Showing posts with label mothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mothers. Show all posts

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Mormon Diaries

The Mormon Diaries traces the journey of the author Sophia L. Stone through her life as a Mormon woman to her eventual abandonment of Mormonism for a broader interpretation of Christianity.  Written as a challenge to write daily about the author’s life experiences and expanded into 28 chronological essays, this book explores the reality of being a woman within the confines of Mormonism.  As with all good memoirs, this story is about a journey, a period of time where the author challenges her thoughts and arrives at a new understanding. 
Stone details her life growing up in a Mormon family; the challenges and comforts of growing up in a religion that provides a complete road map to life.  As she writes “Everything important was drawn out for me through living prophets.  All I had to do was use the thick, black marker of my choices to trace the lightly penciled sentences that were written by those with authority, who’d lived longer and knew better about my life’s purpose.” 
Stone details the realities of life as a Mormon woman in a way that is very intimate and real.  She relates her anxiety surrounding her baptism and testimony, the challenges of finding the right husband, as well as the manner in which her identity became wrapped up in being the nurturer, at the cost of her own needs and desires.  There is a list of Mormon “Thou shalts” – starting with “Thou shalt keep the Sabbath day holy” and ending with “Thou shalt not doubt, ever” – that spans a full four pages and serves as a brilliant reminder of what the realities of living a Mormon life is like. 
The author also tackle the thorny issue of leaving the Mormon Church – the dismay and confusion of loved ones, the strain that her journey left on her marriage, the delicate navigation of religion with her children.  There is a deep thoughtfulness in this book, along with a lot of love for family and friends.  Towards the end, the author bears her new and expanded testimony:
“I believe God loves me and that he can save everyone.  I believe there’s light and goodness in all religions, in all traditions, and in all people.”  

Mormon Diaries is available on both Kindleand Nook for $0.99, as well as in paperback form for $8.99

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Mormon Mother's View On Gay Marriage

          My mother is a very quiet woman but also very true to her religious convictions.  She is always there in the background, doing what is expected of her.  My mother also possesses a very unusual blend of convictions; she is both a Mormon and a Democrat.  Once, she even hinted to possessing pro-choice leanings; she believes people should be given the freedom to make their own choices.  She dislikes Romney and always agreed with me when I grumbled about the authorities being a bunch of old white men that were out of touch with reality.  
          Now that I have left the Church, religion is a topic we rarely discuss; my mother clings to the belief that I left because church members offended me.  I don’t want to break her heart any more than I already have, so I try to keep quiet about the real reasons I left.  
          Last winter, during a trip home, my mother and I engaged in a rare conversation about the Mormon church.  Specifically, I mentioned the Church’s support of Proposition 8 and how hurt I was by their involvement in the matter.  My mother didn’t know what I was talking about, so I explained that Prop 8 was an initiative to ban gay marriage, which at the time had been legal in California.  The Mormon church had invested a lot of money and time into getting Prop 8 passed, to the heartbreak of many.  After I explained about Prop 8, my mother was quiet for a moment.
          And then, very gently, I decided to push just a little bit further.  I mentioned how upset I was when I discovered Joseph Smith had 33 wives.  I was in my mid-twenties when I found this out, in spite of a lifetime of learning about Joseph Smith.  I asked my mother if she had heard about Joseph’s other wives.  My mother admitted she had heard a little bit about the matter.  
          “But they were just spiritual wives.” my mother said.  “They weren’t real wives.”
          “Actually, no.”  I said.  “The evidence strongly supports the idea that they were actual wives.  And the thing is, about a third of his wives already had living husbands.”
          My mother was quiet for a moment, then smiled and looked at me.  “Well.” she said.  “I guess Joseph Smith’s unconventional marriages means that one day the Mormon Church will just have to support gay marriage.”