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.
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.
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.)
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.