Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks has generously collaborated with the HMJ Foundation to provide these materials for both believers and people leaving, with 100 phrases to say and to NOT say to your loved ones who think/believe differently from you. Click on the above images to download free. Listen to the accompanying MoJo podcast we did together to hear more on the lists’ backstory. We think you can use the lists not only for private/personal use to guide your conversations with loved ones, but also:
- You can send the lists to a loved one to show appreciation and build up the relationship and include, “Thank you SO much for not saying ANY of these things to me,” (if you send the What Not to say lists), or circle lines from the What To say lists and add, “I’m so grateful you said these things to me. Thank you for supporting me even when we disagree”
- To start a productive conversation if you’ve been hurt, you can circle all the things they have said from both the TO say and NOT to say lists and ask to talk about how you both can improve the relationship based on what works and what doesn’t
- Send these to a friend who either is leaving the church, or an active LDS person whose loved one is leaving, to show support and so that they have resources to protect the relationship
- If you know you have said some of these things (both good and bad), and want to improve the relationship, send your loved one the list that applies, perhaps even circling the things you’ve said, apologizing for saying what you did in the heat of the moment, and asking for a fresh start and asking them what they think you can say or do to make things better
- Print and distribute these to a class (Sunday School, Priesthood, RS, YM/YW, High Priest, 5th Sunday, etc) if you’re teaching a lesson in church on families, or attending a local support get-together for fellow journeyers, or even a book club held in the Jello Belt area
- Share all 4 to spread awareness periodically on social media, you never know if your actions might save a relationship for someone who sees it on their feed
Remember: Please don’t be immobilized by guilt or shame if you’ve said some of the things in the What NOT to say list. Nobody is perfect, and these lists are only here to help for the future, not to beat up about the past. Or perhaps you didn’t say them, but you thought them: thinking some of those phrases is pretty normal (that’s why we included them!), you’re not a horrible person if they’ve come across your mind. The key is to recognize it and be aware so you’re less likely to actually vocalize or write them out directly to your loved one.