I wish I could express in words all the loss I have come to know over the last ten years since I have made the choice to leave the Mormon church. In the Buddha tradition, they teach you that the only way past pain, is through it. You cannot deny pain, you cannot avoid it, you must walk through it. And so, I have become deeply acquainted with pain over the last several years as I have dealt with loss.
When I made the choice to walk away from the Mormon church, I knew that so many people would not stand with me or support me. I knew it would mean the loss of my marriage, the loss of my belief in my eternal family, the loss of all my friends, as they were all Mormon. I waited for well over three years to tell my extended family about my decision because I knew it would be devastating to them.
My loss has been almost complete. My children have left the Mormon church, and that has been the biggest blessing to me, as I see them living happy, normal lives.
I have had to learn so many things as an adult that I should have learned as a child. I have had to learn to regulate my emotions rather than stuff them down. I have had to learn to communicate with people rather than be passive aggressive and then stuff down my frustration of not being able to communicate. I have had to learn to hold down a job, to learn that there is no such thing as perfection, to live with imperfection in myself and others rather than pretend perfection exists, to let things go, to be authentic rather than have unrealistic expectations based on the belief that people are perfect. I had to learn to set boundaries, I have had to learn to say NO! and yes, and be okay with love and hate and real emotions like jealousy and joy.
These are all things I wasn't taught to do, growing up in a religion that didn't allow authenticity. I wasn't taught or allowed to do or be any of these things. It has been difficult to learn these things, but it has also been freeing to be able to learn them, to be able to freely express myself, to be me.
Yes, Rock, and Kate and John, I feel your loss as you face excommunication. It is a great loss. I hope you know you have friends. I hope more than anything you also know there is so much to gain also.