How is it that one child in a TBM family will grow up totally committed to the faith paradigm while another child in the same family grows up with the, "show-me!" mind-set?   Are there particular steps TBM parents take that will make the former happen more often than the latter?


Having grown up in a TBM household myself, with the distraction of T.V. and the computer, my own experiences were very different than what children today are exposed to. Living in a rural community, with little exposure outside the Mormon community, I naturally assumed and accepted what was told to me by parents and what I was taught at church. To this day my sister siblings continue to, "life by faith" and refuse any and all invitations to enter the arena of logic, discussion and questioning. 


If TBM parents were to compile a list of 'does' and 'don't' on how parents should interact with their children to ensure their children grow up, "living by faith" what would the list look like?


I'm trying to compile such a list and would appreciate suggestions on ideas and wording to help make the following list a fair and accurate statement about what probably goes on in most TBM homes.

Teaching your children to live by faith


1. From the moment they are born talk to them about being an angel sent from Heaven Father for you to love and protect.


2. From the time they are not yet walking, teach your children to pray morning and night and over every meal. Constantly remind them a higher power (Heavenly Father) is watching their every thought and action.


3. Carefully guide your child’s thoughts, feelings and friends.  It is usually counterproductive to ask them how they feel and what they think. It is your job to guide and develop their feelings and thoughts to conform to your faith-based thinking. This stops them from the potentially dangerous possibility of them thinking unrighteous thoughts and forming opinion on their own that are inconsistent with your own faith and church direction.


4. Teach your children that their emotions cannot be trusted. Reinforce this by teaching them to feel bad about their own ideas, and to feel bad about feeling bad.


5. Make sure your children understand that being externally motivated by you and church leaders is good; being internally motivated can lead to impure thoughts; instinct and intuition are not to be trusted.


6. Just as you are dependent on your Heavenly Father for all things, teach your children to be dependent on you and (eventually) in complete faith, never questioning and never challenging those in authority over you in the church.


7. Be careful to teach your children only church authorized principles and practices. Have only church-approved reading materials in your home. Read


to them daily from the Book of Mormon and/or the Doctrine and Covenants. Create a home environment through prayer, family home evenings, scripture readings, church pictures and church-related games, etc.


8. Make sure that any choices you give them are within a framework that assures you of your result. “Do you want to wear your red dress or the blue one to Sunday school today?” In addition to choices about religion, repeat this formula for school, news stories, competing product brands and entertainment.


9. Keep your children passive. Aggressive children tend to rebel and question.


10. Don’t discount the importance of fear and guilt in encouraging your children to conform to the principles of the Restored Gospel.  Never, for example, suggest to your children that they can be involved in co-creating their future and the everyday realities in which they reside.


11. Repetition is key. Repeat ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ messages as often as possible.


12. Bypass rationality by any means possible. Children don’t need logic to accept information accepted on the basis of faith and belief.


13. Self-knowledge technology of all kinds is dangerous. Closely monitor what your children see on T.V. and the internet.  Social media networks attack the truth and reality of ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ daily. Words like “cult” and “brain-washing” are used to try and undermine you and your church’s authority over your children.


14. Keep your children’s attention on the idea that, “believing and faith is knowing.” Emphasize what’s wrong with science as much as possible.


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I'm going to respectfully disagree with this:


"Teach your children that their emotions cannot be trusted. Reinforce this by teaching them to feel bad about their own ideas, and to feel bad about feeling bad."


The church teaches children to trust in the spirit and that it will guide you.  How?  By how you feel.  When you feel good, that's the spirit, when you feel bad, that's satan.  The church teaches the children from a very young age to follow the prophet, he knows the way.  In other words, it's not about trusting your emotions so much as trusting your leaders...authority bias.  The thinking has been done. Faith plays into this.


The church conditions the child/adult to rely on God and not the arm of flesh.  In that respect, a persons own ideas, questions, concerns, doubts are frowned upon.  BUT, the person is conditioned to feel guilty and bad about such actions.  So when they do experience such issues, like self fulfilled prophecy they do feel guilt and bad and retreat from those issues.


Take for example the indoctrination and conditioning of the youth in this video of Jeffrey Holland to the youth of the church, called A Brand New Year in 2008.


A BrandNew Year



So, if a child is feeling bad because, for example, her puppy was just run over by a car, that 'bad' feeling comes zooming in from this mythical source called SATAN?  Even if you have a quote from some scripture to back up your 'taliban-radical' statement, it's outlandish nonsense and you should be ashamed of yourself for emotionally abusing your children with such crap! 


Without seeing with my own eyes, I otherwise wouldn't have believed that a parent in today's world would admit they are part of a huge conspiracy to brainwash children so it becomes impossible for them to think and feel for themselves. 

Uhmm...dude, you misread and misunderstood my reply...please read again. 


I am not advocating the mormon position.  I tried to explain it as I remember it and then gave an example from Holland of the conditioning and mind control. 


I do NOT...REPEAT, DO NOT and AM NOT supporting this batshit crazy mind control cult!  


What the fuck does a dog have to do with the relgious beliefs that you were discussing?  Good god man, that example sucked!  Of course a child is going to feel bad about things that happen that are misfortune, or whatever you wanna call it or label it.  I was never conditioned as a child in mormonism to feel bad for "feeling bad" about such things.  Where the fuck did you come up with that shit man? 

Sorry for not understanding where you were coming from.  Your recount of what you remembered is chilling in it's implications. The story of how you broke out of that cycle must be highly interesting/inspiring!

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to maintain a positive mental attitude about things.  It's how we cope with things when they turn bad that is important.  I'm not talking about suppressing such feelings, but recognizing them for what they are and moving forward. When you dwell on the negative aspects of life and compare your failings to another's successes, you can become depressed and discouraged.


What the Church did teach was that when temptations or inappropriate unclean thoughts entered our mind, to replace that with something church related, like a hymn.  To me that is suppressing it, bottling it up, and was unhealthy.  There is so much psychological  harm done by mormon indoctrination and conditioning.


What helps now?  I live for myself! When you constantly try to be the person others want you to be, you cheat yourself out of individuality and your own dreams.  I have come to accept that even if I can't control outside circumstances, I can control my reaction to them.  I left religion at the door and no longer carry it with me at work, at home or anyplace.  Do the same thing with other aspects of your life and stop carrying around baggage.  I try to live in the present moment and enjoy it by slowing things down.  The tasks that seem so pressing on us can also drive us to a negative feeling or attitude.  Take a break.  I like learning new things, reading new things and doing new things that help me move in a positive direction.  One thing that I do think that was good from my mormon upbringing is the good that we feel when we help others, only now I do it out of genuine and sincere desire rather than out of duty.  Helping others allows us to be thankful for our own lives and helps us maintain a positive attitude. 

I hear you about habituating early the practice of helping others.  For me I didn't resent doing the service but resented that it was always the church's agenda so there was never time to do self-promoted good works....


Thank you for sharing!  I still find the same thing, i.e. it's easier to not say anything than try to go through the 'minefield' of trying to explain emotions...

A rather chilling discussion, actually. As for feelings, it's my observation that they not only tell you what to feel (Warm fuzzy feelings), but where and when to feel them. (And even when not to, on occasion..). Failure to feel the promptings of the spirit is cause for concern and indication that said child is doing something wrong...

Isn't that the truth about "feeling the spirit" on their terms as dictated by the church!  If you don't feel it, there's something wrong with you!  Just recently, my wife's grandmother wrote on her facebook wall completely out of the blue.  We've been 3 years out of the church.  Here's what dear old grandma had to say:


"I read this morning that you are n exmormon and I would ask you if you are sure you are doing the right thing ask if the gospel is true----- "But behold I say unto you,that you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right,and if be right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you, therefore, you shall feel that it is right"D&C; 9:8)"


Clearly she believes her grand daughter didn't do the above steps, or if she did then she must not have studied it out, etc and been wrong with her decision.  Mormon's can be so arrogant and condescending in their responses.  My wife's reply was simple, "Yes I'm very sure I'm doing the right thing! I've NEVER been happier than I am now!!"

TBM's just cannot equate happiness outside of the church or being able to make choices without the guidance and prompts of leaders or the spirit.  Always relying on some external influence to make those judgments. 
Yes, it is really, really 'chilling' to think of children's feelings being so manipulated they know neither what to feel or when to feel it unless prompted by their parent(s) or a church leader. It's one thing to mess with a child's mind, but to mess with their inner core, or wellspring of feelings is tantamount to abuse of the worst kind. It violates recognition of the children as a person.  To me, this lack of respect for children as separate, thinking, feeling individuals is one of the worst 'sins' committed by TBM's. I call it "objectification of children."
Man, after reading this list I came to one conclusion.  In order to succeed, my parents really screwed up.  They didn't do hardly any of that stuff, and we lived in a house one block from a catholic church and school.  Dad called it "Vatican City."  I was allowed to run around with all of them, and  our house stunk like cigarette  smoke because their parents all smoked.  I think having converts for parents was a plus, and the fact that they came from poor white trash and broke out via G.I. bill and turned out to be flaming liberals was a plus as well.  My father and mother had my brother and me, and when I was 27 my mom died of cancer.  Then, all the single women in the ward came calling.  Dad had what we now know was a complete nervous breakdown, lost 35 pounds in 6 weeks, all the while working, washed every wall in the house every weekend, and here's where my step mother comes in.  Starts leaving food with little scripture verses attached.  Leaves little notes on the toilet.  Brings her kids around, who were the ages of my kids.  Dad tells me he thinks he's dying, and he needs a purpose, someone to do for, to care for.  It wasn't sex.  She's butt ugly.  But my dad had always been an equal where chores and cooking were concerned, child rearing, you name it.  So three months to the day of my mom's death, and not one move from future step mom in my direction, they piled into dad's car and drove to a temple in Canada and got married.  Now, it's 30 years later, and one year after he married her he adopted her kids.  She hates my guts with such a vengeance she won't speak my name, refuses to look at me, and makes sure I'm not exposed to her grand children.  She has a hard on for Rush and Glenn, hates my father for being a liberal, refuses to talk to him as well.  He does all the cleaning and outside work at the age of 88, while she flits around trying to look like a good tbm.  Of all of my dad's 5 children, we ALL left the church.  I just think he raised us to think too much for ourselves.
Yes, and I'll suggest that BECAUSE your parents didn't DO anything that's on that list when you were young, you and your siblings were all able to escape the 'abyss of faith' that Mormonism demands. Sounds like the TBM step-mom is a narrow-minded b_t_h of the first order and your poor dad has paid a heavy price for his so-called 'purpose' in life.  What a sad commentary of why NOT TO raise children in a religious environment of guilt and fear.  Thanks for sharing Polly!


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