I realized that for reasons of [insert long story here] it would be in my best interest to at least know what the letter is about. My ex is applying for a sealing clearance. I don’t know what’s more silly — them wanting my opinion on the matter or their manner of expressing themselves. Here’s the text of the letter, with identifying information altered:
Dear Sister Molly,
Brother [Ex Husband] is applying to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a sealing clearance. As a former sealed spouse of Brother [Ex Husband], you are requested to provide a letter. This letter should include your feelings about this application and whether Brother [Ex Husband] is current in any financial obligations related to your divorce.
Please return your letter to the above address. Your consideration of this matter is greatly appreciated.
This letter provides a pretty good example of the lack of respect for personal boundaries that LDS, inc. has for the individuals it interacts with. Let’s think this through:
- I’m not a member of this church any more. But they track me down and send me this letter.
- They refer to me as “Sister” – an attempt to demonstrate authority over me and ignore the fact that I escaped from them.
- The letter never expresses concern for my well-being, nor does it apologise for what must necessarily be an intrusion of my privacy and an unsettling request to rehash the past.
- The letter instructs rather than asks me to provide them with a letter. The tone is authoritarian rather than inviting.
- Was this letter written by a robot or what?
I spent most of yesterday going back and forth. But after thinking it through, I will send a response. I’d like to let this bloke know that I do not appreciate being tracked down and contacted, despite my explicit instructions not to. I do not appreciate having my personal information acquired and recorded by an organisation I do not belong to. I do not appreciate the tactless request to dig up a past that is long buried. I want them to know that if they do this again I will contact the press and they will hear from my attorney. One more push and I’ll sacrifice my anonymity and make a public fuss.
The other thing I could possibly achieve from this is getting numerous nasty postings made about me online by my ex and his family. It’s common for cheating spouses to react irrationally when they get caught, and although he was the one having sex with guys from the Internet, all of a sudden I was the one who apparently suffered from every type of psychosis imaginable. Among the claims they made were that I hypnotised him into thinking that he was gay, that I was psychotic, that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, that I had “Killed the Light of Christ” and so on and so forth. The postings are all so irrational that they really only made friends more sympathetic, and they have never affected my work. But from time to time a friend will find one of them when searching for something else about me online, and they inevitably mention it. They mean well and are generally supportive, but it would be lovely not to have these little reminders pop up now and again to shout out “Oi! Molly! Remember how much fun it was being married to a self-loathing gay bloke whose repression made him explode in a giant globby mess of psychological flotsam?” Time can take the sting out of words, but the Internet keeps them fresh. Words on the Internet don’t fade with time. They are either online or deleted. I’ve put down my baggage from this mess. I don’t need it to keep following me around like a smelly unwanted stray animal.
So here’s how I do it. (And I don’t care if the twats from the Church Office Building are reading this, because it’s going to be difficult to disagree with.) The continued presence of this rubbish online is a pretty good indicator that he isn’t remorseful about (a) cheating on me (b) blaming me for cheating on me (c) saying a lot of nasty things about me. If he’s really repaired himself and moved on and is actually psychologically healthy enough to be marrying some other girl, then he shouldn’t be harbouring any bitterness toward me. It’s a bit hard to believe that he’s forgiving himself and me for everything if smug, false claims about my sex life, my morality, and my sanity are still gracing the pages of his and his family’s blogs. The repentance process requires recompense. There is no apology he could make with words that would really mean anything to either of us at this point. No, that ship has sailed. But from a doctrinal standpoint, taking away some words can get close enough. The only recompense I can get at this point is to have this person deleted from my life. To have all threads, physical, symbolic, and digital, cut forever. So that’s what I’ll ask for.
I don’t know if they will listen. After all, I’m the dirty apostate and he’s the one who has used the mask of piety to avoid dealing with the realities of his situation. But I hope by sending one last letter I can send a message to both my Ex-Church and my Ex-Husband: I’ve finished with you. Now fuck off.