Monday, January 17, 2011

How To Behave(With Mormon Family)

In my early life I always had this feeling that I was supposed to be polite and not share my opinions on things. Especially when around my Mormon family. Now I was never told this, and it could just be my personality (they are family, why try and piss them off?), but I still always felt I was just supposed to keep quiet.

To understand where I am coming from, both early on, and later, in this post, you need to know a bit of my upbringing. I was never raised as an Atheist. I was never taught that there was no god(s), I was never taught that all religion is bullshit. In my home religion was a non-issue. We just never talked about it. At the time, my dad( a very vocal Atheist now) was not very talkative about his beliefs, at least not with me and my siblings. If we had questions he would answer them, but we were always told the decision was ours when we got older. We weren't allowed to go to most church things as children, but we were told why. My dad didn't want us to feel like we were outsiders, or those poor kids who haven't had god. He didn't want us to be indoctrinated, preferring to teach us to look at all things skeptically. I was personally OK with that. I went to church a few times and I thought it was a waste of a Sunday, and I went to the scouts once and was bored the entire time. So I was never told to dislike religion, only to look for evidence.

Back to my family. As a child I knew it was kinda expected that I not talk about that kinda stuff. As I started to get older, I could definitely tell that my opinion was not wanted. It was fine for my uncles and aunts (and, on occasion, cousins) to express their opinions on religion, but not me. I always thought that being quiet on the topics of religion and politics was polite, that it wasn't my place to share what I thought and make everyone uncomfortable, or even angry. And for a while I was OK with that. Keep to myself, don't make waves, keep the family happy.

Now that I am in, and moving through, my 20s, I have begun to see another view. Why should I have to be quiet? I am every bit as much a part of the family as they are. Why should I be expected to keep my mouth shut when they can openly spew their opinions? Now, when it comes to my family, I'm not necessarily spoiling for a fight, but I have recently taken to enjoying making them uncomfortable with my mere presence (it's like they can just sense my liberal-atheistness). I would never openly start an argument just for shits and giggles, but anymore I have come to believe one thing. If they feel they need to share their opinion about something, I feel they have invited me to share mine, feelings be damned. I am truly tired of having to be the silent party just to keep the peace. Why don't they not talk about it? I'm tired of feeling like a second class citizen within my own family. If they find what I have to say too shocking, they shouldn't talk it about while I'm around.  I am insulted that I have to be the one who keeps quiet, while they can say whatever they want and it's OK. I want the same respect that they expect me to give them. I may be younger, but I am not a child anymore.

I love my family, and I always will, but love means never having to apologize for who you are. I feel like sometimes they want me to.


  1. Awh Sky man. :( You made me laugh, cry, & about everything else in-between. <3 HUGS <3

    I want you to know I take this very seriously. The last thing I want is for you to feel like you do not have a family who loves you for you, and that you are a “second-class citizen”. I love you unconditionally no matter our differences in opinion, religion, or whatever. You are always my cousin and I love you.

    I hope I have NEVER made you feel like you couldn't be yourself around me or share your opinions, and if I did I am so sorry. We may differ in religious views but I never want to make you feel like you can't be yourself or stand up for what you believe. I respect that you think differently than I do and I appreciate that we can have a nice peaceful relationship even with those differences. (I’m not one for debates as you know).

    I commend you for trying to keep the peace for so long. It is very difficult to think one thing and have those around you saying the opposite of what you think, and then be made to feel like you have to keep quiet about it. That would be difficult for anyone.

    lol: “uncomfortable with my mere presence (it's like they can just sense my liberal-atheistness).” Unfortunately, I kinda know how this feels. It is funny but it does stink because they are family & I’d prefer everyone loving one another and at least trying to be respectful of everyone’s differences.

    The last part just made me tear up. It’s sad really. Skyler, I love you unconditionally. We may have differences but that doesn’t matter we are still family, and I can respect you for the person you are. There is no need to be quiet about it-feel free to speak up. I’ll do my best not to say anything offensive, and I am thankful, and appreciate, that you have never started an argument with me about our differences.

    I don’t want you to feel like you are a "second class citizen" in our family-you’re not. We are all equal.

    Reading this just makes me want to make you cookies, or would you prefer a pie? I can’t help it. I bake to show I love. lol.

  2. Kelly, you have never made me feel inferior or like I had to keep quiet, so please don't think this is aimed at you.

    I feel no need to to make this a bigger thing, and I accept a little of the responsibility as I have never vocalized my thoughts before. I honestly don't think anyone tries to make anyone else feel uncomfortable, but I think we can all agree that there has always been this preconceived notion that the non-believer is expected to be quiet.

    I know that everyone loves me, and I love everyone, but I am no longer going to just 'go with the flow' for the sake of family peace. I have to play a watered-down version of myself at family gatherings, like I have been put through a television censor for content. I am unable to really share my passions or the funny stories I have from going to bars or other such places because it may offend. I'm tired of it. I'm sure no one means it to offend, and I certainly don't wish to offend anyone, but I will be vocal when they share an opinion I don't agree with. I have no intention to be a dick about, and I am more than willing to let the little shit slide, but I will no longer be the quiet party.

    Really, this was not directed to you in anyway, we have always gotten along. Please don't censor your opinions for my sake, I always welcome new opinions and ideas and I certainly don't want this to make anyone else feel like THEY have to be quiet. I just want to be able to express my opinions, and to allow others the same right without being looked down on. So please, feel free to say anything on your mind, I promise I will not spazz out.

    Oh, if you want to bake me something I will be more than happy to eat it. I'll send you a private message in FB with my address if you really want to send me goodies. I'll even test out your new recipes for ya, as long as none of it has walnuts. I have recently developed an allergy to them, much to my eternal chagrin. I love you cousin!