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

What Are The Roots Of Mormon Trauma?

SHHHHH! I want to share a secret with you. I already wrote this article. I’ve been writing this article on Mormon Trauma for a few weeks now actually. And I have struggled with it. Originally, I wrote this article with the intention that I did not want to alienate anyone because church trauma within the LDS faith is not widely known. I did not want to be deemed an anti-Mormon or apostate because of what I wrote. I did not want to be called a sensationalist. I didn’t want to hear that I was too angry or hateful. I wanted Read More

Church Trauma Is More Common than You Might Realize

Last month the Mormon Trauma Mama team hosted an invitation-only summit called When Church Hurts to talk about the problems we are seeing with church trauma and how we can promote awareness, healing, and change.  We are still working on solutions to this problem—and will be for many years to come!  But at the summit, I introduced a man who had a similar dilemma.  Maybe you have heard about him.  His name is Ignaz Semmelweis. Semmelweis was a fascinating man.  He was a European doctor, an obstetrician, in the mid-1800s.  He worked at Vienna’s General Hospital, an important research hospital, Read More

The Church-Trauma Tree

Let me introduce myself. Maybe you know me. I’m Danna Hartline.   I am the founder and creator of the Mormon Trauma Mama—this website right here—which focuses on church trauma and healing. If you are a follower, I hope you’ve found it helpful.  I have an incredibly talented team that works with me—maybe you’ve noticed! My team and I also run a Facebook group called LDS Church Trauma and Healing.  As a team, we are also organizing an invitation-only summit this fall called When Church Hurts.  We are bringing together some of the top minds in this movement to collaborate and support Read More

Growing Up Is Hard Work

Let us not deny it: Growing up is hard work. I’m learning that.  For years I thought growing up just came with age but I’m learning that it’s something I get to choose to do—or not do.  And today was a test in growth. It hit rather subtly. I thought I was doing so well and I have been.  I have been really paying attention to my self-talk and not being reactive but today I felt I lost all grounding. For a moment, the stresses seemed to be too much.  I “broke,” something I haven’t done for some time.  (A tendency Read More

What Is Mormon Trauma?

One of my personal favorite powerhouses of our day is an LDS woman, Liz Wiseman.  She spoke at a BYU Devotional a few years ago on “The Power of Not Knowing.”  While I loved her message, those words struck me anew when I sat down to write this article.  The power of not knowing…  Although Wiseman was talking about having the courage to move forward through uncertainty and new terrain, the idea of not knowing—of being ignorant or even “dumb”—can indeed sometimes be very deceptively empowering.  When we truly don’t know—but think we do—we can teach certain principles and subjects Read More

Mormonism Can Be Good; Mormonism Can Be Bad

Travis and Devin are both active in the LDS Church. They both perform their church duties, pay their tithing, read their scriptures, and pray daily.  However, their motivations for doing so are totally different.  Travis’s reasons for church attendance and personal commitments are due to intrinsic motivations—because of deep devotion to God; while Devin’s purposes are extrinsic motivations—because of the need to appear “good” and for social status. It sounds pretty simple to say that Travis is on a higher plain than Devin and that Travis will fare better than Devin in the long run.  We often hear this. (“I Read More

Inspired Mistakes?

I recall a time several years ago when I was seeking to “hold on” in church activity due to some pretty intense leadership mistreatments that had occurred.  I seemed stuck with no options to address it or heal from it. As I was so struggling with the complexity of the situation, my mind caught hold of a foreign thought: Perhaps sometimes mistakes are inspired. As I pondered on this strange thought, I began awing over what a blessing one particular “church mistake” had become in my life.  I wondered: Could it have been an inspired mistake? Our initial response to such Read More

Are Happiness and Dissonance in Opposition?

Recently, I saw a meme on Facebook that said in essence, “The longer I live, the more I want to stay away from drama, conflict, or stress and just live a happy life, surrounded by friends, eating good food in my cozy house.” Doesn’t that sound appealing and even right?  It received lots of likes and affirmative comments. But I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What about those who do not feel that kind of life is available to them? What about those who feel thrown into a life that is filled with conflict and drama, a life they didn’t Read More

The Deep and Unspoken Church Ache

I often sit in church meetings that teach about church growth and fellowship.  In general, they are uplifting, pat-yourself-on-the-back lessons—very encouraging and good.  But for some reason I cannot ever fully buy into what I am hearing.  I want to—and I do to a point because I do see so much good that is happening in the Church. But in the same breath, it seems a little off to think that all is well in Zion and that everyone is as happy and thriving as well as seems to be claimed.  I know there are success stories of conversion going on and I am so grateful that Read More