Feeling emotions that don’t really seem to fit right now.
Shouldn’t I be elated? After all, just last week I reconciled with my son after 12 years of cutting him out of my life because he didn’t join Sound Doctrine with me.
You would think my heart would be happy and filled with joy, but the last few days have been strangely sad.
As I struggle to understand what is happening inside me I think back to my time in ministry back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I spent years teaching veteran wives and other victims of abuse about the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…and now I’m seeing the telltale signs in my own life.
Doing some research on the internet I found an article for people coming out of Mormonism and was amazed at the similarities with where I find myself.
This step involves recognizing abuse and the long-term effects. Mormons seem to have a wide range of emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual abuse. Some lived in highly dysfunctional abusive families, and the Church reinforced and doctrines provided justification. For others, their families were relatively functional, and the doctrines were slightly more flexible and open. Then there are those of us somewhere in between. Abuses caused by extended relatives, clergy, also cannot be ignored.
In any case, Mormon doctrine is designed to be taken seriously, and some of it is quite mind-twisting. Whatever level of trauma experienced, this is the phase of reconciliation to it.
Martin insists that for a proper recovery, the ex-cultist must have a good understanding of how they were manipulated. This is the purpose of this website. The thought reform causes alienation from the authentic self, so understanding how it was done will help one find their own lost soul.
The Church had the answers to everything, walled us off from the rest of the world, made the doctrine more important than our self, “broadly define[d] sin and narrowly define[d] human nature”, loaded our language to trap us in the “doctrine over self” paradigm, demanded purity, inflicted shame because we could not ever be truly pure, and this increased our dependency… Our only alternative, as repeated time and time again, was certain destruction.
At the end of stage one, Martin summarizes that the joy and rage (and other emotions) must be allowed to run their courses.
I guess I have to embrace the emotions that are coming and not be so surprised, but, as they say, allow them to run their courses.
Being a Type A personality who likes to solve problems and get things done, this is a hard place for me to be, but needful.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”