Contributed by La Fawn Duh (definitely an alias)
My story contains a wife and a husband who wanted to be a woman. He had other sexual addictions too – all described by him to be genetic itches that needed to be scratched – by her. The marriage brought 5 babies, some wonderful honeymoons, and some horrid road trips to hell. There were 21 years of promises made and promises broken. It lasted and entangled every Bishop and Stake President they had.
The tales told to the priesthood were mainly from his mouth- bits of truth, mingled with his eyesight and desires. The words snaked from his mouth like a frost into the priesthoods’ ears and froze their sense of propriety and normalcy. The icy words then floated out from their minds and piled onto her until she lay at their feet in a frozen heap of womanhood.
Under this burden of heavy icy layers of lies she began to freeze. Not all at once, it began with her toes – she was told as a child that they “twinkled” because she danced everywhere she went. Those froze to stillness first, because the music died. It hurt his ears and had to be turned off, the house had to be silent. Next to go was her laugh, her smile. Her eyes chilled and died as she slowly retreated inward.
Physically, self care became a chore. Her love of running morphed into a desire to punish herself. She ran to the point of tears and vomiting – wanting to cleanse and purge what she had witnessed and told that she had done.
She knew she was starving to death, but all desires to live and love seemed base and selfish. Womanhood, motherhood became about unconditional love and service – giving, feeding, doing, was good but not for her. He’d punish her if he caught her indulging. So even the act of chewing became a chore- tasting felt decadent and sinful. Living became a burden.
Friends had to go, no family, they bothered him. His pain, his needs.
“Marriage is about sacrifice.”
“Giving up oneself for the other in love.”
Maybe she could replace everything she loved and lost with a book, he encouraged her reading. So she read to replace eating, friends, and self worth. It justified her life. Her life didn’t suck more than those who suffered during “The Rape of Nanking.”
He wanted her to take it for the team so he could work to support the babies. “It” being sexual acts that were unnatural and demeaning. She had become his whore, trading sex for existence and it was killing her soul. But no one would listen or believe or release her from her servitude. Why she needed permission, she didn’t know, it just was so. He was her Jailer. She was captive.
Then an idea began to come. Sick twisted logic made this seem clear. Perhaps this slow death was as God intended her to go, maybe it was Gods Plan? She had been given by each Priesthood leader, Elder Oaks Talk on Divorce. And council like this: “Divorce is bad.” And, “Your husband loves you and needs you.” And, “Sister, if your Husband had cancer wouldn’t you take care of those needs?” They had been tricked. They couldn’t discern anymore.
Her voice stopped sounding out and turned into constant inward prayer and pleading to God. If divorce was worse than death for children, and God granted unto men/ women according to their righteous desires, maybe God would release her. Like Hannah, she went to the temple and asked in faith. It seemed so simple. Such a peaceful way to give her husband peace and her children a new stronger and better mother that could live for them. In the temple she prayed- “Please father… Please, please, if it be thy will, I surrender, I’ve done all that I could, please, I’m so weak, please please take me home, I want to be with you now, Please Father?” Silently the prayer continued the entire session, tearfully and with body shaking sobs.
She felt maybe he’d let her come home if he knew how hard she had tried and how very exhausted she was. She imagined Lehi’s words and wanted to say, “He has redeemed my soul from Hell… And I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”
She knew she lived in Hell. She needed God to apply the atoning blood of Grace and have mercy on her, she wanted to feel that heavenly embrace.
As the session ended, her mind was stilled and a peace flowed through her entire body and the words, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” With those words flowing through her mind and spirit, she walked to the veil, she spoke the beautiful covenant words and she vanished into a pillow of peace. Her body collapsed. She was gone… But not gone, she heard voices, murmurs, she was on the ground and woke up to angels surrounding her in white… Old angels. And fat angels… And bald angels… She was Not twinkled. Not taken up. And very disappointed.
The seizures started in housekeeping and she was whisked by ambulance to the ER. So many many questions collide into her in precise lobs of wonderment. Why was she was being fed by tubes? Why had she come so deathly close to a coma? Why was she suffering from malnutrition? Words and tears spilled out in a tumble – the dam had burst, there was no way to hide or pretend. She was too weak for anything but truth and apologies and remorse.
Wisdom came back at her to compensate for her leaked truth. “This is called sexual abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, coercion, control, gas lighting…”
The words got longer as she was transferred from ER doc to Social worker. “No it’s not safe for you to go home with your abuser/Husband… And please understand IF you stay married and in this relationship you will die.”
Her sister was called, secrets spilled, a community of love – a personal team that lifted and protected her, was formed. The day she surrendered, the day she hit bottom, she was finally able to look to God and live, and he showed her a way out with so many earthly and heavenly angels.
Truly, “They that be with us are more than be with them.” Stay on the Lord’s side and he will protect thee for good. “Behold he hath redeemed MY soul from hell, I have beheld his glory and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”