Extended Family Relationships

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

Extended Family Relationships

Post by stuck » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:50 pm

Does anyone else feel like their extended family relationships are more distant especially since they have discovered that you are now an unbeliever? I didn't make it to the family thanksgiving dinner because my wife just had a baby. But I texted a couple of siblings afterwards about things and never heard back. I could be blowing this out of proportion because many congratulated me on the new baby. But since thanksgiving haven't heard much of anything. I am wondering if news about my disaffection spread at that time. One of my sisters recently discovered this because I confided in her lesbian daughter that my views about the church had changed.

In any event, it seems that the church even though it doesn't promote shunning like the Amish or perhaps the Jehovah's Witnesses do, there is still some type of shunning towards unbelievers that takes place probably out of fear, ignorance or feelings of betrayal. Does anyone else feel this sort of thing and if so, what can be done if anything to overcome this?

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FiveFingerMnemonic
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Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:32 pm

I absolutely believe from personal experience on both sides of the fence that soft shunning in mormonism is a real experience. The awkwardness between ardent believers and former believers is tangible. We are living and breathing cognitive dissonance and the cause of discomfort to those still inside the circle of wagons.

And likewise, we feel discomfort around the constant tribal rhetoric and mormon cultural virtue signaling talk that pervades traditional family gatherings.

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Palerider
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Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by Palerider » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:45 pm

I have a daughter-in-law in particular that is more distant knowing that I'm out of the cult. It's funny that she can't see her own tendency to be a gossip monger who is so attached to the Mormon grapevine that it stinks. I absolutely couldn't trust her with a confidence.

I know she sees me as a threat to her Eternal and social happiness and probably lives in fear that I might influence my son to leave the church.

And there is the crux of the problem. As long as you are perceived as a threat by that individual there is little chance for an edifying relationship. But you can't change them, so the only alternative is to live a life of integrity and hope that someday they will come to appreciate that.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Dravin
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Location: Indiana

Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by Dravin » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:06 pm

No, but then my situation is probably non-standard. Not a single one of my siblings is a TBM and as far as my relationship with my parents they go pretty smoothly. It is possible that if I didn't live across the country from my parents that I might see more friction there, or it is possible I'm not giving my parents the credit they are due. Given the general non-believing state of all their children they probably came to terms with unbelieving children long before I stopped believing.

Now if I made a point of being an atheist at the family gatherings with my wife's side of the family, that could get distant and awkward but I'm smarter than to play, "I'm not going to let you forget I'm an atheist." in Indiana. If nothing else I know it'd strain my immediate relations with my wife, so it'd be doubly stupid.

Edit: For context, my wife is the only Mormon in her immediate family so I'm dealing with fairly generic Midwestern Christians for those who are religious and I know at least one of her brothers would rejoice that I'm not Mormon anymore (though he'd freak out that I'm an atheist).
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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Jeffret
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Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by Jeffret » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:31 pm

Not really.

We don't participate in their religious rituals and expressions so in that sense we're more distant. They don't participate in activities we do on Sundays. Such as an upcoming Christmas tree hunt that has always been on Saturday in the past, but is shifting to Sunday this year to accommodate the non-Mormons that are most involved.

But there are a lot of other activities we also don't share. I couldn't drag some of them out hiking or cross-country skiing or to hot springs. But I'm not interested in going to quilt stores, either.

We do accept and acknowledge the different interests and opinions of the different people. I know they're excited about their son on a mission. Or their married kids and grandchildren. We're excited about what our kids are doing.

But we still get together when we can and share common interests and activities. I don't really see that there's much difference, but the shared sets have shifted some over the years.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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moksha
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Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by moksha » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:47 am

Thank goodness the LDS Ceremony of Discommendation is becoming less frequent. It was regrettable when disaffected family members were forced to run the gauntlet and jabbed repeatedly with pain sticks by TBM family members. Sometimes the pain was so intense that the disaffected were forced to scream out, "I believe, I believe. Just don't hurt me no more, please!" The fallen member was then taken to LDS Hospital for a blessing and released into the custody of the ward.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

stuck
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Re: Extended Family Relationships

Post by stuck » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:29 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:32 pm
I absolutely believe from personal experience on both sides of the fence that soft shunning in mormonism is a real experience. The awkwardness between ardent believers and former believers is tangible. We are living and breathing cognitive dissonance and the cause of discomfort to those still inside the circle of wagons.

And likewise, we feel discomfort around the constant tribal rhetoric and mormon cultural virtue signaling talk that pervades traditional family gatherings.
I agree with FFM in that we cause cognitive dissonance in believers and perhaps that's why some seem to ignore us. I did speak to my parents since and had a conversation and they didn't bring up anything about me being an unbeliever and so I probably did blow things out of proportion to a certain degree. However, I have one brother who used to be more chummy with me than he is now and perhaps he heard through the grapevine that I am now disaffected and so maybe that would explain it, but I haven't confirmed but seems like a likely explanation. Oh well, the price we pay for taking a stand according to the "dictates of our own conscience." One day I will probably need to let all of my family members know where I stand, so they will understand why I am not standing in priesthood circles and the like.

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