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

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

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

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

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

Mormons (and Post-Mormons) Have a Bullying Problem

Hold tight.  This is raw and this is real. I am going to call it like I see it: Mormons have a bullying problem.  Maybe it is just a war among us and not outside of us but having been on both sides of Mormonism, I am appalled and deeply saddened by what I see. Here’s how it goes: If you are a member, you are bullied by other members if you don’t fit the mold. If you don’t act right, dress right, believe right, look right, think right, worship right, talk right, parent right, gender right, associate right, say Read More

Is the LDS Church Increasing Its Appeal for Sexual Predators?

I have to say it: I really wonder about the direction the Mormon Church is moving.  It just feels the Church is regressing.   Two red flags have been raised recently: One is the disheartening excommunication of Sam Young in his effort to change policy about one-on-one interviews and the sexually explicit questioning of our youth.   That alone is enough but I see another connection to Sam Young’s movement to protect LDS Children, which brings me to concern number two: the Church’s withdrawal in the Scouting program (which had interesting timing—two weeks after the BSA announced they would no longer discriminate against women, the Read More

Saints in Training

Throughout history there have been countless ideas postulated. Most never took off, but some grew into cultures, traditions, legends and religions. Some of these ideas have yielded good fruit, like the invention of the light bulb and toilet paper. Other ideas have been tragically destructive, costing the lives of millions. Sometimes seemingly good ideas can go terribly wrong and vice versa. Suffice it to say, everything we experience in our lives depends on ideas. The chair you are sitting on began as an idea in someone’s head. The car you drive began as an idea, as did the clothes you Read More

The Struggle to be Seen

Hi. I’m your neighbor. Your friend. Your grandma, your uncle. I’m everyone you’ve ever known who has found it difficult to attend church, to believe, to measure up. I’m the one who doesn’t fit in, who feels different and alone. I’m the one who left, the empty chair, the apostate who wishes that label didn’t exist. Because in truth, I am always me. I laugh. I cry. I have adventures. I don’t believe exactly how or what you believe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have value and values. It doesn’t mean I don’t want love. I’m the one who Read More

Boundless Love

Recently a family member went to the temple for an important life event and I was unable to attend due to some personal struggles. Of course, I’d heard of people experiencing this “being left out” associated with Mormon temple ceremonies such as endowment and marriage, but I never thought I’d be the one sitting in the waiting room. It hurt even more when I was blamed for it. “This was one of the most important days of my life, and you weren’t even there with me.” “I would have been, dear, if you’d been a little more patient.” I regret Read More