The 8th Commandment Is Dead
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
In case we need reminding it says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness."
My father was raised Catholic, today he texted me a long rant that included this gem:
"Whose path you choose to follow and what you believe in will be judged by our creator. I remember a sweet darling lil girl growing up saying her prayers at bedtime. I just would like you to step back and look at the whole picture."
The rants always end with him saying he loves me, and that he is not going to argue with me.
We aren't supposed to talk about politics but last night after I texted him about the song my daughter is learning on the Ukulele he gave her, he wrote back saying the storm is coming, to open my eyes. He brought up the SUV crash in California as proof when I didn't ignore the text. Which is why we had another conversation about Q today.
Before bed, I told him I know he is a compassionate and loving person in his heart. This morning I ignored the messages about human trafficking and immigration we had exchanged last night. I sent him a video of a girl climbing the refrigerator to get to cookies. My house is full of boxes of Girl Scout cookies and little kids who have spider monkey cookie retrieval skills, this seemed like a safe bet.
I preceded that with the panorama from the mars rover, which I found equally irresistible. I can't stop moving this image around and zooming in and out. (You should play with this if you have not done so already!) I find it hard to believe this didn't merit a comment at all from my dad since my husband worked on this project and it is kind of a big deal at our house.
He ignored those and wrote back telling me about the storm, he resorts to telling me I am too political after I respond when he texts me something political, this was the opening. He always denies that any of what he was saying is political.
Sometimes I'm a saint and I just ignore what he says. Sometimes I say, remember we were not going to talk about this anymore. Sometimes I am sick of it and I point out what I really think, then it gets crazy. There's usually some kind of attack on me in reply, I am disrespectful. He says my response is proof of the end times because the child is going against the father. I'm 47, but I don't point out that 47 year olds are not children, doing so would make me more disrespectful in his eyes.
I have been following news on Q Anon, I've watched some of the videos he follows trying to comprehend what his beliefs even entail. I try to learn about what you are supposed to do when your family is in Q Anon.
Sometimes I do everything right, and I may break through for a moment connecting with him. But he returns to watching videos that whip him up into a frenzy, soon he sends me a new message telling me about the evil that is about to be exposed. One night when it was windy in CA, he told me that there were ships off the coast and that I might lose power.
He told me to humor him and be prepared for what will happen soon.
Here's part of our conversation today:
My Q Anon father admits it, he will abandon his family for the big lie, for Trump, for Q. I'm in a black hat, I will have to go if there is a choice to make.
I'm trying to find ways to cope. I am going to go back to reading the Catholic catechism. Maybe reading it is a waste of time, true. It has to be less of a waste of time than reading the rants and messages my father sends. Maybe he knows my spider monkey videos are just an attempt at playful diversion. Distractions from the cult. Who can be bothered with a playful diversion when they believe the world is ending?
I can't overcome the obvious lies being told by the people he follows, by him. He believes the lies. I suppose some of the people publishing the lies believe them, but I think most of them are just in it for the money and the followers.
There seem to be a lot of supposed Christians who will gladly violate the 8th commandment as long as it keeps them in power, or raises money, or curries them favor with Trump. I dwell on the ways to overcome a lie when the person doesn't want to know the truth. My father will say, "Show me the evidence." When shown evidence, he will reject the source of any evidence he doesn't want to believe.
Nothing that comes from anyone else is true to him - only the cult can be true now to him. From the Catholic catechism:
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.
He won't admit that these beliefs are lies. He will sometimes say that he doesn't know if all of what he watches is true. Which feels like a win, then he says that just because all of it might not be true, that doesn't mean none of it is.
You're not supposed to mock the person for being in the cult, you're supposed to ask questions. You're supposed to address the underlying fears. You're supposed to reconnect, recall a happy family memory. Bring them back to your relationship and away from their relationship with the cult. I know what you are supposed to do, but I am not a mental health therapist. I fail at doing this right much of the time. I'm a victim of all of my own failures as a human. I am still a shitty first draft of who I want to be in most moments. Life jumps ahead of me before my edits have time to occur.
My father isn't Catholic anymore, he is going to a Baptist church now. He was baptized. I wrote to his pastor in February telling him how worried I was about my father. He never wrote back. The catechism says:
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.
Maybe he's still editing, the pastor. That must be why.