A redditor named tapirs_and_chariots recently shared a text interaction they had. In it a family member expressed love by claiming:
I love you. […] I refuse to lose you to the world.
They respond by recognizing that the message comes from a place of love, and then acknowledging that having a family member leave the church can be a painful, difficult experience. They know this because they also used to believe. Then they explain how and why the church causes pain in family relationships:
The church is a great organization in many ways. In very many ways it brings people happiness. In other ways it actually causes pain. Our differences in belief will likely be a source of pain for you. As I try to pinpoint why this is I land on 2 reasons: 1. The church teaches true happiness can only come from living the gospel, and 1. The church teaches that families can be separated forever. These two teachings are damaging and painful to families that find themselves in our situation.
tapirs_and_chariots then goes on to explain how authentically seeking truth was painful but worthwhile.
I really like the poetic beauty in the rephrasing of “families can be together forever” as “families can be separated forever”. The LDS organization is one of the few with which I’m familiar that implicitly teaches that most families will not be together forever.
In a comment on that post redditor winnipegsoulhunter replied:
Can you imagine the uncomfortable and likely defensive stance a typical active member would take when faced publicly with the question, “is it true that you are one of the only religions that teaches that most families won’t be together forever?”
What do you respond to that? As I think back to how I would have responded to this as a believing, practicing member I think much of my response would have hinged on the following:
- Jesus is super laid back, and his atonement is infinite.
- We Mormons are focused on the derivative of spiritual progression, not the current location.
but I couldn’t in good conscience claim that we didn’t teach that we were the only religion on the planet that was’t an abomination in the sight of god.
I have to agree with tapirs_and_chariots that there is peace that comes from trading belief for happiness.