Circa 1970: Me at 23 after fleeing a Mormon fundamentalist cult in 1967

I’d rather be alone and unhappy
than unhappy in a church that squelches me
and no longer speaks to me.

Stephany Spencer

NOTE: The following blog is a heartfelt exhortion posted on Facebook by a cyberspace Ex-Mormon acquaintance. It’s followed by my response.

Bruce:
I am not alone. I am, though, lonely. Other extended-family members have left the faith of recent ancestors. Some by inactivity. Some by resignation. Some, like me, forcefully through the barbaric practice of excommunication.

Excommunication: Let’s pick the word apart. First, the definition:
ex·com·mu·ni·ca·tion/ˌekskəˌmyo͞onəˈkāSH(ə)n/noun: excommunication; plural noun:
Excommunication’s the action of officially excluding someone from participation in the sacraments and services of the Christian Church.
Example: “He appealed against the papal sentence of excommunication.”

So, being an excommunicant from the Mormon church, I cannot participate in services or sacraments of the Church. The Church has ceased to communicate with me.

Excommunication: Formerly communicated with. No longer communicated with. Whatever. BUT, does that mean, in my loss, that family members cannot communicate with me concerning the ever-present elephant in the room?

I’ve had a couple conversations with two of my children, at least more than briefly, regarding my excommunication. I appreciate this and hope these conversations won’t stop. But it has been a while.

One uncle and his eldest son have tried and that has been greatly appreciated. Aside from them, not one other family member has approached me (online or in person) to talk. No siblings. No extended family. Not in depth. Not with real intent.

Oh, wait. An attempt via a FB group was made but failed. No one seemed interested in what I had to say. Rather, I was too often “corrected” or misunderstood. I left it in a huff. Hurt. And yes, I am the one to judge. Having suffered this loss, I would know what it is that meets my need, right? Even the extensive conversation with a loving and knowledgeable uncle has been insufficient.

So what’s my point? Why am I whining? I don’t think I’m whining. I’m explaining. But I am also pointing out that, while not actively being shunned, I absolutely am being effectively shunned.

Excommunication doesn’t mean that. Look up the difference in definitions. I invite any of you to ask about excommunication. About how I feel. About what I think. Just show a little interest in me AND the other family members who, in different ways, are disaffected from the family faith. Stop shunning. It gets too damn lonely!

Here. E-mail. Text. Phone call. Letter. I couldn’t care less which method is used. Just pick one. Ultimately, I give thanks for a great and wonderful family! I wish, though, they’d not be so standoffish with me (I can only actually speak for myself). Just be real.

My response to Bruce’s deep-felt words:
Hi, Bruce :
I feel for you. I can well relate to your loneliness brought on by having left/ been excommunicated from your Mormon faith. It is a known fact that people who leave a cult or are shunned by a religious group end up living lives of loneliness—as I well know. My fanatic Mormon fundamentalist family has shunned me since 1967.

In their mind, the Scriptures say to avoid the very appearance of evil. And that when you turn your back on the truth, you join the devil’s side. In their mind, the Scriptures say to avoid the very appearance of evil. And when you turn your back on the truth, you join the devil’s side.

Therefore, these fanatic fundamentalists believe with all their heart that in order to serve the Lord they must avoid so-called apostates/people who have left “the truth”– must avoid them lest they too be tempted and lose their soul by having contact with those who have left the so-called truth.

I well know the ridiculousness of a lot of this thinking. But those who don’t want to lose their testimony of their “truth” choose to wear blinders and abide by these beliefs.

The 11th Commandment says those who haven’t suffered enough have the God-given right to suffer some more.

So my Mormon fundamentalist family suffers and suffers and suffers s’more—and turns off their rational thinking, all in an effort to not lose their testimony and end up wandering in the wilderness and facing the abyss, as I did for forty years till I finally found a new bliss/foundation to help support me in my she-heroe’s journey.

But nothing can ever take the place of lost family and friends — lost due to having come to see the world through a different window, then choosing to follow that new view, truth, and journey.

Even so, I would never return to the Mormon fundamentalist fold I was fortunate enough to finally escape! I would be turning my back on my new insights and awareness, for one thing, if I were to betray myself and return to that miserable Mormon lifestyle and beliefs.

I’d rather be miserable and lonely than miserable following a belief I know is wrong … for me.

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