Friday, June 1, 2018

Cautionary Tale

My long overdue apology to family, friends, and others that left the LDS (Mormon) Church before I did.

I am sorry:

That I never once asked you why you left.

That I assumed you left because you had been offended by someone.

That I judged you as weak, void of The Spirit, turned by temptation, and incapable of enduring to the end.

That I managed to make your leaving all about me.

That I chose to believe the judgmental, condescending, ignorant, and sometimes mocking stories and explanations about you and why you left, told by other church members and leaders.

That I invented, shared, and even reveled in the telling of the judgmental, condescending, ignorant, and sometimes mocking stories and explanations about you and why you left.

That I cleared my conscience by promising myself that after we died, I would descend from my highest-level-of-glory mansion to visit you in the lesser-glory studio apartment you chose when you left.

That I believed you had ruined our (or your) family’s hopes for becoming an eternal family.

That I was grateful I wasn’t you.

That I watched the door hit your ass on the way out and sighed in relieved good riddance, never once considering that you might have been floundering in confusion, wrestling with grief, suffering in silence, and hating yourself (just like I was).

That I (ab)used you in talks and lessons and testimonies by using your story of apostasy as a cautionary tale.

That I assumed a lot about you, imagining that your life after leaving was nothing more than a crackling husk filled with sin, regret, suffering, and spiritual rot.

That I hid from you in grocery stores, in shopping malls, and in line at the bank, because if you’d seen me, you might have tried to convince me to leave too.

That I abandoned you, went on with my life, and forgot about you.

That I hated you for escaping what I could not.

That I believed your apostasy was a decision you made easily, without a fight, and for the sole purpose of living a sinful life.

That I had anything, no matter how small, to do with your leaving.

That I chose to listen to, sustain, and obey every word, command, and opinion said about you by a small gathering of old white men dressed in dark suits, complete strangers that had never met you, rather than listen to my own heart.

That in the end, you left rather than live another day drowning in conditional love.

That I didn’t leave with you.