Thursday, January 31, 2008

Master Debater

Another reason I'm paranoid of "coming out" and telling my family and friends that I no longer beleive the doctrines and teachings of the LDS church is because I am not a good debater. I hate confrontation. I hate having to tell someone else that I think they are wrong.

Sometimes I think it would be better for me to run off to the mountains and remove myself from civilization rather than have to explain to those I love why I can't beleive the same as they. The thought of it gives me trepidation beyond normal paranoia of which I have become accustomed.

I guess the problem comes down to this... how do I explain my new position on life and the cosmos without hurting their feelings, at the same time giving them a reason to think that I am high and mighty in my thinking that I could think something different than them. I truly feel as though I have come out of the darkness into a new world of enlightenment, but I cannot tell them that without the underlying aspect that I think that they are blindly believing and ignorant.
Blind faith does weird things to ones thought process of which I'm rewiring my own brain to do without. I am coming to the realization that God is man made, religion is man made, faith is dangerous when used by those men who use religion, and those who beleive have not looked long or hard enough about what they actually beleive in. I cannot say those things to those I love because I know that it will put a wedge between us. I despise religion for this. I cannot see any way around it except to keep as quiet as possible and not assert my own understanding of religion in their presence. To do so will only strain the relationships that I hold dear.

Is there any way around this dilemma?


Jonathan Blake said...

I felt a similar paranoia before I came out to my family (especially to my parents).

I think if your coming out ends up in religious debate, it represents a failure of communication. I don't know that it has to happen. I've been trying to keep my family a debate-free zone. Debate is just not worth the hurt feelings it might cause. I'm lucky in that none of my family have insisted on debating me. If someone did, I hope that I could remain calm and refuse to enter a religious argument.

On the other hand, blogging out my thoughts and telling my family about it seemed to cut off any speculations that I was just having a breakdown or something. They saw that I had given it real thought even if they thought I was deluded.

It also helped me to keep in mind that any hurtful reaction from my family probably happened because they were afraid for me or felt like they had been attacked.

If asked to debate, I think my message to my family would be "I've given this change of heart a lot of thought, study, and prayer. I'm happier now, and I have reasons why I've made these choices. Good, intelligent people don't always agree. I'm willing to answer sincere questions, but I hope that we can avoid arguing about it."

paranoidfr33k said...

I think I have some time before the issue will be pushed with my family, probably around November of this year. I'm still in the phase of getting away from the LDS beliefs and I would like to get to the point where I know what I beleive. Right now it seems as though I know more about what I don't beleive then what I do beleive.

Your advise sounds very wise. That sounds like the best way to handle it. Thank you.

Floating in the Milk said...

Like Jonathon said - don't debate it. I'm always somewhat amazed by the way some people I read on the DAMU seem to enjoy engaging believing members about church issues. When I believed and now that I don't believe, the thought of debating such things makes me cringe. As a former believer, I know just how likely it is that anything I say will make an impact with them anyway - I will just be written off as sinful or deluded. I'm still in the closet with most of my extended family, but even when I come out I don't want to debate the merits of the church with them.

CV Rick said...

God works in mysterious ways.

That's the one phrase that explains all belief. There is no apologetic rationality so complex and convoluted that God couldn't have figured it out and "done it that way" just to test the belief of his followers.

Therefore, no debate can expose flaws, because God's just a bit smarter, a bit wiser, and he figured it out long before humans were gifted with mortality.

I don't debate with TBMs ... I'll needle them about their freakish, cultish, vampiric beliefs. That's just to make them angry, not to get them to question their faith. Don't get me wrong, making them angry is fun, but it's not any way to persuade or convince.

f said...

I was afraid of "coming out" to my family, too, for the same reason. I didn't feel like I could explain my reasons or debate them, and I avoid confrontation. But guess what. They really haven't asked. One sister, that's it, and that was in writing, so I could just take some of my blog writings, modify them a bit and send them. I've also used the same technique with others (seems like my friends prefer to avoid confrontation and go the easy email route).

Any chance your family would be the same?


paranoidfr33k said...

fta, I don't know how everyone will react. My family has had a little bit of experience with my younger brother, so I'm not sure how they will react. They will not understand why I have left the church. They think I'm one of those that would never leave.

I don't live near my family, so I won't have to worry about them bugging me all the time, but I do fear that when we get together they will treat me as a completely different person. I don't know if anyone will debate, but they will be very disappointed.

I hope I can keep all of it confined to e-mail because I do so much better when I can think it through and write several drafts before sending responses.

Anonymous said...

You might benefit from reading through some of the stories on Facing East, the TBM point of view in NOM/TBM relationships. I think the feedback from the TBM spouses is very helpful in learning to communicate effectively with TBM family and others. Just make sure you are respectful of their space if you decide to post there.

Jonathan Blake said...

Faces East

Jonathan Blake said...

Scratch that, they have a new address.

paranoidfr33k said...

Thanks Jonathan, I searched for it today and couldn't find it. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

I am right there with ya...I have left the church in the past 2 weeks and wow it is amazing the offense they take to my different views...
daisy may

paranoidfr33k said...

daisy may,

Just curious, who have you told? Have you told your family? Are they all members? How have you approached it?

Soy Yo said...

This is something that I struggled with as well so I chose to take some time to write out an email telling them of my decision making sure to let them know that I was not anti-Mormon and that I owed a lot to being raised in the church but that I simply do not believe in the doctrine anymore. My mom has not taken it too well but everyone else seems to be ok. I’m still debating if I should give them my blog address once I get a few more posts in so they can read for themselves what my issues were and take their time to digest it rather then have a huge face to face discussion about it.

Anonymous said...

I am the only member of the mc in my family. They are all christians and have been praying for me to get out of the mormon church for they are elated. My amazement has come from my inlaws and my fellow ward family. They are all stand offish and everytime they do get enough courage they bear their testimony of the BOM over and over again. I could pretty much put the phone down beside me and walk off and they would never know I left. I feel so free ....but lonely at the same time. The church was my socail circle and I miss the daily interaction. Even my child has noticed other young kids at school who were in her primary classes no longer talking to her at lunch. It is weird.
Thanks for your interest...sorry it took me a while to write back.

Anonymous said...

that was me -daisy may

paranoidfr33k said...

soy yo,

I've been working on a letter for some time. I'm glad I've got a few more months before the issue is pushed (my daughter turns 8 in Nov).

I agree that its probably best to allow them to digest it all slowly, especially since face-to-face discussions are usually going to be highly emotional.

daisy may,

I fear the repercussions of what may befall my children. I can handle people being weird with me, but I don't know how to deal with others being intolerant of my children... because of me.

Thanks for your comments, everyone. Its nice to work these issues through with others who have gone through it before. I really appreciate all of you.