The most common question Mormons in transition have asked Kristy in her work as a psychologist is how–or even whether or not–to tell their friends and family about their faith transition. The “if” and “how” answers vary widely for every individual as each case is unique, but this episode seeks to give practical guidelines and important considerations for those who are leaning toward this step in their journey toward authenticity. From exercises based in this workbook Kristy put together for her clients.
Have you already had “the talk” or “the letter”? How did it go? Better than you worried it would? If you’d like to come on the podcast to share your story of coming out to friends and family, with advice from your own experience to those who are considering doing it too, don’t be a stranger, contact me here! Many people have found it healing in their own journey to know that what they went through can help others by sharing and making meaning of their experience.
Other links mentioned in this episode:
Mormon Stories podcast episode on Dr. Fowler’s stages of Faith
Dr. Fowler’s book, Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and Quest for Meaning
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Hi Dr. money, I just finished listening to episode eight. Thank you for such great information. I’m looking forward to checking out the additional information when I get home. there was one area that I wish I had been touched upon. What about converts? My concern is that I will never hear the end of “I told you so “from my mother and father. Is there a way to establish boundaries for this in our planned sit down Conversation? I apologize for the grammatical errors I am on my phone.
I forgot to mention I am a convert. Hopefully that question makes more sense now.
Thank you for your feedback, you are right to bring this up as its so needed, I’ll look into doing a full episode for converts! In the meantime, perhaps something like this to preface the talk, “I know it will be tempted to say i told you so, but I know you love me and you don’t want to hurt me and I’ll tell you right now saying that will really hurt me, and this transition is hard enough, so instead I would really appreciate it if you did ________ instead.” (Tell me you love me, hug me, be a listening ear without commentary, etc)
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I’d love to hear an episode (or maybe just an add on) for convert/family discussions. I’m planning on talking to my family in May.
Kirsty this episode could not have been more timely for my situation. It popped up on my feed the week I was drafting and sending a letter to my family. Thank you for guiding me through this process. My letter was as well-received (as much as it could have been given the topic) thanks to your excellent guidelines. I highly recommend this podcast and appreciate the work you’re doing.
Even though I told my loved ones about my faith transition long ago, this was still a good episode to listen to. However, I have two questions that came up that I’m really struggling with.
1. Exercise 3: Your Creed. I can’t do it. I can’t even look at the page it’s on without feeling anxiety. My faith crisis was three years ago and yet I still feel as if I can’t trust any of my beliefs anymore. So much of myself was tied to my religious beliefs that trying to determine whether even simple things like “families are important” are true…I am unable to do it. Even my husband, a devout Mormon, tells me that at this point he just wants me to find some sort of spiritual path, any sort of spiritual path, so that I can be happy. But I am afraid to explore ANYTHING spiritual because I am afraid of being hurt again. So…how can I form a Creed if just reading the questions causes anxiety?
2. When you got to the letter-writing part there was one thing I was surprised about. You said that most loved ones would prefer to see us happy, rather than hold us back because we were afraid of disappointing them. I don’t think this is true in Mormonism. I would think that many Mormons would prefer to see their loved ones suffer in this life, if it meant salvation in the next. Didn’t you and John say something similar in the first episode you did with him – that Mormons often ignore the good things in this life in order to build up blessings in heaven? In my experience, many relatives would prefer their loved ones to be miserable and stay Mormon, than to leave the church and be happy.
In my family, my brother has left the church and it has brought him a lot of happiness. I have stayed in the church, in large part for the sake of my family (both my husband and extended family), but also partly for the sense of place and community. But, I feel like my regular church attendance opens up old wounds pretty often, and causes me a lot of emotional discomfort. I’ve told my mom at least five times that I share the exact same beliefs as my brother, and the only difference is that I still attend church and he doesn’t. Yet, she continually mourns that he has “left the church,” and doesn’t seem to have much concern for me because I’m still “active.” I think this is the perfect example of Mormons preferring to see their loved ones suffer in this life if it means eternal reward in the next. She thinks as long as I’m still a “practicing” Mormon, I’ll be able to go to the Celestial Kingdom, while my brother won’t. Another example is how many loving Mormons assume that their gay son or daughter is better off staying in the church, even if it means that they are unable to live an authentic life or find happiness in this life.
What are your thoughts about this? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Thanks for the clarification.