“I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with pain. “
James Baldwin, Notes of A Native Son
I alternate between using the terms ex-Mormon and post-Mormon. My use of these two terms is deliberate; I consider ex-Mormon to be an active recovery stage and post-Mormon as an indicator of a past history. Personally I alternate between being an ex-Mormon and a post-Mormon. Most of the time I am at peace with my Mormon past: in other words, I call myself a post-Mormon. Other times my Mormon past is a source of pain and anger: that’s when I call myself an ex-Mormon.
These past few weeks I have been firmly in the ex-Mormon camp. I don’t want to go into details, other than to say that I grew up in a pretty toxic family environment. Some of my family dysfunction I see echoed on a larger scale within Mormon culture. Other aspects I suspect are simply my own family’s dysfunction. Either way, the legacy into which I was born is not always an easy burden to bear. To be frank, sometimes it is a huge source of pain.
When I am struggling, my first emotional response is usually anger. Hanging on to anger is easier than dealing with the pain that comes after letting go of anger. On an intellectual level, I know I need to find a way to move past this recent flare-up of anger. Emotionally I don’t when or how that will happen. I suppose the path to recovery is different for everyone; I am still charting my own way.
One day this will pass. Even now, I recognize this fact. I am not my family. I am not a Mormon. I am not doomed to repeat the past. My path in life is my own to create.
I am still searching for resolution. One day I hope to find it. Until then, I suppose the most I can do is to try and get past this. And really, as ex-Mormons, that’s all we can do – search for resolution and in the meantime, live the best life we can.