"I will never accept your lifestyle." This was a sentence used by my dad in the last visit that we had on Saturday. My wife and I had made a special trip to their house trying to reconcile our relationship and try to make amends. Even after I apologized for talking to them disrespectfully, this is one of the points my dad made sure to emphasize to me.
You see, I am the horrible Apostate Son that no faithful mother and father in the Mormon church ever want to deal with. I am the one that ruins Eternal Families. I now receive statements such as, "We won't have you in the Eternities." or "We've loved you before you were born, loved you when we first saw you, and we will love you for the Eternities." Now that I have chosen a different path than the one and only true Mormon path, I have ruined it for everyone.
I was born and raised in the church. My mom also grew up in the church while my dad is a convert to the church. My dad is not just any 'ole convert, he is The Convert. He had a difficult life growing up in a family with no religious direction. He drank a lot and did not know what to do with himself. He joined the Air Force and discovered the church overseas. He came home and went on a mission and ever since has been 100% dedicated to the church.
I was raised in the environment that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one and only true church. There is no questioning it, it just is. I was fine with this, I enjoyed going to church and doing the things that made my parents happy. I went on a mission because I felt like I wanted to and it is something that I should do. I married my wife in the Salt Lake Temple and my parents were very proud. We have been married for quite a few years now and living in the church is all that we have ever known until the summer of 2008.
It happened to us just like any other member that has had unanswered questions his or her entire life. We decided to find the answers and now our belief has disintegrated with the new knowledge we have gained.
Telling my parents was not pleasant and still is not pleasant to this day. Right at the end of 2009, they wanted me to come visit to go over some financial info. This meeting ended badly when they decided to start discussing church. It started with primary questions about the Book of Mormon and if I have really prayed with an open heart. The discussion progressively degenerated until I could no longer take the provokings that my dad kept throwing my way. I got upset and raised my voice/yelled at my dad. I did not call him names, but I told him very strongly that he was wrong, then I left.
For about a month and a half, my parents would not talk to me on the phone. We had email conversations, but that is all. This brings us to our last visit on Saturday. I needed to get something reconciled between us so that we could be on speaking terms again. I came and apologized for how I reacted, but I did not apologize for what I said; I felt justified in that.
After I said my peace, my dad decided that he still needed to take additional jabs at me. He told me that he never spoke to his parents like that. This has always been sacred territory for him; children should never address their parents in a disrespectful manner. He then proceeded to tell me how much he loved me. Then the clincher. He said, "I need to make something very clear to you. I will never accept your lifestyle. Never. I am a convert to this church and I will die believing."
My wife and I left shortly afterward and those words will not go away. Even when I am trying to make our relationship better, he still has to throw daggers at me. It will never be good enough. Even if I somehow lost my mind and decided to believe in the church again, he would still hold it against me that I disrespected him.
There is more to this story, but that will have to come later. It is late and I need to go to bed.
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through
David Bowie, Changes