Thank you for the love and support that so many of you took the time to offer on my post about my faith journey. I knew there would be people who spoke up to support this, but I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of the response. That Husband has been teasing me, asking how it’s going to feel to go back to real life when people aren’t leaving virtual applause in my inbox all day long. Seeking validation and understanding is part of my character, for better or for worse, and so the time so many of you took to reach out is really appreciated. I’m working my way through the emails and comments as my children allow me to do so.
As I stated in my post, I have decided to prioritize authenticity over acceptance. Some of your comments reminded me of the way I feel about the blogger CJane. She wrote a post detailing why she was not a feminist, and then two years later she wrote a post reversing her position. I really respect her for that, for analyzing her life experiences, learning from them, and being honest with the world about changes she was making even when doing so was painful. I don’t bring her up in an attempt to compare myself to her, as I think our journey into feminism and progressive Mormonism (even if she doesn’t embrace that title I think that’s what she is, a Progressive Feminist Mormon) has brought us to different places, but because so many of you expressed a desire to hear more about my experience and that is exactly the way I have felt about CJane over the past year. Her blog didn’t interest me for a long time, then she moved from Point A to Point B and I wanted to hear more about what she thought on a variety of topics, even though I was at Point CZKR. I do have one more post related to my faith transition that I have been drafting for a long time, but I’m not sure where things will go from there. If I write critically about Mormonism (even if it is constructive) I am labeled as one who is fighting to take down the Church and can’t leave it alone. I want to see changes occur within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no matter my relationship with it because many people I love are still participating in it, but I think being public about my unbelief has stripped me of the opportunity to do so.
I’m certainly not alone in my departure from Mormonism. The LDS Church is experiencing a mass departure, described by Elder Marlin Jensen in November 2011: “…since Kirtland we’ve never had a period of—I’ll call it apostasy—like we’re having right now, largely over these issues.” The issues he is referencing are the same ones I am unable to rectify. I admit I am stunned by the number of people who have spoke up about transitioning out of the faith of their parents as well. I didn’t realize it was such a common experience across belief systems. I feel honored by people like my friend Kat (as well as a few others) who have linked to the post and said that it gave voice to their own experience. That means a lot to me.
Many of you have also mentioned that you saw this coming, and that in a way it doesn’t surprise you. Before I got married I was working as a waitress at a winery near my hometown. I was very orthodox in my Mormonism, and wouldn’t even taste the wine and spit it out in order to understand its properties so I could be more effective at my job. One of the chefs, Shauna, was very familiar with Mormonism as she had grandmother who was a devout member, and Shauna used to make predictions about my eventual departure from Mormonism. Back then, I found this to be very insulting. What part of myself was manifesting as weak and would cause such a terrible thing to happen? Now I look back and view that as a strength she pinpointed. She viewed me as a person who was intelligent and open-minded enough to ask questions and arrive at my own conclusions. And that is the kind of person I want to be.
I knew there would be a lot of questions about That Husband and where he is at. I have a compulsive desire to tell everyone everything, and so before I went public with all of this we sat down and talked about how he would like to be represented. He loves me, but he doesn’t want to be represented by me. I get that, because I don’t want anyone or anything speaking for me either. Until he expresses a desire for another approach, for now I will keep repeating that our marriage is strong (this is important to note because for a lot of couples the faith transition experience of one or both members can cause great harm to the relationship and we are so grateful that hasn’t been the case for us) but I’m telling my story, not his. If and when he is ever ready to be public about his experience he knows my blog is open for him as a platform to do so.
I haven’t felt any desire to be “religious”, in the traditional sense, for a long time. I’m still too frustrated with many things related to religion, and it’s going to take me some time to work through that. Last weekend though, I went to a festival in Cupertino and they had a group of men and women playing drums in a traditional Japanese style. The way they played and the sounds they produced were so beautiful. It touched me in a way that I haven’t felt since before my faith crisis and I realized that I want to make time to seek out beauty. Dancing, music, writing, nature, art. These things are good for the soul and I want more.