GC is difficult for us Adult Children

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Ebowalker
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GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Ebowalker » 05 Apr 2021, 10:03

Thank you all for being honest in this discussion with warnings etc in the GC discussion...THANK YOU

This post might be difficult for many here to understand.

Unlike so many in this Church, I came from an abusive, alcoholic and dysfunctional family. I recently discovered a 12 step programme that fit me perfectly called Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families (ACA). We share common negative traits and one of them is black and white thinking, so I have to be very careful with General Conference.

Every talk that begins with a speaker talking about his/her wonderful family is difficult for me. Having the choir sing "I am a Child of God" (...and he has sent me here. has given me an earthly home, with PARENTS KIND AND DEAR) is an automatic shut down, such as this conference. And I know this is difficult for others to understand, but this GC speaker theme of constantly mentioning the death of some family member will only get a response of "well, try dealing with that as a 6 years old" from me. I do try to not put this through a mental filter but it is so hard when it is so ingrained.

The Red Flag for me was Pres Nelson's Sunday morning talk:
Your mountains will vary. And yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith. That takes work .
Lazy learners and lax disciples will always struggle to muster even a particle of faith.
To do anything well requires effort.
I have struggled with my faith in the last few years because of intense harassment that happened when I was in the army that just triggered so much childhood pain in me. I hit bottom as far as faith is concerned. I do believe that my higher power sent me this 12 step programme and all the wonderful people I have met and helped me. But it is very painful to be in recovery (when you are following a 12 step programme you are "in recovery"), and having your highest leader, who everyone calls kind, tell you that you are a lazy learner and lax disciple because of the survival skills you developed as a traumatized child. Those words shot through me like a knife. Recovery is HARD work.

I am really hoping someone can help me interpret this in a better way. I get it, he is a very elderly man, comes from a very different generation and experience from me, he is using language that resonates with him. This is language that seems to motivate people raised in healthy environments, but certainly never in unhealthy homes. But why use negative language like this when talking to millions of people of various backgrounds? My psychologist is very quick to point out that "tough love" and critical parenting DOES NOT WORK and leaves deep scars.

I can tell you that there are a LOT of people who come to ACA from LDS homes and it sickens me every single time their trauma and anguish. But that's not what this is about.

Please, can anyone help me with this quote? I wrote it word for word and rechecked it because I thought I may have misinterpreted it. I feel so let down and I don't even want to listen to any more talks.

Roy
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Roy » 05 Apr 2021, 15:21

Ebowalker wrote:
05 Apr 2021, 10:03
Unlike so many in this Church, I came from an abusive, alcoholic and dysfunctional family. I recently discovered a 12 step programme that fit me perfectly called Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families (ACA). We share common negative traits and one of them is black and white thinking, so I have to be very careful with General Conference.
The ACA is a wonderful program and so very needed.
Ebowalker wrote:
05 Apr 2021, 10:03
I do try to not put this through a mental filter but it is so hard when it is so ingrained.
Yes. I do similar. I try to give people space and mental grace in my mind. For example, I try to say things like "this person is speaking honestly from his perspective that is different from mine" or "this person really feels passionately about this topic and wants to share something that is meaningful to him."
Ebowalker wrote:
05 Apr 2021, 10:03
Your mountains will vary. And yet the answer to each of your challenges is to increase your faith. That takes work .
Lazy learners and lax disciples will always struggle to muster even a particle of faith.
To do anything well requires effort.

I am really hoping someone can help me interpret this in a better way. I get it, he is a very elderly man, comes from a very different generation and experience from me, he is using language that resonates with him. This is language that seems to motivate people raised in healthy environments, but certainly never in unhealthy homes. But why use negative language like this when talking to millions of people of various backgrounds? My psychologist is very quick to point out that "tough love" and critical parenting DOES NOT WORK and leaves deep scars.
1) Our church seems to elevate agency as a doctrinal principle. From this idea flows a number of others: God rewards people based on their achievement and effort because people have the ability to choose. Church members will almost universally overstate an individual's ability to choose to overcome the circumstances.
2) General authorities give "general" advice and direction. This is advice that applies to the majority but may not apply or may even be disastrous for the minority. We believe that personal revelation can assist us to modify the general counsel for our unique circumstances. Unfortunately, our culture and local leaders are not great at giving us the space and validation to apply our own personal revelation to the general counsel. I have been cautioned to be very careful in not adhering strictly to the letter lest I justify taking a path of lesser resistance. Expecting for church leaders to validate your experience/choices in this arena is probably not realistic. I am sorry for that and I DO validate you as my brother in Christ.
3) Our church is also a high demand church. I think that we partly justify contributing so much to the church by criticizing those that are underperforming. We do this as though we are graded on a curve and the underperformers are stuck in a mediocracy of lazy learners and lax disciples in a patty-cake, taffy pull experience.
Ebowalker wrote:
05 Apr 2021, 10:03
Recovery is HARD work.
Yes it is! You are a work in progress whose journey and forming is not yet done. Other people may not see your internal struggles, they may not know where you have been or understand your experience. Many of those people cannot comprehend your truth. They would criticize you in their blindness. You know what you know. God also knows, sees, and understands you. Let His understanding and love insulate you from those words that might be hurtful and minimizing to your experience.
"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: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by nibbler » 05 Apr 2021, 19:29

Thanks for opening up and thanks for sharing your experiences. I know it's not easy to do so.

I know what it's like to not want an eternal family.

I don't believe Nelson meant to be abusive in his comments, I don't even think he realizes that his statement could be taken as being abusive, but I feel it was abusive all the same.

I think you touched on some of it... he's from a different generation, a product of a very different environment, he's speaking from his perspective, and dare I say he's speaking from a place of relative privilege. He has a mountain of people and resources to help him overcome his challenges. For some of us it can feel like there's a mountain of people and lack of resources working against us.

Some hear Nelson's statement and assume that he's talking about them, calling them lazy and lax. My solution is that I don't believe that Nelson is talking about me. I'm not making excuses for him, I don't think it's kind to call anyone lazy or lax... especially people that are suffering, but at the same time I don't internalize Nelson's labels.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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nibbler
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by nibbler » 05 Apr 2021, 19:41

I've got my lens that I look through as well and I tend to see prosperity gospel rear its ugly head in places where it may not be. I see some prosperity gospel in Nelson's statement. There's a prevailing cultural belief that if we work hard and if we're obedient then we could either avoid challenges or we could overcome any challenge. Some challenges just are, some challenges persist despite the very best of efforts. Unfortunately there are times when we can only endure in the face of certain challenges, endurance alone can be faith larger than a mustard seed.

I see people in the community that believe differently than orthodox members being hurt the most by Nelson's comments. Faith is often pitted against doubt during general conference but the subtext is that faith means loyalty to the church and doubt means becoming disillusioned with or less loyal to the church. They feel as though Nelson is calling them lazy for "falling away" but from their perspective that couldn't be further from the truth.

I also think the statement hurts orthodox members. It could lead them to believe that family and friends that have left the church are simply lazy. It can hurt their self esteem, make them believe that they are lazy if they are unable to overcome the challenges in their life.

If I were to mount a defense of the statement I'd say that Nelson said that lazy people struggle to muster faith. He didn't say that people that struggle to muster faith are lazy. There is a difference.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SamBee
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by SamBee » 06 Apr 2021, 03:09

Thank you for your post. It touched me. I really don't know what to make of my parents in retrospect. On one level, I loved them, but on another I feel they had unrealistic expectations of me, based on out of date ideas. (Their concepts of the labor market were based on the post-war period.)

My father especially troubles me. I think he was a good man, although difficult sometimes. But I don't agree with how he raised me. He beat me with a stick a few times, and I don't cherish that memory. But he also helped me when I was scared of the dark or in trouble at school. He was a lot more successful than I ever have been and I fall continually under that shadow.
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."

Ebowalker
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Ebowalker » 06 Apr 2021, 06:06

SamBee wrote:
06 Apr 2021, 03:09
My father especially troubles me. I think he was a good man, although difficult sometimes. But I don't agree with how he raised me. He beat me with a stick a few times, and I don't cherish that memory. But he also helped me when I was scared of the dark or in trouble at school. He was a lot more successful than I ever have been and I fall continually under that shadow.
ACA is about dealing with dysfunction in a family no matter the level. Check out The Laundry List and see if you have any of the traits, such as fear of authority, confusing pity and love etc...many people in the programme feel a loyalty to their parents but ACA focuses on you, not your family of origin. For 50 years I denied that I was ever abused, but when I carefully examined it,I was shocked. In our society we are told to just suck it up and move on but adult children have to deal with their past in order to "grow up" otherwise they stay that 6yo. Even in this past conference we were told to "forget the past". I wish humans were that simple but we just aren't. Neglect, for example, is abuse. so is beating a child to punish them though it is widely accepted. The original action is unimportant, it's the emotional scars that we develop to survive that really hurt us.

Remember that your parents or their parents may have been adult children, it's called generational grief and it's passed down to their children. So, even though you may not have had drunks or abusers for parents, they may have come from that. It's worth examining.

Ebowalker
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Ebowalker » 06 Apr 2021, 06:18

Thank you all for your kind replies. So helpful and I don't feel so alone.

Elder Dale G. Renlund's talk said that some people come from homes without love. I think that's one of the first times that I've seen this acknowledged in GC.

I really hate GC only because my brain immediately goes into defence. I honestly resent people who come from healthy homes telling me what I should be doing to play catch up to them. Of course it's a lie, but my brain is wired differently and it takes a lot of work to reorient it.

There is always the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard. The one where the landowner hires people in the morning, afternoon and late in the evening. When it comes time to be paid, the early ones are angry because they feel it's unfair that they worked more, and these other guys only worked an hour and got paid the same. Well, sorry, it makes no difference, they agreed to those terms and knew the outcome. Worthiness is simply that we all showed up and worked til the work was done.

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DarkJedi
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Apr 2021, 07:13

I cringe every time we sing I Am a Child of God. Not even close to everybody's parents are "kind and dear" (members of the CoJCoLdS included).
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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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Roy » 06 Apr 2021, 09:22

nibbler wrote:
05 Apr 2021, 19:41
Faith is often pitted against doubt during general conference but the subtext is that faith means loyalty to the church and doubt means becoming disillusioned with or less loyal to the church. They feel as though Nelson is calling them lazy for "falling away" but from their perspective that couldn't be further from the truth.

I also think the statement hurts orthodox members. It could lead them to believe that family and friends that have left the church are simply lazy. It can hurt their self esteem, make them believe that they are lazy if they are unable to overcome the challenges in their life.
Yeah, When I read the Nelson quote it reminded me of the following from Elder Holland:
Don’t you dare bail. I’m so furious with people who leave this church. I don’t know whether furious is a good apostolic word. (Crowd laughter). But I am. And I say, what on earth kind of conviction is that? What kind of paddy-cake, taffy-pulled experience is that? As if none of this ever mattered, as if nothing in our contemporary life mattered? As if this is all supposed to be just exactly the way I want it and answered every one of my questions and pursue this and occupy that, decide this, and then maybe I’ll be a Latter-day Saint. Well, there is too much Irish in me for that.
That quote was memorable for me in part because I had never heard of "Taffy-pulled" and had to google it
"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

Roy
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Re: GC is difficult for us Adult Children

Post by Roy » 06 Apr 2021, 09:27

Ebowalker wrote:
06 Apr 2021, 06:18
There is always the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard. The one where the landowner hires people in the morning, afternoon and late in the evening. When it comes time to be paid, the early ones are angry because they feel it's unfair that they worked more, and these other guys only worked an hour and got paid the same. Well, sorry, it makes no difference, they agreed to those terms and knew the outcome. Worthiness is simply that we all showed up and worked til the work was done.
I personally believe that this parable is antithetical to many aspects of Mormonism and for this reason we just don't quite know what to do with it. Somewhat similar is the parable of the prodigal son - and many of us LDS identify with the brother that stayed and is now upset that his profligate brother is now being welcomed back with open arms.
"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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