Friday, July 13, 2012

Q & A -- church and standards stuff

Is your community mostly LDS (Mormon)? Do your children have any non-LDS friends? Do you have any non-LDS family members? If so, how do you teach your children to interact with those non-LDS classmates / family? If not, how are you exposing them to people of other faiths? I ask because one of the things I love about reading your blog is how church and life seem to intersect so well- and I have found that to be the case with many LDS friends - they truly socialize and participate in the church throughout the week. Whereas, for many, church is just on Sunday and does not seep into the "rest" of life. However, the flip side of that is that the LDS communities can sometimes seem very insular to those outside the faith. What are your thoughts, and how to do you maintain a balance?

Growing up we moved around a lot.  I remember feeling different when we moved from Utah (predominantly LDS) to Virginia (where we were the only LDS kids at our school).  I liked having the opportunity to be different and to stand up for what I believed at times.  I liked being the only Mormon and explaining my beliefs to my friends, as well as learning all about theirs.  I remember living in Boston in college thinking to myself that I'd love to raise my family in a diverse community.  I genuinely like to talk about my religion as well as being exposed to others.  There are so many faithful, wonderful people out there.

But here we are in a pocket of the desert with a whole slew of LDS people.  And I love it.  We are surrounded by people with wonderful values and our kids have friends I couldn't choose better if I tried.  BUT it is so much more difficult to branch out of our religion here, and I want that for my kids.  You are right, Mormon church and life do intersect so well.  We see each other on Sunday, we have meetings mid-week, we visit teach each other and home teach each other.  It is wonderful but it does make it more difficult to branch out. 

Dave and I really encourage our kids to reach out to all the kids in their classes.  They all have good friends who are not of our same faith and we adore them.  But we should do better at this.  I would so love to live in a more diverse area for so many reasons.  But we are also trying to "bloom where we're planted."  We do feel like we are meant to be in this area and we are so happy here.  We just have to be more proactive about helping our kids see the wonderful and diverse differences that we can find.

I would love to know what you do on Sunday to make it a special day, other than going to church. Do you have certain things you do or don't do.  How old were your kids when you started teaching them that Sunday is a special day? 

I think as parents we set the spirit in our home on Sunday so if we treat it reverently, our children will as well.  I don't think it's something you "start teaching," rather just something you live.  We've tried a myriad of things to reiterate the importance of Sundays and always keep re-working.  One of the most important things I tell my kids is what my Dad showed me in the scriptures long, long ago:  "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).  Sunday is a gift.  Not just a day full of rules and things you "can't" do, but a precious gift of time to do things to re-connect with God.

I think the biggest thing that helps is when I put on Sunday, classical, beautiful music on all day.  It makes the feeling in our home so different from every other day when the kids have all kinds of other music blasting through.

We always have our Family Home Evening on Sunday as well (we do our activity on Monday night, but lesson and "family business" after church on Sunday).  More about our Family Home Evenings here.  I love that that gives us more of an opportunity for "together time."  We also do our Family Testimony Meetings on Fast Sundays and I have to say that I adore "Fasting Club."

Another thing that sets apart Sundays is that we cook together in the kitchen a bunch too.  (see this post)

Please do not think we are perfect on Sunday because we are SO not.  There is fighting.  There is whining. There is "checking the scores" on important sports games.  But we do really try to set apart that gift of a day to be together, to renew our covenants with God, and to plan for the week and to work on becoming more of who God wants us to be.

I was thinking of you as I was sitting in church, this past Sunday. I was watching the family in front of me, two parents and 5 kids (ages: 4yrs - 15yrs.) The parents were sitting on the ends of the pew, with all the kids in between them. I know you've mentioned how Dave is your #1, but did you sit next to him in church when the kids were younger? Do you sit next to him now? (when he's not traveling, of course) I felt so terrible for the Mom who had to do all the work of watching the two youngest kids. Meanwhile the Dad sat contently; unphased, listening to the speakers.

The goal is always to sit together because I like Dave...a lot.  But when our kids were younger sometimes I would laugh because we were that family you mentioned...three kids were piled on my lap and two clamoring next to me and Dave was sitting thoughtfully listening to the speaker.  There have been other times when Dave's the one being mauled by the kids.  We just do what works, and I sure like it when it works out that I can link my arm with his and listen thoughtfully to the words of wisdom being shared.

I wonder if you and your family, being LDS, are in favor of the type of "family" portrayed in "Sister Wives" - that is, where one husband is "married" to 4 or 5 wives and has multiple children by each of them. Are they just a rogue "sect" of LDS that is not accepted by the "mainstream" LDS adherents? How would you feel if one of your children decided to enter into that type of lifestyle? Would you accept their choice?  I just can't get past the moral (or actually) immoral aspects of having multiple "partners" - even if all parties are consenting adults. I still see it as something that God would not be pleased with. Your thoughts please.

Absolutely not.  I have never seen that show, so I'm not entirely sure what religion that is, but it is not LDS.  There are lots of break-away religions that believe in polygamy, but the Mormon church discontinued polygamy in 1890.  Read much more about that here (along with other Mormon responses on the topic).  One of my very most favorite things about my religion is how important family is, as well as marriage with one man and one woman.  Read about the "Family Proclamation" here.  (I LOVE THE FAMILY PROCLAMATION :)

How do you address modesty? I have 5 kids and two of them are girls. So far, we haven't had a problem with teaching modesty, but I'm a little anxious for when my oldest reaches her teenage years and has friends who may push limits.

I have a favorite video about this that I LOVE.  I don't want to sit and tell my kids "you can do this, you can't do this," etc.  I want to explain things and let them make decisions.  Obviously as parents of young children we make the decisions...we buy the clothes, the food, we all go to church together, etc.  But I hope that as our kids grow Dave and I can help them make decisions that will ultimately make them happy.  Max and Elle are already making such good ones.  If we explain why we love when they choose modest clothing the whole "big picture" makes so much more sense than when we just set rules and that's the end.

Anyway, this video is AWESOME.  Click here for the link, then click on that little "watch video" thing up in the right corner.

My 14-year-old daughter has been dating this boy for the last month. They are pretty steady and when I saw your post for valentine's day and I saw your reaction when Elle got a nice attention {in this post}, I wondered what you think about this. We are LDS and even thought I keep reminding her that maybe this isn't the right thing to do {in the Mormon (LDS) religion youth are strongly encouraged to wait 'til they are 16 to date}, she says that it makes her happy.

Max and Elle have had crushes on other kids, and they sometimes hang out together in humongous groups, but never alone and at this point wouldn't be caught dead calling anyone a boyfriend or girlfriend.  If they did want to "date" at this point I think I would again go back to talking about the "big picture" and whip out our little Strength of Youth booklet (click here to see it...oh man can I just say how much I LOVE these youth standards?) and talk about WHY Heavenly Father would encourage those kinds of dating relationships to wait for a while. 

My kids are still young, so I still have a lot to learn on this topic.  I'm sure this reader would love advice from anyone out there who would be willing to share it.

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I'm so happy people ask about my religion aned I'm happy to share.  Please keep the questions coming if you still have them.  I wanted to also point out a new website that has been put together by conscientious, experienced members of the church (including my parents) who are worried that media and external sources are defining the church rather than the actual members.  Because Mitt Romney is running for President, the church gets hundreds of media requests every day.  This brand new site defines Mormonism by it's members.

The site is here.  Click on "facts" and "answers" first if that interests you, and then go to "defining the church" to read what people have put in so far.  If you are so inclined and are LDS please feel free to add your own definition of Mormonism.
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