Raised as a daughter of a Bishop, Stake President, Mission Presidency, and now Temple Presidency....and finding MY truth

Well, that about sums up my existance as a PK (Preachers Kid).  Forever I remember getting up in primary and sacrament meeting professing "I love my mom and dad and brothers.I know the church is true.  I know Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true."  I'd shoot a dashing smile out to the congregation with my crystal blue eyes and blonde locks bouncing off the stage and down the stairs to my beaming mother.  Mom always sat alone with us because dad was up on the stand being Bishop or fufilling his Stake Presidency assignments.  Graduated from seminary, Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel presidency.  Attended girls camp for 6 years.  Met a returned missionary and got married after 2 1/2 months (at the suggestion of my parents because they didn't want us to submit to temptation and not be able to get married in the temple.  Forget the fact that I had no idea what love truly was or how to be married at age 18), divorced 4 years later after my "missionary from hell" was addicted to pornography and we were suffering from infertility and disowned from my parents.

This sounds like resentment and anger but it really isn't, it is just how it was.   

It is amazing how parenthood put me into a perspective of how I wanted to influence their life and assist them in their quest for self-worth and truth.  When my oldest was entering Sunbeams and I heard him "bare his testimony" in the childrens program that it hit me in my gut, although he was adorable and "said all the right things" I knew he didn't believe those things.  It was a script.  He was like a puppet.  and I was mortified.  I was 28 at the time and I began searching for my own testimony.  I had said I had one all those years, I believed I had a testimony, had even got married the first time in the temple with my golden ticket aka temple recommend, but I didn't KNOW the church was true, I merely HOPED it was.

This was a heartwrenching time in my life, asking people I respected and loved about my concerns.  Their response was not answers to my questions but promptings to continue to pray and read the BOM and I would know it was true.  My knees had rug burns from asking but no answer.  No Yes but also not a No.  I wanted it to be true.  God, please just tell me it is!!!!  My patriarchal blessings was spot on when it said I am blessed with the gift of discernment to know right from wrong.  Here I was seeking and hitting silence at every turn.  Being remarried to a non-believing Midwest navy boy with Coppenhagen in his pocket and Coors Light occassionally in his hand, it got easier to not attend church by myself and I got comfortable becoming inactive.

My roots had me talking Mormon lingo i.e. Pre-Existance, War in Heaven, Satan/Adversary, Thee-Thou-Thine (makes me laugh now).  A friend invited us to an Assembly of God and we went as a family.  I will never forget walking into the lobby (wearing my Sunday best ofcourse) and seeing people in jeans, shorts, tee shirts, casual work attire and a loud band through the sanctuary doors.  I stood there mortified with my newborn son #2 in my arms.  I stopped and said a silent prayer, "God if we shouldn't be here just tell me and we're outta here!" I listened to my heart, "No, this isn't wrong, its just different."  There was my answer.  People were standing, some clapping, some hands raised, smiling, some tears.  I saw pure joy!!!!  So this is what worsshipping is????  Seeing men, some single, some with the wives PRAISING their Lord.  I loved it!  It was so different from the hard wood pews, piles of cherrios and quiet books for the children, woman with runs in their hoses from loading their chilren into their cars while their husband were at priesthood leadership meeting, hymn books open,monotone singing.  That wasn't worship, it was more like a weekly funeral.

Fast forward to now where I have two amazing teenage boys, another divorce and re-marriage, moving from Arizona to Kansas.  I have tried many churches, some with religion and some that are non-denominational.  I like non-denomination due to my distrust of man-made religion and regulations. 

My parents have been forgiven by me for the judgement and abuse I endured as a child from a mother who hated me and a father who was busy in church leadership.  We always looked like the perfect Mormon family, They were recently ordained into the temple presidency.  I am one of their black sheep but regardless, I love my parents and feel that my father is one of the most spiritual men I know.

Just yesterday I was in tears contemplating returning to the ward building because of its familiarity. I know, right????  are you kidding?  We recently moved from the city in Arizona to the country in Kansas.  Guess what?  In this small town there is still a LDS ward building.  What the?  So I call my dad in tears and express a quandry if I should return to church.  OK, quit rolling your eyes!  Yes, I know the response I was in for.  HA HA  I really considered going back.  Then I talked to my old visiting teacher in AZ who I LOVE and admire because she accepted me for where I was and listened to my concerns with the church.  Turns out she has been extremely inactive for the past year, not paying her tithing, and allowing her teenage son to make his own decision to not go to church.  At 54 she is questioning.  OK, I am rambling.  I am confused, and a little, ok A LOT irritated that I feel a pull to the LDS church.  There, that's a small part of my experience.  Thank you so much for this site.  PLEASE if you feel inclined to respond, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  And if I can be of help to anyone in their journey, I am here.  -Kristen   

 

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Hi Kristen. Thank you for posting that. I have been out of the church for 20+ years and I still have those feelings of deep sadness and insecurity sometimes. Last Sunday my 12yo daughter said she was going to fast. Her father (my ex) has decided it's suddenly important for her to be a Molly Mo. I told her fasting is actually a brainwashing technique and explained how being hungry combined with the emotions of people bearing their testimony makes rational thought very difficult. Not sure if it sunk in, but then her dad showed up to pick her up for church and asked her if she fasted. She said yes and they went off to church. Left alone at home I started to cry and for only one split second thought I should go back to church. But when it comes down to it, "every fiber of my being" screams in protest if I even approach the doors of a meeting house. I recently read a web site about recovery from cults as it relates to leaving Mormonism. It's extremely powerful brainwashing, especially at the level you and I went through it throughout our childhood. My dad was never a bishop, but I had the same experience as a Utah County TBM family. I HATED going to church. So in that respect I think it's easier for me than for those who loved the church. Anyway, hang in there and be true to yourself and your instincts as a mother. And thank you again for opening yourself up to share that with the rest of the group.

Actually you can take the religion out of fasting, if your daughter wants to fast.  Many people fast as often as once a week, just for general health purposes.  She should also be aware that many true blue mormons cannot fast for health reasons, and nobody picks on them, so that should she find herself in a state of exhaustion, just for one, you could tell her not everybody has to fast.  Not everybody needs to fast.  I never did the 24 hour thing, being hypoglycemic, and never felt guilty about it.  Not once did I encourage my children to fast.  Your ex sounds like a real zinger.

Thank you for your helpful comments and information. I didn't share that she is a gymnast, and as a daughter of a verbally abusive man, I think she is susceptible to developing an eating disorder. I worry that she'll become addicted to the feelings fasting brings up and take it too far.

Sounds like all you can do is have conversations with her about what you've shared, that many with her talents develop eating disorders etc.  Though young enough, she may choose other avenues  in life that don't have much to do with how much she does or doesn't eat.  I doubt sincerely that fasting once a month is going to add very much to an eating disorder.  If she is involved in that, now's the time to find out, and, like it or not, share with ex.

Hi Janice, Isn't it amazing how much what we experienced still affects us as adults, especially as parents.  Be strong for your daughter.  Be honest with her and your feelings.  Being divorced is tough enough for both of you.  Pray for her in her decisions.  With you as a mom, I am confident she will crave truth.  God Bless!

I've reached a point in my life that's entirely different from my fundamentalist attitudes.  And that is, whatever my children choose, sans prison, ahem, I will be there to support them.   Were they to return to mormonism, after satisfying my need for conversation, I think I'd wish them well and be supportive.  I couldn't say that 20 years ago.  This thread and it's meaning for life in general must be so awfully painful for mom, here.  Your baby is too young to let go of, but the next few years will tell a lot.  There are times that I wish my daughter had remained in the church until adulthood, and missed out on getting pregnant at 17.  After deciding on adoption, and blabbing to everyone at work, she miscarried, and I am oh so glad to be out of those young, formative years.  Just be supportive of your sweet girl, unconditionally, and she'll probably come around on her own.

Hi Kristen, You have endured much pain in the Mormon Church as many of us here have. Patterns are interesting, they tend to pull us back into what is familiar. I would love to send you a chapter from my book (Loved into the Light) on Identity. I think it will really help.

Just send me an email and I will send it to you.

God Bless you, remember He loves you and nothing can separate you from that love!

La Vonne Earl

lavonne@yourkingdominheritance.com

Thank you LawVonne.  I will private message you.

Hello Kristen,

Having 4 children when I left the church, I liked the idea of "family home evening" but totally revamped it and had a 'family home activate your spiritual and psychic abilities" evening.  The kids loved it!  NO lesson book, no scriptures that may or may not have really been how it was, no condemnation of any kind, just lots of meaningful fun!  Instead of going to church, we went to "nature" and taught the kids how to honor and respect all life forms.  I was so sick or rules I threw them all away and did what my inner guidance told me to do.  Today the kids are all free thinkers, and don't take anyone's word for truth, they investigate it themselves.  Instead of church, they have all branched out into different fields of loving people and the planet. One kids was active in the occupy movement, one is focused on martial arts and nature, one is inventing a green building that is a self contained fitness studio, and one is an animal whisperer.  If we had stayed in the church, their creativity and freedom to explore their own way of expressing love would be very different indeed. 

What ever you feel in your heart do to, DO IT...but know it may not be the last thing you do and explore, which is the beauty of it all....you have no restrictions now and the life you live is YOUR OWN!

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