by Kay lay ale
What an interesting week. It started out with me learning that the Mormon Church is changing the way it is doing missionary work. They are asking their missionaries (and since every member’s a missionary- are they extending this invitation to all of our Mormon family and friends as well?) to proselytize on Facebook. Is it just me and others who DO NOT want our private space invaded seeing this as a boundary issue?
I write my own blog. Nobody really pays much attention to it, which is fine by me; it allows me to say what is on my mind without having to worry about offending anyone. Then a few days ago, I posted a piece that was well-written and -researched, with LDS Church sources cited only. I received three messages, each one escalating in intensity. Here is the last message:
Wow. Many of these things are the exact opposite of what the LDS Church teaches! Please stop spreading false rumors about my faith.
On Pinterest, another woman is offended that I linked an article that quotes one of the Mormon Church leaders telling the women of the Church they have no need to fight for their rights. She also informs me that “homosexuality is harmful and evil.”
An old mission companion, whom I’ve been Facebook friends with for a long time, just noticed that I support gay rights when I made a comment about it on MY Facebook page. She asked me about my standing in the church. For the first time, I decided to tell my entire story to my Mormon family and friends. It was heart-wrenching, full of pain, sorrow, fear, suffering, lots of study and soul searching, yet I make it clear I am not lost and do not need saving. She told me she understood, even though she was shocked. Then two days later, I get a private message from her, calling me back to the Church, saying I am lost and she wants to bring me back to the Church. We exchange a few messages in private, but when I tell her how I found out about polyandry and link her to the Church’s own websites, she calls me to repentance. Sigh. This brings back so many memories.
When I first left the church, I did so quietly with no fanfare. I did not tell my family or friends; I just stopped attending. When I was able to get my feet under me, I informed my family and friends. I let them know I left for personal reasons and not to sin or because I was offended. I told them I was happy and that it was a good decision for me. It didn’t take them long to cross over boundaries and tell me how wrong I was. I had one brother tell me I was full of anger, and that I couldn’t trust in my own reasoning, and I should lean on his greater reason and intellect. I then had another brother tell me that I couldn’t possibly be happy without the Church in my life; that I would never be happy until I repented and came back to the Church. He then sent me a link to a General Conference talk on repentance.
My children left with me. I have one daughter who is an advocate for women’s rights, working on her bachelor’s degree; she has several piercings, tattoos and multiple hair color changes. She also happens to be bi-sexual. My family does not accept her on any level. They have not invited her to family functions, included her in family mass emails, or friended her on Facebook. After one visit, her grandfather called her up and told her she would be more beautiful without the piercings. Here is a beautiful woman, advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. She is passionate about making positive change in the world, and my family only cares about her outward appearance? That she must conform to some set standard in order to be accepted? The ultimate boundary crossing is telling someone else, either overtly or covertly, that she is not acceptable because her appearance does not conform to your views.
Many ex-Mormons are so often leveled with the criticism, “You can leave the Church, but you can’t leave it alone.” Does is ever occur to Mormons that they can’t leave US alone? In each one of the examples, I was in my own private space. I had an article pinned to my Pinterest board, I wrote on my blog, I wrote on my Facebook wall, I was minding my own business with my family. Each and every time, I had Mormons invade my personal space to tell me how wrong I am to express myself—to voice my opinion. They feel no violation has taken place to call me to repentance, to tell me whether I am happy or not, to determine what Church I should or should not belong to, yet how would they feel if the same was done to them? We can’t leave you alone? How about you try to leave us alone?