Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

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VioletFire
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Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by VioletFire » 03 Jun 2018, 18:40

Hello there everyone. You guys have been an amazing support for me and I really appreciate it.


We are still figuring out a lot about how we feel and our place. I would consider us semi-active. I’ve talked to a few trusted people about how I feel but only people who were more neutral or at least not trying to sway me to a side


Tonight there was a big get together with a lot of our cousins. One cousin, who I love, cornered me in a conversation and asked me how our testimony was (me and my husband’s). I was really surprised and caught off guard. I asked him why and asked him how his testimony was (in jest). He told me that a lot of the cousins have been leaving and apparently the ones who have left are “trying to corner people and get them to their side”. He kept pressing and I said we’re good. We’re still active and go and have temple recommends (which are all true things for the current moment). I did say we are lazy Mormons sometimes and do two hours and that I don’t really think Polygamy is of God, but I put forth an overall pretty positive image. Definitely way more positive than I’m feeling. I sort of feel like I lied.


I feel so gross now though. Really I don’t know how I feel about a lot of things and this is a very personal struggle. I don’t want people cornering me. I don’t know what to tell people because I’m not even sure how I feel and honestly I don’t feel like it’s their business.


Well now one of my in-active cousins is coming over this week and I’m afraid of being grilled the other way. Honestly I don’t want to choose any side and feel like this is a super personal thing.


How do you guys deal with this or how would you recommend handling these types of situations? I really can’t shake this icky feeling and I don’t know what it is.

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mom3
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by mom3 » 03 Jun 2018, 20:26

Wow, not to sound flippant, but you are in for a bumpy ride.

I don't have much advice in this type of family situation.

High Five to you for coming up with a safe and honest answer in a moment of crisis. Well done.

At this time, try just being a listener. This is major stakes poker. Don't grimace, flinch, or hint at any card in your hand. Let them do the talking. Practice laughing off pressure or as they do in politics - Pivot. (Pivot is changing the subject to something your comfortable talking about, but it takes prepping enough so it comes off like a breeze.)

For your own sanity find a healthy stress relief out. Exercise, Thinking in Ink, Painting.

Remember that you are in charge of your own life.

Final recommendation Bach Rescue Pastilles. Amazon, Whole Foods. - No joke they help. Natural Stress Relief tablet. Orange and Elderflower is my favorite.

You did outstanding.
"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

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Heber13
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by Heber13 » 03 Jun 2018, 20:27

thanks for posting this. Good questions. It sounds like you handled it really well and are thinking about it and approaching it fairly well.

Even if you have some kind responses, I think it can leave you with an icky feeling. But...the outcome may be best when you hold back some or use humor like you did.

I'm not sure you can avoid the icky feeling. It is an icky situation to have someone ask beliefs, and all the expectations heaped upon answers in a few sentances about something that can be such a deep perspective with so many nuances.

If you step back and look at a family that may be trying to "pick sides and recruite to their side" I wonder if bridging those sides with loving and compassionate responses is always best...even if others won't really understand where you are at...that's ok. You don't want to participate in the division of the family. You want to love and accept everyone whatever they think or believe.

And that goes for the TBM point of view too...love and respect their view equally. Especially while you are still figuring things out.

Find common ground. Try to avoid the fray. Be an example of love and acceptance and compassion. Maybe they can follow your example.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2018, 05:19

VioletFire wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 18:40
How do you guys deal with this or how would you recommend handling these types of situations? I really can’t shake this icky feeling and I don’t know what it is.
Answer their question, be positive, point out what you do that is active in the church, but don't mention any doubts. don't mention the plural marriage thing. I would stick with -- we are active, have temple recommends, think the church is positive for these [three reasons] and say something about the spiritual experiences you've had (you might have to think about it, but you have probably had some spiritual experiences to discuss).

Then try to move on -- gently -- but get off the subject -- ask a question about something unrelated -- like what their calling is, for example, and steer the conversation out of the danger zone -- like to how the calling is going. Or something else totally unrelated like a mutual recreational interest.

Get over feel yicky about it -- I get some satisfaction out of "playing the game" and knowing I'm prevailing in maintaining orthodoxy while avoiding any negative consequences from my local leaders or family. Set your achievement motivation on that goal. Not on being authentic. we aren't wholly authentic with people anyway (when was the last time you told an incompetent boss they are incompetent?). Discretion and being an effective person means knowing what to keep close to the vest and what to share openly, and what to wordsmith lest you offend people uneccessarily.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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SamBee
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by SamBee » 04 Jun 2018, 05:31

If you are active and have a temple recommend, what is the problem? They really need to be told to butt out. Maybe their behavior has helped drive people out.

What you do is your business.

p.s. I don't recommend Bach flower remedies except as a placebo.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by dande48 » 04 Jun 2018, 05:36

Deep down, I don't think those uncomfortable interactions are really about you. Your first cousin feels their faith is under threat. Their confidence is shaken by the other cousins leaving, so he's doubling down. And then there's the whole LDS doctrine on how we're held accountable if we don't do all we can to "save" those around us (Jacob 1:19). Your second cousin feels hurt by the Church, and is probably feeling pretty bitter. They want "justice", which more or less boils down to having their views validated, AND undermining the Church as much as they can.

With the right questions, and a good dose of empathy, you can steer the topic away from you and onto their concerns. Your first cousin needs faith; the confidence that God is in control, lovingly mindful of all His children, and that everything will work out in the end. Your second cousin needs forgiveness. I'm sure most of their concerns are valid. The Church is controlling and manipulative. They lie. They are stubborn. They teach some pretty weird stuff. They've hurt many people, including your cousin. But they aren't malicious. They're a bunch of bumbling idiots with good intentions (like we all are). At their core, they really care about people. They want people to be happy. They're just sometimes not very good at it.

Echoing what Heber said, find common ground. Humor is also a good way to do. It helps us not to take things too seriously.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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-Lemony Snicket

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On Own Now
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by On Own Now » 04 Jun 2018, 08:13

VioletFire wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 18:40
I put forth an overall pretty positive image. Definitely way more positive than I’m feeling. I sort of feel like I lied.
VF,

If I can key off of this for a second, I think it's an important insight of yours. Positive toward what? God? the Church? your respect for your cousin? Polygamy? Inclusivity? Exclusivity? Tithing? Temple worthiness? Temple attendance? Temple appreciation?

The reason I'm digging a little is that it is OK to be positive about the Church even if you don't agree with all of it or don't believe in all of it. I am an Atheist and I still am "pretty positive" toward the Church... "way more positive" than maybe makes sense. I think the Church is populated top-to-bottom with first-class people who are working hard and sacrificing a lot for something they believe in. It's an institution I don't mind being involved with. Are there jerks in the Church and bad policy? Yeah, of course... but if you look outside the Church in regular society, you find plenty of jerks and bad policy, too.

The way I have found peace in my life is to allow myself to have different beliefs from people around me, but at the same time to respect and honor their right to believe the way they do.

I find it helpful for me not to get into the 'why'. I have zero discussions about specific doctrines or history that concern me. In this way, my belief belongs only to me and is not open for debate. When I do have a heart-to-heart conversation with a loved one about my situation, I explain that I'm no longer a believer, but that I love and respect the Church and the people in it and I don't do anything to work against Church or Faith. It seems to me, you could make this same statement to either of your two cousins and work toward mutual love and respect in either case.
- - -
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
- - -
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." ― Romans 14:13
- - -

VioletFire
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by VioletFire » 04 Jun 2018, 08:15

mom3 wrote:High Five to you for coming up with a safe and honest answer in a moment of crisis. Well done.

At this time, try just being a listener. This is major stakes poker. Don't grimace, flinch, or hint at any card in your hand. Let them do the talking. Practice laughing off pressure or as they do in politics - Pivot. (Pivot is changing the subject to something your comfortable talking about, but it takes prepping enough so it comes off like a breeze.)
Thanks. It was pretty direct in questioning though. He said, "How's your testimony. Are you struggling with anything right now? Lots of people are struggling right now." So it is pretty hard to just be a listener. The pivoting thing is great and what I tried to do by admitting the polygamy thing. And then I switched the conversation over to a show I'm watching that touches on women's rights and whatnot. For some reason I think that this pivoting thing is going to be harder from the other side of questioning though. From the more "anti-side" of the family.
Heber13 wrote:If you step back and look at a family that may be trying to "pick sides and recruit to their side" I wonder if bridging those sides with loving and compassionate responses is always best...even if others won't really understand where you are at...that's ok. You don't want to participate in the division of the family. You want to love and accept everyone whatever they think or believe.

And that goes for the TBM point of view too...love and respect their view equally. Especially while you are still figuring things out.
Thanks for your insight. I don't see all of this family all the time. We used to get together a lot more but haven't as much recently. I see a few cousins in smaller groups probably once a month. And these people aren't arguing at the big events about everything. I think these conversations are happening in smaller get togethers. Everyone still gets along well for the most part. And I definitely love everyone from all the sides and understand their point of views. Religion is such a personal matter- I think I just wish more people would treat it that way.
SilentDawning wrote:Get over feel yicky about it -- I get some satisfaction out of "playing the game" and knowing I'm prevailing in maintaining orthodoxy while avoiding any negative consequences from my local leaders or family. Set your achievement motivation on that goal. Not on being authentic. we aren't wholly authentic with people anyway (when was the last time you told an incompetent boss they are incompetent?). Discretion and being an effective person means knowing what to keep close to the vest and what to share openly, and what to wordsmith lest you offend people uneccessarily.
I think most of the ickyness comes from feeling "interrogated" more than from not being totally authentic. Almost like a violation of my privacy if that makes sense? Like when people ask you really inappropriate private questions.I know I do need to realize this will probably become more of a thing though and do need to get over it to an extent. The authentic thing is a little hard. I said we are temple recommend holders but that won't be true when they expire. My husband stopped paying tithing. I will probably pay tithing on the small supplemental income I make so I can keep mine. We only go to church about half the time, but we aren't interested in alcohol or anything and if he wanted to have a temple recommend he could just start paying tithing again and we'd be hunky doory.
SamBee wrote:If you are active and have a temple recommend, what is the problem? They really need to be told to butt out. Maybe their behavior has helped drive people out.
Like I said above we still have them, but won't when they expire at least my husband won't but I will still keep mine. We still consider ourselves semi-active. I totally agree about people butting out. What do you say then? Like "we are still active, and this conversation is really weird?" I am not even sure.
dande48 wrote:Your first cousin feels their faith is under threat. Their confidence is shaken by the other cousins leaving, so he's doubling down. And then there's the whole LDS doctrine on how we're held accountable if we don't do all we can to "save" those around us (Jacob 1:19). Your second cousin feels hurt by the Church, and is probably feeling pretty bitter. They want "justice", which more or less boils down to having their views validated, AND undermining the Church as much as they can.
This is very accurate. My second cousin is older and has been through a lot of difficult things in her life. She got divorced last year and I know she's gay. She hasn't come out to me personally but I have known for a long time now. So maybe she wants to tell me about it and tell me how the church is wrong. And honestly I haven't viewed homosexuality as sin for a very long time, even before my faith crisis so I can definitely sympathize with her.

Overall I am worried faithful cousin might know the truth. I did confide in a different cousin, cousin "Maddy" a while ago. We are closer and she told me she no longer believes in polygamy and her husband didn't believe in a lot of things anymore. She is still very TBM though. I confided in her a little more about a lot of my doubts. I told her I wasn't really sure of anything though and to please not tell anyone while I'm figuring things out. She agreed. I really hope she didn't let is slip to this first faithful cousin though. He even dropped about "Maddy's" husband that he was done. And I was like, are you sure about that? Because I'm pretty sure he still believes in the Book of Mormon and stuff. And my faithful cousin was like, maybe he does, but he is still done. I'm pretty sure he still goes to church and stuff so my faithful cousin is being weird about his definition of done. Also he mentioned that Maddy herself is questioning now. Maddy has some problems with things but she is still very faithful and loves the gospel and the temple is very important to her so I personally think faithful cousin is being dramatic.

VioletFire
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by VioletFire » 04 Jun 2018, 08:32

On Own Now wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 08:13
Positive toward what? God? the Church? your respect for your cousin? Polygamy? Inclusivity? Exclusivity? Tithing? Temple worthiness? Temple attendance? Temple appreciation?
...
I find it helpful for me not to get into the 'why'. I have zero discussions about specific doctrines or history that concern me. In this way, my belief belongs only to me and is not open for debate. When I do have a heart-to-heart conversation with a loved one about my situation, I explain that I'm no longer a believer, but that I love and respect the Church and the people in it and I don't do anything to work against Church or Faith. It seems to me, you could make this same statement to either of your two cousins and work toward mutual love and respect in either case.
I think I put up a TBM front because I’m not in the place to have any discussions about my personal beliefs yet. I’m not even sure what I believe. So I guess that’s what I mean by positive image. I do have a positive attitude towards the church though. I think it’s a good thing but I do think there’s a lot of things wrong. I don’t really believe in the church literally anymore. I do like the plan of salvation though and hope that some aspect of that is true. I also think clean living is good and focusing on having a positive relationship with god is good. But I’m not ready to talk about those things.


I love what you said about your belief only belonging to you and isn’t open to debate. I would love to find a way to say that to both TBM and “antis” without revealing too much.


I mean maybe eventually I will be willing to reveal more. But not now.

Roy
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Re: Cornered by family. Feeling very weird. Please help.

Post by Roy » 04 Jun 2018, 10:11

VioletFire wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 08:15
I think most of the ickyness comes from feeling "interrogated" more than from not being totally authentic. Almost like a violation of my privacy if that makes sense? Like when people ask you really inappropriate private questions.
I remember a cousin asking me and my newly married wife when we were going to have kids. Totally awkward. I honestly might not mind a question about what our thoughts were on family planning. What I suppose I object to is the implication that any response other than "right away" was less than faithful.

I am pretty open about seeing truth in the perspectives of both (many) sides. I therefore am able to be an advocate/peacemaker for both sides. The good news is that moderates and go-betweens are needed to facilitate discussion and compromise. The bad news is that being a moderate can be a lonely road of not being fully understood or accepted by either "camp".

As to your divorced and homosexual cousin, if she opens up to you about her personal story I think it is important to validate her journey. If the situation calls for it I would not be against saying that the church may be on the wrong side of the gay marriage debate just like it was on the wrong side of the blacks and the priesthood issue for so long. If she tells you her story I believe listening, compassion, and validation are the best response.
"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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