Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stumbling Upon Meaning

The sister missionaries in our ward asked my husband and I to go with them to visit an investigator tonight. I thought it was kind of weird that they would randomly pick us, but we happily fulfilled their request.
As we sat with this woman and her 15 month old son, she started talking about the troubles she's been having lately. She just recently left her husband who has been abusing her for five years. I sat and listened while my test tightened and burned and urged me to open my mouth and let her know that I understood every feeling of loneliness, pain, fear, betrayal, and guilt that she explained.
Eventually, I gave in. I told her that I had a similar experience. I shared some insights that helped me get through my own trials. I wanted to give her advice and tell her what I thought she should do, but I knew what she really needed was to talk. I listened, only stopping her when she tried to justify her husband's actions or put herself down. It is far too common for women in these situations to blame themselves. I did. But it's not our faults.
I know that our sister missionaries were definitely inspired to ask my husband and I to be there tonight, because they had no idea that I had ever been married before I had my current husband. They had no idea that I would have this strong connection to this investigator. But now I know that I have completely moved on from my past and can use it to help others. I have accidentally found meaning in the pain that I felt so overwhelmed by and lost in for so long. I hope to continue to help her and others.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My New Life

I've been wanting to write down some feelings for a while, and I briefly contemplated doing so elsewhere because my life is vastly different from how it was even during my last post. Since then, I have met an amazing man who is extremely understanding about the things I've been through. I've been very honest with him, he's been very patient with me, and we are now happily married. However, even with a different life, I will always bee a divorced Mormon woman. It will always be a part of me, and it may be just as helpful to talk about life beyond that as to openly discuss the pain of it.
So anyway, about those feelings...
When I got divorced, I was so incredibly lonely that sometimes I actually wished that I had had a child while I was with him. I figured that, even being divorced, I would be able to have the kid most of the time and I would have someone to love. Truthfully, with the craziness that runs rampant in my ex's family, they probably would have tried to rip the kid away from me or accuse me of having the child with another man and make my life miserable through that route. But in my fantasy land, having a baby would mean having someone to love and take care of and fill that gaping void of loneliness. As perfect as it was in my head, I'm incredibly grateful that I don't have that forever connection to my ex and his family.
Now I'm six months pregnant with my current husband's child, and I can't wait for the little one to get here. I know that the appreciation and love I already have for him is so much greater than it would have been if I hadn't spent so much time longing for someone to care for. I can't wait to hold him and smell him and tell him how long I've been waiting for him to come into my life.
I'll admit, I'm terrible at being pregnant. I'm tired all the time and just want to whine and complain about every single ache and pain. I try not to be too much of a burden to my husband, but, fortunately, he's amazing and helps me so much. As uncomfortable and achy as I am, I would choose to go through this a million times over being alone again and dealing with the pain of not knowing whether he would ever come. I'm not happy about all the things that I've been through, but I'm grateful for what they have taught me. I have so much more love for my husband and developing child than I think I possibly could have otherwise.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The dating pool is small where I live, especially for a divorced LDS woman. For a while, I told myself that now just wasn't the time that God wanted me to be in a relationship, so I tried to focus on other things. I was involved in my work, I strengthened my relationship with Heavenly Father, and I tried to make my workout schedule more regular to improve my physical and mental health.
A few weeks ago, I felt like I was in a really good place, and I was strong enough to try to make something happen in the relationship department. Unfortunately, like I said, not many prospects in my area. I felt like I needed to do something to show the Lord that I was making an effort, so I joined an LDS dating website. I felt kind of like a loser for it, but it seemed like the best option at the time.
A few days ago I started talking to a guy who was also divorced. We shared our stories and some insights, we talked about our likes and dislikes. We had a lot in common, and everything was going really well. I didn't put very many pictures on the website, so I didn't really mind when he asked me to send him more. Before I went to my Institute class today, we talked on Skype so we could actually see each other while we talked. It was fun. When I got back from Institute, however, we were chatting in an instant message when he started acting weird. When I called him out on it, he said that he just didn't know if he would be attracted to me in person. I told him that I was just trying to get to know him and we could worry about what meeting in person would be like later. He said that if he's not attracted to me right away, he never will be. Some other things were said, but it led to me pointing out that I need to make sure the next person I'm with actually respects me, and that he doesn't seem to fit that criteria. He told me that I don't fit his physical criteria, so we should probably just move on. Then the conversation ended.
Now, I get that this guy is a shallow scumbag. Of all the issues I have with my self-esteem, I've actually managed to get over many of the physical ones. But after that experience, I couldn't help but fall into old feelings of not being good enough. I felt almost as worthless as I did during my divorce. I sent text messages to a few friends, but the only single people I know these days are young and definitely don't understand the pain of divorce. None of them seemed too concerned.
Sometimes I really hate the way things have worked out for me. I know I have a lot of wonderful things and I've accomplished a lot, but sometimes I wish I could trade it all in so I can be "normal" and have a healthy relationship and raise children.
That's not fair though. I know I need to appreciate what I have. I know it will all work together for my greater good. I want to say that I know I'm special and wonderful, but...I struggle. Sometimes it's just hard to see the bigger picture.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This blog lets me see some pretty cool stuff. It tells me how many times my blog has been looked at and where in the world it has been seen from. It tells me which entries have been viewed the most and lists all the comments anyone has made. While it makes me feel kind of cool to see that there are people in other countries that are reading what I write, what is really interesting is seeing how they find me.
Another thing the blog shows me is the words that people have typed into search engines that led them here. Sometimes it's clear that someone already knows about my blog and just forgot the web address. They'll search for "divorced Mormon blog" or "taboo diary." However, sometimes it's clear that there are people out there searching for something more than just my whining. They want something deeper. They want answers to their own questions. I've seen things like "Why do Mormons divorce?", "divorced Mormon women", and others that are escaping my memory. Back when I was updating my blog regularly during my divorce, I had received a comment thanking me for writing about my feelings. This woman is also LDS and had also experienced the tragedy of a divorce. She said that, when she was going through it, she was searching for something like my blog.
Today I saw that someone had typed into Google, "just scared of being alone and being Mormon." This struck me very hard. That exact fear almost held me back from leaving my abusive husband. I don't know if I have any of the answers anyone is looking for. I don't know if I can help at all. But if you look back at my previous posts, you'll see that I am very candid and honest about my feelings, so you can trust that what you read next is sincere.
Being single is hard. It's especially hard when you are LDS and have been taught your whole life that your whole purpose for existing is to have a family. When you can't serve that purpose, it feels like you're broken, defected. But being single does not mean that you're alone. Heavenly Father will not allow you to be completely alone if you stay true to your faith. I know that sounds preachy and maybe fake, but during the darkest times of my divorce it felt like He was the only one who would listen to me cry. People at church might judge you and there will be days where the happiness of others just intensifies the emptiness in your heart that's meant to be filled by a family, but Heavenly Father will take care of you. It will be okay.
Just tonight, I had a friend get very serious with me. He told me how amazing I am. He said that I'm pretty and smart and funny, and he apologized that my previous husband was such a jerk. He told me that I would really make an amazing wife and that my ex is really missing out. I've come a long way since my divorce, but I still have trouble accepting anything that my friend said. How can I be so great if I can't manage to have my own family?
I judge myself in this manner quite frequently, but I know the truth is that there's a different plan for me right now. All any of us can do is our best. If we do that, we will find happiness in one form or another.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friendly Disagreement

I have quite a few friends who are very intelligent. I take a bit of pride in this fact, because I figure that their willingness to be my friends shows that I'm doing all right intellectually as well. Many of these intelligent friends do not share my religious views and some of them separate themselves from any kind of religion at all. This doesn't cause problems in our friendships, because we accept each other's differences and mostly steer clear of belief-based conversation. However, something has been bugging me.
Several of my non-religious friends seem to be of the opinion that religion, or certain religions, exist because they have stopped people from thinking or having individual opinions. According to some, people who are religious are people who are unintelligent, who are incapable of thinking for themselves. The fact that we are discouraged from reading anti-Mormon literature, it seems, just proves that we are afraid of thoughts and beliefs that contradict our own.
This is not the case. I'm not prone to doing things based on blind faith. I have my own scriptures. I read them. I pray about them. I have made the decision, on my own, that I want to be a part of the LDS church and that I believe in its doctrine. Our church is led by doctors, lawyers, and teachers, among others. Aren't these professions that our society reveres for their intelligence? There are lots of people who say that there are too many facts and pieces of evidence disproving our beliefs for any intellectual to believe its teachings. I say, of course they think that! If you don't allow something the possibility of being true, then, for you, it never will be. Anything can be explained away if you don't want to believe it. Even quite a few scientific theories. And I don't read anti-Mormon literature, but I am not afraid of opposing beliefs. I stay away from things that contradict the Gospel, because there's no point in indulging in it. If I know what I believe, what feels right and brings me happiness, why would I waste my time having someone try to change my mind and take that happiness away?
I love my friends, and their feelings about my beliefs don't change that. It frustrates me at times, but it doesn't shake me. As the Primary song goes, "I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow Him in faith."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Can Be Alone

I grew up watching a lot of TV. Like...a LOT. Movies, too. Books weren't a real big part of my life until later on. Anyway, despite the fact that my life was a far cry from being anything like that of the well-to-do functional families on the screen, I seemed to develop a sub-conscious belief that, at some point, it would be. I didn't just dream of a happy ending, I expected it. That probably helps explain why I was such a mess during my younger years. It just didn't make sense to me that no one said the perfect thing at the perfect time, solved problems by hugging it out, and wanted nothing more than to be my best friend.
As I grew up, I started to realize the difference between fantasy and reality. It definitely took me longer than it should have, and it didn't even set in completely until fairly recently. When I finally realized that my ex-husband wasn't my Prince Charming, my entire world was shattered. I realized that, in the words of Taylor Swift, "I'm not a princess. This ain't a fairy tale." There was no script that would end any show with a heartfelt apology and a cheesy joke before the credits rolled.
Because I'm Mormon and I'm "supposed" to marry young and have a million babies, this was especially hard to accept. I've spent most of the time since my marriage being depressed and bitter. I'm constantly facing women who have wonderful husbands and beautiful children and comparing myself to them. How am I different? What is it that makes it so they can get a good husband and I can't? I've whined about my wasted time and wondered if I'll ever get married again, or if it will at least be before my eggs dry up. To twist the knife a little further, even most of my non-Mormon friends are married with children or on their way there.
I started dealing with this problem by praying that someone would come along. I still wanted my happy ending and I wanted it pronto. Then President Uchtdorf gave his "Forget Me Not" talk at General Conference. He said that we should "forget not to be happy now," and he told the story of the woman who wasted her life being angry and bitter because she was never able to have a family of her own. I didn't want to be that woman, so I started praying for patience instead of a person. I have gained so much. Not only am I no longer counting every second that I'm not in a relationship, but I finally love myself. I'm immensely happy with who I am, the friends I have, and the accomplishments I've made. I've been blessed with a loving family and so many other things. Yes, I still want to get married and have babies, but it will happen when it's supposed to. Until then, I am okay by myself.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

(Not) Measuring Up

I have some family members that are fairly well known in the Mormon community. My grandfather has written several books that many Mormons use to supplement their scripture study. His grandfather was in the first presidency. My aunt and her husband both teach at BYU. My cousin has acted in some well-known Mormon movies. When I was growing up, my dad seemed to be the local authority on Church doctrine. If anyone had a question concerning the Church or the scriptures, they would go straight to him.
This biological connection to virtual religious royalty is apparently supposed to be some indication that I'm a super intellectual spiritual giant who's good at everything. Please try not to be disappointed when I reveal that this is not the case. In fact, don't even be surprised. (Yes, some people have been terribly shocked, and I think offended, by this truth.) I mean, there has to be one loser in every family. (Just kidding; I'm totally not the loser in my family, but that's a topic for another entry.) 
When I first moved into the small branch that I now attend, and the connection was made between me and my relatives (who I barely know, by the way), I was instantly some sort of celebrity. I was cool by association. It's mostly my grandpa that affords me this fame. What's funny is that no one wants to ask questions about him (not that I'd be able to answer anyway), but they all want to tell me stories about him. I don't even know how many times I've responded, "Hey, me too!" to someone excitedly proclaiming that they had met my grandfather before.
There's one particular woman in my branch who is very intelligent and likes to make sure that everyone knows this is the case. She doesn't waste much of her time talking to me, but, when she does, it's always condescending. One time, back when she still thought I must me perfect due to my relations, she asked me which of my grandpa's books was my favorite (or something like that). I didn't have an answer, so she asked how many of his books I have read. I tried to avoid answering that question as well, and she flat out asked me if I had read any of them. When I admitted that I hadn't, she looked at me like I had just eaten one of her grandchildren. She was apparently personally offended that I didn't read a book written by my grandfather, and the idea that his blood in my veins made me god-like quickly vanished.
Here's the thing. I think it's great to be well-read and know your stuff. I fully support people who memorize scriptures and read additional books to delve deeper into doctrine and whatnot. I'm sure my grandpa wrote some amazing things. I mean, he's been quoted in General Conference a bunch of times, so he must have known a thing or two. However, I know better than his worshipers how his family turned out, and I'm not impressed. Like I said, I don't even know that much about the guy. I'm sure he was great in a lot of ways. But there are other ways I happen to know he could have improved.
There are people who read his books like they have all the answers to all the mysteries in the scriptures. These people can quote a scripture to answer any question or relate to any situation. Anyone who can even understand what my grandpa wrote has got to be smart. These are good people. They do what they feel they need to in order to better understand the scriptures and the Gospel. However, these people can be hard to stomach sometimes.
If I'm being a jerk because I'm judging someone who doesn't deserve it (a known weakness of mine), I don't want to hear the exact chapter and verse where the scriptures tell me not to. I would much rather be chastised by seeing someone treat that person the way they deserve to be treated. Properly. Or even point out some good things about that person so I realize that I was being rash.
What I mean is that examples work better than lectures. Going out and living the Gospel is much more effective than just reading about it all the time. I'm not as smart or as awe-inspiring as my grandpa. I'm not as talented as my cousin or as witty as my aunt. Despite all that, I use what qualities I do have to live the best way I know how, and I think I usually do a pretty good job.