Sunday, July 1, 2012

To My Mormon Audience

From time to time, I have been a bit brash on here regarding The Church.  I would like to explain.  

I was hurt by The Church.  I was hurt because it let me down.  It was like being in a relationship, being in love with someone, and being betrayed.  

I was having a conversation with Jeremy, about how he'd remained so utterly devout even when he was being doled out years worth of unfortunate malarkey.  I mean, he had a gay dad, right?  His deeply concerned LDS leaders had some things they just had to say in order to sleep at night.  Like, "You shouldn't spend too much time with your father, or the adversary will tempt you to live the homosexual life style," and "Anal sex is the cause of AIDS."  He had a step-dad who may have used his priesthood as an excuse and a tool to be an ass.  The thing is, these men really thought they were helping him.  But it was guidance like this that contributed to the ultimate demise of his faith later in his life.  They didn't care that his father was/is an incredible man- honorable, a good father, etc. All they could see was 'the gay'.



After giving so much of himself to the institution and receiving so little in return, he washed his hands of Mormonism. 

The God I believe in, will understand his feelings and have nothing but love.  He will say, "You were hurt.  And I understand. I'm so sorry."  Jeremy then looked at me after I expressed this and said, "Yes.  I was hurt.  Just like you were."  


It was as if I'd been tasered.  I had never looked at my own feelings about the church in that sense. Anger?  Yes.  Apathy?  Yes.  Unbelieving?  Yes.  Confusion?  More than anything.  But...

I had never before considered that The Church had hurt me, had let me down.

I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom after he turned the tables on me, and I sobbed, uncontrollably.  I wasn't really sure why.  I didn't even realize at that moment that it was the topic of being 'hurt' by the church that triggered this emotional reaction.  But I cried.  Heartily.  

I calmed down and was able to think.  

These are the thoughts that came flooding to my mind:

1)  My relationship with the church was like being in love with someone who betrayed me.  

2)  The church wants me to continue on as if nothing happened.  But I need to distance myself from the one who hurt me, just like in a relationship.  

3)  I have not allowed myself to entertain the thought that I was hurt.  I need to honor that now.  

4)  I believed, for all intents and purposes, that the church would take care of me, including and especially my happiness, if I did all I was asked to do.  I am now left with little faith that will happen in this 'relationship', and I need for someone/something else to come along and rescue me/take care of me, like myself.

5)  The church has been much, much more a part of my identity than I ever knew.  This identity is a product of the teachings of my parents and church leaders, other members' opinions, facades, fear and guilt.  

6) God=Love.   The church=fairy tale.

7)   Men so often say in church meetings, "My wife is practically perfect.  I could not get to the Celestial Kingdom (heaven) without her."  This puts an impossible and ludicrous responsibility on the women of the church and perpetuates the fairy tale, which is a lie.  Now add to all that a woman who is married to a gay man and trying to keep her husband's desire at bay by being 'dutiful'.  

8)  My homosexual husband was more honest with me than The Church ever was. 



My Mormon readers, I don't want to alienate you or become disillusioned with The Church as I did.  I just want you to understand.  




9 comments:

  1. I love you girlie. Keep going. You are an amazing, honest, and beautiful woman. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us want to say.

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  2. I envy your authenticity.

    In a nut shell, here is my story. I was raised lds. I married a return missionary in the temple. He is an intellect. (you know, the kind the church doesn't like.) He's fascinated with mormonism, yet can't truly believe it. My belief was strictly cookie cutter. I learned everything about the church FROM the church. I didn't start wondering/questioning until I started dating my husband. We would talk of these things privately and with close friends who felt the same way but we were still sitting church every Sunday. I guess we were still unsure of which side of the fence we were going to commit to.

    Last year my husband had an affair. It was an awful, terrible thing that I pray no one has to go through, but it happened. He is human. He made a mistake. He has taken even avenue to fix his wrong. (including getting disfellowshipped.) We've gone through therapy and I can honestly say that our marriage is stronger because of it. We took a terrible situation and let it make us stronger. Make us closer. Make us love each other in a new and deeper way.

    What I am struggling with now is that the few mormon people (mostly ecclesiastical leaders) who know about what happened are so closed minded and think that my husband did what he did because of his unorthodox mormon belief. They think that not obeying the word or wisdom or not reading and praying daily is what caused his betrayal. This is not the case. Not even close. He gave into a human/carnal desire and has regretted it every day since.

    I can honestly say that my marriage has improved leaps and bounds since the affair. It was not easy to get to this place. It was hard. Many tears were shed and unkind words were said (by me, duh.) But once I was able to come to terms with it, get the thought of divorce out of my mind and chose to commit to fixing my marriage my life has changed. My marriage has changed. My past doesn't haunt me anymore.

    What hasn't changed is my relationship with the church. In fact, I've been pulling away more and more. You would think that such a traumatic event in a mormon girl's life would in fact make her cling to her religion yet the opposite has happened.

    I feel like I'm finally feeling honest with myself but I'm so scared to be honest with others. (i.e-commenting anonymously, ha!) I'm scared of losing friends and disappointing my parents. Especially that last one. All of my siblings have left the church and I'm the "last man standing". It would break my mothers heart to have none left.

    I guess I'm not looking for an answer or a cure all by any sort (even though that would be nice!) I just felt the urge to tell my story to you. Someone who seems to feel the same way about her religion.

    Like I said at the beginning, I envy your authenticity. I hope some day I can get brave and be where you are. Bravo to you.

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    1. You said you were not looking for an answer, but it would be nice to get one. I am not in a position to give you an answer or an advice. I don't even speak your language. My culture is different from yours. In my culture people don't feel like they can go to somebody and give them advice. I just want to share my feelings. The Church is new to my country, so many things that are happening are different from what happens in the Church in the States. But with time it's turning into something that you have in your country and in your wards. And I don't like it. When our people join the Church they do it because they know it to be true. The Church enters their lives, but they have other things going on. Their minds are not formed under the Churches control. I don't know how to put in words what I mean, and I don't want to offend anyone. I just think if the Church had it's place in people's lives, the FAMILY had it's place, hobbies, work, adventures, travelings, books, movies, people, pets, smiles, rainbows.....if everything had it's own place - everything would be much better. There would be less unhappy people, less Church Leaders who hurt others, less misunderstanding, less tears. Life still wouldn't be perfect, nor people. But I think there would be more people who live their lives like they want, like Heavenly Father wants them, and the world would be filled with real LOVE. I think both of you girls - you and Ashley focus on the things that you don't like. Write about something you love and have a passion for..... well, may be i'm wrong - you have to share THIS first, and after that all other things will come out. Thank you Ashley for this blog. It's helping not only you.

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    2. it's an old post, but I will reply nontheless. O-la-la, you have NO idea what you are talking about ( or at least didn't then, hopefully, more aware now). I too, just like you , am from the other country. And I too, just like you, joined the church for "love", and "family", and all the other crap they feed you with. And I will tell you - WAKE UP, dear. RUN to the church that is customary to YOUR country. LEARN all you can about mormonism from THEM. WHY? Because they will actually tell you the truth. So that 15+ years later you don't find yourself figuring the truth out and feeling that the world ended because the "perfect church" you believed in so many years actually lied to you all the time.
      Just learn. Do your homework. You can love and be happy in your own culture. You don't need mormons for that.

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  3. I had to reply to the above person. Having been where Ashley is--it got a lot easier to deal with our situation once we got the LDS church leaders out of the equation. This situation is between you and your husband--not anyone else.

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  4. Ashley, I love you and think you are amazing. I appreciate your courage, guts, whatever in sharing all of this with us. And, as a practicing, believing Mormon, you haven't alienated me, or even come close. Your story is yours, and I am glad you are sharing it, because there are parts of the whole that will resonate with different people. Including me.

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  5. so i've been reading your blog & have really liked what i've read so far. but this post bothered me. i don't blame you for leaving the church and living to the extent that makes you happy. but the whole church is a lie bit - i think is placing a little too much responsibility on the church and not taking enough for yourself. you made the choice to marry a gay man, who told you he was gay before you got married. i don't think that was anyone's lie but your own. all that aside, i'm glad this blog has become a place for you to write. and i'm sorry that you and jeremy had horrible things said to you - i've always said that the church is ran by imperfect people who are just volunteers. i'm not excusing the things they've said, in fact, i had a bishop once tell me that i was a whore and that i didn't belong in the church. i get where you're coming from with being mad at some men who say horrid things. but that doesn't mean you can blame them for the fact that you married a man that you knew wasn't attracted to you.

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  6. "You would think that such a traumatic event in a mormon girl's life would in fact make her cling to her religion yet the opposite has happened."

    What you and your husband have achieved...wow. I mean, wow.

    As far as the people in your life knowing about how you feel toward the church, you'll get there. You value authenticity, so you'll know when the time is right, because you'll be more attracted to the idea of being real to them and that will overpower the fear you have right now.

    You're okay. You're more than okay. Listen to your gut and trust it.

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  7. Dear Anonymous (July 3, 7:36 PM), I too was in Ashley's situation, only my ex- didn't tell me a priori beforehand that he was gay. I started to piece things together a little bit immediately (like really immediately) before we were married, but did not have the capacity to process what it meant (nor did he admit to it when I questioned about him about, so I didn't actually know if it was the real situation or not). Retrospectively, I know that I underestimated my ability to deal with the situation, I misunderstood what was required to make a marriage work, and that my ex- did not truly understand what 'gay' meant. The church has actively taught in the past that "same-sex attraction" is something that is not natural, can be controlled and that you can work around in a marriage. I know this because I know women who were counselled to go ahead and marry (although fortunately this is no longer the case). I also know this because when I eventually told my family, my mom commented "you were right in keeping this a secret until now, because if he managed to straighten out his life and start behaving properly you wouldn't want everyone to know this". This is just one example, I could state so many others from my own story and from others. Not everyone in the church believes/acts this way. I also know this because I had an amazing Bishop, who, when it became truly evident that my ex- was gay, helped me to understand that a gay husband would mean I would never have the sex I deserved. Yup. He did.

    I don't know Ashley's pre-marriage life, other than what she's shared here. I'm going extrapolate from my own experience again here. I dated a few handful of boys pre-marriage, not that many, really. A few members of the LDS-faith, where all chastity-kissing-touching rules were strictly followed. A few non-members where I was only slightly more lax in the rules, but not enough to get myself in to any serious "trouble". Some I was attracted to more than they were to me. And vice versa. When I met my ex- I thought there was mutual physical attraction, there was amazing intellectual and emotional physically attraction. He was very strict to hold to LDS-standards (with girls, not so much with the guys he was also simultaneously dating). And so, like many LDS-girls (who end up marrying straight or gay guys), assumed there would also be physical attraction. In a heterosexual relationship, even if it isn't there in the fullness in the beginning, I believe that, to a certain extent, it can grow and develop. Not so much in a MOM. It just isn't possible. How do I know this? Because I have since been in an amazing relationship with a straight man, where I've experienced incredible mutual physical attraction.

    Not understanding what physical attraction is, and how important it is to a marriage, isn't directly the churches fault, but it is a by-product of the naivety that comes with being an standard-holding member of the church. I blame myself for getting married even though I started to suspect gay. I blame the church for putting the idea in my head that everything thing else in the marriage could make up for the lack of mutual attraction. And I blame the church for putting the idea into my ex's head that he needed to be married to a female in order to be accepted and loved.

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