First, readers, a little plug: I’ll be speaking this Saturday, June 11 at the Mormon Stories Conference in Salt Lake City. Would love to see you there! For more info, click here.
For a few weeks, I’ve been corresponding with a woman who is in a tough place with her family, and she’s ready to reach out for support. Here we go:
I’m a female who’s been investigating the church for quite a while. I want to be baptized, but my parents believe Mormonism is part of the occult due to reading anti-Mormon literature. They’re very strong in their opinion, and very angry. I’m old enough not to need their permission to join, but I don’t want them to worry for me. Advice?
Breaking each others’ hearts is what parents and children do, I’m afraid. We grow up and leave home. Some of us marry people our parents didn’t want us to marry. Some of us come out of the closet. Some of us choose careers or life paths that take us away from home. We grow and change in ways our parents’ didn’t anticipate. And it’s frightening for all involved. It hurts.
But you have to make your own home in this world.
From our correspondence, I know you’ve thought about your conversion to Mormonism very carefully. You’ve done your homework on the claims that Mormonism is “occult.” And you’ve told me your newfound faith brings you a lot of peace and strength. One more thing I’d ask you to assess as you weigh your decision to be baptized: if your parents do react very strongly, are you in a secure enough life position to handle it? Are you living at home? Do you have an independent source of income? Do you have a support network that can assist you in case things get rough? This is a worst-case scenario, of course, but it’s important to mentally prepare and take stock as you contemplate this big decision. Just in case. Call on friends—both Mormon and non-Mormon—to support you as you prepare to be baptized. Talk with them about how and when to tell your parents. Prepare. Plan for a worst case scenario. And remember that there is nothing wrong with timing your decision to allow yourself to move forward with the greatest possible security and dignity.
That’s the short term advice. The long term advice is that there is only one thing that will get you—get all of us–through this thicket of scared and broken hearts. Love. Only love. More love. And time. If you continue to love your parents, continue to show them in your actions and words that you are their daughter and can be trusted, and if you find every opportunity to honor them for raising you to be so courageous, in time–it could be weeks, months, or years–you will reconcile.
Continue to ask for inspiration and keep your heart full of love. And listen to the good advice you’re going to get from the women (and men) who read AMG. We’re all rooting for you, and your parents too, KD.
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