A Meditation on Deliverance

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...

The words of a hymn embedded deep into my heart from rehearsals so many years ago, seemingly in a different lifetime.

And ransom captive Israel...

The plea embedded forever onto the walls of my heart. A fervent prayer, echoing into eternity from every direction.

That mourns in lonely exile here,

A refusal to succumb to the will of those who should've been trustworthy, and were not. Cleaving to the light of my own candle, whose shining into the darkness reveals and condemns it for what it is.

Until the Son of God appears.

I shall not walk in darkness because He is here. He is always here. He cannot be separated from me.


My birth rite. My joy belongs to me, is mine to claim, no matter what happens.


A commandment with a promise to me.

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


It has been six weeks since my bishop of my current ward has removed access to the sacrament from me and my family. There was no disciplinary council, no judgment passed, no conditions of repentance extended. We were handed an ultimatum to come back to church in person, with the unvaccinated and unmasked, and told there would be no alternatives given. Expose yourself and those you love or go without. Those were the instructions given to me during tithing settlement.

Nothing has changed. No divine retribution given. No change of heart. The situation as it stood then remains the same. Every word of warning I gave to him about the perils of lifting restrictions too soon, of moral cowardice in the face of certain death, has come to pass. Omicron has revealed itself and will fell millions across the world like a scythe to a harvest.

That does not mean deliverance has not come for me.

My covenants remain. The clarity of vision of how to proceed has not faded from me. As Mary stealing into the night with the Son of God, fleeing to Egypt to spare his life from Herod, funded by the kindness of strangers. Step by step through an unforgiving desert, to greet an unknown future on the other side of Sinai.

She is a survivor. I will learn from her, placing my feet where she trod. The loneliest walk in human history because no one has ever born a grief greater than hers. No one has ever been responsible for so much. I am in good company with her.

Be the solid ground beneath my feet in the wilderness. Prepare for me a table in the presence of my enemies. Hide me in the pavilion and set me upon the rock. Strengthen my heart against all fear. Bring their malice to an expected end.

It's Christmas. Read the room.

I don't know who in the Church Office Building needs to hear this. But there is no amount of messaging you can come up with that will make me ever want to study the Family Proclamation. Not in December or at any other time.


My parents were (and are) a burgoo of abuse, neglect, and untreated mental illnesses. They systematically destroyed each other and themselves with every terrible impulse belonging to the human mind. My mother is the only one left, and she has lost her entire grip on reality.

With what she has left of her mental facilities, she causes pain and chaos everywhere she goes. She terrifies my entire family because there is no limit to what she won't do to hurt other people. She has threatened me and my husband already. She has no place in my life now.

The week the Church was focused on the Family Proclamation, I was trying to figure out how to put a carrier block in place so my mother can't leave me voicemail anymore. Why? Because she treats my voicemail like a dumpster for all her worst thoughts and impulses towards me.

My Christmas season isn't about her. It doesn't include her. To the extent that I can, I spend as much of my waking life forgetting she exists as I possibly can.

I dedicate myself and my faith to a life well-lived, in which she has no part because she has no respect for me. 

I don't deserve to listen to others who have families who are healthier than mine talk about how their families are ordained of God. I don't deserve to be reminded that the only way my family is reflected in the Family Proclamation is the promise of divine retribution for the abusive and negligent. Not at Christmas. Not at any other time.

But if we're going to have conversations about the Family Proclamation, polygamy, racism, and denominationalism, as reflected in the Articles of Faith... Maybe don't do it at the darkest time of the year when the rest of the Christian world celebrates Christmas?!

And if planning the annual calendar of lessons so the Articles of Faith, Official Declarations 1 and 2, and the Family Proclamation don't fall in December is too hard, maybe stop basing our liturgical calendar on the order in which things were published in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Also, the Living Christ is literally right there

 Just dedicate the entire month of December to studying it every year. 

This isn't hard. 

Why are you making it hard?

When the Bishop Becomes a Stumbling Block

So, it has been several weeks since my Bishop initiated his ultimatum to force me to come back to church in person to get the sacrament. He has also discontinued all communication with me on the subject.

In the meantime, I've been reflecting a lot on what this means for my religious life in this moment. At a time in my life when I find myself wanting God and craving peace, I'm being shut out of the place I was always supposed to be able to find it.


Waters of Mormon, Lina Curley Christensen

In prayer, I've found myself repeatedly coming back to the scriptures from Romans 8 I had taped to my wall when my mother would forbid me to go to church as a new convert. Also in the story that was my first spiritual experience with The Book of Mormon: Alma 32. Where the people in power decided to expel the undesirables from their congregations. They were not allowed to worship in the churches they helped to build.

I feel that in my soul, in ways I've been struggling to fully accept. I gave my life for this church. I have given time, money, literally years of service to it because it is my spiritual home. 
I have forgotten how to find God outside its walls.

The power of Alma's message was tremendous the first time I heard it. The Book of Mormon testifies of a God who has no respect for the walls humans build between each other. A God who cannot be contained in mortal boxes.
I need to find my way back to my God and my Savior again, separate and apart from the people in this stake where I now live who do not mean me well. 
These are the prayers I've been saying. Prayers I thought I would never say.
The answers are coming slowly, mostly because I am already exhausted. But I have not been left comfortless. The way forward is becoming clear.
I am not dependent on these men to receive all the blessings of God. They are mine to claim, anywhere and at any time I need them. 
Faith. Joy. Rest. Holiness. Gratitude. Love. Healing. Dignity. 
They are my new focus. These are mine to claim. They belong to me. No one can take them away from me. They are the blessings I will give to myself through my personal devotion and worship.
The ordinances of the Church augment my search for these things. They can't replace it. That is the lesson I am learning right now.

Lamentations and Betrayal

To all the men who said to me that I was overreacting when I said Roe v. Wade, my constitutional right to self-determination, was in jeopardy: I hope the thing you fear most happens to you. I wish threefold suffering upon you. Full offense intended.

Except I don't have to wish. I won't have to wait long. The betrayal you have chosen for all women everywhere will find it's way back to you through the suffering of the women you care about most.

The miscarriages, the criminal prosecutions of the innocent, the usurpation of dogma over science, the infiltration of medicine with violence and fear, the loss of life of the women and children you don't know how to live without. 

That is the price you will pay.

Every man who views the women in his life as nothing more than incubators, I pray they suffer. I hope they are undone in grief. I pray for a scourge upon this land that will not cease until every living, breathing person has full bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

The suffering and uncertainty you have imposed upon women through your machinations, through your silence, through your refusals to act. May they fall upon you all in full measure without mercy, for you deserve none.

Why do I feel safe invoking death and destruction on men in this fashion?
Because that's what their conspiracy against women means for me. My life is in danger because of what you all have done. You have turned any pregnancy I may have into a death sentence.
You wanted to practice medicine without a license? You wanted to set yourselves up as the supreme authorities over reproductive health, despite being wholly unqualified? 
May every life you extinguish follow you to the judgment bar of God. May their blood cry against you from their ground for justice. 

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