It's been a while. What next

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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azflyer
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It's been a while. What next

Post by azflyer » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:55 pm

Hi everyone! It's been quite a while since I posted here. Quite a bit has changed in my faith life since then.

I'm hoping I can get some support and guidance from many of you wise people.

First, some background. I'm 38 years old and married to a really awesome mentally out wife. We have five kids ranging from 16 down to 7. I've been questioning my faith in one way or another for 14 years now. For quite some time, I was able to 'choose to believe', and it worked, and I enjoyed it. But I'm past that point now, and I can't make it work mentally any more. For me, the final straw was watching my youngest brother bear his testimony about the veracity of the church's truth claims the night he was set apart as a missionary. That was the moment I decided I don't want my kids to go on missions. That was the moment I decided I needed to start to distance myself from the church. That was about a year and a half ago.

So far this year, I've gone to church maybe 5 or 6 times. I've gone when there has been a reason to, or when it's been convenient, or when there has been a reason to. I don't wear garments. I drink alcohol when I want. I don't pay tithing. The thing I'm really struggling with right now is that I don't know how to broach this subject with my family, or even if I should. My family is all TBM. And as I'm sure you all really know, they just won't get it (but maybe that's just me making assumptions). I tend to be a direct person, so part of me really wants to just kind of 'come out' to all of them in an email, or a Facebook post (we have a private family Facebook group). The only thing that's stopping me from doing that is that once that is done, it's done. You can't put that toothpaste back in the tube.

My second son just turned 11. He'll be eligible to become a deacon in January. My youngest son is turning 8 soon, and you all know what that means.

Anyway, I kind of just feel like I'm done pretending and putting up the right facade for others. I've been trying to protect others feelings, but it's taking a toll on me, and I don't think I can really take it much longer. I'm coming up on some big church milestones, and I'm really questioning whether to go through with them to keep family happy.

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wtfluff
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by wtfluff » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:11 pm

I've done pretty much everything wrong when it comes to this truth awakening thing, so take this for what it's worth...

If your wife and kids are all on board, and you are direct like you say you are, then rip that band-aid right off. You've got your immediate family, and tons of NOMie friends, so you'll get through the extended family drama much easier than those of us who go it alone.

I'm partial to doing it via email (or it sounds like FAKEbook could work for you too.) You can blast it out to everyone at once, so everything will be on the table, and there will be no tattling or rumors flying between folks who know, and folks who don't. I'm also partial to keeping it simple: Let them know you're done with the Holy Corporation™, and if they'd like details they can contact you personally. (Yeah... Don't call it the Holy Corporation™ though. :mrgreen: )
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

Brilliant.

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Palerider
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Palerider » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:21 pm

There are numerous here that for the sake of family continue to "go along". On the one hand we avoid conflict with family and ward members that way. I don't blame them. You were pretty much roped into the church at an early age and it's not your fault that you're there. At least you have a wife that would be supportive. That's huge.

But by avoiding conflict with others, we become self-conflicted. We start to feel like we're living a lie, which we are to a certain extent. Internalizing the conflict and pain takes a toll on our spirit and psyche.

Telling the truth spreads the pain around to others but as you know it also sets you free. No one is guaranteed a painfree life. It doesn't exist. If our loved ones TRULY love us they will eventually accept us for ourselves. They may feel a little badly but they do get over it to a degree with time. If someone is willing to cut you off or out of their lives because you have followed your heart, you have to ask yourself is that person someone I need in my life right now? Did they really love me or did they love their concept of me?

Best of luck with your decision. It isn't easy but we can make it a growing experience. Even if that means learning to stand alone and on our own principles.
"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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Palerider
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Palerider » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:33 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:11 pm
.....You can blast it out to everyone at once, so everything will be on the table, and there will be no tattling or rumors flying between folks who know, and folks who don't. I'm also partial to keeping it simple: Let them know you're done with the Holy Corporation™, and if they'd like details they can contact you personally.
This is pretty close to what I did. I wrote my kids and in-laws a letter stating what I was doing and gave a brief summary of the reasons why. Everyone received it at about the same time. One of my daughters-in-law immediately accused me of having an affair or being hooked on porn. :roll:

My BiL bore his testimony that the BoM was true... :roll:

It took about six months for things to calm down and then when everyone saw that my wife wasn't leaving me, there had been no affair and I wasn't going out getting drunk and smoking dope and all the rest of it, they just accepted it and life went on.

Presently life is very good. My wife and all but one of my kids and his wife are out of the church. And I'll get him eventually. ;)
"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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Red Ryder
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:23 pm

Hey Flyer!

Just rip the band aid off and tell your family you started investigating the Jehovah’s Witnesses after they came knocking on your door a month ago. You’ve decided that the Watch Tower is the one true way back to Jehovah and that you consider yourself one of the 144K. You prayed about it and received a witness.

Or if that’s not your thing just tell them you are taking a year long sabbatical from church to find yourself which may include a trip to hike the Himalayas in the near future but you have to get prepared by wearing special hiking underwear for a few weeks to allow your body to acclimate. That is why you are not wearing g’s

If hiking isn’t your thing, then just tell them you’re concerned with the direction of the church and it’s institutional dishonesty and that they should rethink their policies and practices in regards to food storage and gay relationships.

I guess my point is it doesn’t matter exactly what you tell them because they will just think you’re deceived by Stan and his minions. So don’t overthink this which I know is hard for your engineered brain but really it’s rather simple.

“Dear family, we no longer consider ourselves LDS but you’re still welcome to come to dinner on Sunday.”

Keep it simple. Show kindness. Love them regardless.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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slk
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by slk » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:16 pm

With the ward members, I would think you could just fade away and it's none of their business why you aren't at church every Sunday. As far as family goes, I would think the same thing applies as being none of their business and I'm not sure if I would even tell them.

I personally have never told my folks that I think it's all a bunch of baloney but I have brought up the church essays with them and I have asked them what they thought about the multiple First Vision accounts. I will only get a little defensive with them if I hear them trash talk other religions or when stupid stuff spills from their mouth.

I think it's pretty obvious that my parents and siblings know I don't believe but I have never come right out and said it. I just know that this has worked for me but to each his own. If you feel like you need to be more open with them, go for it.

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glass shelf
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by glass shelf » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:54 pm

Band aid ripper here. :) Five years later, my kids don't know or care about Mormonism*, my parents are out of the church, and my in-laws probably still think we're all going to hell but know better than to say it to me.

All in all, a win. My advice is to get your kids out. The rest is collateral damage. I get a lot of joy from realizing that my kids are going through their teens (and off into adulthood eventually!) to have the experiences that Mormonism denied me.

As for specifics, I didn't do a slow fade. I resigned my calling and was done with church. My family doesn't live by us, so we waited a little longer to tell them, but Mormonism definitely forced my hand because people were expecting to come to "special" events. I didn't make a public post until later when I did finally say something on FB just because I didn't want to be connected with Mormonism anymore.

*To be fair, my older kids have a vague recollection of how awfully boring it was and are just glad we don't do that any more.

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Jeffret
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Jeffret » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:11 am

I may be the minority on this, but I still see no reason extended family needs to be told. What business is it of theirs, really, what underwear I wear? Or even what god I worship or don't? Or what I do on Sunday mornings? (It's a lot more fun that what we used to do.)

We never came out with some big reveal to other family members. I stopped attending almost a year before the rest of my family. My wife was very familiar with my concerns. My kids overheard many of the conversations and if they paid attention were pretty clear. We didn't discuss my disengagement with extended family. Then my wife suddenly decided she was done. The older kids had the choice to continue. They went to a few activities but quickly faded. The younger ones were just happy not to be bothered. We still didn't send out some big missive.

A few years later our kids were together with cousins from near and far. One of them mentioned that our family no longer attends. A cousin who lives nearby was shocked that he wasn't aware. (OK, he was more interested in cars and girls than paying attention to people's religious practices.)

We have a pleasant rapport with extended family on both mine and my wife's sides. We respect their religious beliefs and practices. They respect ours. (Or lack thereof.)

I've seen a similar dynamic in one of my in-laws family. They raised a large number of kids in a strictly adhering and believing environment. Their oldest came out very publicly on FB, stating their whole family had left. She has posted a number of things critical of the church, but as far as I know she never sent anything detailing her concerns. We knew that was coming because a younger sister had previously shared with us that she, herself, had left along with the eldest. This younger one never said anything more publicly than maybe the briefest of mentions. Since then we've noticed that another sister shares photos of her and her husband wearing clothes that don't meet Mormon dress standards and that certainly wouldn't have been acceptable in the home she grew up in. She hasn't made any public statement we've ever seen. And there are others in the family we wonder about.

Defining boundaries is important. Very important. Accepting and declining invitations to events, including religious ones. Accepting and sharing reasonably and equitably with people. I don't see that there's a band-aid that needs to be ripped off, though. "No, thanks" often works pretty well.
"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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Fifi de la Vergne
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Fifi de la Vergne » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:14 am

Jeffret wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:11 am
I may be the minority on this, but I still see no reason extended family needs to be told. What business is it of theirs, really, what underwear I wear? Or even what god I worship or don't? Or what I do on Sunday mornings? (It's a lot more fun than what we used to do.) . . .

Defining boundaries is important. Very important. Accepting and declining invitations to events, including religious ones. Accepting and sharing reasonably and equitably with people. I don't see that there's a band-aid that needs to be ripped off, though. "No, thanks" often works pretty well.
I don't think an announcement is necessary -- for those who choose to do one the primary benefit seems to be for the person themself: the defining and articulating of their reasons for leaving. But actively hiding the fact of your disaffection doesn't often seem to work out for people either. Choosing to actively hide would seem to imply that you're doing something wrong, or that you feel guilty, or that someone else's opinion is more important than your own feelings and values.

Circumstances and personalities differ of course, but I could never have lived with pretending to believe, nor with keeping up "standards" that, for me, had come to be purely arbitrary. I never made an announcement as such, but I neither did I make an effort to hide. The word that I was no longer going to church and no longer believed spread through our ward and through my husband's family (mine was never LDS and only perceived it as a good thing and about time). It's caused a little discomfort and awkwardness from time to time, but overall I feel that being true to myself has led to greater peace.
Joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being.

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Hagoth
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Hagoth » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:48 am

I'm kind of in the Fifi camp here. Here's the most important thing you said, in my opinion:
azflyer wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:55 pm
...a really awesome mentally out wife.
I don't think there's necessarily a need for a total and dramatic band-aid ripping (but that depends entirely on the personalities of the people you have to deal with). Just live your live the way that you and your wife agree upon, regardless of what Mormons do or think, and do whatever brings you more happiness than pretending to be a believer. That will require you to explain some things to some people, but it doesn't necessitate that you explain all things to all people. Do what is right, let the consequences follow, as they say. I have learned that I don't need to do a lot of explaining because people don't really want to know and they gonna' think what they gonna' think regardless. I just try not to give them any reason to believe that I have joined the army of Satan just because I don't believe in angels with magic spectacles or cowboy prophets transforming into plowboy prophets.

I think the people who do need a full explanation are those around you who are starting to realize that something is rotten in Denmark, who are open-minded enough to consider it, and who need reassurance that they are not alone and/or crazy - and that there is a silver lining to the dark cloud o' dissonance. The problem is figuring out how to spot those people because they are generally still in the trying/pretending phase.
“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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azflyer
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by azflyer » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:34 am

Jeffret wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:11 am
I may be the minority on this, but I still see no reason extended family needs to be told.
Did you ever have a situation where your mother called you and asked, "Oh, little Jeffret is trying 8 next month. When is his baptism? We want to be there."

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Jeffret
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Jeffret » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:38 pm

azflyer wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:34 am
Did you ever have a situation where your mother called you and asked, "Oh, little Jeffret is trying 8 next month. When is his baptism? We want to be there."
Actually we didn't. It surprised us, but it never came up. If the time between when our disengagement became noticeable and one of those events occurred were closer it might have, but there was at least a couple year gap.

I'm well aware that family dynamics can be different from family to family. In other families our approach may not have worked.

But, I still think a firm, yet minimal approach is often the best. Generally there isn't any need for a big listing of all the concerns. They won't read it. They don't want to read it. They won't accept it even if they do. All it does is attack their beliefs. Might make us feel good for a time, but it doesn't help manage the relationships. Better is something that focuses on what is important and still involves those that are important to us. Maybe something like, "We are focusing our time on family needs and sharing time and experiences together. We are not participating in church at this time. You're welcome to visit for our child's birthday or other times." It might need to be more direct on the church status. Or more firm on our expectations from them. Maybe state that we don't want any discussion about baptism while they're visiting. If they escalate the interrogation, it may need firmer responses.

Our families' responses have been great, but not everyone may be so lucky. It can take quite a while. We had concern about upcoming baptism, ordination, or mission ages, but none of that ever materialized. I wouldn't assume it has to.

As always, YMMV.
"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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Linked
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Linked » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:49 pm

Azflyer! So good to hear from you!

What do you think your family would expect from you, and do you care?

I have an uncle who lived far away and we didn't do much with and I'm pretty sure he stopped going to church years ago, but nobody really knows, and people think what they want to think. I don't think that would work if you are close with family.

I spend a lot of time with my family and hid my feelings for a few years from them. I told them 2 years ago and it was not as cathartic as I was hoping, but it was exhausting and made our relationships more awkward. If I were to do it again I would probably just be myself and let them figure it out if they wanted to, though I would probably be honest with any direct questions.

I don't remember exactly what I told them when I came out as a non-believer, but I do remember being a bit disappointed with myself and their reactions.

Good luck with your upcoming decisions!
"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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glass shelf
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by glass shelf » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:46 pm

azflyer wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:34 am
Jeffret wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:11 am
I may be the minority on this, but I still see no reason extended family needs to be told.
Did you ever have a situation where your mother called you and asked, "Oh, little Jeffret is trying 8 next month. When is his baptism? We want to be there."
This is exactly why, for me, it's better to tell people. I prefer band-aid ripping to death by a 1,023 papercuts. My family is full of planners, and they definitely would ask this question.

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Journey
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Journey » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:36 pm

Azflyer, does your family know that you have cut down your attendance? If so, what have they said about it? Have they noticed the change in your clothing, eating or drinking habits?

Maybe they know everything that they are willing to know at this time if they know that you’ve attended only 10% of the times in total. They might have already formed their opinions about it and might not be ready to hear from you why exactly. I’ve heard of family relationships being hurt when some people push the issue, and only you will know where your family is in that regard. Good luck to you and your family!
azflyer wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:55 pm
So far this year, I've gone to church maybe 5 or 6 times. I've gone when there has been a reason to, or when it's been convenient, or when there has been a reason to. I don't wear garments. I drink alcohol when I want.

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wtfluff
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by wtfluff » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:22 pm

Linked wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:49 pm
I told them 2 years ago and it was not as cathartic as I was hoping, but it was exhausting and made our relationships more awkward.
Since we're telling our "coming out" stories.

I'm not close with my family. Even as a believer I didn't really like the fact that the only time parents and siblings got together was because of some MORmON milestone, and maybe once per year besides that. The vast majority of discussion at said get-together's focused on LD$-Inc. also. (Another reason for my dislike.)

So my "coming" out to my siblings was when I wasn't in the temple to watch my oldest "get married." Not one of my siblings asked any questions, or said anything at that event. Yes there were awkward long hugs and sad looks, but not a word was said. (And the hugs and sad eyes are likely my own confirmation bias.)

Eventually my octogenarian, ailing parent "figured out" my apostasy due to my dwindling appearances at the above mentioned MORmON milestone events and called me out via a good old snail-mail letter. In my "coming out" email reply to them, I basically said, yes I have stepped away from LD$-Inc. I lived the tenets ofLD$-Inc. to the best of my ability and it just doesn't live up to it's promises. I also shot down a few platitudes that were mentioned in my parent's original letter. (Lazy, sin, etc...) I also volunteered to discuss any details if the desire was there. Of course said parent quickly replied and wanted to know "what happened." Us evil apostates really want to share all of our "reasons" with our family, but let me tell you, when your octogenarian parent starts asking questions, you'll likely think twice or thrice about bursting the MORmON bubble they've never peeked out of AT ALL.

As far as my siblings are concerned, after the parental unit figured it out, I also sent them all an email similar to what I'd sent the parent, but a bit simplified. Basically: As you've all likely figured out, I've stepped away. LD$-Inc. doesn't work for me, it's not because of what LD$-Inc. taught you, and if you'd like to know the real reasons, I'm open to discuss such reasons. As you might imagine: COMPLETE radio silence from my siblings.

So... If it hadn't been for stupid MORmON milestones "outing" me, I might never have had an official "coming out" with my parent and siblings.
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

Brilliant.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:12 pm

I'm going to plus one on the bandaid rip!

But that being said, I only did the bandaid rip with my local leaders. Our effort to fade out was putting us on the project list and we and our one kid at home were being harassed for interviews and callings, etc. After I wrote the email and sent it off, making it clear we would not be harassed anymore, the word from the local leaders trickled out pretty quickly and there was very little contact. Then we had extended family to grapple with over time and a couple of years later our names removed off the books. It worked out very well for us that way.

Oh how sweet the freedom was! Take those Sundays and go out into the great outdoors and enjoy your life! We've found so many wonderful and fulfilling things to use that time for. We never dreamed life could so amazing and incredible without the LDS corp BS hanging over us and making us feel guilty all the time. Not to mention the freedom to wear what we want, drink what we want, and so many other things, all with a 10% pay raise. It honestly feels like we've been richly blessed by the universe, as a way to congratulate us for escaping from a cultic tribalistic corrupt corporation that was controlling our lives.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

Wonderment
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Wonderment » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:03 pm

Anyway, I kind of just feel like I'm done pretending and putting up the right facade for others. I've been trying to protect others feelings, but it's taking a toll on me, and I don't think I can really take it much longer. I'm coming up on some big church milestones, and I'm really questioning whether to go through with them to keep family happy.
Good to hear from you ! I think the most important value is to be true to your own conscience, your own vethics, and not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Make the decision to be true to yourself first, then dealing with extended relatives is easier.

In my own experience, I tend to agree with Jeffret that a minimalist approach, or at least a middle way is best, because extended relatives will take their cues from you. Present yourself as calm, diplomatic, thoughtful, and resolute in your behavior While remaining firm, try to be as kind as possible. If they refuse to listen, or if they "up the ante" by arguing that you have "abandoned God", "the spirit has fled your life", yielded to the tempatation to sin", "been deceived by the adversary" yadda, yadda, then you can reply by switching to the "rip the band-aid off approach."

But at the beginning, if you try the minimalist approach, most people will see your calm, cool, diplomatic manner and will refrain from putting further pressure on you. At least, that's my experience. In general, TBM's shy away from intense emotional confrontations. Even if your extended family doesn't agree with you, they'll observe your calm, respectful behavior and will respond accordingly.

Wonderment
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by Wonderment » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:16 am

To add: Just my experience, but when they ask specific questions like, "When is your son going to be baptized? We want to make sure to attend"....... etc., just give a very nondescript response like, "We'll be sure to keep in touch", and so forth. Then turn the discussion back to them by asking how they've been, etc. You can practice in advance thinking up equivocal answers to specific questions; and in my experience, after awhile you'll get fewer and fewer specific questions. JMO. -- Wndr.

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azflyer
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Re: It's been a while. What next

Post by azflyer » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:37 am

Wonderment wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:16 am
To add: Just my experience, but when they ask specific questions like, "When is your son going to be baptized? We want to make sure to attend"....... etc., just give a very nondescript response like, "We'll be sure to keep in touch", and so forth.
Ya, I've been thinking of this too. It just... It just feels like a cop out... I wish we could all just be ourselves and say how we feel without everyone having such a hard time with it.

It's funny, well, I think it's funny, my seven year old absolutely doesn't want to be baptized. As recently as a few months ago, I was actually trying to nudge him in that direction. But when I ask him about it, he just flat out says, "no, I don't want to be baptized, and I don't like church" :lol: :lol:

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