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LDS Limbo
Page Two

Additional Information:

Emails and Notes: Names changed to protect the speakers anonymity.  Used by permission

A consideration of the space between being "A Couple" and being "Single"

An LDS perspective of Divorce.

 Click HERE for to download a PDF File.

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Marsha Steed

© 2004

 

 

The Five Facets From Page One:
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Return to MenuLosing "The Dream" ~ Emotional response

Return to MenuThe Grief Model ~ Intellectual processing

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Additional Information:

 

Emails and Notes: Names changed to protect the speakers anonymity.  Used by permission

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/21
08:18pm

I'd like to pose a question in the hopes that a serious discussion will ensue.

Do you feel that you received what you needed through your divorce, or had the resources to make it through? If so, what resources did you rely upon. If not, what would have assisted your transition from 'Married' to 'Single'? What were some of your initial fears and most pressing difficulties?

Please feel free to take this to mail, if you are more comfortable sharing that way. I am looking at some options with LDSSS (Social Services) and seeking to bridge the huge gap between being a "Married LDS" person, and a "Suddenly Single" LDS person. I'm more interested in that specific time in your life, than the Singles program already in place. It simply seems to me that there is this place where you are not really 'married' any longer, but neither are you yet 'single'. What are your thoughts?

M

 

Date:   08/21 08:55pm

Well I am in that vote now. I am going through a divorce. I have relied on my Heavenly Father, the gospel of Jesus Christ and my scriptures. My parents have been a big part of helping me cope as with the rest of my family. I was married for 5 years and he has threatend my life, my families and it is very scary each day. The transition has been hard but with help of family and friends it has been alot easier than most. I feel it would have been alot harder if there were children involved. I had children but they were my step. It was hard to leave, but as time when on it gets better. I am glad to be out of this situation because of how I lived in and through it. It is hard to try and find that single area again. As my divorce decree comes, I will be able to share with you more. But anyone who is in need of help, please feel free to ask me questions. I have been there and still am and would love any advice that anyone might want to give.

Thanks!!!!!

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22 12:49am

Thank you so much for sharing tenderly. If I may. . . In your 'process', do you feel that perhaps a group, within the confines of the church system and a 'safe' place to go and talk about things would be advantageous? How about a phone number you could call in your state, to learn about laws and what and HOW to take care of yourself and your rights and the things that you needed to do to begin the process of returning to yourself? Do you feel that you have enough support of people who understand? Would you like access to others who are in a similar place in their lives to talk with?

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Date:   08/21 10:47pm

I have lurked here, reading all of your wonderful posts, for a while but this is a subject that really touches a nerve..... so I will share. My husband and I had lived in this ward for 3 1/2 yrs, during which time he had been pretty inactive. When he moved out he went and told the Bishop that he was moving. Neither the Bishop or his counselors ever spoke to me to see how me or my children were doing. I only had home teachers for 2 of the 6 months I was separated, and I don't remember the last time I saw my visiting teacher. I don't want to sound bitter but, I felt totally abandoned by the ward. I had been Primary Pres., ward music chairman, I even led the music in Sacrament mtg. These leaders knew me. I thought they were my friends. It simply added another heartbreak to an already difficult time in my life. But......we learn and grow. I know that the reason I go to church is because I believe with all my heart that this is where I will find true happiness through the gospel of Jesus Christ, not because it's where my friends are . By the same token, I cannot blame another for my not going to church. How other people behave is of no consequense to how I behave. I realize that everybody gets caught up in their own life, me included. While no one likes to talk about divorce, I feel that there needs to be a system in place to make sure that those going through it are getting the support that they need.

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22
12:53am

There are people who try very hard to live what they believe and to sincerly help and be there for those who are in a place where they may need more than the once did, or will again. Your sharing is greatly appreciated, and the time you've taken to answer my question.

Do you think that if there was a place you could go that assured you that you could belong to a group of people in similar circumstance and stage of their process, that it would have made a difference? Would your trust and spirituality been assisted or supported as you regained your footing? Would a place where others could join together, perhaps on a week day once a week or every other week, have made a difference?

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Date:   08/22 12:30am

Though I dont think that one can ever be fully compensated in a divorce, I did my best to get what I would need to take care of my five children. I was given the house, which I had to sell and this helped a lot finacially for the next 6 years while I went back to college and earned a degree. After the house was sold, me and mine moved in with my parents. My dad was suffering from alzeheimers and my mom needed help caring for my dad.
Finacially, even with my intial assets, it has been a tough struggle but I'm still hanging in there.
The transition from being married to being single was hard too in that the sisters in the ward look at you much differently now and keep a guarded eye on their husbands. You quickly learn what being a third wheel is. I know that I felt so alone and even wonder to this very day after 9 years if that feeling of lonliness will ever leave me.
Hope this answers what you want

�S�

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22 12:57am

That will ever 'pay' for the pain that divorce causes.

I have felt some of the ways you described as well. I am honoured that you have replied with such intimate feelings and tender griefs. Do you think that if your bishop had a resource, and suggested that you attend a 'Single Again' group, that you would have been open to the idea? Would such a place that had information, perhaps a resourse to a massage therapist, and some concrete information on your particular situation would have made a big difference in how you handled things, or even how you felt about it to this day? Is there a way to help those who will be crossing the bridges you built, do so with less pain than you had to suffer?

Thank you again for your serious and graceful reply.

M

 

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Date:   08/22 07:57am

I know how you feel.

When the mother of my children left them, me and the church, the membership of our ward seemed to leave us as well. The sisters of the ward became quite antagonistic towards my children to the point my girls almost quit going to young women Tuesday night meetings. I asked them to go to opening exercises and then if they wanted to leave do so. They left after the open far more often then not but they continued to go to that part anyway. One young women leader walked up to my second oldest daughter and said �it must be hard living with a father that does not believe in love.� My daughters would come home quite upset after fast and testimony meetings because sisters would get up and speak of the love the sisters showed their family when they got a cold or the flu but our family did not receive any help through out the entire separation or divorce. No one of the Bishopric offered any help nor did we have any home teachers through out this period of time. Fact is there still are no home teachers coming over.

Still I think there is a plan in place, it is the one I taught my daughters about. We all have the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is real and it is the Comforter. I taught my daughters to seek their strength and support from their Father in Heaven not from flesh and blood. I taught them to cry unto their God at night and to sing praises to Him in the morning. I taught them to read the Book of Mormon daily and to ask their Father in Heaven for wisdom in their hardships and through the lessons of life. To refuse to dwell on the bad, even when we were out of food and I was a college student we refused to dwell on the bad. Turned out the college had a food program for the single parent students, we used it. I tried to teach my girls to see the Hand of God in their lives even when all was dark and dismal. Today one daughter is a RN another is four months away from becoming a RN and my third daughter is just entering training to become a RN. They are all active and strong in the gospel and we can honestly laugh about all the lessons we learned and the struggles we faced, I would never want to give this up. I would rather suffer hardships and horrors without the aid of flesh and blood if it meant I could and would grow closer to my Father in Heaven and become more like Him.

 

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22
01:30pm

As always, you express yourself with honour and a grace that many would do well to emulate. Your difficulties are of course not unknown, or unseen by the ONE who counts. You have learned many wonderful lessons, and as you mentioned, though the help is in place, sometimes it fails, for the Lord has chosen human's to assist him.

 

Do you think that perhaps if you had a phone number to call for resources, or a group to meet with to gain ideas from and to help as they floundered, would have made your walk different, or. . . do you think that it would be beneficial to others like yourself?

 

M

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 Date:   08/23 05:53am

The church has put together a wonderful program to help the un-employed there is a sixteen-hour course on career development. Once that course is completed they have a personal career coach program to help you. When I listened to the missionaries who run the program tell the ward about this program I thought to myself, �this is the gospel in action.�

I think when the Lord in His wisdom sets up a program like you wrote about it will greatly help those in need. Still I think there is a vast difference between masculine and feminine and that to be most effective in trauma assistance we as a church will need to address each in the unique way they need to be that they may come away stronger, empowered and more able to use their agency.

I think these type of programs are set up when the membership is ready to step up to the plate and fulfill the callings He will give them. So really I would suppose that it is we ourselves, (meaning the entire membership not just the single) who are impeding the needed blessings and helps singles need, therefore I choose to use the program which is harder to use but just as beneficial.

I hope and pray we do get to the point as a membership this type of program does become available but till then I hope those who need help turn to God trust in Him and not worry about how it could be. He is able, even if the membership and we are not. Oh and after all that I have gone through, I would rather have done it the without such helps as I learned so much about staying in the light even in the depths of despair and grief. I learned so much about trusting in my Father even when all things seemed to tell me it was foolish to trust in Him. I learned that I am redeemed and that I am so profoundly and deeply loved that I am at peace during the storms of the day. I think I had too often fled from my hand cart hardships and therefore never learn the marvellous lessons those who pulled the handcarts learned. In this one thing anyway, I pulled that stinking handcart and learned that with God I can do all things. Each of us is learning the same thing, we all can do all things With God, without Him we are nothing.


 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/23 06:56am

"I think when the Lord in His wisdom sets up a program like you wrote about it will greatly help those in need. Still I think there is a vast difference between masculine and feminine and that to be most effective in trauma assistance we as a church will need to address each in the unique way they need to be that they may come away stronger, empowered and more able to use their agency."

SO very well put. Perhaps it is the nudge that begins any new program or change in a current program. Whispers from those who it affects can be the Lord's urgings for adjustment and recognition from the inside.

I understand that some, looking back, are happy that they had their own personal 'handcart'. . . and yet. . . I still believe that an alternative must be possible to all those who simply ended up dying along the way, because of lack of adaquate assistance. Beautiful analogy btw.
M


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Date:   08/22 05:55am

Chantaclair, I haven't seen you online FOR AGES! ANd it's a great question!

Me personally? I was in that "limbo" from 1998 until the end of 2001. I couldn't FIND my ex-husband who was living in a foreign country and most of the attorneys wanted around $6,000 to take the case, which I didn't have. Due to my community service and "going the extra mile" in my job, my situation became news to the ears of an attorney who finally took the case pro-bono... at the same time I was able to find a former brother-in-law who made sure my ex signed the papers (on 9/11/01 to be sure)....although he never DID give me his address..
During that time, I felt lost... I was in such a limbo... people at church STILL think that I am married sometimes because I was always in "No man's land"... in the eyes of everyone I was "married"... and yet I wasn't; I was grieving, my children were grieving and I so much needed support. I escaped in work and in my second master's degree... and made it so that I would work on Sundays to not have to deal with church for quite a while.... I hated it when I would see the church records that had HIS NAME ON THEM as my husband.. and I would struggle when the bishop (who was also my father at the time) would tell me "but he is your husband"... and all I wanted to do was escape from some of the traumatic memories I had experienced and had fled the country we lived in for.....
I needed financial assistance, others to talk to who wouldn't blame me for running out of the marriage and the country, I needed to remember I was "visible" and alive... and not just the "bishop's daughter" who no one could relate to due to my weird marriage status and other things about me....

Professionally? I think what you are proposing is an EXCELLENT idea. I think support groups both during the process and after the process would be great... with some nice handbooks to go along with them and maybe some videos. We have these sorts of resources outside of the church, but they do not convey the same message as those inside the church, and I think it would be very beneficial. The whole idea of group therapy I personally think is THE answer to many of the issues endured by those during and after the process of the divorce. If you ever want to put another head together let me know, I'd love to bounce ideas with you... Also, you might try the AMCAP (Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists) website under the resources for some ideas, articles, and other types of things that might help... the site is www.amcap.net

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22
01:36pm

Your imput is heartfelt, honest and without rancor. What a gift. I don't know where this will go. I am however committed to doing what I can, to make it just a little better for anyone who has to walk the path that I walked. It is simply sad that as you mentioned. . a day and age when we have so MUCH information and potential for helping others, that there just isn't anything for this group of tender-hearted and vulnerable individuals.

Yes, we ought to draw closer to Father. It is imperative. Yes, we need to remain IN church, and spiritual, and yet the brass tacks of it is. . . it is very very difficult to live day in and day out with all the 'old' rules, when everything literally has changed for us. Sometimes overnight. It is like riding a tilt-a-wheel, and then suddenly stepping off into a spinning world where your footing seems unsteady no matter which part of the world you turn to.

I just may call on you. As it is, does anyone here mind if I use some of their comments (Without names) for my presentation? Email me if you wouldn't mind. . .

M

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Date:   08/22 01:39pm

I can so relate to all of these stories.
I did actually find a group, although I did not find it inside of the church. I was separated over 3 1/2 years. There are also online email groups for lds members going through divorce.

When I went to church, I felt I had to have a smile plastered on my face, as my ex attended the same ward, and I wasn't yet convinced the marriage wasn't salvageable. I was struggling with depression, and my bishop at the time gave very questionable counsel. I had recieved a blessing telling me I already knew what to do (leave), but I needed to wait for the right time....

In the meantime, I called a number I had found in the paper I had kept for 2 YEARS! It is called DivorceCare, it is a christian based universal program on healing and support for people who are either divorced, divorcing, or separated. It was put together by single, divorced, and married leaders of several different churches who were frustrated with the lack of love and support for divorced or divorcing members. Meetings were held in a local church, and it was the absolute best thing I could have done for myself during this time. They all knew I was lds, very supportive and loving, and in no way did I feel any different treatment from them because of it. In fact, only about 1/3 of the people there were members of that church, and I later discovered there were 4 of us lds members. That was 2 years ago, and I have some of my very dearest, closest friends from that group.

People in the ward were curious but standoffish, and I believe they didn't want to say or do anything offensive, so they didn't do anything. As time has gone on, and I'm divorced 8 months now, things have really improved because of much of the healing I was able to do. Besides this support group, I was able to write my stake president a letter giving full detail the counsel I had recieved and let him worry about that, my new bishop gave me a calling teaching RS that gave me more of an opportunity to be with the sisters in the ward and for them to really know who I am, and they have been so wonderful. I guess I was just as cautious as they were. I have become so much stronger, like Vit, and people can see that and appreciate it, and several sisters in the ward secretly struggling with severe marriage issues have come to me to confide in. The stake president has asked to meet with me several times to see how he can direct people in the stake, as far as support, lds counselling, etc.

It was horrible and lonely, but I can see soooo many blessings because of what I went through, and my testimony could never have grown without these experiences. If you want more info on the group, I can privately email it to you. Sorry that was sooo long! I just wanted to add that it would have been so much better if there had been the same support group offered through our faith.

 

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/22
01:58pm

 

Never be sorry for a letter so helpful and full of honest experience. I was both delighted and bound to every word. Your experience is *exactly* what I'm talking about. It works. There are other churches that see the need, and yet we, who know so much and care so deeply, do not have the system in place to care for this very specific and sadly growing part of our membership. I would love to have a copy of your letter to your stake pres. and any ideas at all that you have on the implimentation of such a group and perhaps the format that you used. Please do Email me. . .

 

Thank you so much again.

 

M

 

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Date:   08/22 04:10pm

Thank you for raising a very timely message. I have been seperated (now divorced) for 8 years yet I can still remember that period of time. I ended up losing most of my friends (you do find out who your true friends are) in my ward. The issue here was that no one knew what had happened (my daughter didn't need to hear the "dirty laundry"). I moved shortly to another ward and promptly dropped off into a black hole. No Home Teachers (I was staying with family for a few months), no calling (large ward) and I was in a state of depression/isolation. Without belaboring the details there were several occurrences that helped with the transition from married to single to being single and happy.

1. My Elders Quorum Presidency went out of their way to visit me and extend a hand of friendship (took awhile but was most hel;pful when it happened). They also assigned a gentleman who had been through a divorce to help me.
2. I was seeing a counselor through LDS Services who was incredible and has made a major difference in how I survived those years.
3. I had to take a hard look at myself and decide if I was going to "pick myself up by my bootstraps" and stay active, change and make the best of life for my daughter's sake (I wasn't the only one suffering).
4. I found a few singles (all non-members) who had made the transition through divorce (I looked for those who were Christian, had a good moral basis and seemed to have succeeded at the transition. Also provided a source of information on the legal side (still used a lawyer but thier insight was invaluable when setting up the legal issues)
5. I found a few others going through a divorce (again non-members) where I could go to unload and vent. (This process was not all that long but allowed me an outlet for the pain, anger and frustration I was feeling.

Notwithstanding all the above - the loneliness I felt was extensive and seemed at time unbearable (despite all the help from family and non-member friends). I would have welcomed a group (inside the church) where I could have gone for comfort, sustenance, support and friendship all within the guidelines of the gospel.

You mention that you are "working" with LDS social Services re: this kind of group. If so, please add some form of communication that will go to Bishops, Elder's Quorum/High Priest/Relief Society Presidents educating them on what is happening to LDS members going through a divorce. Based on the other posts, a tremendous amount of education needs to occur to help during this challenging time. Another great source of education is for those of us who have made the transition successfully, to teach our leaders (example and one-on-one discussion).

Sorry for the long message - Kudo's on a wonderful idea

 

 

I'll simply have to echo I. Sorry for length? Never ever when I'm the one questioning. The longer the better for me. I love depth and truly listening to what a person thinks and feels and has experienced. The quips may be humourous for a bit, but they are like eating appetizers your whole life.

 

Your comments are very helpful and extremely well said. There are many things that CAN be done, and one of them actually is a conduit or information phase that goes between the group and the individual and the leadership. I'm thinking almost a strong recommendation from a bishop for every divorcing couple to attend such a group for at least 3 - 5 sessions. I'm not entirely certain how it will work, but every time another person enters their honest and heartfelt experiences, I learn and refine. Keep those comments coming please!

 

M

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Personally, I loved the format that this group had, and would love to see it left pretty much the same if converted into LDS version. It would be so neat to have GA talks for the weekly topics to go over and base the personal work that week on.

Also forgot to mention that at different times, each person is assigned a 'partner' to check on the other person sometime during that week by phone or go out for pie or something....that was helpful also.

I just read the letter to my Stake Pres....it's pretty dry and mostly informative (I was pretty hurt at the time and wanted to leave emotions out of it). You're welcome to read it.....

Dear President D,
March 14, 2002

I would like to thank you for reaching out to offer me a listening ear and counsel the other week. I have been touched by the kindness you showed me-I can�t express how it felt to have a priesthood leader show love and concern even though you don�t personally know me.

As you know, I have had a very difficult time dealing with problems in my marriage. I have had other painful difficulties as well that didn�t feel right at the time to get into with you. I feel that these should be expressed to you, and it seemed more appropriate to do it in writing. I feel I have been carrying a burden that needs to be put in the Savior�s hands and this is part of that process to let it go. I hope it will be taken in that spirit, as I will try to state everything as accurately as I can.

While still new to this area and expecting a child, R let me know that he had inappropriate feelings/conduct with a female member of the ward whom he home taught, as well as a number of women throughout our marriage. He told me he did not love me, that he cared more for this �sister� than he did for me, that his actions toward me were based purely on my physical appearance. I was crushed and demanded that he be removed as the home teacher of this family. After 3 months, R still had not requested to be removed as this family�s home teacher. I decided to go to D E, Bishop of our ward. I told him about the situation and he told me he would see that the route was changed immediately, talk with R, and that there had been other problems-4 other women had also come to see him over innapropriate behavior on the part of the wife of this family. He told me that the behavior on both their parts was inappropriate. He encouraged me to make friends in the ward-and to avoid this family. He requested to talk w/ R and I together after he met privately with R. I agreed.

After meeting with Bishop E, R reported he had been told that this was normal male behavior. R felt validated and let me know that he had no plans on making any changes personally. He also told me the bishop encouraged him to stay close to this family, as they needed friends.

The Bishop then made an appointment to meet with us both at our house. He quoted marriage verses from the New Testament and proceeded to tell us that this was normal male behavior that he sometimes dealt with personally also. I was told the greater sin was on me for being angry and upset and he quoted scripture on forgiveness, and saying that the spiritual well being of the home and family was more the women�s responsibility and I was jeopardizing my family. He told me that he was very concerned to hear that R was sleeping on the couch and had not been �welcomed� in our bed and this was a very grave sin on my part. He said that I was putting R in a very delicate, difficult, and unfair position in remaining faithful and it would make it very difficult for him not to have an affair. I told him how R had told me that he was no longer attracted to me and was attracted to other women, and did not love me. The Bishop told me to �try to be attractive for him�, and suggested to R that he �try to find me attractive�.

R admitted that he did not find me attractive and felt that it was not necessary to treat me with kindness at those times. The Bishop reiterated that I not be angry and that he shouldn�t be kept from the bed. The greater sin was on my head for destroying the family. He requested to meet with us on a monthly basis and we both agreed. We had been in counseling for a few months at that point.

I did not hear from the Bishop after that. I felt such shame and despair over that meeting. I also felt horribly betrayed by both my husband and bishop. We ended up separating, and during that time, I came to see you, feeling I needed clarity on recieving a temple recommend while being separated from R. I had heard conflicting stories on that and felt that I needed to feel at ease on the subject before proceeding in getting my recommend. I did not feel I could share the separation with my bishop and did not want him to know. After feeling that I was ready to proceed with the interview process, I made an appointment with my bishop.

To my suprise, at the appointment, the bishop informed me that a ward member (a wife of our home teacher), had discovered that we were separated and shared that him, (believing it was her obligation because her husband was our home teacher). Bishop E said he did not feel comfortable giving me a recommend interview (because of the separation), and requested that he have a week to ponder it. I agreed. He also told Rt that he wanted one week to think about it before he proceeded giving me the interview. (I let him know that I had discussed it with you, my Stake President, thinking he might also want to discuss it with you before the interview first)

The next week, I saw you in the foyer and we made an appointment for your part (the Stake part) of the interview for Tuesday. I then went to meet with my bishop. He told me he had other meetings, that he had told me that he needed two weeks, not one. He suggested that he could meet me that evening , but that maybe we should just wait the second week so I would have more time to make babysitting arrangements. Well, I went home and R said that the bishop had also told him that he would meet with me in one week, not two. I remembered that I had made an appointment with you on Tuesday and needed that interview with the bishop before then. So I called Bishop E that afternoon and requested that he interview me that evening. He was obviously irritated and annoyed with me and admitted that he knew he had arranged to meet with me that day, but didn�t want to follow through, thus fabricating the story to delay me. I explained that I had already made an appointment with my Stake President for Tuesday. He became more agitated, not understanding why I had done such a thing and told me he didn�t think I should receive a recommend while separated. I also became upset and told him that he could meet with me that day as we had planned or not, but I would be keeping my appointment with my Stake President, regardless. He agreed to meet with me.

As you know, I recieved my recommend without any further upsets-that was Feb 2001. Going to the temple during this time has been more helpful than I can explain. I am planning on meeting with the bishop this Sunday at his request.

This has not just affected my marriage. I am reluctant to have a home teacher, as I have felt that the sacred role of home teaching and priesthood responsibility hasn�t been honored, either in my husband�s role or when the wife of our home teacher secretly went to the bishop, and in turn it affected my ability getting an interview for a temple recommend, and so on. I am reluctant to share information with my bishop, as well as go through any temple recommend interview with him, although I sustain him in his role as bishop of our ward.

In closing, I�m anxious to put all this behind me and not carry it with me any longer. I need to start healing the hurt feelings and let it go, and turn it over to you. I am grateful you�ve treated me with kindness and respect and that I am able to share this.

Thank you, L

 

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Date:   08/23 01:33am

You write so thoughtfully the truth of what it means to not know where we fit in at times. Our faith is so tied to the concept of saving 'families" and that "families are forever" that we often forget that the "GOSPEL OF CHRIST" is primarily about saving the individual. Except for the finality of the sealing ordinance, every step leading thereto is about one's relationship to God. Yet in a church inspired to lead us each careful in this path, we find ourselves at times seeming misfits and out of place. We sit in church spying others who are one with another and we feel mocked for our lonliness, or we fear the eye some septer squared to our condemnation for failing the first 9or second or third) time around. Our faith is truly for us, but we at times must struggle hard to find us a home within. Thankfully, Christ has made me feel welcome, even when I wasn't sure that some of his people did.

S is right, we so emphasise this family life that we have a difficult time finding acceptance as we pass from married to single and understand that it is a part of becoming married once again in a better and more eternal way! You and she have taught me much and enlightend us all ~L

 

Author: Chantaclair
Username: Chantaclair
Date:   08/23 06:50am

So very well put and beautifully expressed. Indeed it IS about the individual and their healing and learning where they fit into the plan of the Saviour. It is my desire to perhaps nudge the structure to include just a bit more support for that end, for a group I am learning is almost ignored. Not by appointment, simply because of a lack of information and truly a lack of knowing just WHAT to do with those who do not fit into current programs and norms.

I am blessed by your input. Thank you.

 

 

Date:   08/23 09:29am

It's not just divorce that puts a person in limbo from being married to being single. When one is widowed young you find yourself in the same situation. I was married for over 17 years when my husband a non-member was killed in an accident b/c of a drunk driver. It has been nearly 3 years sense his death and I am just starting to venture into dating. What I keep having to deal with is "how wounderfull it must be that you can do the temple work for your husband and be sealed as a family" as if that makes it all better, as if that makes it like we are still married and a family unit. When your still very much alone and your children with out a father, not even a weekend dad. The church seems to have very little understanding for individuals who suddenly find them selves single either b/c of divorce or death and the pain it brings and the feelings of not belonging b/c your not a family unit in the tradational sence. I know that there are single wards, and in UT they have them for singles over the age of 30. But ive been counseled that b/c my children live with me I may not attend a single ward that I have to stay in the family ward for my children, but that on occassion I can visit a single ward. It seems to me thtas very unfair b/c single mothers with there children cant attend a single ward but there ex spouse can, or vise versa. It seems to double the preassure "of becoming a family again" but denying one the oppertunitys of actually meeting some one. It would be nice if there was some sort of transition phase between married and to not married to being single.

 

ME - There are similarities, yet there are some very distinct things that are not emotional issues *(though there certainly are those)* but legalities as far as the church and its standards go. When a woman is a widow, she is legally and as far as the church goes, single. She can, if she wished, (Or widower of course) start dating immediately (though I'd not recommend it of course). A woman on the other hand, whose husband has walked out, is still married. Legally and as far as the church goes, she is married. Two years later, if the divorce isn't final, she is still. . . married. She can not attend singles conferences nor is she a part of the singles program. She is certainly NOT 'married', in that she can not attend (comfortably) married events, or any other social event where couples gather, yet neither can she attend any singles events or social situations. That leaves the man or woman who is in 'LDS limbo'. . . completely without any sort of social connections that are safe and within the bounds of the church. There is plenty outside of the gospel arena, but I'm not certain that is where we wish to send grieving, confused and shattered emotions.

 

This in no way lessens your loss, or your experiences. It is simply that I am targeting a very specific 'hole' that I have found in the 'system'. Does that make any sense? Much of what you say is right on the mark, and very appreciated. It is a gift that you posted so that I can share my thoughts on what I see as the difference as well. Thank you.

 

M

 

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Date: 10/11 12:24am

 

Hi Marsha,

So you decided to tackle the big one eh? I am curious as to how your work will turn out. There are two fundamental issues for me. The stigma of being divorced in the church. (Widowed has its own issues but seems to be more tolerable to members than divorced). And the stigma we place on ourselves as being failures and the associated loss of self esteem. It seems in our stake that there is little interest - if any- in ministering to the needs of the single members of the church. YSI - yes. 35 and over - forget it. Inactive rate - far too high. Lots of stories in this regard but not here - not now.

Good luck with your work.

 

 

 
 

 

Thinking back on your own pre-divorce past, M, did you ever have these thoughts about others in the church who were going through this?

No, however to qualify this. . . I don't know that I even KNEW anyone going through this. My little world was so tight, that the rumours were all I heard, and I rarely paid them much mind. I do recall one woman, and yes, my feelings towards her changed. No, I didn't think 'less' of her, but she did shift in my mind to another place. I think that is more true than not if we are honest with ourselves.

Did you ever worry about divorced women getting cozy with your husband?

Never. However, I am not the jealous kind. When I trust, I trust completely. I have however experienced woman literally stepping between me and their husband, and changing places in Sunday School to sit between me and their husband. That is just the fact of it.

Did you or those you know look down on those who were going through this?

Of course not. Then. . . I'm non-judgemental.

Is it possible that those who are going through the tragedy of divorce are amplifying their perceptions of how others see them because it is such a focal point of their own lives?

Absolutely. That is part of it. Your self-esteem is completely shattered. It takes a long while to rebuild that part of you. Everything is seen through a new paradigm. Doesn't make it less valid however.

And if so, how might one help someone who is going through this to feel more normal - like fellow citizens with the Saints and part of the household of God?

Truth? Read my paper. I gave lots of suggestions. :: winks :: I know you did. Just saying, that I know it is difficult for everyone. I know it is hard to know what to say or do. Sometimes, nothing is the 'right' thing. In a nut shell, I'd say that at first they ARE 'different' and not normal. We need to be treated with more compassion, yet not as wounded birds. I know it is a difficult balance. Then. . . there comes a time that we need to be 'back'. To have the tough time put behind, and no longer be a service project. I'm not certain what to tell you as far as a time frame, but for me, it was just around a year. I no longer wanted the bishop calling me every week to see how I was. I wanted to serve and simply be ME again, instead of the 'poor abandoned sister'. IF that makes any sense. I have many talents, and I needed to contribute on my own level and with my own unique gifts. So, what to do? Listen. Listen, then Listen some more. Use things like, "You are saying. . . . " and "Do you feel. . . " . . . and "I have no idea what you are going through but. . .". Skip the platitudes, skip the 'feel good' encouragement, and simply allow people to be human, and to hurt. It isn't that terrible of a thing, and eventually most of us will pull out of the abyss.
Thank you for asking. THAT, is more healing than any advice. Ask, then Listen.


 

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. .

Oct 18 �

 

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Hi Marsha...

Well, I wanted to wait to write when I had something profound to share about what you wrote, but I just don't!.....I was all teary as I read this, and have no idea what you could add to it...it was very touching and shares the practical realities that sometimes gets forgotten beyond the spiritual pain of a divorce...I thought it was very good you addressed that also. I think you are very inspired to be doing this, and I would love it if every church member could read this in the Ensign....REALLY! I really think when you're done and ready, you should submit it.

You have my permission to use whatever you'd like...and you can forward it to me at xxxxxxxxx
Have a wonderful day, my friend!

 

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Introducation and Main Thesis on Divorce - LDS Style


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