Alliances, traitors, tyranny, and the rise and fall of empires. The tag line for the latest HBO drama? No, just another Sunday afternoon in an LDS family.
Given the size of Mormon families, sibling power structures rise up to create: peace, harmony, and…the alternative.
Your mission created a power vacuum. If you aren’t the oldest—i.e., supreme dictator for life—you were either leading the opposition or were integral in the resistance movement.
When you left, things fell apart, alliances crumbled, and the old ways of doing business had to be reshaped—after all what kind of protection and assurances could you offer being a thousand miles away?
During your absence stability slowly returned to your family as they selected new leaders. You were replaced and forgotten!
Which makes it awkward when you show up on the door step. Your siblings will gasp and say, “We thought you were dead!” Sure enough they aren’t kidding. The new sibling alliance has pilfered your clothes, commandeered your bedroom and relegated your belongings to a couple of boxes in the hall closet.
You’ll also discover they don’t want you back in the game. They’ve enjoyed calling the shots without you. So, you’ll find yourself an exile in your own home. Sure some of your more compassionate siblings will try to make you feel welcome but they’ll always be wary of you.
You have a choice. Do you let the new order stand or do you lead a revolution?
Revolution seems tempting. It would be easy to catch your siblings off guard since they’re expecting you to be a “Love One Another” sissy returned missionary type. You also come bearing gifts of soccer jerseys, and foreign flag shirts—which will buy you about two days of loyalty. Removing the usurpers can be done—and without too much collateral damage.
However, before you set the tanks in motion, consider peace. The childhood power structures are ending soon anyway. You’ll go to college, your siblings will leave home and then a whole new structure will form. Perhaps saving your political capital for the grown-up version of the sibling rivalry game is the smartest thing to do.
Did your siblings rebel when you were gone?