“Home for the Holidays” submitted this week’s Ask Angela topic that is running in the Deseret News. Read the article here.
Here is her question, the interview is below:
My parents surprised us with the news that they’re leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church they raised us in. They love the gospel, but feel like the people in their ward mistreat them, and have always mistreated them, and I guess this is the only solution they can think of.
Now my older siblings are angry with them (my parents) and have decided that if they don’t go back to church, then they (my siblings) won’t go home for the holidays. My parents are very hurt, and this is just hardening their hearts even more. I want to go home and I want everyone else to be there too, my siblings, their kids, it’s not home without all of us — even if things are tense.
I’ve voiced this opinion to my siblings who have said that if I go home it’s like I’m condoning their actions, which makes me “just as bad as they are.” I’m not happy about my parents’ decision, but regardless, I love them and really look forward to my school breaks so that I can see them. I don’t have a specific question, just looking for some general advice on how to handle this. Thoughts?
Home for the holidays
Angela: Thanks you for submitting this topic! Let’s get right to it, how are things with your family right now?
Home for the holidays: Things are cold, distant and silent. Lots of silence. We went from talking to each other all the time to everyone more or less going their separate ways.
Angela: I’m really sorry to hear that. You mentioned in your question that you felt stuck in the middle. Are people speaking to you? Do you still feel in the middle? Talk to us about that.
Home for the holidays: My family isn’t really speaking to me either, but that’s okay for right now, I guess. My siblings just want to bash my parents, and my parents just want to defend their actions. I don’t really want to be apart of either of those conversations. I recognize that my parents have their agency, but I’m very sad about what they are doing. I think that’s what my siblings don’t understand. They seem to think “if you were really angry, you would be acting how we are acting…therefore you must not care.” When that isn’t true at all.
Angela: Why do you think you and siblings are reacting so differently?
HFTH: I think…well, I don’t know. They are a bit older than I am. I come home more often because of school breaks, etc. I’ve been at church with my parents and I’ve seen how people treat them. My dad recently lost his job and people feign interest in him but the first chance they get they’ll ask him questions like “Now, where did you say you were working?” or “I heard your not with X company anymore…what happened?” Just bringing up a very painful situation for my parents. So, I’ve seen that. I don’t think it’s an excuse to leave the church but I can understand why they are struggling to go.
Angela: Do you think your siblings will go through with black listing your parents for the holidays?
HFTH: Yes. They’re already making different plans.
Angela: It’s such a shame. It’s just such a shame. Well, I’m really sorry that your family is going through this difficult period. This article will come out Monday morning and I hope some good advice will come out of it. What are you hoping to learn from the discussion?
HFTH: I hope to understand how I can communicate with my siblings in a way that they don’t feel threatened. I want to know if they’re right, am I being a “traitor” to my siblings by going home? Will my parents ever snap out of it? I guess I’m hoping to learn a lot!
Angela: Those are great questions and I hope I learn a lot, too.
Check out the article and discussion here.
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