Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My Return and Report: "How do we interact with loved ones or associates who once embraced the gospel, but have become less active?"

For anyone interested, my mom gave me a report on the RS meeting. (From my post a few days ago.)
The president started by reading part of my email to her and then asked the women how we can love people.

The comments were more concerned with bringing me (they didn't know it was me, but the sister who wrote the email) back. Then it turned to women talking about how ALL of their family were still active and temple worthy and if we just stick to our convictions no matter what...
My mom raised her hand at that point, and she said the RS Pres looked relieved, and called on my mom. She talked about how she has a child that has left the church, and in the process, she has learned how important it is to just love unconditionally. She doesn't love me, SO that I will go back. She just loves me. She talked about knowing the eternal nature of progression. She trusts a loving Heavenly Father to work things out. She knows He just wants us to be happy, which is all she wants for her loved ones. Shunning or loving conditionally will only hurt people, and that can't be what Heavenly Father would want.

When they broke off into small groups, people thanked her and commented that I seem truly happy, so that makes them really happy.

The RS Pres also told my mom my email has really made her think, and she plans to have future lessons/discussions on the topic, so that they can do a better job of loving those who need our love the most. She also told my mom that I seem really happy, and my mom said, "happier than I have ever seen her. What more could I want?"

I am still impressed with my mom (and the rest of my family) who has (have) somehow figured out how to hold both her (their) love of the church and her (their) love of me at the same time.

I also keep thinking about those who told me I couldn't make a difference if I left, because no one would listen to an "ex-Mormon". I feel pretty empowered by the whole thing, and also really grateful.

I also feel like all of this comes at a pretty amazing moment for me.
In therapy (EMDR with horses), the thing I have been doing most recently is confronting the feeling of being treated poorly by the people that were supposed to help and also having nowhere else to go. I kept going to bishop after bishop, because who else could I turn to? Some of that has linked to feeling let down by parents and grandparents - the adults in my life who didn't know what to do, couldn't do what I needed, weren't aware, caught up in their own grief, thought they were doing the right thing, etc. - I am aware everyone was doing the best they could, and somehow that hasn't taken away the emotion all stored up inside. (which sucks, by the way. If only it was as simple as understanding everyone is doing their best. No one meant harm, and who cares about the ones who did mean harm? It doesn't work like that.)

I haven't wanted to write about any of that, because I feel bad. I feel bad that I needed more from my parents when I was a kid. I don't want to hurt them by putting that out there (anymore than I already have). At the same time, I have been pretty committed to talk about this whole PTSD-recovery-journey here. Just in case it might help someone else, I wanted to put it all out there.

I'll admit, it's incredibly painful to do that kind of work in therapy. Emotions are intense and I feel sad and angry and I do a lot of shaking, crying, curling up in a ball, and then being comforted by horses and therapist.

Today, I just feel amazed. My parents may not have done what I needed earlier, but they have done everything right in the last ten years. That helps me at least have good perspective when I go down into the trauma that seems locked in my body.

It just feels so perfectly timed just for me.
For that, I feel very lucky and very grateful.


  1. Thanks for sharing these comments.
    I was thinking about how people can hurt us unintentionally, and even if we forgive them/don't hold it against them, that doesn't change the fact that we are hurt. I think this is really evident with physical pain (if I accidentally hit you with my car, and you forgive me and don't hold it against me, it doesn't change the fact that you are covered with bruises and that your bones are all broken), but perhaps not so evident with emotional pain (where too often the sentiment that comes across is "forgive and forget" which sounds great in theory, but it doesn't make the pain go away). I get that idea of not wanting to accuse, but also wanting to explore the past.
    I hope you figure out the best way forward for you in that regard.


  2. Also, I am glad your mom could refocus that lesson!