Every few days (seems like everyday) over on the exmormon subreddit there is a new post that reads something like the following:
My [mom/father/spouse/children] found out that I don’t believe in the church. They have [an apartment/ a room/ a computer paid for with my own money/ income] that they hold over me to push me to still attend church and I need help
Just where do members get the idea that it is okay to blackmail, cajole, leverage, punish into submission, etc. family members into heaven?
In fact I’m pretty sure there is a hymn that says
“For this eternal truth is given
God will force no man to heaven”
What this does is cause people to sneak/ deviate/ hide/ deceive/ etc. their true feelings. It breaks down communication and throws stones and stumbling blocks into relationships that would otherwise be fine. “Hey, I believe in the church but I’ll just have a beer” should not be any more patrolled or wrong than “I know Joseph Smith is true”. Somehow “Free agency was so important that a war was fought over it in heaven” was transmogrified into “You are going to church today whether you like it or not, young man!”
The church is changing and it can either clamp down harder on people for having beliefs that do not conform, thus ruining and inhibiting normal relationships of members or it can open up and breath a breath of fresh air, allowing people to worship how, where, or what they may, even within the religion’s walls.
The excommunication of Kate Kelly illustrates which they are most likely to choose.
Members, exmormons and non-members alike need to understand that communication with any given loved one may seize up at any time as long as pressure for the religion trumps open and honest communication. Love, the kind that comes with no strings attached or stipulations, is the broom that sweeps out eggshells.
And we could all use some clean floors and less-battered feet in this life.