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Familythink: Invitation to Write #18

For Writers:

My mother and her five siblings were raised in the Latter-day Saints religion. All told, I probably have about twenty-five cousins or so, and most of them have a few kids of their own. How many of my mother’s siblings, my cousins, or their children have left the faith of their parents? As far as I know, none of them have.

In the “Up” documentary series, researchers follow the lives of British children from diverse backgrounds. This series started in 1964, and every seven years, the researchers come back to interview the participants. This series uses a motto based on a Jesuit saying, “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.” Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of truth to that saying.

Without getting into the whole “nature vs. nurture” debate, why is it so difficult for people to examine the values they were taught in childhood? Not to pick on the LDS faith, but why have none of my immediate family members found a different religion? What would happen to any of them – they all live in Idaho and Utah – if they decided to become, say, Catholic, or worse, atheist? Did they ever have the ability to make the choice for themselves?

Family bonds are strong, and sometimes we sacrifice the freedom to choose. Sometimes, perhaps, we are raised in such a way that freedom to choose is removed – perhaps as early as by age seven. It’s a sobering thought.

Imagine a decision that you have made that went against your family’s wishes or beliefs. How difficult was it for you to go against the pressure of family? Did you keep your decision “secret” to avoid disappointing those you love?

"The important thing is not to stop questioning."
Albert Einstein


  1. I've made decisions that went against my family and I've been both happy and haunted by those decisions.


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