Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I think I am just coming out of my second cycle of grief. At least, if I look at things that way then my life seems to make a bit more sense. Right now I would say I’m rather squarely in the depression phase just hanging out for acceptance to kick in.

The first cycle was grieving over the loss of my religion. Having grown up in the church and having been raised and educated by a very specific set of values I think it was only natural to grieve the loss of reassurance that there was ‘a divine plan’. Although I have been very happy to say goodbye to some parts of the religion, other parts were quite nice (e.g. forever families) and were painful to let go of.

I definitely went through a denial phase, quite a long one too. This phase went on for about a year. I read and read and read. I was trying to find information that would explain the inconsistencies and make everything all right again. I gripped on to hope. In the end I strangled it. There was no hope.

Shock. In the shock phase I needed to talk all of the time. Rockstar put in a monster effort but it was a massive strain. Then I found you, dear cyber-space, you seem to be able to listen forever and you never interrupt me. Sigh.

As you may have noticed, a teensy bit of anger, oh who am I kidding, a hell of a lot of anger raged forth. This occurred soon after I began blogging. Things got ugly rather fast. There was a massive fall-out from my public expressions of anger. Tension. Fury. Pain.


My sad and depressed phase was relatively short. Maybe I had experienced enough depression in my life already and this time I was able to move on. I exercised, meditated, spoke/cried with friends and felt sorry for myself.

Then I accepted that the losses that I had experienced were necessary for my growth and happiness. I accepted that I had lost friends. I made new friends. I got a wicked massage! And found my happiness again. Oh joy!!

Enter cycle number two.

This one knocked the breath out of me. I lost my perfect, loving Heavenly Father and Mother. My ‘real parents’, who I had longed to return to since I knew of their existence, were figments of my imagination. Ugh!

No returning safely onto the arms of sweet white-haired supreme beings. No happily ever after. Crap!

Denial had been there the whole time. There was no anger this time, only sadness: deep, deep sadness. Add a splash of shock. No posts on the blog. Too depressed to write.

So I smile at this little ray of sunshine. I am able to write again. I am amazed actually. When I started writing this post I was waiting for acceptance to kick in… and I really think it just did.

I accept that I don’t know anything anymore.

I welcome the hope and the love that entered my heart today.


  1. I'm not sure if I lamented the loss of a 'heavenly father' or not, since he was always rather a menacing figure at the periphery of my attention. And 'heavenly mother' never really had a place in LDS theology -- some kind of subservient wife who we didn't like to talk about.

    What I lamented, however, was the loss of my sense of immortality. I realised my existence was finite in time, and boy, was that ever a blow.

    But dealing with our mortality is one of the jobs of adulthood, and Christianity prevents people from ever mastering that task. When I talk to family members who think they're going to live forever, I actually feel pity for them.

    Glad that you're over another hump, though. How many will there be, do you suppose?

  2. For some reason I never focused on the descriptions of an angry god. I was aware of this element of his personality (I still have to stop myself putting in the capital letters in his name) and I definitely felt my share of shame and guilt. I think maybe the romantic and innocent side of me emphasised the idealised picture that was painted for me as a child.

    As for a heavenly mother I had always added her to the picture in my mind even though she was barely mentioned in church. I also had a lot of female teachers as I grew up and I remember them referring to her. In the 18 months she really came into existence in a much bigger way as I read feminist Mormon literature.

    You know what, I think that I am still in denial about living forever. I am able to accept that there is no surety of a god but how could we cease to exist!? I have tried to come to terms with that idea but I still have a way to go with that one. I keep thinking - but all of this struggle and effort and experience and then nothing! why? - see, definitely still in denial.

    So I expect a lifetime of humps, some will be easier to deal with than others. I also don't expect the grieving process to be clean-cut or linear. There seems to be a range of emotions that overlap and I think that sometimes we revisit the same feelings for the same issue a few times over.

    It sure feels liberating though. I get to figure this stuff out for myself rather than swallow a prescribed set of beliefs.

  3. "I definitely felt my share of shame and guilt", boy, does that hit a chord.

    I think it takes a lifetime when you have been raised the way we all were and some of it we will never be able to get rid of but I am very happy for you that you have thought this out for yourself.

  4. Another enthralling post.

    Although you have chosen to leave the church after 31 years of faithful service, you are still a good and spiritual person. How wonderful that these traits were not lost!

    Those without religion are not necessarily 'Lost' as so many religious fanatics like to preach. I truly believe you will find your own way, and follow your own 'Divine Plan' and live a happy, forfilling life. As for eternal life, we live on in the memories of our loved ones. Your legacy will be one of a wise, brave and loving mother - a certain Hollywood blockbuster!

    And as 'they' say: "Nothing WORTH doing is easy, that's how you know it's worth doing" :)


  5. Thanks guys

    Jeff: I think I am coming to terms with this idea. Initially I wanted to rip every part of the religion out of me but of course that was a very emotional response. I am also beginning to acknowledge that there are good traits/ideas that I acquired along the way that are worth keeping.

    and Carmen: in those crazy weeks when I felt ostracized I really had a hard time seeing that it was worth it but now that I can breathe again I can see that it was. (Thanks for the compliments, I see the same in you xx)

  6. Maureen, when I read your post, it really affected me. I have felt the same about losing my belief system. It seemed like such a shame to not have that idea of truth that I could turn to anymore. I am still trying to figure everything out. I just feel very strongly that what I thought was the truth just isn't anymore. I do not think that we will just cease to exist. I think we will continue to live and learn new things. But, what do I know. I am just a regular person trying to figure everything out that works for me.

  7. One of the best things my husband said to me after leaving the church was that since we don't know.. and noone knows, then why not believe what you want to believe.. on some level surely that's what everyone does anyway. You have to be able to 'swallow' your beliefs. I want to be with my children, husband, siblings again.. I want to continue to experience new and exciting things after this life and I would love to meet some old wise sages in the next life who have magical powers and I'd love to be safe and happy. Is that too much to ask? ... so I'll choose that for now, no-one can prove me wrong and I don't intend on forcing anyone else to believe it so I think I'm onto a winner for me. Here's to free thinking! Love it.