Sunday, March 29, 2015

Discussion Fail: Temple Attendance

Since I have discussed a few successful discussions, maybe it's time I talked about a discussion fail.  I didn't know it failed until recently, but thinking back, it totally did.

LDS Church Teachings:

"I know your lives are busy.  I know that you have much to do.  But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed; life will be better for you."  
-Gordon B. Hinckley

"Always have the temple in your sights.  Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of sacred and eternal blessings there."
-Thomas S. Monson

Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received."
-Richard G. Scott

"Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the church, as a sign of our faith in the life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."
-Russell M. Nelson

"Hundreds of thousands of faithful members participate in the unselfish service we call "temple work" which has no motive other than love and service for our fellowmen living and dead."
-Dallin H. Oaks

The Problem:

I wanted to make sure that my Hubby knew I was okay with him going.

Thoughts and Fears:

I hope he doesn't think he can't go to the temple.
If he wants to go, then he should go.
It will probably be hard to go alone.
I want him to go, but I want him to stay and spend time with the family, but I want him to go. . .  If he wants to.
How do I handle him wanting to spend time away from family time?
Will I really be okay with him going?
How often will he want to go?  It might be a lot.
I want him to spend time with the family, but I want him to go, but I want him to spend time with the family.

The Conversation:

This conversation was a bit different.  I brought it up.  I really wanted my Hubby to know that I respect his beliefs.  I wanted him to know he could take time to practice those beliefs.  I tried to verbalize that.  I tried to be compassionate.  I tried to be supportive.  I tried to be encouraging.  But I failed. . . miserably.  

Our little discussion was quick and (I thought) easy.  I told my Hubby all the supportive things I could.  Said it was all okay, but he just didn't buy it.  He questioned me with something like, "Are you sure?  You're not going to resent me for going and taking away from family time on the weekends?"  I assured him that it would all be okay.  I would not resent him.  I'm not sure that was completely true.  I wanted it to be true.  But I just don't think it was.

What Happened:

I since discovered that he always knew I would be resentful.  And he was probably right.  At the time, I was in my most angry stage about Church issues; where almost everything church-related set off my rage.  So, it's probably true that I would have been angry.   It would have also added extra stress on our marriage.   I just thought that we were too busy or he just didn't choose to go.  But, no matter how he decided, my Hubby never really attended the temple.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Discussion: Word of Wisdom (Law of Health)

Many of our conversations have happened multiple times.  This one included.  The first time we talked about the Word of Wisdom (WOW) was over a year ago.

LDS Church Teachings:

"The Word of Wisdom put restrictions on members of the Church.   To this day those regulations apply to every member and to everyone who seeks to join the church.  They are so compelling that no one is to be baptized into the Church without first agreeing to live by them.  No one will be called to teach or lead unless they accept them.  When you want to go to the temple you will be asked if you keep the Word of Wisdom.  If you do not, you cannot go to the house of the Lord until you are fully worthy."  
-Boyd K. Packer, General Conference April 1996

The teachings of the WOW come from the Doctrine and Covenants chapter 89.  It discusses the DOs and DONTs of eating and drinking for the saints.

  • No wine or strong drink (v5-7)
  • No tobacco (v8)
  • No hot drinks (v9)
  • Use herbs (v10-11)
  • Eat meat sparingly (v12-13)
  • Eat all grains (v14-16)
  • Eat fruit (v16)
  • Grains for mild drinks (v17)
Blessings that come from following the WOW:
  • "health in their navel and marrow in their bones." (v18)
  • find wisdom and great treasures (v19)
"And then there is a greater blessing promised in the Word of Wisdom.  Those who obey it are promised that they "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures" (D&C 89:19).  This is the personal revelation through which you can detect invisible crocodiles or hidden mines or other dangers."
  • run and not be weary, walk and not faint (v20)
Gods promise to those who keep this commandment:
  • the destroying angel shall pass by them and not slay them.  (v21)

The Problem:

My Hubby wants to know if I'm going to start drinking.

Thoughts and Fears:

  • Do I want to?
  • What do I know about it?
  • He will just think I'm going to become an alcoholic.
  • He will think this is the reason I don't believe; just so I can sin without guilt.

The Conversation:

My hubby started this conversation too.  He asked if I was going to drink.  I didn't know.  At this point, I'm still trying to figure out what I believe and don't believe.  Which values are mine and which ones have been forced onto me.  The WOW was one of those topics I was going to get to, but was not there yet.  There were others significantly more important for me to figure out first.  

I am also a complete water drinker.  I drink over 100 oz. of water in a day.  I love water.  Not water that has anything in it, just plain water.  I rarely drink juice.  I never drink soda.  And I never drink those things because I just don't like to drink my calories.  So, alcohol was just not on my radar.

The Compromise:

There wasn't really anything to compromise.  Nothing was changing in my habits concerning what I was drinking, so the purpose filled by our discussion was to ease my Hubby's fears.  

Full Disclosure:  

In the interest of full disclosure, this first conversation about alcohol was over a year ago and since then I do have the occasional cocktail.  I haven't tried beer.  I've only tried one wine.  It was no good.  I haven't found a tea that I like.  I think they all taste like grass.  And I haven't spent any time in the coffee arena.  Although I LOVE the smell. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Discussion: Extended Family Church Activities

 So we are clear, Extended Family Church Activities means baptisms, confirmations, blessings, talks, musical numbers, farewells, homecomings, etc.  Events we could be invited to watch and/or participate in from our extended family and close friends.

LDS Church Teachings:

I am currently unaware of any official stance on this topic.

The Problem:

My Hubby was unsure whether I would attend activities we were invited to or if he would have to attend alone.

Thoughts and Fears:

This particular topic was not brought up by me.  My Hubby was the one to bring it up.  It would be unfair to express what I think his feelings were, so I won't.   However, I did ask him why he thought he needed to bring it up.  I will talk about that.

Based off of my frustration and sometimes anger that followed classes, talks, or even casual discussions with members, my Hubby thought that I would not want to be where any church topic was brought up.  I had already gotten to a place where I could no longer attend our ward meetings every week, and rarely, if ever, attend activities with our ward.  I don't think this was an unfair assumption based off of my actions, but we learned early on in our marriage that assumptions are dangerous.  No matter how much "evidence" we have to back it up.  So, he asked me.

The Conversation:

This conversation was pretty uneventful.  To me, this was a non-issue.  Family is family.  And supporting the family in their activities is super important.  When he asked me I responded that we would of course attend.  The discussion quickly turned to "What part of participating in these activities can we control enough to minimize potential triggers to my frustration and anger?"

Every event will be different and require its own plan for successful attendance.  So we came up with a handful of questions to assess the situation before we go.

Which side of the family is this event for?  (each handles celebrations/activities differently)

When is it?

Do we have plans that day?

Can we change the plans?

Do we have to take the kids?

Are we being asked to participate directly with the event?

For how long is the event scheduled?

How long are we going to stay?

Will there be food? (this isn't to know if I will be able to satisfy my stomach while there, but to lessen stress concerning allergies in our little family)

Who else will be attending?  (This might sound "SO junior high," but for someone who's beliefs are in the process of change, this question might just be the most important one. We all know "Testify. Testify. Testify." is at the forefront of all LDS mantras and it's urgency skyrockets as soon as Mormons are in the presence of someone who isn't believing; ESPECIALLY at a church function.  So, knowing who is there and their probability of testifying at me is important.  I just want to be there to show support, not be preached at.)

What's the escape plan if the situation becomes unbearable? (yes, I said escape.)

Our Compromise:

Every time we get invited to a church function we assess the situation, plan accordingly, and have to come to an agreement for the escape plan.  I don't remember the last time we had to use the escape plan, but creating it together is the biggest stress reliever for any situation.  Because it shows that the other persons happiness is most important and we are willing to defend it. . .  TOGETHER.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Discussion: The Law of Tithing

Two years ago was when my Hubby and I really started to seriously discuss our differences in belief and how we were going to handle them.  The first topic I remember discussing was Tithing.  Just so we are all clear what we are talking about, I'm going to start with what the LDS Church teaches.

LDS Church Teachings on Tithing:

  • contributing is an outward sign of belief in God
"By this principle [Tithing] the loyalty of the people of this Church shall be put to the test.  By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it."
(Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 225)
  • a tithe constitutes ten percent of ones total earnings  (DC 119: 4)
  • tithing needs to be paid first before paying bills
"If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing." 
  • tithing money goes to building the Lords house, laying the foundation of Zion and for the Priesthood, and the debts of the Presidency of the Church (DC 119: 2)
  • paying a full tithe brings blessings from God (Malachi 3: 10)
  • tithe paying is a law that every member of the church is expected to obey regardless of circumstances (Temple Recommend Question)
Now that we are clear concerning what the church teaches, lets talk about my problem.  

The Problem:

At this point (2 years ago), my shelf has come crumbling down and I can no longer, in good conscience, support an organisation that participates in acts and deeds that do not align with my moral and ethical code.  However, I have a Hubby who does believe and he will want to pay Tithing.  Our major problem comes with me being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM).  I am currently not bringing in any money.  So, does this mean I don't have a say in what happens with the money?  He is the provider and I'm the nurturer.  What do we do?

My Thoughts and Fears attached to our possible conversation:

  • What will he say?
  • Will he be mad or will he understand?
  • Will he be possessive of the money that he brought in?
  • I'm doing what the Church wants me to do, be at home.  That HAS to be worth something.
  • I hope he thinks my work at home is worth something.
  • How would we decide how much money does or doesn't go to tithing? We are both contributing to our family, even if it's not monetary.
  • Will it cost him his temple recommend because he isn't a "full tithe payer."
  • Money is the number one reason people get divorced, I hope this doesn't send him over the edge.

The Conversation:

Our conversation was in the car.  After a date.  Just before we were coming in to relieve our babysitter.  In retrospect, this was the wrong time to bring any serious conversation up.  I did it anyway.  I stumbled through my thoughts on Tithing and how I was worth something even without a job and I really didn't want to pay tithing, but I didn't want to keep him from attending the temple and being in good standing with the church.  So, while I was blubbering and had tears running down my face, my Hubby reassured me that he loves me and appreciates all time I spend with our kids at home.  Because that's what we decided to do while they were little.  

My Hubby reminded me that when we first got married and talked about how our finances would work, we decided to put our money together.  It became OUR money.  This was part of our definition of "equal partner" in our marriage and supporting our family.  Currently, I'm the one who handles all our money and I have been taking out the tithing and placing it in it's own account.  It sits there all year until Tithing Settlement in December, where we pay it in a lump sum.  Since this is how we handle tithing, then we could separate it in equal halves.  My Hubby said he thought splitting the money was fair and that his half was a full tithe of his familial contribution.  He didn't want me to do anything that I didn't want to do just as much as I didn't want him to stop doing something he wanted to.  Understanding all the reasons I didn't want to pay tithing was a desire of my Hubby, so I directed him to a source that discusses the law, the history, and the uses of tithing.  You can find it HERE.

Our Compromise:

We split our tithing money in half.  He took his half and paid tithing to the Church, while I took the other half and wanted to help other people who needed it.  We spent all December fulfilling requests on Angel Trees and Secret Santa, and then contributed the rest to The Road Home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Many Hard Discussions

For the past four years it's been important to me to keep communication open between myself and my Hubby.  Our minds can run wild with assumptions of what each other feel or think about any given situation or topic.  And I don't think any marriage can survive unspoken assumptions.  They become a divide between couples that keeps widening with the silence.  I just couldn't let this happen. 

Many times there has been that awkward beginning, "um...can we talk about something?" or "I've been thinking about _____ and I'd like to tell you about it"  or  "are you open to a serious discussion right now?"  There is a fear of response.  Will I be completely shut down?  Will he understand?  Is this going to be another fight?  Will this be the topic that makes him want to leave?  And so many other possibilities that ran through my mind.  But I had to do it.  We just had to talk about everything.  To keep the trust there must be vulnerability.

I never wanted to "convert" my Hubby out of Mormonism.  That doesn't respect his spiritual ability to choose his beliefs.  But, to make life work for us, I felt it was very important for us to know how each other felt about different things; such as:

How and what are we going to teach our kids?   
How do we handle extended family church activities? 
What do we do on Sundays? 
What do each of us think about W.O.W.?
What do each of us think about Tithing?
What do each of us think about the non-disclosure policy the church has about money?
What do each of us think about Polygamy?
What is celestial marriage?
What are each of our "roles" in our own family?
What do each of us think about afterlife?
What do each of us think about eternal families?
What do we do about temple attendance?
What do we do about church attendance?
What do we do about problematic teaching methods?
What do each of us think about LGBTQIA equality?
What do each of us think about women and their role in the church?
Who do we think God is?
What kind of person is he/she?
What do each of us think about the church's new essays?
What are the important values we want our kids to understand?

I'm sure there were many more topics that we covered, but 4 years is a long time and recalling all of them is just unrealistic.   Many of these topics came up multiple time throughout the last four years.  We reevaluated our previous decision and made adjustments when needed. 

I'm going to spend the next little while writing about our discussions concerning some of these topics.  I will cover my feelings before, during and after the discussion, the differing points of view we had or didn't have, and what we decided to do.  I'm doing this so that you can understand how it worked for us, how hard it was to get to a compromise, and hopefully you can extract something from our experience that can benefit your situation; whatever that may be. 

If there are any other hard topics that you think we might have talked about that I haven't listed and you want to know how it went, please feel free to message me or comment below.  I'll share if I can.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Silence that is Segregation

It's been years since that first discussion with my Hubby.  We've had many more since.  There have been nights of tears and nights of laughter.   Some harder than others, but all needed. Somehow these discussions were never my biggest struggle.  The biggest struggle was the silence of the people around me. 

Soon I had friends and family who distanced themselves from me because of our differences in belief.  (political or religious)  No more calls.  No more play dates.  No more getting together for any reason.  Lots of excuses. (Yes, I know everyone has a life and responsibilities, but excuses don't hold up after YEARS)  Lots of "un-friending." This one sounds a bit ridiculous to mention because everyone uses Facebook for different reasons; however, it's not my friend number going down that hurts.  It's the family and friends that I've had close relationships with for more than 10 years that leave without ever stating that there was a conflict between us.  Family gatherings where I'm neither seen nor heard.  The gossip I hear about later.

All of these trimmed my adult interactions.  All I had was my two little rascals to talk to.  Someone can only stay sane for so long talking to toddlers.  Soon the pulling out of hair begins.   And one day my Hubby turned to me and said, "Call someone and go out.  You need to go do something without the kids."  And there was no one.

No best friend.
Not ONE person I could confide in.   
No person I could talk to in real life that would understand me completely.
No one to go get a cupcake from Cravings with.

Until I couldn't handle it anymore.  I needed friends.  Girl friends.  People who wanted to be around me because everyone, including me, needs friends.  So, I went to my first C.A.L.M. meeting put on by the Utah Valley Postmormons.  At this meeting I introduced myself and blubbered through a condensed version of my story.  As I looked out at the circle of people staring back at me I realized, "these people don't know me, but they care and they want to know me."  Finally, I was in contact with people.  Real live people.

I met a bunch of people at this meeting and we get together often.  There are lots of fun things for us all to do.  Parties, Book Club, Family events, play group, and so much more.  And I love it.  I'm glad that I have people. 

I just wish that lives didn't have to separate because of differences.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...