A delicate holiday situation

My immediate family (siblings and parents) are of a different faith than my wife and I. As we are Catholics, our faith perspective is fairly different from my family (who are LDS/Mormons). Generally, this has not been a troublesome matter, though they tend to encourage us to go to church with them when we visit. We always decline as graciously as possible.

The problem is, this year they went behind our backs (though their intentions were good I’m sure) and instead of doing their tradition of drawing names for gifts, they decided to draw names for “spiritual progression” as Mormons call it. I’m sure we would have gone along with it had we been of the same faith. Even if it had been a one-time event for Christmas, we may have gone along. The real crux of the situation is that they wish to make this a year-long event from this Christmas to next Christmas.

My wife has been assigned a partner (one of my Mormon family members), and I’ve been assigned a partner (one of my Mormon parents). We are supposed to let them know what we’re struggling with in our faith, and that family member is supposed to help us become stronger in that area, and vice versa.

The truth of the matter is, my wife and I are both very private with our faith in God. We do not want to make a show of it, and we really don’t feel like going to someone of another faith with our spiritual matters (family or not). Along the same lines, I do not feel comfortable giving spiritual guidance from a Catholic perspective to my Mormon family members. I would much rather celebrate the holiday by simply worshiping Christ, and sharing our family traditions as we have done in years past.

So my question is, how do we approach my family with this issue? Should we stick to our guts and tell them no? Should we bite the bullet and just go along with it? How do we graciously tell them “No” without becoming the Grinch couple who stole a year’s worth of Christmas?

:christmastree1:

=isaac.madsen;13474691]My immediate family (siblings and parents) are of a different faith than my wife and I. As we are Catholics, our faith perspective is fairly different from my family (who are LDS/Mormons). Generally, this has not been a troublesome matter, though they tend to encourage us to go to church with them when we visit. We always decline as graciously as possible.

The problem is, this year they went behind our backs (though their intentions were good I’m sure) and instead of doing their tradition of drawing names for gifts, they decided to draw names for “spiritual progression” as Mormons call it. I’m sure we would have gone along with it had we been of the same faith. Even if it had been a one-time event for Christmas, we may have gone along. The real crux of the situation is that they wish to make this a year-long event from this Christmas to next Christmas.

My wife has been assigned a partner (one of my Mormon family members), and I’ve been assigned a partner (one of my Mormon parents). We are supposed to let them know what we’re struggling with in our faith, and that family member is supposed to help us become stronger in that area, and vice versa.

The truth of the matter is, my wife and I are both very private with our faith in God. We do not want to make a show of it, and we really don’t feel like going to someone of another faith with our spiritual matters (family or not). Along the same lines, I do not feel comfortable giving spiritual guidance from a Catholic perspective to my Mormon family members. I would much rather celebrate the holiday by simply worshiping Christ, and sharing our family traditions as we have done in years past.

So my question is, how do we approach my family with this issue? Should we stick to our guts and tell them no? Should we bite the bullet and just go along with it? How do we graciously tell them “No” without becoming the Grinch couple who stole a year’s worth of Christmas?

:christmastree1:

My friend you MUST decline to participate. Theirs is not even a Christian religion; it is only a CULT that Mimics Christianity; sort of trolling; by using the same terms; BIT none of which have even close to a Christian [much less Catholic] definition.

To then god was married and had a wife

Jesus is human and only a prophet never a God or even a god

They disown the Bible and use their OWN books of faith

As you have now seen * they can be VERY devious.

Be charitable but VERY FIRM!

Tell them what they want IS AGAINST YOUR RELIGION; THANKS BUT NO THANKS!

If necessary avoid them.

This is FAR more than a family issue; it’s about God; God’s truth and reply on Him for the strength to do what MUST be done.

PRAY much

Patrick*

You cannot participate in or encourage Mormonism. You simply have to be honest with your Mormon friends and family about this. This may upset them, but your responsibility to God is greater than to any humans. Pray for them daily. Be an example of authentic Christian faith to them.

This may upset them, but your responsibility to God is greater than to any humans.

Exactly. Your first responsibility is to God.

Even if these people had the exact same religious beliefs as you, what they are asking for is inappropriate. They can’t sign you up for some kind of spiritual buddy system without first discussing it with you, and they certainly can’t be the slightest bit mad if you decline this offer that you never asked for.

Your faith is vital to you, and I’m sure that manifests itself in your relationships with your priest, spouse, and family. If the family members say they will be an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on in faith matters when you need it, that’s wonderful. It’s also a great deal different than to put forth what sound like expectations to discuss such things with family – even when you either do not wish to or perhaps have no need to. It is for you and your spouse alone to determine when and with whom to discuss how you are navigating your path of faith.

While this may be innocent to them, it’s clear that this also is meant to exploit one’s natural urge to be courteous, kind, and to not upset family. I believe your best response is kind but very firm sentence or two explaining that the faith of you and your spouse is a private matter. You owe them no further explanation.

The best of luck to you and your wife! :smiley:

Unfortunately signing people up to schemes without their permission is a feature of this church. They baptise dead people after the fact, nevermind if that departed person was Catholic, Jewish, atheist or Muslim.

Decline graciously. Let them know that you have a Priest, Deacon and other lay Catholics in your parish to assist you with your faith should you want/need to talk with someone.

You could also suggest that as Mormons, they do not fully understand the Catholic faith to give you the relevant guidance you need and also you as Catholics do not fully understand the Mormon faith to give them appropriate guidance. Mention that all of you take your faith seriously so you don’t want to endanger that with any possible misunderstandings or communication breakdowns.

You also have access to Reconciliation which is where your sins are spoken out and you do not feel comfortable speaking with them. They are not bound by the “Seal of Confession” as Priests are. People tell you that it is strictly between the two of you but they are not bound by anything to keep silent. Believe me I know, my non-catholic friend attends weekly Womens Prayer/Assistance group and attempted to discuss with me a confession given in that group by a mutual friend. I put my hand up and said “stop, I do not want to hear any more. She has confessed this in confidence and I don’t feel comfortable being privy to those details.”

I tend to agree with Mike from NJ -

Your respective religious beliefs have nothing to do with the situation at hand; they are asking you to do something with which you’re not comfortable. Doesn’t matter if you’re all of the same faith or not; you’re entitled to be as privite as you wish with your beliefs and practices.

I think that should be the reason for declining - i.e. explain your desire to keep your faith practice privite and as such you must respecfully decline the offer. The difference in religious paths doesn’t even need to come into the conversation.

I agree.

I couldn’t imagine sharing my struggles about anything with some arbitrary person. Let alone my religious or faith struggles with someone who isn’t the same faith as I am.

:twocents:

Certainly the easiest path is to politely but firmly decline to participate.

Such declination could lead to family friction, but the friction started when this was decided without your consent. And surely if you *bit the bullet and just went along with it, *that, too, would cause friction.

Or, there is another path (which could cause friction), depending on whether you are comfortable with it. You could half-way participate. And I do not mean you need to be deceptive about this – Be upfront and let the family know what you intend. “I am strong in the Catholic faith, which I believe to be the true Church of Christ. It would be inappropriate for me to seek spiritual direction outside the Catholic faith. But I would be happy to counsel you about faith in Jesus Christ – I hope that you, too, will see the truth of the Catholic Church, and I would be honored to guide you on your first steps to full communion in the Church.”

Do not share any “faith struggles” with your partner (*"I have no *faith struggles to share with you"), but do offer them Catholic apologetics in whatever their “struggles” are. Or, you could lead off the apologetics – “I struggle with the idea that Joseph Smith found, instantly translated, and subsequently lost golden plates containing the “Book of Mormon”. Here is what the Church teaches about the canon of scripture…”

I believe Catholic Answers has some materials specifically to answer LDS.

:twocents:

tee

Decline. This is manipulation and a way to harvest more people.
Forget it.

Former LDS here.
I understand the situation, my parents & their church friends are always inviting us to sacrament meetings, church activities family home evenings & other gatherings (my parents even get a bit sneaky by not telling us they’ve invited the missionaries over when we come over for dinner & then trying to get them to chat with my husband when we are at their house ) I just respectfully decline their offer & move the conversation to something else.
As I can see that this is a typical LDS mindset (as from my own experience) It is very rude of them to assume that your & your wife would be comfortable discussing with them your private spiritual matters. In my opinion, you & your wife should not participate in that activity.

You must not participate in someone else’s religion, even if that someone is family.

Be as nice as possible, but decline.

ICXC NIKA

Just tell them that you when you are struggling with something you prefer to work with someone within your own faith. Your declining should not inconvenience anyone at all they can simply pair up your parent with the other Mormon relative, easy peasy. :slight_smile:

I’ll just reiterate what everyone else has said and what the poll clearly says… politely decline.

From my personal experience and general understanding this is a fairly typical LDS tactic to try and proselytize you and your wife. And on top of that doing anything like this in any religious context anyway is just inappropriate. I’m always of the school of thought that people should “Keep Thy Religion to Thy Self” unless invited to do otherwise. :thumbsup:

I agree that you should not participate.

do you think they would be offended if you declined to participate because you bring your spiritual issues to ordained members of your own faith who have been trained specifically to help in your spiritual growth.

you could also mention that you have already been doing this for years in the sacrament of reconciliation.

it is highly doubtful that they can contribute much to your spiritual growth if they do not have a catholic foundation from which to offer counsel.

Maybe in the spirit of reciprocity, they would be willing to have the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, and Marriage in the Catholic Church? Recite the Nicene Creed? Go to Eucharistic Adoration? :hmmm:

I imagine that would go over like a toot in a spacesuit.

This could be a great opportunity to share your faith. You and your wife should take this in prayer to God and ask Him what you should do. If you wait quietly He will give you an answer - maybe one you may not like but God is God and He may be opening an opportunity for one or more of you LDS relatives to turn toward Christ and understand what Scripture says about Him.

I will be praying for you and your wife’s wisdom in understanding God’s will.

God’s peace to you,

Rita

I agree with the others who said that you should not participate in this with your family. You and your wife have your own faith and you are both private about it.

From what I understand about LDS, this just reeks of them trying to convert you. I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it.

I think you need to let your family know in the nicest way possible that you and your wife will not be participating their “spiritual progression.” At the very least, I would think that this would be discussed and agreed to ahead of time. This wouldn’t be something that would be done behind someone’s back.

It seems that your family probably thinks because it is already set up (them deciding who each person is partnered with) that you will feel that you have no choice but to go along with them. Also, to me, this is definitely different, to put it nicely. My faith journey is something that is very private and I couldn’t imagine sharing it with my family members.

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