Should I feel guilty?

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Minyan Man
Posts: 1733
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Should I feel guilty?

Post by Minyan Man » 24 Mar 2019, 20:01

In Priesthood today, we had a lesson that centered on a talk from the last General Conference.
(It doesn't matter which talk it was.) On of the quotes used in the lesson from David O McKay.
You all know what it is. Say it along with me..."No other success compensates for failure in the home."
I would of liked to ask the question: what constitutes for failure in the home?

The reason I ask, we became inactive shortly after our children were baptised. We didn't go to church again until
they were through college, married & had children of their own. All (3) of them are members of other faiths now.
They are reasonably happy, fulfilled, good partners to their spouse, good parents & decent all round human beings.
I loved them beyond words. Also, I consider them to be good friends to their Mother & me. We ask their opinions
on a regular basis.

I refuse to feel guilty that they are not in the LDS church. Or, that they didn't marry in the temple. Or, that they
didn't go on a mission, etc. So I go back to the questions:
- What constitutes "failure in the home"?
- Should I feel guilty that our family doesn't measure up the the "ideal" family presented by the church? (whatever that is.)

Arrakeen
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Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 18:49

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by Arrakeen » 24 Mar 2019, 20:47

Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
They are reasonably happy, fulfilled, good partners to their spouse, good parents & decent all round human beings.
I loved them beyond words. Also, I consider them to be good friends to their Mother & me. We ask their opinions
on a regular basis.
That sounds like success to me. The "ideal" family in the church doesn't really exist. To me, failure in the home is when judgement or differences are allowed to get in the way of love. I think this unfortunately happens far too often when some people try to force their family to fit into their idea of a "perfect celestial home" mold. For example, I've heard of some missionaries who were afraid of being disowned if they returned early.

grobert93
Posts: 74
Joined: 30 Nov 2015, 16:05

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by grobert93 » 25 Mar 2019, 05:20

Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
In Priesthood today, we had a lesson that centered on a talk from the last General Conference.
(It doesn't matter which talk it was.) On of the quotes used in the lesson from David O McKay.
You all know what it is. Say it along with me..."No other success compensates for failure in the home."
I would of liked to ask the question: what constitutes for failure in the home?

The reason I ask, we became inactive shortly after our children were baptised. We didn't go to church again until
they were through college, married & had children of their own. All (3) of them are members of other faiths now.
They are reasonably happy, fulfilled, good partners to their spouse, good parents & decent all round human beings.
I loved them beyond words. Also, I consider them to be good friends to their Mother & me. We ask their opinions
on a regular basis.

I refuse to feel guilty that they are not in the LDS church. Or, that they didn't marry in the temple. Or, that they
didn't go on a mission, etc. So I go back to the questions:
- What constitutes "failure in the home"?
- Should I feel guilty that our family doesn't measure up the the "ideal" family presented by the church? (whatever that is.)
Are your children happy? Do they love you? Do they teach their children to do good, help others and avoid hurting people? Do they value an education? Do they value learning from their mistakes? Do they yearn to contribute positively to society through work, school and community?

If so, then you did more than most active and obedient members that I know have done, and for the right reasons too. Don't feel guilty for being an open minded and loving parent, who didn't abuse your children for coming out of the closet, didn't force your family to follow every commandment to a t regardless of circumstance, and show disappointment for them not following the status quo because "every member goes on a mission, only worthy members get sealed in the temple". Good parents don't have to be active.

IMO failure in the home is when love is overshadowed by blind obedience. When a parent would rather scare a child into following a commandment or cultural norm than to love them. It also reflects the couple's inability to be open and loving. I grew up being scared of conflict and of challenging things in life and it's harmed my emotional well being. I am lucky to be married to someone who is open minded and we have been super happy.

You should feel sorrow for all the families who are stressed into having a perfect mormon family because they think it will give them free tickets to the top kingdom in heaven. You should feel hope for those who think that following commandments to a T without question (even if it compromises health, finances and involvement with family or friends) is the only way to qualify for exaltation. That's how I think you should feel.

nibbler
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Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by nibbler » 25 Mar 2019, 05:55

Agreed. That sounds like a success to me.

I think our faith has us focusing too much on the needs of the church and not enough on the needs of the individual. Whether someone is attending sacrament, whether someone is married in the temple, whether someone serves a mission. Those are metrics that reflect on the success of the church (organization), not necessarily on the success of an individual. There's probably a supporting belief that furthering the church's goals helps members be more successful but there are hosts of "successful" people outside the church; people that haven't even heard of temples, or missions, or what have you, let alone done any of those things.

There's the quote:
...if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
If you define success as your ability to be a better Mormon, you aren't going to feel successful unless you become a better Mormon. But there's so much more to life than being a better Mormon.

I wish I knew the word for what I so desperately want the word "irony" to mean, but here goes...

I find it ironic that as a convert I upset my family by joining the church and, more especially, by serving a mission. In their view I wasn't going to be successful if I continued along that path. Sort of the opposite of the traditional Mormon orthodox view of having to do those things in order to be successful.

Now I find myself in a not too dissimilar position as my family. I have kids that are close to mission age that could choose to go heads over heels following the path of orthodoxy and maybe now I'm not so sure that's the best path for them.

Maybe "poetic" is the word.

I feel like I've been "there and back again" but I also feel like the journey was a productive one, dare I say a successful one. To be honest, as I feel anxiety over whether my children will be successful it causes me to reflect on whether I am successful as a parent. To answer that question I reflect on whether I consider my parents to be successful. I feel like they were. They weren't perfect but they gave me their best. That's all any of us can do.
Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
I would of liked to ask the question: what constitutes for failure in the home?
Agency has got to play a role in all of this. I defied my parents by choosing the path that I chose, but it was ultimately my path. Which is the larger failure, giving children (anyone really) the space they need to exercise their agency or harboring guilt or even anger because they didn't choose the path that you would have chosen for them.
Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
- Should I feel guilty that our family doesn't measure up the the "ideal" family presented by the church? (whatever that is.)
I wouldn't. Heck, at this stage I may even be proud of that. :P

I think we'd do better by working towards expanding our definitions of an "ideal" family than working towards ensuring that our family met someone else's narrow definition of it.

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dande48
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Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by dande48 » 25 Mar 2019, 06:22

Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
What constitutes "failure in the home"?
I think this is meant to be taken with specifics, rather than as a general statement. Everyone has "failures in the home", but most also have "successes in the home". What is meant by "failure" or "success" also depends on the individual. A divorced parent, a parent with physical/mental handicaps, an impoverished parent, etc might need very different standards for success or failure, than someone better off. I also don't think it's quite fair to take credit, or blame, for things largely outside of your control. You might've been a great parent, but your kid for whatever reason ends up in a bad place. Or maybe you were an awful parent, but your kid for whatever reason ends up in a wonderful place (I've known a number of these).

But here are some pretty good standards: Do your kids know you love them? Do your kids genuinely trust you? Do your kids feel they can be open an honest with you? Do your kids feel they can turn to you for support when they're in trouble?
Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
- Should I feel guilty that our family doesn't measure up the the "ideal" family presented by the church? (whatever that is.)
Should God feel guilty, that his family doesn't measure up to the "ideal"? Yes... yes he should.

But you're not God. So I think you're OK.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Minyan Man
Posts: 1733
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by Minyan Man » 25 Mar 2019, 08:02

We have a tendency in the Church to teach by cliche & slogan. This is one of them.
When we were a small group we could discuss various issues in more detail. We met
twice a month too. This also seems to minimize open discussion.

I know & like the teacher of this class. I'm convinced that he is doing his best.
I'm sure David O McKay was a wonderful Prophet.
It is frustrating sometimes.

It seems like my choices are:
- sit quietly, say nothing & feel anger.
- get angry, speak up & apologize later.
- don't go to this class or get up & walk out.

It seems more frustrating then it needs to be.

nibbler
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Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by nibbler » 25 Mar 2019, 10:11

Minyan Man wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 08:02
It seems like my choices are:
- sit quietly, say nothing & feel anger.
- get angry, speak up & apologize later.
- don't go to this class or get up & walk out.

It seems more frustrating then it needs to be.
I know the feeling.

Maybe it would help to analyse the kinds of contexts that could have produced that quote.

Maybe DOMcK was speaking to a specific group, like a group of people that prioritized chasing a promotion at work at the expense of all else. If that was the context, the quote could be translated to something like, "Your family should be a bigger priority than your career." and retain the same meaning. But then some other group came along and interpreted the quote a different way than the original intent and the meaning got morphed into, "If you or your children aren't active in church, then you've failed." because that's what they believe and they've projected that belief onto others.

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by Roy » 25 Mar 2019, 10:17

Minyan Man wrote:
25 Mar 2019, 08:02
We have a tendency in the Church to teach by cliche & slogan. This is one of them.
[snip]
It seems like my choices are:
- sit quietly, say nothing & feel anger.
- get angry, speak up & apologize later.
- don't go to this class or get up & walk out.
I remember a lesson on the evils of anger and wrath. Unfortunately, there was no advice on what to do when you get angry. It was just - Don't get angry (partly because we are letting Satan in when we get angry :twisted: ). It was super unhelpful.
Minyan Man wrote:
24 Mar 2019, 20:01
"No other success compensates for failure in the home."
In general I agree with this sentiment of this statement. I believe that family and home is a wonderful refuge of love, understanding, and acceptance. If we are able to build that for ourselves, our family members, and those others that may come into our orbit then we have a safe place to rest and recharge where we do not need to "perform" or impress others for validation. In general, a strong home life is a good thing.
I suppose that there are some issues with the absolute nature of this statement. I have read the comments about defining failure and that we all have some successes and failures in our home. Is trying or doing our best success? Is there ever a scenario where our best just isn't good enough?
What would we say about Mother Theresa? Did she fail in her "home life" or did she expand her home (or "magnify" her home ;) ) to include so much more.
I suppose we could change this statement. No other success compensates for mistreating your fellow beings? No other success compensates for being a jerk? No other success compensates for not being able to look at your self in the mirror? No other success compensates for abusing your wife and children (in any capacity)? There are lots of formulations that we could come up with.

I also believe that part of the allure of a religion like ours (for men) is to redefine success and validation. The outside world seems very competitive. If I do not make as much money as you then I am not as successful. In our religion, we can all be successful because we can all share the power of God, we can be viewed as a worthy contributor at church, we can emphasize our success in the noncompetitive home and family life. This success is then seen as the only true success. Worldly success is seen as a mirage and an illusion that will never satisfy. It is a false church of the devil.
Defining your meaning, purpose, and validation this way works great for many that tend to fit the LDS mold. It works less well for those on the fringes and not at all for others. It can be very difficult to carry on when those same messages that uplift and comfort the majority, inflict disapproval, judgment, and pain upon you.

Final words:
Don't be a jerk.
Take care of those around you (especially those most in need).
Define this as your success.
Ignore anyone who says differently. :thumbup:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Minyan Man
Posts: 1733
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by Minyan Man » 25 Mar 2019, 11:50

I have been looking for a link to the talk where DOM's used this famous quote for the first time.
I haven't yet found the talk. If anyone knows where it is, please let me know.
There are other links that talk about the quote. See below.

https://www.timesandseasons.org/harchiv ... kay-quote/

https://www.lds.org/blog/when-your-chil ... erent-path

For what it's worth.

Roy
Posts: 5809
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Should I feel guilty?

Post by Roy » 25 Mar 2019, 12:44

So much handwringing over children deciding not to follow the Mormon path. I am reminded of a story Brian Johnson had shared. I seem to recall him visiting an elderly grandmother and that woman openly grieving and lamenting their inactivity in the church. His reaction was something like this, "We are not dead. We are here in front of you. We are healthy and happy and have brought our children (your great grandchildren) to bring you joy. You are so intent on what we ARE NOT that you completely overlook the good people that we ARE!"
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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