Monday, December 28, 2015

I Wasn't Invited

Christmas time is a time of colored lights, scrumptious food, diet breaking baking, foot-sore shopping, and mostly family.

For many people who have left the LDS church, it's also a time where they feel left out. Often family members and friends no longer invite "apostates" to gatherings, and those people then go on social media and vent about how horrible their families are to them and how all members are these terrible judgmental ogres who should slowly die in boiling pots of Christmas punch. (Okay, I made the last part up).

And so I thought I would write a check list about why someone might not be welcome to a party in an LDS home. Now, bear in mind, this is not victim blaming. There are truly people out there who are not welcome in their family simply because they left the church. Frankly, there's no excuse for that. Family is family whether you believe the same things or not and it is no reason to ostracize someone who believes differently.

But I also know that in every family, there's the person who for whatever reason, makes themselves unwanted at a party. We can't change other people, but we can change ourselves. So let's take a look at several possible reasons. Now be honest with yourself.

1. Perhaps religion has nothing to do with it. Have you been unkind to people? Do you comment on their weight, their finances, their politics or tell them they have horrible kids or in any other way cause them to feel bad about themselves? Do you tell dirty jokes, fail to shower, or insist on kissing people on the lips? Do you bring your dog/hamster/cat/snake along even though there are people who have allergies or phobias? Do you try to convince people to join your MLM? Do you try to sell them insurance. Do you hit people up for a loan? Have you committed a crime against anyone?  Are you a possible danger? Is there something that you're doing or have done in the past that would make someone uncomfortable with you, or even hate you? There are many reasons why a family member is not welcome at family events, and religion is probably one of the far lesser reasons.

2. When you go to an LDS home do you mock the beliefs of people there? Do you roll your eyes when the children perform the Nativity? Do you make snide comments about God, Jesus, or the church?

3. Do you expect your LDS family members to change who they are for you? If they have always said a prayer before eating through all the eons of time that you've known them, do you think they should stop because you are there? Do you complain about the "silly" traditions or laugh at the artwork on the wall, or sniff at the reading material on the coffee table? Do you demand that people stop talking about Jesus?
Even if you don't outright say anything, does your demeanor or actions give you away? LDS people are not blind and can sense when you are disdainful of them.

4. In conversation do you refer to God as "your imaginary friend" or the "flying spaghetti monster". Do you call people who believe in such things as weak or stupid? Frankly if you're going around calling people weak or stupid for not believing as you do, then why would anyone invite you to the party or want to spend time with you?

5. Are you a party villain? Do you call people out and start fights? Do you byob to a Mormon home and get drunk? Do you make fun of games or activities that are planned? Do you hand out copies of your self-published book "Why Mormons are Stupid and Other Well-Known Facts". Do you tell all the kids that Santa doesn't exist and neither does God?

6. Is it possible your partner is someone who does any of these things?  Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's the person you're with who is making people uncomfortable, unloved, stressed out, or unwelcome. After all you can't invite someone and tell them to leave the partner at home.

7. After the party/gathering do you go on social media and vent about how awful all these people are and the horrible things you had to endure - like the nativity that the children acted out and the prayers at the table, and the angel on the tree, and the sing-along of religious songs at the piano? Do you say how stupid your relatives are and how you have superior knowledge and how the world would be a better place if everyone were like you? Sure, they may never find out that you said these things, but frankly, you're probably not that great of an actor and they figured out that you felt that way while you were at the party. Especially when you replaced the phrase "round yon virgin" with "big fat promiscuous teenage girl" which frankly doesn't even fit in the meter of the song.

So if you've gone through this list and can honestly say that you don't do any of these things, and you're still not invited to the party, I am truly sorry. Please ask your family why you're not invited. There might be a reason that's not listed here. Or it just may be that they are jerks and leaving you out because you are an apostate and they're terrified that just having you in their presence would make it catching. 

If that's the case, then I can only suggest to let it go. You could create your own celebrations. Invite who you want. Throw your own parties and have new traditions. Call it "Festivus" or "The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster Fling". Serve what you want and act out what you want and just have a great time with or without family members. You can claim Christmas back.

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