I have found myself in discussion mode with the elders of our local LDS church without realizing the implications of such an agreement. Basically while attending a service with my husband, who is a member, (I love him and want to spend time with him while he is home as he works away from home, even if that means attending church), before we could leave after the service we were caught by the eager elders. Of course they had to ask if we were both members...grrr, why, why do they have to go there...and because I have this problem, (I can't be dishonest), I of course said that I was not. They asked if I would mind having them over to talk about stuff and me not liking conflict or confrontation or negativity said I would not mind. I didn't realize that this would begin a formal schedule of something they have been thoroughly trained for. I however only know how I feel, but like singing in front of strangers, when confronted with the questions I close up and can't speak the logic I believe. After one evening of apparently "The 1st Lesson" they had scheduled a second in less than a week from then, which I had to reschedule and haven't yet because I don't feel ready to do so.
How can I respond to their planned/taught questions respectfully and honestly so that they cannot deny my rational thinking and conclusions I have come to? I am not trying to offend or start anything that may get my husband treated negatively.
I may edit this later if I find a better way to bring my question to the "support group" however for now, I just really want some help.
I told the elders I don't know if I'll want to reschedule the discussions, but that in truth, I'm not ready for regular discussions/lessons. I said I am actively investigating/building the foundation for what I believe, but that at this point any questions I have, I can just go to my husband and I thanked them. They thanked me for my honesty and then invited me to 'continue to please pray to God and ask ....and blah blah blah' and promised me an answer that its true soon and then said I should totally have them back over for dinner soon. I wasn't surprised, but glad to have been able to say what I needed. I will be strong and honest with them, and anyone, anytime my beliefs are questioned.
Thank you for your help. I am grateful to have a safe place where I can ask for it.
He has spent over 10 years trying to get me to see that my conversion has never been a focus of his. A hope, which he cannot deny and I respect his honesty, but as far as getting me to convert he has been the last person in the world to push it. He respects and understands my beliefs. I agree I was a little upset about having them over as well, seeing how I could just go to him for any questions regarding it, however it is my fault. Trying to be nice, when the elders cornered us after church and asked ME if I wouldn't mind having them over to chat, I said, no problem. I wish he would be able to say, maybe she would feel comfortable another time, but that for now I am not actively investigating. However he is not like that. They asked me, he lets me answer for myself and I said I didn't mind. He said we didn't have to have them over and could cancel it, but I don't want to start anything weird or bad for us. I am just not good at choosing the option that upsets anyone except for me. I need to figure out how to be ok with possibly upsetting others instead of myself. I just know I can handle it, but I don't need to do that to myself either...
I had a fellow from one of my previous jobs that I had been chatting with during breaks want to come over and discuss his religion with me. I felt, at the time, that it was pretty harmless. I knew I didn't really want anything to do with the religion, but he seemed like a nice kid, so I figured this was his way of making friends... or trying to. I just sort of listened to him when he and his fellow member of the church came by to tell me all about what they believed in and how happy it made them. I only had a real objection to it all when they started talking baptism. Not just talking about it, but really PUSHING it. I told them no, that I was not interested, and when it came up over and over again, and the pressuring got heavier and heavier, I told them I was not interested in them coming by to talk to me about their beliefs anymore. They stopped visiting me after that.
Someone else has mentioned your husband may face negative treatment by his fellow believers, and I think I agree with them on that. I admit to not knowing very much about the Mormon faith, but from what I've heard from others and what little I experienced myself, they can be really pushy and don't take well to rejection.
"Just make a principled stand and don't compromise to make others comfortable at the expense of your own freedom of mind and conscience."
Thank you, again! This is so true as we are in a more liberal area here in Colorado. I would like to just tell them that I am not interested for now, while still building a firm foundation in my 'principled stand' for the purpose of being able to stand up for myself and my beliefs. I am especially interested in strengthening that foundation since I have a weak one right now since I am really a baby atheist (maybe, maybe I kind of always was, but was giving God the benefit of the doubt, too).
The part of your comment that I emphasized, I wrote it down. I need to read this back to myself often. Thank you for it, Nate. Spreading the good word. =)
This is a reply to Rachel
Sometimes I have reply issues, hence the random "." replies. Sheesh technology.
It's interesting that you dealt with that, because I don't know if I even mentioned it yet, but at the end of the first discussion with them, they were trying to find a time to come back for a second one and casually brought up that, although they know I am still 'unsure' about it all, they would like to put me down for a baptism in 3 weeks because that's when the next one would be and that although timing is completely personal and they want me to do this all in my own time frame, that 3 weeks is 'really just perfect for our church' haha. Man, I was like, "Oh haha um, ok well, for now, No. If that ever changes, I will let you know."
Maybe I shouldn't have added the last part, but I have a problem leaving people hanging in a position that could hurt them or something. I don't know, I am pretty ridiculous. But after telling them I do agree with some of their beliefs (yes family is important, yes choosing the right is good), but that to commit to something that requires faith in something I could never truly know, I was unable to do that and stay honest with myself. Apparently that is reversible after only 3 weeks.
Thank you for your comment. You remind me of myself in that I would also invite them to talk to be nice and possibly make friends. The good news is, in being true to yourself, you found out sooner rather than later how good of friends they would have been. It's just unfortunate how many "friends" are "friends" for such untrue reasons.
I'm glad I could offer something helpful. :)
Hey, just send them to me. I'd LOVE to talk about "stuff." They can give me as many "lessons" as they wish. Previous experience with them, though, tells me that they won't want to give me more than one shot at them. My next door neighbor is Mormon, and he assiduously avoids discussing religion with me. The last time it was brought up (by me) he defended the massive investment his church made in supporting the despicable Proposition 8 in California. He asked me if I didn't believe that the majority of Californians have a right to decide the issue. I asked him if he thought it would be okay for evangelicals in California to donate money, gather signatures, and put out false ads on TV to convince Californians to officially declare Mormonism a "cult," which evangelicals (and perhaps a majority of Californians) think it is. He had no answer.
Thank you! When I first started reading this I pictured Ned Flanders saying, "Hi-diddly-ho there!" But it sounds like your neighbor isn't willing to even try to talk to you like a person with reasonable discussion topics. I do remember hearing from 3 or more of my Mormon friends in my life on their missions telling me that they don't really teach them about the church or religion, but instead teach them how to teach it. Which to me was a flag they seemed not to notice.
I like Nelson's reply. I also think you just shouldn't reschedule. Call and respectfully deny them future access to your home.
You sound similar to my sister in law. She has a similar problem where she just agrees to anything if she feels the slightest pressure. My advice is the same for both of you: you need to learn to stand your ground. If you don't want Mormons coming over to "teach" you stuff, you need to tell them you are not interested in being taught. Your beliefs are your own and you are not interested, at the moment, in changing them.
Thank you. I think I'm going to go in this direction with the whole thing. If I have any questions I have a husband who can answer them.
Thank you for your comment, I couldn't agree more!