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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Ask Angela: It's unfair that I'm forced to go to church

By Angela Trusty, For the Deseret News

Published: Sat, Aug. 3 11:00 p.m. MDT

 This young woman is frustrated because her parents are forcing her to go to meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until she is 18. Here, we look for ways she can see the positives in her current situation.

This young woman is frustrated because her parents are forcing her to go to meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until she is 18. Here, we look for ways she can see the positives in her current situation.

(Shutterstock)

Dear Angela,

I’ve decided that I don’t want to be LDS anymore, but because I’m only 16 my parents force me to go to church with them. They say that once I’m over 18 like my brothers I can make my own decisions about how I spend my Sunday mornings. I know my parents love me but I think this is so unfair and I don’t think it’s their place to tell me what to believe. Do you think it’s possible for me to get them to change their rules? Or what is a good way to deal with this situation?

Thanks,

No Church for Amy

Dear No Church for Amy,

It’s tough having parental rules that you don’t agree with, Amy, but a real positive in all of this is that you recognize that your parents love you and can therefore trust that their motivations are good.

That’s where I would start.

In this, as in most tough situations, asking yourself the question, “what are the positives?” is a good way to change things from bad to great — or at least from bad to not as bad.

So what are the positives in going to church?

Begin by making a list, and remember there is no positive that is too small. Maybe the only positive that you can think of is that it’s the one day a week that you get to dress up. Or, maybe you like to sing, so singing the hymns in sacrament meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, isn’t all that bad. Maybe you like the Young Women activities, maybe you like the boys, maybe you like voicing your unique perspective in Sunday School, etc., etc. Think of as many positives as you possibly can and make those the focus of your next two (final two?) years at home.

This is not a promise that overnight you’re going to love going to church, but as you focus on what is positive, uplifting and good about your situation, you’ll put yourself in charge of how you feel, and that will cause some of the unpleasant feelings to subside.

Beyond that, no one, not even your parents, can force you to believe something that you don’t believe. They may have house rules that you need to live by, but religious beliefs are deeply personal, and developing or not developing a testimony is up to you. Spend some time thinking about what you do believe. Ask yourself questions like "why would parents who love me want me to be in church on Sunday?" "Why is it important to them?" and "On any level, are those things important to me, too?" Then search for answers.

It's OK to be undecided or to not know everything right now, but this process will be a really powerful experience for you.

Be patient with yourself and those who love you; be positive about your circumstances, and everything will work out.

Hope this helps!

Love,

Angela

Readers: This is just one perspective, what suggestions would you give our friend? Have you experienced a similar situation?

To learn more about "No Church for Amy's" story, visit our Facebook Page and blog.

Angela Trusty is a young adult advice columnist. Twitter: angelatrusty

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1. I M LDS 2
Provo, UT,
Aug. 3, 2013

Her parents are wrong. Forcing children to attend Church meetings only deepens their bitterness toward the Church, and creates a problem for Sunday School and YW teachers and leaders who have to deal with her. These parents are just asking for trouble. She will "act out" to escape their controlling ways.

2. FanofTHEgame
Mapleton, UT,
Aug. 3, 2013

Ultimately, life and the gospel of Jesus Christ are about love. Real love. Where do we find true love, in our acts of service. For most young people, they are bombarded with false versions of love and must wade through those fakes to find the true love though service. It is very difficult. When we serve others selflessly we are rewarded with a deep feeling of love. It is powerful and consistent. Christ's entire mission was service including his ultimate atonement.

Now, the LDS church is not perfect, but taking advantage of what a church has to offer is what makes it wonderful. And that is service opportunities. The LDS church offers the highest level of service opportunities (through the temple), but not the only and most churches help the soul through their opportunities to serve. We go to church to serve and be served. It is important and it is about recharging the soul. However, for most youth, they become ensnarled in themselves. The solution is difficult and it requires getting outside of ones self. I would try and teach this principle to every young and old person and then see them apply its truth.

3. IMAN
Marlborough, MA,
Aug. 3, 2013

The bottom line is that until she is no longer a minor and living under her parants roof she should have to submit to her parents direction on this issue. She can save her self and parents a lot of angst by at least trying to experience the church with an open mind. It will be very hard to do (I could not at her age) but when she is finally an adult and on her own she can make up her own mind and maybe still have a good relationship with her parents.

4. LittleStream
Carson City, NV,
Aug. 3, 2013

What is causing this young woman not to want to go to church on Sunday? Is it her "friends"? Is it her "boyfriend"? I would bet its one or both. If its just that she doesn't believe the church is true, she can wait the two years and go have a talk with the bishop and ask him to remove her name from the church rolls. After all, it is just her eternity we are talking about here. Please remember, if you choose not to live the teachings. Long after these "friends" have left your life, you will still have your eternity. Remember who you are!

5. poppycarlos
Scottsdale, AZ,
Aug. 3, 2013

This young person probably wants something a little less than what the LDS church teaches. She thinks she wants just the opposite--to be free and unrestricted. Perhaps she should try meeting kids that have run away from home seeking this freedom and the wonderful pimps on the street who require no such Sunday behavior and conduct as her parents require. Young women, the streets are littered with the tired and smashed bodies of those who thought the church teachings are too strict. These parents are right to expect conduct, but nobody is forced to believe. I have seen a lot of adults that would be grateful if their parents had higher expectations of them. A little stint in prison, a little rehab session for drugs, a few illegitimate kids, a life of beatings, addiction, abortion, poverty, welfare is what awaits those who run away from those nasty old restrictions of good parents and wise church leaders. When eighteen you should run and embrace the world. It will welcome you with open arms until you use up your usefulness and then you will creep back home and say your are sorry just like the prodigal son did.