What to do when an SDA father in law gets involved

My husband has always been SDA, but married me in the Catholic church and has never practiced his SDA since he’s been with me. BUt every chance his parents and brothers get, they get on the phone with him to feed him lies about the Pope, the priests, the end, etc. nothing about the bible and living a better life as a Christian, but trying to put him against the church more than what he already is (since they’ve instilled this stuff in him). He respects me raising the kids Catholic and even attends church with me, but it worries me what these conversations are doing to him, since he takes it all in as truth and does nothing on his own to discover the truth. Worse off, it concerns me that if he starts sharing these stories with my children, it will totally confuse them and wreck their love for our Church. I pray for him, as he i n the middle, but I don’t know if there’s more I should be doing. Any advice, or others who have been in this same boat?

How do you know what they’re telling him on the phone? Does he discuss it with you?

How well-formed in the faith are you? Is engaging him going to confuse you and endanger your faith?

How well versed in apologetics are you? Can you answer challenges?

Before this is a religious issue, this is a marriage issue. I’d recommend two things:

  1. After one of these talks with his family sit him down and ask him what he believes about those statements. I, for example, will listen to my dad talk about Creationism, and make noises of agreement every now and then if he says something I do agree with, but I don’t believe in Creationism. Someone listening in might think that I agreed with everything my dad said, but I just don’t hold the issue important enough to argue over with someone who I love and respect. Make sure you know, from him, what he thinks about these statements. This could lead to “well why do you believe that ___________? What evidence did they give you?”

  2. Tell him explicitely what bothers you about these statements. Do they feel like attacks on you? Do you worry they undermine your authority (or “our authority”) to teach your children the faith “we” have agreed to teach “our” children? Use statements about yourself “I feel…” I think…" “I believe…” instead of “you are…” “they are…” etc. When describing the statements don’t say “lies” try “falsehoods” or “things I don’t believe are true” or “half truths.”

Most importantly though is number one. Is he actually listening to them?

SDA is very anti-Catholic. They do however admit to some things other Protestant groups do not. Like The Catholic church changed the worship day to Sunday. The reality is this change was done by the Catholic church but much earlier then they say. It was most likely done by the Apostles themselves.

SDA tends to say “Catholicism” was "Invented at the council of Nicea by Constantine.

My advice is to familiarize yourself with basic Catholic apologetics, especially the early church fathers prior to the Council of Nicea. 1st and 2nd century writers like Ignatius of Antioch (89 a.d.), Ireneaus (150 A.D) Justin Maryr (150 A.D.), Clement of Rome ( 2nd century). I would look up the apologetics on Catholic answers main web page. their tracts typically quote early fathers to support catholic claims. You can then cross reference these quotes here: earlychristianwritings.com/churchfathers.html
This will take some time to do. (Trust me I know. I was in a similar situation) But you will be able to establish that Catholic beliefs have been around since the beginning and not invented at the councils but rather reaffirmed. You will be able to establish Apostolic sccession, The real presence in the eucharist, The authority of the Pope, Sacred tradition, and Many beliefs about Mary were around from the beginning and come from th apostles. You will also be able to show that the very bible they (and all other Protestant sects) shake at us comes from us.

Then, when you are prepared, You can go to your husband and say " I understand that your family has raised you to think certain things about the Catholic church. I would like the chance to give you our sidew of the story. I’m not trying to convert you, I just don’t want you to believe falsely about my church."

I would also recommend reading the new testament from the first page of Matthew to the last page of Revelations and take notes. read it like a book, not like the protestants do, i.e letting someone throw unrelated scripture verses at them and saying it means “this”. You will find the scripture verses don’t say what they think they say. (The dirty little secret is Protestants don’t actually read the bible for themselves, if you do then you will be way ahead of them)

This is what I did and it greatly turned the situation around. realize that it may take a year or so. That’s o.k. I assume your children are still young. Don’t rush it you want to be well prepared when you approach your husband. If your husband is not receptive you can at least counter the in-laws claims with the children. My experience is that the children will then start asking the in-laws and your husband questions they can’t answer. And it will all stop.

Thanks for all the advice, and all of it is very true. I, a few years ago, stopped talking about the bible wtih him, because he was confusing me and I didn’t know much about the church. Now I don’t know much more, still learning, but I’m more weary about his discussions and I’ve studied up on their beliefs, so I’m a bit more prewarned. He does seem to just non-chalantly listen and respond to his dad, but doesn’t get real involved. To know what’s in his head, that’s another story,and even if he were to admit his doubts to me, it would be for him, like lacking respect to his parents and his religion that he still admits to being 100%faithful to. So it’s a hard situation. ANd it’s harder to have with him, because I get emotionally involved, and that makes things worse.


May want to buy him a book. Suggest Scott Hahn, Rome Sweet Home. It’s an easy read, well written and addresses many misconceptions of the Church. It’s his conversion story. Many other good book options…

all these are good advisings for me. No doubt I will become a better Catholic with all these tests God is putting before me.

I’m sure that this is open to correction, but I wouldn’t say that God test’s us…rather God is unchanging, God is Truth. We, in knowing him more intimately - change…the test is within us - more about our reconciling faith and reason within our intellect and living a life imitating God in holiness. The key is our search toward truth in our understanding of God.

It’s been said there are two types of people ultimately: those that seek the truth and those that do not. Keep seeking mama…Catholicism is the fullness of Truth…


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