I Came Out To My Wife

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Shawn
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I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Shawn » 28 Aug 2016, 14:56

So I finally came out to my wife, who is TBM. It didn't come out of the blue. It was over four years ago when I told her “With all the stuff Brigham Young said, there is no way he could have been a prophet." But I got through that and I was still a TBM, but a questioning one. I've told her about some other things here and there.

A week ago, I emailed her a document I had prepared that details my concerns. It was 25 pages long and now it's over 35 pages. She read it and then we talked. I told her "It's all bullcrap." Of course, my wife isn't happy about the situation, but we are getting along okay. Here are some issues I need to address:

The Temple and Garments
My recommend actually expired over a year ago, so this isn't a new issue. I've told her a few times that I have trouble believing in temples. Has anyone considered how Moroni 8:22-23 might relate to baptisms for the dead? I was floored by this last week.

Just last night I told her I don't want to wear garments anymore. I said they just have Masonic symbols that are not of God. However, I understand how others might believe they are of God and I can respect that. I'm still wearing them now and maybe I will continue to do so. If I don't really believe in God, then it doesn't matter as long I don't do anything to disrespect the garments. Or is it disrespectful for a non-believer to wear them? If there is a God, I think he might find garments to be offensive. I don't know what to do at this point.

Tithing
A few days ago, I told her again that I don't want to pay tithing on my income. I've mentioned this a couple times before but then backed down and let her continue paying on my income. I got a bit disgusted with the opulence of the new Provo temple when I went through for the open house and I don't want any more of my money going toward temples. I am being quite adamant about this.

Church and Neighbors
I want to get along with my neighbors and I don't want to cause trouble for my wife and kids. I don't want my neighbors to know about what I think of the church. Many of them are awesome and I want to continue being their friend. I don't want any of them to be afraid that I will influence their kids. I am going to keep going to church to be with my family, but I will probably resign from my calling as a youth Sunday school teacher very soon.

My Kids
I want my kids to know that I don't believe. I think they should not be misled by my church attendance. I believe at least one of them will want to leave the church some day and I don't want them to say "Seriously, Dad? You knew this stuff and didn't tell me?" I will not actively seek to destroy their faith, but I think I need to be honest if they ask me questions. I need to find some kind of balance.

Other Stuff
My wife has known about many of the issues I listed for several years and I am baffled by how she views them. We talked about Fanny Alger, the Partridge sisters, Zina DH Young, and others in detail. She didn't say something like, "Yeah, that's disturbing but I still have a testimony." She actually said, "That really doesn't bother me. I'm okay with it."

I am still withholding some things from her. I haven't told her that I want our kids to know my position. I haven't told her that I want to leave the church and I want her to follow me. I will wait and hope for her to see it the way I do so we can leave together. For now, I need to figure out a way to StayLDS as an unbeliever.

I might be done with the anger and depression stages of grief and I am going through the acceptance stage now.

I'll add this to My Story.
Last edited by Shawn on 28 Aug 2016, 15:40, edited 1 time in total.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Aug 2016, 15:30

Serious advice:

If your wife isn't bothered by the things that bother you, the worst thing you can do is hope she will come to the point where she loses everything that works for her just because it doesn't work for you. If you are hoping for that outcome, you will have a difficult time not acting on it - and then not blaming her if she doesn't lose her testimony and continues not to be bothered by those things. It is a cancerous course, and I can't stress too much how I hope you can love and accept her for who she actually is and let go of the hope she will leave.

Other than that, God bless you as you deal with this. May there be a road, together.
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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Shawn
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Shawn » 28 Aug 2016, 15:45

Thanks, Ray. That's good advice. I suppose I have only a faint hope that she will see things the way I do. I need to think more about how to make things work over the long term as "unequally yoked" partners.

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SilentDawning
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by SilentDawning » 28 Aug 2016, 16:33

I agree with Ray. As my own philosophy of StayingLds has developed, I've felt there are two sets of boundaries. One boundary that prevents the church from encroaching too far into my life. Another boundary that prevents my own ideas from influencing the beliefs of people who are happy with their LDS experience. Both are self-imposed.

If your family is happy with their TBM state, then I would not broadcast my own disbelief. I would place a boundary between my own beliefs and theirs. I know you are concerned that they might say "you knew all this but didn't tell me???". I think that is OK for them to say that some day -- let them know you did not want to disturb their inner peace. Let them know that the things that bother Shawn are not necessarily things that bother everybody. But let them know you are there for them now that they are questioning their faith -- be there to help them keep their relationships, their friendships, their social circles, even their religion, if you like -- in spite of those questions (if they even develop, those questions).

Also, temper your beliefs with a healthy side of agnosticism about what you know. Just as we can be agnostic about God, and the LDS religion, we can "doubt our doubts", We can accept that we have current beliefs that are not orthodox, but we can also recognize that we may change our mind -- even though it seems a remote possiblity right now. We can recognize that even if the church isn't true, the way we look at it now may not be correct either. There may be some other unorthodox view that is true, and not the one you currently have.

Also, I would soften the way you describe your unbelief to your wife. For example, you mentioned you thought it was all bunk, or similar phraseology. I don't share my blunt thoughts with my wife -- it upsets her. I share them here on StayLDS, in my journal, and to myself. I don't want to be a cause of all this turmoil and disbelief in people who are happy...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

amateurparent
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by amateurparent » 28 Aug 2016, 19:11

Shawn:

I am sorry for the pain and discomfort that you are going through as you and your wife make adjustments. It is a hard path with many possible hazards that could leave one of you injured in some way.

My unsolicited advice is that you not demand that she be in lock-step with you. In the transition group I am involved with, it is stunning to see the number of partners that demand that every single belief be the same for both of them. Many couples struggle with that. Many demand that extended family acknowledge the change in faith and adjust in huge ways. It is easy to forget that family and other relationships were happy with things as they were. They resent being told that they need to change in drastic ways. Don't ask and don't expect them to change. Acknowledge that your beliefs changed. Theirs did not. Change only yourself. Become the person you want to be. Claim that.

If you were visiting Catholic, Jewish, or Hindu friends or relatives, you would be supportive of their religion practices -- even the weird ones. Do the same for your TBM family. Kindness goes a long way.

My husband is devout. I have left the church. Our relationship still works because of support for each other's beliefs. I continue to respect his loyalty and devotion to the church. I don't understand it -- but I respect and support it. He is a highly educated and nuanced thinker, I cannot figure out how he can stay devout. We can read the same historical account and come to very different conclusions. It doesn't make sense to me. But the truth is that it doesn't need to make sense to me. It is HIS faith. It only needs to make sense to him.

Often, one spouse is happy within the LDS church. Why would the other want to change that? It makes them happy. Support their happiness. The LDS church doesn't work for one partner any longer. That partner needs to leave. One can request that the other partner support the decision to leave, but it isn't fair to expect them to leave with you. That is just as wrong as if they expected you to just lie to the world and portray a TBM life.

I occasionally go to SM with my spouse. If someone asks about my activity, I tell them in an open frank and low-drama way that I have left the church -- but that I attend occasionally to support my family. There is no need to lie about my faith journey, but there isn't any need to stand outside and throw rocks at the church sign either. Adding drama seldom helps the situation.

Kindness, generosity, and emotional support go a long way.

My husband has been supportive enough to attend some transition group events that were way out of his comfort zone. He deserves the same from me. I try to deliver.

About children .. Our kids know that I have left. I support their attendance. It serve no purpose to talk poorly about the church. When they have questions, we discuss issues. They hear the TBM and the apostate view from as neutral of a stance as I can manage. They hear about excellent resources for studying issues. Prayer is included on that list. They are told to find their own truth. The is the one thing JS brought that both believers and non-believers can agree on -- study it out and decide for yourself. But I would add, "only for yourself"
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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dande48
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by dande48 » 28 Aug 2016, 19:21

One of the truths I have had to realize is that just because something isn't true, doesn't mean it isn't good, or that there isn't value in beliving in it. I am in the same boat; I no longer have a testimony of Brigham Young, a lot of things in Church history don't set right with me, and I don't have confidence in the divine calling of Church leaders. What makes things "interesting" for me, is the realization that the Church has brought be a lot of good, and could still bring me a lot of good, if only I could believe in it still.

Your wife and your children will still be blessed by their attendance and activity in the Church. It is a wonderful, and powerful force for good. It is a false doctrine that teaches "whatsoever is true is good" and "whatsoever is good is true". To quote "Second-Hand Lions":

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."
"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

Ann
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Ann » 28 Aug 2016, 21:51

Shawn, the only advice I have (besides not saying, "It's all bullcrap"), is to do positive, loving things that reassure her of your commitment. I won't tell my own story, but just say that in many ways my marriage improved when my old faith crumbled. I was no longer on autopilot. I was more deliberate and, I think, well-motivated to be a good spouse. Good luck.

Edit to add: The Joseph Campbell quote below has been a good guide for me. "Preachers err when they try to talk others into belief [or disbelief]; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." Reveal, radiance, discovery --- I want to show my husband and especially my kids that I am happier now. Thr journey has nothing much to do anymore with proving or disproving Mormonism.
Last edited by Ann on 29 Aug 2016, 07:41, edited 1 time in total.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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LookingHard
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by LookingHard » 29 Aug 2016, 04:31

Shawn - I have to assume this was hard, both for her and for you. I am within weeks of coming clean with my wife on what I believe (and don't believe). I don't plan on going into much of any of the "points", but give her an overview. I am also creating a list of readings for her that are not to convince her of anything but to keep an open mind about her spouse being honest on his change of faith. I have parts of "Planted" from Patrick Mason and a few other quotes that have been bounced around here. Even a few really good podcasts.

I was about to make some other comments, but I just have to say "ditto" to what AP said. I am the one that has changed and I am only going to ask her that she respect where I am and I will do my best to respect and support her in her beliefs.

And as Ann mentions, make sure she knows you believe in her and your relationship with her.

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Heber13
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Heber13 » 29 Aug 2016, 06:09

Good advice already. I like the second hand lion quote by dande48.

Shawn,
I'm guessing this is one thread in the whole rope. There may be other things going on in your life and your marriage along with this.

Keep perspective on the whole package in your life. Coming out can be a good thing to show honesty, or a tough thing to show differences. But the marriage is strengthened or weakened by the whole, not these individual threads.

As Ann suggested, reassure with love and service. Do the things that matter most.

I've always thought that a spouse would not care too much about a faith crisis if the person going into the doubting phase was happy, cheerful, productive, successful, unselfish, and extremely loving and service minded. I could hear a supportive spouse say to a friend "Ok, maybe he is struggling with polygamy and the November policy, but he is always doing his home teaching, is the first to volunteer to help move a family, and cleans the church."

Those are my thoughts. Don't focus on the one thread, focus on the whole package.
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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Heber13
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Re: I Came Out To My Wife

Post by Heber13 » 29 Aug 2016, 06:20

Regarding your thoughts on garments and the masonic symbols, I respect your thoughts and position on it, but I completely disagree. Since we have other people lurk and read these things, I just want to present another view...but as I do, just know that I am not trying to convince you to change your mind or think you're wrong. Ok...disclaimer aside.

It is very possible the temple symbols on garments are taken from masonic ceremonies around at the time Joseph was setting up temple work. But I do NOT believe God would be offended by them in any way shape or form. I feel he blesses us for using the symbolism properly.

Like the Brother of Jared story, the Lord can reach through the veil and touch rocks if we ask him to with faith. It may not be the only way to create light in barges, but he can support it and reward those with pure hearts.

Don't want to thread jack this support for you. But want readers to know there are ways to process the masonic similarities in temple work in a faithful way, as one option if that works for people. It works for me.
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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