Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Remember that one time?

So long, long ago I posted a blog entry where I announced that I had officially received my "you're no longer a momo" letter (the post is called Finding a daily LIFE). At that point in my exit from the church I was concerned mostly for my children, especially since they are growing up here in Utah County. I felt like other kids might be mean, or might shun them.

So. Here it is, almost 4 years since that post. My first-born is now 10 and in the 4th grade, and my baby is 5 and taller than all the other preschoolers. How is their life here in Ut. Co., you ask? Well.

I would say that for the most part, not being LDS hasn't directly affected them too harshly. L has friends that she plays with at school, and B fights with the other boys at preschool. I do have a concern though, and I mostly blame the COMMUNITY of Mormons for it, rather than the church itself:

Every day I hear kids outside playing and laughing and having a great time. L knows some of them from school, but none of them come over to ask her to play. During the summer all the kids (mine, plus my "step"-children) would participate in Night Games, but only if one of them got the courage to go up to the neighborhood kids and ask if they could play. Now I realize that part of the distance between the neighborhood kids and my kids could have something to do with the fact that my kids aren't here at our house all the time - they get carted back and forth between here and their dad's house. But they are here about half the time, and those kids go to school with my daughter, for crying out loud.

I have seriously contemplated taking my kids to church again, just so they can be more accepted by the neighborhood kids. I am pretty sure this is a church-related issue, because even the parents of the neighborhood kids make very little effort to be friendly (no wave of the hand from them!) towards me. They speak with Lee some, but mostly regarding church issues (his 15 yr old son does participate in church).

*sigh* Is it really worth going back to church just to have a little acceptance? Or do I need to once again peruse the exmo community for children of like-minded parents? I just don't know what to do, but it sure does bite when neither of my neighbors will say Hi to me, let alone wave. I assume it affects my children less than it does me, since they don't really know what they're missing.

I miss the community and camaraderie of being LDS. It seems that you have to BE one to get that perk, though. Whatever.

15 comments:

Rebecca said...

I could be totally wrong here, and also giving them way more credit than they deserve, but my guess is that they're not purposely excluding anyone. They just know each other better and they don't know you. It's normal to include your friends, and not strike up a conversation with someone you just see around but don't actually know. And yeah, that's because of church, which sucks. Maybe join a different one? How's the UU with kids?

karen louise said...

Hmmmm. Good question. However, I, myself, feel excluded in a way. Honestly, I have a million single LDS people in my ward, and yet I have no friends there. And actually, ever since we parted from Orem 1st ward and grew up and parted ways, I've felt kinda lonely. Nothing ever has been that good-as far as commradarie...(sp?)

So no, I don't think it's a 'church' thing, but I do feel like when you get around the right people, you can feel at home wherever you are and whatever church you belong to.

Sure, I'd love you to come back...of course I'd say that...but, I think really it just depends on finding good people. Maybe church is the place...maybe not.

Hmmm..wish I was more help to ya!

eric said...

When anyone grows up, they keep their social circles within comfortable parameters. A black kid might gravitate more toward black kids. A Jewish kid would certainly have more Jewish friends than non-Jewish. Mormons are no exception.

Kids in Utah usually have two social circles: the kids in their immediate class, and the kids they see in church. If there's a kid outside of those two circles - someone in their school, but not in their class, or even kids living next door to them - they often treat those kids like they're outside their comfortable social group.

Kids gravitate toward familiar people. Our kids simply need to form a "neighborhood" social circle (like they did at the old house), which I have to admit, is a difficult one in Utah. I grew up without the church dynamic, so I developed the neighborhood dynamic instead. Our kids will have to learn to make their own.

Now I feel like I sound like my mom.

Anonymous said...

dont do it!!!!!

Bishop Rick said...

Don't undo what you fought so hard to accomplish. Find a different, less intrusive church or club if fellowship is all you want. Involve your kids in after-school activities.

bluebird1 said...

Why not simply go visit your neighbors and discuss your children's situation with them? If they are "living the gospel" they should befriend your children. If they're Christlike, they certainly will. If they have qualifications (church membership) for befriending your children, then you simplyu must put that ever-so-constant smiley face on and return to the fold.

Glen said...

Have you considered a Christian church? Are there any in your area?

I don't know you, so you may already know this but Christianity teaches that you cannot work your way to Heaven (all false religions are based on works). Jesus, who is God Himself, came to earth as a man and died on the cross for our sins. Belief in Jesus, His sacrifice for us, and His resurrection three days later, will save you from your sins.

Perhaps you already know this and are saved. I just find it sad that so many who leave Mormonism go from one extreme (working their way to godhood) to another (total unbelief). It's a crime how mankind takes Christ's name and applies it to so many false gospels. However, the KJV Bible has the truth in it from front to back. I highly recommend reading it.

Matt said...

It can't be easy for you. The casual nature of their shunning is hard to take.

Anonymous said...

you should comeback. my experience with utah mormons if they can be a little hard to deal with but you shouldn't go against the whole church because of that. i moved to california and the church and people here are great! some of the best people ive ever met in my life and a little more down to earth. it makes it easier to believe when you feel accepted.

PixelFish said...

There are ecumenical options for socialisation, like going to the UU church, that would allow your kids to say they attend a church, but not have to worry about the indoctrination of aspects you don't like as much. My cousin went to a UU church, and his wife and several of his children still attend because they like the socialisation aspects. I went to a Buddhist sangha transitionally.

BTW, I can say from unpleasant personal experience, that being a member will not shield your children from real jerks, whereas decent folks will realise that your kids shouldn't be excluded because you don't share the same beliefs.

(I know there's a handful of other ex-Mos with kids running around that perhaps you could ask. I left Utah, so I don't have much in the wya of suggestions.)

(I would not go back myself, but my reasons for leaving are primarily doctrinal--I'm an atheist and don't believe in God, plus the church's problematic history with gay rights, civil rights, and the ERA makes me not want to raise my kids with those dubious values, no matter how great the other stuff might be. They can get the good stuff other places.)

Anonymous said...

Does one really have to become an enemy of the church. If taking your kids to church helps them in some way, make the sacrifice and go and be pleasant. Let God, if you still believe in a God, sort it all out.

Tom said...

Mormons have nothing on Scientology, thankfully. They just get weirded out and uncomfortable around former members, and even fear you could damage their testimony somehow.

Thanks for the blog, it offers a way more serious perspective than mine

http://sorryaboutthatjapan.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

If you don't believe in it, don't let them teach it to your children. Eventually you would become a hypocrite to your children and they may pick the church over you. Do you want to confuse and possibly lose them because you are worried they don't have enough friends? Aren't the right type of friends and an open/honest relationship with them better? We deal with the same issues just slightly north in the shadow of another temple. Currently we are considering sending them to college out-of-state to see that there are more viewpoints out there. Stay strong. The more of us there are here, the more we can change it to a better place.

Smorg said...

I'm sure you know way more about the Mormon church than I do. I've only been in a Mormon church once (this past Sunday) after a pair of nice missionaries kept asking me to go every time they drop in unannounced right around lunch time... ha-ha-ha) and I'm getting this serious big-brother-will-suffocate-you-into-a-submissive-robot vibe.

The 2nd part of the 3 hrs experience was in this classroom where an elder kept telling his fellow Mormons to 'make good choices' and 'not associating themselves with bad influences AKA unbelievers... maybe I had 'Atheist!' written on my forehead or something. :oP

I do like the missionary gals, though. They're nice... though alarmingly obedient to the church's line to the point where I wonder if they realize that having faith in 'god' isn't necessarily the same thing as having faith in a church or a church-proclaimed prophet. I'd probably be more alarmed if the Mormon neighbors are talking to your kids a lot. Indoctrination sticks better when you start young...

By the way, my missionaries are coming back again for lunch in a couple of days. I dunno... I get a feeling it's a bit of an escape for them to hang with a non-churchy person for a few hrs a few times a week.... Or maybe they just like free food. :oP

La said...

@Smorg:

Lucky you!! I have Jehovah's Witnesses trying to work on me, so that has been fun.

Good point about the if neighbors actually talk to the kids, what kinds of things they would say. And would I want those things said to the kids??

It has been almost 2 years since I wrote this post, and not much has changed. The kids have friends in schools and at their dad's house/neighborhood. They have been invited to church activities, and my 11 yr DD goes to Achievement Days every now and then. I'm all for that kind of socialization, so long as I get to tell her my opinions too!!