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6/23/12

Mormon Stories Talk

Here is my talk from Mormon Stories. Obviously, some changes were made during delivery, since I had to stop a few times to make fun of myself for crying the whole way through. I guess you could say I felt the spirit. Or speeeeeerit, if that is how you roll.  But this is the jist of it. It is longer than the average fare here, so beware. Also, this might cause my more believing friends some grief. Let my faith journey be mine, and I'll let your faith journey be yours.

There should be some audio version available soon, and I will post it when it is available.

Lastly, you know I wrote out my jokes for my opening. I'm an English teacher, it is what we do.



Mormon Stories Conference 2012
By Stephanie Lauritzen

I’ve heard that when you are nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, you should picture the crowd in their underwear.  I don’t know what kind of weirdo feels more at ease looking at a bunch of people in their underwear, especially if you are wearing the Mormon kind. However, I am very nervous, so instead I will picture you all as the type of people I’m most comfortable around:  now you are all my high school Language Arts students. That means you all have bad hair and acne. If you are sitting next to someone you might be physically attracted to, please scoot away and pretend like you hate them. Much better.

A few weeks ago, my students and I read a short story by Percival Everett called “The Fix.” In the story, a man named Sherman Olney can fix anything. He starts out with broken refrigerators and faucets, but eventually, he is faced with bigger problems. Marriage problems, tax problems, and one night, he solves the ultimate problem: he raises a woman from the dead.

The end of the story finds Sherman standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, preparing to jump. He feels overwhelmed from the demands from everyone to fix their problems. A crowd stands below, begging him not to jump, screaming “Fix us! Fix us!”

Like the people in the story, I’ve spent a long time wanting to be fixed. When I was an angsty teenager who loved poetry, I loved the John Donne poem where the speaker begs God to “batter my heart” in to submission and faith. Even as a teen, I felt like a bad Mormon. I balked at seemingly nonsensical rules about earrings and dress length. Since when did God care about earrings? And knees? In Young Women’s, talk of finding a man to “preside” over my family made me shudder. I found the rhetoric on homosexuality disturbing. It didn’t help that my parents raised me as an ardent Democrat, alienating me from my peers. If I had a dollar for every time a classmate told me that Democrats liked killing babies…well I’d be really rich, and since I used to be a full-tithe payer, the church would be too.
 
Despite feeling different from my peers, I found myself mimicking them in most religious settings.  Like my peers, I’d offer tearful testimonies around the Youth Conference campfire, promising that I knew the church was true; I loved my parents, and I believed President Hinckley was a prophet.

I could never admit it, even to myself, but I think I hoped that if I said it enough, I’d believe it. Fake it ‘til you make it was my subconscious spiritual mantra. 

Sometimes I would fantasize about a cataclysmic event that would give me an instant testimony. Nothing painful or maiming, just a pissed off angel calling me to repentance, or a near-death experience that would solidify my faith. I was envious of Alma the Younger. All he had to do was sleep for three days, and suddenly, his faith crisis is over. So I would pray to Heavenly Father to help me believe. Help me believe better. Send an angel.  Make this easier. Fix me. Fix me.

It wasn’t the first or the last time God didn’t answer my prayer.

As an adult, I sought a new path. My journey out of traditional Mormonhood started when I took out my endowments in the LDS temple, a few weeks before marrying my husband. When I promised to hearken unto my husband as he hearkened unto God, my heart broke inside. After all the weeks I spent repeating the Young Women values as a teenager,  confidently believing in my own divine nature and individual worth, it all came down to listening to someone else. For eternity.  Suddenly, it would take a lot more than an angel, or a three day nap, to make me believe enough to accept my Temple covenants as doctrine.

But it wasn’t until Conference 2010, with the fateful Elder Packer talk, that I was finally ready to leave my perfect Mormon path. Up until then, I had followed the Mormon blueprint perfectly. A baptism, Young Women’s medallions, Seminary graduation, followed by a temple marriage to a returned missionary. Despite feeling broken, I was willing to try, willing to shelf my unease about the temple and patriarchy if it meant God would fix me, and make me a perfect Mormon. But Packer’s talk signified all that was wrong with my faith. I was doing mental gymnastics to make myself believe. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, when Packer asked “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” He was asking why God would make someone Gay. We disagreed on the message, but ironically, Packer and I were asking the same question. “Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” Why would Heavenly Father make it so hard for me to be Mormon? Why would he tell me he loved me, that I was his child, if I need a husband in order to hear him? Why would he deny me access to a Heavenly Mother? Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?  Like the people in Percival Everett’s story, I was once again broken and confused, begging anyone to fix me.

So, I decided that if I couldn’t be a good Mormon, I’d be an awesome apostate.  I broke my spouse’s heart when I told him he wouldn’t have the happy Mormon family he signed up for. I wrote angry blog posts criticizing the church.  I stopped praying, and would mentally berate myself when I’d slip up and ask for help from God. “Stop it, “I’d think. “You don’t believe that anymore.” But it wasn’t enough that I didn’t believe.  Week after week, I tried to convince my true believing husband to see the error of his ways and enter the world of shopping on Sunday and R-rated movies.

Despite my anger and bravado, I was scared. I needed someone to help me be this new person. If I could convince my husband to leave, it would validate my choices, it would fix me.  I wanted my spouse to help me stop believing, help me apostatize better. Make this easier. Once again, I was asking someone to fix me. Fix me.

However, Dan had other plans, plans that did not include leaving the church.  He did, however, want to fix me, but not in the way I wanted.  He didn’t understand why I couldn’t look past the things that bothered me about the church. There is a tendency in the church to attribute disaffection with a simple offense. That’s why Band-Aid statements like “The church is perfect but the people are not” exist.  Dan thought it was silly that I would leave the church based on something said by an old man in General Conference. Like many who are perplexed when an active member decides to leave, he thought I was simply offended.  At the time, he didn’t realize that the root of my disaffection stemmed from core doctrines of the church. I felt the negative impact of patriarchy and inequity in my life. For me, the feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness I felt in the temple and during Elder Packer’s conference talk wasn’t an issue of an imperfect people, but a deeply flawed church.

The more I distanced myself from the church, the more involved Dan became. He was not just an active member, but a super member. He served in the Elder’s Quorum; he went on campouts in the middle of winter with the scouts. If there was an old lady who needed help cleaning up her yard, he was there.  There was no talking him out of the church, even when I replaced my believer underwear with a much more aesthetically pleasing option. That is a strong testimony. Much stronger than the faked testimonies of my teenage years. But the different directions of our lives made me wonder if our marriage had a chance.

When discussing potential subjects for this talk with a friend, it was suggested that I talk about the humorous aspects of living in an apostate/believer marriage. Maybe I will find this hilarious in a few years, but right now, I don’t see the humor just yet.
But I do see hope.  At some point on our never-ending battles on religion, I realized something very important. I didn’t marry Dan because he was Mormon. He didn’t marry me because I was a Mormon.  We married each other after a long road trip where we didn’t kill each other.  We liked talking to each other. We had always been opposites in many ways. He liked Star Trek, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and voting for Republicans. I liked crappy reality TV, poetry, and voting for awesome people. If I could love a Trekkie, couldn’t I love a true-believing Mormon? If he could love listening to my Bachelorette recaps, could he love a questioning non-believer? Partially out of exhaustion from fighting, and mostly out of devotion, Dan and I decided to really listen to each other. We stopped trying to convince the other to change.

I learned some important things when I stopped trying to apostatize my husband.  I learned that his faith went deeper than callings, outings, and service project. He believes. He believes with his whole heart, and it is an integral part of who he is.  His belief has made him a kind person. He is a great example of someone who tries his very hardest to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He loves his neighbor, and forgives trespasses against him. Dan wouldn’t be the same person if he wasn’t Mormon. Dan didn’t need to leave the church to live an authentic life. He was already living authentically.

But I was not. I wasn’t being authentic when I was half-heartedly repeating the testimonies of my peers. But I was also not authentic when I forced myself to stop praying, and refused to let myself realize that there are some parts of my Mormon heritage I want to keep.  I remember the first time I prayed to my Heavenly Mother. I was driving to work, and my prayer was uncertain. I didn’t have any rehearsed lines to fall back on, but I knew I wanted to try. When I prayed and felt immediately comforted, I wasn’t sure if it was because a divine presence was answering my prayer, or if I felt peace because I was finally allowing myself to live the spiritual life I wanted. Maybe it was both.

There are many things I no longer agree or believe in regards to Mormonism. Likewise there are many things I no longer believe about myself. I no longer believe I need to be fixed.  It is a difficult path, the one between believer and non-believer. I am constantly re-evaluating the world I live in to make room for the faith traditions of my past, and the faith journey of my present. True believers and non-believers may question my devotion to either cause. But living an authentic life allows me to be a better person, a better spouse, and a better parent.

Dan and I have found some common ground. I still don’t like Star Trek, and he still hates reality TV, but we both want a better world for our new daughter. We both want the church to be a better place. Dan now understands the pain and negative consequences of some church doctrine. He has watched me live with consequences of decisions I did not make, and wants more for our kid. I have seen the good the church does in helping my husband live the gospel he believes. I want my daughter to love others like he does.  Last Sunday we both blessed our daughter. I prayed that my daughter would learn empathy and compassion for others, traits I see in her Dad every day. Dan prayed that our daughter would have wisdom and a discerning mind, traits he is learning to see in me as I question and re-evaluate my faith. Neither of us prayed for our daughter to be fixed. Like me, and like Dan, she was never broken to begin with.

If there is a Heavenly family, who loves us, I say this in their name. I also say this in the name of my new authentic family. In the name of Stephanie, Dan, and Clara Alice Lauritzen, Amen.

42 comments:

greeneggs said...

That was beautiful - I'm a full blown atheist ex-mormon and your posts about your struggles with church doctrine always make my cry!

My mum would probably see that as a sign I want to come back!!

meagan said...

I really, really loved this, Stephanie, especially your point on living an authentic life.

As a reader of and sometimes commenter on some of your "angry blog posts" as you termed them, I can now see that I was often (usually) on the other side of the issues you brought up just pushing back without really listening and oftentimes even choosing to take offense instead. I truly am sorry for that.

Though I still disagree with you about a lot of things, I'm sure, I am now more appreciative of your perspective and can find the humor--and even truth-- in your witty, sarcastic remarks. You helped teach me that that was possible even with the differences between "apostates" and "believers". So thank you for that.

I am glad you are finding a path that works for your family and really applaud both you and Dan for being willing to put in what I'm sure is an immense amount of work and effort to live authentically together.

Michelle Gurr said...

Thank you Stephanie, that was beautiful. I wish I could have attended the conference.

Stephanie said...

@ meagan

Thank you for your comment and for being my friend. :)

Katie Davis Henderson said...

It's SO odd reading your posts about the church, marriage, etc. I have had so many similar feelings, and even a similar upbringing (liberal parents, imitating testimonies, etc.) It's odd AND super comforting. You're a couple steps ahead of me and it's like being able to see around the corner.

Thanks.

JustMe said...

Without a doubt the best post you have ever written. It was perfect - real and honest. Consider yourself hugged with love.

JustMe said...

hey - you're not reviewing the comments first. Why?

Stephanie said...

@Justme: I finally did away with moderated comments. It is a whole new world!

Thanks for the hug. :)Love.

mere said...

Love love love !!!

Stephanie said...

Dear Stephanie,
I can't post this on facebook because my mom will talk to me about that and I want to avoid that conversation...
Anyway.
I just wanted to tell you that I really really admire you. A lot. And this post was pretty darn worthy of more admiration, if that's possible.
-Other Stephanie

Nama said...

Stephanie, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being brave enough to share your journey and yourself fully. I relate ever so much to your story, and it is truly wonderful to know, once again, that I am not alone. :)

hiphipporay said...

Thank you for sharing. This post has brought up a lot of feelings for me. Your experience mirrors my own in many ways.  In my case, my husband left the church and became Atheist.  I wish to remain, though to what extent (and for what reasons) I'm still unsure. 

Your thoughts about living an authentic life resonate with me. I've had several conversations with my husband about congruency of beliefs and actions, feelings and misgivings, church doctrine and my personal social beliefs.  I'm completely unsure how to be a member and still maintain that congruence I feel is so necessary.  But then, I guess that is me feeling I'm not enough. 

How do you reconcile that God has not answered your most heartfelt prayers?  I have constantly prayed to feel peace throughout my process, thinking that my righteous desires and actions would warrant an even temporary calm that has not come.  I have not attended one church meeting in the past year and a half that I have not sobbed through.  I have received priesthood blessings. I have studied the scriptures and read countless talks from church leaders.  I am begging to find a way to stay in this church, but am left seemingly alone by my own God. Is there no place and no peace for me here? 

I believe I have had a testimony. I thought I had felt those feelings. I attend my meetings sporadically now. And while I sense that others view me as collateral damage to my husbands "sin", until recently I still thought of myself as TBM. 

I've always sensed that you write about your deepest truths. I've also noted that you maintain a healthy respect surrounding your relationship with Dan and your family. As such, please disregard if this is too personal.  How has this process affected your relationships with parents, siblings, extended family or friends? I hope you will consider addressing this in future posts.  

Again, thank you for you courage in sharing your story and helping me feel I am not alone.

Stephanie said...

@hiphiphooray

I wish I had answers that would help you better. I wish I had answers for myself, and for everyone else who goes through this.

I don't know why God doesn't answer some prayers, and seemingly answers others. Sometimes I think he didn't answer my prayers to be fixed/to be a better Mormon because I did not need to be a better Mormon in order to be a better person. That response doesn't sit entirely right with me sometimes though. Why wouldn't God at least tell me that?

I do really identify with this quote by Elie Wiesel: “Mankind must remember that peace is not God's gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other.”

Regardless of whatever religion/non-religion I find myself in, I think it is my purpose to give peace to others. I've stopped waiting for God to reconcile my angst and started trying to bring peace. I fail a lot, but I try, and it has made my life so much more meaningful than my previous attempts to make peace with myself by being a "good Mormon."

I do know that things seem to get easier with time.

Time has definitely helped with my relationships with Dan and my family. Dan was really angry at first. My mom was really sad and worried, and my dad jumps to the worse possible conclusions. But over time it has gotten better. I'm not a perfect example of this, but when I am gentle with my honesty my family seems more willing to understand.

I am really lucky to be surrounded my a supportive and kind family. I know it hasn't been the same for everyone, and it breaks my heart.

Miranda said...

This is amazing and exactly how I'm feeling right now.

MamaBear said...

i'm super impressed with the way you have handled this. really. i'm a "no-mo Mo" myself, who couldn't fit how i felt about myself into the round hole the church had available for me.

i respect myself too much to subjugate my decisions and my destiny to anyone else.

i did everything i was supposed to do until i was 18, and it broke my heart that i was not asked for one single date in my life from those wonderful returned missionaries that were supposed to value the good girls most.

then i married a non-member, which lasted 9 months, and since i was living at home with the parents again, i was at church, but not believing, for another year. and i still didn't get a single date. (a divorcee was a hard hurdle for those good boys, i'm sure.)

how was i supposed to feel good about myself when all of my worth (to the church world) was based on our desirability as an eternal mate, and NOBODY wanted me? not even for a first date?

i moved across the country. i left the church and my family. i found some peace and happiness, and i struggle. sometimes i struggle more than others. but since i gave myself permission to NOT be what my parents expected, and to be enough in and of myself, not as half of a married couple or as someone complete only through obedience to the priesthood in my home, i learned to love myself.

my life isn't perfect. i definitely struggle. but it is a whole lot easier to love myself when i'm not expecting what i was told was my destiny. i make my own destiny!

JustMe said...

I am not a good Mormon, but I am a good person. I'm pretty sure that God still loves me and will welcome me home.

alex said...

Thank you for sharing this. I don't know what I would do without access to stories like yours. Feel really alone, I guess.

L.S. said...

Such a wonderful talk, Stephanie. I cried reading it so I can only imagine you cried while giving it! I'm in the process of finding a middle ground with the church and finding peace with my frustrations and concerns. You are giving me faith that I'll find that peace eventually.

Also - I don't know if I commented on it or not, but I loved your post about you walking at SLC Pride! I walked at NYC Pride today with Affirmation and it was totally awesome. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

MJ said...

That was an awesome talk.

On a somewhat related note, did you happen to see the story in the July Ensign about when one spouse stops believing (for lack of better wording)? It was a great article, I thought.

Stephanie said...

@MJ, I did, I loved it.

Ru said...

This was a great talk, Stephanie :)

ChristyLove said...

"True believers and non-believers may question my devotion to either cause. But living an authentic life allows me to be a better person, a better spouse, and a better parent."

Amen, sister.

Breanne said...

Beautiful, beautiful. You did an amazing job, and so much of what you said reflects my own feelings as I am going through the same type of journey. Thank you for what you have written here.

Imogen said...

This really made my eyes watery, even if we are from different streams of Christianity. I have felt like you so, so many times, and my spiritual journey has also been a painful, lonely but hopeful one.
Bravo to you. Your talk is awesome.

Unknown said...

I am not mean... but I am thoroughly impressed with who you are. I wish you and I had more of a chance to talk. Maybe in the future? I promise to keep the hugs to once a year - no matter how hard it becomes to refrain. :)

~Des

Michelle Glauser said...

The first thing on my mind this morning was how you said that you two realized that you didn't marry one another because you were Mormon.

I admire your courage.

lifeofdi said...

Ditto to what greeneggs said.

And also I loved this: "Despite feeling different from my peers, I found myself mimicking them in most religious settings. Like my peers, I’d offer tearful testimonies around the Youth Conference campfire, promising that I knew the church was true; I loved my parents, and I believed President Hinckley was a prophet.

I could never admit it, even to myself, but I think I hoped that if I said it enough, I’d believe it. Fake it ‘til you make it was my subconscious spiritual mantra."

900 times yes. Best wishes to wherever the individual and collective spiritual journeys take your family.

Shan said...

This is beautiful, thank you. I left the church when one day in Institute we had a lesson about the preexistence and how every baby is born perfect, having consented to The Plan. Being a future lawyer, I said to myself "does agreeing to a contract without getting a copy (or even remembering signing it) sound like something I would do? NO!" And just like that (and also because of underwear, but that's a whole separate issue) I lost my faith.

Everyone said I would miss it; a great chasm would open up inside me and never be filled, but in reality I began living as my own authentic self and it's the best thing that ever happened to me.

Maybe I'll get my faith back someday, maybe not, but in the meantime I am happier than I've ever been and living the life I truly believe I (and my own young daughter) deserve.

Thanks again for being awesome, as always.

Emilie said...

Thanks for posting this. I was hoping you would after listening to you at the conference.

My story feels a lot like yours — at least in the beginning. I was raised in a liberal, progressive family (of educators) in which asking questions wasn't just acceptable, it was encouraged. I mean, have a grandfather who prays to Heavenly Mother! And an uncle who is a prominent local Democrat. Like you mentioned, how did our parents expect us to turn out?

I was a bit (just a bit) older than you when I married, but my first real feminist/church angst hit before — in complicated ways. Fortunately, my mom had spelled out the temple ceremony prior to me going, so that wasn't an immediate shock. But there are some shocks that come slowly, over the course of years. I've had nearly 10 years to have those shocks set in, and it's been ... torturous at times.

Now, I'm mostly active and still very much a believer in much — but not all — of it. But I'm so very different than the people with whom I share a pew each Sunday. It's a lonely world to be in the church but not of the church.

I appreciate your "fix me" statements. So often I've felt broken because I couldn't just go through the motions without thinking SO DAMN MUCH. I'm nearly to the point of being comfortable with myself, but the process has been so hard.

Now I have over shared, but I really just wanted to say thanks for saying all of this ... and thanks for posting it.

Jessica said...

Thank you for this post. My marriage is similar- my husband left the church nearly six years ago and I still believe/attend. It has opend my eyes to a whole new perspective. While that growing process has been painful and difficult, I think I'm a better person for it. Religion is still a sensitive topic in our home, but we do our best to listen and be respectful of each other's views/opinions. The whole experience has taught me that there is more than one way to be good person, and it doesn't have to be a Mormon path.

I used to wait, thinking that at some point he would miss what going to church could offer and come back. I was shocked to find that in reality, he has been a much happier person since leaving the church. And that is proof that I can't argue with.

I wish you and Dan all the best as you navigate what can be a tricky situation.

Caitlin said...

I really enjoyed this post. I am curious though; you've mentioned before that you come from liberal, Democrat parents. How do they rationalize or explain your issues with core doctrine issues? Why don't they have the same issues?

I'm guessing being Mormon is a lot like being Protestant, where different people have different interpretations. But it seems like so many things that come from the Mormon church are hard to interpret differently; I.e. the Proclomation to the Family. Where does that leave your parents?

Stephanie said...

@ Caitlin: I don't know why are responses are so different. My mom has a lot of the same issues, but she has said that she focuses on the good and sort of ignores the rest. That is really hard for me to do, the good seems so entrenched with the bad. I guess we have the same evidence, but respond very differently. She has the perspective that everything will work out in the eternities.

My dad is a political liberal and an orthodox Mormon. I don't know how that works, and we do not really talk about it. My Dad is really uncomfortable discussing this. But I love him and we have a good relationship. If I had to venture a guess I'd say that my Dad respects large organizations (both governmental and religious) that work in order to make life better for the majority. He sees the church as mostly good for most people. He is also a man. He is one of the people the church works best for.

I guess this is not an answer to your questions, because I don't know myself.

Bahsheep said...

I just found your blog and this post was just what the doctor ordered.

My background is different: I'm Catholic, brought up in a 98% Catholic country, with a parish priest for an uncle and atheist parents. My upbringing had no religious element aside from the cultural; I was baptised, had my first holy communion and was confirmed mostly for the sake of my paternal grandparents (my mother is foreign and from a less culturally religious country).

When I was eleven I stopped trying to fit in and was no longer tried to hide the fact that I didn't know all the prayers and responses during school Masses. I declared myself atheist because I didn't want to say I was what I was not. That changed a few years later when I joined a youth group and gradually became a member of the leadership.

Over the past, say, nine months I've been facing the same conflicts that you describe in your talk. I'm not one to follow blindly and there are things I believe to be true and right that I cannot reconcile with the beliefs of my church and therefore group, so I've left the leadership. I've always been opinionated and I still am, but so far I've been careful not to be so critical as to reveal the extent of my disagreement. I think it's mostly because almost all my friends are part of this community and it has a great influence on my social life.

I don't want the friendships I value to suffer or be lost as a result of this, but I don't want to live hypocritically either. Knowing that I'm not the only one to face these issues gives me the hope that I'll figure something out that will give me a balance I'm happy with.

Caitlin said...

@ Stephanie

Thank you for answering. I apologize if it was overly personal. I was just struck by your comment that your parents were pretty taken aback by your decision, and wondered why. It seems hard to be liberal and orthodox
Mormon.

I wish you the best on your faith journey. When my family left the Catholic church for being Protestant, my Dad's family reacted poorly. My grandmother is still having Masses said for our souls.

Such a change can dramatically change relationships, and I admire you and your family for working through it and trying to listen to each other.

myrtlejoy said...

This is what I've been waiting for! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

kkkkatie said...

I liked reading your talk Stephanie. I especially appreciate you realizing that a person, your husband, can truly believe and that it is an integral part of who he is. I am the same way, but have children who believe as you do. They are wonderful people. I hope that one day they will be able to see in me what you can see in your husband.

~M said...

Thank you. That was so beautiful. I've been going through a slow struggle since I got back from my mission 7 years ago. It's all finally coming to a head. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of what's ahead.

Jessica said...

Thank you for this post. I know it was very heart felt and sincere and I hope that you find the peace you seek.

workingmommawithababy said...

Your talk was so honest that it would be hard for someone to walk away without listening. I brought your blog to the attention of a friend who read this talk and is very orthodox Mormon. Her takeaway was that everyone should be accepting of the paths people take--that each individual must choose what is right for them and there should not be judgement to that.

For me, I agree that there should be room for choice; but, in the Mormon church (speaking as a non-attending member), where is the option to choose? Where is a woman's choice to be in a leadership position? Where is a gay member's choice to have faith and love? It devastates me to have other members say, "God will reveal those answers in his own time."

These conversations need to be had. There is too much hurt, shame, guilt, and unease among members. I hope that you continue to bring these topics to the forefront and that others will see your bravery and choose to do the same.

Chase and Lauren Anderson said...

I just found your blog in a tough time in my life. I have felt so many of the same feelings, I relate to you so much. After feeling like an outcast and being put down by my closest friends because I no longer am a member, knowing there are people like you and others who feel the way I do means everything to me.

You are an inspiration. Thank you.

Stephanie said...

@Lauren

Thank you! I'm glad you feel less alone. This can be such a difficult and lonely journey. If you are in Utah, there is an awesome community here of people in our same place.:) Check out Mormon Stories or Feminist Mormon Housewives. Heck, those places are great no matter where you are. Best wishes in your journey. :)

Ang said...

Stephanie - I recently discovered your blog (although I did read the Bentley post months ago when a friend sent it to me) and I just wanted to say that I'm so happy we live in a world with people like you. People who are trying their best to figure out how to raise a daughter to be smart and good and kind and to love herself. Thank you so much for your blogging and for being you!