525: Dan Wotherspoon on Speaking with Loved Ones about Faith Differences
March 17, 2015
In this episode, co-released with Mormon Stories, Wendy Williams Montgomery, John Dehlin, and Dan Wotherspoon speak about the difficult dynamics at play in discussing with loved ones, whether family, friends, or ward members, about differences in faith positions after one party or another has shifted. In contrast with the types of challenges presented to people by “outsiders” to their faith, a change in stance and the new worldview presented by those who were once in sync with you (or at least perceived to be in sync) can be far more devastating. Their shifts often feel very personal, a rejection of something we hold most dear. And they have no excuse! They once knew what we know and now challenge and say they are seeing more clearly or experiencing something else more richly? For those who are the ones who have shifted, a loved one’s negative reactions to that person’s change also can feel quite personal. Why don’t they trust me that I’m on a good path, that I have information or insights that open the world to me in new ways? Why are they choosing stubbornness and clinging to ideology and dogma over really exploring and staying in close relationship with me no matter where my faith journey takes me?
How can we see these and other dynamics more clearly? What is “our” responsibility as those who have been the one whose perspectives have shifted? How can both parties better understand the challenges of this situation and learn to have compassion for each other? What are key virtues needed in such relationships? What are some “dos” and “don’ts” for negotiating this difficult interpersonal terrain?
Please listen and then share your stories and insights in the comments section below!