Sunday, October 15, 2017

Of all the nerve!

Good morning, y'all.  It's a glorious Sunday here in Germany.  The weather is absolutely gorgeous.  My husband is off to Morocco and I'm sitting here listening to Styx, downloading a shitload of Sims 4 stuff (it'll keep me out of trouble), and thinking about a post I read on RfM yesterday.  For those who don't know, RfM stands for Recovery from Mormonism.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the LDS church.  My husband was a member for awhile and though he resigned eleven years ago, we still hang out with a lot of ex Mormons.  Sometimes the stories are pretty incredible.

Today's post is inspired by one of those incredible stories... incredible in a bad way, that is.  A poster named pugsly wrote back in September that pugsly's TBM (true believing Mormon) mother died of a massive stroke.  I don't actually know if pugsly is a woman or a gay man, so I'm going to try to use gender neutral pronouns.

Because pugsly had decided to leave the church, pugsly and his or her twin brother were not invited to visit their mother while she was on her death bed.  Their elder brother had called to let pugsly's son know about the stroke and invited him, and apparently him alone, to visit her.

Evidently, pugsly had been estranged on and off from his or her family for a long time.  So when pugsly got the news about his or her mother's sudden stroke and subsequent death, s/he apparently didn't cry about it.  S/he didn't attend the funeral, either, since s/he was told s/he was unwelcome.

Well... imagine their surprise when pugsly and his or her twin both received certified letters from their older brother several weeks later.  In the letter, the older brother demanded $6000 each from pugsly and the twin, even though they were not invited to see their mother on her deathbed or attend the funeral, nor were they even told of their mother's death until after it happened.  My mouth dropped open as I read this demand of $12,000 from two people for a funeral they weren't even allowed to attend and had no part in planning.

I can imagine what my response would be if I ever received a letter like that from someone in my family.  I imagine it would involve the words "go fuck yourself."  The gall is absolutely breathtaking to me.  I might follow up with a restraining order.

I think it's absolutely shameful that religion tears family relationships apart the way it can.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls itself a family friendly church, but I have heard and read countless stories of families being broken apart because not everyone is able to live the lifestyle demanded by the church.  I won't rehash Bill's story, especially since it seems like his younger daughter might be coming around (although I still don't trust her).  However, I do want to post a video I watched a couple of days ago.

This is a video by YouTube user newcarabu, otherwise known as David, a man who has fourteen children and declared one of them "dead".

I took great interest in David's story, since it sounds like he has been treated just as shabbily as Bill was when he left the church.  David's daughter, Aimee, is a true believing Mormon.  At one time, David and his daughter had enjoyed a close relationship.  David helped Aimee get into BYU and she really took to the Mormon lifestyle.  Then, when David determined Mormonism was all bullshit and left the church, they became very estranged.

Evidently, Aimee expected David to grovel for any contact with her and her kids.  She snubbed him from her wedding, didn't tell him about her children, and otherwise treated him with contempt.  So David, realizing that he's not a bad person and doesn't deserve to be abused, decided Aimee was dead to him.  It's not that he wishes her ill.  He just doesn't want to be involved anymore.  He explains all of this in his video.  To me, it makes perfect sense.  We all have lives to lead and you can't please everyone.

Plenty of TBMs saw the video's title and didn't bother to watch it.  They took issue with the video's title and declared it a "lie".  The title of the video is "My mormon daughter, Aimee just died today. I can't attend the funeral, no reccomend. [sic]"  David refers to the temple recommend that Mormons must have in order to visit the temple.  Mormon funerals do not require a temple recommend because they aren't held in temples.  Like so many others online, Mormons chimed in, squawking about how David is bashing their church.  But they didn't watch the video, so they missed the point and the valuable lesson within David's experience.

Some other people, parents themselves, took issue with David's decision to declare his daughter "dead" to him.  They think it's a parent's duty to always hope their children will come around.  We seem to have less trouble letting other people let go of abusers.  When it's a family member, especially a parent or child, many people feel like that's a tie that shouldn't be severed under any circumstances.  But, let's face it, sometimes people are just plain shitty.  I don't think anyone should be expected to tolerate toxic people for the rest of their lives, even if it is a blood relative.  Life is hard enough as it is.

It always amazes me how some religious people have this smug attitude that they are better than other people simply because they are religious.  They seem to think that a belief in God somehow puts them above other people and gives them license to chastise, shun, abuse, or otherwise treat other people as lesser than they are.  And when a person gets tired of being treated like shit, some of them act like they every right to continue debasing the target of their abuse.

I have said it before and I'll say it again.  It's NOT a punishment to be shunned by assholes.  If you can't accept that a person doesn't share your religious beliefs, doesn't share your sexual orientation, wants to wear pants instead of skirts, or just simply wants to be who they are without harassment, you are an asshole, plain and simple.  It's not a punishment to be shunned by assholes.  If you engage in shunning, you should not expect the person you're shunning to hang around waiting for you to forgive them or grovel to get back into your good graces.  Seriously... what makes you (or anyone else) think you have the right to expect that?

I am still pretty flabbergasted by pugsly's story.  I truly can't believe the brother thinks he's entitled to $12,000 from siblings he treated so shabbily.  Fuck him.  I'm sure pugsly has already said it, but I would add my own.  The gall is just astonishing.


  1. David's and Pugsly's stories are appalling to me. I wouldn't be chipping in for any funeral at which i wasn't welcome. one of my aunts has issues with her siblings because they're always planning family events without consulting her but expecting her to contribute her share. even they wouldn't do anything so outrageous as what Pugsly's siblings did.

    I also think parents have an obligation to do everything possible to see that their final expenses are covered before they go. I understand that i've lived a somewhat spoiled and privileged middle-class existence, but it's hard for me to imagine the circumstances where such is not possible, though i guess it happens. at the very lest, a funeral/cremation/burial needs to be low-cost if offspring are asked to fund it. I don't know how many kids Phgsly's mother had, but the very lowest number would be three. There's no reason a funeral has to cost eighteen grand unless either the deceased or the survivors had so much cash lying around that they felt obligated to stimulate the economy.

    Regarding David's situation, my mom and I can become quite upset with each other at times, but I don't think there is anything she could do that would cause me to kick her out of my life, and i would assume the same is true for her. I'm not sure what else David could do other than to go on living his life. Aimee has apparently made her wishes clear. i would never keep my future children from any grandparent who didn't mistreat them.

    1. Yeah... it really is beyond the pale. pugsly's brother sounds like a typical narcissist with an enormous sense of entitlement.

      I feel very fortunate in that my mother is extremely practical. While we were not very close when I was growing up, she is committed to not be a burden to other people. She's also pretty good with money. My mom is not particularly warm or affectionate, but she is responsible and decent. I appreciate her a lot more now that we're older.

      I am so glad I don't live in a family that pulls this kind of shit.

    2. I have a two relatives in particular who aren't bad people but who are not especially warm. I tend to hold it against them. That's wrong; while they may not be the most fun or affirming people to hang out with because of their personalities, it's probably through no fault of their own that they are the way they are, and I need to be more accepting.

    3. Maybe. Sometimes people are just more reserved for whatever reason. My mom has a good heart, but she's very no nonsense and pragmatic. In some ways, that's probably the best way to be, but there were a lot of times when I had to deal with hard stuff on my own because she wasn't interested. Now I'm married to a guy who is super empathetic and kind. I probably lean on him a lot more than I should because I had to take care of myself when I was a child.


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