Category Archives: family

Ask Mormon Girl: I want to convert, but my mother is deadset against it. Help?

One theme, two letters this week, readers:

I am a 16 year-old girl, writing because I have developed a deep love and commitment for the LDS Church, but I’m facing horrible hostility from my mother. My mother isn’t just suspicious of the Church as an outsider. She was raised a member in Utah, and became inactive when she left home for college and never looked back. So when she criticizes the Church she knows exactly what she is talking about and seems to speak from a passionate place of hurt.

I was raised with no religious affiliation, and because of this, I lacked the kind of community that my Jewish and Christian peers had in their synagogues and churches. That was why a year ago, my mother, also having a loneliness/community crisis herself, got my brother involved in Boy Scouts via the church, and talked a local ward to let me go to Young Women’s. We loved it just as a secular way to make friends and have fun, but for me it became spiritual. After about 6 months, I knew that I believed in the Church and it was the completion to my desire to find a church. (I was obsessed with God and Christ from an early age despite the lack of discussion in my home). Then came the time to tell my mom.

A month ago I expressed my desire to get baptized and I got a long lecture on how it would ruin my mind–I have been raised a liberal and the majority of Mormons think more conservatively than me–make me lonely (the irony), how disappointed she would be in me, and how it would divide us for the rest of our lives. 

There has nothing been more painful to me than hearing that. I have considered giving up on the Church because I can’t reconcile it with her. But that’s equally painful. My goal was to get baptized this year, but now I’ve thought it may have to wait until I’m in college. Until then I’d still like to go to church and other activities, but I’m afraid of alienating my mother just by doing that. 

How can I foster my faith but stay at peace with my mother especially as a youth?

NJJ

I’ve found, through much prayer and reading of the scriptures, that I believe The Book of Mormon to be true. I really want to be baptized. I’m 18 years old and am going to a community college and living with my parents and in two years, I hope to transfer to a four year. Even before finding that I agree with the beliefs and ideals of the Mormon religion, I was considering transferring to BYU in two years. Now I would like to even more because I honestly want to surround myself with like-minded people. I have never met a member of the LDS church that I did not absolutely love. I’m excited to be baptized.

The only problem is that my parents strongly dislike the Mormon religion, mostly because I am half African American and my mother is very sensitive to any person or group of people that has every been racist toward African Americans or Africans in general. I have not yet gone to her to tell her that I want to be baptized, but I did tell her that I want to transfer to BYU.  She was absolutely furious. She told me that I should go find some nice Catholic school to go to instead, because that “would be better for the purposes I have for going”. So it seems that soon I will need to tell her that I want to be baptized. I have no idea how to go about it. I definitely want to avoid destroying my relationship with my parents, but I need to be true to my faith as well. Also, I know there is a very good chance that when I tell them, they will decide to kick me out of the house. I would have literally nowhere else to go and no way to pay for school over the next few years. I’m terrified of being stranded. I’ve considered waiting a few years until I’m out of the house, but that feels extremely wrong morally. It would be like lying. I really need help.

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My 12 year old daughter says she is attracted to girls. What is a Mormon mom to do?

I have a daughter who is 12 going on 20, and is the most amazing, brilliant, and wonderful girl. She recently told me that she is quite certain that she is attracted to girls and always has been. I was shocked mostly because I didn’t think she was old enough to really be attracted to anyone! Well, not really, but she is still so young I was very surprised that she was so definite.

I am worried for her though. My family on both sides comes from serious pioneer stock. Our family’s sense of identity is deeply rooted in the church. I have somewhat parted ways with the strict orthodoxy that nearly all of my family still lives by. I am so happy that my daughter knew that she could trust me enough to tell me something so personal and difficult. But I don’t know what this means for her. She is finding Young Women’s more and more difficult. Lessons about the temple are particularly painful, and my heart aches as I watch her cry. 

What should I do?

SKE

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Filed under family, lgbt, parenting

Ask Mormon Girl: My grandkids are Mormon, and I’m not. What will they be taught about me at church?

Howdy, everyone.  It’s been a blisteringly busy week at AMG, with a ba-jillion comments on last week’s column about polygamy.  Plus, The Book of Mormon Girl just became available in print on Amazon.com.  Thank you to everyone who has written to tell me what the book means to you.  I’ll be speaking in NYC this weekend at Columbia University and Trinity Wall Street.  (More details here.) If you’re in town, please drop by and say hi.  Now—this week’s query!

Dear AMG:

Our daughter has joined the Mormon Church and married a wonderful young man.  Her dad and I are not Mormon and are very happy with our own faith.  What will our grandchildren be told about Heaven and us?  What will they think about us? Of course, if they ask me, I believe we will all be together. 

 Thank you for your insights,

A Future Non-Mormon Grandmother

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Ask Mormon Girl: I’m no longer an orthodox believer. How do I tell my parents?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl,

I don’t know how to tell my family that after years of doubting, praying, reading, pondering, and finding support and justification from Sunstone and Mormon feminist havens like fMh and Exponent, I no longer believe. My heart was in a constant state of breaking while I was trying to be Mormon. And that’s to say nothing of the cognitive incongruities that also spurned my agnosticism.

I’m a junior in college right now (going to BYU worked wonders with my fledgling deconversion), and my ideological distance from my parents is beginning to affect me even more than the geographical. I claim to have left for moral reasons, yet I’m basically lying to them. Lying is painful. But telling the truth will be even more painful. I’d hate for them to wonder what they did wrong when in reality I’m the way I am because of what they did right, like encouraged open-mindedness and sensitivity.

I know there’s not a way I can break this to them easily, but I desperately need suggestions of how to do it in the least painful way possible. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Honest
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I’m a gay post-Mormon trying to get along with my LDS family. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I grew up in a conservative Mormon home in a small rural town of southern Idaho. I am also gay. After serving a mission in Russia and graduating from BYU, I am now attending a graduate school in the Bay Area. I stopped attending church within the last few years and now consider myself agnostic or atheist (depending on the day). Without going into details about my transition out of the church—which is rather complicated—I think it is sufficient to say that I am very happy with the path in life I have chosen.

While I am at peace with myself and happy with the relationship I am in, I find it difficult, as a non-Mormon (or post-Mormon) interacting with my devout Mormon family. I have to give my family credit for still loving and accepting me and how well they have adjusted. I think they generally understand that being gay was never a choice I made and not something any of us can change. I see that they also want me to be happy but I am unsure how they feel about my relationship and lifestyle.

I generally try really hard to respect my family’s religious beliefs and hope for the same in return. Recently, while traveling with my brother I was waiting for a very early morning flight. I stopped to get breakfast and without thinking bought coffee. My brother was deeply offended. Several days later, my parents called requesting that I do not drink coffee in front of them because of its offensive nature. I understand that some behaviors may be offensive to them, but to what degree should I change my life to accommodate them?

I am personally a little uncomfortable going to church, reading scriptures, and having family prayer with them. I never refuse to do so because I do not want to cause drama. I now try to avoid situations where things like this are an issue, such as not visit my family on Sundays. I love my family very much and want to be close and involved in their lives, but what is the appropriate boundary between respect for their religious beliefs and compromising my lifestyle?

–JM

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My daughter and I have different religious needs; how can I do right by us both?

I realize that I should probably be sending this dilemma to “Ask a Methodist Girl” or “Ask a Protestant Girl”, but please do the best you can with me, under the circumstances.

I grew up in the Methodist church, and have taken a few spiritual detours along the way, but have always been steadfast in my belief in God. I have always been curious about the LDS church, and have attended church services, a baptism and more recently have met with the missionaries.  I also attend a United Methodist Church, one whose membership includes many people that knew me as a child.  There is comfort there.  I am a single mother of two daughters, and attend church with my 12-year-old (my 20-year-old daughter is on a spiritual quest of her own…).  We have attended both churches together, and while my daughter liked the LDS service (she thought Primary was great!), she has expressed that she feels more comfortable attending church where she knows people, and where people know her…I can understand that, so we are trying to become more active in our UM church.

My problem, if it is a problem, is this:  I think about the LDS church all the time.  I’d love to say I felt the spirit in the sacrament service, but I really felt it during Sunday School and especially during Relief Society. I miss that!  The women in that ward are wonderful, and while I thought I would feel a little out of place (since unlike most members of the ward, I am not married or caucasian), I really did not.

So I have this dilemma.  On the one hand, I want to foster my daughter’s spiritual growth, and I think the best way to do this is by going to a church where she feels at home.  On the other hand, I wish to grow spiritually as well, but without excluding (or confusing) my daughter.  I do not wish to convert at this time, but is there a middle place?

Anne

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Ask Mormon Girl: How do Mormons feel about contraception?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

Having grown up Catholic, I was taught contraception goes against God’s plan. If I ever get married I’ll probably use Natural Family Planning, but I’m curious:  what are the LDS Church’s views on contraception? Are they totally against condoms and the pill or do they leave that up to the members to decide what’s best for their families?

Just Curious,

NRP

Last week at the supermarket checkout, I looked up from stacking a carton of eggs and a package of Dora the Explorer Pull-ups on the conveyor belt to see that Time Magazine was celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Birth Control Pill. What swell timing you have, NRP!  (Good thing, too:  you’ll probably need swell timing to make that Natural Family Planning work for you.)

Now, for the official LDS Church stance on birth control, I’d recommend you go directly to the official LDS church website or to this helpful article at the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
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What would you tell your kids if they told you they were gay?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I’m gay and Mormon. I think I’m a relatively rare breed. I am fairly open about it in my young single adult ward. I blog about it. I’m also very active in the church. I just finished a year and a half stint as ward mission leader, which was not an easy thing for me to do. Before that I was Elder’s quorum president in my ward. To me it seems that there are plenty of gay Mormons who are out and choose not to actively participate in the church and there are plenty of gay Mormons who choose to stay closeted and marry the opposite sex, but there aren’t many who are openly gay and active. I think these factors contribute to perpetuating a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance on the subject of homosexuality in the church.

I’m curious what your thoughts are on the church’s approach or lack of approach to homosexuality. It seems content to deal with it largely in the political realm, which I think is a big mistake. There doesn’t seem to be any real overt attempt to minister to gay members on a more personal/spiritual level. What you would do if one of your own children approached you and told you he/she was attracted to his or her own gender?

HJ
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Ask Mormon Girl: No one in my ward understands me. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

My husband and I are getting really frustrated by not being taken seriously or treated like grownups in our ward. We both have gone to college and have good jobs. We own a home. We have been married for seven years. But we don’t have kids. This is not just a choice because of infertility but also because of health issues. We are in limbo at church and get only nursery callings. We also get unneeded advice about how we are missing out on our ‘blessings.’ How do we grow closer to people in our ward without everyone assuming we are newlyweds and/or infertile? No one seems to want us for our own sake. Living in the most conservative county of Southeast Idaho might have something to do with it, but we like it here because of the mountains and climate. Moving isn’t an option. The sisters in the ward don’t want to be friends unless I’m in a playdate with them or reading church books in a book club. Help?

Thanks,

MS

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Ask Mormon Girl: I did everything I was supposed to, and still, I have no husband. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I’m a 36 year-old single Mormon woman facing a real struggle. Basically, I’ve spent my whole life checking things off the list: graduate Primary, Personal Progress, graduate Seminary, go to BYU, go on a mission, fulfill callings, pay tithing, and so on thinking that doing all of that would yield what I wanted most: a family. God provides husbands to the good people: I don’t have one, so I must not be good. I recognize that this is incredibly flawed logic, but it’s how I feel. What makes matters worse is that my ward isn’t a great place for women like me. I’m not invited to get-togethers, not included in conversations. My bishop admitted the ward didn’t really know “how to deal with me,” since I am single and have no kids. Lately, it’s been all I can do to drag myself to Church, and sometimes I just want to take a hiatus. Help?

RJ

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