Yesterday, my husband kept asking me how I was. I replied, “I don’t know.” I didn’t feel good, but I wasn’t really feeling bad either. Finally, I found the word to describe my emotions.
Growing up Mormon, especially Mormon in Utah, caused me multiple levels of trauma. To be mentally healthy, I need to examine this and stop hiding pieces of myself. While I hold no animosity against individual members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church itself is abhorrent and causes so much damage. There are reasons why the teen suicide rate in Utah is so high, and the level of depression among women is through the roof. Other conservative religions cause similar damage, but most of the others aren’t as strange, so little understood by outsiders, as Mormons are.
Explaining Mormonism to others helps me wrap my own brain around just how incredibly, flipping weird growing up in a Mormonland was. For example, they use words like “flipping” instead of the proper, curse word. I don’t recall ever hearing either of my parents utter even the mildest curse word. None of my siblings do real cursing either. (Mormon cursing deserves an entire post of its own. I promise, it’s weird.) My son once gave me quite a lecture because I called some politician (I don’t remember which one) a bitch at my oldest sister’s house. Jesse told me in no uncertain terms that my sister didn’t use that kind of language, and out of respect, I shouldn’t either when I was at their house.
A part of me is excited to publicly own my entire self. Come out, as it were, since June is Pride Month. This part of me wants to do nothing but write about Mormonism. I have dozens of topics in mind.
So why am I so unsettled? There are many reasons.
I worry about how any Mormon who comes across this blog might feel. I truly believe most of Mormons are good people. Many of the people I love are believing, faithful Mormons. I don’t want to insult or offend anyone, especially not members of my own family. One of my mother’s favorite sayings was, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” This is a rule I’ve pretty much lived by, although I’m not sure how well it has served me. The only thing I can think to say to offended Mormons is to promise honesty, to accurately portraying the church, as I experienced it.
The Mormon church also doesn’t take kindly to public criticism from current or former members. Publicly criticizing the church has a decided tendency to get a person excommunicated. The September Six are famous in the Ex-Mo world, although basically unheard of outside it.
Writing this blog is distracting me from my WIP. The Llama Apocalypse is serious business. I haven’t been this excited about something I’ve written in quite some time.
Another part of me whispers that I’m being self-indulgent. This is primarily intended to record my own personal journey, but I’m not only posting it on my blog, I’ve been promoting it on Twitter and Facebook. This voice tells me that nobody, except maybe Momma Turtle, would find any of this interesting, and she’s probably just being polite. It tells me that I should write this stuff in a diary, not post it where anybody could read it. But writing it in a diary doesn’t serve the purpose of publicly owning my full self, something I feel is necessary for my own mental health.
However, as a writer, I do also want to be read. So, if you’re reading this, please leave a comment and tells me what you find interesting or less than fascinating. If you’ve experienced anything similar, let me know. If you have suggestions on what you’d find more engaging, please tell me. Most importantly, if there’s anything about Mormons you’re curious about, ask it in the comments. Maybe this way I can produce something of value for people other than myself and feel just a bit less unsettled.