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Question for LDS'ers about socializing with non-LDS'ers

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My ds, 8, has become good friends with a boy at the local school program he attends one day a week. This boy happens to be from a Mormon (is that the correct term...I'm never sure if I should say 'Mormon' or 'LDS' or "LDSer') family. My son has asked me to have this boy friend over this summer for some play dates, something that I would like to do. However, my previous experience with Morman families has been that, while they are always friendly and pleasant, they tend to keep to themselves/other Mormans, and my previous overtures to Mormans that I've come across in my life have all met a very polite wall of resistance (granted, it's a fairly small sample, but I've heard this same thing from other people about Mormons). I did invite this mom and son to attend a school field trip together last fall (which they did), so I know she's friendly.

 

But here is my question: in your experience, are Mormons discouraged/less comfortable/not interested/whatever from/in having friendships, or having their children have friendships, with non-Mormons? Are they just too busy with the church? (that's a serious question) Should I bother encouraging this friendship my son has?

 

Please note: I am NOT interested in starting any debates here, or in reading any snarky comments about LDS or any other religion(s). I sincerely want to know how Mormons view other parents' attempting to build friendships with their children...there does seem to be a difference (but perhaps I'm wrong).

 

P.S. Oh - I'm the typical white, Christian (but more on the squishy liberal side than the evangelical hard-liner side), clean cut mom - I don't have weird piercings or swear like a sailor or anything else that would marked me as tainted. Just so ya know. :tongue_smilie:

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I'm not LDS now, but I grew up LDS in Oregon.

 

Outside of the Mormon Corridor (Idaho, Utah, Arizona), it's hard for Mormon kids to play only with other Mormon kids. Dating is a whole separate issue, but I never felt pressured to be friends with only other Mormons. If anything, it's the opposite (have lots of non-Mormon friends so you can invite them to church ;). )

 

Almost all of my friends were not Mormon, and they ranged all over the religious spectrum.

 

For younger kids, I think swearing (including OMG) and diet (don't offer him soda with caffeine) are the two biggest issues in friendship. Also, he may not be available for Sunday activities, such as birthday parties.

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I'm not LDS now, but I grew up LDS in Oregon.

 

Outside of the Mormon Corridor (Idaho, Utah, Arizona), it's hard for Mormon kids to play only with other Mormon kids. Dating is a whole separate issue, but I never felt pressured to be friends with only other Mormons. If anything, it's the opposite (have lots of non-Mormon friends so you can invite them to church ;). )

 

Almost all of my friends were not Mormon, and they ranged all over the religious spectrum.

 

For younger kids, I think swearing (including OMG) and diet (don't offer him soda with caffeine) are the two biggest issues in friendship. Also, he may not be available for Sunday activities, such as birthday parties.

Some LDS kids are taught to only take water. I knew the rules, tried to reassure one my son's friends that kool aid was okay, but no, his mother told him to say no just to be safe (understandable when the kid was only five at the time).

 

I'm wondering if either because of concern for the kids (either breach in their restrictions or because of fear of proselytizing) might be part of their standoffishness? (not speaking for anyone, but I'm curious if some mamas may do this for these reasons? Most LDS families I knew though were very open, friendly, etc...one family even babysat at the drop of a hat while the mom took me to get my glasses fixed late in the evening when they broke...I can't see without my glasses)

Edited by mommaduck

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My now adult stepson had a high school friend who was LDS. They hung out, studied together, and worked out together. The boy went on his mission trip shortly after they graduated, and they lost touch. Years later dss was invited to his friend's wedding. It was at a bad time for dss and across the country so he couldn't make it. These days they catch up on one another's lives once or twice a year. That was really the only personal experience I had with anyone who is LDS. His parents were friendly and there never seemed to be a problem with him befriending dss, even though we weren't religious.

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I grew up in this state (same state you're in) and am not LDS, yet had (and still have) a very close friend who is. I knew lots of LDS kids and didnt notice any of them having that restriction. That doesn't mean that some families wouldn't be more restrictive though, of course. I didn't encounter it, though.

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I'm LDS and have young children. There is nothing that our church says that would discourage socializing with people of other faiths, in my view, it is encouraged to be active in the community and be a good example of our faith to everyone, not cloister ourselves away. I would think that the instances where you feel politely snubbed are due to the person's schedule, or other personal issues. My daughter has non-LDS friends, and they are just as welcome as her LDS friends if not more so, because she likes them more. :) A lot of Mormons feel misunderstood, and have deep involvement in their local congregation and that can tend to lead them to be a little cliquish, but I try my best to avoid that side effect. :)

 

The only reason I would avoid a potential friend would be if they were exhibiting habits I wouldn't want my children to pick up on: swearing, drinking, extremely bad behavior etc. Those are my personal standards, YMMV.

 

The other poster is correct about LDS people typically not being available on Sundays, also Monday nights are typically family night. And most active Mormons avoid all tea and coffee, and a lot of Mormons avoid caffeine entirely. Just ask the parents what their family's diet habits are, and try your best to observe them. It would be like having a vegetarian over, just something to be aware of when you have a lunch or party.

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I'm active LDS :) You can say LDS or Mormon. Either is fine and non-offensive. LDS is more 'technically' correct, while Mormon is a nickname.

 

In any case, we are encouraged to befriend others outside of our faith. I'm in CA and my kids would have very few friends if we were only looking within our faith. If you feel like this boy is a good friend for your son, by all means continue to invite them :) I wonder if any reserve you have noticed is due more to shyness. . . that would the case with me :D. Definitely not due to any reluctance about difference of religion.

 

I mainly look for others who share similar values and people with whom I feel my kids would be safe. 2 of my sons closest friends are non-LDS. One boy's family is very active in another local Christian church and the other family is non-religious (as far as I know) but we have very similar ideals as far as what our kids should be doing, what they are exposed to, etc. As someone else pointed out, we observe the Sabbath so we don't do playdates/birthday parties on Sunday. Main dietary restrictions are coffee/tea/tobacco/alcohol, and I'm going to go out on a limb here an assume you wouldn't be offering those to a kid anyway ;) And we're pretty careful about entertainment--only E rated video games and G/PG movies, no excessive swearing/sex/violence type stuff, but IME most people who have kids my kids age feel the same way anyway.

Edited by LemonPie

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Not LDS here -

However, we have had nothing but positive experiences with LDS families and socializing. We were very close to LDS neighbors of ours in South Dakota (actually, three families on our street), and the kids had wonderful times together.

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My ds, 8, has become good friends with a boy at the local school program he attends one day a week. This boy happens to be from a Mormon (is that the correct term...I'm never sure if I should say 'Mormon' or 'LDS' or "LDSer') family. My son has asked me to have this boy friend over this summer for some play dates, something that I would like to do. However, my previous experience with Morman families has been that, while they are always friendly and pleasant, they tend to keep to themselves/other Mormans, and my previous overtures to Mormans that I've come across in my life have all met a very polite wall of resistance (granted, it's a fairly small sample, but I've heard this same thing from other people about Mormons). I did invite this mom and son to attend a school field trip together last fall (which they did), so I know she's friendly.

 

But here is my question: in your experience, are Mormons discouraged/less comfortable/not interested/whatever from/in having friendships, or having their children have friendships, with non-Mormons? Are they just too busy with the church? (that's a serious question) Should I bother encouraging this friendship my son has?

 

Please note: I am NOT interested in starting any debates here, or in reading any snarky comments about LDS or any other religion(s). I sincerely want to know how Mormons view other parents' attempting to build friendships with their children...there does seem to be a difference (but perhaps I'm wrong).

 

P.S. Oh - I'm the typical white, Christian (but more on the squishy liberal side than the evangelical hard-liner side), clean cut mom - I don't have weird piercings or swear like a sailor or anything else that would marked me as tainted. Just so ya know. :tongue_smilie:

Your question was for LDSers, and I am LDS so I'll give this a shot.

I love it that you want your son to have a friend who just so happens to be LDS. It has been our experience that when other Christian homeschool moms find out we are LDS they hustle their children away from us!

As a church membership, we are encouraged to be polite and friendly to all. We are not discouraged to not associate with others outside of our faith AT ALL, in fact, quite the opposite. And not just so we can try to convert others, but because we are supposed to be friendly, nice, courteous, etc. (insert the scout oath here:D).

There should never be so much church activity that one doesn't have time for friends!

Let me give you an example of friends my kids have: there was a girl in the neighborhood the same age as my youngest. They were 7 when they first met. She's a nice girl. We have Wednesday night church activities and dd started inviting her to come with us. Her mother allowed it every time dd asked. They played together A LOT, usually every day. We took her with us to a couple of other things, not church-related. There was a time they invited our kids to a drive in movie but it was a Saturday night and they would be getting home late. We didn't allow it. Some LDS church moms probably would have allowed it, in fact probably most that we know would have. We have moved, they are still friends. I think highly of the parents.

There have been times where other dd, who is a little older, has told me that there was something on TV at their home that my kids didn't think was appropriate to watch, so they told the girl they didn't want to watch it and why.

I don't really care if you have piercings and tattoos or not. If you are nice, seem to have good values for how to raise a kid, don't enjoy insulting others, then we can probably make a play date of it.:001_smile:

Yes, there are other LDS children for my kids to be friends with, but it doesn't always mean they are going to be best friends or even get along very well. I can't explain that.

I would bother to try to make a friendship for your son with this LDS boy. We don't always make tight friendships with our kids' friends' moms, and that's okay too.

Since we lived close by, there were a couple of times that we'd have a G or PG movie and almost sleep-overs. Kids would go home at 10 or 11. Or we would let them play outside until 10 or 11.

There were other non-LDS kids in another neighborhood we lived in that our kids played with every summer, sometimes all day. Their grandpa would take them all to the big city to see plays or orchestras! Those are good memories for my kids.

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I'm LDS and grew up outside of Utah. I was the only LDS kid in my High School besides my brother. All of my friends were not LDS (Jehovah's Witness, Buddhist, Methodist, Catholic, and Baptist...we were a bit of a mishmash), and my family was pretty typical. My dad was a Bishop and my mom a Relief Society President. Besides coworkers, they were mostly friends with other LDS people, but I think that had more to do with the fact that they were around them the most. In fact, there were a few major exceptions to this and we had those families over to our home all the time. We do tend to stick to our own when we have the option, because we see them several times a week and it's just the circle we run in, but not because we have any problem with anyone else.

 

As for other socializing stuff, don't sweat it. If the kid isn't allowed caffeine, they know it and should know not to take it. I learned to read soda labels very young, at least by 7 years old. He will also know not to take tea or coffee. Other than that, he should be pretty normal, I imagine. At least as normal as anyone else you meet.

 

ETA: Oh, and "Mormon" is totally fine and not offensive at all. We're encouraged to call ourselves LDS because it reflects the name of our church, but it really doesn't matter.

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My best friend is LDS and I am not. We are generic bible church-type protestants. I bet you've just had bad luck not connecting with the other families in the past and that it had nothing to do with them being LDS. I would encourage you to pursue this friendship for your son. He may find one of the kindest and most generous of friends, like I have.

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Well, now, I am so glad I asked this question and I will definitely seek to have this boy over this summer.

 

Thanks, everyone for your responses!

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I'm non-LDS but actually preferred and found myself hanging out with the LDS kids because they were more like me--didn't swear, weren't interested in drinking and partying, etc. :D I still have several, good LDS friends.

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and all of my kids have Mormon friends. The moms are more than happy to let their kids come over, and I've been happy with my kids going to their homes, because their parents tend to have similar values. My oldest went to public school for high school, and had many Mormon friends. I think those friendships helped keep him on the straight and narrow, and helped reinforce what we had already taught him at home. I don't agree with Mormonism doctrinally, but I feel that I can be friends with people even if we don't agree on doctrine.

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I'm LDS -growing up my best friend was a devout Muslim. We never had issues - we just respected each other's beliefs.

 

I often find non-LDS have problems with us rather then the other way around.

 

I second the opinion that the only thing I am looking for in a friend is someone who has similar values to mine - doesn't have to be exact. I have non-Mormon friends who drink alcohol/coffee/tea - they just don't do it around me.

 

At the moment I'm having a hard time finding a homeschool group to belong to. The members of our local one are mostly Baptists - and although I have no problem with this - I am afraid (from previous experience) that they will not be friendly to me and am hesitant to email them about joining.

 

Otherwise if your kids are "nice enough kids" that's the only requirement needed to play with mine :D

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Most of my friends in high school were Mormon. Their parents didn't mind us non-Mormons. We hung out all the time and I was invited to their homes regularly. My friend's parents loved me. But then again, I was a weird teen. I was all responsible and serious and stuff. Like a middle-aged 15 year old.

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I'm non-LDS but actually preferred and found myself hanging out with the LDS kids because they were more like me--didn't swear, weren't interested in drinking and partying, etc. :D I still have several, good LDS friends.

 

Exactly.

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My daughter just had a "best friend" in school. The family is mormons from Utah and they are so nice and friendly. Today (Sunday), my daughter saw her friend playing outside and she wanted to play with her. The girl's mom just told my daughter "please tell your mom do not bring you on Sunday". My daughter was so sad. I was confused as well. Is it because of Sunday? Or something else?

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Sunday is the Sabbath, a day to attend church services and to spend with family. We don't go shopping or out to eat (a good rule of thumb is anything that would cause us to spend money) on Sundays. Some, but not all families, restrict playtime on Sundays. For some, that is no playdates. For others, it's no activity that you couldn't do in "church clothes". It's a family by family decision.... For my kids, we can go on a family walk or perhaps spend a minute getting energy out before we go to church....but we don't play wildly or do yard work or let the kids go play at the neighbors... The only exceptions we have made have been when we've gone to visit the sick or the elderly or when we have gone to extended family gatherings at a park after church and other kids have been present. Even then, it's not a free for all playday, iykwim.

 

I don't think that she didn't mean to offend!

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It is just Sunday, they are not trying to be unfriendly though the mom could have explained better. Most LDS families set Sunday aside as a day to rest and set aside ordinary pursuits, though each family will approach this somewhat differently (there aren't hard and fast rules). My guess is that this particular family has chosen not to play with friends on Sunday and keep it as a family day.

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I am in Idaho and, while we are Lutheran, my kids have many LDS friends. I do not see any hesitations from the LDS families about friendships being formed. I love my kids having LDS friends because their have great values instilled in them and are definitely the type of kids that are positive influences on those around them!

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I've had LDS friends in different communities (we're not LDS). The only observation I have about socializing is that many LDS wards have a very strong sense of community, so that perhaps moms and kids don't feel like they "need" new friends. It's not rude, it's just that they have an established social network and aren't necessarily looking to broaden it. It's not dissimilar from playgroups/homeschool co-ops that are well established.

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I've had LDS friends in different communities (we're not LDS). The only observation I have about socializing is that many LDS wards have a very strong sense of community, so that perhaps moms and kids don't feel like they "need" new friends. It's not rude, it's just that they have an established social network and aren't necessarily looking to broaden it. It's not dissimilar from playgroups/homeschool co-ops that are well established.

 

I've heard this sort of thing from new people to our state. We are in the South and new folks will sometimes comment that everyone seems friendly but that breaking into groups is more difficult. 

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I realize that as I'm writing this post is about 4 years old but maybe I can still be of help. The Short answer is technically no, realistically to an extent. My Bff growing up was raised Mormon. She was and still is awesome. However as we got into the older childhood and teen years it grew increasingly obvious that her mom at least didn't like me. She would occasionally have little freak outs where she would try and limit us from talking to each other, I was never on the list of people they let come over on a regular basis (next to never actually) despite knowing this family since I was 6. When I would go to church holiday parties with them and hang out with the other lds girls my age besides my friend they always made my otherness very much an issue and only my friend actually tried to include me in conversations and games. Most Mormons will tell you that its not about religion as much as having the same values. But I have found that more often than not when you aren't Mormon it's just assumed that you don't have the same standards. Being a devout Christian and of my own accord, not my parent's insistence I DO have values that are darn near identical with some allowances that I drink soda and had my first boyfriend at 15, but none of that mattered because they couldn't seem to see past my "otherness". My friend's Mom is an extreme case, most are not that bad, but other than my friend and her little sister and their grandparents who were converts, most of the ones I've known have been respectfully distant.

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Rather weird first post.  Honestly, if my daughter were only allowed to have LDS friends, she'd have one friend.  One.  That is the total number of girls her age at church.  That would be silly.  Growing up most of my friends were not Mormon because most of the people where we lived were not Mormon.  I actually went to a youth group at a local Presbyterian church with one of my friends every Friday night for a few months.  Then my friend's mom mentioned to someone how great it was that I had been so accepted there even though I was Mormon and that was the end of that.  They told me to never return.  Ever.  I was so sad because it had been so fun going there.  My mom didn't like some of my friends on occasion, but, trust me, it wasn't because they weren't Mormon.  Also, I have actually never run into a real and actual Mormon who does not drink soda.  Including with caffeine.  I also have never lived in the Jell-O Belt.

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Zombie thread. Also, I don't know any cagey Mormons personally and find this thread odd.

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IME, this depends a lot on where (and possibly when) you are...and of course on the individual.

 

I'm not LDS, but grew up with a LOT of folks who were.

 

We lived in Utah, just outside SaltLake, for 4 years when I was in grade school in the early 80s.  I remember very clearly meeting new friends on the playground and having fun for a few days only to be told by them that 'My Mom says I can't play with you anymore'.   When I played YMCA basketball they segregated the teams - all the non-Mormon kids on one team.  The justification for this was that the all-Mormon teams could then easily schedule extra practices at the church gym, but the effect was clear whatever the reason.

 

We them moved to California and the situation was quite different.  My JrHigh & HighSchool were down the street from the local temple, so there were lots and lots of Mormon kids at school.  Probably 1/3 of my HS marching band and most of my best friends were Mormon, I dated one of their sisters for a year, etc.  Never an issue.  I was a pretty straight-laced kid, so the no drinking, no sex, no going out on Sundays wasn't really an issue.  I drank coffee, they (mostly) didn't - no one cared.

 

I had a Mormon roommate in college in LosAngeles and again...no issues.  By college the girls tended to more 'keep to their own' because dating was a bigger focus of college relationships and they were pretty serious about ensuring they ended up with a Mormon guy and soon.

 

ETA: ARGGH.  Just noticed this is an ancient thread. Sorry for contributing to it's zombification...

Edited by AEC

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I can't speak for all Mormons, but I am LDS and can tell you my stance on this topic. I am happy for my kids to socialize with any kids whether Mormon or not. Honestly I care more about the family's values than I do about which church they belong to. For example, if the family were constantly swearing or their children were playing video games that I disapprove of my children would not be spending much time with them. I hold the same requirements for LDS friends and friends of other faiths. Unfortunately there are LDS members who try and have their kids play with only other LDS kids (I personally don't know any like this), but not all and I hope most are not like this. Some of my best friends growing up were not LDS, and my parents never encouraged or discouraged friendships solely based on church membership.

 

As far as being really busy with church stuff this could be possible. It depends on what positions the parent(s) hold in the church. I know my husband's current calling (how he serves/ position in the church) keeps him pretty busy. It also depends on the age of the kid in question. If he is 8 and older he is most likely involved with scouts. If he is 12 or older he will have mutual (youth group activities) once a week. In addition to any other extra curriculars it can quickly add up to a busy schedule.

 

I would say go for it. Feel it out and see how the mom feels about them getting together. It might require her getting to know your family better before she trusts sending her son over to your house (I feel this way whether or not the friend is LDS). The one advantage of playing with a fellow church member is that the parents have usually had ample time to get to know the other family and parents, so you may have to put extra effort in there. If his schedule is truly busy maybe your son could go to some of the activities with the other boy. Could he attend scouts or mutual once or twice with him? Not always but often mutual activities are either service projects or purely fun activities (i.e. Ice skating, hiking, paint balling, making cards for local children's hospital, etc.). If you feel comfortable with that it might be a good option, if not I am sure there are other ways to get them together. Just trying to throw ideas out there. Hope you are able to make the friendship work. :-)

 

Also either Mormon or LDS works. The official name of the church is The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. LDS is an abbreviation of the last three words. The term Mormon comes from The Book of Mormon. :-)

 

ETA: sorry just realized this is an old thread.

Edited by ForeverFamily

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Had never heard the term "Mormon corridor", now it kind of makes sense. We live in one of those. Haven't had great experience as far as close friendships with them goes. It could be because were we live? And they are very involved with their church activities (not bad, just a fact), so your child won't be part of all those activities were they bond together. The non Mormon kid seems to become the odd one in their group (if other kids they hang out with are also LDS). We also had a mishap years ago, an LDS girl wanted to convert my dd, she set her foot down and her LDS friendships went down the drain (not only the one with that girl directly, but with a large group of LDS teens). So...I don't know? Because of prior experiences I'm just a bit hesitant about close friendships with them :(

ETA: didn't realize it was an old thread either

Edited by mamiof5

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Our best friends are LDS, and I've been friends with several other LDS over the years. We are atheist. Our other best friends are another religion. We've found one another because we are outside the "norm" of homeschoolers, and we are thrilled with one another's families. We choose to avoid discussion or education of religion within our group, other than to share something important to an individual. I. Other words, no proselytizing. I grew up evangelical. We weren't allowed to be friends with people of other belief systems, including LDS; we were only allowed to try to convert people, stop talking to them if it didn't work because we might find our faith harned. I've never encountered such an attitude from an LDS.

Our friendships have been working well for two years, and I look forward to many more years of friendship.

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