An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Ecumenical Family

When our immediate family gathers, at least three religious viewpoints
are represented: Devout Mormon, devout Calvinist/Evangelical, and devout
agnostic. George and I raised our children in the Mormon faith, but in our
waning years—possibly as self-defense—we’ve mellowed into the notion that no
single religion has a monopoly on truth. If God really intended salvation to be
limited to the members of one particular denomination, he should have made it
more clear which one.

The dilemma comes with the grandchildren. I have no desire
to undermine the faith their parents teach them. We attend their churches when
visiting. We applaud the Evangelical grandchild’s lisping version of “Yes,
Jesus Loves Me,” as heartily as our Mormon grandchildren’s rendition of “Follow
the Prophet.”

We don’t serve alcohol in our home out of deference to the
Mormon segment of the family, but stock the garage with beer, wine, and spirits
to keep the others happy.

Still, I’m uncomfortable when questions about my own
religious practices occur. Recently our Mormon grandson asked if the tea I was
drinking was herbal. My negative response brought an answer of six-year-old
smugness: “We don’t drink real tea.” I assured little Jared that I’m glad he
chooses to obey his parents. I dread the time when we’re attending church with
one of the families and a grandchild asks why we don’t take the sacrament or
Eucharist.

I do hope that when they are older, our grandchildren will
value the religious traditions they’ve been taught while recognizing that
people of other faiths or of no faith are also good people, worthy of respect.
And if they choose a different spiritual path—I hope their parents can handle
their decisions with reverence.

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Comments on: "Ecumenical Family" (2)

  1. I’ve found that most people focus on being a “good example” in terms of being something they are not: e.g. a person usually uses swear words, but tries to reign it in so he/she can be a “good example” to another person.

    However, I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, being honest about who you are can itself be a “good example” for another person — even if who you “honestly” are isn’t itself all that “good” of an example to be.

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