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

WHY AM I SO TRIGGERED LATELY?

For the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the importance of recognizing triggers within ourselves and others. As many have been following the ProtectLDSChildren.org movement, there have been many productive, eye-opening discussions as well as many destructive, angry triggering discussions. As a spiritual life coach-guide and healer, I am always trying to leave an open heart space as well as responding diplomatically to people (including self love, with my own journey).  I admit, I have been emotionally triggered with some of the comments and discussions lately. On a couple occasions, I would openly discuss my frustrations with my 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

Survivors Are Trail Blazers

I wonder how real I dare be with people. I wonder who will be the next friend to drop off my list. I struggle with knowing how to hold and live my truth while still honoring another’s sacred. These sentiments are not uncommon for church trauma sufferers because there are a variety of unique struggles in dealing with church trauma that are not found in normal post-traumatic circumstances.  One of the more prevalent is the powerful unspoken rule in church systems requiring or expecting members to only speak positively of their leaders and church.  K.D. Bilsky describes it as the 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

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

Loving God’s Family

By Danna Hartline A pig and a chicken were walking down the street one day when they passed a billboard advertising “America needs a good breakfast.”  The picture showed two over-easy eggs and several beautiful strips of bacon. The chicken said, “Doesn’t that make you proud to see that we contribute daily to better America?” The pig thought for a moment then said, “That’s easy for you to say.  For you it’s just a contribution, but for me it requires my life—a total commitment.” And so it was with the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  His mission 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

Am I on the Right Path?

Don’t we all ask that question at least once in our lives?  (Hopefully it’s a fairly regular self-reflection.) We want to know where we stand with the Lord.  We want an honest inventory. Today was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  Perhaps consequently, perhaps not, I recalled a story of him during a quiet moment today.  It was during a moment when I was struggling with wondering where I stood with the Lord.  I had received some intense pushback in this vision I have.  I was hurting pretty badly because, due to the experiences I have faced, rejection is something that is particularly triggering and can be hard for me Read More