Waves of Grief

A few months ago, I shared a story of a tragic suicide.  Sadly, as preoccupied and short-sighted humans, we often momentarily mourn over the loss of a passing associate but then maybe forget about those who are left behind and the long-lasting effect the death–and the causes of it–has on them.  Below is a follow-up on the dear mother of the deceased: Christine Burton. She offers some important insights of one who has been left to suffer mostly alone:  “It has now been six months since my son Michael’s tragic and untimely death. What has transpired during this time frame, has Read More

Mormonism Is Good; Mormonism Is Bad

I was talking to a friend from South Sudan a few days ago about the Church. She was baptized in 2014 but stopped attending in 2017. She said something interesting to me: “I see why you left the Church and I see the problems you present. They are real and valid. You have outgrown it and you are wise to have moved on. You have healed since you’ve left. But Danna, the Church is also good. It helps people like me in a way most religions don’t. If I need help, they come; they want to come. They want to Read More

The Pendulum Swing of Trauma–And How It Pertains to Religion

I have a very dear friend that I’ve known since college who is in an extremely hard situation. After being married to her husband for over two decades, she finally gained the courage to leave him. Over the course of many years, he locked her in closets, drugged her, convinced her she was masturbating in her sleep and tied her wrists to the bed, beat her, choked her until she passed out, dragged her by the hair out of the shower and across rooms, manipulated all of the people around him—including their children—to believe his every word, etc. He even had his church leaders Read More

My 2019 Mantra

Last year instead of writing New Year resolutions (which I have never been a fan of), I made three statements of “I am” on my birthday: I am worthy; I am enough; I am unashamed. They became my mantra for the year.  I didn’t fully comprehend what I was doing last year by identifying these three truths. Yet consequently, as I internalized them, I experienced more growth and change within a year’s time than I have probably ever had.  The impact they have had on me has been overwhelmingly powerful.  Imagine my surpirse when I came across the words above by Joel Read More

Recovery from Mormonism and Trauma

Unless you have walked the road of church exodus, you cannot know how hard it is to really step out of Mormonism. The entanglements and beliefs are rooted firmly and deeply.  The enticing, yet fear-based, teachings cut to the very core of our primary needs for identify, answers, and acceptance. In the same breath, one also cannot know without personal experience the joy that comes from liberating oneself from such a controlling and frequently harmful institution.  Remember the words of Elder Ballard?–“If you leave the Mormon Church, where will you go? What will you do?”  Do you remember the feelings such words inflicted on your heart and the deepening of convictions you likely felt to stick it Read More

Stuck in Trauma?

Once upon a time there was a five-year-old girl named Stephanie.  One day her mom took her to her Kindergarten registration. Stephanie’s new teacher was sitting just outside a room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper. Stephanie’s mother smiled confidently when Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. The mother, who was sitting across the hall, thought proudly, “She can write all the names in our family!” But to her mother’s surprise, Stephanie just stood there. The teacher repeated the instructions, and again the child stood still, staring blankly at Read More

Church Trauma and Suicide

The alarming influx of suicides in Utah has caught some attention.  Some of these recent deaths have been attributed to Dallin H. Oaks’s hardline toward the LGBTQ community in his last General Conference address, causing many to feel ousted with no purpose or value in the eyes of the Church.  Regardless of the whys, the increase of suicides cries for attention for those of us left behind–especially when the hit comes close to home. As human experience will teach, an intentional death is perhaps the hardest of deaths to accept.  No one would ever fathom calling such an incidence a Read More

It’s All About the Roots

In the spring, my kids call me the tree lady.  This is probably because every spring, I am outside planting trees!  I have joyfully planted over 100 saplings in the last several years. I have a friend who digs them out of her yard and brings them to me.  I get so excited when I begin planting, in hopes of new growth and long life.  But I have learned a few things over the years so I am a bit picky in my placement of them—the healthier the roots, the better the spot they land on my property.  So to try Read More

My Manifesto

Can we sit down and talk for just a moment? What I’m about to say may not rest well with you and it may not be your answer—and I certainly don’t think it’s the only way—but I need to be true to what my inner core is saying to me. The truth is, I’ve been thinking pretty deeply lately. I am at a crossroad in deciding what I want to do and where I want to go from here.  You see, I started my work in church trauma because I desired to help traumatized members stay in the Church, if Read More

Church Trauma Is BAD–But It’s Not ALL BAD!

I was sitting in Relief Society (a women’s meeting in the Mormon Church) almost a year ago listening to a discussion on fellowship.  It was all very encouraging and good.  And yet, I could not fully buy into what I was hearing as they spoke of their overwhelming success.  I wanted to—and I did to a point because I am aware of good that is happening in the Church.  But in the same breath, I knew it was a little off to think that all is well in Zion and that everyone was as happy and thriving as well as seemed Read More