There's so much to say, but for today I'm going to keep it to a short summary of my trip yesterday:
I was fortunate to meet Donna of Ward Gossip and a few other couples yesterday at a meeting of post-mormons at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I'll admit I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and I think it took both my husband and I a moment to adjust.
Blood and flesh and bone and whatever people bitching about the church! In front of me! Weird! I see it online all the time, but I never ever ever see or hear it in person. Not with knowledgeable people. Insiders. People who are obviously hurting. I feel so alone here, which is the reason for this blog--but there are others out there. It's so good to know.
We met next to a Peet's Coffee (and a book store--oh how I wish we had time and money!) and then Donna broke out the champagne to toast one of the absent members, who, I believe, just welcomed a new baby into the world (thank you for the champagne, Donna!). Eric and I were the youngest as far as how long it has been since we've gone inactive.
It is incredibly sad and maddening what the church does to its disenchanted members. It robs people of things both physical and not. It turns adults into children.
...Well, it treats its adults like children so I suppose that isn't entirely surprising.
I especially liked that Eric was able to vent a little bit. I wasn't sure if he'd jump in or not, but he really enjoyed himself.
My children stayed, as you know, with my SIL and headed off to church with them. I wondered how they'd do--namely if they'd be excited about it or want to go back.
The verdict? Abbie was more thrilled about the snacks and having her hair straightened and being virtual twins with her cousin. Church, she said with exasperation, was "boring!" But more specifically primary.
Jason didn't say much. Joseph told us that he learned about Jesus and had cookies. I wanted to ask him what he thought about Jesus, but as he didn't take it any further, I left it alone. It was late and he fell asleep in the car about five seconds later anyway.
When I checked all my stuff on the computer later that night, I discovered an email from H (Glenn Beck lovin' tea parting...you get the idea). She taught Joseph's class and said that he is just such a polite and nice boy and I must be doing something right!
Now my more cynical side says "for an apostate?" but I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. She means well. It was a compliment. As insane and extremist and naive as she is, she does always mean well and has always tried to be respectful. Sometimes I think we're more alike than not and that's why we butt heads. What tickles me is how I saw her a few weeks ago at my niece's birthday party and she said "hi" and left me alone for the rest of the time she was there. I dunno. She followed my last blog and after a while told me she couldn't handle it anymore. Happens.
But! good trip. Great people. Eric got to see more of San Francisco than he's ever seen--I can't believe he's never been through Golden Gate Park. Now he wants to take the kids there. On the way back, we drove through the Castro District (it's not hard to realize you're in the Castro District OR Haight-Ashbury--not the people so much, but the plethora of rainbow flags). Also saw where a friend of mine works and wanted to stop by, but we were late as it was. Next time.
Oh--one last thing. I'm 99.999% sure SIL and her husband know we don't go to church anymore. Apparently they decided to look through old boxes of their son's old church suits and dressed up my boys in it. God, I miss my boys and my man in a suit. So handsome. Anyway, as we were leaving Jason asked if he could keep the suit. I double-checked with SIL's husband and he said "y'know, it doesn't matter to me. I don't know how often you'll use them, but I don't care." It was clear he knew we just don't have a regular need for church clothes.
They're very cool about it. One reason I wasn't sure if she knew is because, historically, when she's upset she wears it on her sleeve but won't talk about it. She's been nothing but normal lately.
I don't know how we lucked out. Especially after hearing some of the stories at the group. Everyone needs my in-laws as their family. Their silence makes me nervous sometimes, and I'm sure they think it's just a phase as they've seen so often in others, but I'm grateful to not have to experience what so many have to experience. It really is awful--abusive and hateful and totally antithetical to what these members claim to embrace. These member families and friends are scared. I saw and experienced some of that from my own family when I joined. Being scared doesn't justify it or make it easier by any means, but it explains it a little. I hope for all of you who experience abusive reactions that time will help to heal, or that at the very least you'll find family and friends of your own who will be a support to you that you need. What I've lost is nothing compared to what others are losing.
As much as I enjoyed myself at the meeting yesterday, it made me wonder if I need more of a Post-Christianity group. As far as I could tell, everyone there was a lifetime member. As much as I embraced and internalized teh gospel, I've always known something else. I may have never wanted to go back to that, I may still be scared of it, but I've always known there was a world outside the church. And, not to say it the way it'll sound, I've always had a bit of a mind of my own. That's something.
Religion turns adults into scared little kids. I'm done with that shit.