Strange Sunday

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
squarepeg
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Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Strange Sunday

Post by squarepeg » 19 Mar 2017, 12:55

My older kids (ages 11 and 12) wanted to stay for all three hours, today. After about three years of inactivity, a few months ago we began to sporadically attend Sacrament Meeting. By "we" I mean myself, my 12-year-old, and sometimes my 11-year-old. My husband does not want to come, and we have a baby who needs to nap (our ward starts at 11am) so you could say it works out okay.

The Young Women came over last Tuesday (unannounced) to chat with my Beehive-age daughter. They brought cookies and "heart attacked" the house. They were very sweet and friendly. My husband, despite his lack of interest in church, expressed that it would probably be a good thing, socially, for her to go to YW activities and get to know these girls. Good, socially, he means. I agree.

He is concerned that she will be brainwashed into believing that traditional gender roles are universally morally superior to alternative arrangements (like mom having a full-time career and dad staying home, etc.). I think that is a legitimate concern, but I think we can "unbrainwash" her at home. I am concerned that all the sugar (treats at Mutual, treats during YW on Sunday, treats during firesides, etc.) will be ruin our hard work at home to keep the kids healthy. (We have a rule that we eat sugary junk only one day per week, because when we used to eat it more often the kids were chronically ill.) But we think we can manage that, also.

So today, she wanted to stay for all three hours of church. My son decided to come and try Primary, too. (That's very brave for him. A really big deal. He has hearing loss, a tic disorder, and anxiety issues.) Of course, this means I would need to stay, too. Right now it's third hour. After Gospel Doctrine I couldn't sit anymore and needed some space away from people and lessons. I'm sitting in the closed-off overflow right now. As part of the illness that helped to amplify my faith crisis I accrued brainstem and spinal cord damage that makes it hard for me to sit for very long. And I also have some social anxiety in this ward where I know only a few people.

I'm worried about my boy in Primary right now. He was having me help him look up scriptures this morning, because he remembers that that's what we do during lessons on Sundays, and it confuses him. He has forgotten most everything else, though. He thought it was extremely rude that nobody claps after the musical number in Sac Mtg! During the closing hymn he leaned over and whispered, "I don't know any of these songs." Three years is a lot longer for him than it has been for the rest of us.

I don't know why I type all this. It's overwhelming being here, even though people have been so friendly. I've been mostly blowing them off because of the overwhelm. I don't know what my son is going to say during SS and Primary, and if he will upset people, since many days he identifies as an atheist and I don't contradict him because I don't feel licensed to. I wish there was a way to know if this will work long term; coming, being active, with the world's weakest testimony. We will just take things one day, one week at a time.

Thanks for being there.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Strange Sunday

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Mar 2017, 13:09

There are always listening ears here, in a manner of speaking of course. Understand that some of us only listen and don't necessarily respond because the biggest thing most of us need is someone to listen and not argue. Not that we argue here, we certainly don't - it's just that no response is sometimes better than a response that might be taken negatively.

That said, it is hard to go back for a variety of reasons. I thought about and struggled with going back for months before i actually did it. It gets better, especially in a ward like yours where it appears there are friendly people.

Your kids will be fine. You are their primary teacher, not the church. There's no need to tear down the church, just counter with "we believe" or "Dad and I think...." They're old enough to understand and practice discretion.

And, paraphrasing Pres. Uchtdorf, "your testimony doesn't need to be this tall to enter." Don't worry about that.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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

Re: Strange Sunday

Post by Roy » 19 Mar 2017, 17:56

I tend to say things to my kids like "many people do believe that. There are also good people that believe differently."
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Strange Sunday

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Mar 2017, 19:08

I have taught my kids explicitly and regularly that people simply see things differently, and that's okay.

You are a good parent. Your kids will be fine. Whomever they become, it will be their authentic selves.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Re: Strange Sunday

Post by mom3 » 19 Mar 2017, 22:12

Three cheers for all of you today. That takes courage. Hug yourselves, high fives all around. Whether this is permanent or not, this was a great step. My goal is not to make you stay only to honor what you did.

Take it one week, one meeting, one day at a time.

And vent anytime, we've all done it. We will have plenty of chances to do it again - Just drop by around General Conference time, we all turn out to share our feelings then.

Your a good mom. You care about your kids. That will always over ride anything else. They will remember what they feel with you more than anyone else.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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

Re: Strange Sunday

Post by Roy » 20 Mar 2017, 14:45

Roy wrote:
19 Mar 2017, 17:56
I tend to say things to my kids like "many people do believe that. There are also good people that believe differently."
I should say that I do this with most things and not just things the kids hear at church. For example, I said this most recently to my 11 yr old DD when she asked me about reincarnation. :D
"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

squarepeg
Posts: 120
Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: Strange Sunday

Post by squarepeg » 25 Mar 2017, 20:49

Thank you for so much kindness. You guys are the best.

Everything went SO well. I didn't need to worry about my son. During our walk home, he said, "I wouldn't mind if we did this again! Second hour was GREAT, and third hour was totally tolerable." He had a big smile on his face. I was so relieved. Later that week, he told me the Sunday School lesson had been about having the proper authority to perform ordinances like baptism, and he wasn't sure whether he agreed with that, because it seemed weird to him that only men are allowed to baptize people, and because to him it seems like the authority to baptize should belong to whomever really wants to follow Jesus and wants to help others who also are trying to follow Jesus. We talked more about different levels of Priesthood authority, and about how women fit into things.

My daughter emerged from YW with a chocolate brownie! Haha. She said she wanted to politely decline but it was part of an object lesson about accepting grace, and it would've been awkward for her not to accept it. But there was a KIt-Kat bar that was offered at another point that she declined. So much sugar. Twice more this week she's gone to church activities (Mutual on Tues, movie night on Thurs at someone's house) and there has been lots of sugar at both, and she has declined it all. We sent her with a big plate of fruit to the movie night, and it got eaten up quickly! But she's doing a great job of not eating all the junk food.
Roy wrote:
19 Mar 2017, 17:56
I tend to say things to my kids like "many people do believe that. There are also good people that believe differently."
[...]

I should say that I do this with most things and not just things the kids hear at church. For example, I said this most recently to my 11 yr old DD when she asked me about reincarnation. :D
That's a good way to explain it! Reincarnation reminds me of a funny moment. When I was a Beehive myself, a group of us girls were in the car of one of our leaders on the way to some activity, and I mentioned in the course of conversation that I thought I might sort of believe in reincarnation, and my Beehive leader turned around from the front seat and said, "Oh, NO YOU DON'T!" It was a very different approach than even my own then-TBM parents would've taken: telling a kid what she believes. That incident had so little effect on me that I forgot all about it and only remembered vaguely, years later, when someone else who was also in the car retold the anecdote. It didn't occur to me at age 12 that reincarnation might be incompatible with LDS theology!

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Strange Sunday

Post by Roy » 29 Mar 2017, 13:01

squarepeg wrote:
25 Mar 2017, 20:49
It didn't occur to me at age 12 that reincarnation might be incompatible with LDS theology!
It is only incompatible because we say it is. We already believe in eternal progression. Perhaps multiple mortal probations are necessary for some to learn what is needed.
"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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nibbler
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Re: Strange Sunday

Post by nibbler » 30 Mar 2017, 06:20

squarepeg wrote:
19 Mar 2017, 12:55
My older kids (ages 11 and 12) wanted to stay for all three hours, today.
That does sound like a strange Sunday. :P

Re: reincarnation.

I converted later in life, I was the only member of my family to convert. My grandmother was a Southern Baptist and... well she didn't like the idea of me joining the church. She'd also put me on the spot by asking random questions like, "What does selah mean in Psalms?" I had to have the answer because I was meant to convert them to the restored gospel. :smile: I felt the pressure.

One time my grandmother asks, "Do Mormons believe in reincarnation?" and I'm thinking, "Sweet, finally an opportunity to build on common beliefs, just like Ammon and the whole Great Spirit thing!" So I answer, "No, we don't believe in reincarnation, we believe in resurrection." Thinking that I'd score some "Mormons are okay" points with my grandmother.

Then my grandmother, a Southern Baptist, says, "Well I believe in reincarnation."

:eh:

The walls we put up. I guess on that day my grandmother taught me more than I taught her.
He who sits alone, sleeps alone, and walks alone, who is strenuous and subdues himself alone, will find delight in the solitude of the forest.
— Buddha

squarepeg
Posts: 120
Joined: 17 Feb 2017, 12:51

Re: Strange Sunday

Post by squarepeg » 31 Mar 2017, 19:52

Roy wrote:
29 Mar 2017, 13:01
squarepeg wrote:
25 Mar 2017, 20:49
It didn't occur to me at age 12 that reincarnation might be incompatible with LDS theology!
It is only incompatible because we say it is. We already believe in eternal progression. Perhaps multiple mortal probations are necessary for some to learn what is needed.
Good point, Roy. Nothing in LDS doctrine/theology comes immediately to mind when I try to think of something that contradicts reincarnation.

nibbler wrote:
30 Mar 2017, 06:20
squarepeg wrote:
19 Mar 2017, 12:55
My older kids (ages 11 and 12) wanted to stay for all three hours, today.
That does sound like a strange Sunday. :P
Right?! It took me years of parenting to figure out that the kids will choose to do all kinds of surprising things without being compelled, if no one is "making" them.

nibbler wrote:
30 Mar 2017, 06:20

One time my grandmother asks, "Do Mormons believe in reincarnation?" and I'm thinking, "Sweet, finally an opportunity to build on common beliefs, just like Ammon and the whole Great Spirit thing!" So I answer, "No, we don't believe in reincarnation, we believe in resurrection." Thinking that I'd score some "Mormons are okay" points with my grandmother.

Then my grandmother, a Southern Baptist, says, "Well I believe in reincarnation."
:lol: With grandmas, sometimes you just can't win!

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