Raising Kids in the Mormon Church

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

I came across some articles about raising kids in the Mormon Church the other day, and I thought I should share some of them. The first is written by a poster named, "Sad Dad."

The church is separating me from my daughter.

And I did nothing wrong except find out that the church isn’t true. And suddenly, my precious 15 year old daughter, who has always looked up to me, has to cry in church because her dad no long believes; he has lost faith.

She is my own flesh and blood. I raised her, I changed her messy diapers. I picked her up when she fell. I taught her how to jump on the trampoline, play chess. And I taught her how to tell the truth and be good person. And now, because I will no longer live a lie, I am the bad guy. Since I refuse to say that I believe in racist and immoral doctrine as taught by (insert name of early church president here), I have to watch my beautiful and bright daughter cry when she is persuaded by her “leaders” that I am being controlled by Satan.

How dare they? Who the hell do they think they are? They better be awful sure that they are right and that I am going to hell; or otherwise they are ruining one of the most beautiful things in this life.

I can live with having friends, coworkers, even my adult siblings thinking I am wrong. But why take away my own children? Every week she gets letters of invitation, calls to come to mutual, invitations to sing in church. (How perverse, they take a wonderful talent she has and manipulate my family with it.)

They all are well intentioned. They only want what is “best” for her. But it is their “best” not mine. They are arrogant, ignorant and completely duped. The amazing thing is, as I realized when I would talk with a few of them, they are clueless. Most of them don’t really know what the church teaches; let alone what the church has to hide. Most of these do-gooders haven’t even read the Book of Mormon. Yet they are willing to make my daughter feel bad about me. And put a wedge between us.

Most of the time my kids still understand and respect me, and often, I am sure they may have a deep feeling that I am right. But the emotional impact of teary eyed sacrament meetings, emotional music, brain washing EFY sessions, etc. put them back again and again. And sometimes I feel I am fighting an up hill battle.

And I did nothing wrong, except love their mother, provide them food, shelter, love and self esteem.

And find out that Joseph Smith lied. It isn’t that hard. Why can’t they see it?
This article was written by a poster who calls himself SecularPriest...

Attended Church today and it was Primary day. First let me say it was one of the best I have seen. Lots of music and kids knowing their lines. Why then am I sad?

As a primary child I too participated in many of these. I sat reflecting on those years. Back then it was singing, "Give Said the Little Stream." "Pop Corn Popping on the Pop Corn Tree." It was about being a good person.

Today from my notes.

"We are blessed to listen to a prophet twice a year in general conference."

"Follow the prophet and you will be blessed."

"God through his prophet GBH promises us that if we will read the BoM we will ..... (could not hear)

"Jonah was a prophet and did not follow the Lord" (Really, and then the child went on to say how he sat in a whale because he did not follow the Lord. He even had a whale doll)

THE BEST "Follow the prophet and he will lead me to God and Jesus Christ."

The whole presentation was based on promises.

Nothing about "I am a child of God."

Nothing about "Being good" like we sang when I was a kid. It was all adult stuff. Kids saying adult stuff, kids being programmed with adult stuff.

Okay maybe I am a wicked person and missed the spirit of it. I do swear and use the F word. I do sometimes think lustful thoughts. So not a great priesthood holder but wait I have been disfellowshipped so I don't have access to the Priesthood. BUT who will speak for these children?

I grew up and was told JS translated BoM behind curtain.
I grew up and was told only of one version of first vision, not 8 different ones.
I grew up and was told JS only had one wife.
I grew up and was taught second coming was around 2000 AD.
I grew up and was told I would be going to Zion (Missouri)
I grew up and was told God was man like us at one time
I grew up and was told BoM witnesses were honest to their testimonies on death bed.
I grew up and was told BoA was real records
I grew up and was told I was of the chosen generation.
I grew up and was told prophets spoke with God directly.
I grew up and told if I do the "M" thing I was in Satan power.
I grew up and was told if I drank coke I was sinning.
I grew up bearing testimony as a child the Church and gospel was true.

I could go on. Today after much study, pondering and prayer I have a different view.

Again I ask who speaks for these children? GBH has convinced me in the last 10 years that the foundations I recited and learned to believe in my primary presentations were not correct.

Note the focus from centering on the child (when I was a kid) to follow the prophet (2006). I shall be sending a letter to my Bishop and SP noting that even thought it was agreat presentation and "everyone felt the spirit" except me, it centers on child abuse. I felt abused as I think back to what I was told to say only to be told years later "we don't teach that" or "I don't know we teach that."

One child got up and showed the picture of the strippling warriors on horses with all sorts of metal. I am sure he is going to believe that this was the way it was as I did, until I started to study the gospel with an intent to prove it is true.

The worst part and stats show this, is how many kids are coming from one parent families, yet get up and talk about "families are forever" and "we can be sealed forever as a family." Yet in their minds they are going, "I don't have a daddy or a mummy." As a doctor of psychology it sickens me to have children exposed to this by having other kids, their friends say this stuff.

Sorry folks I'll never get over this abuse of kids. My wife does not agree with me. She thinks it was great and what a spirit.

This is the final article written by "tol"

When I left the Mormon Church, I was not sure I had done the right thing, I was not sure this was fair to my children, so I let them go and hoped that the people in my Ward would take them in and make them feel apart. I did not want to interrupt their lives.

I knew that the church was wrong for me but I was not sure it was wrong for them. I knew what it was like to be on the outside of my family and my culture. I had an idea of the ostracism they would experience.

My girls continued to attend. They were both still in primary. The boys happily stayed home with me. I did not tell anyone in my family that I had quit going. I did not want to go but I also did not want to face the judgment and condemnation I feared when my parents and siblings would find out.

I am not sure how long I thought I could hide that fact that I was no longer active. I had stopped wearing the sacred under garment. Soon people would notice even though I continued to dress in the conservative style of Mormon women.

One Sunday Michelle came home and told me that she would be giving a talk in primary and wondered if I would help her prepare and come and hear her give her talk. That week I wrote out a talk and practice it with her just like I had done many times before for her or a sibling.

On Sunday I got up and put on a dress. I immediately started to feel uncomfortable. The girls went ahead and I waited for the time when I knew Primary would be starting.

I walked over to the church. It was a beautiful spring day. I wondered what I would feel. Would I want to come back, would I feel like I could come back? Maybe the church was a good place to raise a family.

As I walked into the building I started to feel a little light headed and then I started to feel like I was having trouble breathing. It felt like my neck was swelling and cutting off my air passage. I checked. I was OK. I was breathing, I was not going to pass out.

I went into the primary room and sat down. The sisters I knew all smiled and acknowledged me. The children started to sing songs and I felt more and more uncomfortable. I had been the music leader in Primary and I knew all the songs and all the words. I had always loved the beautiful melodies and simple versus.

Today the songs enraged me. I now recognized the simple words as part of the indoctrination process. The same message was given over and over to these children at their most vulnerable and suggestible age. The message was obey and be saved. Conform and be lovable. Think and risk losing your salvation.

Michelle gave her talk and then the children sang Jesus Once Was a Little Child. The song was about how loving, meek and mild Jesus was. It admonished the children to be like him, to try to show kindness, be gentle and pure. I was overcome with anger.

The Jesus I had read about was strong, bold, sarcastic, and opinionated. When he confronted the Pharisees he was combative and angry. When he cleaned the temple he was forceful and adamant. When he reached out to the Samarian woman he was brave and going against convention and tradition.

The story of Jesus had many facets and lessons, but the songs and talks carefully portrayed him as obedient, compliant, and conforming. I cringed. How did these songs and sermons make my strong willed opinionated daughter feel? How did the other children feel? Everything about the primary program was designed to mold and shape the children into a narrow, limited caricature of a real person.

I did not want my daughters to think that it was wrong to feel human emotions. I did not want them being forced into the being and doing of what I had been forced into. I started to feel like I could not breath and that I had to get out of the building. I started to feel dizzy and sick. I thought I might throw up. I got up and almost ran for the door.

Once outside, the quiet, the sun, and the fresh air started to calm me. I walked home and never wanted to go back. When Michelle and Erin came home I emphatically told them that what they had learned was misleading and that I wanted them to embrace their emotions, thinking, desires. I talked about Jesus and the other side of the story. I talked to my girls about being true to themselves and that the first person a young girl should honor in her life was herself. I did not want my girls to be me. I am sure they thought I was a little crazy and wished I could just be a normal mom; pretty, spiritual, and ordinary.

Just a few weeks later, it was Mother’s Day and the younger children had prepared a special song for Sacrament meeting. Once again Michelle wanted me to come and hear her sing. Once again I got up and put on a dress. I walked over with my girls and was greeted nicely by the many people that I knew. I sat down in the back of the chapel and many of the people I had gone to church with for years acknowledge me with smiles and welcoming comments.

I sat by myself. I felt uncomfortable and vulnerable. I could almost here the thoughts as people wondered what had happened to me. What had gone wrong that I had left the church? What sin had I committed? A few months earlier I was welcomed as an insider, today I was an anomaly, a bit of a curiosity, to some I was already a pariah. I had been measured and found lacking first as a Mormon and now as an apostate.

I refused the Sacrament and waited for the children to sing their primary song. The talks were focused on the role of the Mormon Woman. Obedient, kind, long suffering, faithful, prayful, worthy, virtuous, modest, soft, quiet, behind the scenes, self-sacrificing, a good homemaker, a wife, a mother, spiritual, sensitive, guided by the spirit, pure, gentle, lovely, gracious, soft-spoken, long-suffering, friendly, sweet and mostly nice.

Mormon women are nice all the time. They are nice while they lie, deny, criticize, complain, are victimized, unhappy, overwhelmed, frightened, angry, sad, depressed, unfulfilled, mad, powerless, and always obedient.

I started to feel the pressure, the force of a lifetime of Mormon indoctrination start to scream in my head. You are not righteous, you are different, you are too loud, too opinionated, too strong. You are weak, lazy, not good enough. It was these perfectionist, unrealistic teachings that had engulfed my life and made me feel unworthy and incapable. I had learned my whole life about this Mormon woman I was to become. This portrayal was a silhouette, a paper cut-out of what it was to be a woman. It was limiting, defining, and confining.

There was no insight into how to live life, how to love, how to think, how to decide. There was no room for difference, tolerance, creativity, growth, humanness, fallibility, and fragility. Just a paint by numbers portrait of womanhood. This ideal had been my model for how to live. A model that was impossible, ridiculous, and unyielding. I recognized this as the source of my emotional instability and mental illnesses.

I started to feel angry and once again my head started to feel light. I could not breathe. My air passages grew tight. I felt like I needed to throw-up. I was not even sure if I stood up I could get out of the building. My daughter sang her song and I bolted for the door. Once outside I started to feel better and slowly my head cleared.

I went home furious at what they were teaching my girls about what it meant to be a human and more importantly a woman. I did not want them to learn that their only choice was to get married and have children. I did not want my children to feel that they had no say in their lives, that any difference was wrong and caused through disobedience. I did not want them to learn that perfection was a worthy goal, that they needed to be sweet and kind all the time. I did not want them to live with a veneer of nice covering their unacceptable humanness, because who they were, was not, would never be, and could never be good enough.

I felt like Scarlett in Gone With the Wind as she held the dirt in her hand and swore with all her courage and determination. With all my courage and determination I committed that this church would not claim my children. This church and their lies about life and living would not addict my girls to a cycle of personal rejection and ceaselessly seeking approval from others. There was no longer any indecision. I did not want my children to be Mormon.

I realized that I not only thought the Mormon Church was not true I thought what they taught was wrong and dangerous. I did not the church was a great place to raise a family. I thought it was a terrible place to raise a family. There were no profound utterances, spiritual insights, or significant life lessons offered except those cloaked in the constant, persistent message of obedience and conformity.

The church offered only the voices of the church leaders, all others including my children’s own voices were condemned as unworthy. I wanted my children to have real say in their lives. I wanted my children to not battle depression daily, feel worthless and flawed. I wanted them to embrace who they were, embrace life and be joyously, amazingly happy. I wanted them to think critically, make decisions that were right for them, get married and have children if and when they wanted, and to contribute to worthy causes they believed in not because some man told them they had to in order to gain eternal life.

I wanted them to pierce their ears or get a tattoo or take a drink or laugh loudly or wear a bikini or make love or go to some foreign country or be nice if and when they decided to. I wanted them to get angry when they were angry, to say no to something they did not believe, and to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience. I did not want them to turn their lives over to old, selfish, bitter men teaching hate and fear.

I had left hoping that maybe I would see things differently one day and be able to return. I had hoped I might find a kind of truce and could at least attend the way Bishop Forbes did. I now knew that would never happen. The church was not innocent or innocuous in my life. It had played an active role in my self destruction and it would continue to destroy people like me. People who were different. People who were thinkers, creative, and free-spirits. People who did not fit their perfect and rigid prescription for life and could not make themselves submit. We were the refuse of the church, the throw always, the rejected. They only wanted the nice and pliant.

The next day I sent a letter to the Church Office building and told them to remove my name from their records. From that day on I actively resisted my children going to church or participating. I told them how I felt and hoped that they would never choose to be Mormon. I now told my family my decision.

About a month after I sent my letter I was contacted by my new bishop. For the last time I would submit to an ecclesiastical leader. We met briefly and he attempted to determine if I was leaving because I no longer believed or to avoid a church court because I had committed some wrongdoing.

He thought he still had the right to determine my worthiness. He did not realize that he and the whole host of the Mormon Church would never again be given the right to judge me. I guess I answered his questions to his satisfaction. He made it official. I was no longer a Mormon woman.