BM Called to Lecture DH

ulrike1April 24, 2011

Hello all. Haven't been here for a while, but today felt the need to vent. DH just hung up after being on the phone with BM for about half an hour! They hadn't talked in several weeks, which seems reasonable to me since my SDs are college age.

Last year BM went into such a tizzy about SDs not wanting to go to her and her husband's church every week, and kept expecting DH to enforce this even though the girls are over 18 and we are non-theists. It's up to them to all work that out when SDs are at BM's house, as far as we are concerned. A few months ago DH was finally a little more up front with BM about the whole issue.

Well, today was a replay of last year. The girls weren't with us--we sidestep the issue entirely by strongly suggesting they spend Easter weekend with BM so we can be out of it.

So I guess neither of them would go with her this morning. I am truly sorry--I do wish they would just go along with it on special occasions like this, and I had talked to them about the cultural significance of the traditional spring festivals, etc., hoping they would just suck it up and go. But no--they are really in a power struggle with her, I think.

So once again BM went off on DH, and ONCE AGAIN she tried to blame my kids for influencing the girls. The girls have hardly seen my kids all semester; both mine are in programs out of the country now, and frankly, they don't have much time or inclination to talk to their stepsisters about BM's theology, ha!

Anyway I know I should keep my mouth shut and not rile up DH any more by complaining about his half hour of reverting to being BM's whipping boy--hard to bite my tongue, though.

Thanks for listening! :)

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I can not believe that bm actually thinks dh should "make" their college age daughters go to church!!

Why can't she accept that her church is not their thing?
How annoying!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 10:56PM
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It should be between her and her kids, why is she calling DH about it? They are adults, too late to argue. It is pretty bizarre if they don't have their own opinions and could be influenced that easily (if that's the case).

I do find strange though that they would not go at least for a Holiday out of respect. I do have a comment: I am not Christian but to my understanding people attend Church on Easter to celebrate resurrection of Jesus Christ, not beginning of spring. I understand influence of Paganism, hence Easter bunnies and other nonChristian symbolism, but that's not why people go to Church. I find it strange you spoke to them about traditional spring festivals as trying to convince them to go to Church with BM? It is like if I started telling DD about spring festivals in hopes she attends Synagogue for Passover?

My SDs also never wanted to attend Church with BM, and actually made fun of it, which I think is rude. But she recently became filthy rich, and made lots of promises and now they go everywhere she asks them to (including Church)and don't dare to show disrespect, LOL but that's a topic for a different thread.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:17PM
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I doubt she will ever accept it, and who knows what they will decide down the line. By trying to force it down their throats, she is no doubt making it less likely that they will go to church with her out of respect for her beliefs and because she is their mother and it is important to her. She isn't happy with just that. She wants them to believe what she believes.

She no doubt lashes out at DH out of frustration that she can't control them--as if he could, ha.

Since it's been a while since she's done this, I find myself even less tolerant for her unloading her emotional stuff on DH. Not sure whether I should say anything to him about it, though.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:26PM
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Ha! Well, I guess for enough money I would go to church too. Actually I like to go in them, at least the old beautiful historical ones, just not during meetings.

Talking about spring festivals and traditional European culture was the best I could do to try and overcome their stubbornness. Like, to give them a way they could be OK with going and not feel like they were "giving in" even though they are in this power struggle with their mom about the issue. I am ticked at them that they wouldn't go to make her happy--but, on the other hand, I also know they have a long, long history in this department.

It's challenging for DH, because BM has demanded a big double standard in this department. He is not supposed to influence them to be freethinkers, but she is allowed to proselytize up one side and down the other. Her reasoning? "Faith is fragile and you shouldn't think about it or you might lose it." We have acquiesced to her demands because we don't want her to go nuclear (and when they were younger, she threatened to move them out of the state).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:34PM
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And now they are grown and communication can be ended. Your DH should have hung up, not listened.

Po1 I think the reason that she would encourage is just like she said, so that BM would be happy and it is good that she encourages positive rather than negative.
My ex has changed denominations and my dd is quite confused bc she is forced to go to their church and she is very resistant. I encourage her to be respectful and to pay attention while there and to not make a scene. She may learn something if she pays attention and I don't think that it's a bad idea in our society to be educated on all denominations or religions. I am taking a world religions class right now an unfortunately it is turning me more in to an agnostic than anything although I enjoy my faith and I love the feeling it gives me but I am finding that by learning more about others beliefs, I am more tolerant of the differences in our society today and I really think it is benefiting ME as a human being in such a complicated world.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:22AM
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ulrike, I know you meant well, but I would refrain from encouraging or discouraging them to attend Church, I just don't think it is your place. Religion is a very sensitive subject...

I understand my situation is different because I haven't raised SDs and met them as adults, but I would not make attempts to discourage or encourage them to attend church with BM. If your SDs are close to you and are easily influenced type, they sense that you and DH disapprove of organized religion (hence talk about traditions), so they opt not to attend as not to displease you. I would stay out of it.

myfampg, although it appears as positive, it is deeper than that. Mom wants them to practice Christian faith and attend church for those purposes, not for celebrating spring festivals. I think attempts to convince them produces opposite results. They don't have to go to Church to celebrate traditional European cultures.

I believe one can be a free-thinker and still belong to organized religion. One does not exclude the other, (unless we are talking about fundamentalists of any faith). My DD is a s free-thinker as they come, yet she is Jewish, was raised as a practicing Jew and attends Temple just fine, although not very often. It did not limit her free-thinking.

What was funny is that my ex tried to influence DD and actually rolled his eyes at me and DD belonging to organized religion. Yet few years ago he converted to a different religion LOL and now is as religious as they come, yet in the past he said religions limit free-thinking. LOL Now he agrees that one does not exclude the other. Luckily my DD had her own mind early on.

As about BM calling and arguing, it is certainly weird she did that. But it is DH's battle to fight. I don't think you should say anything. When my ex calls to discuss anything about DD, and she is adult, I think it is between us. Of course if it was a daily phone call or arguments, it would be bizarre. If BM calls and argues, he could hang up, he didn't. He engaged her. As I recall they always had unhealthy patterns of interactions.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:58AM
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"I had talked to them about the cultural significance of the traditional spring festivals, etc."

I think that was a great way to try to convince SDs to go to church; I find the history (and the great old architecture) to be the most interesting part quite often.

Maybe there was more to it and the girls have a particular dislike of the minister/priest/preacher/reverend/theology? I went to Christmas Eve service at my stepsister's church several years ago, and came very close to just walking out. The sermon consisted of explaining to us how we are in the middle of a holy war and x religion was being attacked from all sides (I'm rolling my eyes over here), a lot of politics were thrown in (I was sorely tempted to report to the IRS because I believe they can lose tax-exempt status for too much politicking). I'd heard enough when I was told how every member of a particular religion wants to kill me, personally, because it is "part of their religion" and that was "proven" by quotes from [particular religious text] - "quotes" which are not in there. (It's really cool how they actually let you read the books belonging to any particular religion, so you can see for yourself what they say....)

I love my stepsister but will not put myself in a position to have to sit silently listening to such BS again. Maybe there are some particular points in that church that SDs find offensive? Or perhaps they simply do not care to hear how they or some of their friends are doomed to go to hell?

No matter the cause, DH should've just hung up on her. They are grown adults and allowed to make their own religious decisions!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:12AM
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I think they were torn between religious mother and agnostic father...No wonder they say that it is wise for prospective couples to share similar beliefs....

geee...sounds like one crazy sermon, mattie, I would probably walk out. Were they talking about Islam and Muslims wanting to kill us all? LOL I have a colleague who believes that Muslims are out there to kill us all. Nuts...Must be some fundamentalist denomination. Good point that maybe that's the kind of Church BM wants them to go to? Hmmmm...No wonder they'd rather not...

Our Rabbi's sermons are always about politics and economy, great topics but not at 9PM after a long week. LOL If he started talking nonsense though like that Church you went to, I would walk out and not come back.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:33AM
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Thanks, you guys! Yes, without giving out too much specific info (just what I would need, BM to find me on this board, ha), BM goes to a church that DH deems to be harmful. On the surface it seems all hip and modern with a fancy sound system and an organizational structure that cares for its members, etc. DH himself was raised within this congregation, as was BM. When DH was in HS, he started to question the supernatural part of what he was learning; like many people, he responded positively to the positive moral teachings of religion; the harmful teachings, not so much. But he went along, pressured by his family and BM.

He describes his moment of truth as being the birth of his first daughter, sitting in church knowing that they do not allow women to speak during services or hold high office. He told BM he would not subject the girls to that, and that was the beginning of the end for their marriage.

So, it has been a challenge over the years to keep our mouths shut as much as possible when they've brought home some rather ugly ideas...but these are very smart girls and I hope our attempt to have a generous spirit about it made it the least painful for them as we could. Very hard because BM never ceased demanding that we church them on the weekends they were with us. She demanded total respect and a "free pass" for her own belief system, bombarded us with literature, etc.

Ironically, as I've mentioned before, BM remarried to a very nice man who is a theology prof; I don't think he much cares for her church but he goes with her. He's been a big help in smoothing the waters.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:52AM
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They do teach that at this church. They tell even little children that if they do not believe in a particular supernatural being, that when they die, they will spend the rest of all time in torment. And that unless an individual believes in this particular supernatural person, they can not be good people. Made for some sad and awkward moments when they tried to talk to my kids about that stuff!

Anyway hopefully that is all pretty much behind us now that the girls are on the threshold of adulthood. Leaving me with the problem of BM still engaging DH on the topic. It always starts out being about the girls and then she morphs it to arguing about religion. I am thinking that to DH she represents the personification of growing up in that church and he is recycling emotional "old business" not with her but with the church. Very tempted to bring that up with him--or would it be better to just let it lie as it seems to be dying a natural death?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:01PM
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wow, now I see why they don't attend, and women not speaking during services and not holding offices would not fly with me, but if BM likes it more power to her, she just has to accept that her adult kids are not into it...MAYBE eventually they can discover some more liberal denominations.

I and ex don't talk about religion with the exception of maybe few times. For number of my own personal reasons as well as due to some of our memories together I was shocked when my ex converted to Christianity (nothing against Christainity at all, just the fact of conversion). I was glad it happened after DD was grown. Perhaps BM and DH do not truly argue about the kids but still go through the pains of religious differences caused them to divorce. It is like my SO does not like to see any movies where spouses cheat because he was cheated on. The pains stay I guess...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 12:19PM
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Well, of course, it says right there in the Bible that women should keep silent in churches, be in submission, and if they have a question, wait until they get home and ask their husbands. Maybe I should remind DH that it does NOT say they should ask their EX-husband.

Of course, if BM was "in submission" to her current husband, they wouldn't be going to that church in the first place, ha!

I think I will sit DH down and talk about this. It may never happen again that BM calls about this, but it may continue to be a pattern. It does trouble me also that she makes veiled comments about me being "the reason" DH is secular. Not true, though we do support each other and are, as Second Corinthians says, "equally yoked."

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:16PM
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LOL, not only do you have to believe in the proper Particular Supernatural Being, you have to believe in the right way, or you will burn in the fiery pits of hell. Nothing against anyone's religion but my theory is summed up nicely by an article I read in which the author said that if God is so judgmental and intolerant that people who'd tried to behave in a moral fashion went to hell because they didn't go to the "right" church, well, then God was not the sort of character that she'd care to spend the length of a dinner party with, let alone eternity.

PO1, I'll just say that you are very astute. :-)

I have decided perhaps fundamentalists of all religions should go off and bicker with each other and leave the rest of us in peace (I don't mean the fundamentalists of the "I'm going to try my hardest to follow my own religion and best of luck to you" type but the "I pick and choose which parts of my own religion I want to follow, and I also want to choose which parts of my religion that you should follow" sort.)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:47PM
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I dont think anyone should be made to go to church or to believe in something they wish not to.
Easter is a celebration that Christ has risen. He defeated the death and torture. I am a Christian, and very proud that I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savoir and will go on to have eternal life. I dont think anyone should try to call it something its not like "Spring Festivals" because it has nothing to do with celebrating spring. If these grown women do not wish to humor their mother and go to her church then they should not go or be made to go or be convinced. They can still belive and have a strong faith and just not like her church.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:49PM
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ulrike, Bible says a lot of things yet there are liberal Christian denominations that don't interpret Bible literally. Old Testament says many odd things too yet my branch of Judaism does not follow it verbatim. SKs could find somehting more suitable.

ha, LOL ulrike, my ex's wife TRULY IS the reason my ex converted to her Christian denomination and it is not a secret, they also married in her church. LOL Maybe if she attempted to brainwash DD I would have a problem. I have to say though that my ex started making comments clearly being influenced by his new religion and his wife, like things that were previously OK now are sinful in the eyes of G_d. I don't care, DD is adult, SM is nice and my ex is a decent guy, I am just laughing inside.

I think of myself as pretty persuasive and knowledgeable person however I do not think i have enough power to make a Jew out of anyone. hahaha I'll ask SO if he considers it. Oh boy, too funny

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 4:27PM
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good points jess3, that's what I was trying to say too! People go to Church for Easter to celebrate Jesus Christ not for spring festivals.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 4:29PM
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I think for my SDs, it's not a matter of wanting to find a church that is somehow less literal or ignores parts of the bible (or whatever particular text a particular religion follows). They don't want to go at all. And if they were just two young people off the street, I would say, "Sounds good to me, that's my choice as well," etc. In other words, support their choices and commiserate.

But of course, they aren't just any two people; they are my stepdaughters. And sadly, that means that even though I care much more about them than I would the young person I just met, I need to be so muzzled that Apostle Paul would approve, ha! Don't know if Paul would approve that I am always shushing my DH on the subject as well so he won't set BM off.

It hit the fan a few years ago when one of my SDs was being tormented by a religious classmate; he said the bible says she cannot be a good person unless she believes in hell and all that. I was explaning how neurologists can now actually see the way empathy works in the human brain, and how our species would never have survived without it and so forth, which made her feel much better. But did BM ever go on the warpath about that one! I even got heat from BM for helping SD with a paper on the history of the bible, which I studied for two full years (at a Christian college, I might add). Nope, not supposed to know that, apparently.

BM's church is also homophobe...oh well, that's a different topic!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 5:02PM
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It gets crazier by a minute here...I don't tolerate homophobic churches either (or any religious institution), funny thing my ex's new choice of Church is homophobic as well. One of my DD's friends was raised by a crazy religious mother (everyone will burn in Hell), and the girl is generally religious yet she is very tolerant and actually is a very nice girl. She chose to stick with going to mom's Church and so on as to not argue with her mother, her mother is nuts and completely crazy control freak. So I see how some people would just follow their parents as to avoid conflicts. I guess knowing some particulars, i commend SDs for not going there and willing to defy their mother.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:13PM
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BM's church will refer gay young people to one of those "conversion" organizations. AKA self-loathing infusion. BM herself, I think, is not really homophobic; a beloved family member and his partner are invited to their family gatherings and BM actually kind of brags about it (which I find very sweet). I guess I don't get how she can sit there in the audience at her church and listen to hate speech and be cool with that. And expose her daughters to that as they were growing up.

Anyway, I mainly came to the board just now to report that DH and I had a good talk tonight! You know the old saying that the thing that is hardest to talk about is the very thing you should talk about? I took a deep breath and brought it up. At first he was a little defensive (y'all know the drill, ha). Then he admitted it is really hard to resist the temptation to rehash their early religion arguments because "I've learned so much since then."

I told him that him continuing to engage emotionally with BM like that was distressing to me. Reminded him that my ex and I co-manage a business entity and we are polite and that's it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:25PM
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Totally not *my* business, but it seems to me if the girls' FATHER views this particular church as actually *harmful* (as opposed to 'harmless nonsense'), then it's not just his RIGHT, but also his RESPONSIBILITY to speak up and present his own opinions -- whether BioMom agrees with them or not.

We're talking about the girls' emotional health and well-being. If it were their *physical* well-being and Dad felt BioMom was doing something harmful to them, it would be intolerable for him to stand back and say nothing. Why is it any more tolerable for him to remain silent in the face of emotional mistreatment?

If this church teaches hate and intolerance, Dad *needs* to preach love and tolerance. If this church teaches that women are inferior, Dad needs to teach his daughters that they're *not*. If this church teaches unquestioning obedience, Dad needs to teach the importance of discernment and educated decision-making.

And if BioMom screams that her religious faith won't hold up to logical scrutiny, I'd suggest that Dad simply ask her to examine why that is, then set down the phone and walk away...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 2:40PM
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good point sweeby. Originally I thought that this is just some mild tolerant place of worship, however as I see now I totally agree with what sweeby says. If my ex tried to drag DD to homophobic and harmful church I wouldn't be as nice as DH, I would fight tooth and nail. And, ulrike, next time tell DH to hang up with no discussion.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I find it very interesting what some people get hung up on - especially when the kids are grownups. Here's where another shrug comes in...

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:07AM
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I agree, Almitchell! To me, it seems like such a big to-do about nothing. But the great religion war has been part of DH and BM's relationship since day one, even before they were married. There are so many parallels between their relationship and DH's religious beliefs (and his later moving on from that). I really think both of them see the two as two sides of a coin, ha.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Proverbs 16:18-19 tells us that "pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud."

Easter as celebrated by Christians is a conglomeration of Pagan rituals/spring celebrations. Even the name "Easter" comes from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre". They are both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.

Religion is a man-made invention that often has nothing to do with God or Godliness. People may consider themselves Christian and go to church to celebrate Christ as being risen... but for those who are skeptical about the Christian timeline (ahem) they may be open minded enough to go to church over Easter and take joy in the celebration of renewal, of life, of Spring knowing that is the original meaning behind the celebration.

At least, if I had to go to church with someone for Easter, I would take a page from your book, Ulrike, and look to the historical significance of the holiday and take pleasure from that instead of balking simply because I do not believe Christ is risen.

Or, the Christians could admit they piggy-backed on the holidays of the Pagans and Jews and utilize items that are symbolical for Pagans and have nothing to do with Jesus(the incredibly randy rabbit and the red eggs) and start calling their holiday "resurrection Sunday" or something of the sort.

Kind of hard to get young children to want to be Christians without all the jingle bells and whistles though...

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 1:29PM
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