As I was saying …

I haven’t been around much, given some big family events (one down, one to go), but I haven’t disappeared. Last night I had a slightly surreal experience on Facebook.

A few months ago, a woman sent me a friend request because she had read some of my exmo rantings. We hadn’t really talked much, other than we tended to agree with what the other was saying.

Last night I noticed she had added her maiden name to her profile, and I realized I knew her. She was in one of the three LDS wards that once met in our chapel in Southern California (now there’s only one). We attended seminary together, and I know I danced with her on several occasions at church dances. She hadn’t recognized me now that I’m old and graying.

Now we’re both older but wiser and out of the LDS church. Her siblings are all out of the church, the youngest an RM who came out a couple of years after his mission and now runs a youth ministry with his partner. Of the four surviving siblings in my family, three of us are out of the church.

It was interesting to talk about our differing experiences and perspectives from growing up Mormon. She felt excluded at church (there were some nasty kids in our stake) and never really believed as a teenager. She always struck me as quiet but pretty self-assured. Then she went off to BYU and married an RM. Of course, he left after a car accident gave her a traumatic brain injury, but he wanted to get back together when she recovered. Lovely.

With me, church was the safe place. At school I was bullied and made fun of (being short, skinny, middle class, and Mormon at a rich, predominantly Jewish high school), but at church I had friends, and I felt like I belonged. I think that’s partly why I was so faithful and diligent and really became the poster child for obedient Mormon boys.

For her it was a relief to figure out the church, whereas it was devastating to me. But looking back on it, neither of us regrets our decisions.

I know, there’s no real point to this, but it was a real pleasure to talk to someone who knew me way back when I was everything the church wanted me to be. Now I’m what I want to be, and so is she. That’s something to be happy about.


6 Responses to As I was saying …

  1. Randy says:

    I came away from LDS Church after 37 years and have no regrets except that I didn’t do it sooner. I was offered the opportunity ten years earlier but couldn’t see disappointing my parents or my ward with an investigation of BY’s Adam God Doctrine..oh well I got a wonderful wife and 5 great kids and 12 grand kids for that extra ten years so I guess timing is everything. It was good to hear a little of your story..would to hear more of the issues that got your attention early on.

    • runtu says:

      I discuss it briefly here:

      I’m glad you’ve come out of it as well as you have. It’s not an easy thing to leave the LDS church.

      • Randy says:

        That is right, it is not easy to either investigate or to ultimately leave. They have to accuse you of something because it can not possibly be that you have a valid point to your questions. I got over being angry a long time ago..but I still have a great deal of empathy and sympathy for those who are there and are wondering. My heart breaks for those who are still determining truth by a feeling..where does it stop. The LDS leaders are go along to get along guys now but guys more like BY or JS could crop up any time and then the paint the temple purple brigade becomes really dangerous.

  2. It’s always a little surreal finding out which people stay and which people leave. I always felt happiest while at school, where I could ask lots of questions and be motivated about the future, instead of at church, where I always had a vague sense of dread as to what was in store for me as a good Mormon girl.

    Big fan of your blog, btw. I’ve been following it for awhile now. (Lurky, I know…)

    • runtu says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I’ve learned that people leave the church for a lot of reasons, and despite what I was taught, most of those reasons are good and valid reasons. Even those who “wanted to sin” are just acknowledging that Mormonism doesn’t work for them. It’s better to leave what doesn’t work behind rather than trying to make it work at all costs.

      • One person’s sin is another person’s culture. My Indian in-laws can’t imagine a life without coffee but are horrified at the thought of eating meat. My family, vice versa.

        I had a very interesting wedding…

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