Quotes from NOM (some odd years ago). Sorry, not sure who wrote some of these... Nom
I'm so glad I have all you other NOMs to be a sounding board as I continue to navigate my situation. My thanks to all who take the time to read and respond to this.
I'm struggling with whether I should try instilling some of my own philosophical and spiritual views on my children. After some initial fallout after my disaffection, my wife and I are doing really well now. There is peace in the marriage, and our love life is good. I feel like my wife respects me and my beliefs, and I respect hers. I don't attend church anymore at all. I participate in family prayer once an evening and at the dinner table, but that is about the extent of it. I'm hesitant to rock the boat right now.
My kids are 10, 7, and 3. They attend church every Sunday with my wife. They read from the Book of Mormon every morning before school. And on Monday afternoons before I get home from work, my wife holds a traditional "family home evening" with the kids, complete with singing and a lesson. Recently I asked my 10 year old whether he believes everything that he is taught at church is "true." He replied "yes" with a confidence that took me back a bit. He's got a good head on his shoulders, and I've always had confidence that he would eventually be able to figure things out. But they way he so strongly said he believed it all kind of shook me. I realize that he is on a trajectory to complete indoctrination. I was the same at his age. I was the kid who had a "strong testimony." I never doubted growing up.
My question for you all is, should I speak with my wife and let her know that I want the chance to balance some of the teachings the kids are receiving at church and home? Could I insist on certain boundaries with what we teach our kids? For example, it kind of bothers me the idea that she might be telling the kids, "I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God," or "I know this church is the only true church on the earth." In my ideal world, we would both let our kids navigate their personal spiritual journeys without undue coercion from us. I would prefer to limit the instruction at home to the general principles of love your neighbor, honesty, integrity, charity, etc. I would prefer to keep the dogmatic LDS stuff out of our home. The kids are getting plenty of it at church. I would also like to be able to introduce my kids to some secular ideas on morality, as well as critical thinking, science, etc.
I'm certain that I wife would not like it if I told my kids, "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was not a prophet." But that is the level of indoctrination that I am being expected to tolerate. Is there a middle way that would allow me to share what I believe, without causing my kids to feel like they are being asked to choose between mom's and dad's beliefs? Is it better to just keep my mouth shut and not rock the boat?
I would love to hear how you NOMs in mixed-faith marriages with kids make it work.
I personally think that the common LDS practice of telling children "I know that _____ is true" when it comes to metaphysical beliefs is crossing the line. But how do you convince someone of that when they are in the system and can't see that? My mother had the best of intentions but I can't look back at her fervent testimony-bearing to us as children without feeling sick inside. It was just so wrong and I think it is abusive. But how do you make someone see that who is in that mind-frame? I don't know.
Here is what has helped me navigate this minefield a little bit:
1) A few years ago I had a conversation with my wife about how bad it felt to find out all of the weird historical stuff at the age of 32. My wife responded that she already knew all of this stuff and was surprised I hadn't learned it growing up. (Her dad was an avid reader and owned an LDS bookstore.) I then told her that I didn't want our kids to grow up and be surprised like I was. She agreed. This has been a gateway to us having a series of church history FHEs. We just covered polygamy a couple of weeks ago and the priesthood ban will be covered soon. I doubt my kids have any clue about the ban at this point. They are very bothered by historical racial discrimination in the US, so I would be willing to bet that this will be where they start adding some significant weight to the shelf, especially when I read them some of Brigham Young's pro-slavery quotes and contrast them with the disavowal statement in the new essay.
2) I try to take one of my kids out one night a week. I have four so they get one night a month to choose a place to go eat with Dad. I get to have some very good conversations on these nights. Of course, it also helps that my wife realizes that I have just as much right to share my thoughts with my kids as she does, so if she finds out that we discussed religion she doesn't freak out or anything. I'm not sure what I did to get to that point or if I just lucked out having a reasonable wife.
At this point, all of my kids normally attend church but are allowed to come home with me if they want after sacrament. One of my kids (9yo) chose to do that on Sunday. We went to the grocery store and bought ingredients to make a Margarita cake. She's the one who usually passes on saying the prayer when she is asked if she wants to. Probably too early to tell what direction she will go as a teen. I'm just focusing on letting them all know how I feel and that whatever they believe will not affect my love for them.
One thing I read recently was an article on "Sad heaven" in the Trib: http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4190887-1 ... aven-hurts
Do you think that your wife believes in sad heaven? My wife has explicitly stated that she does not. Basically she just copes with Mormon doctrine by rejecting a lot of the restrictive theology. She's an odd duck as far as TBMs go. If you take the church's teachings seriously, it leads to a pretty grim outlook for eternity.
Thanks for posting this; really good topic. I've kept my disaffection pretty quiet, and I still attend, so I'm in a bit of a different situation but this issue has really been on my mind lately. My daughter just turned 12, so we are really getting into the YW modesty/follow the leaders/etc. indoctrination stuff. What I decided is to focus on making sure that she understands that leaders are fallible and that she is to trust herself and her instincts/knowledge/reason over their authority. My wife is on board with this, as she sees it as following the holy ghost over anything else. I am thinking that if I can get her to look for the source of truth in something other than what a leader says, whatever doctrine or rules or thing they teach her will be seen with a critical eye. She can absorb the good lessons and reject the bad instead of blindly following whatever comes out of a leader's mouth. By focusing on this one thing, I am not causing conflict by individually refuting every dumb thing she is taught, and I am hopefully giving her the tools she needs to reason for herself.
Post subject: Re: What to teach kids in a mixed-faith marriage
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:47 pm
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:20 am
Location: Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later.
Corsair had a post a while back about teaching kids to think critically.
I've focused my efforts from this direction and coupled with a deep sense of apathy, it seems to cut down on the crazy indoctrination. My kids are normal. However looking back, once your kids cross the 12 year old line in the sand, they become sucked in deep. Ordinations, interviews, temple recommends, and group testimony meetings start to invade and the peer pressure to believe kicks in hard. Especially when the Molly's and Peter's are making Moroni look bad tooting their horns!