So I’ve been back in the Church from Mormonism (left the Church for Mormonism 28 years ago) for a little over a month. I did significant studying/catechesis/etc before I came back.
Prior to leaving the Church (28 years ago) I actually had a pretty significant level of theological understanding of Catholic theology, but a woefully insignificant personal maturity, coupled with a Bipolar Illness of over 30 years in duration (I am, of course, Bipolar to this day and take significant doses of mood stabilizers).
All this being said, since coming Home I have really struggled with the fact that my wife is a Mormon. I have definitely concluded that Mormons are NOT Christians, and in fact lie more along the lines of Polytheists/Henothists.
Long and short of this.
I really feel uncomfortable praying with her as we really don’t worship the same God or the same Christ.
I admit that I haven’t shown her respect, such as observing silence when she prays,
I just don’t know what approach to take.
Oh yes - our children are pretty much grown, but - get this - my son is on a Mormon mission even as I write.
First of all, respect is the single most important thing in any relationship, be it friend or co-worker or spouse.
You MUST show respect to your wife at all times. It is okay to let her know (in a gentle way) that you disagree with her choice of religion, but stress that you respect HER, and HER BELIEFS and HER REASONS for those beliefs.
If your wife thinks you don’t respect her:
Your relationship will erode to the point where it is irrepairable.
She will never take your beliefs seriously because she will see your beliefs as the source of your disrespect.
She will not respect your views, so she will not listen to anything you say.
Remember that your wife is a child of God, and therefore beloved by Him, so she deserves your respect.
Respect is the one thing everyone craves. Give a person some respect and (s)he will be yours forever. If she is ever going to listen to you about what you believe (NOT what you demand that she believe) you will need to have a loving and trusting relationship wherein you can discuss things in a friendly and non-threatening way.
And even if your wife never embraces Catholicism, if you show her the proper kindness and respect you will have a happy and fulfilling marriage despite your religious differences.
Resolve to do some little kindness for her every day. Expect no compensation from her. Just do it because you love her. This is not a prescription for converting someone - this is the basic necessity for a loving marriage.
Here is the easiest and best way to have respectful relationships with your wife and others around you:
DO NOT strive for agreement with your wife; strive for CLARITY. That is, don’t try to get her to agree with you, just try to really understand what she thinks and believes (listen to her attentively and don’t interrupt). This is the thing that women want most from men and the thing that most men are clueless about. If you really listen to her (no matter how long it takes) and don’t interrupt, this alone will improve your marriage 1000%.
And try to communicate to her, softly and gently (after she is finished talking - you haven’t interrupted, right?), what you believe and why. In the beginning keep it short and simple - she will probably be in shock because you actually listened to her like she wished you would all these years.
You will be shocked at the turn-around in your relationship once your wife realizes that you are not trying to get her to agree with you; you are really trying to understand her and trying to get her to understand you. That is all. Nothing more.
Like my sig says, I prefer clarity to agreement. This has been the one thing that has turned around my relationships, my career and my life in general. I invite you to give it the 30-day trial. Trust me, you will never go back.
Pray with your wife. She can fold her arms and you can cross yourself and fold your hands - it’s all good. There is only one God. If you believe that, then believe that all people who pray, no matter how defective you think their idea of God is, they are praying to the ONE GOD, because HE is the only one anybody CAN pray to.
I suggest you take turns praying out loud. When you pray, do not pray for her to see the error of her ways.
First pray for forgiveness for your many sins and shortcomings. We all have them. Even a righteous man falls seven times a day (Proverbs 24:16). Then pray for Our Lord to bless each member of your family as their needs require. Especially pray that God, our Father, will bless your wife in all that she needs and all that she does. Only God knows what we need. Express that and ask God to give us all the blessings that we don’t even know enough to ask for.
When your wife prays be assured that, although you think her concept of God is incorrect, God hears her anyway, as He hears everyone who seeks Him. Give a heartfelt “Amen” to her prayer. Don’t be so dense as to think that God hears you more than He hears her. God is not so petty as we make Him out to be. He loves us so much that He stretches a long way to meet us.
Remember that God created your wife for the same reason He created you - because He loved the very idea of her. Hold on to that and you will be okay.
Paul, you absolutely amaze me. You have such a simplicity of heart, with deep faith and humility, that’s always been so obvious to me. I always look forward to reading whatever you have to say, every time you post. I think I was the first one to read this thread when it was first posted, but I was at a complete loss as to how I should reply to it. I really have no personal experience that I could relate to what the OP was going through. I knew it was probably better if I didn’t respond, hoping that one of our former LDS guys could do a much better job. And, you didn’t disappoint me! You’ve certainly answered it so much better than I ever could have. God bless you!
Paul, your posts were an inspiration. I hope that the original poster will benefit - your advice is simple enough and straightforward. But we can all benefit from that.
We all know that we should spend more time listening (we have two ears and only one mouth), but to strive first for clarity, before agreement - that’s really great advice! It’s already in my diary to contemplate every day.
This relationship we are to have with Mormons is definately a challenge, let alone within a marriage!
As Paul has conveyed, it demands strong devotion to the compassionate, gentle and unoffended Spirit of God. I too agree her prayers can be heard, it gets more complicated when we ask wheather Mormons are listening too, in their prayers. The Holy Spirit definitely guides believers.
I’ll share a passage from St Paul which touches on some of this issue.
1 Cor. 7
12 To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us** to peace. 16 Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
As much of Paul’s Teachings, it takes much wisdom to understand. One aspect of this Teaching, I believe, is relative to the bond which the Sacrament gives. Another is the conversion which we should compell our dearest friend towards. And yet another, is the demand for the believer to honor his/her marriage completely.**
It is definitely a struggle to have a good relationship with LDS family members. I’ll pray for you and your wife.
Were you sealed in the temple during your time in the LDS church? If so, she may see your rejection of the LDS church as a rejection of her and your marriage. In her mind, she may see that since your left the LDS church, you don’t want to be married to her for eternity. LDS have a tendency to take a rejection of their faith as a rejection of them, especially when it comes to family. She is probably afraid that you want to leave her now that you have left the LDS church. You need tor reassure her that you love HER and respect HER despite which church she attends (and the gods she believes in).
I am BIC and my family are all faithful, true believing Mormons. My mother believes that since I rejected Joseph Smith, I rejected her. She takes everything very personal. Even though I have zero respect for Mormonism, I decided to show respect for the faith of my family, otherwise, I couldn’t really ask them to respect mine. My parents are from a very anti-Catholic generation so my becoming Catholic is, in many respects, more shocking and difficult than my leaving the LDS church. Not that I have had much success in dealing with my LDS family as I am currently estranged from my parents (due to their lack of respect for me and my husband as parents and not respecting boundaries) and two of my three siblings don’t know how to deal with it, so I get shunned.
I suggest to continue praying with your wife even though you have problems with it, which I completely understand, out of love and respect for her. When it is her turn to pray, let her pray the Mormon way with your full attention and respect. When it is your turn, pray the Catholic way, and pray as Paul suggests. Pray for her. Even though Mormons don’t believe in or worship the One True God, I believe many of them have a desire to do so.
You don’t need to let your wife walk all over you but if you show her respect and love, she will reciprocate.
You are praying to the One True God even though your wife doesn’t have the same concept of God as you. After I realized I spent my whole life praying to a false concept of god, I became extremely disheartened. After talking with the priest and realizing that the One True God was listening to me even then, I became comforted. He listens to your wife too and is always gently working on her, to lead her to truth. Perhaps God will work through you to touch her. It is hard but you need to have patience.
My mother continues to put my name in the prayer roll at the temple where she volunteers each week. She even asked me if I was okay with that! Even though I do not believe as she does, I respect her own beliefs and allow her to care for me in the way that she knows.
My husband still attends the Mormon Church. So glad he cares for my happiness enough to be open to me attending Mass each week! On his side, he is showing respect for me too. I’m not so good with saying nice things about the Mormon Church but I will keep asking for God’s grace and mercy in this.
You are most welcome. As you can see, I’m not alone in recognizing what excellent advice it is.
And to the OP, you can be assured that this is definitely the best approach to praying with your wife, as well as nurturing the love you share in your marriage. This is not going to be easy for either of you, but as long as you try to follow Paul’s advice, it should be a bit less painful. In the meantime, we will all be praying for you, and hoping that she will eventually follow you home.
I was wondering Kendra if your heart was moving you toward Catholicism. I left the Mormon Church almost 30 years ago. I was born and raised Mormon. When I was a child the Mormon Church was pretty much my life between Sunday meetings and all of the other activities. I guess I was probably naive, but I did believe that Mormonism was the one true church. When I was in my thirties I started to hear troubling things about the church. Ironically the things I learned came from some TBM’s. We didn’t have the internet then so I checked out dozens of library books and determined that most of the things I had heard were probably true. My wife also came to the same conclusion. I was through with religion for the next 25 years. Then on a Saturday evening six years ago I walked into the only Catholic Church in my town. I didn’t realize it then, but the Holy Spirit was pushing me towards baptism. I fell in love with the Lord and the Church and entered the Church 21/2 years ago. At the time I became interested in Catholicism, my wife became interested in Mormonism again and now is completely active in the Mormon church. Now we are divided because I know the truth about Joseph Smith and Mormonism and she has a real bias toward Catholics. Way back when I grew up Mormon I remember hearing all of the time about “the evil Catholics.” Even though I’m pretty sure she still knows all about the troubling history of early Mormonism and the supposed prophet Smith, she doesn’t care to hear about anything Catholic. Anyway it has caused a real schism in our marriage. I read the reply by Paul and even though I have tried to do a lot of what he says I still have some bitterness because she is a practicing Mormon again. Mormonism is so far from traditional Christian and Catholic beliefs. In my mind I equate it to be married to someone that believed in Voo-doo or the occult. Actually Joseph Smith did have somewhat a believe in the occult or some aspects of it. I’ve lost a lot of respect for her and our marriage is hurting. I’m still a very happy Catholic, Kendra and I hope you will give the Catholic Church a look see. The Catholic Church has the authority, an unbroken line of authority all the way back to our Lord Jesus. :signofcross:
My friend, if it was easy, then everyone would be doing it. Keep at it, and strive for clarity, not for agreement.
If you strive for clarity, that is, to truly understand one another’s beliefs and feelings without pressure to agree, it means that you trust that the Holy Spirit can do what He does best - convert the mind and heart.
I recommend that when you speak with one another about important things, you sit close together and hold hands. Trust me on this.
You just plant the seeds of clarity and understanding and let the Holy Spirit do His thing. It takes the burden off of you. Remember, Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Part of that easy yoke and light burden is not trying to do what only God the Holy Spirit can do. Let it go and just love her like she deserves to be loved and trust God.
Your wife may never convert to Catholicism. But that is between her and God. Do not try to make yourself responsible for something you cannot control.
Concentrate on the day-to-day happiness of your marriage. THAT you CAN control. Be that believing husband that sanctifies his wife (1 Cor. 7:14) with your kindness, your respect and your trust in God. That is your sole duty and responsibility. Everything else is in God’s hands.
Pray for your wife but not with her. Only pray with those who worship the same God. This means only other Christians, since only Christians pray to the Trinity. The gods of other religions - Islam, Mormon - are idols.