Disaffected Mormon Looking for Answers


#1

Hello, I first posted this in the Meet and Greet section, but someone suggested I post it here.

I’m a lifelong Mormon who’s now disaffected and searching for a spiritual home. I prefer truth over comfort and many years of angst, agnosticism and finally serious study have led me to Catholicism. I feel drawn to learn more, with an incessant, nagging urge to do so. Maybe that’s God. I’ve never felt God’s presence in any recognizable way and long to have that experience, a desire that comes from a standard Mormon upbringing that emphasizes good feelings as evidence of truth and the reality of God in our lives. Feelings aside, a careful review of the evidence has given me enough material on which to base a hope that the answer lies in Catholicism. This, along with the sense of being drawn to learn more has brought me here. I have spoken with a couple of priests in the past year and have toured the local parish church and would love to enroll in the RCIA. The problem is that I’m married to a lovely woman who I love deeply, but she is a committed Mormon from an anti-catholic, Mormon family. Our marriage was consecrated in a Mormon temple, which means in my wife’s eyes or marriage is eternal. She values that. We also have two boys (5 and 8 years old) and she wants them to have a christian upbringing and given her upbringing thinks the Mormon church is the place that should take place. But I no longer consider myself to be Mormon. This has caused immense tension in our household. I want to support my wife, but I can hardly bring myself to walk into a Mormon church without acute mental stress. There is some hope since my wife is completely uninterested in doctrine and theology, but rather values her faith solely on practical grounds. Her pragmatic approach could lead her to be open to other alternatives if I could persuade her that something else will make us a stronger, happier family. But Catholicism will be an extremely tough sell given the extreme anti-catholic spirit in Mormonism that we were both raised with.

So what should I do? Do I go ahead and attend RCIA classes without her? Do I encourage her to attend with me? She’ll likely say no. If so, do I go anyway? I do not wish to strain my marriage further. I love my wife and our sons need a stable, happy home. But I am definitely not happy and live daily with a profound spiritual angst that, I’m sorry to say, has contributed to lots of extreme anger on my part. I long for peace. But I’m torn over the possibility that finding my inner peace and finding God will result in even worse marital relations at home. This is a knot I can’t unravel. So I’m seeking advice from Catholics. Hopefully some of you have had similar experiences. I welcome any responses from all who care to reply. Thank you.

NewSeeker


#2

Welcome Home!!! I am a convert as well, but I converted from Methodism.

I highly, highly, HIGHLY suggest you read Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. The authors are also converts from Presbyrterianism (??) and the husband accepted the faith (and converted) before his wife. At one point she thought about divorcing him because of his conversion, but later on she came around and now both are very involved in the church. They also had children while the conversions were going on.

Scott talks about how he didn’t force anything on his wife and how him being understanding and compassionate eventually led his wife into the church. VERY good and easy book to read.


#3

First off… welcome! :slight_smile:

God is very patient and loving… and your desire to seek Him is extremely pleasing to Him…

I think, in your case… the slower the better. If you really feel drawn to start attending RCIA and going to Mass, then do it. But don’t force your wife to.
Constantly remind her of your love for her and for your children… this is of utmost importance for the stability of your marriage. God would never force you to tear your marriage and family life apart… that wouldn’t make any sense at all.

Slowly (very slowly) introduce the teachings of the Catholic faith to your wife. If they are true (which I believe they are), they will stir in her heart and bring her to the truth… you don’t need to force these teachings onto her… only God can inspire those truths in her heart.

Continue your talks with the local priests. Seek their advice as often as possible… their counsel will be helpful…

I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers…
I have no personal experience with conversion or the Mormon faith (I’m a “Cradle Catholic”), but I do understand marriage.

May God guide you slowly towards His true faith!

Welcome! :slight_smile:


#4

Welcome! My husband was very leery of the Catholic Church at first. It took many years for him to overcome that. Today he is zealously Catholic. Be patient with your wife and don’t try to discuss things with her against her will.
However, I would defefintely start taking RCIA classes in the fall. That way you’ll learn more about the church. Make sure to get a rather orthodox parish to do this in. Encourage your wife to go with you.
If I were you, I would gently remind her (through actions more than words) that you are the spiritual head of the family and have a moral obligation to ensure your children grow up correctly.
My prayers go with you.
Once you cross the Tiber, you’ll never go back! Being Catholic is the most joyous, momentous event in my life. I only wish I’d done it sooner, with or without my husband so I could have brought my children up in the Church.
Lissa


#5

Welcome and God Bless,

Wow, what a quagmire you have. I can tell in your post that you are truely suffering over this, and I am praying for you that you find some peace. However, I agree, I think your ONLY peace is going to be in attending RCIA as well as Catholic Mass. I take it you do feel God’s presence when you attend our church and speak with our Priests? Hence the drawing attraction that you feel will satisfy this spritual and Holy need in you. It’s wonderful that you feel that, I am a FIRM believer in attending church where one feel’s God’s PRESENCE. If you don’t feel it, and you are forced to a church where there is no feeling of God’s presence in you, do you feel like you are in betrayel, it’s hard to breath and you need to leave? I have.

I have to agree with the above poster’s: you should join RCIA, you should NOT force your wife: not nag, cajole, manipulate, use anger, threats, or hurtful attacks to get “your way.” NOBODY can be forced to believe in any way. But I do have a good story and positive outcome to share with you…

While my husband was not of any denomination, in fact he was raised by two atheists, yet he claimed agnostic, he really mistrusted any kind of “organized religion.” Obviously we went into this knowing I am catholic, and although we were not married in the church (to start with, that’s since been rectified) he respected my beliefs, I respected his lack there-of. I prayed mightily for him, and I even told him that I pray for him, because as Catholics we can pray very hard for a spouse who is a non-believer and have prayers answered. (See the story of St. Monica) That is until we had kids. I needed my children to be baptized. World War III errupted in our home and my atheist father in law even thought he had the bones to argue with me about it as well. So my father in law sent my husband a set of philosophy CD’s so that my husband may have a argument ground to stand on vs. my theological beliefs. (I am a heck of a debater, and it looks like you are too!) Anyway, my husband being Navy, had an all night duty section watch. I get a phone call from him - out of the blue mind you - and he says “I have decided I want to be Catholic.” :eek:

I fell off my chair.

So not wanting to rock the boat or question his choice I helped him get in with the priest, learn about the faith, enrolled him in RCIA, and he really went into it heart and soul. Our children were baptized, we were “re-married” in the church so I could keep taking communion, my in laws were furious…:wink: but I was thrilled. A couple years later I finally asked him what had changed his mind – it was those CD’s, specifically the one’s by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine! Of course my happiness and satisfaction in coming full circle back into the church and taking care of my sacraments finally helped, but that’s a different story.

I think that you need to “let go and let God” in dealing with your wife for now. You take care of YOUR spiritual needs as God is calling to you. Pray for your wife, pray for your own happiness, strength to come through this, and some patience. Who knows, she just might see your happiness, or your renewed spirituality as a beacon in the night and join you. If not, you are being called, and God has a specific purpose for you, so keep doing what you are doing. Don’t turn your back on God. Obviously the struggle right now is really disrupting your life. Turn to HIM and you will feel a lot more at peace, inside and even at home.

I wish you the best, you can email me at any time, or my husband for that matter! We’ll help answer any questions, and be some new Catholic friends. I commend you on what you are doing. I am praying you can take this journey in peace.

God Bless,
KC


#6

WELCOME - and here’s to hoping you become a member of the Tiber Swim Team - maybe 2008?

I would talk privately with your wife and tell her that while you absolutely respect her decision to practice her faith that you cannot continue to do so without it causing you pain. Then tell her, lovingly, that you have decided to explore the Catholic Church and hope that this will not cause her pain.

It is definitely a starting point in terms of communication…GOD BLESS YOU


#7

I hope this helps but I was on the other side of this one. My husband who was quazi active in the lds church became more and more troubled the more he studied about the gospel and church doctrine. Eventually this led him to a crisis of faith. He began looking around and like you found his mind, heart, and spirit slowly leading him to the catholic church. I still remember the day where he sat me down and told me he was going to start RCIA. I was heartbroken. All of the dreams of a happy lds married in the temple family went down in flames in a single second. Sure I knew my husband was not happy in the lds church but I had always been sure that he would come around and become more involved. I went to all the years of seminary and institute I thought I had already solved all of these problems but mostly I was happy with the family oriented side of the church and all of the social connections. I however believed it was true with all of my heart and had spent over 30 years in the church and couldn’t imagine leaving it. I cried for DAYS. It was a real physical pain. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be married anymore, after all this was not the deal I signed up for. I did love my husband and my children and I knew keeping the family together was what god wanted. I fasted I prayed and God just kept saying that my husband needed to do this. I couldn’t understand why my husband needed to destroy all of my dreams of raising my children in the church sending them on missions and eventually going on a couples mission when I was old with my husband. This didn’t make sense why would God tell me to keep my peace when I wanted to make my husband hurt as much as he was hurting me. Why would God be leading my husband away from the true (as I saw it then) church? It was a time of great darkness in my life. Some things that made it easier was that my husband was so on fire from his decision that he was praying and reading the scriptures all the time. This was new and I was impressed despite my doubts. My husband was a much better catholic that he had even been lds. Originally the deal was that he could go be catholic as long as he came to our ward and helped me wrangle the kids. Then I agreed that they could go to mass with him. I was still crying almost daily.


#8

I started to look at some of the things he was reading, but any time we talked about religion we ended up in horrible fights. This again was no good and put our marriage on the rocks. Finally we had to stop talking about religion for a time. When we stopped fighting I started listening around the edges. In secret I met with a priest and started asking him my real questions. Ones I couldn’t seem to ask my husband without starting world war three at home. It didn’t help that he became so anti-lds. The anti-lds stuff still bothers me when he does it. I finally came to one question. Why didn’t Jesus teach his deciples about the temple ordinances? I believed that Jesus was the beginning and the end and that he was the culmination of all teaching. Did he teach it and it got lost? I didn’t think so. So if Jesus didn’t recieve the temple ordinances he couldn’t be perfect and he was. If Jesus didn’t teach his followers about the temple then it is not a part of his church. This was very hard for me because I love the lds temples they are SO beautiful and have a quiet dignity that is awe inspiring. There were a lot of steps and none of them were easy. If you want more feel free to PM me. I was baptised catholic a little over a year ago. The things I miss most is my lds social group because I have not found my niche in the catholic church just yet.
I can’t say I know the catholic church is absolutly true but I knew where I was wasn’t the right place. I am still growing and I hope the day comes when I will feel connected to the catholic church as strongly as I was connected to the lds church. Me and my husband are still married and still have our three children. This change has been very rough on our marriage. We have survived and I believe our marriage is stronger now than ever. Hope this helps.


#9

What a story. Talk about a journey. Thanks for that.

David


#10

Wow, that’s a lot of great advice posted!

After reading your story, it seems to me like the Holy Spirit is really hammering you to come home. See, the Holy Spirit is like a strong wind. It changes things.

My advice is to seek out God and put Him first above all things else. I know how much it would hurt but God is the ultimate most important thing, so He comes first. He has to come first.

My other advice is to try to learn everything you can about Catholicism. Now, the Catholic faith is so rich so you can take your time. All these hating against us is just founded on misunderstandings about what we do. So if you could learn Catholicism and explain things to your wife, she might come to grips. I mean, the church is reasonable and logical. Really!

God bless you on your journey! May you find peace and fight the good fight.


#11

What a story! I highly reccommend If Only one Converts by Lynn Nordhagen. Here is a page with some more info: members.aol.com/Rom4Five/mixedmarriage.html

I know God will give you strength for the journey.


#12

Take your time. Force nothing on your wife. Let God be God which also means you need to follow where the Holy Spirit is obviously leading. In time I believe your wife will follow you into the Church. You just have to let God do it on His timetable.

Bishop Fulton Sheen once said,
“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

And a little humor, he also said this - A heckler asked Bishop Sheen a question about someone who had died. The Bishop replied, “I will ask him when I get to heaven.” The heckler replied, "What if he isn’t in Heaven?"
The Bishop replied, “Well then you ask him.” :extrahappy:

David


#13

Wow. So many helpful responses. I can tell the concern and care that went into each response, and I am very touched. Thank you. There are many things I want to say in response to all of the excellent suggestions I’ve received, but I need time to sit down and do it properly and now’s not the time. I may even share a bit more on what I’ve been doing to prepare for RCIA (which is still a few months off). I hope I can stay the course and actually follow through on my (at the moment) strong determination to attend beginning next August. Please pray for me since right now I have trouble praying for anything. I don’t know how to pray anymore in any way that doesn’t sound “Mormon” and every time I make the attempt I feel like I’m trying to pray to Zeus. Thanks again for your kind suggestions and concern!


#14

NewSeeker, I echo everyone’s thoughts. God bless you, and you have my prayers. :slight_smile:


#15

Let me know how I can help you. As you can see, I am from Austin, too. I converted from “nothing” in '88. I do not know the pain your wife feels. But I have read “Rome, Sweet Home” and can understand at some level. This could be very difficult for both of you.


#16

God is guiding you, but the road is very hard. It’s more than worth it, though. I can only echo everyone’s suggestions, and add a bit to the reading list. Rome Sweet Home is wonderful.I suggest Catholic Matters, by Richard John Neuhaus, and Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton. The first is about Neuhaus’ conversion and the Catholic world, and the second is a marvellous foundation in the faith, and a very enjoyable read.

My husband and I were received into the Church this Easter, after several years of praying, and a lot of agonising. We were extremely blessed to do it all together. I’ll pray for you, your family, and your search.

My favourite prayers for direction and during suffering are the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, and a Desert Fathers prayer: Lord, as Thou wilt and as Thou knowest, have mercy on me, and if there is war in your soul add, “Help me”. Uncomplicated prayers that leave your will entirely open to God’s.


#17

Listen to the Fundamentals of Catholicism by Father Robert Altier. These talks are excellent. trueteaching.net/


#18

Great Lissla! Welcome! But we all know the journey does not stop there!

Minor correction. “Rome, Sweet Home” is Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s conversion story. About the quest for Truth and the pain it can bring.


#19

Right. I meant “The first of my additions is Neuhaus’ conversion story…”

Oops.


#20

Well, I’ve had a night to think about everything that’s been posted here. First let me say how grateful I am for all of the great advice. I will take it very slow and work hard at lovingly discussing my journey with my wife. I’ve been angry at home for too long. That must stop and I believe staying the course into the RCIA will help. I have indeed felt like something (the Holy Spirit?) has been hammering me, this is something I’ve felt pushed to do for a LONG time (7 years in fact, when I first spoke with a priest). I must answer that Call. I long for the peace and joy that you all say you experience as Catholics. Please pray that I can stay firm despite periodic bouts of doubt and feelings that I’ll be betraying my wife. But I know I am on the right path. Many years of study and examination of the evidence has led me here (and KC philosophy was a part of it, just as for your husband, although I have yet to read Aquinas).

One thing I must not do is to let my anti-LDS feelings interfere in this process. Thanks for sharing your experience Jodi. It helps so much to know that you were my wife. I used to constantly hammer my wife, my parents, and my in-laws with questions about doctrinal/historical contradictions that I perceived and then I’d be frustrated when they wouldn’t see reason or care about the facts. Fortunately I stopped that a few years back, but not until I discovered I was only banging my head against a brick wall and bloodying only myself. In fact, I think that’s the core of my anger. Feelings of resentment and bitterness that no one wanted to hear me out and instead point fingers of blame at me regarding the fact that I’d never received the expected feelings-based spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon and the Church were true. I desperately wanted that and never received it, then was told by parents, in-laws, friends, and church leaders that it was my fault (I wasn’t sincere, or lacked sufficient faith, or didn’t want to live up to the church’s standards). And being accused of insincerity infuriated me and I went on the offensive and it was uncharitable. That’s something my wife remembers as a bad memory; we discussed it the other day and she hangs on to it as a resentment. Hopefully I can fix that and be the spiritual leader she always wanted (even if it’s not in the Mormon church).

Thanks for all of the book recommendations. I’ll read them all. I’ve already picked up Rome Sweet Home and am 1/3 of the way through it. F.J. Sheed’s Theology and Sanity and To Know Christ Jesus came in the mail yesterday - I’d already ordered those and look forward to reading them. Thanks for your prayers and the prayer suggestions. As I said before, I don’t know how to pray anymore so I need suggestions like those.

I emailed the deacon responsible for the RCIA at my local parish yesterday. I’ll keep you updated on how things progress.

God bless all of you!

P.S. Newbetx - what part of Austin do you live in ? I’m in Cedar Park and the local parish is St. Margaret Mary.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.