Josh and Susan Powell, and an LDS Ultimatum — “Get Active, or I’m Leaving With the Kids”

December 24, 2009
By

(This post has been updated)

Just saw this blurb in the Deseret News this morning:

When Josh and Susan Powell were first married, both were very active in the LDS Church, Petersen said. They were sealed in the temple. But once they moved to Utah, Josh Powell stopped attending church.

Petersen said the Powells’ marriage counselor instructed Susan Powell to set specific goals. Susan Powell told her husband that her goal was for him to become active in the church again by the end of 2009 and to have his temple recommend again by their anniversary in the spring. Otherwise, she was going to divorce him and take the children, Petersen said.

Let me start w/ the obvious:

  • Murder is heinous, disgusting, grotesque and horrible.  No excuses there.
  • I’m learning more and more that there is never ONE factor that “causes” anything.  There are always countless factors that add up to any one act or decision…and the same is clearly true here.  I am not advocating for the idea (in the slightest) that this potential LDS Activity ultimatum was “the cause” of anything…only a potential factor (of many)…if it bears out to be true at all.
  • Finally, let’s acknowledge up front that ALL of this (including the idea that Susan Powell was murdered and that Josh Powell was guilty) is completely theoretical.

But assuming this report is true — what do you think of an ultimatum like this…in isolation — “get active, or I’m leaving you and taking the kids” ….assuming an otherwise healthy relationship?

What if you were the one who had lost your faith….and what if you lost it because of reasonable issues like polyandry….or racism…..or DNA in the Book of Mormon…or the Book of Abraham….or sexism in the church….or the treatment of homosexuals in the church….or whatever.  Or what if you sincerely prayed about the church, and felt the “Holy Ghost” tell you to LEAVE the church?  Or what if the church just didn’t inspire you any more?

And then what if your spouse threatened to leave you and take the kids for following your conscience?

That would be a horrible thing to experience.  How trapped and desperate would you feel in this situation?

Murder is obviously a horrendously terrible solution to such a situation….but such an ultimatum would be a horrible thing to face, I think: your conscience, or your wife and kids.  Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of people contact me with this very dilemma — so I think this topic is worth exploring.  I know it’s directly relevant to thousands of people out there who are struggling in silence w/ their faith, wondering what will happen if they “come out” to their spouse regarding their feelings.

Here are a few ways to restate the point of this post:

  1. Is it fair to leave a spouse  and take the kids if they go inactive?
  2. Would God/Jesus want this?
  3. Would the church leadership want/encourage this?
  4. Could an ultimatum like this make things worse in a marriage, and even become dangerous?

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81 Responses to Josh and Susan Powell, and an LDS Ultimatum — “Get Active, or I’m Leaving With the Kids”

  1. December 24, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Stories like this make my stomach turn. I’m amazed how often I hear from Latter-day Saints who think divorce is justified if the spouse apostatizes. Do you really not understand what kind of message that sends to us non-members about your precious “eternal” temple marriages?

    People who can’t love their spouses regardless of how their beliefs may change shouldn’t get married.

  2. December 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

    BTW, when I say “you,” obviously I don’t mean the author of this post or Latter-day Saints who agree that divorce over apostasy is the wrong course of action.

  3. December 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

    What kind of marriage counselor recommends that a women given their spouse an ultimatum based on religious belief? “My counselor said you better believe in the Church, buster, or at least act like you do. Otherwise, I am suing for divorce.” If the counselor had suggested ultimatums like “stop cheating or else” or “stop lying or else” I would understand. But “get a temple recommend or else”?

    (None of this, of course, justifies any subsequent assumed illegal activity on Josh Powell’s part).

  4. Ray
    December 24, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I’ve said it before, but I’d never leave my wife over a change in beliefs. She is me, and I am she, and divorce would be suicide for me if over nothing but beliefs. Ain’t happening.

    However, if “stop being a crook” or “stop being an abusive jerk” or “stop neglecting me and your kids” or anything similar in this particular case came out as “be the man I married and not the man you’ve become” – I can’t condemn Susan or the marriage counselor. When someone is doing something that simply can’t be tolerated in a marriage, ultimatums sometimes must be set – and I think everyone here can agree with that in theory. Iow, I don’t know enough about the individual case here to know if the ultimatum was good or bad – and there’s no way I’m going to imply blame for Susan or the counselor for Josh killing Susan – but I can understand the ultimatum if it was the only way to put the central issues in their own case into focus. In fact, given the severity of his action, I’m inclined to believe that the ultimatum probably wasn’t mis-guided – at least in its nature. I’m inclined to believe that there probably were multiple issues involved that led Susan and the counselor to believe that “repenting” in a concrete way that would make sense to Susan (like qualifying for a temple recommend) was the only option other than divorce.

    Again, in general, I can’t support the way this ultimatum appears to have been phrased – but I just don’t know enough of the detailed background of this individual case to say if it was justified for Susan and her kids.

    Also, I see this issue (significant change in one spouse and divorce over that change) all around me in every segment of society in which I’ve lived and worked and associated.

  5. brjones
    December 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

    This is a source of constant consternation for me. It appears not only from the current goings on, but from comments Susan Powell apparently made to friends over a year ago, that there was ample independent reason for her to consider divorcing her husband. Reportedly, she even made a tentative decision to leave him and made preparations to do so. Yet the thing that ultimately controlled was not the tangible reality of her husband’s continued unacceptable behavior, but a) his activity (or lack thereof) in the church; and b) her impressions upon fasting and prayer that god wanted her to stay in her marriage. Obviously not every member can be painted with the same brush, but I think it’s fair to say that this is the template that the church would have people follow when analyzing their marriages (not necessarily that you leave a spouse if they aren’t active, but that activity is near the top of the list of importance). She objectively determined that it would be better for her to leave him, based on her experience, and then, based on highly subjective and interpretive feelings that god was telling her to stay, she overrode her personal feelings. Now, assuming the likelihood that she is dead, every single person involved with this relationship is irreparably and horribly damaged; particularly those most innocent – her children. I think this way of dealing is absolutely unsupportable. It’s tragic that the church, or any church or organization, is encouraging people to think along these lines.

  6. December 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I agree with Ray.

  7. December 24, 2009 at 11:31 am

    If there are other factors at work—abuse in the family, neglect of children, etc.—then it’s not really a divorce over apostasy. Apostasy may just be incidental to those other factors.

    However, I have known LDS couples who split over apostasy when the dissenting spouse was being nothing but a good father and husband otherwise. The only thing that had changed were his beliefs.

    (I say “he” because I haven’t known any LDS couples where the woman apostatized and the man left her. It’s possible, I just haven’t seen it yet.)

  8. brjones
    December 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

    In fairness, it is not unreasonable to infer that in her mind, truly becoming active in the church and becoming temple worthy; in other words, trying to live a christ-centered life, equated to him correcting those behaviors that justified her leaving him. I can see that the terms “active in the church” or “temple worthy” for some members may just be shorthand for “getting your s*** together.” In that sense, I don’t really have a problem with it. I do think there are some in the church, though, who see the actual activity or the holding of the reommend to be paramount values, in and of themselves, and I think that’s problematic.

  9. December 24, 2009 at 11:42 am

    #7 – If there are other factors at work—abuse in the family, neglect of children, etc.—then it’s not really a divorce over apostasy. Apostasy may just be incidental to those other factors.

    Agreed. And I will quickly argue Adam’s point, which will be that there is rarely only one issue at play, in one person only. Clearly in the Powell case there appear to be many different factors at work.

    I’ve heard of situations where couples split solely over change in religious belief, but I admit that I haven’t seen it IRL. When my belief in the LDS church changed, my husband showed respect for my decisions, and took the time to understand where I was coming from. We came to different conclusions, but that didn’t rock our marriage in the sorts of ways they seem to do for others.

    Which raises the next point, which is that this post seems to tie in with the “Shadow Mormons” post. If people really are threatening divorce from their spouses solely over a change in religious belief, this would seem to suggest a reason for why we see the Shadow Mormon population existing. In a case where the only thing that changes is your belief, and your spouse threatens divorce, is it better to go “Shadow Mormon” or to divorce?

  10. December 24, 2009 at 11:47 am

    #8. This is what I was thinking. If the problem was pornography, gambling, adultery, or whatever… sometimes “get active and temple worthy” is just a blanket statement for fixing all that stuff. If I lost my faith, of course, I would want my wife to be loving and understanding. That’s when I’d need her the most. And of course, I’d probably want to replace it with something else as soon as possible. Another faith, charity organization… heck, even the Freemasons. Just SOMETHING relatively positive.

    We simply don’t know what happened in the Powell household though. I wish I didn’t get the feeling that this post borders on “blame the victim.” You can’t just write a disclaimer and then say whatever you want.

  11. December 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I think making a threat of divorce SOLELY based on one’s faith or lack of it, is emotionally abusive. That being said, it does NOT seem like that was the case here. This guy, from everything that has come out, seems like a real piece of work… perhaps Susan Powell’s bit about “come back to church or else” was a last-ditch attempt at, as was stated above, getting back the husband she thought she knew. Getting the temple recommend was probably, imho, symbolic to her in a very powerful way.

  12. December 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Petersen said the Powells’ marriage counselor instructed Susan Powell to set specific goals. Susan Powell told her husband that her goal was for him to become active in the church again by the end of 2009 and to have his temple recommend again by their anniversary in the spring.

    Wait, her goal was that he do something? Shouldn’t her goal be that she do something? (And his goal be that he do something, of course.)

    I think that that goal, if reported accurately (and that’s a big if), goes against common sense, good counseling practice, and the teachings of LDS General Authorities.

  13. Dan
    December 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

    In 1998, my mother left the church, mad at how she was treated by her fellow members (yes, in Utah). Her relief society president (who is a big whig at BYU), criticized her for how she raised us up. My mother. Who worked three jobs at one point after divorcing her abusive husband to raise us up. My sister was happily married and I had just gone on a mission. How dare this relief society president criticize my mother for how she raised us! In any case, it would have been a darn shame if someone had given up on my mother then just because she left the church. Currently, in 2009, she is active and even teaching relief society lessons in Massachusetts.

    Never give up on anyone.

  14. December 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I wish I didn’t get the feeling that this post borders on “blame the victim.” You can’t just write a disclaimer and then say whatever you want.

    Perhaps if they did away with the pic of Josh and reduced the amount of time spent discussing the Powell family, it could be discussed more hypothetically? I do think the purpose of the post was to step away from the Powell situation, and to use the case as an example only, and as a stepping stone for the discussion of the role that a spouse’s apostacy plays in divorce or family relationships.

  15. Ray
    December 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    “I’ve heard of situations where couples split solely over change in religious belief, but I admit that I haven’t seen it IRL.”

    Fwiw, very few people want to (or should) share all the reasons for a divorce publicly – and focusing on an umbrella reason often works much more effectively, even if it paints a too simplistic picture that ultimately fosters mis-understanding and stereotypes.

    Having said that, I know some people do divorce over a change in beliefs – but I’m convinced that even in most of those cases it is the changed actions (including perceived rejection and/or condescension of the “unchanged” AND the “changed” by each other) that is the largest contributing factor. After all, right or wrong, each person married the other because of the person they believed the other to be – and when one of those partners changes radically it is natural to consider the sustainability of the union itself.

    Again, I think everyone here can agree with that last idea in theory. It’s where each of us would draw our individual line in our own individual marriage that we begin to disagree.

  16. December 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I have to think about the ultimatum completely outside of the actual situation. There’s no way to know what that marriage was really like.

    But basically, I agree with kuri in #12. You can’t set goals for someone else’s spirituality, only your own. I have to wonder if the counselor supported an ultimatum like that or whether his/her recommendation to set goals was misunderstood.

  17. December 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Arthur — I’m really and sincerely not trying to determine or even speculate as to what happened w/ the Powells.

    I’m using this quote as a way to bring up a topic that I deal with weekly….as couples continue to come to me in this particular situation. I had lunch w/ 2 different couples this week alone in a very similar situations.

    So accept my apologies for the cloudiness or confusion that the Powell things introduces….but again. I’m just trying to use the Powell thing as a means to bring up what I think is a relevant and important topic.

  18. December 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve edited the post to try to make things more clear.

    Here are a few ways to restate the point of this post:

    1) Is it fair to leave someone and take the kids if they go inactive?
    2) Would God/Jesus want this?

  19. December 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    That’s fine man. I’m not trying to cause a stir. If everyone on the Internet were level-headed and rational, there would be no problem.

    It’s just… the Powells aren’t a very good example to use I think.

  20. December 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    I have to wonder if the counselor supported an ultimatum like that or whether his/her recommendation to set goals was misunderstood.

    After reading the article, it seems likely that this Petersen fellow misreported whatever was really going on. He comes across as quite the gossiping busybody, and I doubt the details of anything he says.

  21. December 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah….you’re probably right Arthur. I think I’m just using the Powell’s and the quote as a draw to ask the question. When I found the quote…it felt like a reasonable question to ask…especially given the couples that keep coming to me in droves each month….and I promise….they are legion. This problem will only get bigger for couples in the church. I feel like it’s an important question to address, and hopefully to get clarity about from church leadership.

  22. December 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I think the typical Mormon logic is fairly simple.

    1. Eternal life is dependent upon eternal marriage.
    2. If no eternal marriage, no eternal life.
    3. No eternal life is damnation.
    4. Eternal marriage is dependent upon faith, ordinances, and keeping covenants by both (or more) partners.
    5. No faith, not taking ordinances by one member means no eternal marriage.
    6. Thus no enternal life.
    7. Thus damnation.

    If your spouse loses faith, you better find one that has it or you will be damned.

  23. E-dub
    December 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    If my husband ever told me I couldn’t go to church or to take my children to church that might possibly be a deal-breaker. I wonder if that is part of the issue in some of these cases. I don’t know that local leadership “should” encourage me to leave my spouse, if this were my situation, but I bet they might, regardless.
    I don’t worry about who I’m married in the eternities. All I have to do is my part–I can’t be responsible for the other person. So, I disagree with Narrator. Are you saying if I do all I can do, but my partner doesn’t, a loving Heavenly Father won’t provide for my faithfulness in the hereafter?

  24. December 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    1. Eternal life is dependent upon eternal marriage.
    2. If no eternal marriage, no eternal life.
    3. No eternal life is damnation.
    4. Eternal marriage is dependent upon faith, ordinances, and keeping covenants by both (or more) partners.
    5. No faith, not taking ordinances by one member means no eternal marriage.
    6. Thus no enternal life.
    7. Thus damnation.

    Except that the church teaches that all that happens to a faithful temple-married spouse with a (religiously) unfaithful spouse is that the faithful one gets a new spouse in the Celestial Kingdom…

  25. hawkgrrrl
    December 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – differences in belief don’t cause divorce – controlling behavior does (and homocide is clearly the most controlling behavior there is). I do think there are immature couples who would fantasize about divorce for this one issue, but one has to assume that those relationships are based solely on what they selfishly hope to get from the relationship (such as salvation but more often some form of status). Those are marriages with such a weak foundation that any other major change could topple them.

    The Powells are a very poor example for the discussion because so little is known, and they are a bit off point. Josh P’s “apostacy” doesn’t sound like your garden variety lack of belief, but like something behavioral. Those who apostatize for belief only hold those who apostatize for inability to live the standards or those who apostatize for being offended by someone in contempt, considering their loss of belief superior (and in many ways it probably is more thoughtful and less self-serving). But such is probably not the case for Josh P. He’s no poster boy for the cause, as it were.

    Jesus clearly taught that a believing spouse purifies a non-believing spouse. E. Bednar and others were raised by parents who were of differing beliefs. Clearly the church would not endorse leaving your spouse over a simple loss of faith if that is the only issue (no adultery, abuse, controlling behaviors, etc). The wife giving the husband an ultimatum can’t have been what the therapist intended. In therapy, people set goals for themselves not others. It’s possible that the marriage had an escalating pattern of ultimatums, threats and control. That, to me, is the root of this problem – not a difference in belief which does not dictate bad behaviors. People have a choice how they will behave; belief or lack of belief doesn’t create these behaviors.

  26. James
    December 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    4 Ray
    However, if “stop being a crook” or “stop being an abusive jerk” or “stop neglecting me and your kids” or anything similar in this particular case came out as “be the man I married and not the man you’ve become” – I can’t condemn Susan or the marriage counselor.

    John Dehlin
    I’m learning more and more that there is never ONE factor that “causes” anything. There are always countless factors that add up to any one act or decision…and the same is clearly true here.

    Ray I think there are many factors why some of those we look up to in the church or outside are crooks or border on it in their jobs. Part of it is such a huge emphasis on looking like the Lord is blessing us. A close freind from the UK now lives in Bountiful and he is totally shocked at the lack of business ethics in Utah. Wives can put pressure on their husbands as well to keep up with the Jones’s .

    Which can lead to a frustrated husband becoming an abusive jerk” and neglecting hiss wife and kids because he is trying to prosper like Brother Jones and look like the Lord is blessing him to.

  27. December 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    The only time I can see a divorce, over matters of faith, as being acceptable is if both parties are equally committed to divorcing. There are many other factors that enter in to this kind of life event: children, age, finances, etc.

    If it turns out that murder is proven then the question will come up as to why Mr. Killed Mrs..

    This whole thing is very sad, I agree with Hawkgrrl assessment.

  28. Jeff Spector
    December 24, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I’m not one for ultimatums in any situation. I think it puts the other person in a defensive position no matter what. But, I can also see the side of it where one person desires an active LDS lifestyle and all the trimmings and has lost it as a result of decisions of the other person.

    If one person can give up the faith, why is it unreasonable for the other person to give up on the marriage? Why is one person’s committm,ent more important than the others?

  29. December 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Jeff, I think those are apples and oranges, not just comparable commitments. I suppose it depends on how one defines “giving up the faith” but it seems to me that often it is not a choice. Some people, for whatever reason, lose their belief, through no fault of their own. Perhaps a comparison could be made if the person did indeed “give up on their faith” which may or may not include all kinds of things, including significant behavior changes that could be damaging to the relationship.

  30. Janet V
    December 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    1. Eternal life is dependent upon eternal marriage.
    2. If no eternal marriage, no eternal life.
    3. No eternal life is damnation.
    4. Eternal marriage is dependent upon faith, ordinances, and keeping covenants by both (or more) partners.
    5. No faith, not taking ordinances by one member means no eternal marriage.
    6. Thus no enternal life.
    7. Thus damnation.

    Except that the church teaches that all that happens to a faithful temple-married spouse with a (religiously) unfaithful spouse is that the faithful one gets a new spouse in the Celestial Kingdom…

    *******

    Really? I have never, ever heard a 20th or 21st century GA talk about people who have already married and been divorced “get(ting) a new spouse in the Celestial Kingdom.” I have heard this (that they would get a spouse at all) of single women who choose not to marry “non-members.” I have heard this to a smaller degree about never-married single men (except the “ministering angel” label seems to be applied to them). As someone who grew up while Spencer Kimball was prophet, it was made very, very clear that choosing a spouse to be sealed in the temple was the most important decision one could make, because they make their choice at that point.

    Of what possible value is “eternal marriage” if most people won’t end up with the spouse they took to the temple (and shut out half their “infidel” family to do so) in the next life?

    This very subject is what caused me to question the church and ultimately leave. It really doesn’t make sense; it’s hurtful and harmful to older singles, divorced people, widows who (until recently) couldn’t be sealed again in this life, etc. Silence from the pulpit at General Conference doesn’t hurt either.

    This is what gives people the idea that divorce has such impossibly high consequences for time and the hereafter.

  31. Ray
    December 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    #26 – I agree, James – and I’m not sure why you think I don’t.

    Here is my root problem with the issue as articulated in the original thread:

    When two people marry, they often (nearly always) don’t know each other as well as they think they do. They each bring expectations into the marriage, and, almost always for BOTH, there are unrealistic expectations of some kind involved. There also ALWAYS are differing opinions about something (generally quite a few things), but in the marriages that work and thrive and create unity / continue unitedly those differences are less important than the shared goals, visions, feelings, etc. Every successful marriage about which I know much still includes things about each spouse that the other would change in theory – but, in practice, forcing that change isn’t worth the result. Thus, allowances are made and differences continue – and, in the best situations, those differences actually intertwine to make two incomplete people one complete entity. Through this process, two individuals truly become ONE – and it is possible to believe, for example, in a concept of Zion (and Godhood) that is made up of different people bound in real unity.

    It’s VERY easy to blame someone in a marriage who doesn’t change much for not accepting a spouse who does – but, ultimately, all that can be said is that one partner did something (changed somehow) that made the differences stronger than the previous unity. Sometimes this is legitimate from our modern moral viewpoint; sometimes it isn’t.

    Perhaps a spouse married a trophy spouse, and the spouse no longer is seen as a trophy – so a new trophy is bought. Perhaps a spouse married someone who overlooked her faults and made her feel special for the first time – but, after the marriage, treats her as just a piece of meat. Perhaps a woman married a man she believed would change for her, but he never does and she finally gives up hope. Perhaps the idea of an eternal union is extremely important to one spouse, and when the other spouse no longer seems to care about being united eternally the first spouse feels rejected or no longer loved in the same way as before – and is shattered by that perceived rejection. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps . . . and it’s really easy to blame the spouse with whom we feel an affinity and castigate the other with whom we don’t.

    I simply won’t go there.

    Finally, I have said I would never leave my wife over a change in belief, but if I am being totally honest, I would have to add a disclaimer. There are situations where a change of belief could cause me to consider divorce, but they are the extremes that simply must exist if I am considering ALL possibilities. For example, what if my wife suddenly started teaching our children a form of devil worship – or some other form of worship I believe to be destructive and bizarre?

    Since I am able to ask a question like that, I cannot, in good conscience, condemn someone who leaves an LDS spouse if they come to the conclusion that the LDS Church is destructive and bizarre and refuses to participate in it. I understand that, even as I don’t agree. What I can’t accept, however, is the idea that the spouse who remains is at fault in any way for the other spouse leaving – all other things unchanged from the time of their marriage.

    Successful marriage remains, from start to end or lack thereof, a balancing act – a continuing compromise – a dual subjugation of self – a diplomatic endeavor. When EITHER spouse no longer feels like that effort is worth it, divorce is likely; when both spouses believe “unacceptable change” can be reversed, divorce is unlikely. Religion is only one area in which that decision can be manifested.

  32. December 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    As someone who grew up while Spencer Kimball was prophet, it was made very, very clear that choosing a spouse to be sealed in the temple was the most important decision one could make, because they make their choice at that point.

    I was only talking about people who are married in the temple. I’ve never heard anyone with any authority say that anyone could lose their exaltation because their spouse went astray. That would make no sense at all.

  33. James
    December 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Ray
    I’ve said it before, but I’d never leave my wife over a change in beliefs.

    Sorry Ray not picking on you:)

    Its been ages since I have been anything like a TBM and to be honest Im sure I have never been close! But in their defense If I was a young married person in my early twenties and married someone who’s beliefs had totally changed thought the church was a scam and started smoking drinking and swearing in front of the kids and decided to have maybe even a non sexual relationship with other men I then can see where that husband could feel like this wife isn’t a good vehicle for me and my kids to get to the CK.

    Also 50 years or so of this kind of behavior will be hard to bare!!

  34. Phouchg
    December 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    #3 What kind of marriage counselor recommends that a women given their spouse an ultimatum based on religious belief?

    Well, when my ex-wife and I were in marriage counseling (or as I call it…the “last exit before toll” sign on the marriage turnpike) the counselor suggested something very similar to my ex. This was during our next to last session where the counselor met with each of us separately for about 15 minutes each during the hour.

    The counselor was…wait for it…with LDS Family Services.

    That is the kind of marriage counselor who would recommend that.

  35. The Chorister
    December 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    e-dub: For me, I think there’s a big difference in one spouse becoming inactive/changing beliefs and one spouse telling the other that he/she can’t be active in the church or take the kids.

    To answer Batman’s questions in #18:

    1) Is it fair to leave someone and take the kids if they go inactive? No. I feel like I speak with some experience, having thought about this a lot. My husband still attends church with us, but no longer believes any of it. Our kids are 6, 9, and 12–old enough to know that something’s up. He worried that if he was honest with me about his beliefs, I might want to divorce him. He feared that without shared belief in the church, there would be no “us.” All very scary thoughts indeed. After much thought/many tears/”discussions,” however, there is still an “us.” It’s different and at times I feel sad/lonely and miss what was, but I’m profoundly grateful for what is.

    2) Would God/Jesus want this? No. Absolutely not. I think God/Jesus/church leaders want families to stay together.

  36. Jon
    December 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    I agree with hawkgrrl (#25) I think what it boils down to is more an issue of trying to control another person and not being able to. I think it’s odd that the therapist would have the wife set goals for the husband. I am admittedly not married, but I’ve noticed that my most successful and fulfilling relationships have been those where I don’t try to control the other person, either directly or passive aggressively.

  37. Jon
    December 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Oh,and Merry Christmas:)

  38. Ray
    December 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    #33 – James, how is that picking on me? I read your comment as saying that it wouldn’t be a change in belief but rather am extreme change in behavior that might cause you to consider divorce. I think we are in general agreement about that particular issue, right?

  39. December 24, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    brjones — obviously while God was probably good with her leaving the marriage, I suspect that God was not saying “yes” to leaving him for no longer being active LDS.

  40. DavidH
    December 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Religious differences can make marriage difficult just as can differences over money or work schedules or parenting styles. My recollection is that mixed faith marriages have a lower long term success rate than same faith marriages, and that degree of commitment is also a factor (i.e., in marriages in which one spouse is a committed adherent of religion A, and the other spouse is a noncommitted members of religion A, the long term success rate is lower than where both have about the same level of commitment). (Anecdote, when my aunt passed away around 20 years ago, her priest said to my uncle that theirs was the first marriage of a Catholic and Mormon he had seen last that long (40 years). My uncle explained to the priest that the accommodation they reached was that neither was active in his or her faith, and things seemed to work out.)

    Mixed religion (and mixed religious commitment) marriages can be successful and wonderful, but it takes tremendous effort, love, patience, flexibility, and the other factors mentioned in D&C 121 to succeed.

    I have personally not met anyone who ended a marriage solely because a spouse became inactive. That is certainly not a teaching of the Church, nor have I known any Church leader who would counsel a spouse to set the sort of ultimatum described in the article.

    I would add that I personally know quite well many therapists and counselors at LDS Family Services. I do not know a single one who would counsel setting a ultimatum based on Church activity or recommend status. That particular sort of ultimatum strikes me as co-dependence, pure and simply. And the therapists and counselors I know at LDSFS are as concerned about avoiding co-dependence as anyone else I know.

    Further, I know many, many people in the Church who are married, and have remained married for decades to nonattending spouses, and nonbelieving spouses (as well as spouses committed to other religions).

    But I do think that a change in religious outlook or denomination of one spouse during a marriage can create new frictions that (together with pre-existent tensions) may or may not overwhelm the ties and love that bind the marriage together.

    Career changes can also create frictions, adding financial pressures as well. I have known more than a few marriages that ruptured attendant to a spouse’s decision to change careers, attending new training or schooling, with the time and financial stresses. Similarly, extended unemployment can add pressures that a marriage sometimes cannot withstand.

    A change in religious outlook by one spouse often creates additional tension in a marriage (it is difficult to see how it would not), but (from my vantage point) it is rarely the sole or even primary cause of a breakup.

  41. Bryce
    December 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I would like to further develop the idea that Narrator (#22) originally shared with that list of marital logic.

    This list made me start thinking about a fundamental misunderstanding I see frequently in the LDS culture: that is the idea that a marriage is successful/healthy because it contains all the vital components we’ve been taught must exist. I know dozens of friends who have married someone, not necessarily for love, but because that person has certain traits that supposedly denote faithfulness. The thinking goes: “S/He will be a good spouse because her/his parents are faithful members, s/he has a calling, s/he attends church regularly, s/he is a returned missionary, s/he holds a temple recommend, etc.” We essentially have a checklist of must-haves for any potential spouse, and when that list is fulfilled, then we have apparently found our eternal companion.

    There’s nothing wrong with having a list of things, but the problem is people put all their faith in that list of quantifiable characteristics. Revelation and just getting to know the person no longer hold any bearing–if they match the list, they must be ok to marry. One problem is that many faithful people get written off because they don’t meet all the requirements (He isn’t a RM, so he won’t be a good father). But the most egregious error is the belief that someone who can check off every item on your list is worthy of your eternal hand in marriage.

    Therefore, when one or more of the items on our list is no longer fulfilled, that person has ceased to be worthy of the marriage. This leads to accusations and ultimatums because we erroneously believe our spouse must comply fully with The List at all times in order for ours to qualify as a Celestial union. It just isn’t so. We all know examples of people who are able to go through the motions and fulfill The List without truly being righteous. And we all certainly know plenty of people who aren’t perfect and don’t meet all the criteria on The List but are excellent spouses/parents anyway.

    So to answer the questions from the original post:

    Is it fair to leave a spouse and take the kids if they go inactive? I would say generally no, if the only reason is inactivity. If inactivity leads to abusive behaviors, then yes. But inactivity itself has little bearing on whether a person is a good spouse/parent. And if you ditch anyone in your family just because they’re inactive then you have misunderstood your role as another member of that eternal family.

    Would God/Jesus want this? Of course not.

    Would the church leadership want/encourage this? Doubtful.

    Could an ultimatum like this make things worse in a marriage, and even become dangerous? Absolutely.

  42. DavidH
    December 24, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I would add that, without more, I am skeptical that a domestic relations court would let one spouse “take the children” because the other is less committed religiously. I would be surprised even if a Utah County domestic relations court would deny either joint custody or visiting rights based on a spouse’s inactivity, or allow a person’s religious activity to be the primary basis for a custody decision (something to factor in, one way or the other, but not the controlling factor).

  43. December 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks for adding that anecdote on LDSFS, DavidH – What really puzzles me is that there are ANY therapists who are “giving advice” or telling clients what they should do. That’s not therapy, it’s Dr. Phil, and it’s not ethical. Counselors, imho, should help the client make their OWN decision on what is best for their relationship. Telling clients what they should do only engenders dependence on the counselor, and if it turns out bad the counselors can be in big trouble for dolling out bad advice.

  44. Bryce
    December 25, 2009 at 1:01 am

    I agree with you AdamF. But I think our society today expects “quick fixes” for everything. We expect our food to be ready immediately. We expect diet products to make us lose the resulting weight equally fast. When we get sick, we expect doctors to prescribe medicines that fix our problems. And when our relationships are in trouble, expect counselors to tell us what to do. And so just like some doctors will prescribe antibiotics just to shut you up even if you have a viral infection, so will the Dr. Phils of the world be perfectly willing to tell you what you should do rather than take the time and effort to help you find your own answers, since that’s not what most people want anyway. They want to be fixed, just like you take a car to the repair shop. And if their problem can’t be immediately repaired, then it must be time for some ultimatums and then divorce. It ain’t pretty, but it sure is efficient.

  45. James
    December 25, 2009 at 1:13 am

    43 Adam F

    What really puzzles me is that there are ANY therapists who are “giving advice” or telling clients what they should do. That’s not therapy, it’s Dr. Phil, and it’s not ethical. Counselors, imho, should help the client make their OWN decision on what is best for their relationship.

    Adam I don’t think most people would go to counselor or a therapist just to listened to!!
    They want concrete advice to help them through their problem things they can action.

    I can see if its sexual abuse and you need therapy or something similar thats been plauging someone for years.

    But just to listen and give no advice seems expensive for nothing!

    I think therapists and counselors even trying to look unbiased will ask open ended questions that will lead their client into his or her biased.

    For example if your an LDS therapist how do you feel about being on your own for the next 50 years of your life with out what you thought was your spiritual sole mate to help you raise your children in the church which is so integral to your happiness.

  46. don
    December 25, 2009 at 7:43 am

    FWIW, I know a member sister who almost divorced her husband because he joined the church. Think that one over.

  47. Goose
    December 25, 2009 at 8:16 am

    “unfaithful spouse is that the faithful one gets a new spouse in the Celestial Kingdom…”

    I doubt it works that way. Its probably during the 1000 year millennium when that faithful spouse will get a chance to find another faithful person to marry.

    But I wonder what people will say if this mom turns up alive. I’d say that Utahans haven’t learned much from the Smart case at all.

    Anyways, to answer the questions here, imho, I’d say “no” for first three and “yes” for fourth.

  48. December 25, 2009 at 9:27 am

    James, I see your concern, and totally agree. Just listening to your clients is NOT therapy either. I’m not getting why people think that if you don’t give advice you’re just listening… There are many misconceptions as to what therapy actually is. Feel free to email me if you’d like a more thorough explanation…

    shenpawarrior@gmail.com

    Or perhaps I’ll do a Mormon-themed “what really is marital therapy” post here. :)

  49. December 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    How do you all seem to know that the marriage counselor told her to set a goal that her husband become active again? The linked article doesn’t say anything like that (although it may be elsewhere–this is the first I’ve heard of this case. The article says the counselor told her to set a goal, and she told her husband that her goal was that he become active again.

    Moreover, the article doesn’t actually say that any counselor said anything about making goals. It quotes her neighbor, a Tim Petersen (who, it says, was “helping” her with her marriage counseling, whatever that means) as saying that the counselor told her to set goals. That’s pretty far removed from an actual assertion that any counselor told her any such thing.

  50. Jeff Spector
    December 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Adamf, #29

    “Jeff, I think those are apples and oranges, not just comparable commitments. I suppose it depends on how one defines “giving up the faith” but it seems to me that often it is not a choice. Some people, for whatever reason, lose their belief, through no fault of their own.”

    I am a bit concerned about statements like this. I know we’ve discuss the idea of “Choosing to believe” before. But, I cannot that there is no choice involved. Perhaps the ultimate consequence is a loss of faith, but a choice has to enter in at some point.

  51. December 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I know many, many people in the Church who are married, and have remained married for decades to nonattending spouses, and nonbelieving spouses (as well as spouses committed to other religions)

    That is my experience as well.

  52. December 25, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Jeff, I see your point, and I agree we make many choices every day that can ultimately affect us. I suppose my point was that often people who lose their faith are branded as sinners, when they did everything they could, shed many tears, banged on the door, so to speak, and received no reply. I have no explanation for that, as personally I have received numerous times when I thought I might be losing my faith. Some, however, do not receive, despite their suffering. It is my wish that those people are not labeled as having done something wrong.

  53. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    AdamF-

    I think belief and faith are complicated and very personal. Some people grow up in environments where they learn to not trust and this can affect their ability to trust in the Lord and to trust that He willingness to help them. Some people see life in a more negative light and others can see the positive in everything. I think the way people are raised, the way they view life and their ability to trust or not trust greatly affect their ability to have faith. I believe that like choosing to love, choosing to believe is something we have to consciously do. Only the Lord really knows our hearts and the time and effort that we have put into getting to know Him. I believe that He accounts for all the weaknesses and struggles that get in the way of being able to do that and doing the best we can is enough, even if my best is much less than anothers. I believe that we have to account for the Lord’s timing as well and not expect Him to do things when we feel we need them most, but to trust that He knows best and will care for us. To me, belief and faith are such personal things that we can only judge ourselves and truly know the sincerity and the effort we have put in, but I feel it definately is a choice to stop having faith and believing and that it isn’t something that just happens to us, but rather something we decide to do.

  54. December 25, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    “belief and faith are such personal things”

    Well said. That is exactly why we cannot speculate about others. If they say they gave it all they had, and received nothing in return, then so it goes. As a believer, I have to assume that God wanted them where they are now, i.e. “part of the Lord’s timing” as you said. The problem with the blanket statement: “it is a choice” is that it leads to some harsh judgment of those who have experienced tremendous pain and anxiety over spiritual issues, and ended up out of the fold. I believe faith is largely a gift, not a choice, although that is from my personal experience, so I am fine with disagreement on this. As you said, it is very personal. To each their own.

  55. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    AdamF-

    When I say it is a choice, I believe that some pain and anxiety over spiritual issues can come from faulty ideas or negative self perceptions. If we have been taught that God loves all His children and that He answers prayers, etc. then we have to choose to believe that He does truly love us and that He will answer our prayers and let go of any false ideas such as “He can’t love me because of what I have done”, etc. He won’t necessarily answer in a way we desire, but believing that He will do so according to His will and timing is an important choice to make daily in order to build and sustain faith.

    I too agree that faith can be a gift, but I think that part of receiving that gift is having a desire to have it and to share it. I have met some that seem to have been blessed with faith all of their life and even in times of great trial they maintain it. I have noticed from the people I know who seem to have this gift though that they have a positive self perception and also a strong belief that God loves them and is forgiving and merciful. I really think how we view ourselves and how we view God (punitive or harsh compared to loving, merciful, forgiving) greatly influences our belief system and our ability to have faith. As I have thought more about it, this is what I mean when I say it is a choice. It is a choice to choose to change the way we think about ourselves and the nature of God if we struggle with that. And it is a choice to focus on the true nature of God and believe that He does love us and and will answer our prayers. I really think that sometimes we are a big cause of the pain we suffer and it has to do with how we perceive things. It is not that our pain isn’t valid, it just isn’t necessarily necessary or useful and it could be avoidable if we changed our mindset.

  56. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    By the way…Merry Christmas to you and yours~!

  57. December 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Merry Christmas to you too!

    Thanks for the follow-up. These are sticky issues because while we say “faith is personal” on one hand, we say “faith is a choice” on the other, which is, just by saying it, something we put on others. I admire your view, however, even if mine is somewhat different.

    “how we view ourselves and how we view God (punitive or harsh compared to loving, merciful, forgiving) greatly influences our belief system and our ability to have faith. As I have thought more about it, this is what I mean when I say it is a choice.”

    I think I get you on this, although we probably disagree somewhat on how much choice people actually have in terms of how they view themselves and God. I would guess that you view people as having more choice in this matter than I do. That being said, as I said to Jeff earlier, I do think that many of our daily choices influence us, oftentimes in ways we cannot foresee.

    I suppose what I’m most comfortable with saying is “faith is a choice for Jen” and “faith was a gift to Adam, despite his choices” and “the loss of faith was not a choice for Adam’s friend.” I’m okay with that. If my friend claims to have lost his faith despite all his efforts to the contrary, I believe him, and I believe that God is aware of that, and for whatever reason, did not answer him right now. Beyond that is speculation. I also think that while much of this issue has been simplified down in order to be discussable, just like the causes of divorce it is much more complex.

    Have a nice Christmas evening! :)

  58. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    You’re right the issues are sticky. I am dealing with a teen who right now is saying that she has tried for several years to make things work with God, but it just isn’t working out for her. The problem is I know her very well and she likes to take the easy road on everything she does. She will do as little as possible to get the biggest reward and doesn’t like to put much effort into anything without a lot of coaching and prodding. She believes and asserts though that she is doing her very best even though I know she is capable of much more, she just isn’t interested in making the effort. This teen comes from another home where problems were prevelant and has faulty ideas about God and herself. I believe this is a substantial reason why she is struggling so much with these other issues. Anyway, it is Christmas and who blogs on Christmas!?! I’m just waiting for the pie to be done! haha :)

    Take care.

  59. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Ok…you keep adding to your comment! That’s not fair! :)

  60. December 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Hahaha, really. Well, DW and I ARE about to watch some West Wing. :) Holiday seasons are pretty much the only time for me to blog nowadays.

    Sorry about the comment additions, I’m just never content, and I probably abuse the comment-editing. :P

    I can see where you’re coming from with the teen you speak of. That makes sense to me.

    Now go eat some pie! I already had like 5 slices today, on top of two dinners…

  61. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    “I would guess that you view people as having more choice in this matter than I do.”

    Not necessarily. I am thinking of people who are adults and who have been taught truth about the nature of God and the fact that they are a child of God. Also, even with those truths being taught, if they come from a challenging backgroud, it can be difficult to overcome. I think once we have been taught the nature of who we are (a child of God), we have to take some accountablity for choosing to believe that. I realize that it depends on where we are at in life, our age and maturity, etc. too and you are right when you say it is much more complex and we are just simplifying it for discussion.

    For me, there is a balance between taking accountability for our thoughts and behaviors and the influences on us that we don’t necessarily even recognize. I like to believe that as humans we are capable of changing our thought patterns and our lives for the better if we set our minds to it and faith is a part of this.

  62. Jen
    December 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Ok…pie’s ready! Enjoy West Wing with DW and thanks for the discussion!

    I just wrote another comment before this so just ignore it.

    Oh…you might want to get some help with that comment-editing abuse problem too. :)

    Good night!

  63. December 25, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Gotcha… but “thought patterns?” I’m not learning Cognitive Therapy until next semester, lol. Talk to me again in a few months and I’m sure we’ll be on the same page. :)

    You have made me think more about this “choosing to believe” idea. While I obviously can’t put that on other people, I will consider it for myself… perhaps I have indeed “chosen” to believe without realizing it. We’ll see…

  64. December 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Okay, really, good night. :)

  65. prairie chuck
    December 26, 2009 at 12:06 am

    #40 Unfortunately I do know of two marriages where the wife divorced because her husband was inactive. Now there were other problems in the marriage—-on both spouse’s part—-but none of them really big problems. But his inactivity was the only explanation she gave members for their difficulties. In one case, she packed up and left with her two boys with no warning while he was at work. I had been her VT and was encouraging her to stay in the marriage, so I was surprised when she did this. But I was shocked to hear that she had several members encouraging her to leave the beast (that’s how they characterized him) and they supported her 100% when she left w/o warning (refused to tell him where she was when he was frantically trying to find her.) They were members of bishopric, RS Pres, one was a marriage counselor. When I challenged their reasoning, to a man/woman they all said the same thing: leaving the church was a valid reason for divorce.

    My husband left the church 20+ yrs ago. While church leaders do not advocate giving an ultimatum, there is an underlying mistrust–almost a hostility–of the disaffected. Church members and leaders give very little support for the believing spouse—at least the kind of support that strengthens the marriage. There’s lots of pity and lots of sympathy but no support to stay in the marriage. Members are saddened by a loss of testimony and think of the believing spouse as a martyr. They tend to help keep the believing spouse in the “grieving stage” and it’s difficult to move through all the other emotions towards acceptance. We aren’t given the tools we need to make a mixed-faith marriage work. All the lessons in RS/PH etc are geared for the ideal LDS marriage—in the temple and both spouses active. All the lessons on “strengthening the inactive” “when a child strays” “why people leave the church” are often just more salt in the wounds. The inactive is painted as sinful, rebellious or proud, a hopeless case of apostasy and all that’s left for us is to pray for them. So the believing spouse is left pretty much on his/her own trying to figure out how to navigate all the issues that arise when a spouse is disaffected.

    When I finally did find my way not only to acceptance but also to realize that I still am married to a wonderful man and we have a happy marriage, members were horrified. How could I be happy being married to an apostate? How could I think he was a great husband when he was…apostate?!?

    #30 Actually Joseph F. Smith said that very thing. I’ve attended a marriage class and firesides where that quote was given. I think it’s an awful quote. It gives members reason for not supporting the marriage—-why worry what happens to this marriage when something better is waiting for you in the next life. And it tells both husband and wife “all the work you’re putting into your marriage, all the love, patience and sacrifice you’re investing in each other really doesn’t matter because in the next life it’s all over and s/he gets someone better.”

    No, church leaders may not advocate leaving a disaffected spouse but there is, at best, benign neglect, at worst, an intolerance for such marriages.

  66. Goose
    December 26, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Something suspiciously missing from that DeseretNews article is the role played by her local leaders especially her Bishop.

    Susan Powell seems to have been an active member by all accounts. I’m sure that in cases like this, one of the first person a woman turns to is her Bishop. And I’m sure, 99% sure , that her Bishop would have counseled her to stay and not divorce.

    So maybe the question we should be asking here is whether a Bishop is right and inspired to ALWAYS recommend staying in a marriage that is clearly falling apart, especially in these ‘Temple marriages’. Maybe the ‘get active or I’ll leave’ is actually a secondary question, not the main question or problem.

    A more recent article does show that the marriage was in deep trouble during 2008 and she considered leaving back then:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705353467/Friends-turn-over-e-mails-sent-by-Susan-Powell.html

    Today she probably wished she had divorced him last year.

  67. December 26, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I agree with Goose that the role played by her local leaders is missing. What is a woman married to an abusive man doing going to an LDS Family Services Marital Counselor when there is obviously psychological problems not marital problems? A professional counselor should have picked up on the personality disorder issues and sent them individually to someone that was licensed to treat the psych problems. Susan would have never been “missing” if this would have happened. I’m wondering what the ethical and professional liability is for the LDS Family Services marital counselor that was in way over their head but continue to put band-aids on a serious psychological disorder they have no expertise in treating…

  68. N.
    December 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    For the fire:

    What if my spouse once thought I was smart, but now thinks I’m ignorant.
    What if my spouse once thought I was savvy, but now thinks I’m gullible.
    What if my spouse once thought I was lucid, but now thinks I have psychotic episodes or hallucinations.
    What if my spouse once thought I was dedicated to a greater cause, and now thinks I’m wasting all my time and energy.
    What if my spouse once thought my family and friends were kind, but now thinks we’re hypocrites.
    What if me and my spouse “signed on” to live a certain way of life, and my spouse now unilaterally changes it and/or works against what my life’s work and dedication is?

    Why would I have to stay married to that person just to satisfy the likes of people who think I ought to be “more tolerant and understanding t a time when my spouse ‘needs it most’” and claim to know what God “would really want” for the marriage? Why would I have to stay married to satisfy thee sneering condescension of Ms. Meyers (“your precious ‘eternal’ temple marriage”)?

    In short, why would I *have* to live with someone who at some level is opposed to what I am (and what my children are), and what I wish to be (and what my children wish to be), and how I (and my children) want to live *solely* based on the fact that my spouse *used to* be united with me and supportive of me?

    It seems from many of the comments here that my spouse can say “I’m miserable because I’m living a lie, so I quit the church to be less miserable. *You* on the other hand, need to be miserable now and stick with me because *you* should be 100% supportive of me.”

    Saying that someone is “a good husband and good father otherwise” is A) impossible to determine objectively, especially from the outside, and B) entirely missing the point. Part of being a “good spouse” *is* being united, IMO.

  69. December 27, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    N. – It seems like your spouse hasn’t just “lost the faith” but that there are many related marital problems. One spouse viewing the other as a gullible, ignorant, psychotic, time-wasting hypocrite seems pretty toxic, and who could blame someone if they left a relationship like that, or even just wanted it to change. No one should have to be “100% supportive” of attitudes or speech like that.

  70. Goose
    December 28, 2009 at 5:08 am

    It seems from many of the comments here that my spouse can say “I’m miserable because I’m living a lie, so I quit the church to be less miserable. *You* on the other hand, need to be miserable now and stick with me because *you* should be 100% supportive of me.”

    Well said N.

    I couldn’t agree more. If one is miserable in a marriage, staying married to become more miserable isn’t the answer.

  71. BG
    January 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Look, BATMAN! You can have any reason you want to divorce!! People divorce over smaller issues than this. The point is – Is murdered justified over the threat or follow through of divorce!!! What….he loved her or the kids too much to walk away so he killed her?? C’mon! STICK TO THE ISSUE HERE, WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE TO PICK APART A CHURCH- BE IT CATHOLIC, BAPTIST OR MORMON – MURDER IS THE ISSUE AND MURDER IS ALWAYS WRONG – NOT DIVORCE!!

  72. January 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    To me, there is one thing that was noticeably absent from this discussion. Is there any concern when a church that professes to be based on a gospel of unconditional love promotes an agenda based on conditional love? I will only love you if… fill in the blank. Both sides should read the definition of the gospel of christ found in 3 Nephi chapter 11, we are to become as a little child; anything more or less than this is not acceptable.

    Any time we let someone else determine if we are happy, we are allowing ourselves to be acted upon. Not what King Benjamin recommends.

  73. January 8, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Read the book called “Suddenly Strangers” which deals with LDS apostasy.

  74. just curious
    April 13, 2011 at 12:58 am

    You are taking is too extreme. Start simple. What reaction do people have when they receive a simple ultimatum. Like, don’t “Wear This, or I will not take you to ………. or even simpler, parents and children. Do ultimatums work? What is the typical behavior humans have when faced with an ultimatum? I would like to know the answer. I expect there will be several behaviors. I would like to know what they are.

  75. Watching
    August 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    I have a hunch there was a lot more going on behind the scenes in this family.  Obviously, the guy’s father is totally creepy too.  As far as your #3 point…  Hmmm, the church leadership seems to “condone” or turn a blind eye to many things that go on.  The church leadership needs to be consistent and make it known that the men should be stepping up to the plate in all areas (leadership, fathering, being a good husband, provider, etc.).  If this guy would have been doing what he was supposed to be doing, his wife would have felt compelled to issue an ultimatum (if she even did).

    Because of my job (work around labor/delivery at hospital), I have been seriously irritated by the actions of LDS men, as far as how they treat their wives and children.  Many of them expect their wife to look after all the kids even though she just gave birth!!!  One man even took the tray of food that was delivered to his wife because he was hungry and said she could wait (Excuse me?!!!).  Another guy was obviously extremely disappointed that his wife just delivered “great, another girl” and didn’t even touch or look at baby, he just sighed and went over to lay down on the couch.  His wife looked like she was ready to cry.  I could go on and on.  Anyway, totally uncool and totally speaks volumes to people. 

    • Wondering what
      August 27, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Where do you live?  In Utah?   I don’t think this guy’s behaviour is because he is LDS; it is because he is jerk, and jerks attend every church

  76. Faireday
    August 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    If he no longer had a temple recommend, the other possibility is that he had done something to lose it, and instead of working to straighten himeself out, he lapsed into inactivity.  It would be the same as a non-LDS wife saying “Give up the drinking, porno, seeing other women” and get your life back in order.

  77. LAMTX
    September 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    You are assuming the rest of the relationship was healthy.  Asking for his activity was most-likely an attempt to fix problems in the relationship that she attributed to his lost faith (like the commenter above stated.)  Giving someone your “bottom line” so you can lead a healthier, happier life is different than a forced control or ultimatum.  Coming from a temple marriage that turned abusive I can say that it is HARD to get REAL help for problems within the LDS church sometimes.  

  78. September 16, 2011 at 10:21 am

    You can lose your temple recommend from simply not paying 10% of your income to the church as tithing is required.

    An ultimatum like this is ridiculous and no doubt would have put pressure on him and could have added to whatever was going in his head to possibly take her life. Who knows what else was said between the two in private.

    I am amazed that in 2011 people are still stupid enough to buy into that nutty church. Maybe I should stick my head in a hat and conjure up a new cult where I’m the leader if people remain this stupid.

  79. facts
    September 18, 2011 at 12:11 am

    it is important to know your facts before stating things. This husband had issues and the father of the husband has issues. And the author of this site is letting things get out of hand. Are you LDS. If so you need to be more aware of what your saying and what others are posting

  80. facts
    September 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

    And I also would like to agree with the comment from wondering what. If your blaming the husband’s nuttiness on the fact that he is mormon. once again people need to get their facts straight. He was a non-active. Which means for sure his nuttiness didn’t come from the mormon church

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