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

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

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

Freedom to Worship

In many of the LDS Church classes I’ve attended, the size of Church membership has been compared to the population of the planet. This comparison is often used in conjunction with the term “salt of the earth” to convey the idea that members need to be as pure as possible in order to accomplish the great work of spreading the gospel. Terms such as “Babylon”, “the world”, and “Gentiles” are used to describe those who are not LDS. In Mormon temples, work is done for the dead. This too is seen as part of the saving work of the Church. Read More

If I Were a Bishop

Recently I was contacted by a former stake and mission president, David Ostler.  This wonderful man is dedicated to helping leaders learn how to help members through faith crisis.  He has an impressive website dedicated to just this cause called Stake and Ward Resources.  It is definitely worth checking out. Dave emailed me because he knew of my work and interest in helping trauma victims.  He wanted to ask some urgent questions he had in regards to leadership.  He asked, “If you were a Bishop what would you do differently in your ward? What would you do differently in sacrament meeting, Sunday Read More

Casting Stones

All growing up, I dreamed of serving an LDS mission. I don’t know why I wanted it so much. Perhaps because it was expected of me. Maybe it was the idea of going on an adventure in a foreign country, learning a foreign language or getting away from Mom and Dad for a couple years that was most appealing. I had a testimony and wanted to share it, but when the time came there was a tough choice to make between a prophet’s commandment and a pretty girl. I chose the girl. This choice branded me in LDS culture. I Read More

The Dangerous & Harmful Effects of Obsessive Modesty Practices Among LDS Youth

I want to reveal a poisonous issue within the culture of our church, one that causes shame and judgment to come down upon those who encounter life struggles and the ensuing guilt felt when we as individuals don’t measure up to the standards.  We have adopted, as a church, very strict modesty standards for girls…not guys. I’m all about modesty, but in our culture we have left Crazy Town on this issue and headed straight for Absolutely Ridiculous-ville. In fact, I’m going to flat out say that this standard is more than just unrealistic. It has actually become harmful, even Read More

Speaking Up for Those Who Suffer in Silence: Calling Out the Culture that is Destroying a Beautiful Religion

Chapter One:  We Have A Christ Problem – A Lack Thereof I am a Mormon. I was born into this beautiful religion.  And at no time will I debate my religion with anyone who is simply trying to bash it, disprove it, or make fun of it in any way.  My religion saved my life, literally, so I am very protective of it.  Respect that, please, as I respect your beliefs. However, religion is completely different from culture when it comes to religious communities.  Most religions have a culture that was formed from the rules and guidelines you’re asked to 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

How Can the LDS Church Become a Hospital to the Traumatized?

By Danna Hartline “It’s not that I’m inactive or don’t believe, I just have a hard time going to a ward that treats my family and I like we don’t belong.” “Before my divorce, I felt like I belonged and felt very content with my church experience. But after divorcing, it was very hard to find my place.” “I always felt shamed and flawed. I felt like others were happy with church but I couldn’t be me there.  I tried so hard to be perfect to achieve the same experiences of others.”  These comments are not unusual for people suffering from Read More