At first I was uncomfortable that my piece would be published on Easter morning. But then I thought about how much Easter symbolizes the epitome of doing hard things for the benefit of others. And how often scriptural Christ invites us to do similarly. Even when it means standing up to powers beyond one’s capacity to reach. Or when it frightens you as to the consequences. Or when the bully is in a perfect position to pummel you too. In fact… especially then. I hope my intention is clear. I do not enjoy calling out my leaders for these things. I wish I could celebrate trauma-informed care in our congregations. As a Latter-day Saint I have been asked to “sustain” my leaders. In fact not doing so can lead to the “apostasy” mark so many within my ranks have been labeled and disciplined with… to the point of exclusion through excommunication (which in our doctrine means separation from your loved ones for eternity). Yet… the word “sustain” denotes supporting AND bearing. And I am definitely bearing the weight of their words and actions. I support them by asking them to bear and be aware of the hurt they often cause upon so many. That is the expertise I can and will offer.
Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, is the current past-president of the Mormon Mental Health Association and runs a sex education program, Sex Talk with Natasha. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.