Mormorrisey wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:52 am
So many of us on this board are in the same boat, and there is some great advice here, and RR's list is invaluable, including his addendums.

The only advice I can give is to realize that however hard it is, don't take the fact that your wife loves the priesthood holder you over the REAL you personally. It's very hard to do, I fail at this regularly, but when I don't take it personally is when my marriage is better. Our problems go even beyond church, and maybe yours do too over this issue. I was raised by a narcissist, so because I never "earned" my Mom's love, so as a result I'm very sensitive to not feeling loved. Sis. M was raised by parents who showed love only when children did the right things, so right from the get-go we had some real emotional intimacy problems. She would become very distant when I did the things she didn't like, and I would feel unloved and angry. It's taken us 25+ years to work on this, and the church was just the monkey in the works. So what I've done, and to echo RR's advice, is to take the church out of the equation. Help your wife see the REAL you, the good guy that she wants to stay married to, and give her good reasons.

How do I know this is working? A couple of weeks ago, just out of the blue, as we were sitting watching a movie, Sis M turns to me and just says I really love you. Now, this is quite the accomplishment, she never said this to me even in my bishop days, so I know this plan is working. Just so you know it's the long game, after this last Sunday when I wasn't at church with her, she expressed sadness that she's worried we won't be together in the eternities. Now, the old me would have been a little upset, but putting the two events together I recognized that she was simply expressing her love for me - that she loves me RIGHT NOW, and wants it to last. So instead of starting a fight over her statement, I just gave her a hug and told her I loved her. That led to better marital activity than a fight, I'll tell you.

So it does get better, it just takes a lot of WORK. From both sides.

I wish you godspeed!
Not only does it take work, it takes time. She needs time to understand that you are not going off the deep end into porn, call girls and drugs and going to wind up drunk in some gutter. This just plain takes time for her to see that you really do have the same values.

One of the NOM mottos that we have not emphasized enough lately is take it slow. Give your self and her the time to adjust.

The church teaches that there is only one real reason people leave, because they are mired in sin. The assumption is that you really do know it is true, you just don’t want it to be because sinning is so much fun. So, when she sees that the worst you are up to is just coffee and maybe social drinking, that you are not into molesting children and torturing puppies, she will be much more willing to accept the there really might be a problem with the church.

So, Follow that advice the other guys have said about being loving, and stay the man (not priesthood holder) that she fell in love with. Show her that you are not turning into the angry, drunk, sinning apostate the church tells her you are going to turn into.

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Advocate
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Advocate » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:46 am

I now return and report: this sucks.

Had a 2+ hour conversation with DW last night. It wasn't fun. I was able to keep my emotions under control and she was too for the most part. A couple highlights:

- Me wanting to learn more about church history and doctrine (starting in 2012) is the same as committing adultery. How? Because, according to DW, I knew that in digging I would find issues that would lead me to question the church. This desire to know more about the church is selfish and thus the same as adultery because that is also selfish, and she is/would be the innocent victim in both.
- She knows there are lots of issues with church history, so why bother learning about them. They aren't her problem and the church is true.
- There is no reason to dig into details with the church. You go on Sunday and do what is asked because you want to be part of a good environment. If there is something that seems off/wrong, you just ignore it.
- Why did I marry her if I was going to have issues with the church? Why pick her? (pity party)
- Me going to church every week (including getting kids there too) isn't enough because she can tell that I usually don't want to be there. Not that I say that out loud, but she knows me well enough that she can read my feelings.
- Let me know that I wouldn't be able to baptize our youngest (other kids are already baptized) nor see any of our kids married in temple.

I don't understand women and am wondering if I should have just avoided the entire conversation. I'm pretty quiet and very good at keeping things to myself. It seems to me she only wanted to discuss if it was what she wanted to hear. Kind of a "do these pants make me look fat" situation.

We didn't end up agreeing on anything or getting anywhere. She didn't like the idea of being jointly responsible for come follow me. She definitely wasn't interested in studying the issues with me. We talked and talked until we weren't getting anywhere and there was nothing left to say.

Every interaction with her today has been ice-cold.

The advice about my faith crisis being an identity crisis for her was spot-on. I can see why this is such a huge thing for her. Even knowing that, I still feel like an innocent victim.

I'm thinking of reading the BOM in 30 days just to give it one last shot. A big part of me hopes that I could regain my testimony. It would make things so much easier. But part of me says that nothing will change; I've already seen that the emperor has no clothes. Not sure if I should tell DW or not. I want her to know that my faith crisis wasn't brought on as some sort of evil plan I hatched. On the other hand, I don't want her to get her hopes up too much.

Thanks to all here on NOM. I love the spirit of this board. I think having a place to vent is huge. Hopefully nobody is getting the wrong idea about DW. She really is an amazing woman and I love her more than anything.

Be interesting to see how things go tonight. This sucks.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Feeling Forced to Choose a Path

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:54 am

Advocate wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:46 am
I now return and report: this sucks.

Had a 2+ hour conversation with DW last night. It wasn't fun. I was able to keep my emotions under control and she was too for the most part. A couple highlights:

- Me wanting to learn more about church history and doctrine (starting in 2012) is the same as committing adultery. How? Because, according to DW, I knew that in digging I would find issues that would lead me to question the church. This desire to know more about the church is selfish and thus the same as adultery because that is also selfish, and she is/would be the innocent victim in both.
- She knows there are lots of issues with church history, so why bother learning about them. They aren't her problem and the church is true.
- There is no reason to dig into details with the church. You go on Sunday and do what is asked because you want to be part of a good environment. If there is something that seems off/wrong, you just ignore it.
- Why did I marry her if I was going to have issues with the church? Why pick her? (pity party)
- Me going to church every week (including getting kids there too) isn't enough because she can tell that I usually don't want to be there. Not that I say that out loud, but she knows me well enough that she can read my feelings.
- Let me know that I wouldn't be able to baptize our youngest (other kids are already baptized) nor see any of our kids married in temple.
Not a great interaction there, that's for sure, but at least you can now isolate the challenge according to what you've written here. It's been the same challenge for many of us - your spouse, at this stage, simply cannot isolate her relationship with you, from her relationship to the church. All that she has said, that you have written here, is about your relationship to the church and how she feels about that, and nothing about your relationship with her. It's just rather weird, and you don't know how to navigate your interactions with someone who thinks this way. Welcome to a very difficult club.

But I can only repeat, it takes work (and time, you're right, alas!) to help her move away from this thinking. TAKE THE CHURCH OUT OF YOUR MARRIAGE. When I became very apathetic to church, my marriage was better. I wasn't trying to convert my kids or my wife to my way of thinking, I just lived my little apostate happy life, and six/seven years into my "faith crisis," my marriage is significantly better. And believe me, if I read my posts from even two/three years ago, I was in your shoes. I just had to stop worrying about church crap, and telling her about it. And I had to come to grips with the fact that she will ALWAYS be a TBM, never once critically thinking about the church, and could I stay married to her because of that? The answer was an emphatic yes, so I just don't argue with her about church things when I can help it. I come here to vent, talk to one of my siblings who is a NOM too, and leave my problems with the church there. Now, I'm an "active" member, but I'm not shy calling BS when the situation warrants it. (Had an interesting conversation with Sis M. about Nelson's BYU talk, but we just agreed to disagree at the end. Now THAT'S progress in my marriage.) So it can get better, but not at this stage. If you're willing to put the work in, put the time in (and it can be years, that's the thing) your marriage can survive this. Many on this board are living proof.

Where your wife needs to get to, which is a very difficult place for most Mormons, is to have empathy for what you're struggling with, instead of condemnation. And again, it kind of starts with you. Try statements like "I can see that it works for you, to just ignore church history, but I want to know the truth. Can you try to see how that doesn't work for someone like me? I'm glad it works for you, and I support you, but I hope you can see one day that it doesn't work for me." I have played the integrity card again and again, and finally Sis M. has acknowledged that I have great integrity, and my faith crisis is not about anything else than I studied to know the truth. But it took YEARS for her to acknowledge this. And if I'm really honest, I'm sure she's still looking for proof I'm cheating on her, going to bars, etc., to "prove" my faith crisis is about sin, because that's what the church teaches. But I don't care. If you really love her as you have clearly shown here, as I love Sis M dearly, the long game, the very long game, is totally worth it.

Man, keep us posted. Good luck with all of this.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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