Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yeah.. but you were raised a Mormon

There are a lot of ideas and questions going around in my head about things that used to be settled and now are not. It’s like I started tugging at a loose thread on my shirt and now it is completely unravelling. Soon I’ll be shirtless!

I lost faith in the founder of my lifelong religion. Then I lost my god. Now I wonder… what do I know for sure? anything? Is there anything that I can look to for a sense of groundedness?

I have had to admit that my longing for a happily ever after in the next life may well be a pipe dream. I used to believe that if I continued to be the best Mormon I could be then I would get to spend eternity with my loved ones, creating worlds and spirits, becoming gods ourselves. I used to live every day ‘knowing’ that a kind heavenly being was only a prayer away. Now I have chosen to wake up and smell the coffee. AND… I have to do this alone. No one can hand me the answers. But… I’ll let you hold my hand along the way eh!

Not only do I have to figure out how to rein in my sanity in a world gone to pot (that is – the world as I experience it… as in, I feel like a newborn now that I am on the outside of the Mormon church) but it seems as though I may have to work even harder than I thought to have my opinions accepted. A new realisation that came to me recently is that no matter what I say, people will consider my opinion and weigh it against the fact that I was raised in a rather unusual and restrictive religion.

I guess I am wondering – “When will my opinion count just as much as someone’s who was lucky enough to be raised in a non-religious home?”

What am I talking about you ask? Well, when I had an in-depth discussion recently about monogamy, sex and marriage eventually it came out that the other person in the conversation considered my opinion to be tainted by my previous beliefs. To them my opinion simply did not yet hold enough weight for the world at large because I was still biased.

My basic opinion during the discussion was this:

I no longer believe in saving sex for marriage. I believe that sex ought to be a part of a healthy relationship between two people who love each other BUT I guess my conservative leaning is that I really feel that it serves individuals and society best if we have one sexual partner at a time. Having said that I also believe that people should have the freedom to choose who they have sex with and when they have it without any judgment from others. So I am just explaining my personal thoughts on sex not what I would want to impose upon others. Live and let live you know. Except that, well our choices in life do affect other people…… (think STIs and people not being upfront about that). Still, I cannot abide preaching, ew!

The reason that I have been trying to get my head around what I think is ‘healthy’ is that I have two young children who will be entering teenage-hood before long and I would like to have some idea of what to pass on as motherly (but with a twist of sisterly feel about it) wisdom in this area. I am concerned about STIs …. I am also very much thinking about my children’s emotional health. As a teenager I had a rather unhealthy relationship with sex (probably still do, I still need to post about Mormon sexuality but here is some info to get you started!). I would like to have the emotional and mental clarity to be a good advisor for my children.

I reject Mormonism’s dysfunctional attitude towards sex. But I am also a little afraid of the promiscuity I see in popular culture. Fear is never a good place to work from so I need to gain some further understanding.

In the meantime, is it too much to ask that my opinions be considered mine now and not an off-shoot of the Mormon dogma? I guess I could look into changing my name, moving country and thus hopefully cleansing myself from the stain of Mormonism altogether. Then maybe I could be heard without bias issues… but then I’d have to go incognito here… and well, I really do like some of you ;) And look, I know none of us ever get to be truly free of our past, we ARE all biased and prone to subjectivity, I just wonder whether the Mormon stain may be being perceived (by some) as brighter than it actually is?!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Money Matters

Not sure if I've told you all this before but it bears repeating. I/we discovered that the approximate amount of tithing that we paid to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since T and I married 10 years ago approximately matches the amount of 'bad debt' we currently have.

Now, some of this money will have gone to very worthy causes.. percentage? I don't know. Some of it unfortunately will have funded other types of things, things which I have only heard about since leaving the church.

So, I am looking at ways to recoup those losses. Returning some funds to myself. Apologising profusely to the LGBT community. Redirecting my available funds to better causes. Forgiving myself for being uninformed about the Church's activities.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Romantic Divorce?

So I think I’d better clarify my earlier statement about divorce. I am more in love with T than ever. We had a great 10th anniversary celebration the other day and are very excited about our future together.

I have two reasons for wanting a divorce.

From my previous post you will see that I believe my wedding day and marriage was a shambles. I do not look on the event with fondness. I would like very much to purge Mormonism and especially a marriage linked with polygamy out of my life.

The second reason and in fact the reason that first got me thinking about divorce is this: Until the LGBT community is awarded the same rights with marriage that heterosexual people have then I do not wish to have anything to do with the institution of marriage.

I personally would like to forfeit my marriage as a way of offering some small act of solidarity for the LGBT community.

For now these are just ideas I am spinning around in my head. If it were just up to me I would go right ahead and do it. I have mentioned the idea to T and he seemed to understand but he needs time (understandably) to think about it.

I have even been thinking about having a lovely celebration for the event. It would be in stark contrast to my wedding day. Whilst THAT day was fraught with weirdness and loneliness my divorce would be a joyous occasion with family and friends, sun and sand… Oh, and of course my one and only who I look forward to spending the rest of my unmarried life with in great peace and happiness.

Family Tree House of Horrors XIV

A post on fMh today reminded me of something I wanted to write about.

T and I just celebrated 10 years of marriage. Awesome eh! Well personally I’m thinking of getting a divorce but I’ll explain that more fully in a later post.

I’d rather celebrate the 15 years that we have been together, since to me, our wedding day was a sham.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mormon weddings there is a VERY strong theme in the lessons at church about getting married in the temple. For women especially, it is THE goal (then popping out kids, followed hopefully not too closely by the big trip to heaven). To be married in the temple you must be ‘pure’ and have interviews with church leaders to satisfy them that you are pure. We passed… although in all honesty we kind of pulled the wool over their eyes with that one ;)

The next thing you need to know is that the only people who can attend your temple wedding are Mormons who have also passed all the requirements to enter the temple. This brought the grand total of friends and family members who could join us in the temple (and afford the trip to Sydney) to 5! 4 friends of T’s who already lived in Sydney… and his mum.

Fast forward to the day before my wedding. It was time for me to go to the temple for some personal ceremonies preparatory to marriage. T had already been through his ceremonies in 1996 when he began his 2 year mission to New Zealand. Women generally wait for marriage to be Initiated. Now, it was… odd, to say the least. I was freaked out. I was scared to death of the prospect of going nude (as cruelly highlighted in the temple preparation class I attended). As it turned out, the nudity was actually perfectly acceptable to me. There was a lovely sheet for me to wear (think Halloween ghost costume). The next ceremony was less nude but more ridiculous. I wanted to laugh but everyone else was so damn serious. I held it together and just started counting the hours to my wedding.

That night I was roomy with my MIL. T spent the night at a friend’s house, lucky bugger. Now, it is important to clarify here that I like my MIL. This is not a rant about her; this is a description of the circumstances surrounding my wedding. MIL is a character involved here but I lay no blame whatsoever with her. Sticking out in my mind is a conversation MIL and I had that evening. Somehow I found myself listening to stories about T. No harm in that you might think. Well yes, it was pretty well fine until we got to the story about a particular young lady that he was going to run away with when he was around 16. Hmmm. All I want to say here is that…well, this just really wasn’t very helpful to me in preparation for the big day.

The countdown continued. It was all I could do to get myself through the surrounding craziness. I shut off. Pictures of our wedding day highlight this disconnect. I may post some here. Let me think about that for a bit.

We re-entered the temple and were married, for ‘time and all eternity’. Oh, and don’t forget that wording… I committed to ‘give myself’ to T. He committed to ‘receive me’….*@#$!! … Just a technicality to leave room for those other wives to join us later ;)

The deed was done. We ‘smiled’ for photos, ate a lovely meal together (all 7 of us!) and suffered the sly looks and winks as we said goodbye and made our way to the hotel. From here on out it gets a little X-rated so we’ll leave those two lovebirds to enjoy themselves.

So, I had not a single family member or friend in attendance. No joyous celebration of a significant occasion. No friendly arm to hold on to. No happy familiar face to smile into. Fuck it’s a sad story. My wedding . My sham.

For all of the Mormons talk of ‘forever families’ this sad scenario is repeated many times all around the world. Some sick horror show played out supposedly to solidify our family tree.