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Author Topic: Confused and Inconstant Catechumen  (Read 2450 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 09, 2011, 02:38:49 PM »

Hello everyone.  I'll just come out and say it.  I vacillate and I'm inconstant in my faith and commitment to Orthodoxy.  I'm not a very good catechumen.  I keep approaching Orthodoxy, then I withdraw.  I long to attend Divine Liturgy, I read Orthodox books, I study my Orthodox bible, I go through times when all I think about is Orthodoxy, how beautiful it is, how I long to be chrismated.  Then, not five minutes later, I think about my situation and I feel myself giving up.  What's the point, I think?  Why bother?  The problem is that I'm on this journey alone.  My family is not on this road with me and I have no faith that my wife will ever join me.  This is very depressing.  I can't stand the idea of being apart from my wife and sons as I practice my Orthodox faith.  They are mormons, the faith I was raised with.  They are fully immersed in a church community and love it.  I got this fantastic job in Germany and my family will join me in one month, but my wife asked me to pave the way and get them all set up in the mormon community here.  I completely understand why she wants this.  She's leaving the US to live in a foreign country, giving up her job.  My new job pays as much as we made together in the States and we're in Europe, so she's excited about the big change and on board with it.  But when I'm at work and the boys start school, she will be completely alone and isolated unless she has an instant social network in place to provide support.  I completely understand that need.  As well, my boys are progressing within mormonism and consider us to be a mormon family.  They don't know I'm an Orthodox catechumen.  My wife asked me to keep that from them for fear of confusing them.  It kills me, but I've done as she's asked.  Even so, I know they suspect.  But suspecting and actually knowing are two different things.  At times, I can see the looks on my boys' faces and hear the confusion they're already experiencing when they ask "dad, why don't you participate in church?  why do you not attend meetings with the other dads?"  Or, even worse, "dad, why wouldn't you baptize me?  the other dads baptized their sons; are you going to ordain me to the priesthood when I'm twelve like the other dads ordain their sons?"  What do I say to that?  It just about kills me.  My boys also love scouting.  It's undeniable that the mormon church has a fantastic scouting program.  They're looking forward to being scouts in the mormon congregation here in Germany.  With all of this on my mind, I don't know if I'm strong enough to keep this double existence up anymore.  I have one foot in the mormon world, a world I desperately want to escape once and for all, and the other foot in Orthodoxy, which I know in my heart to be true.  I think it comes down to my inability to deal with my wife's and sons' disappointments that I'm not a gung ho mormon like they are.  Don't get me wrong; my wife isn't devout, not by a long shot.  But she's been mormon all of her life, and couldn't care less about theology or doctrine or Christian origins.   To her, all that matters is whether a faith community produces good people and is a good place for kids.  In that regard, it's indisputable.  Mormons take care of each other and mormon kids tend to be among the most upstanding anywhere.  How can I fight against that when those are the only things my wife cares about?  The things that drive me are theology, historical truth, and alignment of my faith with the available evidence.  That's why I'm now Orthodox.  It all seems so intractable.  I love my wife and sons so much.  All they want is a husband and dad who goes to church with them and is mormon just like them.  But I can't give that to them.  I'm Orthodox.  My boys are young (9 and 12); they don't, can't understand at this point.  My wife doesn't get it either.  She can't understand why I care so much about the early church fathers, about the historical ties between Christian liturgy and the Jewish temple, about who Jesus claimed to be, about who he really is.  She fears that if she shifts courses and explores Orthodoxy with me that our boys will get confused and that will cause problems when they're teens.  She says "you don't jump ship midstream.  Bad things will happen."   She's even said "I'm afraid if I take the boys out of church something bad will happen to them."  All of this is a huge weight on my mind.  One minute I'm Orthodox and the next minute my spiritual separation from my wife and sons hits me and I feel like I'm letting them down, disappointing them, when all they want from me is for me to want to be with them.   For those who don't know mormonism, it's not enough to just attend and sit there, listening to the sermons.  Mormon dads are all priesthood bearers.  They lead, they teach, and they bless their families.  They sit with their families during church and take the sacrament with them.  They give talks in church.  They baptize their children and ordain their sons.  I stick out like a sore thumb in church.  I'm the only dad with an active family in the church not giving talks in church, not blessing his wife and sons and my boys know it.  They ask me why I don't do those things and I have no answer for them.  It shames me even though I know mormonism is an invention.  So, I'm inconstant and faithless as a catechumen.  I don't know what to do.  Continuing my Orthodox journey is my heart's deepest desire, but it will take me away from where my family is going.  I don't know if I can do that.  It's so hard.

Andrew
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 02:54:29 PM »

Andrew,

I've studied Mormonism fairly extensively, mostly out of pure interest, but also because I know many Mormons closely; they tend, somehow, to be very good, very kind people. I completely understand and recognize that there are many wonderful family/community elements in the LDS church, and that this is even more compelling when your family is involved in it. I also know that for me, as someone who does not recognize the truth of Mormon doctrine, their strength lies in their creating these environments, these super social clubs. It is their way of attracting members, and while it has some great pluses to it, it has nothing to do with what is the truth. I trust that as a searcher, and one who desires Christ, the truth is what you are really after.

Also, for what it's worth, I have some limited experience with having family issues over faith. For starters, when I first became a Christian, I dealt with, and still deal with a lot of flak from a very secular, very liberal, NE American elite family. Some of my relatives, including my father, have open hatred for any form of religion, particularly Christianity. Beyond this, as I am now leaving my original church, the RC church, which I have been in for 9 years, for the Orthodox Church, I am causing a lot of heartache and compromise in my relationship with perhaps my closest friend, my RC confirmation sponsor, who is something like a surrogate father to me, and with his family, who are like my own. I struggled with this for a while, and for a time it left me almost faithless, not attending any church out of sheer confusion for almost 2 months. What I did was stopped thinking very hard about it, and quietly praying, asking God to lead me. I found that the truth, for me, lay in Orthodoxy, and I calmly yielded. This is where I am now, and what do you know? Things are working out well with my friend and I. At the end of the day I have to go where I believe there to be truth, and where I believe God is.

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 11:55:15 PM »

You and I have a lot in common.  I am a fellow Catechumen, and have no Orthodox in my family, either (and even very few committed Christians).  I too am walking down the road of the inquirer alone.  I have also taken several years down this road of being and inquirer, and then Catechumen, albeit for different reasons (my reasons relate more to horrible struggles with horrible sins). And I also have some experience with Mormonism, as I grew up in a very "Mormon" part of the US and very nearly became Mormon myself several years back.  Everything you say about the immersive nature of the LDS church is correct: it's far more than just a weekly Sunday morning sacrament meeting.  It's an entire culture and instant social organization.   

In my case, I first wandered into an Orthodox church in November of 2007, and got a burning desire to join.  I was enthused for a time, fall away, lapsed into sin, came back, lapsed again.  Etc.  I finally came back for good last April, was made a formal Catechumen last November, and God willing, will be Chrismated this coming Sunday, the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

Maybe you will benefit from my story.  After one of my very first Liturgies, in the fall of 2007, I was in the church basement for our parish's after-church social.  An older man in a beard notice that I was new, pulled me aside, and started talking to me.  He was with another older man, also in a beard.  This second older man, upon learning that I had just begun attending, fixed a piercing stare upon me.  He then spoke to me in a commanding tone that, to this day, nobody has ever used with me: "This is the truth faithNever forget that.  I've seen everything else.  This faith is the true faith."  Now, since that day I've read much of the writings of the Fathers, and much Scripture, lives of the Saints, and all manner of other holy books.  I've gone through Catechumen classes, sang in the choir, made pilgrimage to a Monastery, and had several one-on-one counseling and teaching sessions with my parish priest.  But those words I heard from that complete stranger, way back in 2007, despite all the lapsing, haunted me, and kept dragging me back, until I'm finally here now, out of my sin (since June of 2009, glory to God!), back to the church, and here to stay.   

You, like me, have found the true faith.  The Holy Spirit has led you to where you find yourself right now, and He will give you the faith and courage to continue, notwithstanding any difficulty--if you ask Him.  But the choice remains yours.  Unfortunately I can't give you an easy answer.  You are correct that your decision may lead to strife and difficulty -- after all, Christ promised us that His followers would experience family difficulties (read Luke 12:49-53).  You are getting a sense of what it truly means to be willing to risk anything to follow Christ.  But the purest love you could show for your family is to wish to join them in God's Kingdom.  And while their salvation is primarily within their control, the best thing you can to do help them on their path is to pray for them, and to become the brightest Icon of Christ you can become.   

One of the most wonderful things about Orthodoxy, and one of the things it has in common with Mormonism, is that in Orthodoxy, we are not saved alone.  We are in this together, and we are all our brothers' keepers.  Be assured that you have the countless Saints and angels in heaven, and the Most Holy Panagia herself, praying fervently for both you and your family right now.  Join them.  Speak to an Orthodox priest about your concerns if you have not yet done so.  And pray.  Pray for courage, patience, and humility, and for the conversion of your family.  Pray for direction down the correct path. Pray for faith: "Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!  (Mark 9:24).  Learn the story of St. Monica if you have not already done so - she spent years in prayer and tears for her unbelieving husband Patritius and her philandering son Augustine.  Both eventually discovered Christ through the example of her patience, virtue, and humility, and Augustine himself even went on to become a Saint of the church himself.

I will pray for you, as well - please pray for me.

Jason
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 01:02:52 AM »

Perhaps you could try to explain to your wife why the truth matters?
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 01:27:22 AM »

Wow your story just about brought me to tears. Your heartache is palpable and I feel for you brother. I don't think I have any good words to offer, I'm so far from having a family/kids and knowing that pain, but my prayers I will offer of course. My family has basically turned its back on me regarding the issue; my father and brother ask me not to speak to them about it. It is very painful and I feel for you. I hope you choose to be forthcoming with your wife and children though. Yes it may be dangerous but there is always an excuse not to act. I feel bad saying these words but we must hate even our family in comparison to Christ. If you choose right your reward will be with God and His grace will abound with you.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 02:53:27 AM »

Oh, there are elements of the above in my life!  I had to ask myself what my hold up is and still is. And that is not the right question. I t should be WHO is the hold up for me, and it's only myself.
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 03:23:06 AM »

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 03:25:23 AM »

I have to ask something. I understand that she feels that changing your children's belief would confuse them while growing up and in fact might decide one day to give up religion because nobody really knows the truth, it's all relative. That is a consequence, however that is not your decision, your kids decided that. Would it be wise to continue raising your children into something that is false rather than raising them in the truth?

Who's to say Orthodox parishes don't have that sort of sociable community that Mormons do?

I hate to point your wife out on this, but she is this archetype that I can't stand to have discussions with regarding Christianity. You know it's all about "Well this place makes me feel good and/or he teaches a really good sermon that fits my wants/politics", how infantile is that? So what worshiping Satan would be permissible, because let's face it that assembly makes me feel good and its a good place to raise my children.

Why are people afraid to challenge themselves, or come to a presumption that they could be wrong? Does this stem from pride? My current conversion into Orthodoxy wasn't at first glance "Oh this is the truth!", they make a bold claim they are the original Church of Christ...so what accept it because they make the claim? No, I'm going to look into the claim and see how much validity it holds. It's precisely why Mormonism practically bans any sort of intellectualism in their church, because asking too many questions will eventually expose the falsehood.

Take my following opinion with a grain of salt, but if I was to give excellent evidence on why Orthodoxy is the truth and why Mormonism is false to my wife and she still objects to the change, well is that grounds for a divorce? Didn't Christ say you can't be my disciple unless you hate your father, mother, sister brother, and well we could put the wife in that. Who's more important Christ or your wife?

But again take it with a grain of salt because the situation is immensely complicated and I am not even at the liberty to suggest such a thing.

Please do keep us updated on the situation and you will be in my unworthy prayers

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 05:10:50 AM »

Thanks all for the advice and prayers.  What I'm up against really is mormonism's "super social club" atmosphere.  Discussing theology and history with my wife is challenging as we approach religion so differently.  She is exclusively pragmatic, even anti-intellectual in her approach.  She's never read the Bible or even the Book or Mormon, or had any interest in church history, so discussing the things that excite me absolutely bore and annoy her.  The same goes for new findings on kids and health she reads about in magazines or hears about on tv and wants to share.  My first impulse is to ask "what kind of study did they conduct? what was the sample size?  what methods were employed?  who conducted the research?"  Whenever I go down that path (which, in my mind, is the ONLY way to be), she really gets annoyed.  I'm a quantitative researcher by training and profession.  It's my job and natural inclination to second guess findings, query them from multiple angles, explore alternatives, and make sure research was conducted appropriately before I give any new claim the time of day.  Sometimes I have to restrain myself.  I know I can be a pain when all my wife wants to do is share something with her husband that she found interesting.  Our relationship is good though in every other area, we just approach things differently.  But when it comes to my faith, my decision to be Orthodox resulted from how I approach things and that has caused a lot of strain.  My wife's pragmatic, "if it feels good then it is good" approach works for her just fine, but similar to what some of you have expressed, I also think it's wrong and am very critical of it.  We just live on different planets when it comes to matters of faith.  

So, thinking about it some more (what exactly is my problem???  what's the hold up?), it's exactly like Mersch said.  I'm the only one holding me up.  I'm torn.  My wife loves her community, it makes her happy.  She is content.  When I imagine my wife leaving mormonism to come with me, my imagination kicks into gear and I see in my mind how unhappy she is, how much she misses her mormon friends and community, how her relationship with her mom and family is now strained, and I begin feeling very guilty for taking her away from that.  I know that our relationship is paramount, but it's still tough to know that taking steps to increase our spiritual unity in marriage might cause her emotional pain and turmoil.  It's like a catch-22.  Right now, she's happy where she is spiritually and I'm not.  If she joins me in Orthodoxy, I really do believe deep down that I will be much happier but she will not be.  Whenever I think about that, I immediately feel pretty bad and think to myself "I can't do that to her.  I can't take her away from something that brings her peace."  At base, that's probably the root cause of all of this.  I want my wife to come with me to the Orthodox parish because she wants to, not to keep the peace or to make me happy or to please me.  I don't ever see that happening, as becoming Orthodox requires an interest in and comittment to Truth as something important in and of itself and she just doesn't care about any of that.  There is no truth for her except God is good and everyone (Christian or not) who is decent will make it out alright in the end, so what's the big deal?  So, in the end, even though I am Orthodox and love my faith, whenever I attend church alone I have this big gaping hole inside as I'm there alone, without my family, surrounded by Orthodox faithful attending with their families, while my wife and sons are away somewhere else surrounded by a supportive community that I've excluded myself from because the mormon church is not true.  It's a real conundrum.

Thanks again for the comments and prayers.  I have faith all of this will be sorted out in time.

Lord have mercy on me!

In Christ,
Andrew

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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2011, 10:29:08 AM »

Andrew - I can't fathom how difficult this must be for you and I hope you can benefit from the much better advice of others on this forum.   Many of us converts are in relationships that are to some extent strained by religious differences, however in your case I think most are offering you advice from a skewed perspective.   I don't think I'd be overstating that in most cases of "mixed" marriage, it is an Orthodox convert married to a Christian (of one denominational flavor or another).  You are not in the same boat - Mormonism for all its talk of Christ and God, is not a Christian religion, certainly not a Trinitarian religion.  You have taken such a radical step away from the flawed theology of Mormonism that you and your wife do not have any common ground left.  You have taken the serious path of finding out the truth and your wife is content with what feels good and familiar.   It seems most  people don't care what the truth is, as long as things don't change and they're happy.  Unless your wife is willing to entertain a long-term theological discussion and is open to considering another theological viewpoint than Mormonism, I don't see how you will reach a common ground to move forward.  Moving forward towards what though?  You've seen the "truth" about Mormonism so there's only one path and that's to traditional, "orthodox" Christianity.  I can't imagine someone who seems as thoughtful as you abandoning what you've learned to make peace in your family.  Truth is a hard thing to deny once you've felt it.   

I also know from experience what a complication kids bring to this situation, and can appreciate your desire to not upset or confuse them, but at some point you have to decide what's more important - peace on earth by shielding them from reality, the Truth and ultimately eternal life.  I did appreciate your evaluation of  the role of men in Mormonism, as spiritual leaders of their families.  But you cannot forget this - your kids are still looking to you to be their spiritual leader.  And, as they get older it will be harder and harder to hide your faith from them.  Either that or their brainwashing in Mormonism will be so hard to overcome that you may never reach them.    In the end  though it's not secret handshakes, passwords, or celestial marriage that's gonna get your kids to heaven, it's communion with the True God and Savior.  At some point you will have to make hard decisions and I don't think it will be easy or without a price, but how that plays out will be something only you can set in motion. 

Forgive me brother if I offend you or speak without knowledge.  Internet forums make us all spiritual fathers and marriage counselors.
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2011, 11:10:51 AM »

 I'm the only one holding me up.  I'm torn.  My wife loves her community, it makes her happy.  She is content.  When I imagine my wife leaving mormonism to come with me, my imagination kicks into gear and I see in my mind how unhappy she is, how much she misses her mormon friends and community, how her relationship with her mom and family is now strained, and I begin feeling very guilty for taking her away from that.  I know that our relationship is paramount, but it's still tough to know that taking steps to increase our spiritual unity in marriage might cause her emotional pain and turmoil.  It's like a catch-22.  Right now, she's happy where she is spiritually and I'm not.  If she joins me in Orthodoxy, I really do believe deep down that I will be much happier but she will not be.  Whenever I think about that, I immediately feel pretty bad and think to myself "I can't do that to her.  I can't take her away from something that brings her peace."  At base, that's probably the root cause of all of this.  I want my wife to come with me to the Orthodox parish because she wants to, not to keep the peace or to make me happy or to please me.  I don't ever see that happening, as becoming Orthodox requires an interest in and comittment to Truth as something important in and of itself and she just doesn't care about any of that.  There is no truth for her except God is good and everyone (Christian or not) who is decent will make it out alright in the end, so what's the big deal?  So, in the end, even though I am Orthodox and love my faith, whenever I attend church alone I have this big gaping hole inside as I'm there alone, without my family, surrounded by Orthodox faithful attending with their families, while my wife and sons are away somewhere else surrounded by a supportive community that I've excluded myself from because the mormon church is not true.  It's a real conundrum.

Have you tried telling her the above, and how you don't want to make her unhappy, but you are desperately unhappy with the situation as it is.
There are no easy answers or solutions, I'm thinking, and I do pray for you and feel for your dilemma.
But, depending on your sons ages, wouldn't honesty be the best policy about why you are not active in the mormon church?
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 06:11:27 PM »

 I'm the only one holding me up.  I'm torn.  My wife loves her community, it makes her happy.  She is content.  When I imagine my wife leaving mormonism to come with me, my imagination kicks into gear and I see in my mind how unhappy she is, how much she misses her mormon friends and community, how her relationship with her mom and family is now strained, and I begin feeling very guilty for taking her away from that.  I know that our relationship is paramount, but it's still tough to know that taking steps to increase our spiritual unity in marriage might cause her emotional pain and turmoil.  It's like a catch-22.  Right now, she's happy where she is spiritually and I'm not.  If she joins me in Orthodoxy, I really do believe deep down that I will be much happier but she will not be.  Whenever I think about that, I immediately feel pretty bad and think to myself "I can't do that to her.  I can't take her away from something that brings her peace."  At base, that's probably the root cause of all of this.  I want my wife to come with me to the Orthodox parish because she wants to, not to keep the peace or to make me happy or to please me.  I don't ever see that happening, as becoming Orthodox requires an interest in and comittment to Truth as something important in and of itself and she just doesn't care about any of that.  There is no truth for her except God is good and everyone (Christian or not) who is decent will make it out alright in the end, so what's the big deal?  So, in the end, even though I am Orthodox and love my faith, whenever I attend church alone I have this big gaping hole inside as I'm there alone, without my family, surrounded by Orthodox faithful attending with their families, while my wife and sons are away somewhere else surrounded by a supportive community that I've excluded myself from because the mormon church is not true.  It's a real conundrum.

Have you tried telling her the above, and how you don't want to make her unhappy, but you are desperately unhappy with the situation as it is.
There are no easy answers or solutions, I'm thinking, and I do pray for you and feel for your dilemma.
But, depending on your sons ages, wouldn't honesty be the best policy about why you are not active in the mormon church?
Seconded.
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 04:53:02 AM »

Yes, honesty is the best policy, but as my wife fears the unknown as regards our sons (reinforced by mormon teachings that raise the possibility of God's punishments for those who become apostates), she expressly requested that I keep my conversion to Orthodoxy to myself.  If I'm honest, it will really upset her and cause problems.  Again, it all comes down to her fears for our family.  She desperately wants to maintain the image of spiritual unity for the sake of our boys, including asking me to attend the LDS church with the family (which I'm willing to do) and keeping the fact that I'm no longer a mormon a secret from the local church authorities here in Germany (which I'm not willing to do).  Even if I wanted to lie to the mormons about my faith, it's impossible to keep that a secret for long as mormonism is characterized by lay ministry.  The moment we show up together for the first time as a family, we'll be invited to give talks in church, bear our testimonies of the church's truthfulness, be invited to accept church callings, etc.  Even if I was willing to go along with my wife's wish to keep it all hidden from her fellow mormons, a sequence of "no bishop, I'd rather not give a talk in church; I don't feel I can accept a calling at this time" inevitably leads to questions of "why not?  what's going on?  let's talk about this."  I told my wife it's inevitable, they'll find out anyway, but she really thinks I can get by with continuing to say "I'd rather not talk about it right now, bishop" or "I'd rather not at this time" and put him off, and have that be my policy on a permanent basis.  Believe me, the moment an invitation to speak in church or accept a calling is offered then turned down, that's an instant red flag for local church leaders and the effort to find out why begins.  I know this because I used to be a local church leader.  In the end, I think from my wife's point of view she feels she has to choose between protecting our sons and supporting me and those options are mutually exclusive.  I know it's hard on her.  I personally don't think it's that stark in reality and know things will work out for my family, but I'm facing a very upset wife in the short to medium term if I opt for honesty.  She flat out told me she might change her mind and not come to Germany after all if the stress we experienced over religion in the States emerges over here.  I don't want to make it sound like it's all on her.  It's not.  The stress gets to me too and I can be a real bear and I know that's what she's thinking of with that comment.  At times, I behaved quite badly.  Of course, once she and the boys arrive it will be too late - they'll be here and we're going to have to make the mormon/Orthodox reality work.  I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, anyway.  I'm basing all of this on how it has been for the past few years, surrounded by mormon friends and family.  It may all work out.  With an ocean between her mormon family/friends and us, she may suddenly feel a lot freer to explore Orthodoxy with me.  Time will tell.  That certainly is my hope, and wonder whether what's really going on is the pressure she feels from mormon family and friends and her desire to completely avoid a hint of controversy or disapproval.  As JimCBrooklyn pointed out, very astutely, mormonism is really a network of super social clubs covered by a thin layer of Jesus and gospel (and weird theology).  Once my family leaves the States next month, they'll leave that culture behind for a time, at least until they're picked up by the super social club here in Heidelberg.  There's a narrow window there where I might be able to convince my wife to think about things a different way.  I know that, ultimately, it's on me to be a good Christian husband and father, patient and filled with love and kindness.  

Lord, have mercy!

Andrew
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2011, 06:01:34 AM »

I think you have absolutely the right idea about letting sleeping dogs lie until they arrive; something like a 3,000 mile separation can certainly compound stresses and fears.

It sounds like you have a pretty good approach to all this. The only input that I will unworthily add is that I think doing anything like "pretending to still be a mormon" is treading on dangerous spiritual turf, no matter what ends may be involved.

May God have mercy on all of you on your journey!
In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2011, 09:34:54 AM »

The only input that I will unworthily add is that I think doing anything like "pretending to still be a mormon" is treading on dangerous spiritual turf, no matter what ends may be involved.

And you're lying to everyone, including yourself. Despite the circumstances, do you want to hide your faith? How long will that last? How long before your conscience bothers you too much?
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2011, 11:15:48 AM »

Hello Azurestone, to date all of the mormon church leaders in my wife's church know I'm Orthodox.  The question is what I tell my sons and, you're right, keeping it from them - hiding my faith from my children - is killing me.  I've done it thus far at my wife's request to keep the peace.  The other matter is whether I change gears and keep my Orthdox faith under wraps here in Germany.  That would be new for me and I know it's wrong.  I've been there before.  I pretended I was mormon for a very long time before I actually left the church formally and became Orthodox.  As you and JimCBrooklyn surmised, it was very spiritually and emotionally damaging.  In fact, the damage I was doing to myself was characterized by internalization followed by periodic bouts of violent anger.  After one particularly bad episode, I told my wife that it was time for me to stop, take steps to heal myself, and acknowledge my spiritual needs and the direction God was pulling me - for my own sake and for the sake of our family.  This was back in 2006, when I began the journey that led me to become an Orthodox catechumen in early 2010.  Burying one's true beliefs and pretending to be something your not is dangerous, indeed.   I have no desire to return to that dark time and won't.  But I do need to resolve the issue of keeping things from my sons.  I'm still very troubled by the pressure I feel at home to continue doing that and fear that I will alienate my wife further if I don't.  Like I implied, though, I'm hoping with some distance from family and mormon friends in the States, that my wife will feel less influenced by fears of social problems and fears our boys will go "over the edge" when my Orthodox faith becomes public knowledge.  I do plan to sit down with her and gently lay all this out once they arrive in Germany next month.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2011, 12:06:03 PM »

I'm not even a catechumen yet, mainly because I've been traveling so much for work since I recently discovered Orthodoxy.  But I attend orthodox services and intend to become orthodox because I know they are the closest to the truth that I've seen so far.   The rest of my family is Baptist.  I'm not married.  

My advice:  You need to start standing up for what you believe, just like your wife is doing.  If that creates conflict, then her Mormon background has (hopefully and probably) taught her she is to submit to you.  Yes, the Scripture says "submit to one another."  However, that also means she should be submiting back to you as well in a give and take.  While you are to love her as best you can in good faith, only one person can ultimately make the decisions that run the family.  Right now, you're wife is doing it.  It probably is a good idea to let her and the kids settle down in Europe before putting your food down (in a kind, respectful manner of course).  But you have to stand up for your family man!  If that is going to annoy her, then pray for her... but you can't let her lead your family down the truth-equivalent of the toilet just so you don't have to deal with an annoyed wife.  That is the easy way out.

Yes, Mormons have good community.  That is great.  What isn't great is that your wife *only* cares about good community.  You, more wisely, care about community but also about the truth.  Yet you refuse to tell your children that you're exploring orthodox services because your wife thinks it would confuse the children.  In reality, you're hurting your children *very much* by keeping your thoughts from them.  They're already confused!!  They are asking you all the questions they ask because they're in the dark about your spiritual thoughts.  Open up to them!!  They want to know.  Shed some light on their confusion!

Tell them.  It will help them understand what is happening in your family and it will actually stabilize their thoughts and emotions.  She says you're family can't leave mormonism because "bad things will happen", but she's wrong.  Bad things will happen if you continue to keep your honest thoughts away from your children, to keep them from what you believe is the truth, simply because your wife doesn't want them to know your truth. Bad things would happen if you left spiritual community all together.  However, if you get infovled in other good Christian community GREAT things will happen.

Especially in Europe, you can have orthodoxy and christian community to your heart's content.  Explain this to your wife.  She doesn't need to be a "Truth junkie" to enjoy Orthodox or "unaffiliated" Christian communities.  Many are very open to everyone, even to unbelievers!  At least she believes in God.  Tell her that Christian Truth is as important to you as Christian Community, and that there are plenty of Christian groups you can get involved in, both in orthodoxy and outside of it.  If the Mormon church won't let you continue in their community programs unless you're Mormon, say goodbye to them and their unkind attitude; explain to your children how uncharitable that attitude is.  Then go find Christian community groups that are open and loving toward outsiders.... and become a part of that community.

Right now you're taking the easy way out and letting your wife make all the spiritual decisions for the children.  Stand up, be a man, and start making the decisions, finding the community for them (if she won't), and leading your family toward the truth as a father should, and as your Father is doing for you.

That is easy for me to say; I know it is much harder to do.  I pray for you.  Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2011, 12:56:44 PM »

The only input that I will unworthily add is that I think doing anything like "pretending to still be a mormon" is treading on dangerous spiritual turf, no matter what ends may be involved.

And you're lying to everyone, including yourself. Despite the circumstances, do you want to hide your faith? How long will that last? How long before your conscience bothers you too much?

a bit harsh...
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 06:34:13 PM »

Hi, I am in Germany. Which city are you going to live in? Have you already found an Orthodox parish here?
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2011, 07:38:55 PM »

Hello Azurestone, to date all of the mormon church leaders in my wife's church know I'm Orthodox.  The question is what I tell my sons and, you're right, keeping it from them - hiding my faith from my children - is killing me.  I've done it thus far at my wife's request to keep the peace.  The other matter is whether I change gears and keep my Orthdox faith under wraps here in Germany.  That would be new for me and I know it's wrong.  I've been there before.  I pretended I was mormon for a very long time before I actually left the church formally and became Orthodox.  As you and JimCBrooklyn surmised, it was very spiritually and emotionally damaging.  In fact, the damage I was doing to myself was characterized by internalization followed by periodic bouts of violent anger.  After one particularly bad episode, I told my wife that it was time for me to stop, take steps to heal myself, and acknowledge my spiritual needs and the direction God was pulling me - for my own sake and for the sake of our family.  This was back in 2006, when I began the journey that led me to become an Orthodox catechumen in early 2010.  Burying one's true beliefs and pretending to be something your not is dangerous, indeed.   I have no desire to return to that dark time and won't.  But I do need to resolve the issue of keeping things from my sons.  I'm still very troubled by the pressure I feel at home to continue doing that and fear that I will alienate my wife further if I don't.  Like I implied, though, I'm hoping with some distance from family and mormon friends in the States, that my wife will feel less influenced by fears of social problems and fears our boys will go "over the edge" when my Orthodox faith becomes public knowledge.  I do plan to sit down with her and gently lay all this out once they arrive in Germany next month.

In Christ,
Andrew

As an internet adVICE and from gathering the information your present and the manner in which you choose to present it, I'll present my opinions in your favor, because as a man and as a husband I understand and sympathize with you, and hopefully you'll take my internet bro-advice with some comfort and support.

That being said, you've made it clear that you have three major contributing factors to your situation. That is, (1) the honor and respect you owe and desire to your wife, (2) the obligation and respect to your children, and (3) the self-determined and pious desire to know and worship God.

Advice concerning your wife.
Women... Cheesy  But seriously,
You've dedicated time to study and prayer to find God, and it has led you to Orthodoxy. You are making honest theological and intellectual efforts. You've examined your wife's motivations being ultimately based on neither of these, as she has also made little effort in her faith. Her motivations appear to be material, while yours appear to be legitimate. She has also made demands, and you have attempted honored them.

Is she honoring you?

Your kids.
If this is the path you're going to take, you're going to need to make a decision. You believe this is the authentic truth on God and the nature of "everything that is". The intention to honor your wife's demand is going to come into increasing conflict with your desire to raise your children in what you believe to be true, authentic, and necessary. Being Orthodox and hiding the reality from your kids won't last. There will have to be understanding and compromise, no dancing around it.

Your faith.
You've got a duty to yourself and God to take control of your relationship with God. If you believe you've found it, you must grab hold. Ultimately, this is priority. GOD. Your wife must understand this. It is a marriage, and you are a man, and a mortal man at that. This isn't a rash decision. You've spent time and elbow grease.

Once this is established as your boundary, you can come to your other decisions as a couple together, because marriages work both ways. Unless you make boundaries, whatever you decide they are, you will have none. That's not to say to be a total (expletive), but you must be firm in where you are.
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« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2011, 07:43:11 PM »

The only input that I will unworthily add is that I think doing anything like "pretending to still be a mormon" is treading on dangerous spiritual turf, no matter what ends may be involved.

And you're lying to everyone, including yourself. Despite the circumstances, do you want to hide your faith? How long will that last? How long before your conscience bothers you too much?

a bit harsh...

Perhaps a little, but when these situations arise, by the time someone seeks external advice, emotions are high and confusion is abound. Coddling won't effect any serious moment in change. The individual wants real advice. Therefore, the advice is real, serious, and straight to the point with little sugarcoating. In short, this is the situation. Face it, and we'll go from there.
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« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2011, 07:47:15 PM »



As an internet adVICE and from gathering the information your present and the manner in which you choose to present it, I'll present my opinions in your favor, because as a man and as a husband I understand and sympathize with you, and hopefully you'll take my internet bro-advice with some comfort and support.

That being said, you've made it clear that you have three major contributing factors to your situation. That is, (1) the honor and respect you owe and desire to your wife, (2) the obligation and respect to your children, and (3) the self-determined and pious desire to know and worship God.

Advice concerning your wife.
Women... Cheesy  But seriously,
You've dedicated time to study and prayer to find God, and it has led you to Orthodoxy. You are making honest theological and intellectual efforts. You've examined your wife's motivations being ultimately based on neither of these, as she has also made little effort in her faith. Her motivations appear to be material, while yours appear to be legitimate. She has also made demands, and you have attempted honored them.

Is she honoring you?

Your kids.
If this is the path you're going to take, you're going to need to make a decision. You believe this is the authentic truth on God and the nature of "everything that is". The intention to honor your wife's demand is going to come into increasing conflict with your desire to raise your children in what you believe to be true, authentic, and necessary. Being Orthodox and hiding the reality from your kids won't last. There will have to be understanding and compromise, no dancing around it.

Your faith.
You've got a duty to yourself and God to take control of your relationship with God. If you believe you've found it, you must grab hold. Ultimately, this is priority. GOD. Your wife must understand this. It is a marriage, and you are a man, and a mortal man at that. This isn't a rash decision. You've spent time and elbow grease.

Once this is established as your boundary, you can come to your other decisions as a couple together, because marriages work both ways. Unless you make boundaries, whatever you decide they are, you will have none. That's not to say to be a total (expletive), but you must be firm in where you are.
In a word, word.

I particularly would echo the part about the children. I have 2 little ones myself, with another on the way, and I believe that my most important task as their father is to guide them as best as I can in what I believe to be God's truth. If I am compromising to any other factor in my fatherhood, I am falling short.

I love my wife, and course I wish to honor her, but one relationship that I would not allow her to step between is that between my God and I. We came from different churches, I from the RC church and she from Orthodoxy, and we respected eachother for that, though we both wished to find turth together some day. When she and I began to pray and discern together, we both became certain of the truth of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2011, 09:54:33 PM »

Dearest Andrew,

It looks like you could use a hug (((((((((Andrew))))))))).  Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. 

Sometimes He has more up His sleeve than what we can see, know, understand, fathom.  His ways are higher than ours.  He calls us to love.  He calls us to serve.  He calls us to have faith, to have hope, to know that He IS and He's not ever ever ever going to stop being the Great Holy One who Is.  He is still on His throne. 

Today is all you have.  No more.  No less.  Worry about today, have faith for tomorrow, He won't let you down.  It might not turn out the way you envision or imagine. . . but I will guarantee you this:  His desire for your life is more than your own.  His desire for your wife's and children's are more than your own.  His is able.  Trust Him. 

Seek HIS will.  Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.  That's straight from His mouth to your ears.  He said it, I didn't. 

Who knows if your wife will come to Him?  No words are necessary.  Just be in Him and let His light shine through you.  She will either or she won't - but I know it's more likely that she will if it's not a power struggle.  Right now you both have the power game playing back and forth.  Not good for any marriage.  The winner of the tug of war isn't the one that brings the other one over to the other side, it's the one who humbly drops the rope. 

As far as being Mormon in face only for your boys?  As one who grew up in a house of lies - I learned to lie to myself.  I learned to lie to others.  I learned to deny.  I learned to deny my own worth to my own detriment.  It nearly destroyed my life.  If it weren't for His grace, it would have.  I learned what I was taught.  Reassuring them that you love them is more important than your being Mormon in face only.  You ARE the head of your household, the leader, their covering . . .but in the true way.  Your obedience to HIM and your prayers FOR them are the most important things you can do in their lives.  Yes, they'll be confused, but in that they will learn how to deal with confusion and find the truth in the midst of it and come out stronger.  Children who aren't allowed to see life in truth do not learn the skills they need to COPE with the reality of life when the truth of life happens every single day as adults. 

Going to the Mormon Church?  **shrugs** What war doesn't have spies?  *laughing*  The best place to hide something from an enemy is in his own backyard.  He'll NEVER find it.  **laughing** But seriously. . . this is a 'talk to your priest' thing.  His leadership right now is imperative to you.  God will guide you through your priest, through your Holy Church. . . bend over backwards as much as you can to obey your priest.  If you go, if you don't. . .do what ever you do for Christ.  It is more important for you to do His will than anything else.

Divorce your wife?  Not an option for you. . .if she chooses to leave you, then you must let her go. . .if you want her to leave?  Nuh uh.  That's not your option.  You've been called to love.  (I say this in answer to another's post, not yours. . .this is not your intent, I acknowledge completely.)

Then let the chips fall where they may.  His will in your life is the most important.  If he chooses to remake your life from the bottom up?  He will certainly change YOU.  That is what salvation is all about.  You cannot stay the same, not with His Holy Spirit residing in you.  I know that whatever happens, you will see His glory if you will allow Him to show it to you. 

Love.  Loving is the hardest thing you will ever do.  You heart breaks when you truly love.  You die when you truly love.  You will truly deeply . . .die.  You're being called to love.  So, regardless of the issues involved, this is all there is. . . Christ. . .Love. . .for He IS love. . . everything else just confuses the issues. 

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.   





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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2011, 12:48:05 AM »

Andrew, as always you and your family are in my prayers.

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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2011, 04:28:44 AM »

Dearest Andrew,

It looks like you could use a hug (((((((((Andrew))))))))).  Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. 

Sometimes He has more up His sleeve than what we can see, know, understand, fathom.  His ways are higher than ours.  He calls us to love.  He calls us to serve.  He calls us to have faith, to have hope, to know that He IS and He's not ever ever ever going to stop being the Great Holy One who Is.  He is still on His throne. 

Today is all you have.  No more.  No less.  Worry about today, have faith for tomorrow, He won't let you down.  It might not turn out the way you envision or imagine. . . but I will guarantee you this:  His desire for your life is more than your own.  His desire for your wife's and children's are more than your own.  His is able.  Trust Him. 

Seek HIS will.  Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.  That's straight from His mouth to your ears.  He said it, I didn't. 

Who knows if your wife will come to Him?  No words are necessary.  Just be in Him and let His light shine through you.  She will either or she won't - but I know it's more likely that she will if it's not a power struggle.  Right now you both have the power game playing back and forth.  Not good for any marriage.  The winner of the tug of war isn't the one that brings the other one over to the other side, it's the one who humbly drops the rope. 

As far as being Mormon in face only for your boys?  As one who grew up in a house of lies - I learned to lie to myself.  I learned to lie to others.  I learned to deny.  I learned to deny my own worth to my own detriment.  It nearly destroyed my life.  If it weren't for His grace, it would have.  I learned what I was taught.  Reassuring them that you love them is more important than your being Mormon in face only.  You ARE the head of your household, the leader, their covering . . .but in the true way.  Your obedience to HIM and your prayers FOR them are the most important things you can do in their lives.  Yes, they'll be confused, but in that they will learn how to deal with confusion and find the truth in the midst of it and come out stronger.  Children who aren't allowed to see life in truth do not learn the skills they need to COPE with the reality of life when the truth of life happens every single day as adults. 

Going to the Mormon Church?  **shrugs** What war doesn't have spies?  *laughing*  The best place to hide something from an enemy is in his own backyard.  He'll NEVER find it.  **laughing** But seriously. . . this is a 'talk to your priest' thing.  His leadership right now is imperative to you.  God will guide you through your priest, through your Holy Church. . . bend over backwards as much as you can to obey your priest.  If you go, if you don't. . .do what ever you do for Christ.  It is more important for you to do His will than anything else.

Divorce your wife?  Not an option for you. . .if she chooses to leave you, then you must let her go. . .if you want her to leave?  Nuh uh.  That's not your option.  You've been called to love.  (I say this in answer to another's post, not yours. . .this is not your intent, I acknowledge completely.)

Then let the chips fall where they may.  His will in your life is the most important.  If he chooses to remake your life from the bottom up?  He will certainly change YOU.  That is what salvation is all about.  You cannot stay the same, not with His Holy Spirit residing in you.  I know that whatever happens, you will see His glory if you will allow Him to show it to you. 

Love.  Loving is the hardest thing you will ever do.  You heart breaks when you truly love.  You die when you truly love.  You will truly deeply . . .die.  You're being called to love.  So, regardless of the issues involved, this is all there is. . . Christ. . .Love. . .for He IS love. . . everything else just confuses the issues. 

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.   






Quiet morning steps in again and dominates the wisdom scene  Wink
No sarcasm there, though. This is a great, prayerful piece of advice.
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« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2011, 10:43:08 AM »

Quiet morning steps in again and dominates the wisdom scene  Wink
No sarcasm there, though. This is a great, prayerful piece of advice.


. . .if it helps and bears the fruit of His Spirit, then they are His words, not mine - then all thanks be to God!  If it doesn't. . .it's because I decided I was bigger-n-my-britches than I actually am. . .and I ask your and everyone else's forgiveness. 

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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2011, 10:48:01 AM »

Gorazd, I live in Heidelberg.  I'll be attending the parish at Ramstein AFB in Kaiserslautern, starting tomorrow.  

Quietmorning, thank you so much for the wise counsel and for the hug.   Smiley  I'm meeting my new priest tomorrow and will definitely follow your advice about relying on his counsel.  I really needed your reminder of our Lord's command to seek His kingdom first.  I need to have more faith and patience, trusting completely in His loving-kindness and putting Him first, like JimCBrooklyn also said.

Everyone else - thank you so much for the prayers and advice.  All of your input is very important to me. I'm glad to have a wide range of opinions.  I didn't take offense at anything at all.  I really don't want to return to the status quo we had in the States and keeping things from my boys is wrong.  You're right; it's time that I man up and start sticking up for Orthodoxy in my home.  I've always known it's wrong and feeling pressured to hide my faith has been a source of much frustration.  Hiding the truth to respect my wife's wishes has felt a lot like lying.  I won't put my foot down when my family arrives and insist they go with me, but I will firmly and kindly let my wife know that it's high time my boys know what their father really believes and follow through in not fearing to live an Orthodox life at home.  I think that's the most important change in policy that needs to occur.  I'll feel a lot better.  My wife really is a good woman and I love her, but it will be hard on her.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Lord have mercy.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2011, 11:34:53 AM »


Quietmorning, thank you so much for the wise counsel and for the hug.   Smiley  I'm meeting my new priest tomorrow and will definitely follow your advice about relying on his counsel.  I really needed your reminder of our Lord's command to seek His kingdom first.  I need to have more faith and patience, trusting completely in His loving-kindness and putting Him first, like JimCBrooklyn also said.

YAY!!  Thanks be to God!!! 

 I won't put my foot down when my family arrives and insist they go with me, but I will firmly and kindly let my wife know that it's high time my boys know what their father really believes and follow through in not fearing to live an Orthodox life at home.  I think that's the most important change in policy that needs to occur.  I'll feel a lot better.  My wife really is a good woman and I love her, but it will be hard on her.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Lord have mercy.

Your love for her is apparent in that you know that this will be hard on her.  Could you please send me (PM) your whole family's first names so that I can place you all on my prayer list? 

There are a lot of posts on here concerning how to live with either an unbeliever, heterodox or schismatic with a lot of great replies from people who have been there and have found things that work.  I am married to a man who is an unbeliever and WAS an angry unbeliever.  He's changed a LOT over the last year and a half.  **wink** I highly recommend doing a search for these well before your family gets to Germany so that you can prepare . . . I practice as much as I can of my faith at home. . .but some things are not practiced for the sake of love.  It's a sacrifice for love. 

My husband actually built my altar at home, for me.  **falls over and faints** But it is in my office where he does not have to see it day in and day out.  I have a small icon corner downstairs (tiny tiny icon corner) that I can pray at if we have guests (my office is also our guest room) - and an Icon of the Theotokos on my side of the bed.  When I received the Icon of the Holy Theotokos as a Nativity gift, my husband made the remark, "those things aren't going to be all over the house, are they?"  **laughing** . . .no. . .heh. . . not immediately, any way. . . in His time. **grins**

It's all in His time. 

I have two step children being raised in the Mormon Church. . . my God has more power in His little finger than the one who deceives has in this whole planet.  I pray for my boys every day.  Smiley

BTW, it's a pleasure to meet you, Andrew.  Welcome!!

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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2011, 12:09:53 PM »

Gorazd, I live in Heidelberg.  I'll be attending the parish at Ramstein AFB in Kaiserslautern, starting tomorrow.  

Quietmorning, thank you so much for the wise counsel and for the hug.   Smiley  I'm meeting my new priest tomorrow and will definitely follow your advice about relying on his counsel.  I really needed your reminder of our Lord's command to seek His kingdom first.  I need to have more faith and patience, trusting completely in His loving-kindness and putting Him first, like JimCBrooklyn also said.

Everyone else - thank you so much for the prayers and advice.  All of your input is very important to me. I'm glad to have a wide range of opinions.  I didn't take offense at anything at all.  I really don't want to return to the status quo we had in the States and keeping things from my boys is wrong.  You're right; it's time that I man up and start sticking up for Orthodoxy in my home.  I've always known it's wrong and feeling pressured to hide my faith has been a source of much frustration.  Hiding the truth to respect my wife's wishes has felt a lot like lying.  I won't put my foot down when my family arrives and insist they go with me, but I will firmly and kindly let my wife know that it's high time my boys know what their father really believes and follow through in not fearing to live an Orthodox life at home.  I think that's the most important change in policy that needs to occur.  I'll feel a lot better.  My wife really is a good woman and I love her, but it will be hard on her.  Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Lord have mercy.

In Christ,
Andrew

Andrew, you and I are in somewhat of a similair situation and I have recieved very good advice from quitmorning.  She is right on with all of the advice she gives. You are in my prayers


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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2011, 12:43:22 PM »

Hello Quietmorning, it's nice to meet you too.  I'm glad your husband is no longer angry.  Becoming Orthodox set me on the path toward healing me from my anger; being Orthodox will help me heal my family.  I'll look up the posts you mentioned.  I need all the advice I can get.  Thanks, also, for your prayers.  I'll PM you with names.

There's one more bit of info I'd like to share with everyone about my situation.  I'm the eldest of six and only one of us is still mormon.  My wife's family knows my family - our parents go way back to grad school in Berkeley in the late '60s.  Yes, they were all conservative mormons living in Berkeley during the 'fun' hippie times.  Smiley  Well, my dad used to be very stern and authoritarian and, who knows, maybe that had a lot to do with what happened to my family, but we're scattered everywhere.  All of us kids fled Utah at the first opportunity.  My wife and her family blame my parents for my decision to leave mormonism, as evidenced (in their minds) by what happened to my siblings (one became Evangelical, two others dropped out of school and got into drugs, violence, etc, another is angry, gay, and cut mom and dad off from her life).  Maybe it's eldest son syndrome that explains it, but unlike my siblings, I still have good relations with my folks and I work hard at trying to always see the good in them.  It's normal, I suppose, for my wife and her family to look for something to explain my decision to leave mormonism other than the real reason - I researched mormon and christian origins and discovered I'd been fed a manufactured history about Christianity.  My wife and I have had many, many arguments over the years about this issue.  She just doesn't want to believe that I had valid spiritual and intellectual reasons to leave the church and become Orthodox.  She and her family think I'm just running away from my past.  Their mantra is "you wouldn't have wanted to leave the church if not for how strict and authoritarian your parents were in the way they raised you in the church."  It's true, they were very strict.  My wife's family thinks I had a lousy childhood based on observations of how my parents interacted with each other and with us when we all lived near each other.  In reality, I think I had a good childhood (I was already out of the house when everything went haywire with my younger siblings), but they don't want to believe it, as thinking my childhood was lousy gives them something to hold onto to explain away my reasons for converting to another faith.  So, that's another complicating issue here that (I think) interferes with my wife's willingness to take my Orthodoxy seriously or entertain the notion that I might have a point about mormonism.  None of this changes anything, though.  The answer is still to practice my Orthodox faith and be a loving, kind Christian husband and father.  

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2011, 01:17:50 AM »

Andrew, you will be in my prayers throughout this Holy Week, and I hope we can get further updates on the situation in the months or years as things pan out.

Personally, although I am by no means as experienced as the others here, I know it helps me deal with the semi-Christian family members, friends, and coworkers to learn Scripture. These people think they're fine doing whatever makes them feel good, even if it's helped them for years, but when you can lovingly respond with direct Scripture passages, it really helps. I don't want to sound mean or encourage harshness, but Holy Scripture, when tactfully and gently wielded, really can do the intensive surgery that is required with those whom we lovingly refer to as "god-is-comfy Christians". Unfortunately, the situation is that your wife is both one of those AND one of those in MORMONISM. That's a tough spot to be in, but not by any means impossible, given God's history of work in the life of the Church. MOST of the Orthodox people I know were impossible cases, including my wife and myself. I will be praying for you and your wife and sons!

In Christ,

Ben
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