Saturday, December 18, 2010

Family hairitage

Since I started surfing the post-Mormon blog world the past few months, I've noticed most of them refer to the troubling history of polygamy, revelations and other events that occured early in the church's history.  But these things barely ruffle my feathers.  I just can't get up much indignation.  And then it occured to me why.  I am a died-in-the-wool-so-deep-it-will-never-fade Mormon.  I was raised steeped in church history because I am--drum roll-- a direct descendant of one of the main players in the founding of the church.  My maiden name is not Smith or Young but my great-great grandfather is all over that shit. 

Growing up, when my last name was mentioned most people rhymed it with something rude but anyone Mormon, well, they knew what it meant.  "Oh, are you related to That Dude?!"  "Why, yes, I am." His autobiography was always on the bookshelf.  Our geneology was done and had quite the story to tell.  I knew from a young age that he had a bajillion wives and was killed by his last wife's husband.  I knew which wife I was descended from.  My grandfather was a product of a polygamous marriage and raised in the Mexican colonies.  His mother had endured not one, but two polygamous marriages, after the church manifesto thingy banning it.  There's much, much more but you get the drift. This was my heritage, along with prematurely gray hair and excessive height. 

My family was orthodox Mormon to the nth degree.  My dad was never home because he was holding life-leaching callings in the church.  We were Devout Mormons.  I imagine this is kind of like the kids raised in polygamy now.  It's just how life is so they don't get what everyone is so upset about.  But let them grow up and take a closer look and they start to see that everyone's life isn't like that.

So what did get my garments in a twist?  It's what happens in the church NOW.  It started of course when my son uttered the words that he was gay.  It was like a sucker punch.  I did NOT see it coming.  (Okay, I'd seen a few hints--okay, a lot of hints--but was really slow to put the pieces together.  There were  no gay people in my family!  I didn't think I even knew any!)  I started to take a closer look at what my son had been hearing in church throughout his life.  A closer look at the how and why of  "same-sex attraction".  I started looking at the prevailing attitude of the members towards gays and even those PERCEIVED as gay. That's what knotted my knickers.   The rest is just garnish on my plate of apostasy.


  1. How interesting. Most people (or so it seems to me) who leave get pissed off about all the ugly suppressed history. They can't reconcile those nasty facts with the "wonderful organization" LDS dressed itself up to be today.

    But now that you mention it, when my daughter started asking me about polygamy and other sexist doctrines it forced me to take a hard look at the oppressive and bland future I was obediently grooming her for.

    I guess for me it was a combination of the two -- the realization I had been betrayed and the fact that the happiness of someone I loved deeply would be jeopardized by the cult.

    Excellent post.

  2. I'm still working through it all but at least my eyes are opened now.