An Other Sunday

It is Sunday.  Upstairs Jay is feeding the kids their breakfast while fasting himself.  Downstairs I have quiet hymns playing.  In an hour or so we will get dressed and, together, we will go to church. There is nothing so remarkable about this.  Mormons (and others) do it every week.  But this week is different.  To me.  I am born-and-bred  Mormon.  I can count my family membership back at least 5 generations on every side.  We are Nauvoo Mormons and polygamy Mormons and mission Mormons and crossing-the-plains Mormons and, with one very glaring exception, for the three generations I know, we are ALL Mormons.  But, in the very deepest place that is me, in my heart and in my head, I am NOT.  I own the culture, kind-of.  I have a fondness for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and hymns in general.  I don’t drink, or smoke, or cavort in any way.  I was a virgin until the day I married in the temple, at the age of 31.  I loved my most recent calling as Relief Society teacher.  And I haven’t been to church in two months.  Ward members assume, I imagine, that my absence is a result of the mental crisis that recently sent me to two weeks of intense psychiatric care.  They don’t imagine that the leaving came first.  The crisis — that was second.  And now that the crisis is over it is time for me to put my life back together.  How I do that, however, I have yet to determine.  Do I leave the church for good?  And if I leave, what do I do then?  Do I become a practicing but not believing member?  Is there a place in-between? I fear for the friendships I will lose and reach for the peace of knowing and speaking what I believe.  It is my emigration, my falling away, that I hope to capture as I write — and as I write, I hope to capture the bits of faith and hope I have left.  I don’t know who I will be in a month, or a year.  But I am interested to find out.  I hope you will find out with me.  Meanwhile, I have to get the children dressed.  We are going to church together today.

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