Most listeners to Mormon Matters, like all seekers, are undergoing a faith transition—hopefully one of continuous deepening into greater richness of experience and peace. Often, however, faith transitions feel more like “crises” for persons in the midst of the reorientation, as well as for family members and others close to them who are not sharing the same experiences and therefore fear that something dangerous is going on. These fears often arise out of love and concern for the person, but they can also emerge from that person sensing that their own interior world and equilibrium might be jeopardized through continued close association. The person undergoing the transition is also often fearful. Are these questions and feelings wrong? Will I be ever be able to stabilize within a new orientation to God, the universe, and those I love? These and many other factors at play when relationships are strained as someone undergoes a big change make for treacherous ground. What are some key ways to understand these dynamics and thus be better prepared for all that might come in these interactions?
In this episode, Katie Langston, Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, and Lisa Butterworth join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of faith transitions, primarily focusing on things the persons undergoing them might consider as they interact with those closest to them: Should they speak up, and how much should they share? How will they know if it is the right thing to do in their particular situation? What are some considerations to keep in mind that might help them understand less-than-ideal reactions that might come from those they are in primary relationships with? The conversation offers positive framings about the ultimate importance for healthy growth of these transitions as well as best practices and ways to prepare emotionally and spiritually before engaging others with whom someone is no longer on the same wavelength. What ideas and framings have most helped the panelists in their own journeys?
Please listen and then share your comments, stories, and best ideas below!
Information and registration form for the conference, “Navigating the Borderlands,” 4 April 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mormon Matters 71: “Make Love AND War: Maintaining Positive Relationships During Faith Transitions” (Podcast with slideshow based on Dan Wotherspoon’s 2012 Houston Mormon Stories conference presentation)
Mormon Matters 146: “Relationships First: Mormon Parents Face Their Child’s Faith Transition”
Mormon Matters 153-154: “Integrity with Self and Family: Parents on Sharing Their Faith Transition with Their Children”
Dan Wotherspoon, “All We Have,”Sunstone editorial, May 2005
Dan Wotherspoon, “Breaks in the Sky,” Sunstone editorial, April 2006
“Hero” by David Crosby and Phil Collins (YouTube video)