Is avoidance the answer?

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Inspired by some of the comments about Brokeback Mountain, I’d like to ask the question:

Is avoiding things, places and people that violate your beliefs the best way of coping, and teaching your children?

If I disagree with the consumption of alcohol, should I avoid people who consume it, places where they consume it and shut down all conversations I hear my children starting in regard to alcohol with a firm, “We don’t drink alcohol and I don’t want to hear anything more about it”?

I’m just wondering if this is the best way to handle living in a world of people with contradictory beliefs.

11 thoughts on “Is avoidance the answer?

  1. you can only avoid it so much then you do have to be a part of it. For example, other then my immediate family, the rest of my family are non-members, they smoke they drink etc.. does that mean I have to shun them or have my children and grandchildren shun them? My mother has been living with a man for about 10 years. Does that mean I shut her out of my life because she is living in sin?

    I can stop from going to say bars and nightclubs, I can stop from watching all R rated movies either at home or the theaters, I can make sure there is no smoking or drinking in my home. But as for me, I have to draw the line. If one of my children were to come to me and say “I am gay” would I say there’s the door? No I wouldn’t. I have friends that are gay and have been in a committed relationship for over 15 years. Do I stop associating with them? No. Does that mean that by associating with them I will become like them? Not too likely. But will I start drinking if I am hanging around bars all the time? Probably.

    Every one has to decide what is right for them and what works for them. I can only control myself and my actions. The rest of the world has to work on themselves.

  2. Kim, my kids are approaching their teens precisely as rapidly as yours … they just happen to be a little closer is all. ;)

    So Sally, would you say that avoidance should be the first option and when that’s not possible, alternatives have to be considered?

  3. yeah Rick I think that is what I am saying. I think each situation has to be monitored and tailored to your family needs. We have a huge anniversary/family reunion next summer out here and at first thought we had wanted to have the celebration at our church building. Then realizing that our families ARE NON members and realizing how the church (at least our building ) does not even want people smoking on the grounds forcing others to literally go out on the street to smoke, we changed our minds and are hosting it at a hotel.

    Should we be doing this instead of making a stand by saying sorry we are members of this church so no one can drink or smoke anywhere near the building? Hmm I don’t know. I would think that wouldn’t be a great way to do missionary work. All I know is trying to live your life the way Christ would want and yet at the same time be there for your non member family is not always the same thing.

    I can’t imagine what our childrens’ lives would have been like had they not been a part of their extended family just because the rest smoke and drank.

  4. When I was younger I attended a family reunion where many of the extended family become quite intoxicated as the night went on. I was about 12 or so and it was the first time that I had seen the “effects” of alcohol. It had a lasting effect on me and I never touched the stuff, I’m proud to say. At that time just knowing that it was against the Word of Wisdom was not as powerful as seeing its real-time negative effects. Just a thought.

    We should talk to our children about the commandments and help them understand why the Lord has given specific commandments. However, we should not shut out all those around us that chose to live differently.

  5. I’m glad to her so many accepting people post here…I wish it was that way where I live.

    I’m afraid that avoidance is plan A, B, C … Z around here.

    I am of the opinion that avoiding things that make you uncomfortable (or that you fundamentally disagree with) is not the best way to live.

    Acceptance, reflection and compassion allow a person to deal with most scenarios, if they’ll only trust themselves to cope.

  6. I hate when the excuse of avoiding the appearance of evil is used to cover up worse evil going on behind the scenes (like not loving neighbor or family). But I think avoidance is important if it’s something you struggle with personally even if it might offend someone.

    Usually frankness helps avoid offending. “I’m sorry, my grandfather died of problems related to his alcoholism so it’s hard for me to be around even innocuous social drinking.” That way, you take responsibility for the weakness, rather than implying that the other person is to be condemned.

    Obviously there are going to be situations you can’t and even shouldn’t avoid. But overall avoiding situations that could put you at risk for succumbing to personal temptations is wise.

  7. You gotta know just as much as you can take. If you don’t have a firm testimony that it’s against what God wants us to do then obviously you’ll be more likely to drink if everyone else does, and smoke if you’re surrounded by people who smoke.

    At the same time, you can get a testimony when you see others acting in such a way. I saw so many people get drunk and get high in my life to know that there’s nothing too happy about it… there’s my testimony. I don’t go to college parties because seeing these folks get drunk and high really does make me sad. If you avoid the topic your kids will eventually want to experience it. I remember when my friends parents refused to talk about sex so they all went and lost their virginity only to realize they were right – that isn’t cool.

    I think there’s a difference between being at a place where people take drugs, drink alcohol and smoke… and wanting to find yourself there.

  8. My thoughts as posted on the topic of “Gay Sin” would be concidered to be dangerious, apostate, certainly not within the guidelines of Church teachings. A few of my LDS friends have distanced themselves from me because they find the things I say to be threatening to their faith. When I was exed, the Stake President told me that I could no longer have family home evening in my home….. even though I was the one who had founded it and my original intent for buying my home close to the church and large enough was so that I could have a comfortable place where members could feel welcomed. Also I had never seen anything in a church manual stating that exed people could not have church activities in their home. I mentioned to the Stake Leader of the Singles group for over 30 that I thought that the Stake President was afraid of me. Her responce to me was, “I don’t THINK the stake president is afraid of you…. I KNOW he is afraid of you.”

    Sally mentioned in her opening comment that she was good friends with people who were gay. These people may be gay…. but they probably do not attack the church’s belief on the subject as I do.

    On the other point, I frequented bars for many years, but I dislike totally the taste of alcholic beverages. I always order a bottle of water, or a diet coke. I did not want my non member friends who are drinkers to think that just because I was LDS that I would hold my nose up in the air and not enter a bar because I was too good for them. On the other hand, I never compromised my beliefs on the word of wisdom. I always felt that I was showing tolerance yet not compromising my beliefs.

  9. I was tempted for a long time to post a response to this thread, but ultimately, I thought just avoiding it was a better answer.

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