How Wide the Divide

Yesterday someone I don’t know wrote about the deep chasm that exists between unbelieving me and my faithful LDS wife. This person spoke of my beliefs as “toxic” and coming from “the darkest of places and times.” Conversely, this anonymous stranger described my wife’s beliefs as “a firm foundation” and “precious pearls.” At first reading this, I thought it was a bit harsh and judgmental and smug (well, it was that, actually), but it made me think of how easy it is to misread when something is in print, and you’re not talking face to face.

The person wrote as if, being married to me, my wife would be confronted by “criticisms and doubt … from day to day.” I wonder how this person came to believe that. If nothing else, I have tried in my personal and family relationships, to avoid criticism and attempting to sow seeds of doubt. When I had my initial epiphany regarding the truth of Mormonism, I wanted so badly for my family members and loved ones to understand, to know what I knew. But I soon learned that it isn’t my place to proselytize people to my point of view. Sure, I will share what I have learned when asked, and I post things that are interesting to me, but I have consciously avoided telling people what they should believe.

In short, I’m content to respect and honor my wife’s beliefs, and she respects mine. Chasms form when we don’t communicate with each other, when we allow our differences to obscure the love we have for each other. And no, I’m not just talking about my marriage. That’s how it works in every important relationship in our lives. When we start seeing other people as toxic or dark, we build walls between us, and we imagine that they are sowing criticism and doubt or pushing their beliefs on us. When we start seeing people as agendas, that’s when the chasm becomes wide and deep.

I don’t know this person who has so roundly criticized me (and by extension my wife). But I’m glad I don’t view the world the way he or she does.

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6 Responses to How Wide the Divide

  1. aerin says:

    I swear I had not seen this post when I made my comments on FLAK.

    It’s interesting isn’t it? People have such different views about their own belief systems (and that of others).

  2. K*tty says:

    It took me over a year or so, to get my act together. I was also like you at first. I felt I had to tell my LDS friends I came in contact with about all the disturbing things I was finding out. Boy did I learn my lesson. I have not had one person, not one, who has not looked at me like I was an escapee from a looney bin. I still spend too many hours online, but that time is waning. I have learned to just keep it to myself and occasionally lash out on a web site where no one knows me. I am letting go of the anger and feelings of betrayal. In essence I am starting my life over, and my main focus is just my family and not the busy work of the church that takes me away from that. I also have a kinder attitude for the Mormons. It’s a kinda live and let live thing.

  3. Odell says:

    John: Return to the LDS church and repent. You know you have bargained your soul away for nothing more than hopps and barley. Okay, what I really meant to say is just do your best. You’re awesome.

  4. Ray Agostini says:

    Runtu, I read your wife’s post here (now deleted), and the lengthy thread on FLAK (I don’t ever read FLAK, but this interested me). I think you’ve taken a sensible and fair position in regard to your wife, in recognising that she must be true to her spiritual beliefs. I found some of the comments about her by some of the more zealous fringe of exmoism rather distasteful. I regret that she felt the need to delete it, because some parts even moved me to tears. I had written a reply, but by the time I was about to post it, it was gone. And I don’t blame your wife for feeling the way she did. It was her first personal expression on your blog, and it seems some wasted no time analysing her motives from the get-go.

    As my late mother always used to say, “every man/woman to his/her own order”.

    As for the “divide”, unfortunately such comments as you noted in your post come from both sides.

  5. Todd Wood says:

    How wide the divide?

    It certainly is the big discussion this weekend.

    Tonight, I watched the DVD, Emma Smith, My Story, to see if I might pick up anything on how wide the divide might be on polygamy in Jospeph and Emma’s marriage.

    Here is the quote from the movie by Emma: “It nearly broke both of our hearts.”

  6. Aubuchon says:

    “Chasms form when we don’t communicate with each other, when we allow our differences to obscure the love we have for each other. And no, I’m not just talking about my marriage. That’s how it works in every important relationship in our lives. When we start seeing other people as toxic or dark, we build walls between us, and we imagine that they are sowing criticism and doubt or pushing their beliefs on us. When we start seeing people as agendas, that’s when the chasm becomes wide and deep.”

    Wow, Runtu. Pretty cool stuff. It’s all about seeing people as people. Not judging. And as you said not allowing differences to obscure love.

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