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Author Topic: Leaving behind loved ones...  (Read 1330 times) Average Rating: 0
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Donna Rose
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« on: June 06, 2004, 02:53:11 AM »

Hmm, I have a question for converts and those who are maybe looking to convert...I will word it as though I am speaking only to converts, but anyone's input is greatly appreciated. Smiley

For those who converted from another established faith that you were born into, did your prior faith act as one of the ways in which you were able to be close to, and connect and communicate with your family (or a specific family member) because it was something you shared? And if this sounds like you, how did you handle leaving that person or persons behind when you became Orthodox, and how did he/she/they handle it as well? Is it hard for you or them to no longer be able to truly worship together, since your belief system is no longer theirs?

I am not referring to families that were angry or upset at your conversion because it offended them for whatever reasons. I am asking about a deep spiritual connection anyone had with their family (or a specific family member) that was inevitably damaged by no longer belonging to the same church and faith.

I hope I made my question(s) clear. Let me know if anyone needs further clarification as to what I mean.

Thanx in advance. Smiley
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Fr. David
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2004, 03:46:00 PM »

My mother.

Grew up with her only, as she and Dad got divorced when I was a baby; as soon as I could focus, she had a Bible in front of me, reading to me, going over picture books, etc.

We were staunch Evangelicals, attending the SB Church due to its emphasis on fidelity to Scripture above all else.  We were very close while I was growing up, in large part due to our faith being THE central -- at times, perhaps the only -- part of our lives.

We were convinced that all who did not confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and who did not ask Him to forgive them of their sins were going to go to hell forever, period.  We therefore shared our faith with everyone who would listen, though not in a particularly pushy way (well, I was more than she was, truthfully).  It was this missionary zeal that was a common bond, since many people at our work/school, and even in our own family at the time, seemed to be in such opposition to our way of thinking.

So I convert to the Orthodox faith while attending (of all things) a non-denominational, charismatic university (Oral Roberts U, for anyone who knows of it).  Mom had been thrilled I was going there, even though our church had never emphasized "gifts of the Spirit," because, well, "they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to get to heaven," so they were all right.

When I came to her and told her that I was going to change to a faith with priests, icons, confession, ritual, lack of "eternal security," lack of blind support for the State of Israel, reluctance to condemn as "of the devil" certain things in society, and other such indicators of "man-made, dead religion," she took it very personally, turning on me in much the same manner we had turned on other family members in the past, going out of her way while at family get-togethers to badmouth me and/or (usually "and") Orthodoxy.

I confronted her about it (in private, at her apartment) after things came to a head, and we cleared the air, thank God.  She said she felt as though I had rejected everything she had instilled (or, as she saw it, tried and failed to instill) in me as a child.  I told her that I was and always would be so grateful[/u] for all she had done for me, and that, had I not been raised to actually GIVE a rip about things having to do with God, faith, salvation, Scripture, etc., I wouldn't have ever felt the NEED to convert!  My conversion to Orthodoxy was actually something that VALIDATED her rearing of me!  She was the one who gave me my initial vision of Christ and, though some things had changed, been added on, and taken away, SHE received much of the credit for having so diligently raised such a "spiritually conscientious" young man, I guess you could say. (On a side note, my current Archbishop (+DMITRI) has much the same story: Baptist mother, gratitude, etc.)

This was a very teary moment for both of us, and she very much appreciated it.  We still don't see eye-to-eye on most things (obviously), but we can at least talk civilly and openly, thank God.  

Whew!  Hope this was something along the lines of what you're looking for; it seems like forever since I told that story; guess it was building up in me!

Paz Contigo,

Pedro
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From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 03:02:48 PM »

My grandmother and in-laws....

My wife and I were both raised Roman Catholic. Converting was not such a big issue for these family members...perhaps the biggest regrett was the lack of future parties for are youngest's first communion and and subseuqnt confirmations for all 3 of our kids....

When we explained our reasons -- they did not seem to mind. They are just glad we found a parish where we felt at home and a church that has helped us to feel closer to God.

Since among the shildren and grandchildren, we are the only ones who attend any church regularly and did things like marriage and children in the proper order and in general are "the good ones" -- living life as we were taught. Noone really had any problems with it.

Also working in our denefit was the fact that my wife's grandfather was Russian Orthodox when he first immigrated here during the communist takeover. In essence we have joined the Church of my wife's grandfather.

Now we have two Roman Catholic priests in my wife's family. One of them married us. They were in fact just as if not more understanding of our move. They were sad we felt compelled to leave the Church, but glad we discovered Orthodoxy vs. some Protestant Church or nothing at all.
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Donna Rose
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 11:35:42 PM »

Thank you both for your responses. Smiley They are an indication that this isn't an obstacle that only I face, which is comforting, so thank you for that.
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