I appreciate Stephanie’s words and how she points to appropriate boundaries. It’s not appropriate to go on somebody’s facebook page and disagree with their personal experience… especially when they are being vulnerable about pain they are feeling. If you have a different experience… you have your own social media pages to state your opinions. And if you want to offer a different point of view… you can do so with empathy. For example… It is sad for me to realize that your experience with this address was very different than mine… it makes me consider how there are different ways to see things. Thank you for sharing so that I can be aware of something other than my own experience.
I share this in particular on this blog because I am often saddened at the lack of empathy I see from many commenters as well… who are more interested in defending rigid stances on doctrine, than to be open to how many people experience our religious culture and dogmas differently. After all… we are all sitting on the same pews and I would hope be more Christlike in person than I see in writing. I hope more than anything that this blog will help those who feel lonely and isolated… and those who don’t… to become aware of and be mindful of experiences other than their own. We are accountable of how we treat each other everywhere… and the comments section is something mental health professionals are concerned about in every possible setting. If your comments here at Mormon Therapist don’t get approved, it’s not because you disagree with me or because I am not resilient enough to handle your ideas. I am thinking of the people reading and needing support.
Today’s guest post is written by Stephanie Bush Hoehne. Opinions shared on guest posts may not completely reflect the positions of the blog’s author.
Stephanie Bush Hoehne is Mormon until she gets a letter stating otherwise and a registered nurse who has been working as a detox/psych nurse for 9 years. She’s been a single mom, an entrepreneur and currently enjoys her new family structure of husband, sons and step-son. Working from the very wealthy to the homeless in the addiction world has taught her to believe first and foremost in kindness and love.
This was written a few days after the General Conference Address President Nelson gave… in response to many messages I read on my friend’s Facebook page where she had stated that the talk had really hurt her.
Oh wow this is so hard to read a lot of this! And as much as this will do no good overall, I have to say a few things because I have been in tears for 2 days because of the hurt, damage and the pain this has caused. I’ve known my friend since I was her Girl’s Camp leader of our little cabin for stake girl’s camp one summer. I ran into her years later as I was divorced and pregnant and we have been friends until today. I have been through many different journeys with her, especially the past couple of years and know some of the pain. And for me, THIS has been one of the most painful few days I’ve had in a long time. Tears have not stopped falling after reading the recap of what was said this past weekend. Pain that I thought I had left and buried came back and came back hard! I was a single Mom for most of my life and amongst many things that produced fear, I was so scared I wouldn’t have my kids in heaven that were not sealed to me. Also the message of this weekend put me back into all those dark times as a little girl that I was scared of the second coming and nightmares that are still detailed and vivid about the second coming and not making it to the celestial kingdom. I eventually had to put the fear of not being with my two little boys in heaven, (whichever Kingdom I would end up in) on my shelf and knew if there was a God and a heaven and if there was a Heavenly Mother that was NEVER spoken of, He and She wouldn’t be so cruel to keep these little boys I raised with so much sacrifice and love, in another place of “heaven” without me. Along with many other ideas and teachings (brainwashing) I have let them all go!….Or so I thought?!I can not believe any one could see these messages as healing and positive. Soooo…Some of you, and I won’t point out names unless you want to go there, should really not make comments on here if you have no empathy. What is empathy? PLEASE read up on that because a lot of you need it! If you are wanting to be more kind and like Jesus, you should read a few books to help you. No…they aren’t LDS books but let me know if you’re wanting to learn to be a more kind and loving member! Hint: Brene Brown.
If you’ve never felt some of these pains, you should keep your comments to yourself and promote how amazing these talk were to you on YOUR Facebook page! But for those that have commented on my friend’s thoughts and beliefs and her “testimony” of what love is, thank you from me as well who has had a lot of sadness that, again, the messages of this church were so opposite of love and inclusiveness. I hope (and pray/send good karma/whatever) for you members that have reiterated the heaviness, fear-based and unempathetic words, that you will reread and reconsider how this all has hurt so many. Just be more kind!
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.