Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Debasement of Saint Wanda

Mother's Day in the Mormon church is one of those really twisted experiences that fills many women with inadequacy and guilt, and others with gratitude and a spirit of reverence. Few of us measure up to the illusions of what a good Mormon mother should be so we find ourselves feeling worthless for our shortcomings and resentful of the expectations. I hated Mother's Day because in my own imagination and from the example set by my own mother, I'd never measure up. Now I'm not sure I want the mantle.

She's really all I claim she is. I'm not making this stuff up or exaggerating a bit. My mother is beautiful inside and out, truly the most compassionate and dutiful woman you'd ever hope to meet. The things she's done, given, accomplished, and helped in her life would fill volumes. If there's such thing as a Mormon Saint, my Mom would easily sit atop that pedestal with few that could top her service and sacrifice. I won't bore you with the lists but suffice it to say that this world will surely be a sadder place when she passes on.

One thing she did that is a bit complicated and haunting was to marry my father. He was one of the cruelest, most cold hearted, vindictive, and mean spirited men and thought nothing of exacting pain, both physically and emotionally on her, on us kids, and the people he met in life. When she met him he was nice enough looking but showed a cruel streak even then. Who knows what motivated a sweet pure innocent young woman at BYU in the 1950's to go for the smoking cussing philandering bad boy from the other side of the tracks. It was Sandy and Danny from "Grease" only Danny in this case did not have a sweet bone in his body.

My father had never been very active in the LDS church and had stopped going when he was about twelve years old. I recall some legend about his Priesthood leaders making an offhand comment about the shabbiness of his clothes and so my father walked out and except for a couple of very disastrous experiences never came back to church. He knocked up a local girl when he was still in High School and abandoned her, quit school and joined the Army. It was one of his friends that was dating my mother's roommate in college and they met on a blind date.

Mom didn't know about his child from another woman nor did she realize what she was getting into. Once in the middle of it she took the mandate from her own father, "You made this bed, now lie in it" and that sick part of her Manifest Destiny LDS woman's heart tried to make lemonade out of the lemons she bought. She'd said "Yes" to marriage and come hell or high water she was going to make good on the promise.

Mom and Dad were married on July 24, 1952 (I think) in NYC in the bishops office of a branch there in the city. Mom had come out to see Dad before he shipped off to Korea and they got married two or three days before he shipped out. In true Mormon fashion she was pregnant by the time he left. She dropped out of college and went to live with his parents in a little town in central Utah. She went into labor the day my father returned home from Korea and he arrived just hours before their first child, my oldest brother was born.

From there they moved to Texas and lived for a short while with my fathers older sister and her husband. Mom got pregnant again and from an account of my aunt, my father was very upset and beat my mother for her lack of care in preventing pregnancy.

They moved to Oregon where she had my second brother and then a few short months later she conceived my third brother but in the eighth month of pregnancy my father came home from work "in a mood" and was quite rough with her. She went into labor and delivered my third brother early. His lungs were not quite developed and he caught pneumonia. He lived six weeks but was in and out of the hospital and not doing well when he mysteriously died one night. My mother woke up early that morning to find my father near the crib with my brother stone cold grey dead. My mom screamed and my father apparently slapped her and told her to shut up because there was nothing that could be done. It was ruled a SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome death and they buried him a week later at a little cemetery in Central Utah.

Mom had two little boys to deal with and a marriage that was not going well so she must have just shut that part of her grief down so she could go on with life. Let the dead be dead I guess.

Back in Oregon they had two more boys and then they moved back to Utah when my father lost one job after another. While there she had my sister and then a month later got pregnant with me. I was born in Idaho and after a brief stay in Pocatello they moved back to Oregon where my youngest sister was born. Eight kids in eleven years.

In between all that was the poverty, abuse, misery, fear, and neglect that so often accompanies big LDS families and people that live on the fringes. Mom dealt with it with grace, dignity, and amazing resourcefulness. We were always poor but never dirty, ragged, or seen as low class.

The years drug on and the marriage did not improve. Dad became more abusive, neglectful, cruel and much more indigent as the years went by. When his abuse got so violent and frequent my brothers would try to intervene but he made short work out of their hides and they left home one after another to try to make a life for themselves away from his tantrums and violent rants.

We moved back to Utah when I was in the fifth grade and lived very much on the edge of extreme poverty and starvation for a few years. Mom worked really hard at several menial jobs and eventually got herself situated to go back to school and get her teaching degree. During those spare difficult years with my brothers gone our father began taking his rage and resentment on my sisters and me.
The beatings and emotional abuse increased until just the sound of his pickup truck would send my sisters and me to our knees and crawling out the back door with fear and into the field to hide till he left again. We knew better than to tell Mom because if she confronted him he'd only make things worse for her and we wanted her to finish school so she could get a good job and make a living and hopefully get rid of him once and for all.

Eventually we couldn't hide the bruises and abuse and she did finally confront him in her last semester of school. She made him leave but it was obvious to us that this decision was a painful choice on her part. She spent weeks with canker sores from the stress so thick in her mouth that she couldn't eat. She prayed, sought advice from the bishop, and tried every avenue to avoid divorce but it was finally the only thing she could choose given how awful and violent he'd become.

I very well remember the day  that she announced they were getting a divorce. Dad had been spending a lot of time in SLC with some of his lady friends and we seldom saw him. Mom had lost nearly 40 lbs. and looked very humiliated but still determined to finish school. She sat us girls down along with my fourth brother who was home from his mission and told us that she and Dad were getting a divorce. It was like when a really flaming gay person comes out to his friends. DUH!!! I remember feeling a little bit afraid but mostly incredibly joyful. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY!! Now we could go on with the business of healing our family and home and not live in constant fear all the time.
It took years to get the smell of his cigarettes out of the house but the worst was the lingering debt, the threats, the interference he tried to exact while Mom tried to put the pieces back together.

I was in 9th grade and I remember telling my group of sheltered LDS friends that my parents were getting a divorce. Not one of them had ever been through that. Not one. It was not only a novelty but a cultural shame, both on the parents and on the kids but my friends knew that my father was an abusive cruel man and were secretly glad for me, even though they dared not say so.

In my Mia Maid class we had a lesson on temple marriage. Of course this was the ultimate goal of every young LDS person, especially the young women. We were conditioned from infancy to plan for this eventuality and our scrapbooks, journals, and dreams were to be illustrated with our illusion of what this day was to be like. It "garnished our every thought", or so they told us it should. I had little to go on for a model for happy marriage so in my mind I hoped that day would be waaaaayyyy down the road and only if I were in a position to take care of myself so that I would never have to subject myself to the humiliations and deprivations my mother had suffered at the hands of my father.

One Sunday the Sunday School Teacher gave a lesson taken from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 which in part says:
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.
18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

I recall asking the teacher if my own mother who was NOT married to my father any longer and had never been sealed in the temple was then denied the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom and would be relegated to serving as an administering angel for eternity. The teacher confirmed that YES, my mother was not allowed all the blessings of heaven nor would her family remain intact in the eternities unless she re-married someone or was sealed to a worthy priesthood holder for time and all eternity in an LDS temple ceremony.

At fourteen years old this was a big blow and very painful to hear, especially after all the unjust garbage my mother had already endured. Now the church she loved and served her entire life was saying that she was not entitled to her family in the hereafter nor would she be anything more than a servant to some other family. This one lesson felt like a rough sliver under my skin, working it's way deeper and deeper into my heart and festering with the infection of resentment. The injustice of it galled me and I secretly loathed the church, the scriptures and especially Joseph Smith and God for creating such an arbitrary rule that only favored a Patriarchal order.

There are many inequities in the LDS doctrine and culture but the rules regarding the rights of women in the hereafter are really a bitter pill to swallow. According to the church we can never be free agents but we can be traded up between men. No matter how much we do, earn, learn, and accomplish in this life, how much we single-handedly raise our kids, we are still nothing without a man, any man to validate us. A twelve year old nose mining obnoxious little boy has more value and authority than any LDS woman. I came to resent every man in the church that believed his Priesthood and so called God Given authority justified his unrighteous dominion over me or the women in my family. It is a big chip to carry around in life and one that is all to easily knocked off.

For a few years after my parents divorced my sisters and I would tease and try to encourage our mother to date and re-marry. I recall hoping she'd meet someone nice that would treat her the way she deserved, that would honor her and become the father I'd never known. It was such a silly fantasy at the time but I so wanted to be part of an eternal family, for my siblings and mother to have the unity and promise of being together forever. I was taught to believe this was the ultimate reward for all of life's suffering and deprivations. The poverty, the pain, the shame and neglect would be over and we'd get to spend eternity together in love, peace, and happiness.

I remember driving with Mom to SLC for some event and my sisters and I would joke about finding Mom the perfect man. Even when the grand kids came they would join in on the game. One cute and endearing memory is of my niece and my daughter at about four or five years old promising Grandma that they'd pray for her to get a man for her to marry, "I'll buy you a big tall one!" my niece exclaimed.  We all wanted for her to have what she'd never had, the kind of man worthy of her goodness and beauty.

Mom might have dated a couple of times. She was very private about such things and fairly adamant that she would do her own looking if she was inclined. Mostly she was focused on her teaching job, making a living, building her own home, helping her grown kids and being available to her massive hoards of grand kids.

The years went by and the grand kids grew up only peripherally knowing our father. Most of the experiences with him were pretty negative and pathetic. I had decided early on not to allow my kids to have any experience with him at all because of the many reports of painful and humiliating conflict when my siblings would try to interact with him.

When my father died about six years ago my fourth brother called me on a Saturday morning to tell me that Dad had died in the night. I was at my desk working and I remember listening to the news and then the only response I could come up with was, "Hmm, well, do you need some money to help with expenses?" He responded, "Yes, if you can spare some. I'll be bringing him down in a casket for the funeral."  That was it. The biggest emotion I could conjure up for the man who sired my siblings and me was an obligation to help my brother with expenses. I'd mourned my fathers emotional death years before and he was little more than a stranger by then. I felt as ambivalent as if someone had notified me that Fidel Castro had died. In a way, it was the kindest thing my father had ever done. Now to bury him and with him any ugly memories or pain. As if that can be done.

My siblings and mother planned a respectable funeral at the church in the town my father grew up in in Central Utah. Mom paid for the casket and formalities from the mortuary as well as a good portion of the grave expenses. I'm not sure what she was intending but I think she considered it a shame and travesty to bury the father of her children in less than a fine casket and respectable funeral. My father had not stepped foot in an LDS church in nearly 40 years and yet they were happy to feign that he was one of them. The tithes of fifty or more offspring can soften the heart of any ol' bishop.

No one cried. It was a bit surreal and very much an obligatory ritual filled with the typical LDS stuff as well as some reminiscing by his only living brother. My father had married a woman named Ruth shortly after he and Mom divorced and she and her two sons from a previous marriage were there. I barely knew her and she'd proven quite daft in the head, not only for marrying my father but from the years of poverty, abuse, and mental cruelty that ensued afterward. She was idiotically stupid and prone to bizarre delusions that barely kept up with the delusions Dad had fed and nurtured in his years of schizophrenic narcissistic ranting and raving. I felt some pathos for her in losing the only man willing to put up with her but mostly just ambivalent pity.

I went to the funeral not out of any desire to pay respect to my father, but because I sincerely wanted to see my siblings and try to commune with them on a level beyond our shared pain and history. I looked at him in his casket, made up to look far more healthy and alive than he had his last years of life and almost happy in his stiffness and plastic makeup. The oddest feeling of finality came over me. "Good, he's really dead" I sighed.

Most of the weekend was spent joking, laughing, a little reminiscing and catching up on one anther's lives and families. Dad was mentioned as a sort of unifying person of interest, but few of us had good memories of him in life and little interest now that he was dead.

A few years later I was with my father's younger sisters and a cousin at a restaurant in Salt Lake City when my aunt mentioned that Mom was working on getting my father absolved from his sins and accepted back into the LDS church so that she could be sealed to him in the temple. I stopped mid bite unable to process the hideous thing she'd just said. "You're kidding aren't you?" I asked. "No, she's really determined that this is the only way she'll have her family in the eternities. She is going to petition the General Authorities so that Ted's work can be done and they can be sealed." 

At the time I was going through some of my own relationship problems and was in need of solace, comfort, and advice but when I would try to talk to my mother she only wanted to hear the good stuff, to deny any negative difficult realities and would actually tell me, "It's not our right to ask for what we want, but to take what we get and make the best of it."  I was so angry at her for her willingness to give over her rights to dignity, to a self esteem to justice or fairness in order to comply with a cold misogynistic mandate from the LDS men. And then to try to convince me to do likewise. I lashed out and rebuked her for the rumor I'd heard from my aunt.

I begged her to find anyone else, any man but my father to get sealed to if that's what she needed to placate her belief in the Celestial Family. I reasoned that if the old prophet Wilford Woodruff could claim a vision where the founding fathers had come to him and begged him to do their temple work, then she was entitled to seal herself to one of those noble men postumously and thereby earn herself a better place in heaven than with a louse like my father.  She insisted that the only person worthy of being father to her children was their original father, and that his salvation was a matter between him and God and not for us to judge.

I asked her how she could subject herself to such a humiliating low position to be sealed to the man who had beaten, starved, neglected, cheated on, and offended her so often in their twenty five year marriage. She said that I had exaggerated the problems and it wasn't really as awful as I had imagined. I asked her if I'd imagined the time he beat her so badly that she had to run away with us kids in tow, barefoot, without any gas, any money and no where to turn. I asked her if I'd imagined the time he held her face over a gas stove and burned her cheek because she was talking back to him. I asked her if I'd imagined that he'd terrorized us so brutally that my brothers had to leave home at sixteen just to escape his wrath.

Mom was defensive and quiet and tried to placate me with "It'll all be worked out in the millennium" and then to negate my own role in it by suggesting that it was not my problem or business anyway. This only drove the wedge deeper and I felt that festering resentment grow. My respect for her went down a few notches and I began to see how often she'd capitulated on so many things till she was nothing but a doormat for my father, my brothers, the church, and even sometimes me. Instead of bringing honor to herself she invited more abuse, more neglect, less respect. We agreed to disagree and did not bring it up to each other again. The anger sat under my skin though and I could not let it go.

A few years ago while at a family reunion my four brothers decided to regale the family with some happy reminiscences of our dead father. I could see that they were trying to do this at Mom's request, but also possibly to justify and balance their own heritage and role in the continued abuse and neglect of their own marriages and families. If they could absolve Ted, maybe they could absolve themselves. Not that their crimes measured his, but none of us got out of that childhood without some pretty nasty hangups and poor parenting models.

They told stories about our father as if they were remembering an old friend. A friend who beat, humiliated, threatened, and neglected them. The stories were horrific and my son and his wife and their cousins sat in a bit of freakish awe at what passed for the "GOOD" times. I felt my blood boil and even my two sisters were not amused by the stories. We had few good memories of our father and my brothers did not invite us to contribute to the charade. The grand kids laughed nervously at what passed for humor in their parents childhood.

The theme was, "He meant well but just didn't know how to show his love appropriately." Yeah, like that time he threatened to beat all of us with willow whips and frightened my brother so badly that he fainted. OHHH, that was sure funn-eeeee! But, but, but, he took us all out for burgers and root beer floats at A & W when he realized how much he'd scared us. See, that there proves what a good heart he had.

Mom sat in a sort of awkward happiness that some artificial goodness was able to be carefully gleaned from the horrors of our childhood. I seethed and cursed under my breath and was barely able to sit through it. The next day I was visibly upset and tried to put a little light on what had really happened when we were younger. Mom discounted my memories and dismissed me saying, "Oh Dana, you love to exaggerate and just look for the negative!" My siblings did not come to my defense there but privately my sister gave me the look that she knew what I knew. We knew. We all knew but Mom wanted the illusion of a happy cohesive family and we were obligated to give it to her. What a bully I'd be to deny her that in her old age with my rantings of REALITY. Who needs reality when the Celestial Kingdom is almost within ones grasp?

This year at the Family Reunion she drew my siblings and our spouses together for a family meeting and proudly announced that the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have finally been inspired to absolve our dead father because he's repented in heaven. The three quarters of a century of all her tithes, the tithes of my siblings and their children have purchased enough of our father's indulgences to pardon him from a lifetime of cruelty and shame. His Priesthood blessings are restored, he has come full circle and is ready to receive all that he neglected and denied in his earthly life. They've given her the approval and go ahead to be sealed to my father for time and all eternity. The blessed day is set for November 20th, 2010 in the Manti Temple. I will not be attending.

Now my mother can go to her grave with all the dots connected. Her duties completed, her humiliations over, and service counted. She won't have to be a servant to another man and his many wives because she is a Queen and Priestess in her own right. The FIRST wife of  xxxxxx, destined to be a Goddess as he creates world without end with her at the helm and sister wives to join them in eternal bliss. And my siblings? They're there too, dressed in white and blissful in eternal unity. Happy Day! All is Well!

We really ARE a Happy Fa Mi Leeee! (Note, this image is from a hilarious site called Awkward Family Photos. These are not my kin, but collectively we weigh the same).


Donna Banta said...

Dana, This is a brave and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing such personal and painful memories that will no doubt help others.

My mother divorced my father when I was a baby, and I was raised by my mom and grandparents. I've never met my dad, and have no idea if he's even still alive. Mom died at the age of 54. As a convert to Mormonism, I did the temple work for my mom and grandpa, thinking that if I couldn't be sealed to my mom, I could at least be sealed to my grandpa. The Dallas Temple president told me that the Brethren would only allow me to sealed to my father, because that was his "birthright" and to cheer me up offered, "Maybe your parents will get back together!" By the time Grandma died I had concluded how bogus it all was and spared her the humiliation of the whole temple experience. (Not sure if there's an afterlife, but if there is, I know she would never have let me live that down.)

The more I learn about Mormonism the more misogynistic it becomes. I'm sorry your family is going through this temple ordeal. Of course, you know it means nothing, other than some peace of mind to your mom. However, it pains me to think that her peace of mind comes with the belief that she will be spending an eternity with an abuser.

Great post, Dana. Glad to see you on here more!

Insana D said...

Thanks Donna. I plan to wrap this up before years end and then work on the editing side. My confidence is shaky at best so who knows where it will go. I need to get this out there though.

Sorry about your own experience and the surreal twisted culture we both survived. Imagine what a crappy thing that would be to have some distant family member bind you to someone you hated in life and you had to spend eternity with them.

The whole thing is so full of baloney. It's almost silly to be angry over it but it seems my siblings are determined to go along with relegating our mother to an eternity shackled to the man who debased her time and again. For Mormonism, this is the order of things.

If there is a Hell I hope to spend eternity there rather than in a made up unjust place like Mormon Heaven.

Anonymous said...

The need for some to conform to an impossible dream drives them to do foolish and stupid things while denying reality. Your mothers need to try and 'make it work' even after this life is no different than many who feel the guilt LDS Leadership hands out on a weekly basis. Your mother is denying reality and those who play along are as well. You can't change history though you can change the memory of what was real about it, as your family has done. I hope your mother and family find peace but doubt it will have anything to do with LDS leadership that is so crass.

Jenny said...

Dana....holy hell. I suppose that this is going to give your wonderful mother a sense of peace. Since in my opinion the LDS church is a cult, and the Temple is just a fairytale, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't mean anything that your Mother is going to seal herself up to this horrible man....I know it sticks in your craw, and it should. But we escaped Dana! Your mother didn't....but we did!!! Perhaps we can get our grandkids out also. Chin up kid.

Anonymous said...

Dana-Wow....just wow. I suppose there was a time and place that women were could not feel complete without the accompaniment of a man. The mormon church sure screws up some people. I feel sorry for your mother who never figure out that she was enough. Sadly, this sounds a lot like my husbands parents, although not mormons, but devoutly religious. Verbal, emotional and physical abuse. His siblings horror stories of their father with the same, kind of giddiness. I listen silently in horror. At my mother in law's funeral one of my father in law's brother's bent my ear about his brother, my husband's father, and how horrible he treated her. I think he used the word "door mat."

Thanks for sharing-FindingPeace

Insana D said...

Thanks for your comments Jenny and Finding Peace.

I wonder why my own mother would accept and even promote the very thing that made her life so miserable. She is first in line to promote the LDS lifestyle that subjects women to so much humiliation.

It would be one thing if she had been completely dependent on my father's income and gave in out of need for support but she also carried all the burdens of providing our income and food. My father made himself superfulous and yet she considered allowing him to siphon off her provisions as a "privelege".

The loss of respect has taken its toll on our relationship. It's so hard to find that place where I revered her. This thing shes about to do feels like if she were to gussy herself up and sell herself at a truckstop. I wish so much she would not do it.

Bonnie Blue Eyes said...

Dana - - what a heart-wrenching story. Your gift of writing shows through remarkably. You truly do have a gift, as I have followed your rants on Postmo, as well as Mormon Curtain. It saddens me to hear of your difficult childhood. If this is to become a book, I certainly want a copy. I enjoyed seeing you at the conference, and to see your happiness show through with that hunk of a man you're attached to. Cheers!!! Bonnie Blue Eyes (Shirley)
Since you asked for critiques, I did notice one minor grammatical error: you said "my sister and I", where it should have been "my sister and me".

Insana D said...

Thanks Bonnie Blue Eyes. Yes, my man is a hunk of burnin love and is very good to me. I feel very lucky to have such a supportive man in my life, especially after the dumb mistakes and foolish choices of my past.

Thanks for the tip about "my sister and I". I never knew when it was supposed to be I or me but when we'd say, "me and my sister" Mom always corrected us and said, "Your sister is mean?, you said Meand my sister". So I'll go back and fix that. Thankyou very much for the tip. I'll try to remember how it goes but often I'll remember it incorrectly and then correct my correction and second guess my corrected correction. In either case, I'll be incorrect. Is that correct?

Gwylym said...

All I can say is wow. I cannot even imagine growing up like that. I imagine you all know how Emma must have felt. Seeing your mom basically ignore all the abuse. My heart goes out to you and am looking forward to seeing you next week.

Insana D said...

I'm excited to meet you to William.

Funny that you mention Emma Smith. I don't doubt that she really loved Joseph and thought he was genuinely gifted or at least charming. I think my mother saw great potential in my father who was very clever and creative but seldom finished anything or accomplished anything of note other than siring eight kids.

It is not just an LDS thing but often I see women who will continue to stick with a sinking ship even when the top is under water and they'll be paddling and trying hold the ship up with their own body weight. If someone comes and says, "your ship is sinking" they'll feign that the messenger is really mean and negative and doesn't have the optomism to make a marriage work.

I wish respect wasn't so hard to win back once lost. It is getting more difficult to see my mother with the same reverence I once had.

Anonymous said...

Dana, thanks for sharing this.

Although I won't pretend to know how you feel, I survived an abusive childhood of my own. And I sit silently next to you: two silos of pain and resentment, wondering what the hell happened and why.

I am so sorry for all the horrible things you endured at the hands of your father. And even more so for the dismissiveness and pretension of your mother.

Thank you again for writing and sharing this.

Hang in there on Saturday. You'll be in my thoughts.
-Free At Last

Insana D said...

Thanks Free At Last. I think a lot of LDS people don't like to admit that there's all sorts of dysfunction and abuse going on in LDS families because it hints that the program, even if followed closely doesn't guarantee perfect families.

Many could say, "Well, the dad was bad, that's why that one didn't work" but even with loving parents theres still denial, abuse, emotional and physical pain. The Mormons don't have the key to happiness any more than any other group does.

As to the Saturday event, I'm thinking I'll go do something especially decadent and diversionary just to keep me from contemplating the actual ceremony and my siblings standing watch as my mom sadistically allows herself to be spiritually raped over and over again by the church she so loves. No doubt they'll all smile sweetly through the gritted teeth and tell her it was a holy and sanctified event. She's in the club now!! YEAH!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dana,
I ALWAYS enjoy what you write. You have a real gift for painting pictures with words and telling such entertaining stories. My heart goes out to you and your family. I really cannot pretend to say that I know how you feel, because I was lucky to have a father who was always there for us, humble, kind, patient, etc. Just the opposite of what some families have to endure. He was never in the big leadership positions in the church though, I figured he was passed over because he didn't have the ego for or the desire for all that patriarchal nonsense. When I hear stories like yours I consider myself lucky to have avoided all of that hell while growing up. I did have close friends who were somewhat terrorized by their fathers and saw first hand how tough it can be to survive for the wife and kids.
Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story. I loved it. You have an amazing gift.


Insana D said...

Thanks Balaam. I'm glad some folks are at least peeking at the blog. There are wonderful families out there with good parents that absolutely try to give their kids the best life possible. I think many of my siblings have tried to go beyond what we were raised with.

Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad this story is interesting to so many.

Teeny said...

OMG! That is the most disgusting thing I have read in a long time. Thanks for sharing!

Anon said...

I write about my father not giving me and my sisters the same opportunities that my brothers got. My brothers accuse me of holding lingering resentment, of not forgiving, of holding hatred. It is a good thing to remember things as they really were and to not worship the dead unrealistically. Change cannot happen if we forget the facts.

gary from alaska said...

My experience has been a little different. Drunkedness, divorce, and poverty also. But my parents were not LDS. I found the LDS church in 1969. I went on a mission. I married in the temple had 4 children. 3 married in the temple. Both boys went on missions. All four children endowed. I am retired now. Three children with college degrees. Two RN nurses. I am male.

Jean said...

I read it Dana. I felt it and even re-lived parts of it as it vomited out memories of my own life - family of origin and first marriage.
I'm old enough to be your mother and the things we were taught as young women in the UK, even as non-Mormons was that women belonged in the home.
GIRLS needed to be chaste so that a young man who may have previously lost his cherry, (all good experience for him) could proudly take you home to meet his mother.
Other reasons why GIRLS should not partake of the forbidden fruits of sexual activity were that she might become pregnant (obviously not the guy's fault).
She might catch a disease - from the guy who had previously lost his cherry I imagine.

Women who had those ideas drilled into their heads were full of fear and guilt and Saint Wanda is one of those women with the additional pressure regarding celestial marriage. The only things that were ours were our children and even they could not be ours in the CK if we had no man to take us there.

I'm so glad we are friends. Just love Saint Wanda for the rest of her life and I will call you Saint Dana - the Scandinavian Terrorist.

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