How divorce affects young adults' religiosity

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  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 7, 2013 8:32 p.m.

    I am divorced. Many single women have shared the same story. As soon as they are divorced other women in the ward approach them and tell them to stay away from my husband. If it were not for being able to attend a singles ward I would be inactive. I can't bear to attend church and sit alone while everyone else sits with their families.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Feb. 4, 2013 6:55 p.m.

    IMAN, I agree, getting married should be the hardest part of the process. My kids' dad and I divorced over 30 years ago. After decades of inactivity, I found myself remarried, and again, separated. The first time, I was a young mom of four, and when my separation, then divorce, were known, all but one of my friends in RS seemed to have lost my phone number. I felt as if I'd become invisible. No one was rude, just "busy". And since I never drove, activity wasn't a choice I really could make. Looking back, maybe I could have let the Bishop know to keep sending me Home Teachersor VT. I had much to do in those days, and not much money to do it with. I felt like an outlier, so I just stayed away. That's one reason people go inactive, especially if they already feel like they don't fit in, and divorced adults can feel that way; as the article pointed out, no one knows what to say. But how's this; "Stuff happens, I guess!" There's really nothing else to say...

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Jan. 28, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    Single best thing to remember regarding religiousness and children following divorce ? Don't be judgmental, and don't fall into the portraying or projecting of the guilt of either parent. Kids will figure out what happened through time as they watch their parents' actions. There's no need to educate or reinforce to any one as to the actual or perceived failings of either party. I've seen so much stereotyping and falsehood spread about things in divorce, I think this garbage was worse on the kids than the actual parental separation. When they saw it for what it was, it undermined the religious education that could have been going on. Let children know that it is their own future and choices they need to focus on, and encourage them to live their own lives to good principles. They'll sort the rest out. All men are not cheaters and porn addicts, and all women are not angels - but let them all try to be decent parents with their kids to their best ability. They need reinforcement of their own worth too, divorce is a massive shattering of confidence to rebuild from.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Jan. 26, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    @Celebrate Life: We most certainly can and should expect "children raised in a war zone to believe that the gospel is the path to peace." The gospel of Jesus Christ was the only thing that was a constant for me during the dissolution of my parents' marriage. Without my testimony, and without the companionship of the Holy Ghost to bring me peace, I would have been lost. Out of my parents' eight children, 3 drifted away from church activity. Interestingly enough, the ones that clung to gospel teachings and stayed true to covenants of the LDS faith are the most financially, mentally, and educationally well-off. I was ruminating on this dichotomy this morning, before I even read the article, and feeling gratitude for the strength and peace the gospel brings. You infer that any intelligent child would be able to discern the hypocrisy between what he has been taught and what he has experienced. I contend that any intelligent child can learn to discern between true and eternal principles and the foibles and failings of imperfect parenting.

  • Jake2010 bountiful, ut
    Jan. 25, 2013 8:55 p.m.

    I have an aunt who divorced her adulterous husband oh, 80's or early 90's. Of her children not one has strayed from the LDS faith. They have all remained the utmost of strong. One works for the church in the curriculum department. Another has been or is presently in a bishopric. There are some very strong mothers out there that can thwart the bad example of the children's father. Those women are to be applauded. Especially when for 20+ years they themselves stay strong... I think that is the key... The mother must emulate the faith in spite of the divorce and continue going strong and the children are more likely to follow suit with her than follow in his footsteps... Now, if the mother herself is the stray sheep that is when kids are more likely to fall away. I have an example of each on one side of the family.

  • Mesa Coug Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 22, 2013 5:05 p.m.

    I can fully understand why the children of divorce are less religious. I am a divorced father and take my children to church when they are with me. But let's be realistic here, when primary is full of singing songs and talking about eternal families and they know that their family is not an eternal family how are they supposed to feel. They feel left out and excluded. This is no fault of their own but it affects them deeply. As the divorce rate in the church continues to increase the church is going to have to emphasize the individual more and the family less or we will continue to struggle keeping the children of divorce as active, believing members.

  • Rwright Seattle, WA
    Jan. 22, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    This was written by Deseret News staff but cites only non-Mormon divorcees and national studies? Mormons get divorced. They do so in increasing numbers, which is why I assume the editorial staff thought it was worth putting one of the remaining reporters to work on the story. So which is it? A rehash of third party news sources, or a shameful and intellectually dishonest way to talk about a very real and growing local problem. The LDS community, the author and Deseret News are better than this.

  • celeratelife Lethbridge, 00
    Jan. 22, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    We cannot expect children who are raised in a war zone to believe that the gospel is the path to peace, no matter how carefully they have been taught. Their intelligence discerns the hypocrisy and the disconnect between what they have been taught and what they have experienced. We need to have patience, understanding, and much compassion for children who have experienced divorce and all the confusion that brings.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    When I got divorced I had several Mormon men approach me and ask how I made the final decision to divorce cause they wanted to but didn't dare.
    Mormon men instantly became my friends while Mormon women treated me like I had an std, was malnourished and smelled bad.
    Personally, I feel this article is spot on....
    If you have never been divorced, you can't even imagine what it's like.... divorce is worse than death, you just can't bury the wife.

  • statman Lehi, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    M A J O R flaw in the article/study. It doesn't control for the religiosity of the previous generation. In general, more religious parents have more religious kids. For this study to make any sense, that fact has to be ignored. They're not investigating the religiosity of the parents - they're assuming that populations of those whose parents divorced and those that didn't were exactly the same prior to the event they're using to explain everything - the divorce.

    But, it's highly likely that those who divorce and those who don't - on average - do not have the same religiosity. I think they'd find that more religious people have fewer divorces. This would c0mpletely gum-up any conclusion they're trying to make...

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    If this is the example others are supposed to follow...

    it is no wonder people cannot adhere to a false expectation.

  • Demisana South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    I have three good friends going through divorce right now. In all three cases, the husbands' selfishness and self-absorbedness is the cause. 2 are involved in porn and affairs, and the third has decided that his wife just isn't good enough for him - she doesn't keep the house clean enough, meet his needs well enough, blah blah blah. Without wondering if he ever does much for her.

    All of them have children. Just makes you wonder what is going through their heads. Someday they are going to realize what an impact their actions have had on the kids. Articles like this are good and timely for the rest of us, so that we can help support them. I know from personal experience with family members that divorce isn't a one time event. The effects are lifelong and potentially devastating.

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    Jan. 20, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    Getting married is far to easy. Too many young people marry (due to social and religious pressure) without a full understanding of what being married really means. Making marriage more difficult to attain would be a good first step in reducing the divorce rate. If someone had to (figuratively speaking) walk through a bed of hot coals to get married I believe the people who did marry would take the responsibilty far more seriously and chose their partners more wisely.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    After my children's mother decided the "free love" scene of the 1960's was more appealing than keeping her covenants, one child has taken up running to satisfy her spiritual needs for her and her children. The other child has returned to his LDS roots, is in leadership positions and a Temple marriage. It all depends on the strength of the individual.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 20, 2013 5:52 a.m.

    How about if we look at how divorce affects kids ability to turn into good an productive members of society. I understand that many feel that how "religious" they turn out is the goal of parenting.

    But a misguided goal.

    Good and religious are not synonymous, nor are they exclusive.

    Do you really expect kids or young adults to rally around a religion that they don't believe?

    I think that too many parents put undue pressure on kids to be "religious" while missing the bigger picture.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 19, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    Ghost Writer - In a perfect world we would go to church focusing on what we can give, not vice versa. However, a single mom with dependent children of course looks for a church that can help her fill the deficit she faces – no spouse. My husband's mother joined the LDS church with such an aim in mind, and it proved fruitful. Despite having no father in the home to model anything for him, her son (my husband) served a mission, married in the temple and has become an incredible dad himself to our sons. I give full recognition to the Bishops, other leaders and ward members of her ward who could see and understand this, and who graciously went the extra mile to help her and her children.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    Jan. 19, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    I believe that the high divorce rate is symptomatic of our increasingly self-absorbed culture. People who divorce can always justify the breakup, but they also always gravely underestimate the damage the divorce will do to the children involved and by extension to society. We're in denial. That being said, anyone who approaches their church from the posture of "What can this church do for me," misses the point of the gospel -- We should go to church focussing on what we can give, not what we will get.

  • kishkumen American Fork, UT
    Jan. 18, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    In addition to divorce, there are other things that are negatively affecting the religiosity of our youth. The critical thinking training they get in college certainly doesn't help them stay religious. We also are allowing too many of our youth to find out about the real origins of our religions. The fact that religions have a history of covering up child abuse, mistreating women, and fostering racial inequality also has had a negative affect on the religiosity of our youth. There is a lot more we should be doing to help our youth stay religious in addition to encouraging people in bad marriages to stay together.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    Jan. 16, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    BYU Track Star: The author, I think, is telling about the odds of children being religious after their parents divorce, which is dismal, because they feel that they are left behind - by everyone around them. And the example of the failed marriage sticks in their minds are their own personal failure - which it isn't, but they still feel like failures. An abusive relationship that is terminated should be a relief - no one deserves to be abused. Abusers can be rehab'd and changed. Sometimes people marry the 'wrong person' and they can start over. Yes, the abused can still love and forgive, but they don't have to necessarily live with the abuser to feel peace, sometimes that is the only way to feel peace and safety.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 16, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    If I am to understand the thesis of this article, the author is saying don't get divorced because it will cause your children to be less religously observant. How sad. How depressing! If your spouse physically or verbally abuses you: Suck it up and turn the other cheek. Bless them and tell them that you love them. You are modeling behavior for your kids. You are modeling behavior that it is okay to be in an abusive relationship/marriage. Loving your abusive partner unconditionally will pay off in the eternities. Imagine an eternity with an abusive partner. Pass me some more Zoloft

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Jan. 16, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Religion could do better, but honestly, In many cases, those that divorce must first divorce themselves from their religious convictions first.

    Fwiw, My ward has a HUGE percentage of divorcees, due ot the high-density housing in our ward boundaries. We try out best to be inclusive of all, regardless their family situation. But it is a huge challenge because so many single sisters (especially, though we have some single dads with kids) cannot make ends meet, often don't have vehicles (or even driver's licenses), and are unemployed (or have very low-paying jobs with no child support from the EX) due to the need for special needs with their children. All these challenges leave them feeling dependent on our ward, but you can only depend on something for so long without it eroding your sense of self-worth.

    Further because housing is often temporary, or they run out of money to afford rent, we only have them with us for a short period of time, which makes fellowship EXTREMELY difficult. It takes time to make friends, and they simply don't have any to spare.

    It can be quite devastating, despite our best efforts to help.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 16, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Religion fails miserably here. Single moms are branded with the scarlet letter in our society. Kids' prayers aren't answered in a divorce, are they? And they've been told god has a plan for this part of it?