Friday, May 18, 2012


2008 was a pretty formative year for me, apparently. In a way, that year was the end of a whole phase of my life and the beginning of a new and completely different one. Two major things happened: I got married and I became a liberal.

I discovered politics in that year, and in finding my political identity I started losing friends. The first two were L, my roommate, and D, her older brother and a dear friend of a couple years. I still thought homosexuality was a sin back then, but I told them I didn't think BYU's new Honor Code statement was "in favor of homosexuality" simply because they changed the policy to say that only homosexual behavior, not attraction itself, would get you kicked out, and that made me their enemy. They said horrible things to me, called me "baby-killer" and "immoral," questioned my standing in the church and wrote incredibly offensive things to me on my blog. (Heard of Standard of Liberty? Their family. Run by their parents, and they actively participate.)

Next was B, with whom I'd always had a really friendly relationship. All of a sudden, over the space of a couple weeks, he started commenting on my political posts on Facebook, insulted my friends, told me progressives were "the cancer of America," and then announced that I was "a bad person" for disagreeing with him on the health care bill.

I don't really miss these friends, because the way they treated me was so unbelievably bad that no amount of good memories could cover it.

No, the problem is that my other friends are still friends with them. M, my best friend and room-roommate of three years, is also liberal (ish). She and I were always together in talking to D and L, and we would always talk to each other about how awful the things they were saying were. In fact, she still sends me messages sometimes telling me about some ridiculous insanity or other. But she's still friends with them. Like, good friends. She talks to them more than she talks to me.

Our other roommate, J, was also someone I was incredibly close to (she's the one I talked about here). I was just looking at her Facebook and saw that she'd been talking to D. This, on top of the things I wrote about in that post I just linked to, suddenly has me feeling that maybe... Maybe that phase of my life is just over. J used to tell me how much she loved having political discussions with me and seeing other perspectives. Ever since she got married she's gotten more and more conservative, and I don't feel like I can say something because she doesn't frame her thoughts in the form of a discussion—just says things like "President Obama lost my vote when he came out for gay marriage" and bears her testimony about how abortion should be illegal because a woman's body isn't her own, it's a gift from God.

So the point is that I don't really know if I see these friendships continuing into the future. We all live in different states now, none of us is especially good at keeping in touch long distance, and our political and religious beliefs are growing further and further apart. In fact, though they are already "concerned" about me because they read my blog, they don't even know the half of my disaffection with the LDS church, and I really don't know how they'll respond when they do. M I think would stick around even if she does mourn for me, but J... I don't know. I get the impression that her husband has a lot to do with her move to the right wing, and I won't be competition for that.

The real thing is that it bothers me that these women are still friends with people who treated me so horribly. It hurts, even three years later. I would absolutely not still be friends with someone who'd attacked my best friend's morals and called her a bad person. Am I just a better friend than they are? Do they like D and L and B better than they like me? Or is it just easier for them to maintain a relationship with people who aren't going against the grain of everything they've ever known? I think it's probably the last thing, but it doesn't really matter—they all come out to the same place. There's a big part of me right now that just wants to cut ties and move on. I'm never going to be a good Mormon girl again. They're both mothers now and I'll probably be childless until I'm 30. M is fairly liberal politically, but pretty conservative and orthodox church-wise. They were both born in Utah and aside from reading, we don't really have any hobbies in common anymore. They're still friendly with people who consider me an enemy of God. I just don't know how to work around that... Or if I have the energy to keep doing it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things to Keep

Several things conspired to bring about this post. 

(1) I tend to think about how I'll raise my future children a lot.
(2) Most of my cousins and friends are LDS and have kids, so my Pinterest feed is regularly flooded with things related to children and the church (sacrament meeting quiet books, scripture-story coloring books, Mr. T Mormonads, and printables, my goodness, when did these things become so popular?).
(3) I'm trying to get back to where I can see good things about the church—just for myself, and because I don't know what my status is going to be with the church right now as far as family goes.

So I saw the Mormonad and I laughed, because... Mr. T. But then I rolled my eyes at "choose the right" and was about to move on. And then I had a minor epiphany. If my kids are going to be involved with the church, I'm going to need to figure out which Mormon things I'm okay with and which I'm not. Modesty doctrine (the way Mormons do it)—not okay. Attitudes about homosexuality—not okay. "Follow the prophet", no; attitude toward politics (especially things like Prop 8 and the ERA), no.

But CTR—that's one I think I can use. It's a Mormon thing, yes, but the meaning isn't Mormon. My aversion to it is only because of my problems with the church right now, and I will of course teach my children to choose to do the right thing. What I teach them the right thing is will be different from the typical CTR definitions, but that's okay. They can wear the rings if they want, and that will be at least one thing they can have in common with the other kids. It will be at least one Mormon thing I don't hate, and it's the first to surface in my quest to remember the good things about the church.

This is progress for me, I think. This is encouraging.