Sisters Speak: Loving and Conversing Openly With Those Who Have Left the Church
The Sisters Speak question in the upcoming Exponent II magazine comes from an anonymous reader. She writes:
“I have an older brother who stopped going to Church soon after graduating from high school. There wasn’t a big discussion or fight; in fact, no one in our family has really talked to him about it as far as I know. Whenever I try, I feel all embarrassed and tend to put my foot in my mouth.
For instance, when my younger brother was going on a mission, I wanted my older brother to know that I was glad that I didn’t have to lose two years with him like I was with the younger brother. But I’m afraid it came out more like, “I’m so glad you couldn’t, WAIT, didn’t, I mean… didn’t feel the need to go on a mission.” He laughed uncomfortably and I felt my face go bright red. So much for a chance to have an honest discussion; I just sounded like a judgmental jerk.
Other times, when I try to open a door to a possible discussion by saying things like, “You know, I really struggle with the way the Church treats women,” I don’t get the feeling he wants to talk further, but maybe I’m approaching it wrong.
I just want him to know that I love him and that I don’t care if he’s found that the Church isn’t for him.”
We’d love to hear your insights on this topic.
- What’s the best way to interact with and show love towards those who have left?
- Should we avoid mentioning the Church? And if we do mention it, is there a way to do so without making the other person feel awkward?
- What experiences have you had speaking openly with loved ones who are no longer practicing Mormonism?
- If you are non-practicing, what is your advice?
(Note: We may email you and ask for your permission to publish your comment in the magazine.)