Unitarian

The girls have had runny noses and weren’t fit to interact with kids so we decided to go to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Vegas today. I promised Jon we could go later this month, but today seemed as good as any, plus they won’t miss two Sunday’s this month. We kept them with us the full service, even though they read a children’s story to the kids and congregation before the children were dismissed for their class, but mostly because they were sick and to let them get use to the idea of this new place. (Lilah was very negative at first, but she decided she liked it as we got settled. I think she liked having a name tag.)

Jon says he’s still deciding whether the UUCLV will fulfill the needs he’s looking for, so I guess we’ll kinda be deciding as a family as we continue to go once a month.

I’ve agreed to going once a month thus far even  though he would like to attend 50/50 for each church. They start at 10 and our church is from 9-12, and I’m wanting Lilah to be able to participate  as fully in Primary as possible. Next Year when we go to the 11 o’clock schedule I’m willing to let them go twice a month, and miss sacrament twice a month but still go to Primary each Sunday, I figure 4 hours of church would be too much but I’m wanting to allow Jon a little more time with them if he chooses this to be the community he wants to be a part of.

I’m not ready for 50/50 and I admit I am pulling the ‘you decided this and I didn’t and I want my children to go to my church more’ card in a way. I’m trying to be open minded, but the thought of only attending twice a month to my church, and three times when there is a fifth Sunday, is too much for me to handle. He wants them to have an alternative community so they’re not just choosing to be Mormon because that’s what they’re more fully involved in and know. I want them to be exposed but still mostly apart of my faith, the faith I’ve always planned on teaching them.

Some might wonder why I’m even willing to let my children participate in two faiths. One reason is the UUCLV isn’t really a specific faith dominated religion, but one that explores many faith’s and discusses good values.
Two, is if I expect my husband to support me I need to support him and I don’t want my children to feel that they’re choosing sides, or choosing parents when they decide to become or not become one of our faiths.

You might wonder why I stay in the situation and not just leave.

While talking with a friend about what makes a marriage worth it, we talked about being happy or having the same faith. Some people have the same faith and are not happy at all and then you have those with different beliefs but are happy.

I am happily married.

I admit I am having difficulty with the idea of letting my children have two faith communities, but in reality I don’t feel making them attend my faith will guarantee them to choose it. I know plenty of  faithful Mormon families whose children have chosen a different faith, including within my own. I also know families of parents with different faiths whose children have decided to be Mormon.

I do want my children to choose the LDS faith because they want to and not because it’s all they know.
All I can do is try to be an example and to show love to them throughout their turbulent time of deciding what is true for them.

I say true for them because what is truth for me is not truth to you, though we may have some commonalities.

Today went well and I’m sure Lilah liked it in part for the light food that was served afterwards.

I’m interested in being apart of the community for activities so they can get to know our family and we can get to know them.

14 Responses to “Unitarian”

  1. nice niece Says:

    Lacey, Thanks for this honest post. I hope you know that I fully support you. I totally agree with you that being a member of the same faith does not always equal marital happiness.
    I say, if you find love in this life, grab hold of it and defend it. 🙂

  2. Mary Says:

    I disagree. This is a bad idea. Your children need to know your feelings of your religion and where you stand with it. If it’s a conviction you need to act like it. I’m saying this with the kindest intentions.

  3. Lacey Says:

    Mary,

    Why can’t I express my convictions while supporting my husband?

    If my husband were to act in the manner you described I would be sitting with two girls, by myself every other Sunday, and he would be sitting with two girls, by himself every other Sunday and when we didn’t have those girls, we would be alone completely.

    I suppose you might not see this compromise as standing for what I believe, but I plan on being open with my children about my beliefs, and I believe my marriage is worth keeping intact by compromising.

    I hope my daughters learn a lesson of love and respect for those who are different and do not confuse compromise with not standing for what you believe, but I hope they learn compromise is what people do preserve relationships with those they love. Whether it be God compromising with us because we tried our hardest but didn’t meet the mark or whether it be me compromising with my husband who believes differently than me.

    Sometimes compromise is the best way to preserve civility between two opposing beliefs.

  4. Jonathan Blake Says:

    Mary,

    First, please don’t worry about any hard feelings about expressing your viewpoint. I understand that you are concerned for my family.

    For anyone who wonders what my intentions are in teaching our daughters, it is simply to help them to learn to think for themselves, give them lots of ideas to chew on, and allow them the space to choose for themselves. I have no problem saying to them “Mommy believes X. I believe Y. What do you think about it?” If they disagree with me (or even if they agree with me), I might hint at some of their assumptions but allow them to think for themselves.

    That might seem off topic, but I needed to say that to explain why I would like them to attend a Unitarian church somewhat regularly. If they choose to be Mormon, then I want them to make an informed choice where they have real alternatives. Unitarianism doesn’t seem to be dogmatic. Instead it seems to be an exploration of the religious experiences and expressions of all people. That’s exactly what I hope our girls can have.

    Sometimes I feel like parents are afraid to have their children experience viewpoints that oppose their own. One of my favorite quotes about exploring ideas comes from Elder Hugh B. Brown:

    “Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones to progress. But you will respect, of course, the opinions of others [but be unafraid to dissent if you are informed.]… Now I mention the freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth must emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek truth in all fields, and in that searching you’re going to need at least three virtues: courage, zest, and modesty. The ancients put that thought in [the] form of [a] prayer. They said, ‘From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all the truth—O God of truth, deliver us.'” (Hugh B. Brown, “Man and What He May Become”, BYU Speeches of the Year, 29 March 1958)

  5. Jonathan Blake Says:

    I need to add that I have no problem with Lacey expressing her convictions. I just need space to express mine as well. We’re working to find a win-win solution to a regrettably difficult situation. I think a no-compromises approach to something so important to both of us would destine us for a broken marriage.

  6. Mary Says:

    Tom and I married in the temple. If Tom chose to explore other relgions it would be a deal breaker for me. I know the church is true so throughly, if Tom cannot support me in it, then we would have a severed realtionship. We both came into the marriage knowing that.

    I have promised that I would give even my lives for my religion.

    This really erases the grey areas.

    I would easily sacrifice my marriage for my religion as well.

    I will always choose to defend this religion over all else. You may think this is severe but this is how true I know it is and serious I am about it. It will always be true and I will defend it to the grave. I want my children know that I feel this way.

    But I have not been asked to give my life for it; so instead I try to do the things God has asked of me. I go to church. I pay my titihing, I keep the commandments, I go to the temple, I serve in a calling, I try to be christ like, etc. It is all I can do in this life to show how much I believe. This is a sure example to my children.

    There are no grey areas in life. A life worth living is a life worth dying for, right? I don’t want my children to be exactly like me when they are grown, I just don’t want any miss understanding about where I stand. So until they are 18, and I am paying for their livelyhood, we go to church as a family. If they want to stop, when I am done supporting them, that is fine.

    I’m just disappointed that neither of you feel this way because, at one time, I thought you did.

  7. Mary Says:

    I also must add how much I love Jon. He has such a kind and loving spirit. I think that Satan really wants him to not get this right, because Jon is so kind and christ like and can have so much influence over people.

  8. Anna Says:

    I agree with Jon that a no compromises approach would end up splitting you. I don’t think that is what God would want for marriage. See Mark 10:9. (But I’m not LDS). Splitting up over religion will just hurt the girls and, in my opinion, won’t help them to make a constructive decision about their own faith.

    In a half way serious tone and half way teasing tone, I think you and Jon ought to attend my church, it seems like a 1/2 way point between the LDS church and Unitarian church. I must confess, though, that I don’t know too much about the Unitarian church, but have been reading about them and reading their literature (that’s online).

  9. Anna Says:

    Jon is a great person, and I agree that Satan is trying to get him, but I belive Christ is as well. And I pray that he can find Christ in a wholesome way.

    I am not LDS, and therefore believe that a lot of what Jon experienced in the LDS faith, like guilt, is because the LDS church seems to be works based…you must also do things in order to achive the better rewards.

    Two verses that seem significant in the other direction (as in grace not works) are:

    John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

    Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

    We all screw up because, face it, we’re human afterall. Which is why God came up with the plan to have Christ die for our screwups so we don’t have to pay for our mistakes in an eternal way.

    Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (I encourage you to read the entire passage here, I think it makes a lot of sense.)

    God created us and we were good when he created us. We influence each other to mess up. Satan encourages us to mess up because he doesn’t want us to have what God planned. For instance, sex is good, as long as it’s in the right context. But it’s bad if children are exploited.

    Lacey, you know I’m with you, and I don’t think you should leave Jon. In fact, I pray that you two will find a common ground because I know it’s hard for you two to have different faiths.

  10. Lacey Says:

    Mary,
    First I just want to jokingly state, that I’m sure Jon is happy I don’t think like you do. 😉

    At a time I might have left Jonathan for changing his beliefs. I wanted to at first, but the reality is, the young woman’s thought of making a decision before you’re put in the situation doesn’t work in this context. If we didn’t have two beautiful girls to think about, I could see myself leaving, but the truth is we do and that changes everything.

    The truth is I cannot honestly sever myself completely from Jon. He is the father to my children. He is a loving, caring, hard working man, and other than not believing the same as me, I have no reason to leave him.

    That being said, even if I were to divorce him, what would my options be?

    To let him have half or partial custody and be amiable, but my children would still be exposed to his beliefs and I might be seen as a martyr for leaving him and standing up for what I believe, but think of how much damage that would do to my children? It would also show that if you don’t believe as I do, then I’ll cut you out of my life no matter how much I love you.

    Divorce is damaging to all parties.

    Another option is to sever all relations to their loving father based on the fact he doesn’t believe as I do. Have them grow up not knowing him and without a loving male influence only to probably damage them, since girls need a positive male role model.

    What reason do I give them? He believed differently and I didn’t want him poisoning them with his disbelief? If I were one of my girls I would wonder if they church was really true at this point if my mother was so worried about outside influences. Even one so great as a father shouldn’t overpower the truth of the gospel, right? And again, I’ll cut you out of my life if you don’t believe as I do.

    I don’t see these as the paths Christ would have me take.

    All my priesthood leaders have advised me to stay and work through this. He is not gone and neither are my children, and neither am I.

    I grew up with the expectation of going to church each Sunday, but my parents never denied me the opportunity to experience other faiths. We could go to our friends Church’s, though it was also with the expectation that we would never convert, and we could talk with other people of other faiths.

    I’m trying to see this as an opportunity for my girls to see that there are truths in other faiths, but that ours has the fullness of the Priesthood. The LDS Church has a prophet and is guided by Christ.

    To be honest black and white thinking doesn’t always work. What would have happened if Nephi had said, “No Lord, you’ve commanded men not to kill. I will not kill Laban.”

    We each have our agency. We each have the guidance of the spirit as we are worthy.

    I still attend the temple, go to church, if I had a calling in this new ward I would uphold it, I still pay tithing. (5% of our income, since 50% of it is mine.). I am still being a righteous daughter of God. I don’t know if I would die for my faith, but that’s due to the state of my testimony. I am lacking in faith and I dare to say you might also if your foundation was shaken like mine, but then again, maybe you’ve always had more faith than me.

    I am being faithful.

    I am following what God wants for me.

    I am keeping the covenants I’ve made.

  11. Mary Says:

    I’m sorry Lacey to make you talk about this. But your points are better understood. I think you are doing good. I just want to know that you are that strong mormon lady that I know you can be. I understand better where you stand and I appreciate you explaning that. I do not expect you to divorce Jon, I just wish, like you do (i’m sure) there was some other way. I love you guys!

  12. Lacey Says:

    I’m okay talking about it. In fact I hope these comments help my children better understand why I’ve chosen the choices I have.

    I do wish it was easier, but it’s not, so I’m trying to make it the best I can.

    Thank you for your concerns. I hope you know we still love you and value your friendship and opinions.
    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  13. Jonathan Blake Says:

    I have been thinking about the no-compromises, black-and-white approach. The word that keeps coming to mind is “brittle”. My life has been full of surprises, turns in the road that I didn’t foresee and couldn’t have planned for. In the cases where I was willing to change my thinking and expectations, some little continuity was preserved. When I couldn’t change my outlook, things fell apart.

    For example (I don’t have an ulterior motive in choosing this example—it was just the first to come to mind), I took Gordon B. Hinckley’s statement to heart that the LDS church is either true or a great fraud. This black-and-white viewpoint made my connection to the church brittle. When I started to learn about things that seemed to me (rightly or wrongly) to point to the history of the church not being what I had been taught, I was trapped by the black-and-white viewpoint to choose between those two options: truth or fraud. Other people who were willing to see shades of grey have preserved their relationship with the LDS church despite learning the same things.

    This danger of brittleness also holds in the realm of relationships, I believe. We’re probably all familiar with Matthew 5:48 where Jesus tells us to be perfect. The Greek word translated in the KJV as “perfect” is teleios which connotes a sense of completion, wholeness, and maturity. Most of the times that I heard that scripture in church it was used in isolation, but I think it’s important to look at the whole paragraph:

    Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43–48)

    When Jesus tells me to be complete and whole like God, he is telling me to love everyone, even my enemies. God, he says, causes the sun to shine on everyone, even those that he judges to be wicked. It is one thing to be called on to die for our ideals; it is another to be asked to love completely and without condition. Jesus’ injunction to love like God loves didn’t have an exception for spouses who believe differently or children who stray from the path we would choose for them.

    If there is a God worthy of worship, that God must be happy when we nurture our love for each other and don’t let it die in his name. If God doesn’t exist, then Earth will be more like heaven if we hold tight to love and avoid tossing it away love too casually.

  14. Green Oasis » Be Ye Therfore Perfect Says:

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