I’m a Mormon

I’m a Mormon, but I don’t always put it out there on social media.

So I’m a Mormon, and my children attend the Mormon church, but are not baptized, or are not formally Mormon. Jon’s name is on the records of the church, but he’s really not a Mormon. Jon is an Atheist. He keeps his name on the records for me.

My life is one confused bag of religion.

Recently during a sacrament meeting, a woman was receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Lilah made a sniffling noise, and I thought it was strange. I think I patted her arm, or gave her a hug after the prayer was complete. Then after the meeting was over, she looked up to me and said, “I want to be baptized.” The words I’ve longed to hear from one of my children, but we both knew it meant telling her dad, and just as it brought joy to my heart, it also brought some sorrow.

On the car ride home I asked her about it. If she wanted to tell her dad right away. Tears flowed from our faces, us both knowing it’s not something her father would really want to hear. I waited a day or so, I had to ask her she wanted to be there when I told her dad, she didn’t. So in the still of one of our nightly cuddles, I told Jon his eldest daughter wanted to be baptized. We had a discussion. One that was probably frustrating for both of us. We have different ideas on how to approach this religious thing with our children, and we’ve been avoiding it for a long time.

But here is it.

Jon is supporting Lilah. The biggest part was making sure it was her decision, and not because of outside pressure, or a desire to belong, or just fit in. From Lilah’s response, I believe it is her decision.

Since Lilah is no longer in her eighth year, she will have to take the missionary discussions, and we have to go through the baptism as if she is a convert.

I am happy for my daughter. I hope she is happy with her choice too.

6 Responses to “I’m a Mormon”

  1. Elizabeth Johanson Says:

    I’m so very happy for Lilah (and you of course) and I am sorry for the weight of her decision for your family. What a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts you all must feel. Our situations are far from similar but Megan’s baptism day was one of the most wonderful of my life. I hope the same for you. You and Jon continue to amaze me in your love and support of one another. Sending love to your entire family.

  2. nice niece Says:

    I am so proud of all of you for taking the time to find your own beliefs. I admire the willingness you & Jon & Lilah have to support and love one another despite your differences, that is what family is truly about. I know her baptism day will be bittersweet, but I believe that you and Jon have done an amazing job of raising an independent and informed daughter. She has so much of both of you in her. <3

  3. Jonathan Says:

    It’s nice to read your blog again. 🙂

    Just so my perspective is represented, I wouldn’t stand in the way of our children getting baptized even if it were for a more frivolous reason like wanting to fit in with their peers. The decision is up to them and always has been. As far as I’m concerned, they can join every church, mosque, synagogue, or temple from here to Timbuktu.

    I had a discussion with them about baptism years ago where I tried to make that clear while suggesting that they might want to wait until they were older and more capable of understanding what it all meant. I suggested maybe twelve-years-old would be more appropriate to start thinking about it. Perhaps I should have repeated that message more often since then.

    I think most of the friction between us comes from a fear about how I will approach the subject of religion with our children. I’ve tried to explain my attitude several times over the years, but I think it’s hard for religious folk to believe that there is a way to raise children which doesn’t involve pressuring them to believe the same way we do.

    I hope my approach is clearer now that we’ve begun our family discussions. I think it will become even clearer when we someday get to the juicier parts of Mormon doctrine and history. I don’t plan to pressure them to come to the same conclusions that I have, simply present all sides of the story as accurately and fairly as possible, providing the information they won’t receive in Primary and Sunday School but doing my best to present others’ viewpoints in the best light possible so that they are prepared to make truly informed decisions.

    It’s about information, not indoctrination. I hope to teach them critical thinking and then set them loose on the world.

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Perhaps I should have repeated that message more often since then.

    By which I mean that I should have reinforced that the decision was up to them, no matter their age.

  5. Mary Brinkerhoff Says:

    Congratulations to Lilah for making the choice to become a disciple of Christ and take his name upon herself. I’m sure the spirit will be so sweet on her special day.

  6. Sara B Says:

    You guys are all so brave and a shining example of allowing your children independence in thought. I’m so glad you have a husband who supports you and your children’s decisions even when they are not his own. Sometimes the whole “agree to disagree” mentality is harder to come by then the simple “opinionated disagreement”. Congratulations to Lilah for her decision and to your family for your unity of support you give her.