There is nothing wrong with teaching ideals and one could argue that that is the primary job of religious institutions. However, in real life, holding up ideals often leaves members never feeling “good enough” because they have not achieved the ideal righteous Mormon life. Chronic feelings of “never good enough” because your life doesn’t look like an Ensign magazine cover, your child has left the Church, your spouse isn’t committed to church callings, you’re struggling with the word of wisdom, you’re having difficulty forgiving someone, you’re not a good provider, or you’re not an attentive mother or father, can erode our whole sense of self.
One aspect of any good relationship is a sense of concern for the other person’s well-being. Parenting is no exception. It’s common to want to shield your child from pain, mistakes, and heartache and to foster happiness and success. However, as your child grows, the stakes get higher, and your control over their safety and their choices diminishes drastically. To deal with this lack of control, parents may turn to worrying (unease or anxiety over real or potential problems) as a consolation.
In this episode, Adam Miller and I join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a fresh look at sin. We discuss the true nature of sin, and share interpretations of common scriptures about sin. Listen to the podcast here…
In this Mormon Transitions episode recorded January 31, 2017 Margi and John Dehlin interview me, Kerstin Koldewyn, and former LDS Quorum of the 70 member Hans Mattsson (Sweden) about how to speak to children during a Mormon faith transition. Questions and comments are also discussed from our live listening audience. Enjoy!
Ask Dr. Julie Hanks: “When my son was just 2 I found him humping his hands just after a nap. I was shocked but knew enough about the negative effects of shaming that I didn’t freak out or scold him. I spent the next year just kindly distracting him away from self pleasuring. When I’d find him (always after waking up) I’d avoid saying anything in words because I didn’t know WHAT to say that would be appropriate and positive.”
If you are leaving or have left the Church and want to preserve your relationships, remember to respect the agency, emotions, and faith of your believing family members.
A week and a half ago I published a guest post on By Common Consent titled “25 things NOT to say to a loved one leaving the faith (and what to say instead).” The post sparked some great discussion among commenters on the blog and on social media. Some of the critiques or concerns about the article echoed themes similar to the following reader comments:
Finding out that a loved one has stepped away from Church activity or no longer believes in the Gospel can bring up a broad spectrum of emotions. Intense and often painful emotions can make it difficult to know what to say to your loved one about their choice to leave the Church.
A Crisis of Perceptions: New Paradigms to Address the Complexities of Modern Mormonism
Presenter: JULIE DE AZEVEDO HANKS, PhD, LCSW, is a seasoned psychotherapist, owner of Wasatch
Family Therapy, and author of The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women.
ABSTRACT: Mormonism has inherited ways of thinking that are no longer sufficient to understand or address the complexities facing the 21st-century Church. Concepts from cybernetics, systems theory, and
complex thought will be presented as alternative lenses with which to view and wrestle with the Church’s increased historical transparency, gender concerns, racial diversity, LGBTQIA issues, and member disaffection. Read more
Listen to Dr. Julie Hanks’ Sunstone presentation. Early relationship patterns lay the framework for our identity development, social interactions, and assumptions about others. If gender equality is to be achieved within Mormon culture and theology, it must first be modeled in family relationships. Cultural Transformation Theory provides a framework for moving from a domination model that values “masculine” over “feminine” to a partnership model where relationships are based on connection and equality.
By Common Consent published my guest blog today about what not to say to a loved one leaving the Church. I’ve had a handful of requests for PDF printables of the lists in the article…so here you go!