We are an orthodox Catholic family with 5 children. Recently a Mormon family moved in on our block and our children have become friendly with theirs. They are a nice family and we like them just fine, but I want to take steps to protect my children from any evangelization tactics that may start in the future. Besides working on making sure our children are well-formed as Catholics (something we focus on anyway), are there things I can do to help guard my children against this?
How old are your children?
Is there any chance that the Mormon family is asking the same questions about your children that you are about theirs? I think Step 1 may be to bring some cookies or home-baked bread over to the family to welcome them to the neighborhood. Then get to know the parents. A small act of charity will do wonders to establish trust with each other.
Maybe consider: What steps do you think would be appropriate for them to take to ensure their children’s beliefs are respected and protected. Then do the same.
Golden rule and all
Years ago we hired a 20 year old woman to be a nanny for our first child. She is Mormon, and she and her whole family were absolutely wonderful. We never had any qualms or concerns about the physical or spiritual well-being of our daughter.
Of the two LDS families and a grad-school classmate I’ve been friendly with, none ever discussed religion with me. I think they’re aware of the discrimination they often face and are therefore hesitant to open up about their faith.
Oh, yes, we did that when they moved in several months ago, and our kids have played together almost every day, we’ve had the family over for dinner, we spent New Year’s Eve at their house. We’ve babysat for one another. The mom has invited me to their church 3 times so far. I want my children to be prepared.
The difference is that the mom has already invited me to their church 3 times and my experience with Mormons has been that they are fairly aggressive at evangelization. This is the first time my young children have encountered Mormons.
My experience with LDS people is a bit different. I have encountered a lot of LDS members who are fairly aggressive about evangelization. My neighbor has lived here 3 months and has already invited me to her church 3 times. I want my children to be prepared.
Sorry I missed your first question. My children range in age from 1-17, but it’s my younger ones (12 and under) who play with their kids.
Best neighbors I ever had was a Mormon family…hated to see them move.
They were aware my family was practicing Catholics, and “evangelization” never was an issue. They were kind, respectful, decent people which I have found with most Mormon families.
In fact I was more comfortable with my kids hanging with theirs, or at that home than a lot of Catholic kids and households near by.
I know I’m being sarcastic with this next comment, but I don’t think they win cars and trips for recruitment, so relax.
And inviting someone to Church isn’t aggressive in my mind…I invite people all the time…but I don’t, nor do the Mormons I know, tie kids up and drag them to Church.
Haha, I know what you mean. I get that they aren’t going to drag my kids by force to their church. I also agree that invitations aren’t aggressive but we’ve only known them 3 months so I honestly don’t know what is coming if they’re already bringing up our joining them at church somewhat often.
I was looking for ideas for preparing and educating my kids but I can see already that this forum isn’t going to give me that kind of help.
Thanks anyway, all.
One of the Mormon families I knew demonstrated a commitment to pro-life that I hope to never see again.
After three children, the couple was told that a fourth would endanger the mother’s life because of a serious heart problem. She was determined to have another baby and got pregnant.
She dropped dead in her kitchen several months into the pregnancy, home alone with the youngest of her three children. The other two, who were in early elementary school, arrived home from school that day to find an ambulance at their house. Her death ripped the family apart.
The father was clueless about taking care of children because that had been his wife’s job. He remarried a divorcee with two children of her own a few years later. That marriage ended within about three years. The second wife dedicated her life to helping him and his children, who by then were running into trouble with drugs and skirting trouble with authorities. In the end, she couldn’t sacrifice her own health and the well-being of her two biological kids (all five kids were teenagers at this point), and she moved out. A couple years after that, the father brought in another, younger, woman with two younger children. His own were all out on their own by this point.
The mom was sort of a wreck. Seemed like she maybe bounced from one household to another and dragged her kids with her. All four of them, (two kids, mom, and the original neighbor) moved away. One of the saddest things I’ve heard was when the older daughter, in 6th grade at the time, mentioned that she was moving. Again. Didn’t know where. She got wistful and said, “I was starting to like living here.”
To be fair, the original neighbor was a good guy. A nice man. Friendly. Incompetent as a single father, not capable of controlling his kids after their mother died (no doubt he struggled as well), but I’m sympathetic toward him.
They will probably make great neighbors and generally safe friends for your children to engage with.
Maybe get to know the parents, have a candid discussion that affirms you want to raise your kids with a strong Catholic faith but you will support them and promise not to evangelize their kids, and you expect the same.
Given time and friendship, the kids will naturally compare. Hopefully you have good communication with your tots, so they will talk to you about their questions when they do arise.
I live here in Utah so things are quite different. When my children were younger they played with the lds kids all the time. Problem was that when they found out they couldn’t get us to convert they wouldn’t allow our children to play with theirs. Quite difficult trying to explain to my kids why they were not allowed to play with them. Whole neighborhood was lds. No more hellos or waves from the neighbors. Glad we moved away from that neighborhood.
That’s sad. I’m sorry.
I know what you are getting at. I once lived in a small suburban community that was close to 90% Mormon. Everything there was about the LDS, even the public school. If you were not LDS or didn’t want to be, you were basically shunned.
My boys were left out of sports, scouts, school activities, and had very few friends to play with. They would come home and tell me they had to go to church with them to be on the team. When I would ask the parents, coaches, and teachers they denied it but…the reality was the same. After 18 months I moved back to the city which was far more diverse.
In your situation I would continually talk with your kids to make sure they are not getting a different message than you want them to have. I would also have a frank discussion with the parents about your faith & theirs. I would let them know you are firmly Catholic and ask them to respect that and that you will do the same for them.
If she keeps inviting you just say my religion doesn’t allow me to but thanks anyway, and smile sweetly. They might not have looked at it like that before
Further on this topic, as a small child my family lived in a small community that was 99% LDS. Only 3 Catholic families in the greater community.
We stayed strong in our faith and it was a good community, even if we were ‘outsiders’. It wasn’t till my older siblings were in high school and dating that my mom became worried. My dad transferred to another town which incidentally had two parish churches within a few minutes drive. Romantic relationships are a big source of conversion, much more so than friendships.
I have some relatives who are Mormons and as such I have known some and I’ve been to a Mormon funeral once and talked with a Mormon bishop and some members of the Congregation.
I will say they are very nice people, genuinely very nice and friendly. The ones I know do attempt to envangelize in little ways and in little comments (much like us Catholics do) but they aren’t going to throw the Book of Mormon in your face, unless of course they are ringing your doorbell as missionaries… those I have had a few times and usually they spew some anti-Catholic comments, not necessarily harsh or offensive but in an attempt to make me question and be open to what they are saying.
You could speak with the parents, perhaps invite them to dinner or something and just talk about boundaries. I think it’s healthy to learn about each other’s faiths, while we don’t have to agree with them we can certainly find some commonality. Theologically it is hard to find commonality from the Mormon bishop and clergy people I’ve spoken with but in terms of lifestyle, they live a most holy and devout lifestyle, one that I highly respect and admire.
I live in a mormon area. My kids are friends with many mormons. The evangelizarion happens a lot in high school and adulthood. As kids it’s pretty normal kid stuff. They are not aware of the differences in dieties or terminology. Just be friendly with the family who knows, you might make some friends yourselves.
First of all, until you have a problem, you don’t have a problem. But you could teach your children to respond to an invitation,
“Maybe someday if my mother lets me, but I doubt she will let me. We’re Catholic and we go to the Catholic Church.”
As for the mother, you should invite her to your church. That will stop her from inviting you anymore.