My ten years on RfM
Phantom Shadow Dec. 2012
From an old journal, unedited:
“Dec 26, 2002
“Three weeks ago I discovered exmormon.org. I have been fascinated by it and spending a lot of time reading the Recovery from Mormonism board
. I have posted a few times using my new screen name of Phantom Shadow. (I am not a little paranoid.) I am trying to figure out why, 22 years after going through hell in leaving the Church, I still can’t break away from it. I came across the site when I was looking for information on Tom Murphy, an anthropologist threatened with excommunication over an article he had written about the Lamanite DNA: there is no such thing as Lamanite DNA. The Native Americans and Polynesians are genetic descendants of eastern Asians, Mongolians etc. There is not one tiny amount of middle-eastern DNA to be found. With all the negative publicity in the press, the church backed off and cancelled the “court of love” as they are calling it.
“There is still an amazing amount of unrest among the women. I can’t believe they let the church treat them so poorly still. Ballard, who is an old apostle, gave some speech complaining that women in the church are being influenced by modern culture to try to be “sexy, sassy, and socially aggressive.” The web site is a safe place for people to vent for people who are out of the church or people who are still in and questioning or who stay only because of family pressures.”
I still remember that first night on the board. My DH was away on a business trip. I stayed up half the night reading and laughing. I could not believe that there were so many people connected to Mormonism with who had a sense of humor. My path through life began to take a different direction in part because of ExMormon.org.
Several factors have kept me here. I still have family members deeply entangled in Mormonism to their detriment. My mother died early in 2002 and I was the custodian for all her genealogy, photos and family records. This revived an earlier interest in the real lives of my ancestors, and soon I was sucked into family history. For the last several years I have been working on a biography of one of my great-grandparents, a story that interweaves with amazing relatives both in and out of the church.
Being on this board with people of all ages and stages of life helped me to see others' points of view. Within a few months I came to terms with the fact that I would never have grandchildren—a difficult place to be as a Mormon-raised woman. (As it turned out, I now have a wonderful clutch of step-grandchildren, so never say never.)
And then, in 2004, my older son died unexpectedly. I found him--he died alone in his apartment just a couple of hours before I arrived on a visit. I posted the ordeal of his funeral in Salt Lake—we tried to make it respectful to his Mormon, ex-Mormon, “Gentile” and Jewish family and friends. It was helpful to have a place to go to write some of what I really thought about events.
Here I have to give thanks to two special people who reached out to DH and me at that time. Thank you so much Cheryl and Jerry and to the rest of the Northern California ExMo group.
My life during the last couple of years has been a roller coaster. At times it’s been hell with several unexpected and definitely unwanted surprises. Other times have been better than wild imaginations.
I once believed that the latter part of life would be boring—we would be like my parents who seemed to retire to the sofa in front of the TV when not meddling in their adult children's lives. It turned out, however, that life is an incredible adventure, that for all the disadvantages of aches and pains and aging, it has brought growth and made available goals and dreams I long ago abandoned.
Thank you to Eric K and Susan and the rest of you. My advice to everyone: don’t give up, don’t give in to despair. Be open to change, no matter how much it is unwanted. Some of the worst difficulties can be open doors to new freedom, growth and happiness.
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Re: My ten years on RfM
"My advice to everyone: don’t give up, don’t give in to despair. Be open to change, no matter how much it is unwanted. Some of the worst difficulties can be open doors to new freedom, growth and happiness."
Thanks for this. I'm just starting a new leg of my journey...
Proud to Have Been Your Cabdriver, Ma'am...
Phantom Shadow was in Zion and graciously took me to lunch here too many years ago...
All on the up and up, of course, and as with all stories with Utah connections, we have some mutual friends in common and an interest in the curious culture and history that brought us to this site.
Laughing about it helps us release the pain...
Pssst, hey Raptor, I'm keeping your presentation stashed in my medicine cabinet for a few more days... But the way the weather here is getting gray, I'm going to need it soon...
You're a good and noble friend and poster.
Knowing you is a pleasure and a comfort. Best wishes and holiday greetings.
Re: My ten years on RfM
Outstanding and gracious, thanks for sharing this!
Re: My ten years on RfM
I'm a bit late on this one because I'm in Europe, but it will serve to top it, which your lovely post more than deserves.
I have always appreciated your posts, Phantom Shadow, but this one is particularly fine.
All the best to you
Tom in Paris
The long list of influential posters
I thought about naming names--SL Cabbie would be at the top with Cheryl and Jerry--but the list of posters who have influenced and informed me, and made me laugh, would be so so long. Others tried to make lists, but it's a challenge to cover the territory.
One of the great things about this board is that it provides opportunities to meet in real life. I still look back on the conference I was able to attend a few years ago. It was the one where Tal's wife spoke and made us all cry. I am still sad that the rotten US customs wouldn't let Matt through in time last year so we could meet him when he came to the SF Bay area in October.
In 2008 we were in the UK at the same time the Exmos there were having a get-together. I so wanted to be there, but our schedule meant we missed it by one day. Perhaps another time. Maybe we can have a Skype Exmo conference one of these days.
Re: The long list of influential posters
Thanks for posting your thoughtful reflections.
You have been an important voice on this forum for the last ten years and it's generous of you to share your hindsight here.
Sometimes people wonder why anyone would come hangout with a bunch of raucous emotional people.
Your post answers that question and the calm and balanced tone in your voice offers hope to everyone who wonders where this difficult path of apostasy leads.
To peace and a free life of your own choosing.
What a lovely post.
It is people like you that keep me doing this year after year and I know Eric would say the same. I am so glad the board has been of such value to you. I hope we have at least ten more years together :)
Nice post Phantom Shadow ;o)
You are one of those posters who, in my mind, has always been on RfM. I've been here since 2005 and I can't remember a time without you. You've offered all of us many years of compassion and support. Thank you.
"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"