David’s Story (Step-Father and Daddio)

I typically do not broadcast my opinions over the social media. I am rather more comfortable in one on one discussions.  With that said, I am submitting this in response to my son’s (Jefferson’s) request for my feelings.

A bit of background, I am a lifelong member of the church.  I have gone through a period of in-activity in the church (a post-divorce period).  I am currently a strongly committed and very active member of the church.  For perspective on the request for this discussion, my wife and six of my nine children have left the church.  I guess that qualifies me to post my opinion here.

Let me start by saying that with each of the seven immediate family members who have left the church, I have had very different feelings and reactions.  Each person and each case is different.  The emotions and feelings for each were affected by their individual personalities, the life changes they were making, and so on.  The biggest common feeling was questioning.  I wanted to understand the whys.  My comments here will be pulled from all of these relationships, experiences and expectations.  This is a general response.  I could expand on each person individually.

I have listened to each family member individually and treated them separately.  I have listened to each issue and read about and pondered each issue questioned.  I am sure I do more searching and reading than everyone knows in my hope to learn and understand.  No knee jerk reactions.  In many cases I am still pondering and learning.  I have tried to understand where each person is coming from.

That said, on some issues it boils down to the typical ‘agree to disagree’, accepting that we all have our own opinions and feelings and I respect those.  In rare cases I strongly disagree and this primarily comes from my feeling that from my perspective, the path taken or the point of view taken will lead to some amount of misery or sadness.  I do not judge or love these family members any less.  I still want the best for them and of course I have my own opinion about what leads to happiness.  I believe all of these family members know who I am and what I believe.  They also know that I love them even though we see differently.

A big piece of my wading through these issues and opinions is trying to understand where, why and how the opinions are formed.  What has led each person to where they are.  Why do they feel the way they do.  This whole process is interesting, educational, inspiring and thought provoking.

I have broadened my view of people and the world through these insights.  I have deepened my ability to love and accept and support.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do not accept that some of the directions chosen are good or even right for the people I love.  But I do feel I understand.

This process has been fertile ground for me to go deeper into my own beliefs, feelings, perspectives and attitudes.

With relation to the church, my testimony, my commitment, my spiritual life and my relationship with God, it is now only stronger and deeper.

We are all more comfortable hanging with people who have similar values, principles and directions.  While members of my family have gone in different directions, the bonds I have with them hold true.  I dearly love to hang with each of them and share our lives.  I love and enjoy each of them.

I am happy to talk with anyone individually about any issues or feelings, no holds barred, no love lost.

A couple of thoughts to ponder that might lead to understanding some differences of thought.  These thoughts bubbled up from readings as I have tried to understand the path of my family members.  They point to threads that seem to be common, at least in our family.

Is your experience with religion “a HAVE TO religion or a religion TO HAVE”?

“We are not mortal beings trying to have a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a mortal experience.”

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Read more stories or add your own by clicking here.

Comment on David’s story by clicking here.

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7 thoughts on “David’s Story (Step-Father and Daddio)

  1. Pingback: Leavers and Stayers (and Returners) – Story Series #2 (and 3) « The Accidental Atheist

  2. Really neat to see your perspective on here Daddio, as our long car rides aren’t possible anymore. Thanks for being who you are, and never forget how much you mean to all your kids. Love ya!

  3. David, you are such an amazing person! I mean, I have always known that, but you continue to show yourself as ever more amazing. I was worried about you and Mom when she said she was leaving the church. I did not want that to cause you to split up. I am so grateful that you both have worked it out so you can be together and love eachother. I wish more people could be as non-judgemental as you. So loving in your quiet way. Everyone knows what your beliefs are, but you never shove them in anyone’s face. I am so thankful you are in all of our lives and I love you so much. I can’t ever thank you enough for loving my Mom and all of us crazy kids as much as you do. Not to mention all you have done for Mikelle’s kids. Really, you are one of my favorite people on earth and definitely a good example for all who know you. Love, Rin

  4. This is Daddio’s wife, Jefferson’s Madre. I am married to an amazing man. When we were on our second date, long ago and far away in 1998 when all the cousins who have so far written on this blog were young boys (well, except for Marinne!), I thought it would be only fair to give him warning that I was not the perfect LDS wifely material. (Hello! I think he already KNEW that!!!) So I said to him casually that evening, as we walked along hand in hand, “I just don’t get this priesthood thing.”

    He laughed, as Daddio will, and told me I was cute.

    My gentle revelation — that I was a Mormon girl, yes, but that I struggled with some things — was less startling than his quiet, un-premeditated revelation… that he was a man confident in his own beliefs, uncontrolling and, in fact, able to handle me being myself.

    I didn’t know how to relate to such a man, but he intrigued me. I wasn’t clear on the definition of “myself”, either, but because of his presence in my life, I knew I was safe to pursue clarity.

    You have lain beside me at night and heard, felt my tears and frustrations for years, Daddio. You have felt my LONGING to “get it”, and wondered with me at why it just didn’t seem to be happening for me. You have remained steady… if anything, become steadier… in your own beliefs, and somehow through it all we’ve come to respect and love each other more than I ever knew could be. I love you with all my heart. After reading what you have written, I hope the whole world can see you for the amazing man you are.

  5. Pingback: David’s Story (Step-Father and Daddio) « The Accidental Atheist – Story Series

  6. Pingback: Leavers and Stayers (and Returners) – Story Series #2 (and 3) « The Accidental Atheist – Story Series

  7. I look forward to reading all the stories and getting a chance to comment! As for this one, Pops you are one amazing man. This is coming from “Daddio’s” daughter-in-law and I call him Pops, because he is like a 2nd father to me. When I first met Ben and he explained how important you were to him, I was worried that my life maybe wouldn’t be good enough for a boy and and his father from a strong faith. But I was so happy to be wrong so quickly as you have clearly stated, you have loved us all so dearly with no judgements about who were were, are or will be. A true man of respect for personal agency and though we share the same beliefs and live the same lifestyle, I appreciate that you never made me feel “not good enough” for Ben not having grown up in the church. I have always appreciated your unconditional love. 🙂

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