Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Fall From Grace

This story is being written as my attempt to make public my decision to separate myself from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to explain my thoughts and experiences that have led me down this path.

~My Childhood~
"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child he same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." ~ Mathew 18:1-4
My first experience with spirituality came at the age of 5 with the unexpected death of my baby brother Daniel. My brother was everything to me. From the day he was born we were inseparable. I remember hiding him when company came over because I didn’t want anyone to hold “my baby”. I remember the hours of peek-a-boo and funny faces; I would do anything just to make him smile. The best memories though were our mornings together. I would try so hard to let him sleep. I would sneak into his room telling myself that I would be very quiet and just watch him sleep and wait for him to wake on his own, but every morning I would find myself “accidently” coughing, sneezing, or clearing my throat and every morning Danny would wake up with that little mischievous smile of his lighting up his face. I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Capitan Kangaroo and I was convinced that Danny did also. He would sit in his car seat next to me smiling up at the screen while I snuck him bites of my breakfast and explained to him the inner workings and complicated story lines of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. My life was wonderful, I had all the love and security a child could ask for, and then came the morning of January 26th 1988. That was the morning that by brother didn’t wake up. All I remember of that morning are the sirens, the yelling, the tears and the confusion. I wanted to know why Danny wouldn’t wake up and watch cartoons with me, why Danny wasn’t smiling and why Danny was so cold. My mom crying on her bed handed me my brother for the last time and told me that I’d better say goodbye. I member kissing his cold little noise and yelling at the paramedics as they took him away.
Danny’s funeral was something out of a nightmare. It was pouring rain, the sky was black, the umbrellas were black and everywhere I looked people were cloaked in black. I will never forget the sound of my mother’s wailing as they lowered my brother into the ground, it will forever haunt me. I asked everyone where my brother had gone, when he would be coming home, and why those men had taken him away from me. The only answers I received were pity filled hugs followed by, “oh, your poor girl”. My question was finally answered by my grandmother as I sat next to her black cloaked figure as Danny’s casket was be lowered, “He’s in heaven sweetie, with Jesus”. Where’s heaven I asked? “Heaven is in the sky, past the clouds” my grandmother replied.
Over the next few years my parent’s marriage fell apart along with my mother’s sanity. I remember staying up at night listening to my parents yelling and breaking literally everything in our house. During those long and lonely nights I would write Danny letters and draw him pictures telling him how much I missed him and how badly I wanted him to come home. I didn’t know why Danny had chosen to visit heaven or how long he would be gone but I wanted him to know that I was down here waiting for his return. For the first few weeks I would save bits of my breakfast for him in my dresser drawer and draw pictures of what had happened on our shows that day so that he wouldn’t miss out on what was happening. I became obsessed with balloons. I would tie all my letters to Danny onto balloon strings and send them sailing towards heaven. I would pray to Jesus with all my heart begging him to please let Danny know that I loved and missed him and wanted him to come home now. The harsh reality came to me one night when I asked my drunk mother if Jesus was taking good care of Danny,” Jesus is cold hearted bastard who stole your brother from us, I never want to hear his name said in this house ever again”.
The rest of my childhood, if it can even be called that, seemed like one disaster after the next. The death of my brother seemed to have opened the gates of hell to be unleashed upon my family and myself. Throughout everything though I kept my brother with me, I carried him throughout all life’s up and downs and I never forgot who he was with. I received a copy of the bible from my grandmother and I read it every night, intrigued by the stories of whales and lions, floods and healings. And when I tucked the bible under by bed for the night I would pray….I prayed to Jesus, asking him to take good care of my brother and let him know that even though everyone else seemed to have forgotten him, I never would.

~My Baptism~
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs…” ~ Mosiah 24:14

I moved to Utah from California halfway through my 6th grade year. By this time in my childhood I had already been uprooted so many times that moving had become second nature and I knew to never make meaningful friendships because soon I would be moving on to the next place. Shortly after moving to Utah my mom took a job at a foster care agency. I loved hanging out and getting to know all the foster children. Looking back I think I took comfort in their horrific stories and lost childhoods, knowing for the first time that I wasn’t alone. The director of the foster care agency immediately became like family to us. All of us kids loved him so much; he was always taking us to movies, buying us presents, and letting us get away with things that out parents never would have. He was also my first experience with Mormonism. He was a returned missionary, a faithful temple goer and a revered primary teacher. I was so happy, I felt like I had a real family. Instantly I had tons of brothers and sisters and the dad I’d always wanted. However, it was not long before everything started falling apart. After only six months our family friend began molesting me. What started out as fun trips to the movies theater turned into a dark room where no one could see what he was doing to me. The presents that I used to cherish became items I resented with all my heart. I would cry whenever my mother would tell me that he was going to come and pick me up, silently pleading with her to not let me go. “I love you’s” turned into “If you tell anyone about this I’ll take you away and no one will ever find you” and “It’s either you or your sister, it’s your choice”. I became deeply depressed and self mutilation and pills were my only escape. I remember multiple times my mother telling me that I didn’t have to see him anymore but then the flowers would come and then the more extreme gifts, the jewelry, the vacations, and the new furniture. I knew in my heart that my mom knew what was going on, he would come into my room at night and stay for hours. When he would leave she would listen from the next room as I cried myself to sleep.
I stopped eating, I stopped talking, I literally stopped living. One day I couldn’t take it anymore and I told someone. A girl who I actually wasn’t very close friends with stopped me in the hall at school and told me that she was very worried about me. I started crying and eventually told her that I would tell her everything if she promised not to tell. I am forever indebted to that girl for going straight to the office and calling the police. My mother played the role of the shocked and mortified parent, holding me and crying, telling me that she was going to kill him. He kept trying to call me and see me so we had to move to a new house and I had to start yet another new school. It was there that I met the Mormon missionaries. It was horrific time in my life. I felt dirty, I hated myself and I didn’t want to live. I was dreading my court date, the day that I would have to testify and relive my abuse in front of the man that had perpetrated it. I had never been so scared in my life. The missionaries were wonderful to me. After the discussions they would stay for hours and let me cry on their shoulders. They would pray with me, ask Heavenly Father to be with me, heal me and protect me. I wasn’t alone anymore. I remember after the last lesson the missionaries asking me if I accepted the church, if I had prayed and knew it to be true. I had done everything they asked of me, I had prayed with all my heart, I wanted it to be true more than anything, but I had received no answer. The doctrine was hard for me to handle and the history was even harder. I didn’t like the idea of a man having more than one wife, why were all the leaders in the church men, didn’t Heavenly Father love all his children the same? One of my best friends was black, why was there a time that he couldn’t have the priesthood; I didn’t know that Heavenly Father even saw skin color. Why couldn’t I have the priesthood, didn’t Heavenly Father want me to have that protection too? I told the missionaries all my concerns; I told them that I didn’t have a testimony in Heavenly Father, only Jesus. I told them that I didn’t believe the bible or the Book of Mormon; I thought that they were just stores that taught us important lessons.
My court date was November 5th and they promised me that if I was baptized the Holy Spirit would be there to protect me and watch over me. They told me that if I was baptized I could be with my brother again and live with him forever. I was baptized on October 31st 2006, 5 days before I confronted my tormentor. The missionaries went with me to the court house and waited outside with me until it was my turn to testify. They prayed with me and held me as I cried. That day I learned that I was not the only girl who had been hurt by him. Not only was I testifying, but 3 girls from the foster care agency were also sharing their stories, stories that sounded identical to mine.

~My New Life~

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Life seemed to have a lot of crap to throw at me but on occasion, when I was least expecting it, it threw a gem. I met the love of my life on September 3rd 1996. In a weird twist of fate we happened to have all 7 of our classes in school together, lived across the street from each other and most importantly, we both needed a friend. From the moment we met we were inseparable. We shared things with each other that we’d never had the courage to tell another living soul. We shared fears, Dawson believing that he caused his mother’s cancer, me believing that I had deserved to be abused. We shared our hopes and dreams for the future and as we became closer and closer those hopes and dreams merged and intertwined, becoming impossible to untangle.
I don’t know if Dawson or I would have made it through our teenage years without one another. Soon after meeting Dawson my step-father, perhaps figuring that I was already used goods, also started abusing me. My mother continued in her downward spiral, becoming addicted to prescription drugs, leaving me for days at a time in charge of my 4 younger siblings while she gambled away our life, and becoming more mentally ill by the day. Dawson was my saving grace. He would sneak into my room at night pushing back the demons that I knew waited outside my door. We talked of running away together, changing our names and starting a new life for ourselves. Dawson’s mom became my mom; she was everything I always wanted a mother to be. I remember ditching school to spend the day with her. We would tell stories, watch movies and eat the candy that she had stashed throughout the house. I loved her more than I’d ever loved anyone in my life. She knew my family and she was my soft place to fall, I had never had that before. As time went by Dawson’s mom grew sicker, her long lived battle with cancer finally coming to its end. I was losing my battle also. I wanted so badly to protect my sisters, to always be there for them. I wanted to protect my mother, not from the outside world but from herself, but the abuse was getting worse and I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I knew from the moment I met Dawson that I wanted to be with him forever. We spent every moment we could together, skipping school, sneaking out in the middle of the night, even running away a few times and retuning home only to find police setup at my house to search for us. Dawson and I had a special tree, our secret meeting spot where we would plan our future getaways and meet in times of emergency. I still visit that tree from time to time; it will always hold a special place in my heart. It was under that tree that we came to the conclusion that the only way our parents would ever agree to let us get married would be if I became pregnant. We had been begging for years with no success but I couldn’t keep my secret for too much longer and I knew that when it came out I would have to leave home. Acting on our plans we decided to give in to the desires that drove our young bodies and hearts with such intense passion. It was in this inferno of love and devotion that our first child, Shem, was conceived. It goes without saying that when my pregnancy came to light both sets of parents were furious. My mother pushed for us to be married immediately, and Dawson’s mother grudgingly concurred. Not everyone was convinced of the prudence of such an action, however: Dawson’s father put his foot down and forbid his wife from giving her consent for us to be wed. I was devastated. What I did next though changed my life forever. I still don’t know what drove me to do it; maybe it was courage, maybe pregnancy hormones or maybe a bout of temporary insanity. I remember this part like it was yesterday though, my mother was outside smoking her morning cigarette, I walked right up to her and said, “Dad has been molesting me for years, I just thought that you should know that”. With that I turned and walked away to shouts of “You lying bitch, I always knew you were a little slut”. I packed my things as she threw them at me and finally escaped with 3 black garbage bags, a slap across the face, and the joy of knowing that this was her problem now. She was going to have to live with herself everyday for the rest of her miserable existence, but I didn’t, I was free to live my own life now.
As I sat on the side of the road 8 months pregnant and nowhere to go I began to cry. I cried because I was free, I cried because I had betrayed my sisters and left them with a monster, I cried for my baby and the life I couldn’t give him, and I cried because like so many times in my life, I was alone. I went the only place I felt safe. Dawson’s mother took me in like I was her own child. She made me tea, comforted me, fed me and held me over the next few days as what I had just done actually sank in. She became my greatest ally and signed the paper allowing Dawson and I to be married.
We were married on March 12th 1999, just two and a half weeks before our first child was born. I had never been happier. I was starting a new life for myself and my child. I was going to put everything behind me as if it had never happened; this was the first day of my new life. Dawson and I struggled in our little studio apartment, we were 16 years old with a newborn baby and an hourly wage of $6.50, but we were in love with each other and we were a family. A couple of months after our wedding I became pregnant with my second child and Dawson’s mother became very ill. During the last few months of her life I came to love her even more if that’s possible. Dawson was working what felt like 24/7 and Dawson’s mother and I spent every day together. I knew that we didn’t have long so I asked her everything I could think of. I wanted to know the story of her life and ask her a lifetimes worth of advice about marriage, raising children, and all the things I’d never been able to ask my mother.
My mother-in-law’s health failed more and more each day and it was decided that she should receive a priesthood blessing. The family met at her father’s house where Dawson’s dad, a member of the steak presidency, and grandfather, a temple sealer, anointed her head with oil and gave her a blessing. In this blessing she was promised a full recovery from her cancer and a long and happy life. This was not the case however. The chemo stopped working and her organs began to fail her. My daughter Emma was born on March 12th 2000, on my one year wedding anniversary. Dawson’s mother and I would lie in bed taking turns holding her and singing her lullabies. She told me that one of her greatest wishes was to see Dawson and I sealed in the temple before she passed away and so that became my greatest wish as well. We had originally wanted to be sealed on out two year wedding anniversary but we moved it up due to her worsening condition. We were scheduled to be sealed on September 1st 2000 but she passed away on August 5th 2000. I will never forget her last few days; I will cherish them in my heart forever. As she slowly slipped into a coma her tiny hand would hold ours as she shared her love for us and reassured us over and over that she wasn’t afraid, she was ready for death. When she left this world she was surrounded by her family just the way she would have wanted and although I was glad to finally see an end to her horrendous suffering I knew that I had just lost the only mother I had ever had.

~My Temple Marriage~
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as you’re Father which is in heaven is perfect.”~ Matthew 5:48
In early September Dawson and I were sealed with our children in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. The escort that I had always dreamed of having at my side had died just less than a month previous and so it was with great sadness that I went it alone. As is the nature of the temple there was only so much of the proceedings that could be explained to me before hand, so it was with meager preparation that I was washed and anointed, took out my endowments and was sealed. This was a very overwhelming experience for me. I left the temple that day filled with confusion and questions gone unanswered. Why must I veil myself? Why am I given a new name for only my husband to know but then I am not allowed to know his? Why must I be married to make it to the Celestial Kingdom? Why did I promise to hearken unto my husband while he hearkens directly unto God? Why all these signs, handshakes, and secret sayings? Why does a temple worker representing God take the men through the veil but then I need my husband to cross through? Why is there this separation between God and myself? Why are we still practicing polygamy? After being sealed I only returned to the temple three times. On my last visit I went to the office of the temple president with my list of questions and a sense of mounting anxiety and dread. I remember leaving his office knowing that I would never return.
I felt like I was living a lie. I was like an outsider, an intruder, a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I wanted so badly to fit in, to be like the other Mormon wives and mothers. I learned to cook, I stayed home with the kids, I cleaned the house, I delivered cookies to the neighbors, hell I even learned to can! But none of it seemed to work. I wanted to go back to school, I yearned for deep philosophical conversations, and I dreamed of evils such as coffee and personal opinions. This wasn’t me. I didn’t believe these things, I didn’t want to live this way, I hated this life. I became depressed and obsessed with “worthiness”. Was I worthy to take the sacrament? Was I worthy to attend the temple? Was I worthy of priesthood blessing? Some of us are worthy, we’re worthy to take the sacrament, attend the temple and receive the blessings of the priesthood, but others of us are not. I didn’t understand why it was the leaders of the church who judged my worthiness and not Heavenly Father. I was taught of God’s love yet I feared his disapproval and the withdrawal of his spirit. As I was fraught with my shame Dawson was struggling with demons of his own. He began to question his beliefs and struggled with his own feelings of unworthiness. Years of conformity and pressure had led to secret addictions, lies and depression. Trying to live up to unattainable levels of perfection can only lead to disappointment in oneself.
I was suffocating. The ankle length skirts and modest cloths, the sacrifices I made in the name of the Lord, my obedience to laws and commandments that didn’t make sense, the obsession with outward appearances, hair length, piercings, tattoos, our bodies as temples, the garments that clung to me, the covering of sexuality, the careful avoidance of even the appearance of evil, I was losing myself. When I looked in the mirror not only did I not recognize the women staring back at me but I also knew I despised her.

~My Fall~
“By their fruits ye shall know them” ~ Mathew 7:20
I was told over and over again, “It’s just the people; don’t judge the church by its members”, but of all the contradictions and confusions I’ve faced with the Mormon Church, none have been greater than the differences between Christ’s teachings and the LDS people who follow them. When we look back on the life of Jesus Christ, his teachings, his lessons, his sermons, and the example he left for us to follow they all come down to a few very basic principles. Renounce war and proclaim peace. Turn from evil; do good, seek peace; pursue it. Do not return evil for evil. Love your enemies; bless those who persecute you. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Don’t judge others. These are beautiful lessons that I believe in with all my heart. I asked myself then, “Why isn’t my church upholding these most basic of beliefs”? Why is my church spending billions of dollars fighting gay marriage, trying to take away women’s rights, building elaborate temples, malls and even condos while failing to take a stand against war, genocide, poverty, and oppression? Why is my church teaching me to obey the government and the laws of the land even when the government and the laws are corrupt? Why is my church determining “worthiness” when supposedly only the Lord knows what’s really in our hearts and he alone is our judge? Why did my church judge people by their skin color? Why am I asked to follow a fallible prophet? Why can’t I hold any real leadership roles in my own church just because of my gender?
In my search for answers I asked many of these very questions to numerous people but I always got the same kind of answers, “Heavenly Father has not seen fit to explain himself” and “It’s all part of Heavenly Fathers plan”. These answers seemed more like excuses; and as I pressed these issues in search of some guidance and clarification, when I decided not to follow blindly, members began to invalidate my questions by stating that I had lost my faith in Heavenly Father. As I had no one left to turn to for answers to my doubts and problems I decided to go back to square one and follow the advice of the apostle James when he said “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” I began to fast and to pray in earnest that God would comfort me and help me to know if the church was true. As was the case when I was 13 and taking the missionary discussions, pray as I might, I received no promptings from the spirit, so I began to examine my faith to uncover what it was that I did have a testimony in. I believe that we are our brother’s keeper, that it should be our steadfast goal to create a world free from poverty and discrimination, I believe that as human beings we are born equal and free with certain inalienable rights that can never be taken from us. I do not believe that God discriminates between men and women, giving women an inferior role to men simply based on the anatomy that he gave them, I do not believe that God cares one iota about race and I do not believe that he would withhold his blessings from any of his children based on the color of their skin.
I believe that Christians should seek to emulate Christ and embody his teachings. As most 8 year old's could tell us Christ’s teachings were based on the principles of love and forgiveness: he taught us to proclaim peace, to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek. For this reason it is my belief that Christians must, by their very nature, be pacifists and humanitarians. That LDS church has yet to speak out against the Iraq war; this is confusing and appalling to me. Why the church is not at the forefront of raising awareness and aid for the daily suffering of men, women and children across the globe is beyond my understanding. I could understand why the church would choose to keep themselves from making political stands, however as was made clear to the world with Proposition 8, the church seems to have no qualms about taking a very strong political stand on matters it deems important. I do not understand how God’s true church can care so much about the social recognition of gay marriage and not at all about the abundance of wars, poverty and genocide in every nation on earth. I say that I believe these things because I do not know them, no one can know for certain that their opinions are true. It has always bothered me that the language that LDS children are taught is to say that they “know this church is true”, that they “know Joseph Smith was a true prophet” etc. No person can know for sure that God exists or in what form he/she exists, no matter how many times people bear their testimony that they know these things it cannot change the fact that they do not know any of it without a doubt. These are beliefs, nothing more no matter how strongly we believe in them. Aristotle once said - "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." You can hold onto your beliefs, while at the same time listening to different beliefs and researching historical facts. People who do not believe strongly enough in their beliefs fear the unknown. They fear hearing something that may make themselves question the way they currently believe. They fear what is known as "cognitive dissonance", this is the filtering of information that conflicts with what one already believes, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce what one already believes. As human beings we make this mistake in all aspects of our lives, from religion to politics to science to everyday life. In my opinion this prevents us from growing, from developing our self and from learning from the world around us.
It seems to me that there is no one true religion that the purpose of religion is to bring us closer to God, to make us strive to be better people. As human beings we long for spirituality, we need to feel that there’s a greater purpose to our lives, and most importantly we need to know what happens to us after death. Our greatest fear as human beings is that we’ll disappear, that after we leave this earth there will be nothing left of us, that it will be as if we were never here. We need to know that there’s something more, that we will continue on our journey, and that we will be with our loved ones again. Most of human kind needs these reassurances and so we create them. We need religion as a moral compass, the help us distinguish between right and wrong, and give direction to our lives. We humans go through the same biological functions as other animals yet we are considered different and more superior than all of them. We claim this because we have the unique faculty to understand that we humans have a mission or purpose in life other than to just exist, procreate and die as other living beings do. This mission is provided to us by religion. It gives meaning to the life of human beings. Religion tells what human beings are to achieve besides just completing the biological cycle as Homo Sapiens. I believe that in many instances religion has done more harm than good. When we come to believe we are God’s chosen people, that we are blessed above all others, that we are the only ones who have the truth, we separate ourselves from the rest of the world. In modern times we have mastered this art of separation and we use it to justify the most heinous of crimes against humanity. If people in other countries are starving, being murdered, raped and repressed it’s because they don’t have Christ’s gospel or maybe they are being punished for past transgressions. Religion also keeps us so focused on the eternities that we are more willing to tolerate the suffering of our fellow man, as this life is only a momentary state in the great scheme of things. Our penchant for separating ourselves from our problems is not simply a religious problem. I strongly believe that if people were forced to kill their own meat the vast majority of people would be vegetarians. Similarly I think that if people were faced with the grim realities of war instead of the clean PG version we see on television, war would become a thing of the past. If people were shown the impoverishment, suffering and economic destruction our capitalistic society has led to across the globe far fewer individuals would be so eager to embrace Wal-Mart and the high cost of low prices. Ultimately this willingness to turn a blind eye on the grave costs of our way of life could well lead to our societies downfall, on the other hand I believe that when mankind is able to stare reality full in the face – without the crutch of justifications and euphemisms – we will finally be able to create true, lasting, powerful change in the world.

~My Path~
"Be the change you want to see in the world" ~ Gandhi
I long for an open mind and new ideas. I yearn for an understanding of the nature of all living things. I pray for a connectedness with the natural world that I may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life. I strive to heal the hurts that I have inflicted on nature and control my greed for material things, knowing that my actions harm our natural world and the future of my children. I want nothing more than to value each and every human being for who they are, recognizing the unique spirit that’s within them and knowing the power of each individual to change the world. I long for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery, hunger, sickness, and an utter loss of hope. I pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labor, and prostitution. I pray for those who are forced to fight, kill, and torture their fellow human beings. I cry for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and mind. I cry for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to unkind and alien places due to war or because of the utter destruction of their environment. I detest the suffering of animals everywhere. I look forward to an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, factory farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abuse by pet owners, and all forms of exploitation. I look to the future, to an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals. For an end to bullying and torture in all it’s many forms. I pray that I may learn the peace that comes with forgiveness and the strength that one gains from loving. I wish to learn to never take anything for granted in this life, to learn to see and understand with my heart, and rejoice in my being. I pray for humility, hope, the ability to create, triumph of the human spirit and above all, peace.
I am a product of my life experiences. I have become the person that I am today because my environment shaped me, influenced me and molded me. I am not saying that the LDS church is not true; I am saying that it’s not for me. I spent the majority of my life living with secrets, being oppressed, and feeling like I had no way out. I longed for freedom and the right to make my own decisions. I don’t need a prophet to tell me what I should be doing. I don’t need secret temple ceremonies and knowing that I’m one of God’s chosen people to feel accepted and loved. I don’t need to know what happens after this life and I’m not afraid of death. I don’t need commandments to give my life structure and I have no desire to waste my life away worrying about such trivial things as covering my body, drinking caffeine, saying “bad” words, and attending meaningless ceremonies.
For all those who read this and are afraid for my eternal soul, don’t be. I know my soul and it’s finally at peace. As humans we are in a constant state of change and growth but I know who I am and I know where my true path lies. Some may say that I have fallen from grace, but it was through this fall that I gained something far greater than what I lost, myself.


Jack W. said...

Kudos to your candor. We share many similar sentiments. Keep fighting the good fight.

Dawson said...

I can't help feeling inadequate when responding to something so beautiful, personal and profound. Where my words fall short I hope that you can feel the love that gives them their meaning.

Thank you, Crystal, for sharing this story with us. It can be difficult to open up to people, it makes you vulnerable. That you are able to not only put your experiences down in writing but to share yourself with the world on such an intimate level shows how profound your strength, courage, and love truly are!

You are a beacon of hope and of truth. You are a lighthouse standing fast upon the craggy shoreline of life, piercing the darkness with your love and compassion, in order to save ships lost in the seas of human experience from the insidious dangers of stupidity, bigotry, and apathy. The world cannot thank you enough for the service you do us every day of your life.