December 28, 2006

I forgot to mention a few things...

The weeks before Christmas were so busy for me with finishing portraits and then cramming Christmas shopping, wrapping, and preparation into one week, that I didn't have time to post on a few interesting happenings.

My son was asked by my boss to come work on a Saturday with the guys as they took advantage of the nice weather to do a concrete pour on one of our jobs. I warned him to not complain, and to work hard, because someday soon he may want to try working construction during the summers to make more money than he would if he worked a fast food job someplace, for instance. His job was to set pins or something, I'm not sure. After his shift, I asked him how it went and if he had fun and worked hard. He said it went well.

He said there was a big silence while they worked, so he said to my co-workers, "So, did my mom tell you we're not Mormon anymore?"

I had to laugh. Trust J. to create an awkward moment just for the fun of it. He said none of them knew (religion just doesn't pop up in conversation much) and some of them talked about Mormons a bit...one of my co-workers has some family who are Mormon who ask him to attend things and to read the Book of Mormon regularly. He just says no. The next Monday, only one of my co-workers mentioned J. had said that. I said, "Yeah, I learned some stuff about the history and origins of Mormonism that didn't impress me, and that they never teach you about, so I decided it just isn't for me." He just shrugged and chuckled. Like I said, religion doesn't really enter our conversations around here much.

I wondered if my boss (whom I interact with most at work) was there that Saturday to hear my son's admission. I asked him if he had heard J.'s comment, and he said no, and I just explained the same thing, that I found stuff out and just didn't want to keep supporting a church that hides such stuff from its membership. He just said, "Huh. Interesting." It hasn't changed anything for me at work. They respect me as a worker, not as a Mormon.

Another interesting thing happened. I took my kids shopping at Target and when we walked in there was a family from my ward standing there. I said hi and smiled and wished them a Merry Christmas and moved on. In the toy section, I saw some kids from a large family in my ward. One boy was brought to me by his sister, and she prompted him to say, "Hi Sister Frank!" I smiled and told him how good it was to see him, and asked him if he was ready for Christmas to get here. He was one of my favorites in primary. Cute little white haired boy.

Then I walked around the corner a few minutes later and there stood my bishop and his wife. I smiled a huge smile and walked up to them, and we talked about Christmas and their daughter who's having her first baby, and basic small talk. They were very kind, and it was nice to talk to them. Apparently there had been a ward party that evening at someone's house, where each family adopted a family in need from the shelter, and bought their Christmas for them. That explained why so many from the ward were there shopping. I saw two more acquaintences from church and said hi in passing after that.

A few days later, I was standing in line at the post office in the doorway where people had to pass me to get out. One person turned away from the counter and it was a teacher in primary. I smiled at her as she recognized me, and she said, "Hi! I haven't seen you in a while!" I said, "No, I haven't been there in a while." She just said, "Oh...Merry Christmas!" and I returned the greeting and that was that.

And now, my good friends from my old ward (4 years ago) have invited us over to dinner. We get together about twice a year, and it's that time again. Our families became close because 1. he was my bishop for years in that old ward, 2. she and I were visiting teaching partners for years, 3. we are the same age, 4. she and I worked in the primary presidency together for years, and 5. he was my home teacher for maybe 5 years, even before he became bishop. He is the only home teacher I've had who ever actually took the time to get to know us well.

He was my bishop in whose office I sat with my husband, and whom I cried my guts out in front of because I'd just been blindsided with the church's rule that my non-member husband had to give me his permission in writing in order for me to attend the temple to take out my endowment. I don't think I've ever felt more humiliation than I did that night, there in front of my friend, being denied permission for something that was really important to me.

I wonder if they know that I'm not going to church anymore. If they do, they may ask me about it. If they don't, surely this question will come up in conversation: "So what calling do you have now?" and I will tell them, "I don't have one...because I don't go to church anymore."

This could be very interesting.

19 comments:

Cele said...

Lisa, you've been full of great post. Very interesting, thought provoking, and insightful.

I wish you a happy new year full of love, warmth, and non-judgemental friends...because that is how friends should be. I hope you find your calling, where ever it maybe (I don't believe it need be in affiliation with a church.) I also wish for you that all those religious confrontation pins and needles just disappear.

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

I always seem to run into people when I am looking my worst. Nothing says I am doing great in my life without [insert anything here] than seeing someone you know at the grocery store when you just ran out to get milk and you have no makeup on, hair in a bun on top of your head, sweats and no makeup.

I have to say that it was fantastic to read that you were happy to see people even when it could have made a potentially awkward situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, you said you cried because you were denied something important? Did your husband refuse to give his permission to attend church? I'm not sure if I got that right, and yeah I'm being nosey, sorry. I am glad things are going well for you otherwise...and of course, leave it to teenagers to tell all your secrets lol. I hope you find your calling...even if it's knitting baby booties for the local hopsital. Took me yonks to find mine, and now I save all the little lost animals I can and of course my other calling is to be a perpetual smartass and lapsed Catholic *grin*

Anonymous said...

Permission to go to the temple from the husband? So typical. I never really realized that was part of the hooplah. What difference would it make since you only have to follow him as he "follows the Lord." Wouldn't a non-mormon hubby technically NOT be following the Lord in their eyes? So what the hell difference does that make. I'm amazed that you stayed in the church after that one incident alone.

It's amazing how clear it all is when you take a step back.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Pokerspice, it gets worse. An LDS woman who is married to a nonmember man must get his permission in writing to even get a recommend in order to take out her endowment. However, an LDS MAN who is married to a nonmember woman has no such restriction.

Bishop Rick said...

There is a lady in my neighborhood that just got a divorce from her husband who left her for a younger woman he was having an affair with.

Because she is divorced, she cannot attend the temple for 1 year minimum. She had to be released from her temple calling.

Can you friggin believe that?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Actually, BR, I can believe it. It kills me when I discover new stuff like this. I would bet money that if the guy who had the affair were "repentant" he could attend the temple immediately, even if divorced.

Puke.

montchan said...

I never knew about this permission in writing thing for the temple. I guess they have so few members in Europe and SA that it works differently here and there.
One of my sisters lived with a guy for a few years, had a baby and was going to church regularly, held callings and all that. Then she finally married the guy, a non-member, the next day she got her temple recommend without being asked for it.

I got my recommed as soon as I said the word "mission". But that's a different story!

Anyway, it is so nice to hear that people are nice to someone who left, for a change!!!

Janet M. Kincaid said...

Bishop Rick and SML: It gets worse and runs along the same lines Lisa mentioned. That divorced neighbor of yours? Not only can she not attend the temple of a year, but her ex-husband--assuming he hasn't been ex'ed for his extramartial affair--DOES get to continue going to the temple.

Who makes these rules and why, I don't know and I don't understand. And it's just one more reason why I refuse to go to church or pay tithing.

Anonymous said...

What is really fucked up is the fact a woman can't get a Temple divorce unless the first pres gives the ok. Even if her exhusband was a lying, cheating, manipulative bastard! My MIL is in that boat. She does say at least she has a husband so she can enter the celestial kingdom...sounds like hell to me!!

Bull said...

And worse still, if she wants to remarry in the temple she must get 1st presidency approval to have the first marriage sealing undone and must ask approval from her cheating husband.

If he wants to remarry in the temple he can just do it even though in the church's eyes he's still married to the wife he divorce. Because, you know, the church doesn't practice polygamy any more.

Oh, even better yet. After he's cheated on her and divorced her she can't request a cancellation of sealing from the 1st presidency. I think the reasoning is that a temple marriage is required for exaltation and it's better to be sealed to a cheater who abandoned you than to not be sealed at all. The sealing can't be cancelled until after she lines up a new eternal partner.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Yep, Bull, my mom tried that when she divorced my dad the second time and remarried another LDS man. She said they won't even let you get a temple divorce until you have someone else lined up to marry. And they wouldn't grant her her wish. Dad wouldn't give permission when asked. Therefore, he still feels married to my mom.

Makes me glad she's living with a man right now. It upsets my dad so much, and I revel in this.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a fucked up web we weave when we are mormon and deceive!!

Cele said...

Well I'm all for your mom living with whomever she darn well pleases. But being a non-momo I have to ask...this didn't keep her from getting married right? I mean for criminy sakes you are licensed by the state not the church? And does your mom still consider herself a practicing Mormon after all this bs? I know it's not my business, I'm of the curious, unwashed.

Anonymous said...

Ha... my mom is "living in sin" unmarried with another man, too. But she and my father have come to terms and are friendly, though of course she can never forget his cheating on her and leaving her out to dry. But she forgives and understands. Amazingly compassionate woman, despite the fact that her personality is like a perpetual sixteen year old.

Yeah, I agree with JOOM, BR, Pokerspice, Janet, Cele and others -- it's amazing how much power the church arrogantly wields over people when we consider the fact that one can simply remove that power from them by a simple expression of lack of consent.

The big thing, I guess, is social power. It's why Bertrand Russell wrote that the courage necessary to face guns in battle is admirable, but is less impressive yet than the courage necessary to face the disapproval and ostracism of the community in honoring the truth.

You're far better than I at dealing with members. I tense up and become insta-hostile with most, and with the ones who have been extra nice I am merely taciturn. Can't do the grace thing you do. It's all I can do to keep myself from telling them to piss off.

Anyway, it's a nice reminder of reality for the rest of the world to shrug and say, "oh, yeah. Huh. Coffee?"

AnnieK said...

Oh, am I ever happy to have read your story!...just happened along by accident looking for information on cancellations of sealings.

My family and I recently decided to leave the LDS church (except for my 17 year old son, who is totally confused by the whole thing...but who isn't...I'm praying he'll come around). Anyway, I keep running into ward members, mostly women at the elementary and jr high, at the grocery story, etc. I keep getting really cheerful greetings and huge smiles from women who I desperately wished would be a friend to me when I was "active", but hardly gave me the time of day. I get the "Well HI! I never see you any more!" or "Hi there stranger! I haven't seen you for so long!" My response has become an equally cheerful comment of "Hi! You're right, I have seen you forever! How are you?" and completely avoid the church subject because it's none of their business. If they wanted to be my friend, they know where I live, I haven't moved or anything -- so it they haven't SEEN me, and they reallyl WANT to...they can stop by any time! I love the bewildered look on their face when they realize I'm stating the same thing back....only I don't really know if they've been at church for the last six months....I just know I haven't seen them, either!!! These people are SO predictable.

My 15 year old daughter told me the other day that she was chatting online with a neighbor friend who is also in the ward. The girl asked her "why isn't your family coming to church?" My daughter answered, "We're going to another church now. We really like it". I thought, well, here we go...we're now not only inactive, we're apostates!!! Help us!

Never been happier!!!

lost wife said...

I wish my husband would be as up front about his status in the church. A while ago we sat at our kids' awards banquet and a couple from church came up and sat with us. Different wards and all, so we were chatting about our kids, and of course, church. Lots of blather about wonderful callings, then the point blank to my DH, "What is your calling now?" and the chicken heart will only say that he doesn't have one. Long uncomfortable silence that I refuse to fill with an explanation 'cuz I am tired of apolagizing for him. You are refreshing.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Lost Wife,

I'm sorry you feel the need to apologize for him at all. Such a thing wouldn't even be an issue if, for example, your husband had been a member of a bowling league. A person should be able to walk away without having to explain himself. It's very hard to have people look at you after you've explained you don't believe the church is true anymore. You immediately see in their eyes pity, and judgement that you are now following Satan, as the church teaches apostates do. This is something that can be very difficult to endure. Please be patient with him.

Are you still attending the church, and he is not?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Lost Wife,

I'm sorry you feel the need to apologize for him at all. Such a thing wouldn't even be an issue if, for example, your husband had been a member of a bowling league. A person should be able to walk away without having to explain himself. It's very hard to have people look at you after you've explained you don't believe the church is true anymore. You immediately see in their eyes pity, and judgement that you are now following Satan, as the church teaches apostates do. This is something that can be very difficult to endure. Please be patient with him.

Are you still attending the church, and he is not?