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Comments about ‘Ask Angela: I'm meeting his atheist family for the holidays, help’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 23 2013 9:55 a.m. MST

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Ranch
Here, UT

It sounds like she has a good relationship with her boyfriend. Morality isn't the sole realm of religion; athiests are frequently more "moral" in their personal lives than religious people because athiests do it because it is the right thing to do and religious people only do it because they're afraid of punishment. Athiests also enjoy the holidays; nobody ever said that holidays weren't to be enjoyed.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

U agree with Angela's advice but I worry about the prospect for conflict later on down the road and especially once there are children, etc. Will she feel pressured to give up on her church activity? Will he feel pressured to go to church even though he does not believe? Marriage has plenty of challenges without being divided on questions of religion or the lack thereof.

I hope the best for them. But I am concerned.

Dode
Smithfield, UT

Your advice is well and good for the holiday. I worry about afterwards if things get serious.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Every one want's the Stamp Of Approval. Since Christmas Isn't about "ME", It's about The Spirit Of Things. Religion is only what you do Religiously, Just mind your Manners, and be polite. You'll be fine.
I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

Which matters the most to you....this person and his family (whom you have never met) or your desire to live your religion fully and receive the blessings of the Temple for you and your future children? Please keep your eyes wide open. Since the family involved no doubt loves their son there may be no major issues and you may be accepted by them. Down the road, however, may be a different story. The most important question is how will he deal with your desires? Don't expect him to change after you're married just because you love each other and you want him to be more like you. You are the only one that can weigh the parameters and decide if this is what you want and what the Lord would have you do.

LetsBeRational
Spanish Fork, UT

RE Ranch
Your statement that "religious people only do it because they're afraid of punishment" is not true of most of religious people I closely associate with. We look at the commandments of God as advice from a loving Father who wants us to live as He lives that we can enjoy ultimate peace, joy, and prosperity (and by prosperity I don't mean $$$).

joe5
South Jordan, UT

Ranch: No stereotyping or prejudging for you, is there?

The GF: In Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life, he arrives safely at the tree. Once there, he beckons for his family to join him. Some do, some don't. But the key is that he never leaves the tree.

You, too, have reached the tree and tasted the goodness of the fruit. However, the vision records that many who reached the tree become ashamed and fall away. My advice for you: NEVER leave the tree.

Forget about what they may think of you. If they judge you harshly, then they are like the people in the great and spacious building.

Forget about any pressures or awkwardness.

Forget about the beckoning right now. You are not there to proselyte them. Let you example be the only preaching you do.

There are only three things I suggest you focus on:
- Enjoy yourself
- Love the people you are with
- NEVER leave the tree

airnaut
Everett, 00

My advise --

1. Don't you ever bring it [religion] up, ever.

If they want to open a discussion - fine, but let them start, and keep it on their terms.

I can almost guantee the "bad" experiences his family has had is from holier-than-thou, do-gooders, I'm saving you for your own good, with our withour your permission, like it or nots.

2. This is not just a one time weekend thing.
This will be a wedge you are going to have to live with 24/7/365,
with his family -- and with him down the road.
You need to accept it now, and not dream about "converting" him later.
The fact is -- Later may not ever happen, and are you willing to settle for that?

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

Sorry for the poor editing. It should read:

"I agree with Angela's advice . . ."

Southernmiss
kaysville, UT

I agree with Airnaut..

If your boyfriend has invited you to spend Christmas with his family, then this is more than just boyfriend/girlfriend. Recognize that now.

You need to look ahead. There are many decisions that will have to be made that will weigh heavy on your heart and the hearts of your family. You will not marry for time and all eternity. You may not have the opportunity to have your babies blessed, and certainly not by their father, then there will be baptisms, ordinations, blessings, missions.

My father was not a member. As a small child I couldn't understand why my mother married him. I loved him so much, but he wasn't there for my primary talks, baptism, or anything else. He was a kind man. When he passed away we could hardly wait to go to the temple and seal him to my mother.

Think ahead. You and your future family deserve "all the Father hath".

pat1
Taylorsville, UT

Christmas is a cultural holiday for many people. Just enjoy what their traditions are. Now. Regarding your relationship with your boyfriend, if you have it in the back of your mind that this is someone who will eventually join the church, you could be very wrong. If the two of you become committed enough to marry, these differences could become real problems later.

We have a child who now believes again, but is married and has a family with someone who does not and if this child becomes involved again, the marriage will not survive. This was never to become a problem, our child thought, because at the time of marriage our child was out of the church.

So at the holiday time, observe and keep an open mind, but don't harbor a fantasy that a possible life with your boyfriend would change to be more like how you were raised.

Goldminer
Salem, ut

joe5:

And you are not judging? I think Ranch pointed out some Truth; you did not agree with it and that, frankly, proved what he was saying. Stating a fact is not "judging"; nor is disagreeing with it either.

I think the young Lady is facing some difficult times in the future and that is based on what I have seen happen many times in the lives of others. She needs to look down the road and be prepared for what might happen and pray it doesn't. But ignoring potential problems will not make them go away; nor will love alone.

Goldminer

Cache Valley-ite
Windermere, FL

I agree with your advice to GF to "stay cool" and give it a chance to work itself out. However, I cannot let the comment by "Ranch" pass without comment. The attitude that " athiests (sic) are frequently more "moral" in their personal lives than religious people because athiests (sic) do it because it is the right ..." presupposes a life so devoid of challenges that with a little logical effort we can all just "figure it out". There are a number of logical traps, that lead us to entertain certain choices, without understand the devastating consequences, which are only perceptible to a spiritual point of view. Some examples from the headlines: accepting or indulging in "Gay" lifestyle and marriage, engaging in heterosexual sex outside marriage, ignoring the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy, imbibing in alcohol and other additive drugs, failure to pay a full tithe. ... and so forth.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Southernmiss

So sad that you couldn't accept your father the way he was and respect his decision to not attend church. Don't you think he would have if he believed in it? Your mother married him, I assume, because she loved him. Religion doesn't have to be a deciding factor on whether or not couples get married. That is a ridiculous notion.

joe5
South Jordan, UT

Brahmabull: Your statement shows a complete lack of understanding of religion in general and LDS doctrine in particular. Regardless of what people believe, the truth is the truth. If LDS doctrine is correct, even if nobody on earth believes it, then many will have robbed themselves of eternal blessings despite what they may have believed in mortality.

If you don't believe there is any truth,
or the truth doesn't matter,
or that the truth is that there is nothing after death,
then I can understand your comments.

But if you believe (as I do) that our mortality is a significant part of our eternity, then it makes sense that one would do everything in his power to learn the truth and build his life around it. In fact, it would be a ridiculous notion to do anything else.

RickChappell
Phoenix, AZ

I think Angela's advise is good. I'd like to add another possibility - it's a bit pessimistic, but it's best to have your eyes open and be prepared for it. It's not likely, but there is a chance that the opening their home might be a way to help "free" the GF from her oppressive upbringing. I know of a few people who have been in that situation, but I would think it would be pretty rare.
Some things to think about - you say trip, so I assume this is more than a day. Have you made sleeping arrangements. It's not uncommon for people today to assume that a couple is sleeping together and put them in the same room. How about the alcohol situation? It might be good to check some of these out before you go - that will give you some indication of what you are in for.
Most of these scenarios are unlikely - they majority of people are good-hearted, great people. But it's good to be prepared.

thebigsamoan
Richmond, VA

@Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Southernmiss

"So sad that you couldn't accept your father the way he was and respect his decision to not attend church. Don't you think he would have if he believed in it? Your mother married him, I assume, because she loved him. Religion doesn't have to be a deciding factor on whether or not couples get married. That is a ridiculous notion."

Just because you don't believe, you also therefore don't understand how important a thing it is to latter day saints to be together as an eternal family. Whether the father accepts the sealing is another story. Just because the ordinances of salvation has been performed in the temple doesn't automatically make it binding. He has to accept it of his own free will on the other side of the veil. No one is forced to receive the promised blessings against his own free will. That is the beauty of the gospel.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Failure to observe is the problem non-believers have. Just because someone fails to observe the numerous evidences for the existence of God does not mean millions of other haven't. I am a believer because I can not comprehend that all I experience in my life, all that I learn and all that I love, has no meaning! Because if the atheists are right, when we die, the lights go out and everything ends, forever, and therefore nothing has any meaning! As a believer, I know that everything I experience, everything I learn and everything and everyone I love belongs to me, forever! That's the difference!

RickChappell
Phoenix, AZ

Notice the number of people concerned about the long term? That should be an indication to worry. "It's amazing how many gospel principles I see him living on a daily basis" is a recipe for pain. Everybody is wonderful while they are dating. One - they are on their best behavior to make good impression (courting is really just sales), and two - he gets the "halo" from being the boyfriend - obviously you have strong feelings or you wouldn't be thinking of making a trip to see his family. What concerns me about that statement is that down the road you will be disappointed if he doesn't always live by the standards (that he doesn't share) and frustration that he's not changing. And from his point of view, the frustration of being expected to be something he's not.
I think Southernmiss nailed it on the head. How does the prospect of a lifetime as a part-member family sound?

fani
wj, UT

What do atheists celebrate during Christmas?

Maybe this is a way to see if this is a lifestyle you can live with, but then once we love someone our judgement tend to be skewed towards making the relationship work and compromising our values.

In the bible it was advised against marrying outside of one's faith for a reason. Samson being the most famous of marring outside of his faith that ended in his death.

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