I was talking with a couple of friends a while ago, and something hit me that I want to share:
One was raised in a home with incredibly unrealistic expectations; the other one converted as an adult with young adult children. Both of them faced similar issues, although they were caused by different circumstances.
The first one felt expectations from the time he was a young child to not be like "the Gentiles" - to not be a sinner - to be a perfect example to others. This led to feelings of inadequacy as he realized that standard was beyond his reach - that he was a sinner - that he couldn't be a perfect example. The second one struggled to help his adult children understand and accept his radical change when he joined the Church - to see why he no longer would do much of what he had done for so long with them. His children didn't understand the change and rebelled to a degree. It took him years to develop the same kind of relationship with them that he had prior to his conversion, caused almost entirely by their perception of his expectations of them - expectations that he actually did not hold or attempt to press on them.
This would sound absurd to many who cannot understand it, but I have a deep and abiding sympathy for Laman and Lemuel. I picture Lehi in much the same light as I picture the good men who raised my friends (and Brigham Young, fwiw): a complicated man - loving, opinionated, spiritual, judgmental, gentle, harsh, demanding, caring, sweet, bitter, humble, arrogant - full of contradictions. On an intellectual level, I think I know why Laman and Lemuel struggled as much as they did, especially after Lehi's conversion. The sudden change in expectations and the radical change into a "prophet" probably seemed like pure lunacy to them, if I am correct about his life prior to his "converting vision". I'm sure they couldn't reconcile the man who raised them (if, in fact, he was around much to help raise them) and the man who returned home one day as a "prophet".
I believe in expectations, but on an emotional level, I feel for these people - deeply, just as I feel for others in this day and age who are raised by good parents who are doing their very best but transmit unrealistic expectations (actively or only through perception) to their children.
Ode to a Deserted Cottage
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