June 12, 2018


Churches are always scary, unwelcoming places in my nightmares now. I had a dream last night that I was at my home ward. It was testimony meeting and I wanted to get up and say some things about how even though I resigned and I'm never coming back, I still love and respect the Mormons in my life. In the dream, I'm surrounded by family and my community. People I grew up with. It's a situation where I used to feel safe and loved and welcomed. And that's when it becomes a nightmare. When I try to bear my "testimony" of how I feel about everyone, they shut the mic off. I'm not even allowed up on the stand because they don't want to hear anything from someone who has left the church. Now I'm suddenly a criminal. An outcast. A heretic. An apostate. People are glaring at me. I'm alone in a crowd. It hurts. I've woken up crying from nightmares like this before. In some nightmares, I try to talk about why I left the church in a Sunday school class and I get shouted out of the room (sometimes I shout back and it just makes me feel worse), and other times I'm trying to have a heart to heart with someone close to me about how my beliefs have changed and they leave the room in disgust without even looking at me. It's been two years now since I resigned and even longer since I stopped going to church. The pain is easing up a little, but it's still there. Last night's nightmare didn't make me cry, but it still left me with feelings of hopeless grief. I heard an analogy the other day that I think explains this hopeless grief. The comparison goes like this: when I was leaving the church it felt like people were picking sides. Like they either had to pick me or the church. If this were a railroad problem, it felt like I was tied to one set of railroad tracks and Joseph Smith was tied to a different set of tracks, and if Mormons had to flip a switch to decide which one of us to save from being hit by a train, they would save Joseph Smith. Every time. I think that's why I keep having nightmares like this. It's been traumatic in real life to feel unwelcome in places where I used to feel safe, and to feel like people really don't care about me as much as they care about not rocking the boat when it comes to Mormonism. I think that trauma of losing community and feeling "thrown under the bus" (or train) is what keeps leaking into my dreams and making them nightmares. And who knows... Maybe someday I'll stop having these nightmares. Maybe someday I'll get to have those heart to heart conversations without always feeling like Joseph Smith is more important to Mormons than I am. Maybe someday being around Mormons won't make me feel like a heretic, alone in a crowd. But until there are significant changes made to Mormon culture, it doesn't feel like that day is ever going to come...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I never joined the church but went for a while and watched the temple videos on youtube. I had nightmares for 5 days. They only stopped when I cut out all things from this nonsense. I turned all their books in and cut off all communication with anything LDS related. Now happy and stress free. It can happen :-)