Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Christmas Star


What could be better than three men in kilts? They were bagpipers who had been kicked out of a wedding for getting in a fight with the bridesmaids.  Roberta and I were really getting the full Scotland experience. I could not stop laughing as Roberta awkwardly tried to maneuver away from their drunken hands.

It was on my trip to Europe that I first began to voice my doubts about the church. (See: To the Vatican) After exploring the castle that inspired Hogwarts in Harry Potter we decided to wander the enchanted streets of Edinburgh.  We happened upon a small vender selling necklaces.   One of them in particular caught my eye.  I loved the swooping design and how it exploded out of the center.   I asked the vender what it meant. “Parsonal groowth” he said.   SOLD!

And have I ever grown.  I wear that necklace almost every day.  It is my new CTR ring.  To me it stands for “You can do it!”  Leaving the church is not at all easy.  One day at work I made a comment about how difficult the past year had been, and my friendly tattooed co-worker said “This is the year you left the church.  Come on! This is the best year of your life!”   

I wanted to bust out laughing, but I settled for a sarcastic smile.  Those who have never left would think that.   The truth is the first year you leave the church is HELL. It’s like waking up one day in the body of a tiny Asian man and realizing you are on a Japanese game show.  You don’t know the rules and everyone is laughing at you while you are repeatedly being punched in the crotch.  

Over Christmas break I once again found myself heading back to the mothership…Salt Lake City.  I sort of look forward to being around my own kind, it’s somewhat relaxing.  It is tiring having to constantly explain yourself to people who are unfamiliar with the LDS culture.    “How have you never had wine?” “Wait…you’re a virgin?” “Coffee! You are kidding me!”  My most recent disconnect was when I told my co-worker how I felt uncomfortable sleeping in the same bed as a man.  He laughed at me, saying “Why? You just sleep. Put your head on the pillow.”

Seeing my family for Christmas was slightly stressful but mostly wonderful.   I’m out of the closet now.  And my older sister Jacky has finally started talking to me about her story of leaving the church. For the last 8 months she has been avoiding the conversation fearing she would get the blame for my leaving.  I was hurt but I understood.  Her circumstances were very *cough* public.  She did not want to relive it.  It was nice to talk openly with my sister about why she left.  We all assumed it had to do with her being on MTV.  Actually what really pushed her out of the church was having a daughter.  She did not want her daughter to grow up in a religion that is sexist.

I agree that the church has sexist ideas for both men and woman.  However, some people rise above it.   My darling little sister Steph is a BYU anomaly.  She dated her BF for over a year before she finally decided to marry him.  She did not worry when he was unable to finish his degree.  She is a physicist.  She just graduated with her undergrad and accepted a job making 60,000 a year.  That’s right! My little sister is the tits! But she is also the sweetest most loving little 21 year old I know.  I have often talked about my magic necklace from Scotland.  I told her how it symbolized my growing up and leaving the church.  I may even get a tattoo of it someday.   When I opened my Christmas present from Steph my eyes filled with tears.  She had ordered this box from Europe.  She told me she was proud of me for finding my way.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miss. Independent

There is a song I used to listen to called “God Bless the American House Wife”.  A catchy quirky ditty glorifying the role of mommy home maker.  Being a stay at home mom is a tough job.  I have seen the sacrifices my sister has made for her family.  It’s I life I someday may adopt…but not now.  Honestly I never looked forward to it. Yet a year ago I found myself humming this tune over and over again.  It was my battle cry, my mantra, my imposed destiny.  My dream to become a theatrical agent was dwindling fast.   As I watched this dream get euthanized another was artificially inseminated into my brain.   

Pillsbury called me every single day.  He was there for me, emotionally  available and he appeared to love me for who I was.  I trait hard to find for a Mormon girl who watched some R rated movies and occasionally swore.   I was 26.  An old maid.  And no matter how compassionate, or selfless, or  trustworthy a girlfriend I was, I was not good enough.  A “gamble” for any Mormon man.  So when things got more serious with Pillsbury I just let it happen.  I gave up my dream of being a savvy working bitch and traded it in for the responsibility of being Pillsbury’s in home assistant. He and his family told me upfront what was expected of me.  And I agreed to it.  I figured this was the closest thing to love a girl like me deserved.   It was only after I moved to UT that Pillsbury informed me I was not good enough.  I didn’t serve a mission.  My family did not have pioneer heritage.   And he worried that I may “someday drink alcohol.”

As a Mormon woman it is the expectation that you will not get a job and your husband will support the family.  My mother was a working mommy and I saw her constantly judged for it.  But I always looked up to her.  At parties while the stay at homes were discussing different way to clean my mom was talking shop with the boys.  I knew I wanted to have a career and I am proud that I kept that mentality throughout my time at BYU.  Did I lose out on some dates? Of course, but did I really want to be with a man who expected me to stay at home. … Hmmmm…I guess I sort of forgot about that.... 
Though it has been a hard comeback I have re-discovered my independence.  Finding a job has been tricky.  A few weeks ago I did what I do best.  Went out to make friends and network.   When I got to the party I met a guy who seemed rather impressed by my gift of gab.  We exchanged E-mails and less than a week later I was in a second interview for an impressive sales job.  Devin had really put a good word in for me.  He seemed to think I had what it took.  My darling little sister called me to congratulate me.

“Thanks Steph,” I said downtrodden, “I’m a little confused.  This guy doesn’t even know me.  I don’t know why he is sticking his neck out for me.”

“Ummmm…because you are amazing!  I have always felt like I could never live up to you.”  This coming from a girl who was almost accepted to Harvard’s physics program.

“I just don’t know why he is fighting for me to get the job,” I said.

“Because you deserve to be fought for!  You moved to NYC and started your own company.  You walk into a room and everyone wants to be your friend.  In high school people referred to me as ‘Emmas little sister’ till I graduated.   And in collage EVERYONE knew you!  It was so funny watching you on campuses.  You would carry a full deep conversation with someone and as soon as they walked away you would look at me and say “I have no idea who that was.”  You have a gift for getting people to trust you and that is sales.  Have some faith in yourself.  You are worth it.”

You have to fight for what you want.  Sometimes the battles are in your head.  I nailed the interviews and I got the job.  On my first day they showed me around.  I met my co-workers including a very friendly tattooed man.  Then they showed me my desk.  My Desk! No one here expected me to cook and clean.  There was a sentimental moment where I looked at my desk and thought “I’m finally doing it”.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lady Masturbatetor

Every woman who has left the church should buy herself a vibrator. Period.   I know it is fighting to walk into a Pornography Store but what is more frightening is how very little you know about your body.  It wasn’t until I was a Jr. in collage at BYU that I even knew what an orgasm was.   I had heard the term and loosely associated it with a man’s ding dong.  Then one night I was making out with my boyfriend and something happened.  All my clothes were on.  No inappropriate touching but he was kissing my ear.  My "EAR G-spot" I called it.  I later learned that you can’t just call any place you like being kissed a G-spot.  It’s a real spot downstairs. This feeling kept coming…up…and up…and up…and OH MY GOODNESS!
The next day I told my best friend Roberta what had happened.  Perplexed we decided to call my sister Jacky who was married and also left the church.  We explained what happened.  My sister almost blew the speaker out of my phone

“Are you telling me you do not know what an orgasm is?!” She bellowed.

“I know!” I said, “it’s when a guys penis gets hard…Wait do woman have orgasms? I thought you needed a penis? ”

“Oh my God!  Are you joking. Please tell me that my 24 yr old sis is joking…YES! Yes woman have orgasms! How do you not know this?  You need to masturbate!  Do you even know how to masturbate?  Okay watch some porn.  I’m sending you a link.”

Roberta and I laughed at how ridiculous Jacky sounded on the phone.  Telling us to masturbate and watch porn.  Oh crazy Hollywood Jacky!  

Fast forward three years, and one nervous breakdown, and I am Lobster faced giggling in a sex shop. I felt like Indiana Jones adventuring into cave of ancient artifacts.  You would not believe the strange objects they had in there.  Special pillows, jelly’s, and handcuffs.  They had strappy gizmos a plenty.  Naked pictures. Dildos, vibrates, and something called “anal beads”.  The odd thing to me was seeing cute little animals fastened to each vibrator.  They had butterflies, bunnies, and dolphins all ready and waiting to nibble at your G-spot.  I’m sorry, but I’m not sure putting a mangy rabbits on my clit is going to help me relax?!  I was laughing and hiding my face behind my hands.  Needless to say I left that store know less about sex then when I walked in. 

I bought one  6 dollar vibrator.  And, let me tell you, I got my money’s worth.   Over the next 4 months I went through 5 vibrators.  Some nights I just could not sleep until I got off.  One I had found  fully packaged in my mother’s room.  Someone at her work had given her a gag gift knowing she was a Mormon.  I stole it and burnt that sucker out in less than a month.  When it died I was so sad.  I went to look it up online for a replacement.  Turned out it was a 100 bucks!  No wonder it was such a good fuck!

  Okay Okay I’m not trying to be crass or gross you out.  My point is orgasms are fun, and an important part of growing up.  If you are like me and have decided not to wait till you say “I do”(…er I guess Mormons just say “Yes Joseph smith”)  you need to understand how your own body works.  Then you will know what to expect.  And ladies, level the playing field!  See men can jack off with their hands, but for us woman it is a little more complicated.  It took me a month WITH a vibrator to understand my body.  How to relax and where I liked it best.  Sometimes I felt like I was just mowing the lawn down there.  Knowledge is power, and boy does it feel good.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

I have begun slowly broken to siblings that I may not be riding the Mormon spaceship to the celestial kingdom to great our leader Eloham.  I have had to tailor my approach carefully with each of my siblings. It’s important to consider how they will react and act accordingly.  Jacky, of course, was excited for me to jump onto the heathen Death star.  Next I would tell my brother Danny.  Danny was AP on his mission and has always been a good example. I look up to him. One time I remember sitting next to Danny in church as the sacrament went by. 

Snack time!” I thought.  But Danny did not take any bread.  

“Danny.” I said “What the heck? Why didn’t you take the bread?”

Danny obviously looked uncomfortable. “SHHHHH” he said

"It’s free bread!  It was sitting right there in front of you.” I laughed. 

“I can’t.” He said

I sat for a second confused, “Why not? You just pick it up and eat it.  You on the Atkins diet?”
I laughed at his silly pass on free food.  It wasn’t until later that I learned about ‘Godly Sorrow.’  Danny, I guess, had done something bad and had been forbidden to take sacrament.  He had probably masturbated or seen a picture of a woman in her underwear. Now, looking back, I feel bad that I had mocked him. I’m sure he had felt bad enough. It’s sick that the church asks people to publically acknowledge when they have sinned.

When I told Danny I had no desire to marry in the temple he took it personally. “Why? Don’t you want to raise your family Mormon?” he asked. I replied that I would raise my family with similar ethical goals like honesty and charity but that I would raise them outside the bounds of Mormonism. That did not seem to be good enough for him and he continued his interrogation, “Don’t you like the way Mom and Dad raised us?  Don’t you like being Mormon?”  I awkwardly navigated this question by simply explaining how I liked the church but I did not feel it fit me.  He was bemused but at least he knew.

My brother Jacob is a bit of a sad story.  I like to think the church is good for him but as a 31 year old who has never kissed a girl it is hard to see the light.  Jacob refuses to date outside the church tho his personality and humor are seen as “edgy”.  He really wants to be married but has realized that it will never happen for him. Sure! Makes complete sense for a attractive 30 year old man to give up on finding love.  I have done everything I could to try and save him from his celibate life.  I have asked him questions about the Book of Abraham and Joseph’s wives. But instead of answering me he just tells me I should not leave or I will be punished to Outer Darkness.(See: Sleeping with the enemy)   I never actually plan to tell Jacob I’m leaving but I did drink a big old beer in front of him.  He may not have figured out the picture from BOA, but the beer I drank painted a pretty clear picture for myself.

What about my darling little sister. The one who recently got married while I counted cracks in the sidewalk waiting outside the temple. (see: Off White Wedding)  After her wedding she came home to visit the family. Although she loves her husband, she was missing the freedom that comes with being 20 and single.  The first night she was home I felt sick.  We have always been close. We play guitar together and watch Youtube and swap kissing stories. She did not know I was leaving. I remembered how painful it was for me when Jacky left.  Stephie has always looked up to me and I felt I would disappoint her.  I had to tell her.  I needed to know that she still thought I was a good example.  I came into her room and before I spoke was in tears.  We talked openly.  She told me she still loved me and that I was and always would be a good example.  Then she shared this song with me, a song I have listened to at least 100 times now.  

The Christians and the Pagans

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Count Your Many Blessings

It is that time of year.  Time to count our many blessing.  As we struggle with the “What if…”s and “Why?” and “How could they…” I have decided to take a moment to count the good the church has provided in my life.  I know this can be hard.  Especially when you are in the thick of leaving.  But If you spend too much time indulging in negative diatribes you are really only hurting yourself.  When leaving the church perspective can make or break you.  Look at it as an hilarious adventure of awkward silence and sexual blunders!  I encourage everyone who reads this blog to think of at least one thing the church provided for you.  If you feel comfortable leave a comment.  I would love to read them.

Kick Ass Childhood.  My childhood and the church are so interconnected I cannot separate them.  Growing up Mormon made me feel different and special.  It also provided me with a place to rebel and sharpen my comedic skills.  I made it my Job in class to entertain everyone.  (See: Poop Monster) As a result I have performed in front of thousands of people.   It has given me a unique perspective for my stand-up comedy routine.  

My sister Jacky who left before me.  Jacky called me yesterday and told me she wants to be more of a support to me during this time.  She has distanced herself because she was afraid the family would blame her.  Her fear is somewhat exaggerated but I understand.  She was publicly flogged by members of the church just for being on MTV. (See: Parent Trap)

Dating Rejuvenation/Extended Childhood. I've been hurt a few times romantically. Leaving the church has washed away my bitter cat lady mentality.  Every relationshit that haunted is inconsequential.  All of those men were Mormon.  Now as I date I have the mentality of a 17 year old who has never been hurt.  I also have the sexual experience of a 17 year old. I was able to live in that magical adolescent world until I was 26. A world where the word "SEX" makes you giggle and boys still have cooties. (see: The "S" Talk)  

A Super Family.  My family is exceptionally close.  Some of my best memories with my brothers and sisters were suffering through those 3 hours at church.  One time we kids reenacted the entire opening number from the musical CATs while we were supposed to be in class.  When my world fell apart my family picked up the pieces. My mother has always supported me (see: Mommy Doughter)  We are a family together forever.

A Practically Free Education.  BYU provides an excellent intellectual education an a discount for Mormons.  However, I was never a fan of the religion classes and lack of diversity.   I had my share of shit times but over all I had a college experience like no other.  (see: Drinking and Games)

My Friend Seth.  I honestly don’t know where I would be without this guy.  I was rocketing on a path of self-loathing and bitterness but he kicked my butt.  He gave me perspective and a new trajectory.  He helped me let go and move on.  I still bother him from time to time and it is always enlightening (See: Waiting for Gadot)  
This blog and my readers.  It is so amusing to be able to click back and see how much I have grown in the last 7 months.  Reading the comments and E-mails from you makes me feel less alone.  A few of you have even started your own blogs.  That’s GREAT!  I must give special thanks to my editor.  She is just one of my readers who offered to help me with my grammar and my creative spelling.  Unfortunately she could not edit this one.   Her new blog is

My Ex-boyfriend  who was the Best Worst Thing To Happen To Me.  (see: The Princesses and the Penis) I was in deep with the church.  I didn’t believe it but I was not going anywhere.  Cognitive Dissonance baby!   When you are in like I was you need something more than a push.  Thank you Aaron for grabbing me by the hair and throwing me into the volcano.  I can never really thank him.  I’m not sure how to say nicely “You were such a bad guy you made me question everything!”   Of course it was not all his fault. I was letting him teat me that way because I wanted to get my Marriage Merritt Badge.  I was acting Mormon and not living it.  (see: The PerfectProblem).  Regardless, when I look at my future now it is my own.  There is nothing more satisfying then building your own identity. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monsters of Men

I was lying on the couch recovering from the massive concussion I had received from an old man who had decided not to stop at a red light. (See: Car Wreck)  Rob was coming over because he felt bad for me.  Yeah…right... As we all know, men who are not Mormon are sex addicts.  In my mind he was just playing nice in hopes that I would have sex him after I get better.   When Rob (see: sleeping with the enemy) arrived and walked in the door he was carrying an XBOX. 

“Hey sicky,” He said with a sympathetic smile “I brought you something to do while you’re sick.” 

“Wow,” I thought “He must really want to have sex with me, pretending to be so nice.”

He sifted through games and set everything up for me.  Then we got to talking.

“Guess what!?” he said “I have a girlfriend.”

I was taken aback as he told me all about his new lover.  Why was he being nice to me if he had a girlfriend? Is he hoping he could cheat on her with me? It just didn’t add up.  As we were talking an unexpected thought hesitated in brain.  What if he was just being a nice guy…? I walked him to the door and gave him a goodbye hug.   Then, after he had left, I spilled onto the couch and cried.  I was a horrible person. I would like to say it was the concussion that inspired my bitter negative judgmental thoughts.  That would be a lie.

Ever since that moment I have paid close attention to my automatic thoughts regarding non-Mormon men.  I felt sick before every casual hang out or date.  Overwhelm if I was at a party with more men then woman.  One time I was trapped in a restaurant booth with 9 non-Mormon men and only 3 non-mormon woman.  I nearly spilled a pitcher of beer trying to leap out. I had a panic attack. Thoughts I could not control.  Judgments, stereotypes, and most of all fear.  I realized that no matter how hard I tried I could not deprogram myself from the Idea that EVERY SINGLE non-Mormon man was a bad guy.  Clearly this was a job for my BFF/therapist.  I told her about my subconscious bias, that if you set a mormon man with loaded pistol in front of me and a non-Mormon with a puppy I would still choose the Mormon man. 

As I was talking to my BFF my mind flashed back to the one dozen non-mormon men I have interacted with.  A hobo cat calling me as I jogged through NYC saying “don’t run too much of that off!”  The “producer” I met in Harlem who wanted to make me a “star.”  I remembered the date I went on with a man who admitted to me he was actually married! (I will have to tell you about this experience in a later post.) 

Were these men my only representation of non-Mormon men?  How can I be 27 and have so few interactions?  I would talk to non-Mormon men.  For example, I interacted with them when I bought groceries, or if I bumped into one on the street, or if I wanted to tell one about the church.  Oh my God… Did I ever interact with a non-Mormon man on a personal level?  No.  Why would I?  I had my Mormon men who you could date and were so nice.  They would do nice things for you like give you a blessing or let you borrow their XBOX… 

I realized that I have been painting all non-Mormon men with the same brush you use on hobos/pimps/married sleazeballs.  By isolating myself from these men I have let stereotypes pressed on me by my church leaders, and Mormon friends sink in so deep that even a man with a beard had become a threat.  So how do I destroy the black hole in my heart?  If we have learned anything from the Syfy channel, we know that the only way out of a black hole is to light speed through it.  And so I shall. I will boldly go where this girl has never gone before. I’ll go to parties, talk to non-Mormon guys, and break down the barriers. And lastly, in the immortal words of Spock, I will “Live long and prosper.” 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Parent Trap

I remember my heathen sister came to visit. She had left the church a few years after being kicked out of BYU for being on MTV.  Jacky had held up a beer and said, “I will pay you 100 bucks to drink just one sip."

 I wouldn’t do it.

 Life in NYC was hard.  A city of 7 million people and I felt so alone.  The only people I felt I could interact with were Mormons.  I was afraid of everyone else.  I told Jacky this… she was quiet for a bit and then spoke, “I want you to be happy.  You should go online and just read ONE thing about Joseph Smith.  It will change your life.  Do it before you move across the country to marry this guy.” 

 I wouldn’t do it.

Fast forward two years and it was Jacky I called first.  I was livid.  26 years of rot falling from my mouth.  I replayed what I had learned and asked her, “How could they lie to us like this Jacky?”
She was quiet for a bit and then said “I know.”  

What else could she say?  I suddenly understood how painful it was for her living on the other side of the glass.  She was watching her family sink deeper and deeper into the quick sand.  Every time I said no to a beer, coffee or isolated myself from Non-Mormons it was a reminder to her that I was still stuck.   She told me she felt responsible, that she felt she was a bad sister for not leaving sooner.  Of course she’s thrilled that I made it out but now I look at my family and pray to the moon that they will be okay.

Telling Jacky was a celebration.   I wish everyone I told would react this way.   Telling Mom and Pa felt impossible.   I couldn’t keep putting on my Sunday dress only to change in a gas station.  One Sunday out of pure exhaustion I blurted everything out.  I had waited too long.  Like a grenade I exploded blame and anger on Joseph Smith.  I was not tactful or respectful.  My parents took it well considering I was accusing them of being brainwashed.  Later I apologized for acting “crazy”.

It was about a month later when my mother revisited the conversation.  I was able to be more diplomatic.  My parents had done a great job respecting my boundaries and I had done a great job pretending the church was not the reason I had experienced a nervous breakdown.

“So what do you think of the book of Mormon?” My mother said.

“Oh, I think Joseph wrote it,” I said flatly.

“Really?” My mother said, trying to hide her shattered heart. She then proceeded to tell me all the “facts” about the Book of Mormon that proved he could not have written it.  The same “facts” I was taught in church and in class at BYU. “You know Joseph was an uneducated man.  Son of a farmer-“

“Actually, he was very well educated.  Both his parents and sister were teachers.”  I said.

“Oh well you have just been reading Anti-Mormon literature.”

Aaaaand Stop.  I don’t want to hurt my parents so I take the “agree to disagree route”. This is called a boundary. (See: Coming Out The IKEA-Mormon ClosetMy parents mean the world to me.  Though it is hard watching them give the church their retirement I try to focus on what the church has done for them.  One gift I cannot deny is that our family is very close.  Partly due to all us kids working in the family Ice-cream shop. Partly due to the TV show(tho she never would have gotten on the show if she was not Mormon).  And partly due to our commitment to love each other forever.   The good news is my parents still love me.  We don’t fight about the church and I still believe that families can be together forever.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Q & A With Emma

Dear Emma,
I love reading your blog. I am also a newly ex-mormon 26 yr old female! What do you think has helped you the most as you were leaving Mormonism?

Perspective.  Mormonism is such a complex religion/lifestyle/club.  The church wants so badly to be black a white but there are about …I don’t know…50 shades of gray. 

Everyone who leaves the church experiences it differently.    For some it’s as easy as walking into a Mc Donald’s, Taking one look at the menu and leaving.  For others it is like being seated at  a Mexican restaurant ordering some fantastic looking enchiladas.   Waiting over an hour only to discover that they have messed up and now you’re stuck eating slimy cold gazpacho soup.  You can make a huge fuss and leave without paying only to be chased down by the owner, you can send it back and hope they get it right even if it takes another hour, or you can just eat the soup. 

My sloppy point is in order to leave peacefully you need to remember it’s not the end of the world. It feels that way and it is the end of many things.  It is also the beginning of your new wonderful life.  Sure I’m annoyed I’m a weirdo when it comes to sex.  But there was worse things than being a 27 year old virgin. Perspective.  It’s not all bad.

Since college, I have mainly made friends through church, and now that the social outlet is gone, I am trying to find other things to do. What do you recommend?

Ah yes the F.H.Evasion. Your entire social life was handed to you on a silver platter. You never had to work or even think about what you would be doing because every Sunday they told you.  Monday: FHE, Tuesday: help sister Wazername move. Wednesday: dinner with miss…You get the point.  Now your calendar is wide open and that can be scary.  It took me about 3 months to realize that no stranger was going to call me with a list of social activities. You have to do it yourself.

That silver platter was nice but it was always full of activity’s that were bland and tasteless.   Once you learn
to cook up your own fun you will find it much more rewarding.   Instead of one size fits all activity’s like Disney karaoke in the church gym you can find more of a custom fit.  For example I LOVE doing stand-up!  Before I left the church I would do it but I always had to avoid the church.  Now I do stand-up almost every night and I’m getting quite good at it!  I don’t have to be clean or PC.  I like to make jokes about how I’m a virgin and how Mit Romney is watching me.  I don’t attack the church but I’m free to tease.

I want to make more non-mormon friends!  I really do not enjoy drinking.  How do people like us meet more people like us?

Find the things you love to do and do them.  As we say “Google will set you free”, it will also show you the world. Look online for events and go! Don’t rule out going to bars. Most bars have more than just alcohol to entice people.  Live music, dancing, trivia, wet T-shirt contests (if that is your thing). I really enjoy events.   Just yesterday I played Ultimate Frisbee with a bunch of new people my age.  Most of them drank but not to get hammered.  They were active people.  I imagine if I was not Mormon I would have friends who would tell me about all this cool stuff.  As you have newly left you may need this tool to get started.  

You will be tempted to talk about the church.  That’s okay.  I have found that almost everyone has had a faith crisis in their life.  It’s an interesting topic but remember that you are more than your old religion.  Stay light on the topic of religion and don’t let it dominate the conversation. 

You are in charge of your own social life now…revel in it!

I wanna date non-mormons.  How do I do that?

I have about 27 blog post on this topic and still don’t know.   In Mormon culture there is sooo much stress in finding your eternal companion.  Marriage to Mormons is more than finding a partner.  In order to move up in the church you must be married.  You can’t be a bishop or institute teacher without your marriage certification.  Singles wards require “adult” supervision from married people.  In many ways you are made to feel incomplete without a spouse.

The world is a lot more relaxed.  People who are married and people who are single live together in harmony(see: Bon Voyage) It is  important when you start dating outside the church to take it slow.  Look around you…every guy is an option! See that guy with the tattoo, the one drinking a beer, the guy who has had sex, they could be really great guys(gasp!) Give them a chance. It’s hard to erase the old “I Judge Thee” habit.  Start by just making friends and getting comfortable with different types of people. 

When you do meet someone you like feel free to communicate that (see: Pink Pedistal)   If you want a committed relationship find a guy who wants that too.  Take it slow so that you can be sure.  Some men will say anything for sex.  Any guy that is pushing you to do stuff you’re not comfortable with…tell them to F OFF! Most important take your time.  People find love at every age out here...not just at 22. 

Hey Emma,
Have you ever thought of getting your records removed from the church?

At this point in my journey…No. But I see why many people do.  They want closure, they don’t want to be one of the churches “15 Million” members.  I have found that for me to move on from the church I need to find myself away from it all.  I’m looking for that squishy gray area where I can be myself and still keep the parts of Mormonism I like.  My family, my friends, and my network.  Maybe with time I will. It won’t be for many years, when I can look at a Mormon temple and think to myself “Hey do you remember when you actually went inside one of those?”  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cosmo Girl

Her dark smoky eyes always find mine.  Her hair is being blown back she gives me the “come hither.”  Whether it’s a Walgreens, Wal-mart or even a 7 Eleven she is waiting for me, tempting me with her mysteries untold. In big, block, pink letters the words Cosmopolitan are scrolled across the cover. 

I’ll admit it.  I want to know her “25 secret sex tricks to make him sweat.”  I don’t plan to use them tonight, I’m just curious.  I used to look at this magazine and think “some day before I get married I will buy one.”   Oh God!  What a disaster that would have been if my entire sex education came from one issue that read “S&M, make him want it!” A month ago I thought S&M was a knock-off hard candy.

Luckily I don’t need to make that embarrassing purchase yet.  I met a girl named Jen who is really nice and fun.  I had been trying desperately to make friends with a non-Mormon girl with absolutely no luck. (see: Pick up chick)  I wasn’t really trying to befriend Jen.  It just happened one night when I planned what she thought was a casual girl’s night. Ha ha!  She didn’t realize it but she was walking into a trap!

I bombarded her with questions.  She didn’t realize she would be giving a lecture on adult sexual relationships but was a fantastic sport about it.   I asked, “What can you do with a penis to make it happy?” She demonstrated, quite emphatically, on a bottle of mustard.  I asked about vibrators, I asked her about how sex works in a relationship. I could tell she was enjoying my naivety on the subject. Not just sex but dating and relationships, expectations and break-ups, moving in with a guy as opposed to just dating. I asked about things that no magazine can really give you an honest perspective on. 

 I asked about bedroom topics - including what to do about the cobwebs in the basement. “Of  course!” I exclaimed, “an electric Razor! Why didn’t I think of that? Have you ever tried using a Bic down there?  It’s like hacking your way through the Amazon jungle!”

Jen was trying to explain something about Vaginas but I had NO IDEA what she was talking about. It was like she was speaking chinese.  As she was explaining shaving your little lady I realized something…well awful…I had never really looked at my own. It has literally been feet away from my face my entire life and I had never seen it.  Rob and Seth had seen it before I had.  Why hadn’t I looked at it before?  Let me say that this is not a Mormon girl thing…well at least I hope it is not.  I hope I am the ONLY 27 year old who has never inspected her own grand canyon.

I noticed something rather beautiful.   Though we grew up in different environments we both were looking for the same thing.   Someone to connect with.  We both had experience love and heart break.  We both have the same dream and fear of love.  We both struggled with finding and keeping true to yourself.   Sex is, from what I have surmised, an extension of emotion.  Not always love but, depending on the person, it can mean something.  That has been my biggest fear.  I don’t want to sleep with a guy and then find myself following him around like a sheep dog.  But I also don’t want to sleep with a guy and then when he asks to see me again I ask “Why?”

Looking back on this data I thought of the three men whose company I had enjoyed beyond the “Strength of Youth” Packet.  Of the three men, two were very easily dismissed from my life.  Rob and Rodrigo were nice, but what we had done didn’t mean anything.  Seth however…hmmm.  He is Ex-mormon.  That did mean something.  I liked when Seth held me.  There was comfort there. Seth and I are not exactly compatible but he understand stood better than anyone what I’m going through.   I wish there were more Post-mo boys out here. But then I remember that I did not leave the Mormon faith to join an even smaller sub-culture of relationships. 

Jen continues to be a very valuable resource as well as a friend.  After my *ha ha* road trip with Rodrigo I called her the next day to make sure I was not a bad person. 

“Do you think Jake will be mad at me?” I said

“Why would he be mad at you?” said Jen

“I mean Rodrigo was his friend and I made out with him!” I exclaimed

“Right. It’s okay. He won’t be mad,” she said

“but…um…did I tell you that…we were naked.” I confessed

Thunderous laughter echoed from the other line, “If anything, Jake would be egging you on. He would be rooting for you to go for it. It’s called getting lucky.” She said.

“Oh. Okay but I feel like I should tell you-“

“Whoa!  Honestly you don’t have to confess anything.  You’re fine.” She interrupted

“Oh. Okay.  Cool. Well I got to go.  I have to date a lawyer from the Bahamas!”

Jen is one awesome lady.  Every lady who leaves the church needs to get her one of her!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Best Worst Year

One year ago this weekend my life changed forever.  A break up, a car wreck and a complete mental break down.  This course of events set the stage for the Best Worst Year of My Life.  I believe in life we are allotted a certain number of days where we are allowed to be fantastically miserable.  I used all of them this past year.  I have decided to honor these last 365 days by taking a good hard look into the past. 

Leaving the church is knocking over the first Domino.  I can’t believe how many of my old beliefs are falling to the ground.  I’m a better, happier person. The weight of the church is still heavy on me. Yesterday I spent 8 hours building an online Domino Effect Mind Map.  I have decided to share it with you.    The center is the first Domino.  The red words were my old beliefs and under them are my new beliefs.  I used prezi which is a free Power Point. 

(I can send you the prezi if you would like. Just E-mail me and put in the subject line PREZI)

 This exercise was very helpful and painful.  You may notice that Dating, Sex, Relationships have a large presents in my brain.  Under Goals, Dreams, and Expectation’s... I’m drawing major blanks.  I was not always boy crazy and insecure.   It snuck up on me.  I had a love hate relationship with BYU.  I loved how I was the edgy different girl who spoke her mind. However, it made me sad how often I was judged for it.  I became submissive.  Something happened to me in NYC.  My super Mormon roomies rubbed off on me.  My molly Mormon admirer gave me an offer I felt I was too old to refuse (I was 26)

After making this graph I have realized that I have let dating distract me from my real problems.  I’m not great at being vulnerable.  I have completely lost touch with the career driven, NYC bitch I wanted to be.  I think the biggest thing I learned is I don’t love myself.  This makes me sad… why would I want some guy to love me, if I don’t love me.   I have decided to put a halt on my cereal dating.  It feels unnatural saying No.  At BYU I was so different I had to trick boys into asking me out.  A weird combination of desperate and hard to get.  Non-mo boys don’t size up my testimony.  It’s nice.  I was supposed to go out with Vick this week.  A super accomplish Engineer with all sorts of dreams and goals.  I don’t want to live vicariously through his mater program and his horseback riding.  I need to revisit my dreams.  Maybe make a few adjustments to my pen-house in New York.  

We the questioning brothers and sisters have an extraordinary journey.  Enjoy this unique experience tho it will get the better of you at times.   Leaving the church is a huge accomplishment. Take this Gold Star!  None of your friends are likely to throw you a party.  Just remind yourself that you were brave enough to say “I don’t think the earth is flat”.   I recommend seeing a therapist.   If that is not an option for you feel free to barrow my Mind Map.  It helps you pinpoint where your schemas and automatic thoughts are coming from.
 I know this world is true. 
There are people who will love you for you. 

But if you don’t love you then it won’t matter…boohoo.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pink Pedestal

It all started when I punched Seth in the arm and called him my friend. This shouldn’t be a big deal.  He is my friend but I also think he is way hot.  As I was talking to him I became aware of the Berlin Friendship Wall I was erecting. I try to appear unattractive to him and point out all the reasons I should not like him to myself.  This wall is one of many invisible barriers I put between myself and potential relationships. I started seeing a therapist to help me deal with the church.  She has been pushing me to talk about my last relationship with a man named Pillsbury(see:  Princess and the Penis).  I’m learning it was not the end of that relationship that was tormenting me.  It is the beginning. 

His name was David.  We spent everyday together skipping down the silver streets of New York.  We had what is known as a connection. Connection.  A while ago Seth reintroduced me to this term. (see: Great Sexpectations) This word has been ringing in my ear ever since.   I have used it many times before but only now am I starting to understand. See, Pillsbury and I had a relationship.  David and I had a connection. Cue massive regrets.

How many times did I punch David in the arm and call him friend?  How many times did I convince myself to just be friends with this dashingly handsome man.  I loved him.  I have never met a man I cared for them the way I cared for David.  I thought about him all the time.  Everyone in the ward thought we were dating.  We might as well have been.  We were inseparable...well except for my wall.  I told him all about my Skype relationship with Pillsbury.   David soon became angry every time I brought up Pillsbury.  So I stopped talking to him about it.  He did everything he could to show me he liked me.  Just shy of tying me down and screaming "I like you!" What happened you ask?  Nothing. Every hint he dropped, I gave him the old "We are such good friends".  I liked him so instead of playing dumb why I didn’t just say something.  When I told him Pillsbury was flying out to see me he was irrational.  His face dropped and he ignored me.

"Come on." I said with an innocent smile "arnt you going to check him out for me and make sure he is good enough?"

He just looked away, "I’m really busy that week" he said...I never said what week he was coming...and David was unemployed. 

The whole thing blew up in my big play dumb face. I was insensitive and afraid. I blew off one of the most meaningful relationships I ever had so I wouldn't risk losing it. I was afraid to be loved.  And I have done this countless times.  I saw David a few weeks ago.  My wall was still up, still in denial. But as we were surfing on carts through the wal-mart parking lot my feelings for him began to surface again. I thought to myself “He is truly an amazing man. I would go back to church if I could find a man like him.”  I snuffed those thoughts out but thanks to my therapist I must face the truth.
By trying to protect myself from being vulnerable I have ended up wondering “what if?” Pillsbury was easy to date.  I was not attracted to him so I thought he couldn’t hurt me(wrong!) We was the model Mormon man. He pursued me the way I expected to be pursued. He put me on a lovely pedestal.  Many of the Mormon boys I have dated have done this.  But I don’t want the pedestal.  I want to be an equal. I remember being told so many times by boys at BYU how unattractive a woman is, who pursues a man.  They want to win you with gifts and acts of valor.  Who doesn't want that?  It sounds fun but to truly play this game you might as well be an apple on a tree waiting to be picked. 

The churches expectation invites sexisum. A single mormon man is at fault for being alone but a woman.  We are told it is not our fault our husband must be in heaven.  I want to be down on earth with my unemployed lover running through central park. I want to take responsibility for my relationships. I want to accept that I have a choice on who and how I love.  Who know what would have happened if I allowed myself to open up to David. Maybe nothing would have changed.  I have been replaying the events over and over in my head but about a year too late. 

I’m coming off my pedestal.  I don’t want to be spoiled anymore.  I want to find a connection.  The stigma of a "DTR"(mormon term for Define The Relationship) is so negative.  I did everything I could to avoid it.  Like many Mormon men and woman who suffered years of reinforce stereotypes I became silent to my own thoughts. As I move forward in my personal relationship I will remember David. I would be fine dating a guy who’s only gift to me was his heart.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Potty Training

Lazars were flashing, the music was blaring and I was wearing a little number I bought in New York City 7 years ago.  I was nervous to bust out my low drop tank top.  I bought it during my rebellious youth but never warn it.  Unsure the affect this top would have called my friend Jen to basically ask her permission.  I even packed another shirt just in case.  My Boobs looked amazing.  You never would have guessed I was a virgin from the way I was moving on the dance floor.  My friend Kate even pulled me aside to learn how to drop it like it’s hot.   I was among friends + one friend of a friend.  His name was Rodrigo.

After a few drinks I noticed Rodrigo noticing me.  The definition of tall dark and handsome.  Brazilian and beautiful.  After a few more drink I contemplated the existence and proximity of this man.  After a few more drinks I found myself more than contemplating proximity.   As a group we moved from one bar to the next, Rodrigo at my hips.  Around 1 am the group started to dissipate.  Kate had also made acquaintance with a man who was at her hips.  

I was beginning to sober up but most of my friends were still wasted.   I started to wonder what I was doing.  Who was this guy I kept kissing and why didn’t I care?  Rodrigo told me very specifically that he was going into the bathroom. 

“okay.” I said

He left…he came back and again told me he wanted to go to the bathroom. 

“fine.” He smiled and I smiled back.

A third time he came back slightly frustrated.  He said to me a third time “I’m going to the bathroom.”

“then go!” I said

“I want you to come with me.” He said

“I don’t have to go,” I said

“Come, please”, He said

“Is there a line?” I said.

 This time he looked deep into my eyes and smiled. “There in no one.  Meet me,”

“Oh God!” I thought.  I had seen this in the movies. Commode Coitus! I was no good in a bedroom much less a bathroom! As he was walking away I realized I was WAAAY over my head. Most of my friends had left.  Kate was still there with her hitch hiker.
“Kate!” I said with combination fear and adolescents “Um. I have never done anything like…anything.  How do you…what should I do?”

Kate just stared, “You okay?” 

I was trying to figure out a really cool way of saying “Help!  This man wants to do sexy times in the bathroom and I am no good with a pee pee. I should run and hide but he is very attractive!”

Just then Rodrigo came back from his fourth potty trip. He took my hand and started to guide me toward the bathroom.  I stared at Kate the way you stare up at a ledge after you have fallen.
“I think it’s time for me to go home.” I said abruptly. I left and he fallowed. We walked hand in hand back to my car.  God he was good looking.  And leaving to go back to Brazil in 12 days.  It was the perfect crime.  But he was friends with my friend Jack.  As we were walking back to my car I saw Jack and called out to him.  Rodrigo kissed me to stop the sound.  “Don’t call him over here.  I just want to be with you.”  Did I mention how incredibly handsome he was. 
We kissed all the way to my car. And in my car.  And I drove him home where we continued to enjoy my car. (tho it was totaled a week later)  After we enjoyed the car I told Rodrigo it was time for me to go home.  Then something happened.  Something I did not expect.  He said,

“Wait.  Can I get your number?”

My very first thought was “Why?” There I was naked with a man who was also naked.  And I wondered “Why?”.   As I drove away a small black hole formed in the pit of my stomach.  I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, except maybe indecent exposure as my car windows were not tinted.  I’m sure Rodrigo had no intention to call me.  I was sure this was what the kids call a hook up. No sex but still sexy. So why did I feel so raw. Why? Why? Is this what I’m becoming? So detached? My mind was trying to sort tho what transpired in the car.  At one point Rodrigo asked me what I liked about him. I said “I like how sexy you are.” To that he asked “is that all?”  What if Rodrigo did like me for some odd reason?  Am I really that heartless?  I thought back to Rob and Seth. (See: Sleeping With the Enemy, and Great Sexpectations) I liked Rob sort of.  I really liked Seth tho I basically convinced myself not too.  Rodrigo… I didn't know him...Oh my.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Unexpected Soul

I was finally starting to enter into a healthy non-mormon environment. I had a job offer.  I was making friends, drinking beer, learning about sex, looking for a co-ed apartment so I could move out of my parents basement when SMASH!  I was hit by a man going 45mph.  My car totaled, my guitar destroyed, and my head pounding. (see: Car Crash)  I have a bad concussion and have been on bed rest for over a month now.  My head still hurts.  I can’t really drive, I can’t read, and can barely write.  I normally love sunny days but the sun aggravates my condition so I stay indoors like a vampire.  I can’t believe after all my excitement to leave the Mormon community I have been thrown back into it.  A helpless, sexless, drinkingless, lifeless person.  At least that was what I thought.

For the last month I have had to “hit the brakes” (Pun intended) on my secular education.  tho this time is frustrating I have realized a few very interesting things.  At first I was angry. I wondered if God was punishing me.  A week before the accident I had met a man in a bar and attempted to give him a hand job in my car (a funny story I very much look forward to telling you about!) As I contemplated this theory I remembered the indent with my windshield (see: Waiting for Godot) Basically I learned shit happens, not always for a reason.  

 There were emotional triggers at first.  I can’t drink, can’t make new friends, can’t have sex.  Not that I was even close to having sex but I felt restricted.  Like I was back under the church’s church thumb.  A very few of my Mormon friends came to visit me.  Tho I was sickly and in bed they never failed to send me a text inviting me to church on Sunday.   Also a few of my secular friends came to see me which was extra special as they had to drive very far.

I spent the first two weeks watching stupid movies, cried and ate ice-cream.  I realized this this was temporally my life and I needed to make the most of it.  I started going to the library and instead of renting your run of mill Reese Witherspoon movies.  I checked out documentary, History’s, and travel DVD.  I learned about the McCain campaign and actually felt sorry for Sara Palin.  I marveled at the Taj mahal, and swam through Great Barrier Reef .  I experienced the life a standup comedian. I witnessed the horror facing Afghanistan soldiers.  I climbed Mt Everest.  I learned why Oprah is a Goddess to middle aged woman.  I watched the Hindenburg crash to the ground and I learned why it is a bad idea to keep a Viper as a pet.

Before this accident I felt empty.  I had lost my friends, my community, and my culture.  The brave history of Joesph Smith turned out to be an April fools joke.  The stories of the Nephites and Lamanites turned out to be just that…stories.   But as I educated myself I started to appreciate a new culture, a different community.  This community was much bigger.  Roughly 7 billion people.  This culture Full is of triumphs and tragedies.  These people were not just waiting for missionary’s to save them.  My only concern was the History of Mormonism and why it is wrong. I failed to recognize the splendor of what makes the world so right and wrong.  I look forward to getting better.  I think when I can once again grab a drink with my friends they will see me differently.   Someone whose soul goes deeper than the river Jordan. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Hellooooooo?  Is anyone out there?

You have done it.  You have jumped ship off the Mormon cruise line(see: bon voyage) and now you are floating precariously on a door in the middle of the secular ocean.  So what do you do now?

Making friends was very difficult for me after I left the church.  I’m outgoing but I was used to having my social events planned for me.  Without my pot lucks, FHE’s, institute, CES firesides, and enrichment activities I was lost.  I went to bars alone and promptly left as soon as the drunken men grab my ass.  I went on tons of bad on-line dates.  Most men who wanted to help me find my pussy.  I went dancing… alone.  I went to concerts…alone.  I even tried a few groups with little success. One group advertised as single professionals turned out to be a room of 40+ men giving me the eye and a bunch of 40+ woman giving me the stink eye.  One night I went to a neat bar where you could drink and play table tennis.  I went in…alone.  I’m not sure how familiar you are with table tennis but it requires 2 people to play.  I stopped a waitress.

“excuse me,” I said to a woman whose hair was so white it could only grow on trees, “Do you have like tournament nights or teams you can join?”

She looked at me “No. You just come with your friends and stuff.”

“Oh well I’m new in town sort of, I mean I grew up here but I’m just…I just don’t have a ton of friends…like any. Ha ha.” What the hell?  Why was I telling her this? “You don’t have any like mingle nights?” I stumbled out

“Oh my God that is Sad” her big fake eyelashes fluttered “I have friends and I, like, hang with them and stuff.  Why don’t you have friends? You’re cute.”

“No No. I do have friends they just don’t like to go in bars or do stuff outside of church…it’s a religious thing...for them…not me.”

“Oh my God, were you like Amish er something? I hear they don’t even use I-pods when they work out. Is that true?”

What the hell was this woman talking about?  “Yes Amish.  What’s an I-pod?”  

“Oh my God I’m so sorry for you.” She grabbed my arm tenderly and said, “It’s okay.  Just don’t do crack. It’s so weird.”  Clearly she was speaking from experiance. 

This city was just not panning out for me.  I noticed on that another city a little over an hour away having cool activities all the time.  It has a reputation for being a huge party town.  I decided it was time to try my luck there. 

I noticed a HUGE difference.  People were my age, were fun to talk too.  We related on a ton of issues.  I started going to this city every other night despite the hour drive.  I got in with a group of really cool people who introduced me to some very common 20-something activities.  We went to concerts and comedy shows.  We talked and drank.  They supported me when I played at an open mic night.  They taught me how to play Beer Pong, and Flip cup.  I did my first Kegs stand. I got 45 seconds because the guy was not pumping the Keg so nothing was coming out.  (for those who have never seen a keg you have to pump them to make them go) When they realized I had fooled them all they made me do it again.  This time I got 2 seconds.  How the hell do you drink upside down? Silly.  They all had a good laugh.  I feel very loved by these people.  They know I’m a little odd.  Sometimes they are speaking a foreign language.  They say things like “Rail Drinks” “Riders” “D.D.” “Assed out” “Shmagled” “DTF” “Job”(not the kind where you make money…hopefully) 

It’s not easy making your own social calendar. I miss my pre-planned activities.  It’s also tricky navigating the whole “Mormon” Issue.  I get three different responses when I tell people I am leaving the Mormon faith.  There is the non-chalent “oh yeah. I was Catholic growing up. I get it.”  No offence but few of the Catholics I met were as severely indoctrinated as even the most lay Mormons.  For example:  I had not actually looked at my own vagina until about two months ago.  It just felt wrong.  The other response is a very solemn “Oh my God!  That’s huge.  Your life must be upside down right now.”  I appreciate the sentiment of these people, but it can get over bearing.  They want to know everything you are going through even if you are at Amanda’s birthday party. It’s almost imposable to talk about my life without talking about the church. I really like people who take the time to understand but also don’t dwell on it.   I think I’m many ways I just want to feel normal and not be afraid.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th:A Close Call

12 years ago today I almost lost my older sister.  She was working as TV personality and had planned to take American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to LAX. For many years I took credit for her not boarding that plane.

My sister had been doing a lot of traveling by air for her work.  The joke in our family was that we never knew what state or even country she was in. ha ha ha.  She was traveling the world as a good example of what a Mormon should be. It was late at night and I could not sleep.  I just kept worrying about her.  I couldn’t stop.  Planes are so dangerous and she flys all the time.  What if something bad happens?  What if the wing falls off or the engine blew.  What if her plane crashes or is bombed? I tried to forget it and go back to sleep.  I tried but the paranoia got much worse. I was crying.  Heaving one gigantic breath after another.  Around 3:00am I ran into the bathroom crying.  Begging God not to take her life.  Silently screaming at him making promises I’m sure I have broken by now. It was almost as if I knew something was going to happen.  After at least 30 minutes of pleading with God for her safety I felt a release. I looked in the mirror with day old mascara running down my face. I laughed at myself and how foolish I had been.

About two weeks later the planes hit.  I knew my sister was in danger but I calmed myself. I knew she was in Boston but I knew that she would not be on that plane.  I just knew it. I was right.  She was not…but she was supposed to be.

When word spread about her brush with the 9/11 high jacking people immediately accused her of a publicity stunt. As if she was using this tragedy to forward her career.  That was not true.  Opera and other talk shows invited her to speak about her close call but she turned them down.  This was not something to brag about.  She became a shut in.  The truth was she had gotten in a fight with her boyfriend in LA and at the last minute decided not to go.  Her friend from the band she was traveling with convinced her he was a jerk and to stay in Boston…Thank God?

For years I “knew” I had saved her life.  God heard my prayer.  So two years later when she announced she was leaving the church a sick thought squirmed in my head. Was she supposed to die? I had head in church that it is better to die in the church then leave it.  I tried to tell her about this story to convince her to stay. She wouldn’t hear it. She said I was brainwashed.  What had I done? Did I save my sister only to have her sent to an eternity of outer darkness?  I didn't care!  I loved my sister and was glad to have her.  I’m not sure I’m strong enough to handled such a tragedy.  I love her so much. This was when the first seeds of discourse about the church settled in.  Maybe it was selfish, but I was glad my sister was still alive despite her leaving the church.

The world changed 12 years ago.  So many innocent people lost their life’s.  People of all different faiths and creeds.  People who I’m sure prayed just as earnestly as I did.  I did not save my sister.  God did not spare her. A dumb boyfriend and dumb luck saved her life.  I can't explain why I was up till 3:00 am begging for her safety.  Every year I remember how lucky I am that my sister is alive.  Without her I’m not sure I would have the courage to leave the church. She has been an example of strength and confidence.  She did leave even though everyone was watching.  I’m discussed with myself that I ever thought I made a “mistake”.  That I begged for her life only to watch her take off her temple garments.   My older sister is alive when thousands were not so lucky.

 There is one person I can thank.  He never walked on water or heal any lepers. He is the lead singer of a band and though he was really only trying to give basic dating advice he inadvertently changed my life forever. I have thanked him many times without getting on my knees.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Coming Out the IKEA-Mormon Closet

You are going all in. Your palms are sweaty, your mouth is dry.  Why are these three little words so hard to say?  It’s silent.  Their eyes anticipating as the letters rock from one side of your mouth to the other.  Like a sea sick sailor it’s time to spill...  “I don’t believe”

There is one thing every single post-Mormon must face.  Telling people.  You can’t hide it.  Once you pick up a beer, or ware a tube top, or move in with your boyfriend the word is out.  You imagine all the things people will say about you. Probably the same things you said about those who left before you.  Coming out is a big deal.  Before you open the door to the closet, do a little IKEA style organization.  There are thing you need to have in place mentally before you open yourself up to scrutiny. If you don’t clean the closet your baggage will spill everywhere and make a real mess of your life.

#1.  Set up Your "PORTIS"  There are so many different people from different walks of life.  Put yourself in your friend’s and family’s shoes.  They love you and they love the church.  You need to do your best to make it possible for them to love you both.  Avoid using words like “hate” “brainwashed” “cult” “indoctrinated”.  Find people you can trust as your outlet. 

#2  Sort out the rogue socks  You may have a strong feeling of betrayal.  Suddenly you just hate every darn thing about the church.  Some things you used to love.  Some ideas may still be good ideas but now you want to rebel.  And some grudges that are highly exaggerated in your mind.  You may, like me, just have crazy mouth (see: Gift of Tongues) It is wise to find those Ideas that are destructive and just throw them away.  Like the red sock with green dotes. You will never ware it again in will just turn all your white socks pink. 

#4  Organize your “BESTÃ…  You may want to have a throw down with your friends or family.  Tell them everything you learned.  You may be thinking it’s not personal.  Wrong!  It is very personal.  If it is a true friendship they will be able to Shelf the disagreement and focus on the person you are. Keep your copy of No Man Knows My History right where it is.  When they pull out their Book of Mormon remind them that you already have one. If they try to argue with you simply don't.  If they tell you "you will be punished" smile and nod.  Some of your friends my earnestly want to know the history. With this I take a Que from Le Var Burton.  I say, "Here are some other books you may like, but you don't have to take my word for it."

#3  Get a "HEMNES" with Closed Drawers  Just because your closet is a walk in dose not mean anyone is welcome.  You need to set up boundaries for yourself.  You can leave out your Sunday Sailing hat but maybe tuck away your lacy lingerie with the front clasp. I'm not ashamed of my *cough* experiments.  But I don't feel a need to share with  my relief society friends exactly who has been vacuuming my shag carpet. It is no one business what you do. You decided to Whom, exactly When, and precisely What you want them to know.  

#5  Hope Chest I’ll bet your head is swimming with confusion.  I know mine is. Regrets, what ifs, and emotional unrest.  Throw everything you don’t understand in your hope chest and sort it out later.  Maybe with time, or a therapist, or even a soul searching trip to Thailand you will find your inner peace.  Until then, make do with what you have.  You will never have all the answers. That is okay.  All you need is the confidence to build your own life. Do what you believe is right and hope for the best.

I’m no expert.  I’m just a 27 yr old girl with an optimistic attitude and a concussion. Start by telling your closest friends.  People who you trust like family.  Recognize that the dynamics with your friends may change. It is not because they don’t like you, but because you may not be able to relate as well.  It’s times like these when you find out who your real friends are.  Wheather you have lost your religion or lost your car to a Buick going 45 mph, your friends are the ones who come over with a bowl of soup and a big ass hug.