A Mother’s Warning

Last Friday morning my Mormon mother called me with a warning, “be careful this weekend.” I was a little taken aback so I asked for clarification. “I was painting out back and had an impression. You were involved.” I acknowledged hearing her warning and–annoyed–ended the call abruptly.

This was not the first bit of “personal revelation” my mother has directed toward me, but it was the first in a very long time. I had almost forgotten that this was a habit of hers. Growing up, mom had impressions from the “still small voice” all the time. In fact, to a casual observer the voice probably seemed large and loud.

Mom had a bumpy road toward family prophetess though. When I was around eight years old, she scraped her leg really bad on the concrete decking surrounding the swimming pool. The “Holy Ghost” had whispered to her not to go outside, and she heeded the warning until she noticed that a planter on the other side of the pool was turned the wrong way. She slipped out the back door, corrected the planter, and while backing up to admire her work, fell backwards into the pool dragging one of her legs across the sharp little rocks embedded into the concrete.

Later that day, she commented that when you fail to listen to “His” promptings the Lord steps aside letting you face the consequences of your actions. I was mesmerized, and over the next decade, I would witness her sharing premonitions about black ice, ladders, river trips, and anything else that would be of mild concern for a typical mother.

Her prophesying probably seems fairly innocent, and my rudely getting off the phone probably seems, well… rude. But her phone call on Friday stirred up old emotions, and I feel like it was violation of the unspoken terms of our almost fifteen-year truce on the topics of faith and religion. I let her tell me about the goings-on at church, and she never ever asks me when I’m going to return to the gospel (or any other crap like that). I keep details about my life to a minimum. Everything works great!

I don’t know if I have any answers about how to deal with this. In fact, I don’t even think I’m asking any questions. My f’ed up relationship with my mother (and father for that matter) is what it is. I guess what intrigues me the most about her warning and the overall effect it had on my weekend is that I did change my behavior. I was more careful. It clearly wasn’t for the reason she had hoped——that I would start trusting her faith.

I just didn’t want to die in a car accident and leave her feeling like she was right.

7 thoughts on “A Mother’s Warning

  1. Unrelatedly related: this reminds me of when my mom went all born again on me after high school. Before this strange conversion, she would give me motherly advice, to the best of her ability, when I would talk to her about my problems. Afterwards, she would listen to me and then say, “I’ll pray for you about this. I know you don’t believe, but Jesus cares about you and I’ll pray to him to help you.”

    It created a huge rift between us. I felt like she was shirking all parental responsibilities in lieu of the “it’s not up to us” comforts of faith. My mom was an alcoholic, which explains why she suddenly became religious when she finally dried out – swapping one addiction for another, as addicts tend to do. I already felt betrayed by her using drinking to numb herself and escape her obligations, and then she FINALLY cleans herself up only to disappear into religious fervor!? It was too much.

    I don’t speak to my mother anymore – this, plus other dysfunction finally broke our relationship beyond repair. Again, the same but not the same – your post here triggered those feelings again. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to hear something so personal!

  2. My mother always wants to give me a blessing (she was raised Catholic) even after I told her I no longer believed. She kept on doing it for years and it just slowly grew into a bigger and bigger deal for me until I blew up at her about it and told her it felt really disrespectful for her to persist on blessing me when she knew I didn’t like it. I told her that if I had converted to some other religion I knew she would respect it, so why couldn’t she respect my choice to have no religion?

    End of story she did try to change, she no longer blesses me in the name of Jesus but alternates with “Wind God”, “Zeus”, “Thor” and whatever other “God” comes to mind. She’s missed the point in that I don’t believe in ANY god but at least she’s trying and frankly it makes me laugh now. At least she’s trying.

    • We were old-timey Catholics, and we would often kneel to get our parents’ blessings before a long car trip, or something like that. My mom wasn’t too much into it, but my dad took it very seriously, and would lay his hands on our heads and intone a blessing. Then we’d say a couple of rote prayers like “Hail Mary,” and “Our Father.” And of course, none of our cars went anywhere without a St. Christopher medal that had been blessed by the parish priest.

  3. This reminds me of my bloody family. I went through years of telling everyone I was agnostic just to get them off of my back…that maybe I would return to the comfort of religious ignorance. When I finally came out and just said “It is what it is” anti-theist or atheist, really more anti-theist, they lost their minds. My mom not so much as she was largely not-religious, but the rest of the family would say prayers for me and any time I came to family gatherings it was like a bloody wake when I walked in. Reason 10,324 that I completely reject the notion of “higher powers”, dogs, deities, and all of the other bullshit associated with religiosity.

  4. Frank- I actually remember that story, I was a teenager and I remember thinking if you were prompted to not do something why did you do it ( go figure). I’m sorry you feel like your relationship is f’ed up! I honestly feel the same. I have had so much pressure put on me to be the “perfect “ child that it’s exhausting. I don’t think it’s done intentional, but hearing them say “ well at least Heidi still is going to church”, Heidi got married in the temple”, ( that’s another issue I’d love to discuss with you sometime). I’m just really really tired. Dads cancer was cured because we convinced them to go to the best cancer treatment center in the state!!!
    Call me sometime, we have lots to talk about.
    Love you

  5. Your hatred for your mother is really apparent in this post man. Im really sorry, and I hope she never has to see this post, and I hooe you two reconsile someday. Cheers.

    • Steve,

      You clearly don’t have a religiously deranged parent or else you wouldn’t leave a comment like this. My mother is a religious fanatic. She places her beliefs above the happiness of her children or anyone around her. I don’t hate her. I love her like any normal, decent person. I’m concerned for her and anyone else who buys into her toxic and dangerous worldview.

      I’ve found happiness in the life I’ve built for myself and not the one that luck denied me. I’ve got my partner, like minded family, and friends as my support.

      I cannot help but to thank you for your concern (sarcasm made perfectly clear, no?).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *