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Ask Angela: I don't know how to tell my parents that I got baptized

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 16, 2013 5:34 a.m.

    Telling ones Non LDS parents that they joined the LDS church is akin to telling ones LDS parents they joined a different church.

    I will keep that in mind as I read the comments.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    I can understand the want to be totally honest. I wouldn't want to make a bad situation worse. Even tho it's not like you cheated on your spouse, or your gay coming out of the closet. How close are you to your family they probably could guess. I can't tell you weather it's any of their business or not.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    I suggest you tell your parents the old-fashioned way -- do it in person (if you are not away from home) or give them a telephone call. However, before you tell them, consider praying and fasting to soften your parents hearts. If it be Heavenly Father's will, your parents can be prepared some way in advance to be more receptive to your news.

    I don't know your parents, but it may be helpful to focus on commonalities. Since they are Christian, perhaps you can mention how you have come closer to the Savior through scripture. You can also mention your stronger belief in Christ's atonement and resurrection. You can mention your spiritual rebirth with your baptism.

    Even though you are an adult, you can also consider sending them a link to the For Strength of Youth material from the church. You can do a google search for "For the strength of Youth" and it is the first result. This will give them an idea of what standards you will follow, and may help put them at ease knowing you will be making good choices and will be trying to live a wholesome life.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Dec. 16, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    I would advise make sure you let your parents know that you love them and appreciate the values that they taught you, but that you believe and have a god-given testimony of something a little more that makes you really happy.
    Make sure your parents know they are loved and appreciated.

  • Jen876 North Salt Lake, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    I remember being in a similar situation. I had been attending church and participating in Institute choir where I lived. I knew that I wanted to join the church, but the limited conversation with my parents about the church had not been very positive. I put it off for awhile, but soon I felt like I didn't want to wait any longer. So, I went forward and was baptized with the love and support of my ward and Institute friends. It was a special day and I'm glad I made my decision. I remember thinking afterward that I needed to tell my parents. I told my mom over the phone, since couldn't fly home. I'm not sure I made the best decisions in how I talked to them about my decision, as many heated discussions followed. However, a year (or less) later things had calmed and we were back to the relationship we once had. Now (almost 9 years later), I think my parents know that this was the best decision for me and I know they're happy with the way my life has turned out (especially compared to other family members).

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Dec. 16, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    You should have been advised by the bishop who interviewed you to tell them before the baptism. That was the right thing to do from the start, but since that didn't happen, you need to gather up the courage of your convictions and just do it. As adults we need to make many decisions that are difficult, but if we believe they are the right decisions that strength carries us through. I would strongly emphasize again though, the right thing to do would have been to be up front with your family from the start and for leadership to not advise you to do so was wrong.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Dec. 16, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    It was hard for my mom but easier for my dad (who had known LDS folks). My recommendations are just my own:

    Let them know you love them - that this will not mean less contact with them or your other family members.
    Don’t let the church dominate your conversation with them. As new members we can be guilty of bringing the church into many of our conversations. I am not saying that you should not talk about the church, just that you don't let it dominate your conversation.
    Acknowledge the good in them and their religion and the good you got out of it.
    Help them understand that we are Christians and love the Savior. There are many misconceptions out there (be prepared to hear them and gently turn them away).
    Most of all, as Angela recommends, rely on the Holy Ghost – and love them.

    God bless and best of luck.

  • minnie, mapleton, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    Its wonderful that you were baptized. When I was leaning from the missionaries, my parents were not happy and warned me about the Mormons. When I was baptized, I waited years to tells them. I wanted to tell them through my actions and not my words. But I won't have hid it, if it was brought up. I was a young widow with two little children. When we would visit my parents, we would talk about christen things, or standards. They just thought I was improving my life. The kids never brought it up. They might have said "we went camping with the Church" or other things like that. No one asked "what Church?" Maybe after 6 years I told them, "remember when I was wanting to be baptized in the Mormon Church?" I was." They said it didn't matter. Church is Church. They couldn't deny how I raised the kids and how it changed me for the best.

  • Happymomma MOORESVILLE, NC
    Dec. 16, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    @sukiyhtaky, why are you assuming that the bishop and missionaries did not advise her to talk to her family? She never said it was not counseled to her, only that she chose not to. I have a friend that was baptized and the bishop told her to pray about letting her parents know and inviting them to the baptism, but she chose not to and felt it was the right thing to do. This was HER baptism and it should be HER choice.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    sukiyhtaky-

    Just some information: The bishop doesn't interview investigators for baptism. A missionary will do it (with some exceptions, the mission president may). Also, the article didn't mention "New Member" was discouraged from telling her family. Sounds like it just never happened yet.

    If you want more information on who does the baptismal interview, how the interview is conducted, what questions are asked, etc., read pages 203-207+ of the "Preach My Gospel" manual. It has some good stuff about this subject.

    Also note that when a person is of "legal age," permission from parents is not required for baptism. "New Member" is a junior in college, so she is likely of "legal age."

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Dec. 16, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    This is a tough one because the Lord himself warned his followers that they will face some very difficult times, even from their own family, when they choose to follow his teachings. You're not the first to face this challenge and certainly will not be the last. Being a mormon is not easy and it's not for whimps - it has been that way from the Savior's time on earth to the early converts of the church in 1830s. I would break the news over the phone to mom or dad depending on who you think will be more willing to listen. Give it time and let them digest the information before talking to them in person. Expect the worse and hope for the best will be my approach because there is no easy way of doing this. Always remember whatever happens your ward will provide you with the supports to get thru this. I know this because my ward wherever I go had been my comfort even when family is not around. Best of luck

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Dec. 16, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    1.96

    Good point. No mention of her age in this article. I waited three years till I was 21 (or very close to 21).

    This is not like joining another church. To many parents this is like joining a cult, hence, telling parents could be a rough thing to do.

    What to do? Good question. God gave us agency and I think it starts at birth. Because I was married in the Temple (another subject), my Dad would say, every chance he got, "I dont think he is really married". I had to hear that until my dad died. Actually, he quit saying it after about 20 years so the last 15 years was OK. Point is, reaction from parents can linger for a long time.

  • Simpe Spectator St.George, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    Nice article,

    Maybe one of the reasons you feel like you need to tell your parents is because it will eventually lead them to being baptized? Also, as a former missionary, I learned that the biggest thing for me when people questioned my actions or tried to put me down for what I did, was simply to tell them that God had answered my prayers and told me it was true. No one can question what you felt in your heart. I respect you for doing something so hard, good job.

  • From Montana Billings, MT
    Dec. 16, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    When I was investigating the Church I was so excited I shared my excitement with my parents. I received a loooong letter telling me about those "Mormons." I decided I would not tell them of my progress and eventual Baptism. When my parents visited my mother cried and I explained that because of my upbringing I recognized the fullness of the gospel when it was presented to me. After that I let my life demonstrate the gospel in our relationships. Over the years they have attended church with me and my family and have stated that we do live our religion and they have admired the Church. They have embraced many gospel principles and shared them with others. They have invited missionaries into their home,fed them, and listened to their lessons. IT WILL ALL WORK OUT.

  • Scott H Ogden, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    Some very good suggestions here. Since your parents are religious, you may wish to consider asking to pray together with them before explaining your choice. Or sing a hymn with them. Or both. Praying and singing sacred music together can bring the Spirit, soften hearts, and help you say the right things in the right way.

    Above all, express your love, respect, and gratitude for your family. Help them understand that their good teaching and example helped lead you to the path that the Spirit has told you is the right choice for you at this time. Help them see that you are happy and that you love God.

  • ? SLC, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    Give your parents a chance, they might respond to this better than you fear. If they don't this is ok, too. Allow them to feel what they feel. Love them, honor and serve them as you always have. Think of why you joined the church and what this means to you. They will probably want to know why you were baptized. Think of all the things your parents have taught you. How does what you have learned by joining the church build upon what they have taught you?

  • donn layton, UT
    Dec. 16, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    To: Semi-Strong, There are many misconceptions out there (be prepared to hear them and gently turn them away).Most of all, as Angela recommends, rely on the Holy Ghost.

    The Holy Ghost, Same Greek word (pneuma )used for Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit.(1 Cor 3:16 & 6:19), See A of F #8.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Dec. 16, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    Donn,

    Thanks. I know.

  • Kathy. Iowa, Iowa
    Dec. 17, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    At 17 when I told my Northern Irish Catholic father I wanted to be baptized the explosion that took the roof off our house could be seen anywhere in North America.
    Not all families react in a kind loving manner.

    Affer a year the roof settled back down and I left for BYU as a newly baptized member.

    After many many years my mother actually told me she felt better about it I guess that had something to do with my brother becoming an Evangelical and frequently accosting her and telling her she was going to hell. I'm sure he was doing it out of love and concern, she just was not happy about it.

  • Roundtrip Thomasville, GA
    Dec. 17, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Be prepared for a lot of questions, disappointment, insults, and anger. That's what I encountered when I told my father, who was a Baptist minister, that I had become a Mormon. It took the rest of the family severL years to accept me, but after they observed how I had changed and how peaceful and dedicated I had become, they softened up. My mother now goes to church with me, and the nieces and nephews have become Mormon sympathizer and supports. Who knows what will become of it in the end. At least the seeds have been sown and they no longer base their opinions of Mormons on what they see on TV or hear from their Protestant SundaySchool teachers.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Dec. 17, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    Alma 5:14. "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"

    Just tell them you followed your heart, that you love them and then live to make the above manifest to them you did well for yourself. It will all work out, did for my parents. ;)

  • GTOBoomer USA, UT
    Dec. 17, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    Sometimes things don't go well. If that happens, I have to tell you that in every case I've ever witnessed (including my own), angry, hurt family members have softened considerably and even joined the Church themselves after observing the wonderful effects of the gospel on a convert over months or years. Pray first, have faith, be patient, and be an example of the believers always.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 17, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    Most possible outcomes have been mentioned and the advice to rely on inner feelings might be a good one, however... !

    Having gone through a lot of terrible problems in my family due to baptism, I want to remind you of this possiblilty :

    The fact that you were not willing to talk about it with them, could be an inner forsight,
    that it would just make it worse. And in my case it made it civil war among my relatives.

    So what I could tell you from my experience is, never try to convince them that your decision was the right thing to do, it will make it worse.
    If that new information would break their heart or activate an arms race then you have no choice but go by the shugar piece by piece a way.

    Mention superficial comments that will lead to more information, or such a way that they will figure out by themselves what road your are taken. They need a lot of time to adjust and get their feelings calmed down. Over the years grass will grow, and you don't want them to have a heart attack, do you ?

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    The fact that you are unsure about it may be the most telling thing. I would recommend that you not tell them until the Lord tells you to. Once you know it is what he wants you to do then your dilemma is solved.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Dec. 17, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    JoeBlow,
    Not quite the same. For many, many Christian people, the particular congregation they choose to associate with is analogous to choosing one of the the many flavors at the ice cream parlor. There are a handful of favorites (or just one), some to try once in a while, a few that one has tried and didn't like, and some that never have sounded appealing. It is very possible, and I would say likely, that the writer's parents are in this group and that she/he is worried that "Mormons" are in one of those last two categories for his/her parents (and most likely the last).
    Most often it is prejudice or bigotry against "Mormons" that causes others to object to a family member's conversion. If they had joined the Methodists (for example) the reaction would be very different. True, in some cases, there are people that have deeply held denominational beliefs and no ill feelings toward "Mormons" as compared to other Christian sects. Those situations would be equivalent, as you stated. These are much less common than those that object, not because of any change, but because of what the specific change was.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Dec. 18, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    I avoided this by telling my parents BEFORE I got baptized (although they kind of knew it was coming), but it was still a blow to my mother at first, who had tried to raise me Catholic even though she didn't go to church very often herself. As it turns out, many of her beliefs are more Mormon than Catholic anyway, and she has since started gaining her own testimony. My wife however was raised in an extremely hostile Baptist family and thus had a totally different experience from my own. Catholics cling strongly to tradition, but they are generally far less likely to become violent or disown a family member who converts than Protestants.

    Praying and ask the Holy Ghost for guidance. Above all, do NOT let them shame you into believing you "betrayed" them or made the wrong decision. Remember Jesus said that he who put his mother or father before him is not worthy of him. When family joins the Great and Spacious Building, it is hard, but through your example, you may be able to soften their hearts.

  • defibman Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 18, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    However you decide to tell them, I think that the most important thing is what follows. It may take a few weeks, months or many years, but how you live your life "After" you tell them will play the biggest part! My wife joined the Church when she was 18 and broke her Mother's heart (being a member of a well known very Anti-Mormon Church). She even told her, "How could you, they don't even believe in Christ?" Well, that was 38 years ago and although my wife's family are still not interested in the Church, they do have alot more respect for it and let what their preacher says about us go in one ear and out the other. The respect they have for us and our children and how we have lived our lives is what matters. They know we are not hipocrites.

    Good Luck and I hope everything turns out well.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 19, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    One thing that I don't see mentioned in previous comments is just as much for you as for your parents: keep the eternal perspective in mind. This life is full of challenges, trials, joys, disappointments. But a central purpose is for us to work towards ours and our family's eternal destiny. That will take time, even time beyond this mortal life for some. That's where hope in Christ comes into the picture. Whatever you do with yourself, your future life, and your family relationships, never, never, never give up; and wait upon the Lord. He will sustain you through it all.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    Some parents want what God wants for their children. Other parents want what they want for their children. God leads those who will follow, but he doesn't force anyone to become a member of His church. If the parents really want what's best for a child, they will be pleased that the child listened to the Lord and then acted on what the Lord revealed to the child. If the parent is offended that the child followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost, then that parent's understanding of God's relationship with HIS child is less than perfect.

    Of course, the child should be respectful of the parents, but the child's first allegiance is to his Heavenly Father.