I will be discussing three individuals in this message anonymously.
For reference, I will call them persons A, B, and C.
Person A is a personal acquaintance of mine, and is an extended family relation to both persons B and C, but I do not know either of them. A is technically still a member of the church, but does not believe in it, and no longer attends. A comes to me frequently for advice and information regarding Mormonism, and religion in general, due to the fact that I like to stay in the know on the goings on related to these subjects.
Person A is currently dealing with a situation involving B and C, and wants my advice on how to approach it. So I thought I’d throw it out to all of you, for an even broader perspective.
Person B is a 60-something man. His parents converted to Mormonism when he was a teen, and he attended with them, but he was never really into it much. Most of his adult life, he lived as an agnostic, and didn’t really claim affiliation to any religion. Late last year B was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and will probably die within the next few months. Apparently, when faced with his own mortality, B has now experienced a sort of “deathbed repentance” and stated that he desires to “return to his roots” (meaning: belief in Mormonism). He has attended church a number of times, and has accepted priesthood blessings.
Person C is B’s wife. From my understanding she is a life-long Christian (perhaps Baptist or Lutheran) and was at some point very devout in her beliefs, but may have lapsed in recent years. When B made known his desire to return to the Mormon faith, he suggested that C join him, before he dies. C has been recently meeting with local missionaries, and has now expressed a desire to be baptized. The baptism is tentatively scheduled for the middle of March. C has expressed that she enjoys the frequent visits with the missionaries.
Person A thinks (and I agree) that both B and C are in a very vulnerable emotional state right now, and that the missionaries are merely preying on their emotions, in order to get another baptism. I remember as a missionary, we were instructed to specifically target people who had recently lost a loved one, because they would be susceptible to our message of “families are forever”. A is concerned with what will happen to C, emotionally, after (1) she is baptized and the missionaries stop visiting, and (2) B dies. Will she be completely abandoned by her new church, and discover an entirely new level of depression? Additionally, A is concerned that in this emotional condition, B and C are not in the best position to make rational judgments regarding religious belief (to which I also agree).
A would like to approach C with these warnings, as well as some information that the missionaries won’t tell church investigators (for example: the essay on Richard Packham’s web site), so that C can make a more informed decision. But A is also worried about how to approach the situation, especially with the fragile emotional state of B and C. A is trying to balance two ideas: How do you express your concern and warn people about a potentially dangerous decision they are making, while allowing people to make their own decisions as the adults they are? And how does one approach this fragile situation in a way that will be respectful to their well being, expressing the proper feeling without overstepping boundaries.
I should also add that Person A lives a few hundred miles from B and C, so the only communication options are mail, email, or phone. A thinks that the communication will take place by email, because they have an email history with each other.
Your thoughts please…
Worthless Secrets makes such a deep and valid point in his last sentence. We cannot change others, all we can do is change ourselves. Due to personal pain in life (and overcoming it) I have more of a non emotional approach (at least outwardly). My sisters call me Spock. I just want to deal wit the issue and get the hell away from it. I am so tired of drama and abuse.
If your house is on fire do you want someone to stop and discuss the fire and all its related issues, or just put the damned thing out. It is easier to discuss in a cogent fashion then. If we learn what caused it (a cause and effect relationship) we just might be able to avoid a future problem. To not know what caused it almost guaran-damned-tees that you will have it again and repeat that behavior.
People, me, you, others need to learn to take care of issues, put the fire out, stop the blood flow. Then we need to move quickly on to the other patient. The other patient is usually .... us.
people need to stop defining the dog doo on the yard, stop tellking others with great demonstative acts what the dog ate, what he was thing when he pooped on the yard, what he looked like.... drama drama drama, unfounded perception for the sake of drama upon ego stacked upon low self esteem issues..... ad naseum. Usually we know exactly what has to be done to rectify as much as possible. We don't because of fear so, we draw others into the whirlpool of drama and emotion.
Find out what caused the problem, fix it, and move the hell on.
We cannot change others. We can change/ upgrade / achiieve with ourselves. The war hoop dance of emotion, catatonic fear, and drama has to stop and the solution found.
Don just IMHO, :)
Frankly, I wonder how well Person A knows C and B? If he knows C very well he should also know how she may take his advice.
If he is really concerned than he should just offer unconditional support.
I do not want to sound insensitive, but C needs to be told (gently) the missionaries do not tell the whole story about the CHURCH!!
Then, kindly remind C of what she already has as a life-long Christian (either Baptist or Lutheran it doesn't matter which). She supposedly was born-again, has a belief that Jesus is her Savior and Lord, period, and that is all that is required to be saved (apart from growing in the faith). None of the Mormon rituals etc. are necessary because, as a Christian, she has all that is necessary to be in a right relationship with God, for eternity.
She then can appeal to B that all anyone truly needs is a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and not all that Mormonism demands. It is God (Christ) we must look to and not any church!!. She can encourage B to look to Jesus and not to a man-made requirements. As an in-active and non-devoted member for years, B just might understand quicker than it might be known at this time.
I realize this is a tender time with B dying but SHE has her life to continue and most likely will regret a decision made at a time of vulnerability. I will pray for them.