Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

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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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Fri May 31, 2019 9:09 am

I wanted to document a couple of small victories that happened recently.

DW is still VERY insistent on family scripture study. That means we read from the illustrated scripture stories books with our youngest and later read from NT to cover the Come Follow Me assignments for the week, every. single. night.

This past week, we hit stories about Adam/Eve and the Flood. DW was reading, youngest was sort-of listening, and strangely enough the older kids were following along with the stories. After DW finished the chapter, the older kids started asking questions. (They recently hit upon evolution in school, so I think that may have driven some of these thoughts.)

Were Adam and Eve brother and sister? Did their kids marry their brothers/sisters? Were their parents apes?

I thought it was great! DW was clearly annoyed. But to her credit she explained that some scripture stories were simply the way people tried to explain things to the best of their understanding a long time ago. Since thousands of years ago, people did not understand evolution, they told the story about Adam and Eve as if there was nothing to come before them. Today we understand that things probably happened very differently than the Adam and Eve story says.

She was clearly caught off guard and stumbled a bit trying to get those thoughts out. I spoke up and helped clarify that point and also added that even if the story didn't happen the way the scriptures say, there are things we can learn from the stories, and that is why we read them.

A very similar conversation happened a few days later after reading about Noah.

That was a big step for her. In the past she was never willing to admit that evolution might be a thing because that would mean she'd have to draw a line between one generation being "children of God with eternal potential" and "apes."

I love my kids with their honesty inquiries and science-y backgrounds!
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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slavereeno
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by slavereeno » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:26 pm

That sounds fantastic. A little nuance goes a long way.

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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:14 am

Another small victory.

This week DW was reading from OT Stories to the kids. She was reading from the chapter that introduces Lehi. It mentions how the people didn't listen tot he prophets who were warning them that Jerusalem would be destroyed, and then this line...
The Jews heard the prophets, but they did not repent. God sent the king of Babylon and his army to destroy Jerusalem.
DW stopped reading for a second and thought. Then she spoke up, "I don't think God sent the army to destroy them. There is a natural consequence when we do bad things. But, I don't think God sends extra punishments against us."

This opened up another discussion about how the OT was written from a very tribalistic perspective. It was written by a specific group trying to send a very specific message to another specific group and try and elicit certain behavior.

I wanted to point out the priests and scribes, even prophets, at the time were using fear to motivate change among the people, but I didn't say anything else.

DW continued reading. The story goes on describing how the soldiers stole gold and silver from the temple. They burned the temple to the ground along with many homes and the wall around the city. It was all very uplifting for the children, I'm sure (/s). DW was able to check that mark off her list for the day, and I smiled on the inside when DW openly disagreed with "scripture."
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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slavereeno
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by slavereeno » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:37 am

Yes I had one of those moments a couple of years ago. DW was reading from the BoM in 4th Nephi and she remarked that the numbers were ridiculous, that they didn't add up. At least one generation had to be having kids past their 100th birthday.

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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:08 am

slavereeno wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:37 am
Yes I had one of those moments a couple of years ago. DW was reading from the BoM in 4th Nephi and she remarked that the numbers were ridiculous, that they didn't add up. At least one generation had to be having kids past their 100th birthday.
That is something we have discussed a few times, but I don't think it has clicked with her yet. There are many times throughout the BoM where the Nephite/Lamanite birthrates and population growth rate has to have significantly exceeded ours today in order to build population like they do.

You just look back 150 years to see that lots of babies and mothers died at birth. Lots of people didn't live into or past their 30's. Populations just did not grow they way the BoM seems to imply, especially with those massive wars.
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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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:49 am

Yesterday our family read from Acts 3 where Peter and John heal the lame man. The NT says nothing but that it was done through the name of Jesus Christ. The Come Follow Me manual, of course, extrapolates that it was really done by the power of priesthood.

As DW explained that part to the kids they were suddenly amazed, "Dad can heal people!?" Then, worse, they looked directly at me and asked, "Can you really heal people like that?" I really felt like a deer in the headlights.

I have blessed dozens upon dozens of people to be healed from things like flu, colds, kidney stones, even traumatic injuries from a high fall. Once or twice, the sickness has seemingly disappeared within hours of the blessing. That includes the (Dr. diagnosed) kidney stones, which I am still at a loss to fully explain.

That said, I don't believe my success rate at magically healing people is any greater than the rate of those people outside of the church who are "magically" healed without priesthood blessings.

Further, if priesthood blessings really worked, why isn't Utah the medical mecca of the modern world? In reality, it is no different from any other state in terms of health, sickness, mysterious healings, or raisings from the dead.

So why did my wife stare at me last night, with an hopeful smile, waiting for me to confirm my kids' new step in faith promoting pride? No one is ever healed by priesthood blessings. They often take comfort, I'll grant that. And that comfort may provide cathartic healing. But beyond that, it is placebo and misplaced faith. The evidence is all there, but TBMs refuse to see it.

In the end I answered, "That is what the scriptures say." DW chimed in that it requires faith, to which the kids followed up, "Dad, do you have faith like that?" I thought for a second and replied as honestly as I could, "I don't think I do."

I tried to relate my story of the kidney stones. I wanted to explain that we can give blessings, we can give comfort and support, however, the ability to heal is not up to us. But by then they had lost interest, so that is where it ended.
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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slavereeno
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by slavereeno » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:18 am

Conversations like this were a pretty big source of stress for me. I mean being put on the spot to affirm something I didn't really believe in. I once "healed" someone from a nervous breakdown that was interpreted as a demonic attack. I used to tell the story in a very faith promoting way. It is interesting how these kinds of faith promoting stories morph over time like fishing stories. The fish gets a little bigger every time the story is told. I don't think I ever intended for my faith-y stories to be deceitful, but they probably ended up going that direction unintentionally, or subconsciously.

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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:40 pm

slavereeno wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:18 am
Conversations like this were a pretty big source of stress for me. I mean being put on the spot to affirm something I didn't really believe in.
This has been getting worse for me. Due to my calling I occasionally get asked to speak to youth or even the adults about things. I recently had to artfully dodge giving testimony about the temple. It is getting now difficult to find anything I really feel good saying in church.
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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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:57 am

How to handle a suddenly ramped up passive aggressive attitude?

DW often listens to a GC talk, Face-to-Face, or other LDS devotional in the mornings. She usually does this downstairs while I'm showing and getting dressed upstairs, or while she is showing and getting dressed and I am downstairs. However, something has changed the past few days.

For the past week or so, she seems to be purposefully waiting for me to start my shower, after which she will come into the master bathroom, start listening to her talk (turned up to hear over the shower) and proceed to get dressed and ready for her day VEEERRRRRY SLOOOOWLY. When I say very slowly, I mean she's taking 3-4 times as long getting dressed as she ever has for the past 15 years.

To me, it seems to be an obvious attempt to make sure I'm getting my daily dose of church-positive indoctrination. This, despite the fact that I am still reading Come Follow Me and Priesthood lessons every week, contributing to weekly FHE and nightly family scripture study, and spending 1-3 hours a day reading and re-reading church history books or listening to podcasts.

I've tried engaging her in conversation, while it is still playing, about the actual content of the talks she's forcing into my shower routine, but she either doesn't respond or just gives me short one phrase answers to open-ended questions.

If I wait until later and try to bring up points of the talks that stood out to me (admittedly, usually questionable parts) she just brushes it off and says she liked the talk but won't elaborate beyond that. A few times she has said she already forgot the talk and can't engage in discussion because I waited too long to talk to her about it. :roll:

The whole thing feels like she is only playing the audio to check it off her list and doesn't actually care about the message they are trying to get to her (us) assimilate. And yet it is, apparently, so important that we hear it!

Ok. Rant over.
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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Corsair
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Corsair » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:59 am

græy wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:57 am
The whole thing feels like she is only playing the audio to check it off her list and doesn't actually care about the message they are trying to get to her (us) assimilate. And yet it is, apparently, so important that we hear it!
A lot of LDS culture revolves around passive-aggressive methods to deal with testimony and belief problems. Many of us have had well-meaning family, friends, or leaders hear about our faith transitions and decide the best way to deal with it is the "drive-by ministering". This is where they send us an article from General Conference, FairMormon, LDS Living, Book of Mormon Central, or some faithful podcast and encourage us to listen to the message. Books by Tyrell Givens, Patrick Mason, and David Ostler and also popular drive-by messages in a longer form. These are intended to be like tossing a spiritually beneficial grenade, but the person tossing the material wants you to interact with it, but virtually never wants to further engage with it.

The problem is not so much the material they send to us. It is that believers simply want us to ponder this material and suddenly come back to full belief and activity. But believers don't want to actually discuss this material in any detail. Our uninspired skepticism might be communicable and would certainly drive away the spirit. I actually like a lot of what these articles have to say, but inviting follow-up questions is not part of their strategy. It is unintentionally implied that the most pointed questions should simply be pondered in faith and not out loud with other believers. And by "in faith" we mean "loyalty to the LDS church giving all benefit of any doubt to Joseph's sterling moral character and Russell Nelson's prophetic mantle."

I don't know a good way to deal with this. I can think of lots of hilarious ways to annoy believers, but no one really wants honest inquiry where there is any chance that the answer will turn out to go badly for the institutional LDS church.

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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:30 pm

Corsair wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:59 am
The problem is not so much the material they send to us. It is that believers simply want us to ponder this material and suddenly come back to full belief and activity. But believers don't want to actually discuss this material in any detail.
I think this is really why it is so frustrating to me. If this is really the most important thing in your life, then let's talk about it. Let's dig in and get thoughtfully, purposefully, meaningfully deep. Let's pull it apart and find out what it is really telling us and the limits of where it does or doesn't apply. But in the end, as you said, discussion is not what they want. They want you to nod along and be like them.
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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Hermey
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Hermey » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:24 pm

When you head into the bathroom to take a shower and get ready, just beat her to the punch by playing a podcast of your own - and crank it up. Maybe you could start with the “My Book of Mormon” podcast. See, what a great was to get in some gospel/BOM study in the morning! :lol:

(I’m actually serious about this.)

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Red Ryder
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:50 am

Hermey wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:24 pm
When you head into the bathroom to take a shower and get ready, just beat her to the punch by playing a podcast of your own - and crank it up. Maybe you could start with the “My Book of Mormon” podcast. See, what a great was to get in some gospel/BOM study in the morning! :lol:

(I’m actually serious about this.)
This was my suggestion too.

But here’s a better one!

Turn on some 80’s music and shower together!

Church needs to stay the hell out of the bathroom, the bedroom, and the marriage intimacy!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

Keewon
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Keewon » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:38 pm

græy wrote:In the past she was never willing to admit that evolution might be a thing because that would mean she'd have to draw a line between one generation being "children of God with eternal potential" and "apes."
I well remember a conversation with one of the bishop's "science friends" on that topic. His question- If humans are descended from apes, then when did the first non-human ape parents give birth to the first human child?

The question itself is misleading, based on the idea that a label like "human" somehow confers immutability and homogeneity to whatever the label is applied to. Categories can be useful but misleading, as we have seen in the case of gender. Nature is not so easily divided into neat boxes.

A good analogy in this case is language, and the corresponding hypothetical question "When did the first Latin-speaking couple produce the first Spanish-speaking child?" Of course language evolution doesn't happen all at once like that. Each generation speaks the same language as its parents, but over hundreds of years the languages diverged sufficiently that now a Spanish-speaking child could not understand the speech of it's Latin-speaking ancestors, nor the speech of its its French or Portuguese-speaking cousins. Similarly, biological genomes diverge and evolve over the thousands of generations until sufficient differences accumulate that they can aptly be called separate species.
græy wrote: I love my kids with their honesty inquiries and science-y backgrounds!
Evolution is a powerful theory that can give even small children insight into the wonder and variety of nature. One of my young daughter's many "big words" was "axolotl"- the variety of salamander that reaches sexual maturity in its larval form, as an illustration of neoteny, one of the naturally occurring events in evolution that can result in large changes in phenotype based on small adjustments to underlying DNA. One compelling idea in biology is that humans are basically neotenate apes:
"In humans, neoteny is manifested in the resemblance of many physiological features of a human to a late-stage foetal chimpanzee. These foetal characteristics include hair on the head, a globular skull, ear shape, vertical plane face, absence of penal bone (baculum) in foetal male chimpanzees, the vagina pointing forward in foetal ape, the presence of hymen in neonate ape, and the structure of the foot. 'These and many other features', Bednarik says, 'define the anatomical relationship between ape and man as the latter's neoteny'".

Bednarik RG (2011). The Human Condition. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-9353-3. ISBN 978-1-4419-9352-6. (page 134), cited by:
Achrati A (November 2014). "Neoteny, female hominin and cognitive evolution". Rock Art Research. 31 (1): 232–238.

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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:34 am

Well, sh*t. I just typed up a large entry detailing a fight I had with DW yesterday. But before I could hit submit the site logged me out, and now that whole post is gone.

Cliff notes version.

We have nightly family scripture study, generally following Come Follow Me outline. Throughout the four canonical gospels it worked great, but Paul wrote some crazy wacky stuff in his letters. It is obvious to me in many places how hard the church works to twist his words into modern LDS philosophy. Some nights we can't find a way to make the scheduled lesson relevant to our family so we fall back on other scriptures or scripture stories and try to get some conversation going.

DW feels that we are failing as parents because we're not strictly following the prescribed lesson schedule and not studying every single section or verse outlined in the lessons. I argued that the point of family scripture study is to address the growing, evolving needs of that specific family, and it shouldn't be pressed to fit into or follow a simple checklist of read this or discuss how this exact thing strengthened your testimony of God's one true prophet :evil: .

And then the tears came.

I tried to frame it from a point of view that while we spend fewer total minutes reading than we were last year when all we did was read a chapter, we do get better questions from our kids and have more conversation. Progress! Right!? But she doesn't see it like that.

From her perspective we're not checking every box and therefore are failing as parents and robbing our children of the chance to be indoctr.... er... develop their own testimonies.

I hate this church and the way it tricks people into believing they need to follow their approved thought patterns.
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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Random
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Random » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:24 pm

That poor lady! I hope she wakes up at some point, to realize that it's okay to tailor-make scriptures to fit your own life, and that you really can make your own decisions that don't correlate 100% with the words from the men at the top or, more accurately, some lesson manual a committee wrote.
There are 2 Gods. One who created us. The other you created. The God you made up is just like you-thrives on flattery-makes you live in fear.

Believe in the God who created us. And the God you created should be abolished.
PK

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Emower
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Emower » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:28 pm

That sucks, im sorry. I don't have any sage words except keep on keeping on. Hopefully she will see at some point the forest behind the trees. I honestly feel like this sort of thing is what the leadership of the church don't want, but it's the only way they know how to run a program, so they continue to operate in a very perscriptive space.

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Linked
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:54 pm

Dang I hate it when I lose a post like that!

Sorry to hear about your struggles with DW and come follow me. I don't have any good thoughts, other than solidarity.

The mormon church does a really good job putting itself at the core of peoples identity, and defining the in group and the out group. And then it makes going through the mormon motions the way you signal how in the group you are.
"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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græy
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Re: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by græy » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:25 am

Thanks everyone.

This past weekend was another fun one. We watched Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events with two of our kids on Saturday night. I had never seen the whole movie (or read the whole book) before.

At one point, near the end, the story-line reaches peak craziness when Uncle Olaf learns that in order to inherit the children's massive fortune he must be married. He, of course, does the most logical thing and decides to marry his 14 year old adopted daughter to get her money. Even our 9-year old was disgusted, half laughing half yelling "You can't marry your daughter" and "She's still just a kid!"

I couldn't sit quiet I remarked to DW that despite how absurd the situation was supposed to be, it was exactly what JS did with his polygamous wives.

In May 1843 Joseph Smith at least four wives, two were sisters - Maria and Emily Lawrence - and one was a young girl - Helen Mar Kimball.

As teenagers in 1840 the two Lawrence sisters were orphaned and JS arranged to make himself their legal guardian, a move which put him in control of their $8000 inheritance (roughly $236,000 in 2019 money)! In 1843 he married the sisters in secret, only to re-marry them once Emma had given him permission to do so.

Helen Mar Kimbal, at age 14, was told she could "purchase" exaltation for her entire family if she married Joseph Smith. How could she refuse such an offer?

And thus we see that Lemony Snicket's antagonist, Count Olaf, is really factually patterned after our very own Joseph Smith.

I did not go into the details, I only mentioned that the circumstance was similar to Joseph Smith's own actions. DW glared and told me the kids didn't need to hear about it. After the movie, she didn't want to talk to me anymore that night.
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: Mr. and Mrs. Græy's Stuff

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:54 pm

“graey” wrote:I did not go into the details, I only mentioned that the circumstance was similar to Joseph Smith's own actions. DW glared and told me the kids didn't need to hear about it. After the movie, she didn't want to talk to me anymore that night.
Ahh...Polygamy farts. :lol:

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Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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