Angela talks to “No Church for Amy”

Angela: First, I want to thank you for submitting a question to the Ask Angela Column. Yours is a story that a lot of people will be able to relate to so I think it’s great to get the discussion started. 

No Church for Amy: You’re welcome! I hope I didn’t sound like I’m ungrateful or like I’m an “anti-mormon” or something because I’m really not, I just don’t think parents should be able to force their children to do things what they don’t want to do.

A: Have your parents ever forced you to do something and then it turned out to be a good thing?

NCFA: Of course! My parents are great and they’re always looking out for me, it’s just a little bit different when it comes to religion.

A: Sure, “which church to join?” is a very personal decision. I get that – so, what’s your parents exact rule?

NCFA: If you’re under 18, regardless of what you believe, you have to go to church.

A: The LDS church? Or Any church?

NCFA: I’m not sure…I never asked about different churches.

A: Do you think you’d want to go to a different church? Do you think your parents would allow that? Maybe they want you to have a religious up-bringing…but they might be open to letting you choose which type. What do you think?

NCFA: I don’t know. I think it would be weird. It would be weird to be in church without my parents or a church that did things a different way. I think that I might believe in God but I don’t know and I feel bad at the LDS church when everyone is crying and saying they “Know” things to be true and I don’t know any of that. You know? I don’t really want to go to a different church because I think most churches focus on God and I’m sure there will be people at any church crying and saying they know things and I will not feel the same way.

A: These are such real concerns, NCFA, and I think there will be a lot of comments discussed from your story that will be helpful as you try to work through this issue. Are you excited for the article to come out?

NCFA: I am. I think people will judge me, maybe? But I’m hoping that someone had this happen to them and they found a way through it.

 

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It was really rewarding to talk to with NCFA about her situation at home. She’s a lovely girl who is having a difficult time. Read our answer to what she’s dealing with here and add your own opinion, too.

Also, if you have a story you’d like to tell, we’d love to interview you! Send us an email to askangela.dn@gmail.com and don’t forget to like our Facebook page!

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3 thoughts on “Angela talks to “No Church for Amy”

  1. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my daughter who was 16 or 17 at the time that she didn’t have to go to church if she didn’t want to. She was inactive for about three years. We continued to love her and care about what was happening, even when she no longer lived with us. Through a lot of prayer and trust in the Lord, she returned to activity and married in the temple. It was truly one of the most joyful days of my life. I can tell her parents what to do, this was just my experience.

    1. Thanks for sharing this experience! I think this is a scary situation to be in as a parent, but the greatest parent of all was and is in this same position every day. I hope your thoughts help “Amy” and her family!

      – Angela

  2. It sounds to me like this YW’s real issue is not church, it’s being unsure if she has a testimony and being uncomfortable with the criers during testimony meeting. Fair enough, most of us don’t enjoy the sobbers that can barely get a word out. It’s uncomfortable, for us and them. I deal with it by saying a silent prayer, ” Lord, please help Sister Brown get control of her emotions so she can share what’s in her heart.” Or something like that. I believe learning to have patience, empathy, and even love for for the members of our ward who make us uncomfortable by what they say or how they say it is an important part of becoming Christlike and less judgemental of others.

    Angela’s suggestion to attend the services of some other churches is a good one. Maybe your mom or dad would be willing to go with you. I know that helped me as a youth identify more clearly why I went to church. My children had the same experience when they attended another church to support a friend’s baptism. Sometimes we don’t understand what we have until we experience what others have.

    I don’t know where NCFA fits in her family but if she is one of the older children, her parents may want her to attend church while she lives at home for family harmony. I’ve seen so many times how decisions by older siblings make it so much harder for younger sibs to make good choices. If that’s the case, family harmony and support of parents in raising your siblings is important. If this is the case, NCFA should be gracious, be positive, and support her parents. She also needs to spend some time thinking about how others are, or can be, affected by her choices. We are not islands and our poor choices influence, hurt, and even damage our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, future children, friends, and ward members. That’s a heavy load, but it is also reality.

    Sometimes a preceived crisis of faith comes from poor teaching, or poor listening, or a lack of understanding. Sometimes it comes from incorrectly understanding what was taught. Sometimes it comes from sin. NCFA needs to be honest with herself and others. I’ve seen youth that talk through every lesson and then blame their lack of testimony on not being taught something. If we are not listening the Spirit can’t help us. If we don’t ask questions about things that bother us, we can’t learn. If we aren’t living church standards, we dull our ability to hear or feel the Spirit. Finding fault with others or blaming others for how we feel means we aren’t taking personal responsibility for what is going on in our life and heart.

    On the subject of personal testimony, the Mormon Message, How do I know what is true? With accompanying comments, https://www.lds.org/youth/video/origin?cid=HPL2P09W03012&lang=eng, and Elder Holland’s talk from the April 2013 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/youth/video/origin?cid=HPL2P09W03012&lang=eng, are two good places to start. I think the posters who said thinking about who you are and what you believe is more adult and more useful than fighting church attendance. After all, this young woman will turn 18, she needs to be ready.

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