Ask Ann Cannon: I respect my daughter’s decision to leave the LDS Church, but she scorns my choice to stay

Ann Cannon

Dear Ann Cannon • My daughter has decided to leave the LDS Church. While it is disappointing to me, I of course still love her and want her to feel welcome in my home. I have encouraged her siblings (all active) to refrain from “preaching” to her or talking about the church in her presence. They have all done so, as near as I can tell.

Unfortunately, my daughter who left the church seems to not miss any opportunity to bash the church around them. If not in their presence, she instead sends family texts with negative articles about the church. Her siblings have refrained from responding but have gotten to the point where they don’t want to be around her due to her consistent negativity. They fear, though, that if they stop inviting her to events or listening to her rail against something they believe in, she will feel persecuted and excluded because she doesn’t go to church anymore and the problem will only worsen. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

A Mother in Zion

Dear Mother • It’s hard when a loved one rejects something we value, so let me congratulate you on your willingness to accept your daughter regardless and to treat her and her decision with respect. Same goes for her siblings who (it seems to me) are exercising remarkable patience with their sister. Respect, however, is a two-way street. If she expects you to honor her decision, she needs to honor yours. Perhaps it’s time for you to remind her of this. If she continues to be disrespectful (which she probably will be for now — it sounds like she’s still in the angry stage), do your best to ignore her bad behavior if you wish to continue a relationship with her. Let the rest of your children, on the other hand, decide for themselves how to respond.

Dear Ann Cannon • I don’t know why people think it is appropriate to share their opinions without being asked. I ride the train an hour each way to work every day (mass transit is my only option). With the evolving developments of the COVID-19 virus, on March 1 I decided to start wearing a mask on the train, due to my son’s health issues; unfortunately, he is in the high-risk category. I am taking precautions to avoid this virus, as I can’t chance giving it to my son.

Since I have been wearing a mask I get the eye roll and “the look” with the head shake from dozens of people daily (female and male of all ages). I have had three men confront me; one told me that I am ridiculous. I told him that he didn’t know my circumstance and he said it didn’t matter, I am ridiculous. I said, “Well, I will certainly take your expert medical opinion under consideration.” The two other men basically said the same thing (on different days). They pointed to my face and said, “That isn’t doing anything and there is no reason to be wearing it.” To both I said, I “don’t recall asking for your opinion, so why don’t you take care of you and I will take care of me.”

No woman has said anything to my face, but on two occasions ladies around me talked about it loud enough for me to hear. I usually listen to books on the train. Currently my remedy for not sharing in others’ opinions is to listen to music (blocks out conversations around you better than someone reading) and close my eyes. I open them now and again to see how close I am to my stops. I wish my son didn’t have the medical issues he has and that we weren’t under a tremendous amount of anxiety over this virus. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen on the train cough without covering up. Please let your readers know that sometimes it isn’t appropriate, necessary or kind to share your opinions with a total stranger. I am looking forward to things getting back to normal, not worrying about my son, and listening to books on the train.

Mother Saddened by Society

Dear Mother • I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with this kind of insensitivity. I do think we’ve now shifted to a place where people are taking this pandemic more seriously. Hopefully, that will help your situation. Do continue to take care of yourself and your family. Best wishes.

Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at askann@sltrib.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.