Date: February 18, 2012 06:45PM
In general, people were very nice. They tried to go out of their way to welcome him. It was kind of comical really, coming into the chapel and watching people make a beeline for us. When we first moved here, he didn't want anything to do with church or any of the people there, so he typically responded to their pleasantries with one word or smartass answers. I got after him a couple of times for it, and he made an effort to be nicer. Still, ward members quickly learned to give him space and not to pressure him so much. I also talked to the bishop and the EQ president and told them to leave him alone, that he'd come around when he was ready. That made a big difference for him.
At the time, DH was having a hard time getting over the hellish years we went through prior to DS's bipolar diagnosis. DH couldn't get over the fact that our family had nearly imploded. We spent over $10,000 out-of-pocket in under a year for psychologists, a psychiatrist, and medications for our son, all while DH was being transferred out of state for work, and I was in my last semester of school. He was so angry at god and the church for brainwashing people into getting married young and having kids right away, and felt that that choice alone was responsible for most of the problems we were experiencing. Bipolar son's problems were particularly rough on our other kids. For years, our family was literally on the brink. We were seriously considering divorce as well as shipping DS off to a residential treatment facility. We were desperate for help, yet we felt completely abandoned by god.
Once things were better, I wanted to just get past it. I felt like we made it, let's be thankful, and look ahead from now on. He was still bitter and angry.
As I'd sit in SM, I'd listen to the talks waiting for some nugget that would move him. But as I'd hear what was said, I could almost hear the snarky thoughts running through his head. I started to compare what I was hearing to my own experience in the gospel--the prayers unanswered, the promises unfulfilled, the many ways god did not seem to be who TSCC claims...
Then I started looking at all the things that are said as though they are doctrine--you chose your family, god picked you to send DS to because you could handle it, read scriptures and you'll have greater peace in your homes, pay tithing and your temporal needs will all be met, attend the temple and your family will be blessed--all those things that we faithfully did but had nothing to show for...
F&T meeting was the worst--listening to people tell their trite stories about pathetically small problems and how god swooped in and saved the day. I knew what he was thinking; I was thinking the same thing. Where was god when we needed him? I got tired of people insisting that god WAS there, and look how great everything is now, what do you have to complain about? don't you know there are people who have it way worse than you?? But I know what we went through. And I know what it did. It irreversibly destroyed our faith.
I already had my own issues with the church long before this all happened, but I shelved those concerns because I wanted what the church promises. We are both BIC, and church means everything to our parents and much of our extended family. It's a hard thing to turn away from. But, sitting there with him each week I found more issues to add to my shelf, until, finally, I had to admit that I don't believe it anymore either.
Good luck to you as you go back to church. I guarantee it will mean a lot to your wife and children to have you there. Be honest and upfront with people about your reasons. I think it's incredibly admirable to say, "I don't believe this, but I'm here to support my wife and kids." No one can fault you for that. And, if you make it clear that you are not personally interested, hopefully the TBMs will forgo their reactivation tactics.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2012 08:26PM by nowI'mfound.