Religion is a thorny issue in many families—especially when family members don’t respect each other’s religious choices.
For one woman on Reddit, this issue sparked a major conflict when her late husband’s extremely religious family took her son to church against her will.
She wasn’t sure about how she’d handled it, so she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by throwawayacot on the site, asked:
“AITA for not allowing my dead husband’s family to spend time alone with my son?”
“My (F[emale] 34) husband and I were married for ten years before he passed away last year. We have a four-year-old son.”
“My husband was from a religious family that honestly always seemed to be kind of cult-like to me. His father had passed away when he was young and he has a mother and sister, both of whom had cut him out of the family when he decided not to practice their religion anymore.”
“They were invited to our wedding but refused to attend because it was not going to be in their church (it could not be because we were both not practicing that religion or living by their ‘words of wisdom’). They had only ever been cruel to me and my husband and only ever spoke to us to try to convert us.”
“They said horrible things to us throughout our marriage and about our child. When my husband passed, they did not come to his funeral and did not reach out to me.”
“Recently, his mom and sister have reached out asking to see my son. I have told them that they are welcome to see him but that I do not want him growing up with any religious bias so they cannot talk to him about their religion or try to convert him.”
“They promised me and I allowed it.”
“After spending a day with the sister, he came home and although he had a good time he told me she offered to take him to church and he wanted to go. I called her and we argued.”
“She said the church is a big part of her life and she can’t just not bring it up and if he’s interested it’s his right to learn about it.”
“The thing is my husband had horror stories about growing up in that church and wouldn’t have wanted it for our child. I told them if they want to see him again it will only be under my supervision.”
“They were very upset and claim I’m a bad mom for not letting my son decide for himself what he wants and a bigot for not allowing him to learn about their religion.”
Redditors were then asked to judge who is in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
As you might guess, they were pretty firmly on OP’s side.
“NTA. The kid’s four. That’s not remotely old enough to ‘decide for himself’ when it comes to learning about religion, and they know it.”
“Besides, it doesn’t really matter what the disagreement is about: you had a condition, they broke it, and they’ve made it clear they never had any intention of taking your wishes seriously.”
“At this point, you being willing to consider fostering any kind of relationship at all is generous, and they really shouldn’t be pushing their luck.” –mm172
“…OP, a lot of people jump to warning about the threat of grandparents’ rights where it’s not warranted, but here it really is, and you should definitely consult a lawyer. If you are in the States, and your spouse passes away, frequently his parents can get court-mandated visitation.”
“Your best bet is honestly to just not let them see the kid at all, so that they don’t have an established relationship to show to a judge.” –RememberKoomValley
“My BIL was raised in that church he said it is abusive and it is absolutely cultish. I wouldn’t let my kid go there either. At 4 all a child sees is time with a grandparent and how fun they make it sound.”
“Of course the child has no idea how the church excludes those who are not ‘believers’ there is no inclusion and the proof is how they treated their own son when he ‘decided for himself’.”
“Interesting how that logic only works one direction. One is clearly not allowed to have a different belief and still be loved. How is that godly?” –JuryNo7670
“…look up grandparents rights for your location & do what you need to in order to protect your son. For example, in my state if one of the parents passes away, the other can be sued for grandparents rights.”
“Having unsupervised visits can bolster her case where I live as well. She might know this. Keep you little dude safe.” –iMOONiCORN
“OP’s in-laws’ cult is Mormonism. They lie and say that they allow children to exercise ‘agency’ and decide for themselves if they want to be part of the ‘religion’ or not when kids are eight years old.”
“But an eight year old child is not old enough to understand the commitment they are being asked to make.”
“Add into that the fact that these children are brainwashed and terrorized with threats about how they only way they can ‘be with their family forever’ is to be a member. An eight year old can’t understand that! That’s a horrific thing to tell a child!”
“So the kids ‘choose’ to join because if they’ve been told that they’ll be separated from their family for eternity.”
“OP would be fu*king batshit to let her kid anywhere near those cult members.” –Alert-Potato
“I really hope you and your son stay away from them. They seem shady” –ksswathi
“NTA. You’re better than I am because after the way they behaved while your husband was alive, I wouldn’t have given them access to your son at all.” –NUT-me-SHELL
Hopefully OP can figure out how to manage her in-laws.