When my daughter told me that she vehemently wanted to have her name removed (which I have not done), I thought about her Mormon extended family members approaching me and saying, "Why would you allow that?"
And I thought about how I would answer.
"It's her decision."
"She wanted it and I couldn't deny her of that."
"Why wouldn't I allow it??"
And then I realized, as I contemplated possible responses, that I should be able to reply to my OWN reasons for wanting to be severed from the church. And I do indeed feel as though I've severed myself from the organization, regardless of being on the records or not.
But WHAT could I say that wouldn't warrant the typical responses of, Ashley just didn't truly have a testimony OR Ashley doesn't understand the meaning of Joy (an actual thing that's been said to me) OR Ashley didn't do all the things she should have done.
So I went back. I thought very deeply about the time that I pulled away.
And I realized that I tried damn, fucking hard to stay.
Go back and read my previous post!
I say it ALL in my initial post of this blog, as well. I was/did/said/believed everything.
I wanted desperately to be able to explain myself in a way that couldn't warrant any- ANY- dismissive response. I needed it for me. As a final rite of passage through my former identity as a LATTER-DAY SAINT.
And I discerned very easily that there wasn't one thing that I could have done more thoroughly, more acutely, more intensely than I'd already done or had been doing.
I was so earnestly looking for a reason to stay.
And nothing ever felt good.
So, tell me, what can you say to that? Can you truly write me off as a lost cause, as someone who maybe just didn't get it?
I was born 'in the covenant'. I was baptized at 8. I went to BYU looking for kinship. I married worthily in the temple. I scrapbooked!
And... as I referenced in the previous post... I, Pamela Ashley Wilkinson Neves, at the age of 35, after a lifetime of being a truly good Mormon girl, felt... done.
There was nothing more to do.
There was nothing more to be done.
There was nothing that I did half-heatedly or incorrectly.
And I felt abandoned. And an aloneness that I'd never experienced before in my life.
It truly was like a death.