Another Tiny Crumb

I made Ada cry today and probably Timothy.  I'm just so freaked out by all the changes about to happen.  So, I'm taking my stress out on them like any good mother would do.

Then there's the whole Ada asking me to go to church with her today.  Oh gosh, Ada, oh gosh!  I just, just, just, just can't!  I mean, there was the last time I went AND now there's my blog!  Who knows exactly who in the ward has seen it!  And I say 'fuck' in it!!

What I really said was, "I really need to think about that.  Perhaps, I'll be in the mood for some chorizo today."

How It Started

My struggle started for real in 2008.  The Prop 8 business in California.  It was too much for me.  Ooo, I was angry.  Let me tell you.  And every time I got up to teach in Relief Society, I felt like a fraud.



I calmed down after time, but there were some gaping wounds.  I was hanging in there the first few months after the divorce- by a thread.  Clinging with all my might, not ready to let go.  I didn't want to let go.  The church had been everything, my whole life.  Then that October, of 2010, (yep, you Mormons know where I'm going) I decided to watch General Conference.

General Conference is a semi-annual worldwide 'meeting' where many of the highest leaders of the church address us, including the President, or Prophet, of the church.  We watch it on TV or via satellite at a local meeting house.

The first few talks of this particular session felt good.  I was sitting in my home on a gorgeous October day thinking, "Maybe I can still do this," with a smile on my face.

Then Boyd K. Packer stood up to speak (also look here- it's interesting).  Not 3 sentences were uttered by him and that wonderful feeling I had was gone.  I thought that was odd.  I kept listening.  And listening.  And listening.  And I am eventually starting to process what he is talking about.  I started sobbing.  My children were watching this with me.  Were Hana and Emma catching on to what he was saying?  About their dad?!

He sat down.  I turned off the TV.  Told the kids to go play.  I was reeling.  I went up to my room and sat with myself while my heart and beliefs and trust and faith crumbled.  I cried like there would be no tomorrow.  Sure, this wasn't the first talk of this nature ever given, and there have been worse ones.  But it was the timing.  And this was me.  And it was this issue that is so dear and tender to me.  It was the 13 years.  The 4 children.  Children of divorce that Matt and I did not bring into the world with the intention of becoming children of divorce.  They came into the world as children of a marriage between 2 people who really meant to keep it together...forever.  It was a man, who the world was listening to that day in 2010, making a mockery of our struggle, depression, the pain of our children because hope and faith failed them, and a mockery of what was FINALLY...our release.

The next Sunday was my birthday.  October 10th.  I couldn't get any of the kids to come to church with me, so I went alone.  I sat toward the back of the chapel in sacrament meeting (the first meeting of the day with the whole congregation), and in no time, my heart broke all over again.  Nothing was said to trigger it.  I was surrounded by people I'd considered family, and all I could think was I don't know how to be here anymore, over and over.  And I lost it.  I cried tears of mourning.  I didn't sit through the entire meeting like this.  I eventually had to go out into the hall because I was gasping and heaving.

The bishop that I mentioned towards the beginning of my first post asked me, "Why is this issue so important to you, Ashley?  Why is it so upsetting to you?  Why not be upset about pornography addiction or gambling addiction?"  Well, sparing myself the torture of trying to explain how offensive it is to group homosexuality with these things that are such grievous sins in the eyes of the church, I tried my best to explain that it is all because of Matt.  I didn't know how to explain then that because of Matt and the partnership we forged and reforged, all the while being next to him while he took the journey of a gay man in the LDS church, I am an ironclad part of that community.  Grafted in, like an olive branch, through marriage and children and 13 years.  

Comments

  1. You were a good strong member of the church, Ashley. I was always very serious when I said if I ever chose to convert, you and Mrs. Swank would have to arm wrestle to see who could bring me into the fold. You were, like her, the walking embodiment of all the good things of a faith I'd heard nothing but ridicule and harmful things about before I arrived in Utah. You gave me faith in faith.

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  2. even my TBM mom had to call Packer's talk "hateful" and turn it off.

    i hope things will change for the sake of my friends who remain involved in the church (it's so painful!) but am so glad to do the really important work of taking out all the barbs that still have a hold even after all these years of being out.

    best wishes to you Ashley!

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  3. TBM -True Blue Mormon. My gay uncle committed suicide within weeks of this talk. He was always a priesthood holder and was a good husband and father. When he came out he got divorced and his ex wife and children disowned him. I grew up with a gay sister and a member of the church. The churches stance on gays was the final straw in my decision to leave because I don't feel that being gay is a sin or a choice or a mistake and that God loves us for what's in our hearts and our actions, not how often we pray or read our scriptures. The church judges so harshly where they have no right to judge! Also, I understand your anger with the church because I often feel the same way. Thank you for your blog, I found it through Dooce.com and am grateful to hear your story. I wish my uncle had been as lucky as Matt is to have someone understand.

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  4. Or "True Believing Mormon". Yeah, been there, done that.

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  5. Ooooops! Messed up on my name... sorry, Bella.

    Absolutely LOVE your blog, my dear. I read it everyday.

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  6. Straight survivor of MORJuly 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Did you just write the story of my life and how I lost my faith? Except that I went through all this in the fundamentalist church it is pretty much what happened to me, for me and inside me.

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