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.  


  1. Hello. You don't know who I am, but I have read your blog for quite a while now, and I'm sort of fangirling over you. Don't worry, not in a creepy way. The thing is, I admire your strength and bravery. It is not an easy road, having your heart to tell you to leave behind all you ever knew (I've had some experiences resembling yours but in a different context). I recognize that the way you think is very different from my own (I am more secular) - nevertheless, I hold two thumbs up for you, and would seriously even use my big toes for that specific purpose if they had enough dexterity. I just wanted to say that this post of yours today moved me to tears.

    To have your little sister accept your decisions and support you even if she doesn't think the same - that's a huge gift to have in your life. I think other reasons I feel I can relate to you is that we are age mates and our little sisters are of the same age as well, only I just today had a falling-out with mine. She cut all connection between us, because I disagreed with her, and it is breaking my heart. So good to hear that even in your - dare I say, more difficult - situation, you have people who love you unconditionally and stand by you. Even if you told them the truth of what you think. I'm sure you are doing this already, but appreciate it.

    Looking forward to your next post! Keep your spirits up. There are many wondrous things waiting for you out there in the big world. Even if you make mistakes, that is how you keep on learning.

  2. Thank you Stanzara. It is not an easy journey but if you keep the right attitude it can be exciting building a new life. I'm sorry to hear about your sister. I hope you can patch things up. Family is tricky. I have a brother who still thinks i will be dancing naked in the terlestural Kingdom when i die. From your comment it seems you have a different story. Were you raised Mormon?

    1. Raised Mormon? Curiously enough, I wasn't. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't have such a strong footing in Finland. But shush, don't tell anyone, they will just send more people here to make us repent our heathen ways! :P At first, I was being (somewhat un-gently) nudged into another mold. Being a Jehovah's Witness, that is. I have started asking at some point, what is Jehovah accused of, if he needs so many witnesses.

      (Dancing naked would sound cool, by the way... in any other place.)

      Even though they do not practice infant baptism, it is expected of children to be baptized as soon as they "are capable of understanding the decision they are making". Which is bullsh*t, because practically all parents are manipulating their children into it the best they can, let alone the rest of the community. Usually the children end up either accepting it (maybe with some grudge, but nevertheless) by the time they are 15, and many even between 10 to 12 years of age, or then they rebel and seek a way out.

      From what I gather, Mormonism and being a Jehovah's Witness are alike in many other customs and patterns of thought, though. Criticizing is dangerous, and so are outsiders. You ought to marry from inside of the community or have your spouse take the baptism. People are supposed to get all necessary information from the official literature and the New World version of the Bible (because, for instance, the translation which the Lutheran Church is using here, is obviously wrong). You are expected to go round and about preaching your faith to anyone who will listen. All other churches are wrong and devoid of keys to salvation.

      Also, it was a real joyride being a bastard child in that community, since they actually believe in demons. I was supposedly possessed by the spirit of Jezebel or something alike, because my parents were, according to them, living in sin because they had not married before having sex, and I was the living proof of it. -.-

    2. But from that I got out as early as six years into it, lengthily as I may have written about it. My experiences of leaving behind the world and values everybody around me believes in without questioning stem mostly from when I was a bit older and living with a foster family in a very small town, where people would - in the least - look at you in a funny way if you had come from anywhere further than the neighboring towns. Having to deal with sideways glances was having a very easy day indeed.

      At first, everything was fine, but when I started asking uncomfortable questions about "why is this and this right and why is this and this wrong", all hell broke loose. The foster parents, especially the mother, could not stand anyone questioning their worldview. I could not be honest, I could not be myself, and if the mother would realize she was to lose a debate to me, she would use the Bible as her ammunition when she could not think of any more other cliches with which to stand her grounds.

      They did not seem so religious at all at other times, we did not read a blessing before meals or say prayers prior to going to sleep, nothing like that. But attending the usual church sermons where "everybody" went, actually believing in God or just saying "meh, it's all the same to me, might as well go", was not optional, period. That goes to say, when there was a big one celebrating one holy day or another.

      The point, however, did not seem to be being religious - the point was being completely normal, keeping up the appearances, having nothing out of ordinary in you or your family (with the obvious exception of maybe having a good income level). This sounds like nothing, I know, but it was quite religion-like, judging by the devotion with which they practiced this dogma. The name of their sacred order would probably be something like "Church of Normalcy" or "Church of Perfect Families", or something like that.

    3. If you happened to be a girl from a well-off family, you had to do certain things, speak in a certain way, take up certain hobbies (whether you wanted to or not), be whatever the surroundings considered feminine. Do exactly as you were told, or you were nothing. There were other kids from certain families I was supposed to hang out with. We never usually came along. The friends I would choose for myself were inspected carefully and deemed unworthy. If they came to visit me, the parents were oh ever so nice to them, and took the opportunity to deflate my self esteem by comparing me to my friends (of course praising the friend in question, and then telling me I should be more like that myself), and when they were gone, criticized them and were even calling them names behind their backs.

      My privacy was invaded. My diaries were read (until I taught myself to write in Viking runes). I was told I looked like a slut if I wore makeup at the age of 16 (wearing makeup is something highly unusual NOT to do, even around there when you are a girl of 16). I was not allowed to bring up the topic of sex. I was discouraged from having a boyfriend, and when I did, of course he was unworthy too (very unworthy, saving my life by being about the only one who actually cared) because he did not look like was expected and because we would probably have sex. The children in the family were encouraged to snoop around in each other's rooms and telling all of the other children's secrets to the parents. If I voiced an opinion, it was inherently wrong and immoral. If we were crying, because we were sad, we were crazy and could not be reasoned or talked with. Also, I supposedly looked and sounded like a screaming witch when crying. If we were laughing more than "haha, that was somewhat amusing", the mother would spit out in despise "what are you laughing about, like madmen". I was being constantly told that if I did the things I liked, read the books I liked (mostly encyclopedias and fantasy literature), watched the movies I liked, I would "become insane, like your real mother". Who IS a paranoid schizophrenic, by the way, but if I were to become like her, it would happen regardless of what I did read and what I didn't... I was not to be trusted, even when I told the truth, and the conditions required lying about things like how long my school days were (so I could sneak into the library with that couple hours of extra time per day). And so on.

      That is what I left behind. And haven't regretted it for a second. Wonder why.

      Also, haven't believed in a god of any sort after I came to that age when a child no longer necessarily believes that his or her parents are always right about everything.

      Haha, sorry about the novel.

  3. wow that is such an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm always amazed at how people are able to relate to my story. When you're in the thick of it you feel like you're the only one. I'm sorry people read your diary. But that's really cool that you learn how to write in viking language. Keep up the positive attitude and good luck with everything. Thanks for reading

  4. I'm an ex-Mormon too. Around the time the shit hit the fan for me, I bought a Navajo thunderbird signet ring at Four Corners. The vendor lady told me the symbol on it meant "renewal" or "rebirth". I guess it has a significance for me similar to that of your necklace for you. Every day I look at my thunderbird ring, and I think "What kind of person do I want to rise from the ashes of that experience?" Picture of my ring: .

  5. Thats really cool! Ever thought about getting a Tattoo of that?

    1. Even with 2 and 1/2 years to recover from the Mormon stigma of tattoos, they still don't appeal to me. Thanks for complimenting my ring's coolness though.