This week's question is from a reader whose parents are leaving the LDS Church and whose siblings are putting on the pressure to not go home for the holidays.

Dear Angela,

My parents surprised us with the news that they’re leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church they raised us in. They love the gospel, but feel like the people in their ward mistreat them, and have always mistreated them, and I guess this is the only solution they can think of.

Now my older siblings are angry with them (my parents) and have decided that if they don’t go back to church, then they (my siblings) won’t go home for the holidays. My parents are very hurt, and this is just hardening their hearts even more. I want to go home and I want everyone else to be there too, my siblings, their kids, it’s not home without all of us — even if things are tense.

I’ve voiced this opinion to my siblings who have said that if I go home it’s like I’m condoning their actions, which makes me “just as bad as they are.” I’m not happy about my parents' decision, but regardless, I love them and really look forward to my school breaks so that I can see them. I don’t have a specific question, just looking for some general advice on how to handle this. Thoughts?


Home for the holidays

Dear Home for the holidays,

Man, your siblings are being really harsh. I could write a bunch of flowery stuff about how I’m sure they’re hurting and this must be a difficult adjustment period for your family but “Just as bad as they are?” Really? Ouch.

Don’t listen to them.

Go home and love and enjoy your parents. Support them, make breakfast with them, watch TV with them, teach them about Twitter and complain about the government shutdown with them. Take moments to try to uplift them where they are weak but show them that your love for them “never faileth.”

I just read your question again and “condoning” is really an interesting word choice on the part of your siblings. In a way, you are condoning your parents’ behavior. You’re allowing them to live and struggle (as is often the case in life) without condemning them for it.

The best thing you can do is remain a positive, influential and wonderful part of their lives.

138 comments on this story

Don't be angry with your siblings, either. Pray for the power not to take offense. Hopefully your siblings will follow your example.

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Readers: What do you think of the "go to church or we won't come home" ultimatum? What are some other ways to handle this difficult situation? What about the first issue? How could these parents feel more a part of their ward?

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Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the Latter-day Saint experience. Twitter: askange_column