September 18, 2006

D-Day report

I didn't have a chance on Sunday to post about how it went.

We ended up telling the kids Saturday night vs. Sunday, because my plan had been to skip church, wake up leisurely, then break it to them gently, and let them sit on the news for a week before church happened again... Instead, Saturday night we had a game night with my in-laws, and they left at 10. As my son (J.) was going to bed, I told him I didn't think I was going to church tomorrow. He said he had to go. I asked why, and he said that he hadn't been to church for a month (1 week he had soccer tryouts, the next we went to SLC, and last week we skipped.) He also wanted to go because the deacon's quorum president is turning 14 in October and my son thinks he's probably going to be called as president since he's 1st counselor.

My husband and I looked at each other and realized we'd better get it over with now.

I broke out immediately in a cold, nervous sweat. I don't do confrontation well unless I'm angry, and I was afraid this would be a confrontation between J. and me. So we called the kids and told them we had something important to discuss. I had originally wanted to tell J. one-on-one, maybe take him out for a drive and discuss my issues, then later tell my daughter (S. ~ 8 yrs. old), since they are both different and at different levels of understanding as well. But my husband thought it'd be best to tell them both at once as a family. He thought S. would feel left out and would want the same explanations J. got. I had told him I thought she wouldn't care, she doesn't necessarily like church anyway, and that J. would be hurt. Afterward, D. told me he was surprised it went just like I thought it would.

I started out by saying, "Kids, I have something important to say and it may be hard for you to understand. I've recently learned some things and I don't believe the church is true anymore." I had imagined in my mind that I would say this calmly and rationally, but instead PMS reared its ugly head and immediately I'm crying and hideous and scary-looking. I hate all of you who are blessed with the graceful crying gene. My whole face crumples up into that of a 90 year old man with a red face, and my eyes and nose transform themselves into bilgepumps. The kids were staring at me like I may have gone off the deep end. I got hold of myself somewhat and continued talking and crying, telling them the things that I had recently discovered about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the Book of Abraham ~ everything.

S. just lay there on the couch listening and watching me cry, and J. was staring at the wall past me looking pissed off sometimes, and trying not to cry. Once in a while we'd ask what they thought, and she would said "I don't know" and shrug. J. said nothing at all, but a few times he broke down and started crying too. It was hard for him, so hard, and I didn't quite know what to do except keep explaining that I didn't want to hurt them, but I couldn't keep going to a church that I felt lied to me and I also couldn't go if I didn't believe it was true anymore.

My husband (D.) said many things to the kids, like assuring them that he isn't the one who convinced me that the church wasn't true, that I found out on my own. He told them we still believe in God and Jesus, and that we still have the same values we have always maintained, that Mom isn't going to suddenly start drinking or anything, that I probably never would (I don't know about that, I had to interject that IF I do, then it's not going to be out of control or anything) and that we are committed to them and our family as the most important things in our lives. He was so loving and spoke so well to them, I really appreciated him. He'd start talking every time I broke down crying too hard. Damn that PMS! I should be honest and admit I probably would have cried regardless, but PMS week is always the week the waterworks function at full capacity.

We warned the kids that we may all lose friends over this, that I already have. We warned them that some people at church may think that I've let Satan lead me astray from the straight and narrow path, but if they hear anything like it, not to believe it. I assured them that I've never felt so happy, or so close to my Heavenly Father, and I've never felt so loving toward others in my life. I told them that this is not the way Satan works. He wants us to be unhappy and miserable. I couldn't be feeling so much love and happiness if I was being led by Satan. I swear if anybody at church (if J. continues to go) approaches him about me, or says anything about Satan having me in his grasp, I'm gonna go off!

Anyway, I explained things for over an hour, and finally it was obvious S. was going to fall asleep while sitting there, so we ended it and told the kids that we understand it if they want to keep going to church, because it may be comforting to them to believe in it, and that we'll support them just the same if they decide they want to stay Mormon or to become Muslim or Jewish or any other religion, or no religion. I told them I was sorry I had pressured each of them to be baptized even though each of them really didn't want to do it at age 8. J. didn't remember not wanting to. I told them I felt bad that I'd always made them go to church with me, even when they didn't want to, and that I felt like that was wrong of me, because that's not freedom of choice.

I also told them that I'm sorry that they have to make these hard decisions so young, and I wish I could spare them from having to do it now. I just can't keep going to church and I felt they deserved to know why. We both assured the kids that we love them and want them to be happy. I told them I had never loved D. more than I do right now, and I also said I feel that now that I can see the truth, I am a much happier, more open, and loving person. I feel much more love and acceptance for myself and others, and this makes me feel like a better person inside. I finally feel like I can be me and that I'm OK as I am.

We had family prayer (D. said it, bless his heart) and I tucked in S. I went to J. after he went to bed and asked him if he had anything to say since he hadn't said anything when we were talking earlier. He said, "All I can think is how I heard you arguing with Dad once and you said to him over and over, 'I KNOW the church is true. I know it. I KNOW it.' Now it's confusing when you say you KNOW the church ISN'T true." I told him I understand how that must hurt and confuse him. I explained all my life I believed it WAS true, but I only knew one side...the side the church taught me. They kept out vital parts that they didn't want me to know. My parents only introduced me to one religion that their parents introduced to them. I assured him I love him, and I don't want him to feel hurt, nor do I want him to feel judgemental over me either. I told him if he wanted to keep going to church, I'd support him. He's such a great kid.

Then he asked, "Did you get all this new information from BLOGS?" I told him no. He told me last week he hates bloggers. "If you want to write a journal, write one! Why on earth would you want to write one the whole world can see??" I told him no, that I blog because D. really doesn't like having deep discussions a lot, and it was very helpful to me to sort through my feelings on my blog, and have someone to talk to about it, to get feedback and support from others who have gone through the same disillusionment as I've been going through. It's been a real help to me. I told him also that I was wary to talk to any more members of the church about my concerns because the first friend I told burned me so badly by calling the RS pres, who in turn told someone else so that I got that nasty letter from the high priest group leader.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep so well. I had a MAJOR headache when I crawled into bed at midnight, and then I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted. I was praying over and over that J. would understand and not be permanently scarred by my revelation. (A little melodramatic, I know.) I also prayed he wouldn't become holier-than-thou and treat us like he's the only spiritual or good one in the family. I don't think he will. At least he better not!

That's my story. The next morning J. woke me up to take him to church. That was hard for me. But then I had to remind myself that even I went to church for weeks after I thought it wasn't true, because I didn't want to be hasty and abrupt in my decision making. Maybe he's doing the same thing. I had him take a note to the primary room that explained to the other pres. members that I wasn't feeling well, and that S. is sick (she really does have a cold) and sorry we weren't able to be there. But J. was up in the stands before Sac. Mtg. and the primary pres. was playing the organ, and she asked him if I was there, and he said, "No." When she asked why not, he told her I had a migraine. At least he didn't lie, I really did. I still have that dumb headache...
Anyway, church is from 9-12, and at around 2 I was napping on the couch when the phone rang and it was the 1st counselor in the primary, and D. said I was in bed sleeping, then he said he wasn't lying for me anymore. :) I WAS sleeping until the phone rang, but I didn't want to talk. Then at around 4 or 5, the Primary pres. came to my door with a small plate of brownies and banana bread, so I went to the door, and she said she was worried about me, and I hugged her and said thanks, and asked her how the program practice went, and I told her I had a bad headache, and S. was sick with a cold, and she saw this for herself. I told her I'd see her Wed at the program practice (it's the quarterly activity I'm in charge of) because I'm bringing the pizzas, plates, drinks, etc. She said, "You ARE coming to that then?" so I think she may know I've been having doubts. Anyway, I assured her I'd be there, but I plan to turn in my receipts for reimbursement that night, and then I plan to send a note to my bishop in the mail on Thurs. that asks him to release me for personal reasons. If he already knows about my questioning the church and whether it's true, he hasn't said one word to me. I'm guessing he won't care when I resign. I'm finding it very interesting and "telling" that he hasn't said anything to me.

I've also decided I won't be attending the primary sac. meeting program this Sunday. Neither will S. This will be an obvious absence to the presidency, and if they don't already know something's up, they will after that. I am very tempted to explain to them in a letter that I've had a faith "crisis," but then D. speaks the voice of reason, saying that it's none of their business, that it's personal and has nothing to do with them. He asked me why I would want to open myself up to them cornering me, two against one, in an argument of whether or not the church is true, because they'll want to convince me that it is in an attempt to save my soul.

I think he's right. I need to look at it objectively and just brush my hands off, sigh, and say It Is Done.


Bishop Rick said...

Wow, that sounded incredibly tough. Gives you great pause. With me it would be similar, except my older daughter would be the one crying while my younger son would shrug and not care. Of course I have a TBM wife, so this scenario will not play out for me.

It only gets easier from here. The hard part is over for you.

I will be happy for you when it is completely over for you.


Sister Mary Lisa said...

It was tough, but now I can actually move forward and talk to them about it. Sunday after church I asked my son how church went, or if he had any thoughts about what I told him. He only said, "It's weird." I said me not believing it's true, or going to church? He said, "Both." But he did go to the mall with a friend from 1-7 on Sunday, so he may not last going to church alone. Poor kid.

I feel for you. I can somewhat relate (on the reverse side of the coin) to what it feels like to believe differently from your spouse. That's rough. I wish you luck, my friend.

And is it EVER completely over? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a tough night, I am sure your son will have the toughest time. It sounds like your husband is great and very supportive. Good luck and BR is right it does get easier.

A soul, finally free. said...

Geeeze. That sounds like quite the night. I am glad I didnt have to explain it to my mom, I just kind of told her in bits and pieces so it wasn't such as explosion. And now we just dont talk about it because it just causes huge arguments. But it hurts watching her because I know that she doesnt know her savior and I just wish you coukd REALLY know him. My advice to you would be even though you don't think the mormon church is true and I mean I dont either but still let J make up his mind and don't pressure him one way or another. It makes me so mad to see people force there kids to go to church, because I am 17 now and its hard for my mom to figure out that I have a brain. JUst let him make his choices and support him the best you know how, and I have faith he will find his way out. And I am so happy for you and ur hubby. It is just great that your relationship is growing stronger. And I think he's right on the issue of talking to someone. Wait until your ready and have researched and studided and know what you are going to say, and you dont ever have to if you don't want to. I have wanted to talk to my bishop, but I am still reading and putting together my thoughts, and then I will tell him my descision to leave the church. One friday night I spent 4 hours in Barnes and Noble reading "understanding mormonism for dummies" and taking notes. So I have information from both sides. Anyway, I am so proud of you, stay strong. Love you lots!

Sideon said...

**comforting hug**

I'm not sure what kind of beast I turn into when I cry, but I KNOW it's not pretty.

Thankfully, I've been gifted with an iron will that cracks so very seldom - like the time I saw Titanic on the night I split with an ex and sat in the theater while the credits rolled, tears rollin'. Or, another time at the movies with my first partner and making it through the theatre, through the parking lot to the car - then I lost it, all the way home, up the stairs, into the condo, and for another 20 minutes (even while I was brushing my teeth for bed).

If I could only cry like Demi Moore, my world would be complete.

Happy happy, joy joy joyful news with your family. No, it's not ever completely "over" - we just move to different parts of the lesson.


SocietyVs said...

That was like the best blog I have ever read in my whole entire life of blogging (about a year). Wow! That's a great story and getting better all the time.

I have been fascinated by the Mormon church and what it is all about, I know very little about the religion, but this blog reveals a personal insight.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate on your new found freedom, great to hear. It's good to now you respect your family so much to let them decide on the issue, and you have the support of your husband. I am happy you have found some freedom.

Secondly, I would challenge the church to it's face (I have never been too scared of confrontation). Let them know why and what you are doing and then release yourselves from their grips. They may try convince you to turn back but be firm in your decisions, they are 'your' decisions to make. I guess I am saying don't let them worry you, be free indeed.

Also the point about blogging was awesome, to challenge your ideals. Same exact reason I am on here, to share and learn from others. I really liked that honesty and how it helped you voice concerns when no one else would listen.

Finally, I just want to say I love the testimony you have given and I am really encouraged by your strength of conviction, courage, and honesty. I get so caught up in the details of religion I miss something so simple at times, the strength of faith in Christ and the freedom being offered. I thank you for the eye-opening experience.

La said...

*sigh of relief* That could've been way worse. It sounds like you're working your way through it quite nicely. Hope it only gets better!! :)

Bishop Rick said...


You have to fully understand the LDS church to know why SML doesn't want to confront it face on.

One, it will do absolutely no good. All the people at the Ward (parish) level are just pawns regurgitating what is sent down from the top.

Two, the message will never get to the ones that really need to hear it, again the top.

Three, members of the LDS church are brainwashed (truly)and cannot distinguish between truth, and what they are taught.

Of course there are exceptions, like SML and others on this blog.

In short, there is no need to face a confrontation when it will not change the outcome. IMHO


Anonymous said...

Well put Bishop. It's like arguing with a wall, you already know what the response will be. That's why I avoid the subject with my wife and most of my TBM friends.

I did tell one of my TBM friends about my journey into Judaism, he laughed. Then settled down and could see why if I left the church why I would look into Judaism. He's the odd ball though.

A soul, finally free. said...

Amen, bisop. I agree. It has been a year since I have gone back and talked to anyone from church. When I do go into tell them that i have changed religion instead of bombarding them with the facts about why the religion is whacked, I plan on simply telling them how much God is working in my life. I am going to bombard them with my insight and spirituality...because they wont be able to argue it. I plan on leading by example. I will though have information ready in case something does come up but my focus will not be on the religion but the great happenings in my life.

BruceD said...

That was very powerful!

It seems like the sweetness of freedom rarely comes without some pain as the shackles of bondage are broken. It's not easy to break free from those iron chains, the scars that remain from breaking free will take a long time to heal.

I applaud your courage and your bravery to suffer the consequences in order to find peace. I praise God for revelation, and for His steadfastness in drawing you out of bondage, and into His loving arms. God bless you all.

Just one of many said...

Our split has been official for 5 months now. We are still dealing with WoW issues, Sabbath breaking, follow who?...etc. I just want you to know you have great days and bad days, but at least they are filled with truth. I send my hugs. KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

SML, That was a really good post. This whole thing is so hard to deal with for all of us. The cycle of sadness to anger to sadness and then really dealing with the situation is a rollercoaster. I'm glad you have your husbands support.

Eric said...

I've seen you cry! Hell, I've made you cry many times and you're right. LOL, it's our curse. Just when we need the most comfort, our faces turn into something that are naturally abhorent! At least your PMS is moderate. Imagine others that we know! You're also blessed not to have the shakes that I get when I'm all emotional. It's hard to take me seriously while I'm having a grand mal seizure on top of tears! Someone shove something in my mouth so I don't choke on my own tongue!
J. is very sensitive and great kid. Please, how could he not feel a closeness to the church when so much of his development was rooted in PROVO! Just kidding. Listen, it would have been tough on us too had Mom had her "Stupor of Mormonism" prior to when she did. In fact, it's been hard on you and T. up there with Mom the last few years, as her life did not follow what she has always taught us. Your kids will make the right decisions for them. In the end, religion is between an individual and their God, regardless of what they're taught by others. They are smart, spiritual and strong. They know you love them and that is what they need from you. You are the best Mother I know and I love you and your family very much!

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Eric, thanks A LOT for not at least humoring me and telling me that NO, you look beautiful and natural when you cry! But hey, this blog is all about truth, and you've confirmed I'm hideous when I cry. Really, what's a little mucous between sibs?!

Stupor of Mormonism...I love that. May have to blog on that one soon!

I love you too, and you're the best uncle the kids ever went on the Cliffhanger with! You are the best.

Eight Hour Lunch said...

"Congrats" seems like a weird thing to say at the end of such an emotional event, but I think it's appropriate. I'm so lucky my kid was a newborn when I found out.

John said...

SML, you are so courageous! So many doubters remain in the Church for the sake of those around them, and because change is scary. It took me a long time to do the same. You give me strength. Thank you.

My wife and I made a similar decision a couple of months ago. One thing that made our choice easier on our children is that we had other Sunday spiritual activities to replace LDS services. We attend a liberal Quaker meeting, a Christian congregation with a gay pastor, and sometimes we have "beach church", where we go down to the beach and meditate and share uplifting stories (then we play in the sand and water).

I send all my well-wishes in your direction, and am looking forward to reading about your experiences in the future.

C.L. Hanson said...

It sounds like you and your family are handling this difficult transition well. It's wonderful that your husband is actively supporting you.

It's normal that your son has his own feelings about the church at his age. It's also natural that he would blame your blogging hobby and new blog friends as being the source of this change. (Maybe offer to spend time doing something fun with him so that he sees that your blogging isn't taking priority over your family?)

I think that if you continue to be respectful of his thoughts, feelings, and perspective as you're doing, your family relationships should make it through this rough patch just fine. :D