I [the Lord] restore all things: D&C 121&132

Laura Brignone (PhD, MSW) is a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley where she studies technology and domestic violence. Part 6 in a six-part series on the domestic violence implications of D&C 121 and 132. Find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 here.

The language D&C 132 uses to describe women’s relationship with plural marriage paints a pretty bleak picture. As we’ve discussed for the last two weeks, it may even appear to mirror, trigger or justify the abuse of women in the here and now. So what happens next? 

The section header begins to address the rhetorical challenge of D&C 132 by presenting the most uplifting interpretation of the text in summary, using a tone consistent with validations of individual worth throughout most of the scriptures. [1]

In my opinion, though, the most interesting question centers on the survivor. What happens next in her story? How does her narrative evolve? As we discuss this concept, we’re going to zoom back out and discuss abuse more generally. Throughout D&C 121 and 132 we’ve talked a lot about the theft, manipulation or coercion of a survivor’s agency through the power and control of a perpetrator of abuse. How can a survivor heal from this violence and harm — physically, emotionally and spiritually?

D&C 132:45 “I [the Lord]… restore all things, and make them known unto you in due time.”

Nestled in the middle of hard-to-read D&C 132, this pithy scripture provides a springboard for the ongoing progression of a survivor’s narrative: to heal from abuse, the survivor’s agency must be restored. What exactly does that mean? How does that happen? Let’s explore this by comparing the restoration of a survivor’s agency to the restoration of the Gospel, then describe it through the experiences of early Saints.

Narratives of Restoration

The story of the Restoration of the Gospel begins with the story of the Apostasy. What we know as “the Apostasy” describes the gradual encroachment of Satan’s influence to take away the Gospel from the Earth. Without the Gospel, the Earth carried on, but did so suffering through no fault of its own. The Earth couldn’t make the Apostasy stop—many people lived and died while the Apostasy was ongoing. However, whether in life or in death, probably after multiple efforts by the Earth to escape from or mitigate the Apostasy in some way, the Apostasy finally ended for the people affected by it. In some ways sudden, in some ways gradual, the end of the Apostasy marked a clear before-and-after transition for the Earth: with the Apostasy no longer there to hold the Gospel hostage, the Restoration of the Gospel could begin. 

The Gospel was always meant to belong to the Earth; the Apostasy had no right to take it away. Yet, it did, and “restoration” means not only return but repair. So the Restoration brings back the Gospel line by line, returning what was lost and repairing the damage that loss inflicted on the Earth, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Restoring the Gospel is hard–it faces many barriers and setbacks — but the Earth deserves the Gospel. It was always, and is still, the Earth’s right to have the Gospel. And Christ knows that. This is why Christ’s work was not done until he enabled the Restoration of the Gospel, because He loves the Earth so much.    

The story of restoration of a survivor’s agency begins with the story of abuse. What we know as “abuse” describes the gradual encroachment of Satan’s plan by a perpetrator of abuse to take away the agency of the survivor. Without agency, the survivor carries on, but does so suffering through no fault of their own. The survivor can’t make the abuse stop—and many people live and die while the abuse is ongoing. However, whether in death or in life, probably after multiple efforts by the survivor to escape from or mitigate the abuse, the abuse will finally end. In some ways sudden, in some ways gradual, the end of abuse marks a clear before-and-after transition for the survivor: with abuse no longer there to hold the survivor’s agency hostage, a restoration of the survivor’s agency can begin. 

Agency was always meant to belong to the survivor; abuse had no right to take it away. Yet, it did, and “restoration” means not only return but repair. So restoration reconnects the survivor’s agency to their sense of self bit by bit, returning what was lost and repairing the damage that loss inflicted on the survivor, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Restoring agency is hard — it faces many barriers and setbacks — but the survivor deserves their agency. It was always, and is still, the survivor’s right to own their agency. And Christ knows that. This is why Christ’s work is not done until he enables the restoration of the survivor’s agency, because He loves the survivor so much.  

Practicality of Restoration

Survivors who are able to find safety and begin the restoration of their agency during their lifetimes often consider themselves lucky. So did the early Saints. At the same time, restoration is excruciating and can cost the person basically everything. 

Step 1: Finding Safety — Emma Smith

Emma Smith experienced many, many traumas during the Nauvoo period. In the span of 18 months, she buried three of her children, including one that may have died as a direct result of her husband’s persecution. Based on available documentation, she also discovered her husband’s covert practice of plural marriage during this period, opposed it, received D&C 132 from Hyrum and Joseph Smith, and then had to publicly defend plural marriage while participating in it against her will. Two years later, she lost her prophet-husband to murder while pregnant. 

When most members of the church followed Brigham Young out of Nauvoo, Emma Smith could likely have gone west as the polygamous wife of any other church leader, yet plural marriage still violated her beliefs. Further, she felt strong antipathy toward Brigham Young. So she looked for a safe space, aiming for the restoration of her agency. She took her leave of the main body of the Saints and stayed in Nauvoo.

This decision cost her a lot. It took years for her to pay back the debts that Joseph Smith, as trustee of the church, had incurred upon their Nauvoo properties before his death. She was vilified by Brigham Young, and the majority of church members followed his lead. This included blaming her and the Relief Society she led for Joseph Smith’s death. Her decision to stay in Nauvoo was itself deeply controversial and misunderstood as selfish or insincere by many other church members. These members had had different experiences than hers and either blamed her for her trauma or did not believe her experiences were genuine. She was barely mentioned — and never favorably — by any Utah church publication or leader for over 100 years. 

In general, survivors’ agency cannot be fully restored until the survivor is safe from abuse. Finding safety can take years, decades, or more than a lifetime. Safety from abuse most often means leaving the abusive relationship, which ranges from very difficult for some survivors, to entirely unfeasible for others. For those who do leave, it takes an average of seven different attempts for the survivor to successfully leave, often because of how dangerous — not to mention expensive — it is to do so; these risks intensify if the survivor has children or lives in an expensive area. [2] When survivors first leave abusive relationships, they may feel any of a range of “normal” feelings: relief, anxiety, numbness, guilt, fear. Cycling through these (and other) difficult emotions mark the starting gate for these survivors’ restoration after their trauma. 

Nor is the term “trauma” a hyperbole. Abuse is terrifying and destabilizing; it disrupts survivors’ sense of safety, themselves, and the world around them. Many survivors of abuse experience PTSD as a result. Further, therapists who treated PTSD among survivors of child sexual abuse and ongoing domestic violence consistently noticed an additional set of symptoms: dissociation from themselves, feeling absent in their bodies, feeling guilt and shame to the point that they feel fundamentally unlike other people. Survivors with these additional symptoms are considered to have “complex PTSD,” or cPTSD.

When a perpetrator of abuse uses the tools and language of religion as weapons of power and control, those tools and language may become triggering or feel coercive to survivors. As a result, to find the safety that will enable them to heal from the abuse, some survivors may need to step away from that religious environment. This decision may cost them a lot in terms of church relationships. It may also be misunderstood as selfish or insincere, especially among members of the church who have had different experiences and do not believe  — or who blame — the survivor for their association of their faith with their trauma. 

Of course the church doesn’t want survivors to have to step away; church leaders and other members alike hope that survivors find in church a haven, a place of restoration and healing. 

Step 2: Working toward restoration — Nancy Bean

Nancy Bean joined the church in Illinois in 1841 at age 15 and married a non-LDS man soon after. One night, she awoke to find him standing over her with a knife, threatening to kill her if she would not renounce the church. She jumped out the window and escaped. In 1845, she became a plural wife of John D. Lee and in 1846 gave birth to one of the first children in plural marriage. She found safety from both the persecution inflicted on the Saints in Nauvoo and her husband’s financial neglect and physical brutality toward her when she successfully petitioned Brigham Young for a divorce and arrived with an early company of Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848. Her final marriage, a happy one, remained monogamous per her request.

After this westward trek, Nancy Bean and other pioneer-era women created intimate, restorative spaces for themselves and each other in their communities and, eventually, in their Relief Societies. [3] As they sewed memory quilts, clothing, and the veils of temples, these women stitched memorials to their collective thrift, determination and faith. As they ministered to each other, administered healing and protective blessings to one another, worked alongside each other, and developed independent social and economic ecosystems, these women fused the pain of their past, the perseverance of their present, and their hope for the future. Ultimately, their efforts integrated the persecution they had faced in the Midwest into a narrative legacy that informed their efforts to build Zion in Utah. This legacy transformed communal struggle into communal triumph and has persisted as the bedrock of the “pioneer heritage,” identity and cultural legacy of Saints in every generation since.

After plural marriage fully ended in 1904, the role of Relief Society sisterhoods changed for Nancy Bean’s granddaughters, great-granddaughters and great-great-granddaughters. As the church grew from the 1930s [4] to the 1970s, Relief Society curriculum, budgets, blessings, publications, service programs and educational activities gradually consolidated under male priesthood supervision and direction. As this happened, women faced a public need to distance themselves from polygamy, and they lost the autonomous, self-directed church spaces that would have allowed them to privately and faithfully share, remember and process plural marriage. That story ceased to be written, ceased to be told, and its silence echoes today.

Once a survivor has found a safe environment to recover from abuse, they need at least three main things to heal and recover: 

1. Survivors need to discover (or re-discover) the feeling of safety. After survivors find an environment in which they are safe from abuse, they still have to learn (or relearn) how to feel safe and at ease in those spaces, in their own bodies, using their own agency. One therapist I spoke with said that, in her experience, this step alone takes an average of three to five years.

2. Survivors need to grieve what abuse took from them. This involves a lot of painful reflection, sitting with the memories of what they lost: family, innocence, health, years of their life, relationships, financial savings, reputation, home, a career; their children’s innocence, health and trust.

3.  Survivors need to connect the person they are now with the person they were during and, if applicable, before the abuse. This is the meaning of wholeness: all the parts of a person’s story integrated into a cohesive self. 

Any of these can take years, decades, or more than a lifetime — in the language of D&C 132:45, only “known in [the Lord’s] due time.” Various tools can help ease the path (including professional counseling by someone trained in working with abuse and/or trauma — especially for those with PTSD or cPTSD), but the survivor still achieves these things slowly and cyclically, moderated by the body’s own timing, and responsive to how profoundly the survivor’s agency was violated. For survivors with PTSD or cPTSD, this journey may be even longer and more difficult. [5]

Yet, all of these things are necessary to repair the harm done to abuse survivors’ agency, will and sense of self. Connection between their agency and their sense of self is what the survivor lost, and that connection is what must be restored. Until this happens, the survivor’s healing, wholeness, and restoration will remain incomplete.

Conclusion

For survivors of abuse, restoration requires not just the return of an environment safe enough for the survivor to use the agency that has always been their right; it also requires repair of the harms their trauma has written into their bodies and souls. 

The story of Christianity is the story of God made incarnate in order to redeem humankind from the pains of sin and death to restore us to God. The story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that this restoration is not just enacted on a cosmic scale with an eternal timeframe: it is enacted today. Central to our faith is a belief that Christ’s Atonement enables and encourages modern revelation and modern restoration for all of God’s children, collectively and individually.

Faith in Jesus’ ability to restore gives us a language of healing, a language of hope; a language that the pain and injury we suffer are not the end of our story. As we live in community with one another we try to share that faith in restoration with those around us — striving to be God’s hands to support and ease others’ paths toward restoration as well. Yet, sometimes we try to write the ending for others too quickly. We tell survivors of abuse to forgive and forget as if that were all Christ’s restoration entailed. 

The truth is, restoration doesn’t work like that. Restoration is a process and it takes a long, long time. In the case of abuse, when the will of your soul has been ripped from your body, it doesn’t reattach quickly. The Son of God still carries around scars in his hands, feet and side from abuse that was perpetrated against Him. Even 1800 years later, Jesus Christ chose visceral language to describe his suffering: “how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not…which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (D&C 19:15, 18). 

Yet we also believe that Jesus Christ’s resurrected body — scars and all — is fully perfected; that when he cried “It is finished,” from the cross, the God of this earth proclaimed that suffering, pain and death would eventually end, because He had ended them. We believe that Jesus Christ has restored all good things, and that through Him all good things can be restored. 

How can these things coexist? Remember again, Christ’s perfected, resurrected body still bears the scars of his abuse. Jesus did not rise from the dead because, on the cross, he escaped to a new dimension where death could not go. Rather, he rose from the dead because, on the cross, he died. Then, embracing the fullness of death, he transformed it — restored it — into life. 

Jesus does not overcome the scars of our pain because he went so far away they couldn’t touch him anymore. Rather, he overcomes them because he embraces them in their sordid, excruciating fullness; he has taken them into himself, become one with them, and held nothing back. Then, gradually, within his restorative embrace, he transforms them into growth, into healing. 

The scars that Jesus Christ and abuse survivors bear can be transformed through the restored connection between agency and selfhood that survivors require, and that Jesus Christ enabled through his Atonement. Because of this restoration, when grieved in their fullness, embraced in profound safety and integrated with who these survivors have become, the marks of both Jesus Christ’s and other abuse survivors’ suffering are transformed from symbols of injury and loss into symbols of a divine, eternal self who has “overcome all things.”  

How do we support survivors in this restoration? How does Christ do it?

D&C 121:1-6: He sees and sits with survivors in their pain

D&C 121:36-39: He holds perpetrators of abuse accountable

D&C 121:41-46: He continuously sustains the covenant of righteous priesthood use (including the non-coercive use of any power or authority).

D&C 132:1-65: He acknowledges, He reframes and, when necessary, He renews scriptural language and interpretations that have been used to harm or coerce His children. 

D&C 132:45: He creates an environment where survivors can learn to feel safe, grieve the pain in their past and integrate their present pain into an ongoing narrative of wholeness.

And then He does this again. And again. And again. As many times as it takes. For every instance of abuse, at every stage of the journey. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it takes longer than the survivor’s lifetime. Even when it caused him “to tremble because of pain…and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink [away]–”

Within our respective spheres of influence and action, how can we think anything less will contribute to the restoration of survivors’ agency? To borrow another excerpt from the D&C 121 letters (D&C 122:8), “[are we] greater than he?

****

[1] Interestingly, plural marriage is barely mentioned in the D&C 132 section header.

[2] What about shelters? These are a really important part of the domestic violence safety net; they are very crowded and usually have a maximum stay of 30-90 days. If you’re unemployed or in a tight or expensive rental market, this may not be enough time to find or save for an apartment you can afford. When you leave the shelter, returning to the home you shared with the person who abused you may be your only alternative to living on the street. Relatedly, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness among women and children.

[3] My personal family history suggests at least some sister wives forged cooperative, restorative spaces with one another in their shared homes during their husband’s absence.

[4]The relevant article linked here begins on page 205: Dave Hall, “A Crossroads for Mormon Women: Amy Brown Lyman, J. Reuben Clark, and the Decline of Organized Women’s Activism in the Relief Society,” Journal of Mormon History 36, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 205-249

[5] Finding a good fit with a therapist isn’t a given; you want to put in a little bit of time to find a therapist that has a good chance of really being able to help you. Here’s the advice I usually give friends and family:

  1. Get a list of therapists. Psychology Today is a really good resource because it lets you filter and narrow down what you’re looking for by gender, issue, insurance, religion, and all sorts of things. If you start there and pick your filters, you’ll get a list of therapists. Your insurance should also have a list of therapists they cover in your area, though this list can be harder to navigate.
  2. Look at the therapists’ credentials. An “L” in front (like LCSW or LMFT) means they are licensed and held to a particular set of professional standards and practice ethics and is a good place to start. For any provider without this, you’ll want to make sure they’re supervised by someone with a license before you start working with them. Depending on the situation (severe mental illness, trauma, abuse) therapists can also have specific specializations in that area.
  3. Read their profiles. (This will probably not be available on an insurance list). Does this sound like the kind of person you think you might click with? If so, do a quick Google/Yelp search to see if any helpful additional information comes up (it often won’t, but it’s good to check).
  4. Schedule a call. Most therapists will do a brief (10-30 minute) get-to-know-you for free, so you can feel out if they will be a good fit. In this call, you can also ask questions about billing/insurance, sliding scale fees, licensing, and their experience with your particular concern.
  5. When you think you’ve found one that will be a good fit, schedule an appointment. And if something feels like it’s not working, it’s always okay to change!

****

If you suspect you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, the following resources are available to call or chat 24/7. Abuse is never the survivor’s fault:

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453; https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/ 
    • available to kids, parents and concerned individuals in the US and Canada
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; https://www.thehotline.org/
    • available to survivors and concerned individuals in the US
  • RAINN: 1-800-656-4673; https://www.rainn.org/ 
    • Available to survivors of unwanted sexual contact, parents, caregivers and concerned individuals
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
    • Available to anyone with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, their loved ones, and other concerned individuals.

Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this series.

  2. I am glad you mentioned that some survivors of abuse may have to leave the religious environment in which the abuse took place. I was one who just could not heal while active in the church. I bounced between active and inactive and in and out of therapy. I would try to be active and soon find all the ways the abuse had damaged me creeping back and soon I was suicidal, and I would get back into therapy and start to heal the scars, and go inactive because I just couldn’t stand to be at church. Then I would be doing great and my therapist and I would agree that I no longer needed to be in therapy. Then a year or so later I would miss the spiritual and social connections at church and go back, only to find myself suicidal again within less than a year. I once happily told my LDS family Services counselor that I didn’t need to see him any more because I was going inactive. He looked at me in horror because I really wasn’t doing well. But I stopped going to church and was just fine until I went back. It took me five cycles of this to finally get it that church just brought back all the feelings the abuse caused.

    I have been happily inactive now for over ten years.

    I could explain that the perfectionism, the patriarchy, the lack of choices in callings, the secondary role of women, the judgement of temple recommend interviews, the judginess of members, the very Mormon lingo were all echoes of the abuse for me. But other people may or may not have those same issues.

    So, if anyone is a spouse or friend or priesthood leader of an abuse survivor, keep in mind that the church is good for most people, but it may be a toxic environment for an abuse survivor. They may be so unable to feel safe that the healing process cannot happen.

    The “Truth” of the church doesn’t matter if it is an unsafe feeling environment.

  3. What Anna said. Church may not be a safe environment for an abuse survivor. I’ve made a lot of progress in my healing since I quit attending.

    Thank you, Laura Brignone, for the way you described the healing process in this post. It’s about safety and reclaiming your agency much much more than it’s about forgiveness. In my experience, priesthood leaders emphasize forgiveness too much – as if the main damage done to the victim is just that you’re angry it happened! No, the damage goes so much deeper than that. Forgiveness doesn’t heal fear. As you so rightly point out, safety is the precursor to any healing. If the victim doesn’t feel safe, she can’t begin to heal. That’s why so many abused children don’t start to heal until adulthood. They aren’t safe until they can leave home. You can’t process what happened until you’re safe.

  4. To clarify – church may be a safe environment for some abuse survivors. Situations differ, and all experiences should be respected. I know an abuse survivor who left church for several years, but was later able to return to church and is now fully active. Another survivor I know found the church to be a source of healing and comfort all the way through her healing process. I hung in there for several years, but I noticed a new level of peace once I quit attending church.

  5. As an editorial comment, the narratives of the Restoration don’t work for me. I wanted to wrestle with them.

    As an overall comment, you keep hitting all the right notes and my general reaction is a Yes! and a wish to cite or quote at length.

    If I were to pick out one element for a 2 1/2 minute talk it would be the amount of time involved. Measured in years. Whether it’s Western society or LDS society or 21st century society, we are not very good at decade long work. We need to be reminded over and over again.

    The question whether the church is a safe environment is important and I’ve given it a lot of thought over the years. I know the safely correct view is (quoting Melinda) “situations differ and all experiences should be respected.” However, I do have a sharper opinion and where else but BCC do we express opinions?

    Because the LDS Church is hierarchical and patriarchal and (like many churches) generally adopts the parent role in the interpersonal power structure, I think the church is systemically, structurally, institutionally, *not* a safe environment for survivors. I believe it takes a substantial amount of outside work for most people to build up to a healthy relationship with the church. I think the exceptions–and there are many–are due to caring and thoughtful and sensitive individual church leaders including women who somehow beat the system. Ironically, the church leaders I know who are best at that kind of support are also really good at saying maybe the church is not for you for a season. Flipping the script, I think the church would do better for all of us if that “maybe not for a season” were the starting point, the default, against which we talk about exceptions.

  6. For those who don’t know me, I am a retired social worker with years of experience working with battered women and adults molested as children, as well as rape victims.

    So, a thought on choosing a counselor. Experience is more important that credentials. For example, many social workers working in the battered women’s shelter where I worked for a while were not LSW, but they had been working with domestic violence for years and knew much more about domestic violence that any psychologist I ever met. So a PhD in front of their name may not be the best bet. A social worker is still licensed even if they are not a LCSW. And the worst training a counselor can have for working with battered women is in marriage counseling, because marriage counseling is based on a premise that both partners have equal power in the relationship.

    So in looking for a counselor, ask for specific experience, and don’t overlook battered women’s shelters and rape crisis centers, where the counselor may not have a degree that pays a lot of money, but they have specific experience in abuse. You want someone who understands the power dynamics of abuse and understands that healing is not a four week process and who will not push an agenda like LDSFamily services pushes the agenda of keeping the marriage together, and for adults molested as children, they still push reconciliation of the family.

    I hate to bash LDSFS, but they do push an agenda that may not be in the victim’s best interest. Keeping my family together and reconciliation was not in my or my mother’s best interest. My mother really needed permission to leave, and I just never will be ready for reconciliation, because I just do not want any relationship with my father. My life improved so much when he died, that I just can’t describe how wonderful it is not to have to be around him to see my family of origin. My father is incapable of empathy, so how can he ever comprehend how badly he harmed those he claimed to love.

    The other problem with LDSFS is that you have to sign a paper to allow your counselor to talk to your bishop, so nothing you say is confidential, but everything will be shared with your bishop. That is not acceptable to me.

  7. @Anna 10:04am — your comment is a really important one. I actually almost put “note that a PhD means they have special research expertise, not special therapy expertise” in the original footnote before deciding that made it too long, so I’m glad you added it here.

    @Christan — I appreciate your comment, and I’m curious what about the restoration analogy didn’t work for you?

  8. This is a wonderful series. Thank you for writing it.

    When you wrote about Emma, it made me think about how can we go back for Emma and overthrow our legacy of spiritual abuse towards women as received in the D&C 132 narrative. I see similarity with the Book of Mormon narrative of Lehi and his sons leaving Jerusalem and they get halfway across the wilderness until they realize they left their wives behind. In a sense, we did, too. We got the plates and thought that’s all we needed.

    Not just Emma we left behind, but the doctrines that could have led to gender equality, like Heavenly Mother. Of course, many women still came west with us and expressed their support of polygamy, but it appears to me many came as victims of spiritual abuse, and certainly not as equal partners with their husbands It will take space and time to recover from that. Claiming it was justified will not help the healing.

    I know our D&C narrative and cultural beliefs still insists that physical Zion is in the East, in Missouri. I want to see some symbolism there. Before the Second Coming, after our wandering in patriarchy is over, we will go back for Emma, and I hope a theological return to marriage equality. I don’t believe Zion can be Zion without retracing our steps there.

  9. For me the issues were the language used in the temple and my inability to obtain a sealing cancellation. Both were finally changed but too late to help me rebuild the life I wanted. Sort of like Black people in the church prior to the change in priesthood ordination. You are happy for those who come after but realize you cannot have back the wasted time or lost opportunities. I guess that is for eternity. But how this affects how I feel toward the men of the church!

  10. We have so many in the Church who are honestly unmourned when they die, no matter what half-truths or outright lies are told at their funerals. The widow writes beloved husband on the gravestone then runs around the after funeral gathering telling everyone how he made her life a hell on earth. Within weeks she has a new boyfriend. The children secretly feel relief at the death of a parent. We even sometimes pray for the deaths of the bishops whose unfeeling natures cause us to avoid attending church and whom the stake president refuses to release no matter how many ward members speak with him about the abuse they are enduring. So often we feel trapped or are trapped by life situations.
    I almost became engaged to a man I was not going to marry just so I could get a sealing cancellation. But good sense fortunately rescued me. I could not deceive the man who wanted to marry me even to rescue myself. But why oh why the Church insists on controlling sealing cancellations the way they do, I do not know. Don’t they realize evil people use this to continue to try to control their former spouses and children? Can the Church leaders really be this uninformed? Are they really willing to accept eternal responsibilty for the evils they enable? Because those of us who suffered them fully intend to present them at the judgement bar, demanding justice be executed upon our priesthood leaders as well as the perpetrators. Suffering equal to that they visited upon us. Decades of it before they are allowed to escape. Yes, I do sincerely hope for decades of torment for some of my bishops.
    Brigham Young once stated it was permissible for women to divorce a man in order to marry someone of higher priesthood position. My guess is every woman in polygamous unions will trade in her earthly husband to be sealed to Christ, the only priesthood leader who never mistreated her. I do not think we can rescue Emma in her marriage to Joseph. I do think she will have a chance to marry another if she chooses. And it will be her choice. Without threat of destruction. Without the vicious language that for me destroys any chance I will believe Section 132 is from god.

  11. When I think of the celestial kingdom, I can only hope no one who held the priesthood in mortality is allowed in. I see no way to heal if they are.

  12. Not even Jesus?

  13. “Yes, I do sincerely hope for decades of torment for some of my bishops.”

    I can think of at least five different Bishops who’ve chastened me at various times in my life. I’m grateful they had the inspiration and courage to do so. They were right in every instance. In fact, some of them were right in ways that they’ll never know–so precise was the correction I received on some of the those occasions.

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