153–154: Integrity with Self and Family: Parents on Sharing Their Faith Transitions with Their Children

February 14, 2013
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This episode continues a series of conversations about parents and children communicating about changes in faith perspectives. Episode 146 featured faithful, committed Latter-day Saint parents whose children shared with them their movement away from their earlier firm beliefs in Mormon truth claims. This current episode also features LDS parents, this time, however, the parents are the ones undergoing a faith transition and are wrestling with (or have already) how much of that change to share with their faithful, committed Mormon children. The three parents featured here—Carey, Jeff, and Gail—have each approached these questions differently. We learn about their own faith journeys, their stories of sharing or not sharing with their believing children, how they approach(ed) these conversations, if their fears were realized or if they received wonderful, affirming responses, as well as if and how would they go back and change things, if they would want to.

This conversation is just a starter, with many perspectives and experience types not represented. Please listen and share your experiences below, or please contact host Dan Wotherspoon (see address below) about possibly being on a future episode. We are also currently looking for grown children who are still faithful Mormons to share their experiences of being on the receiving end of a conversation in which a parent has shared about their transitioning away from traditional LDS belief.  

Note: This episode uses just first names (and one is a pseudonym) in order to  add a layer of protection from web searches. However, all the panelists welcome anyone reaching out to engage them privately. If you’d like to get in touch directly with any of the participants, please contact Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon. He will put you in touch with them.

Email Dan at mormonmatters@gmail.com.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.fauver Michelle Fauver

    Great Podcast!

  • Lisa

    This was a beautiful conversation. Thank you to each of the panelists for sharing your experiences, and thank you to all four of you for demonstrating how to respectfully discuss these very personal issues with each other.

  • Jeralee

    Just finished listening for the second time, first time through I had a few distractions, so I wanted to have a second uninterrupted listen, and it was well worth every minute. Can’t say enough about how great I think it is that you Dan are bringing these difficult conversations to light for all of our benefit! I know Jeff well, and his story but I truly found so much depth in what he shared here, it was very important for me and very touching since I know & love all involved in his story.

    I also very much appreciated, and found great value in the experiences & feelings that Carey shared, and found that in contemplating I share many of those same fears about some things. Thank you all for opening your hearts & stories. I know this will be helpful to many people who may have similar experiences in their lives!
    It’s great to have 3 different stories & experiences as each of us has a unique faith journey process, something here for everyone who has experienced this I think.
    Jeff, love your big heart, and your wisdom!

    Dan W., my friend, YOU ROCK!

  • Steve In Millcreek

    I am thinking about Expectations. The current expectation is that temple attendance should be continuous and unbroken throughout life, and that no one should face issues expressed by Gail and others in this podcast.

    Consider a new paradigm. Everyone faces periods of temple non-attendance, and members of the larger community fill roles that are now expected by immediate family only. Consider a paradigm where full-time missionaries baptize children of members (breaking expectation that the fathers must do it, and giving proselyting missionaries a baptizing event). Consider a paradigm where all respectful family and friends may witness a temple wedding (giving opportunity for outsiders to partially participate in a temple experience, removing current outsider stigma.)

    These are ways to turn current problem situations into opportunities.

  • Danielle

    Great podcast. I also loved the recent podcast on kids in a faith crisis. It was really helpful to hear differing perspectives and advice on how to speak openly and lovingly about faith differences amongst family. I appreciated specific examples of those respectful, although sometimes uncomfortable, conversations.

  • Nonny

    Dan and panelists, thank you for telling these stories. I listen to all the MM podcasts for the growth opportunities it provides, because frankly, many of the topics are way over my head. But this touched me right where I am in the here and now. I am glad to hear the different perspectives and challenges of people who are still in the struggle, rather than looking back from the conclusion.

  • Eliza

    The participants in this conversation were amazing. I wish you would do an episode with people with young children. It’s easier for me to “get into the story” at church but much harder for me to decide how I’m going to teach my own children the gospel while being a non-literal believer. I wouldn’t wish the pain my faith struggles have caused me on anyone but I’ve decided to stay for a lot of reasons.

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  • Donna

    Thanks Dan and all the participants. Jeff’s story especially resonated with me, and I related well to many of his experiences. I also would love to hear a panel discussing the ways they’ve shared their faith transitions with their younger children. My oldest is 10 and my “temporary” faith crisis has led to a major disconnect in where I started as a parent, and where I am now. It’s hard to be both in the middle of parenting and in the middle of reevaluating your beliefs.

  • Namely71

    Great podcast – makes me want to share my story to get some advice.
    Any additional resources for those looking for input on their specific situation?
    A random post in some group in FB or some post/nom/ex board with all my issues/questions might be the answer (I would try the venerables but my girls are 7 and 10 and mostly live with their mom).

    • Dan Wotherspoon

      Are you already a member of a group you feel comfortable sharing with? If not, I’d seek one out. What are you looking for in terms of input? From those who are committed to staying within LDS community, those outside of it, etc? If you can give more information on your specific situation and the basic orientation of the respondents you seek to hear from, we can better help you pick a group. But we’re also happy to have you share here. Smaller group, but at least we know you’ve listened to this episode and perhaps that can provide a nice touchstone for when folks respond here.

      Best!

      Dan

  • Heather Gallegos

    Gail is a close friend & role model for me. I loved & admired her when I believed she was a staunchly good Mormon mom as I was trying to be a good Mormon girl & was dating her son. I loved & admired her even more when I, myself, was disenchanted & left the church & found that she had as well. She has been a comfort & example to me for 15 of my 30 years!!!!!

  • Tony

    Thoroughly interesting. I think their experiences are close to mine, as far as doubting some of the truth claims. I have struggled with it for almost 10 years and have felt very alone at times. But I have yet to find a group of questioning members online that I can identify with. I really appreciate the panel sharing their experiences. Thank you.