As always, last night’s Talkeria was amazing. Touching. Heart-warming. Connections made. Friendship felt. A total of 7 of us spent over 3 hours together, including my lovely daughter Christie. She is a traditional believing, super active Mormon, with a heart as big as Texas. By the way, I consider myself a believing Mormon, too. But, not in the traditional sense. I do believe that the Mormon church has the truth. And I embrace that truth.
Over the course of the evening, tears appeared in many eyes. Napkins drenched. Especially, during the 45 minutes while a couple from my stake shared their faith journey. I’ll call them the Roosevelts. Both of them had experienced pain and loneliness. The wife’s transition is still raw with emotion. Tears streaming, her heartbreak and disappointment frequently overwhelmed her ability to speak. This is the first time that she and her husband have openly shared their narrative.
The next story told presented a fascinating juxtaposition. This man’s faith transitioned long ago. Yet, he loves the church. He’s very active and wants his kids to fully participate, including temple and missions. In effect, he gave the Roosevelts practical ideas of how they could stay in the church, if that was their inclination.
Christie was the only TBM (Traditional Believing Mormon) there. And sweetie, the term TBM is not pejorative in any way. I was impressed with how respectful the discussion was. Those whose faith has transitioned were considerate, understanding and totally accepting of my daughter. No judgment. In return, my daughter mirrored the same sentiments back. Plus, she had empathy. She has not experienced the excruciating pain and solitude of a faith change. But, she has witnessed that of her father and close friends. She said something like this, “I want you to know that I recognize that you have all gone through great pain. I’m sorry for that. It must be extremely difficult to have your lifetime foundation crumble.”
She also shared what is happening in her own ward in Pennsylvania. Her bishop and his wife are both very open to the problems of the church. The members seem to be accepting of those with doubts and questions. Recently, a particular sister gave a talk in sacrament meeting. She stated her support for the Ordain Women movement and for gay marriage. It didn’t cause a stir. The bishop didn’t turn the microphone off. He didn’t conclude the meeting by correcting what she had just said.
There is a glimmer of hope for the changes that the church desperately needs.
To all of you who came last night: THANK YOU. You blessed my life. You lifted my spirits. You endowed me with new understanding. And most of all…THANK YOU for your friendship.
P.S. I know the stories are totally lacking in detail. That is the point of the Talkeria. A safe place to talk without fear of judgment or tattling.