Backroads

Honoring parents, leave and cleave, and single folk

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Random question floating into my head:

We are commanded to honor our parents and then to leave and cleave when we meet that special someone who we then would, generally speaking, place in greater priority.

What about single adults who don't marry? Do they continue making parents a high priority?

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Well, "honor thy father and mother" doesn't end at marriage - it's a lifelong (eternitylong?) commandment and commitment.  I left my father to get married, but when he started dying of cancer, my sister and I stepped in, moved him out to my city, got him into hospice, cleaned out and sold his house, handled the funeral arrangements, basically, everything he didn't want to do for himself, or couldn't.

I'm thinking about the handful of grown children I know, who suffer from various conditions that make independent living pretty much impossible.  Just speaking practically, when there's cleaving going on in those situations, the parents are usually not left - they basically stay in charge, now caring for/supporting two adult children who can't live independently.  (I'm guessing this isn't exactly what you're asking about, but you float a random question, you get a random answer. :) )

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11 hours ago, Backroads said:

Random question floating into my head:

We are commanded to honor our parents and then to leave and cleave when we meet that special someone who we then would, generally speaking, place in greater priority.

What about single adults who don't marry? Do they continue making parents a high priority?

I don’t see marriage as an end to honoring your parents - there is no end to that.  

An adult person should also be their own person, not a subsidiary (physically, emotionally, spiritually) of thier parents. This is true for all adults, single and married. 

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16 hours ago, Backroads said:

Random question floating into my head:

We are commanded to honor our parents and then to leave and cleave when we meet that special someone who we then would, generally speaking, place in greater priority.

What about single adults who don't marry? Do they continue making parents a high priority?

 

Those here who know my story know that I'm single in large part because I chose to "honor my parents" at a critical juncture in my life, setting up some rather catastrophic and life-altering events for which I'm still dealing with the consequences. 

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1 hour ago, Suzie said:

I would love to know what "honoring" exactly means for most posters (if you guys would like to share).

Ooh, good question!

I'd say honoring is considering, if not necessarily obeying, the good they have taught and acknowledging that.

I do think the relationship itself changes and is intended to change.

Edited by Backroads

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I don't know how this would apply to anyone else, but we have an interesting quirk in our family.

My oldest brother is gay.  But he tries to remain celibate even though he has left the Church.  He also happens to be pretty dang wealthy.  So, it was always understood that he'd be the one to take care of our parents in their old age.  By doing so, he was the only one who neither left nor cleft (see what I did there??).

However, life goes where it goes; and does what it does. My sister happened to marry into money.  She was always the one who was great with money to begin with -- a financial genius (even though she could barely do more than basic math).  Then she found a guy who was a fabulously wealthy heir.  Don't get me wrong.  He's a great guy.  And he's extremely handsome (blast him).  But given her financial situation, she's the one taking care of our father in his old age.  Mom died last year (I mentioned that in other threads).  Dad has early stages of Alzheimers.  And she's able to take care of him.

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On 5/29/2021 at 2:47 PM, Suzie said:

I would love to know what "honoring" exactly means for most posters (if you guys would like to share).

For me? It’s all about earning it. I love my mom and dad and we have a great relationship. So what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to me personally. 
 

Not all parents deserve to be honored. If you are mentally ill, physically or emotionally abusive, you do not deserve to be honored. I have seen firsthand how some parents manipulate their adult children after years of abuse. So it’s a nuanced topic. 

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2 hours ago, LDSGator said:

For me? It’s all about earning it. I love my mom and dad and we have a great relationship. So what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to me personally. 
 

Not all parents deserve to be honored. If you are mentally ill, physically or emotionally abusive, you do not deserve to be honored. I have seen firsthand how some parents manipulate their adult children after years of abuse. So it’s a nuanced topic. 

I agree with general the sentiment.  But I'd add something to this for the "bad parent" scenario. We bring honor to "the family name" (and by extension, the parents) by being honorable people who improve the world around us.

In my many travels, I was in a particular ward for about two or three months.  During that time, many members got to know me, and I them.  

Now, I don't mean to toot my own horn.  I'm just saying this to make the point.  One sister came to me and said (complimenting me for some traits I seem to have exhibited, and because she thought of me as 20 years younger than I was) "You must have had some wonderful parents to raise you to become the man you are."

While I appreciated her effort at giving such a grand compliment, I couldn't help but choke on it considering the kind of people my parents were.  I put on a polite face and simply thanked her.  But after she left, I couldn't help but think, "I am bringing honor to the family name in spite of, not because of, my parents."

Edited by Carborendum

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3 hours ago, LDSGator said:

Not all parents deserve to be honored. 

Oh, absolutely correct.   Nevertheless, it is a commandment that we honor our parents, whether they deserve it or not.

For those who have left deep scars or are toxic/dangerous/harmful, it's important to understand what 'honor' means, and doesn't mean.  It doesn't mean you agree with them, or stick up for them in public, or turn yourself into a doormat or a victim.  It means you take an interest in their wellbeing, and if they lack for the necessities of life, you help.  Even if that means helping them into some sort of state run facility or something.

This commandment is interesting, in that it's one way that mainstream Christianity gets close to understanding our duty to forgive.  We LDS have the extra commandment to forgive all.  Everyone else just has to walk twain miles when compelled to go one, and forgive a brother a certain amount of times, and honor parents no matter who they are.

 

Y'all might want to sit down for this story:  The last time I helped the Elders do a move, it was an eviction.  Not just any eviction - it was someone's mom.  She was old and in poor health, and had lost both her legs to diabetes.  She was alone in her house, kept alive and clean(ish) with daily on-site nursing and hospice visits.  Apparently, her husband had died 6-7 months earlier, which meant nobody was paying the rent.  This was a good month or two past the final eviction notice.  She had a son who was dead, and a sister in another state she "hasn't spoken to in 30 years".  No other relatives, no friends.  Just the ward, and none of us knew her.  And we didn't know the story either - just that an ambulance was coming for her that day to take her somewhere, and she had to leave.  If she didn't leave, the Sherriff was the next step.  She had already refused one ambulance ride.  So her ministering sister from the Relief Society had picked up the reigns, and went through every bit of trash the lady could see in her bedroom, and made her choose trash, donate, or take with her on the ambulance.  We Elders were relieved the lady was engaging with the RS sister, and we were getting our marching orders.  We didn't tell her the 'donation' pile was the same as the trash pile, because none of it was worth anything. 

It was the hardest thing I've had to do in several years.  May God keep and preserve us from a similar fate.  

There are people who end up in situations like this.  Maybe through no fault of their own, maybe as the culmination of a lifetime of bad choices.  Had her son been alive and estranged, he would have answered to God for how he handled his mother's situation.  Even if she had beaten and abused him.  Even if she was the most evil woman on earth.  He would have knelt at the feet of his Master, to answer for how he kept the commandment "honor thy mother".  Depending on when he died, perhaps he has already had to answer for some things.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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32 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

The last time I helped the Elders do a move, it was an eviction.  Not just any eviction - it was someone's mom.  She was old and in poor health, and had lost both her legs to diabetes.  She was alone in her house, kept alive and clean(ish) with daily on-site nursing and hospice visits.  Apparently, her husband had died 6-7 months earlier, which meant nobody was paying the rent.  This was a good month or two past the final eviction notice.  She had a son who was dead, and a sister in another state she "hasn't spoken to in 30 years".  No other relatives, no friends.  Just the ward, and none of us knew her.  And we didn't know the story either - just that an ambulance was coming for her that day to take her somewhere, and she had to leave.  If she didn't leave, the Sherriff was the next step.  She had already refused one ambulance ride.  So her ministering sister from the Relief Society had picked up the reigns, and went through every bit of trash the lady could see in her bedroom, and made her choose trash, donate, or take with her on the ambulance.  We Elders were relieved the lady was engaging with the RS sister, and we were getting our marching orders.  We didn't tell her the 'donation' pile was the same as the trash pile, because none of it was worth anything.

That sounds like a combination of two investigators on my mission.  But maybe a bit different. Even in such a lowly state, neither woman ever thought of humbling herself.  

One of them died suddenly proudly smoking away when we told her that it was affecting her health.  Apparently it was too late anyway.  The other simply didn't want to see us anymore because she knew XYZ about God better than we ever would.  Never knew what happened to her.

32 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

 May God keep and preserve us from a similar fate.  

Indeed.

32 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

It means you take an interest in their wellbeing, and if they lack for the necessities of life, you help.  Even if that means helping them into some sort of state run facility or something.

...

 in that it's one way that mainstream Christianity gets close to understanding our duty to forgive.  We LDS have the extra commandment to forgive all.

...

There are people who end up in situations like this.  Maybe through no fault of their own, maybe as the culmination of a lifetime of bad choices.  Had her son been alive and estranged, he would have answered to God for how he handled his mother's situation.  Even if she had beaten and abused him.  Even if she was the most evil woman on earth.  He would have knelt at the feet of his Master, to answer for how he kept the commandment "honor thy mother".  Depending on when he died, perhaps he has already had to answer for some things.

Are we really supposed to do this, though?  I understand the need to forgive.  And we truly should forgive all.

But does "forgiveness" also mean we have a responsibility to take care of them?  There's this thing called "toxic relationships."  Some are so severe, that simply "having to deal with them" in any way has psychological & spiritual effects on the receiving end.

Gratefully, I don't have to make that decision for my father.  I don't know what I would do, honestly.  But if push came to shove, I'd like to think I would at the very least help him to a state-run facility.  I think I'd go crazy if I had to have him in my home for more than a couple of days.

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For those who have left deep scars or are toxic/dangerous/harmful, it's important to understand what 'honor' means, and doesn't mean.  It doesn't mean you agree with them, or stick up for them in public, or turn yourself into a doormat or a victim.  It means you take an interest in their wellbeing, and if they lack for the necessities of life, you help.  Even if that means helping them into some sort of state run facility or something.

I think generally speaking, I understand (not necessarily agree fully). I listen to women and men well into their 40's and 50's who have been severely abused by their parents. Don't wish to put details out here but the most horrific abuse you can imagine. One of them was rescued by the authorities after spending most of his life in a situation that could be described as "hell". He will probably need professional help for the rest of his life. Does he need to take an interest in the well-being of his  torturers and provide the necessities of life if they are in need?

Edited by Suzie

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17 hours ago, Carborendum said:

But does "forgiveness" also mean we have a responsibility to take care of them?  There's this thing called "toxic relationships."  Some are so severe, that simply "having to deal with them" in any way has psychological & spiritual effects on the receiving end.

Well, I figure the two notions (honoring and forgiving) are related, but they are not the same.  Forgiveness doesn't mean you must be a doormat or a victim.  It does not mean you ignore the possibility of harm from someone.   But when it comes to taking care of our parents, forgiveness isn't the only commandment. 

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
Elder Oaks: "The Savior re-emphasized the importance of the fifth commandment during his ministry. He reminded the scribes and Pharisees that we are commanded to honor our father and our mother and that God had directed that whoever cursed father or mother should be put to death. (See Lev. 20:9; Deut. 21:18–21; Matt. 15:4; Mark 7:10.) In this day, failing to honor our parents is not a capital crime in any country of which I am aware. However, the divine direction to honor our father and our mother has never been revoked. (See Mosiah 13:20; Matt. 19:19; Luke 18:20.)"

Thought experiment: Let's say you have an evil toxic dangerous mother, who has spent a lifetime hurting her offspring and driving everyone away from her, and she is in need of something.  You, her offspring, will one day kneel at the feet of your Master and the two of you will go over your choices, and how you followed God's commandments.  Whatever decision you figure you should make regarding your evil harmful toxic mother, if you figure Christ will see it your way, then go for it.  If you worry about hearing "Well done thou good and faithful servant", then think real hard about what God wants of you in that situation.  Yes, He will know that she used to put her cigarettes out on your stomach when you were a toddler.  And that will count, because you matter.  So, when she sat helpless and in need, how did you treat her?  Because she also matters to Him, and you were commanded to honor her.

Again, may God grant that none of us ever be in that situation.  But for those who are, or have been, that's the situation that needs to be dealt with.

 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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[Full disclosure: "Lord, from my position of safety two states away, I made a few phone calls and arranged for the ambulance to take her to state hospice care."  "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Now it's time to reunite you two - she has some things she'd like to say."   I can totally see that happening.  But I'm just human, what do I know of the Lord's perfect blend of mercy and justice?]

Edited by NeuroTypical

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

Well, I figure the two notions (honoring and forgiving) are related, but they are not the same.  Forgiveness doesn't mean you must be a doormat or a victim.  It does not mean you ignore the possibility of harm from someone.   But when it comes to taking care of our parents, forgiveness isn't the only commandment. 

All true, but let’s not forget something. Being a parent is among the most holy and sacred obligations.
 

While an abused offspring might (key word, might) be “obligated” to help the abuser, what about the parents obligation to protect and keep the child safe? If the parent violated or in the worst cases, broke the bond, are you still obligated to help? 
 

I get how I’m speaking about a small minority, but that minority exists, and they might feel tremendous guilt about being in this situation, even though they shouldn’t. 

Again, this isn’t about me. I just had a long phone call with my dad about his trip down here this month. So I’m not taking about Tim here. 

Edited by LDSGator

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20 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Oh, absolutely correct.   Nevertheless, it is a commandment that we honor our parents, whether they deserve it or not.

For those who have left deep scars or are toxic/dangerous/harmful, it's important to understand what 'honor' means, and doesn't mean.  It doesn't mean you agree with them, or stick up for them in public, or turn yourself into a doormat or a victim.  It means you take an interest in their wellbeing, and if they lack for the necessities of life, you help.  Even if that means helping them into some sort of state run facility or something.

This commandment is interesting, in that it's one way that mainstream Christianity gets close to understanding our duty to forgive.  We LDS have the extra commandment to forgive all.  Everyone else just has to walk twain miles when compelled to go one, and forgive a brother a certain amount of times, and honor parents no matter who they are.

 

Y'all might want to sit down for this story:  The last time I helped the Elders do a move, it was an eviction.  Not just any eviction - it was someone's mom.  She was old and in poor health, and had lost both her legs to diabetes.  She was alone in her house, kept alive and clean(ish) with daily on-site nursing and hospice visits.  Apparently, her husband had died 6-7 months earlier, which meant nobody was paying the rent.  This was a good month or two past the final eviction notice.  She had a son who was dead, and a sister in another state she "hasn't spoken to in 30 years".  No other relatives, no friends.  Just the ward, and none of us knew her.  And we didn't know the story either - just that an ambulance was coming for her that day to take her somewhere, and she had to leave.  If she didn't leave, the Sherriff was the next step.  She had already refused one ambulance ride.  So her ministering sister from the Relief Society had picked up the reigns, and went through every bit of trash the lady could see in her bedroom, and made her choose trash, donate, or take with her on the ambulance.  We Elders were relieved the lady was engaging with the RS sister, and we were getting our marching orders.  We didn't tell her the 'donation' pile was the same as the trash pile, because none of it was worth anything. 

It was the hardest thing I've had to do in several years.  May God keep and preserve us from a similar fate.  

There are people who end up in situations like this.  Maybe through no fault of their own, maybe as the culmination of a lifetime of bad choices.  Had her son been alive and estranged, he would have answered to God for how he handled his mother's situation.  Even if she had beaten and abused him.  Even if she was the most evil woman on earth.  He would have knelt at the feet of his Master, to answer for how he kept the commandment "honor thy mother".  Depending on when he died, perhaps he has already had to answer for some things.

This is interesting to me because I imagine that in Mosaic times, the thrust of “honor your father and mother” had to do with caring for them in their old age (“that thy days may be long upon the land” = “take care of your parents in your old age and set the example so that your kids will take care of you in your own old age”?).  One wonders how ancient Israelites cursed with truly toxic parents, managed that obligation in the days before long-term care facilities.

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2 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

This is interesting to me because I imagine that in Mosaic times, the thrust of “honor your father and mother” had to do with caring for them in their old age (“that thy days may be long upon the land” = “take care of your parents in your old age and set the example so that your kids will take care of you in your own old age”?).  One wonders how ancient Israelites cursed with truly toxic parents, managed that obligation in the days before long-term care facilities.

When I was a child, my father made it a point to tell us that we need to care for our elderly (referring to my grandparents) so that when we're elderly, our children will care for us.

At the same time, we had very different feelings about my maternal grandparents vs my paternal grandparents.  We favored the latter over the former.  And this favoritism was from top to bottom--my father, my mother, all my siblings, down to me.

My father would speak of taking care of the elderly in one breath.  Then he would complain about them in the next breath.  This wasn't exactly a good example of "honoring" in my mind.

So, I really have nothing on which to base any definition of "honoring" one's parents.

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7 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

If there's one thing I'm getting out of this thread, it's the phrase "leave and cleave".  Imma start finding ways to use that phrase more.

That’s awesome. 

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3 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

If there's one thing I'm getting out of this thread, it's the phrase "leave and cleave".  Imma start finding ways to use that phrase more.

One idea to help you along in this noble pursuit....

Remember that "cleave" is its own antonym.

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14 hours ago, Carborendum said:

One idea to help you along in this noble pursuit....

Remember that "cleave" is its own antonym.

Hopefully this doesn't make me sound too much like a manipulative frat boy.....

But whenever there's some friction between my wife and myself I remind her that I'm commanded to cleave her. Without fail she immediately prepositions me.

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