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Thursday, December 16, 2004 

JP's Story

This is much longer than expected...but my name is JP and this is my story:

I grew up in a very Mormon family. My parents became active in the church when I was very little. Being a part of the church was a HUGE part of me growing up, although, it must be said that with all my extended family (on both sides) The Mormons were the minority. Not that it was a problem it’s just the way it was. My parents (and therefore my 4 siblings and I) were very involved in the church, but they weren’t your “over the top Mormons,” if I can call it that. We drank caffeinated sodas and kool-aid, or whatever. We didn’t do family prayer and scripture reading EVERY night…but still, a very devoted and religious family. My dad’s been in the bishopric several times…but has had more callings with the Young Men and Scouting (with Kaycee’s dad, even) for as long as I can remember. My mom also has held several callings and still continues to do so. I was very involved in Young Women’s, received my Young Womanhood Recognition…the whole nine yards. That’s just the kind of family we are.

Or the kind of family we were.

I wonder if my parents are looked on, by other members, as those “wonderful ward members” and just can’t figure out how they possibly got the “Inactive” sinner and black sheep of the family daughter. I know they do. I used to wonder those things when I was active in the church. You see, when I was 18 I started dating and fell in love with a “non-member” and ended up getting pregnant AND THEN married.

I had brought shame to the family. (Insert Godfather-type voice here.)

I’m not sure if I can portray the emotional fall-out of going from the epitome of “Good Little Mormon Girl” to “The Sinner that Had S-E-X” all at 18. I was the child in my family that never did anything wrong. I got good grades and went through high school with FABULOUS Mormon friends…so I never got in any trouble. I was the girl all the mothers wanted their sons to marry. I’m not saying this to boast, I’m guess I’m trying to explain how “Goodly Mormon” I was.

However, I probably don’t need to explain the hurtful things that went down during that time. I just don’t need to get into it. I kept going to church throughout all my pregnancy, but found it very hard once Paige was born. Coming from two very different religious backgrounds, Hubby and I had SO much to deal with during this time...and family came first. And while my parents would have loved for Hubby to convert and be baptized, that just didn’t happen. I suppose that I could’ve continued going to church without him…and maybe there are you that think I’m weak for not doing so. I’m okay with that. Because I know it wasn’t a weak decision. I did what I did for my family…my new little family that had such a hard start. I still don’t go to church, seven years later…and until further notice that’s how it will stay. Hubby and I are spiritual/religious with our girls, but without the actual “religion” part. And I guess that’s the best way to tell my story.

Thank you so much for posting this! I remember when I heard that your were pregnant and it seriously completely and utterly shocked me. I can't imagine the emotional impact it had on you.

But, as far as your parents... no one could think they were anything but wonderful. But if they did, they're friends with my parents, so they've got "wayward child" company.

Its ironic that our dad's are such good friends...and WE NEVER SEE EACHOTHER!

This was the fist time I ever put on "paper" what happened...I should've done this a long time ago.

This is a very interesting story JP. Lots of heart felt honesty went into this... I love this getting to know each other process. Looking forward to what will come of all of this... who will be commenting... if we will make people angry... comforted... if we will have controversies amongst one another... Can't wait. Can't wait.

I love this already. Forgive the cliche, but "you go girl." I am experiencing this situatio with an unmarried friend of mine right now, and it is joyful adn excruciating. I cannot imagine trying to deal with such grown up issues like family, sex, and religion, at the tender age of 18. I think a lot about "public sins" vs. "private sins" and how sometimes our value system as Mormon teenagers was screwed up (and still is to an extent)I got into plenty of trouble with guys in college, but would I ever smoke a cigarette? NEVER!

sorry it's taken me so long to comment on this... it's just this is like, ya know, harder than I thought it was going to be.

This is for JP more than anyone else... so prepare for the sop.

Jill... YOU are the reason I believe in God. You are the reason I am still a member of the church. I would not have made it through my adolecance without you guiding me through it. I can remember so clearly my mom telling me you were pregnant. I remember the feeling in my stomach. I remember sobbing, just sobbing, because I didn't know how to help you. I didn't know how to make this better the way you'd always made the shit in my life better somehow. I didn't know how to be the friend you needed. I hope you know I'm sorry if I wasn't good enough or strong enough or brave enough to deal with it. I'm sorry I moved away. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you as you'd always been for me.

I hope you know I love you. I hope you know I don't care about any of the stuff you worry about so much. I hope you know I wouldn't make it through the day without you. You are still why I beileve in God. Your friendship is an absolute miricle.

There just aren't words...and that is rare. I love you all dearly...even those I've not officially met.

Thanks, you guys....

You are all just beautiful!!!!! I'm so glad I followed Rebecca's link!!!

My thoughts and my fingers are trying to synchronize...
You haven't said anything that I didn't know or feel. But Sarah helped me figure something out: I too, didn't know how to help. I felt like I needed to be very neutral (whether I was outwardly neutral or not, I don't know). [You're getting back at me now for my emotion-stirring blogs]. I do remember moments of not-so-neutral-ness but mom and dad (especially dad) wouldn't allow it. He wanted to protect you.
I could go on and on but what matters most is: the wonderfulness of that sweet blessing that came as a result of this test. I can't figure out how to express how important Paige is to me. Call me selfish, but for a long, long time I've felt like she was sent here 50% for you, and 50% for Maddie (I'm being generous with your 50%). She is so much a part of Maddie (and the rest of us). The possibility is very real that Paige is the closest thing Maddie will ever have to sister. Again, call me selfish, call me petty, but she was sent for us too.
Families experience so many different trials, and unfortunately, we may have more to come. But the outcome of this one is a beautiful, intelligent daughter of our Heavenly Father who will challenge Maddie with her musical ability, her academics, and her tan.
I know your testimony is strong. Of course, I want so badly for you to be active. I know this will always be a challenge. Please don't take any teasing or thoughtless comment of mine as me passing judgement (unless the subject is tardiness, ha). We both know that the church has so much to offer you, but do you grasp what you have to offer to other members of the church? Your understanding of the scriptures is so much better than mine. You are great in front of a crowd. You are open minded (more now of course), giving you the opportunity to not pass judgement. All of us readers can name many members who could take a lesson on this. But you know and I know that the gospel is true. I love being a member. I love the structure. I love that I can feel the spirit when others are given callings in sacrament meeting. I love that sweet, old President Hinkley. I love his wisdom. I love Primary and know that some may look at my calling of teaching 7 year olds and think that it's a small calling. But how wonderful it has been to watch them as they enter the waters of baptism. This calling is not small to me. Easier than other ones I've had, but not small. I love church. Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but maybe it's possible that you and I could soon be in the temple together. Yes or no, whenever, it will be that much more special.
My soap box has a time limit. I need tissue. I love that we're friends. I don't know why I didn't have that to offer when we were younger. But we're grownups far longer than we are kids. This is worth it, I hope you'll agree. 

Posted by Jess

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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