005 The Talk: Telling Family and Friends (Part One)

To tell or not to tell… That is just one of the questions

Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.
— Brene Brown

Notes:

The Talk, The Hard Conversation, The Big Reveal: for many of us, telling family and friends about our decision to walk away from Mormonism is no small or easy task. It’s a conversation about so much more than church attendance–and it requires rather a lot of vulnerability. Can we say scary?!

We’ve split this topic into two episodes. In Part One, we use three of our panelists’ experiences as case studies with telling (or not) family and friends about the choice to leave Mormonism. Join us to find out how it went, what worked for us, and what we learned.

TAXONOMY

  • The Talk refers to the conversations you have once you have made the choice to leave Mormonism. This is different than conversations you may have had about doubts, question, or struggles with the church.

  • The decisions of whom to tell, how to tell, when to tell, and how much to tell can feel like complex puzzles to figure out.

  • It can bring to the forefront a lot of anxiety and tough emotions from both sides, so finding the right way to approach the conversation takes thoughtful consideration.

  • Choosing not to have the conversation is also a valid option; it can be a case of if to open up rather than when.

 ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS

  • Identify the “core” group of people–your “A” Team–for whom it’s important to hear the news directly from you.

  • Consider the vehicle for the conversation. Do you express yourself better in writing? A letter or email might be the way to go. Do you need to have a face-to-face conversation? Do it! Are you more casual in your communication? Text messages are totally okay if that’s what works for you.

  • Are your friends and family members already aware that you’ve had concerns or doubts about Mormonism? If not, consider telling your story in a way that gives them time to process their thoughts and emotions before responding to you.

  • Visualize the possible reactions of the people you plan to tell; what do you actually think they might say? This can help you determine your approach to each conversation.

  • Make your relationship the focus of the conversation: make sure they know how much you love them, that you value your relationship, and are invested in keeping it strong.

  • Understand the dynamics of the relationship with each person you’re considering having the conversation with. In some instances, the right choice may be to hold off on sharing your story with them.


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Oliver ChristensenComment