An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Message from My Journal

Entries from a 19-year-old journal reveal why my non-Mo kids and I still harbor some resentment against the Church. This journal describes a time of life when I had a full time teaching job, was working on my masters’ degree, had four teens still at home, and was 2nd counselor in the YW presidency. Angst flames from the pages where I recorded my struggle to balance the demands on my time and energy:

This week has been wild. Tuesday I got home at 8 p.m. Said hello to the family for 10 minutes, ran to presidency meeting which started at 8:00. Got home after 10:30. George was asleep.

Wed. I got home at 4:00, spent an hour making a complex dessert for New Beginnings which left me no time to review my part on the program nor to prepare my part for the board meeting afterward. Was supposed to be at the church to set up at 5:00. Got there at 5:20. Left at 6:00. Gathered up more stuff for both meetings, ate a couple of bites of fish sticks and potato patty, changed my pants for a skirt—including nylons and short garments. The program started at 7:00.

 At 6:30 I started telling Aroo to get ready. She argued that she wasn’t going because she had a math test to study for and hates church. At 20 to 7, I ordered her to get ready. Lolly had to greet, so she left at 6:45. Right after, Aroo came up to do her hair and makeup. I told her there wasn’t time, I had to leave now. She sassed me and I smacked her rear with the back of the hair brush. She gave me a hostile look and sassed me again and I slapped her face and told her as long as she lived in my house, she would do as I said.

So she and Jaycee and I rushed off to New Beginnings. It was awful. I stood up to welcome the mothers and daughters to a wonderful spiritual evening of togetherness, looked at Aroo’s scowling face, and expected a bolt of lightning to strike me.

I’m sharing this incident because I suspect my situation was not and is not unique. Like many devoted Church members, I clearly wasn’t coping with my overloaded life. We couldn’t afford for me to quit my job, which I loved, and I sure didn’t want to give up my family. The only options to drop were my masters’ program or my YW calling. I loved my masters’ classes and was learning things to apply to my teaching. I did not enjoy working with adolescent girls. I’ve never been good at planning activities, decorating, and concocting fancy refreshments.

Even a pea brain could see my best choice was to drop the load I wasn’t enjoying—my church calling. Unfortunately, my brain had shrunk smaller than a pea. I had internalized all the lessons and talks about serving the Lord and never turning down a calling nor asking for a release. I struggled for two more years—to the detriment of my family—especially Aroo.

She is grown now and, I think, has forgiven me. If I knew back then what I know now, I would have realized that trying to fulfill a calling which was harmful to my family and myself was not fulfilling God’s purposes. Caring for my family and teaching my students was my way to serve God at that time.

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Comments on: "Message from My Journal" (2)

  1. My daughter could have written this, except that her girls aren’t teens yet. And you didn’t include Girl Scouts, sports, PTA and writing a dissertation. Right now her testimony is fairly strong but I see the telltale signs. At some point her extremely liberal views are going to push her over the edge. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

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