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about John Remy.

Or they were.  Are they still talking about you, John?  I’m always a day late and a dollar short in the blogging world (or the real world, for that matter).

I met the Remys teaching their daughter flute lessons, which has been and continues to be a joy.  Who knew that my world would be opened up to so many new associations and ideas with the phrase, “Are you guys Mormon?”  But, this is not really about the Remys.  It’s mostly about my reaction to John’s excommunication.

I remember when I first heard about it, that it affected me much deeper than I expected it to.  Honestly, I was kind of expecting it, after this post.  But, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the reality.  I have been mourning as though John had died, which in a lot of ways is how he will be seen in Mormon circles.  I’ve also asked many of the questions he addresses and that people have brought up on the blog, like why not just resign, why so public, etc.

But, it’s really mourning my own loss of faith, and the timing right now only brings out those feelings.  I attended the after party, and it was wonderful to be there.  It was interesting to hear the story of how it all happened, and it was fascinating to hear how cordial this whole ‘violent’ process was.  There were a few key moments in the evening that jump out at me:

John and especially Jana were treated as other.  Jana mentioned being given directions to the bathroom as though she hadn’t spent years in the building serving and worshiping just as the man who was offering the information had.  This hits home as I begin to be more comfortable with being “inactive” or “out,” or whatever the appropriate term is.  I wonder if I can trust dear friends that I have long trusted, but because of their affiliation with the church, I wonder if they think I am suspect or untrustworthy.  Slight distancing becomes gaping holes in my heart, and I think I put up walls that only exacerbate the problem.  I have treated myself as other.  I put myself out because I feel I no longer fit.  And as I become strange to friends and family, I begin to doubt my own authenticity.  It makes me wonder if they are treating me as other, or if I treat myself as other, or am I actually other?

Another friend there mentioned that she still gets goose bumps sometimes in certain churchy settings.  “Social conditioning.”  A reminder that the feelings will probably never go away.  Will I spend the rest of my life wondering if I really made the right choice?  I think so.  I think that’s bound to happen no matter what path I take.  But, it’s difficult to navigate, and I wonder how I will face those feelings when they come.

John mentioned intentional use of profanity.  A blogging audience should be self-selecting.  My reaction was to think “I will alienate those who alienated me.”  Let me be clear that this is my interpretation and not necessarily a reflection of what I think John thinks.  He can clarify if he feels it necessary.  This really has more to do with transitioning to “the world” or somewhere besides Mormonism, which comes with strict behavioral guidelines.  Some of these things I think are justified, and some I think are ridiculous, and don’t ask me which things are which, because it changes fluidly.  As I step outside the box, I find reasons to step back in, but I keep walking away.  And, I’m learning to accept that people will see that as either good or bad, and that I have no control over that.  Only myself, and how I react.

All of this highlights how I relate to people.  I see things very differently now than just a few years ago.  I’m mourning the loss of the person I was.  I’m trying to remember the joy I found in the person I have become.  I’m rejoicing in new relationships.  I’m mourning relationships that have failed, or maybe not failed, but ended, or maybe not ended, but redefined.  I’m clinging to the feeling that my intentions have been good, or maybe honest, or at least sincere.  John has talked about sincerity being the pillar virtue of his blog, and I can definitely relate to that.  In working to find the joy in this very human experience, I find that right now, joy is colored with pain.  But, perhaps it has to be in order to be satisfying.