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.  


  1. LOL, I knew this was "Jacky's" little sister after the 9/11 post, I had kept up with your sister's blog pretty regularly during the whole BYU debacle and knew the circumstances about her not getting on the plane out of Boston. Anyway, I wanted to say I stumbled on to your blog after seeing if the name was already taken as I'm going through a similar journey albeit from the other end of things. I'm in the middle of getting divorced after 14 years and since I am finally free to live my life the way I see fit I no longer feel I need to fake being the priesthood holder and "patriarch" of my home. Many of the things you are terrified about I am too, but coming from having only ever been with one woman I don't know what the women of the world expect of me in the department. My ex is convinced that I'm just going to "whore" around, which isn't my plan, really I don't want to get married again so I will probably be sleeping with people outside of wedlock but I don't plan on a string of one night stands, I hope that we're in some kind of meaningful relationship. Last week at work I poured myself a cup of coffee and it felt so funny, I know none of my coworkers were aware how "rebellious" I was being but I still felt like I was "sinning", anyway I wasn't a big fan, I could stomach it, and it definitely tasted better with the various coffee mate add-ins but since I'm dieting I need to stay away from those for the most part. I don't think that coffee will be a regular thing for me. I don't know about alcohol yet, again the diet (I've lost 90 lbs in 18 months and would like to maintain that), and the few times I've tried alcohol in the past it didn't really do much for me, maybe if I'm in need of some "liquid courage" to get up the nerve to talk to a girl I'll use it but otherwise I don't know. It's weird, I don't fit in with Mormons and I don't fit in with Non-Mormons. There's a lot of Mormons in this area but I only know of a few Ex-Mormons, and very few that left as adults that could relate to me, so I feel misplaced. Anyway, keep up the blog, it's fun to read and I can relate to so many things that you're going through.

    1. Dear Anonymous/NV Freedom,
      I am a friend of the blogger and while I haven't completely left the church, I have decided to try "life on the other side" for the time being. When you say that you don't fit in with Mormons or Non-Mormons, I totally know what you mean. Once I left the Provo bubble, I spent a year in Paris and then in NYC, where I realized that I had always taken the easy path in choosing to believe what I was fed to believe my whole life. I have decided to move back to SLC in hopes of finding more people like me, and apparently you, who want to live their own, ex-Mormon-tainted, though still respectable, lifestyles.

  2. You figured me out! Ha ha ha. Yeah there is more to that story. Sometime I will share. Funny you say you never want to get married again. I have been considering this too. Not sure it is worth all the hassle. As for fitting in i'm still struggling with that. It is hard.

  3. this is Anonymous from above, I finally came up with an uber-exciting user name to post on your blog and eventually start my own at some point

  4. I remember the big hoopla when she was kicked out for co habitation. I also am pretty sure i remember seeing your parents on it.
    I don't know your sister, but from what I know of her I admire her. I am glad you have her.

  5. What is her sister's blog called?