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

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

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

Survivors Speak: Psychological Trauma Can Be a Great Destroyer of Dreams

Hello! I created this video for an event called Survivors Speak: A Story Telling Event, which will be taking place in Salt Lake City shortly.  It is an opportunity that will provide many survivors of abuse to come out of the shadows of hiding and speak up.  Sadly, I am unable to attend, but all the same, I want to show my support to my friends there by addressing the very real issue of psychological trauma. Psychological trauma is a very real issue that needs attention. I will give you a formal definition of psychological trauma but before I do so, I would like 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

The Dying of Beliefs Post Trauma

In her book On Death and Dying, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross taught that there are certain steps one goes through in the dying process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the first stage of denial, people refuse to accept their new reality.  They say, “The lab must have gotten my tests mixed up with someone else’s.” Or “This happens to other people, not me.”  But their denial doesn’t work very long.  So they move into the next stage: anger.  They are angry at the doctors, angry at their family, angry at God.  When the anger doesn’t help, they begin to Read More

Asperger’s-Related Trauma in the LDS Church

By contributor Tom Irvine Introduction LDS members with Asperger’s, or high functioning autism, may face difficult challenges particularly with respect to neurotypical, authoritarian priesthood leaders. In some cases, these challenges may be deeply traumatic for the Aspie. People with Down syndrome are easy to recognize from their neck and facial characteristics. Their behavior then confirms this. Autistic people are less recognizable by their appearance, but their condition is manifested by their behavior. Almost all church leaders will make allowances for Down syndrome people. Some leaders may misunderstand autistic people, but most make allowances for them, as well. On the other Read More

When Trauma Comes from Father Figures or Forced Termination

In my ADAM Conference presentation, I referred to an article on PTSD. Here is the excerpt from that article, which was actually my own writing.  The full article is attached below. When Trauma Is Inflicted by Father Figures. When trauma is intentional, it is a blow to the whole psychological system. Victims of unintentional trauma (natural disaster) show a much greater likelihood of experiencing a decrease in symptoms over time whereas those who are victims of intentional trauma (something inflicted on purpose) tend to show an increase in symptoms over time (Brew, 2017).  One of those great trauma-imposers seems to 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