Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Aunt Debbie

Another Aunt that passed away has been on my mind for a while now. My Aunt Debbie. She converted to the church after dating one of my my mother's 6 brothers when he returned from his mission. They got married and had 4 kids. About 10 years ago, she decided that she wanted to divorce my uncle and leave the church. It was devistating to her kids. The two younger children went to live with her and the older two with my uncle. My aunt began drinking and smoking and she lost a bunch of weight, when she was already sufficiently thin. She didn't even allow her younger daughter to hang her church Young Women posters in her room. Besides that, she was demanding all this child support and alimony from my uncle to pay for her luxury apartment and other expences.

I bring up all the other stuff because it's a prime example of how her character was decimated to make her actions invalid. No one ever discussed what reasons she had for leaving the church. I learned later from my cousin that my aunt would lock herself in her room and read anti-mormon literature all day.

I don't know the details of the events before, durring and after their breakup. I think it's a shame that she eventually abandoned her family. I don't know if that was her choice or not. If I know my uncle the way I think I do, I would imagine that he would be willing to try to work things out. I just don't know for sure.

She eventually went off on her own and explored Buddhism and perhaps a few other religions. I saw her one time when my cousin went on his mission and then a few years ago when their younger daughter was married in the temple, she was at the reception. A few months after that,I learned that she had committed suicide. She attempted it one other time and her husband rescued her before it was too late. So the second time she drove her car out to the wilderness where she overdosed on some medication. She was found a few days later by a hunter. I didn't get to go to her funeral, as I was in Utah and it took place in California. I did get word that she had many regrets about leaving her family. I don't recal if leaving the church was also part of her regret, but it kind of put a scare in me, and I think in the rest of the family too, that if one leaves the church, they will have so much regret that it could cause one to commit suicide.

Then there's the idea that is believed in the church that if a person committs suicide then they will automatically be sentenced to live in the lowest kingdom, besides outer darkness, the Telestial Kingdom.

Talk about scare tactics.


Joanne said...

Did you ever think that living such a CONTROLLED RESTRICTIVE life is what caused your Aunt to rebel SO harshly? I have heard from alot of mormons that if you try to leave the church your family & friends WILL turn on you & abandon you.

Who told you she had regrets about "leaving" her family? Did any of them regret turning on her for her free choice to not be a member of this group? People seem to be abandoned if they do not do as they are told by the LDS.

It must have been hard for your Aunt to stand up against all the threats & people trying to turn her kids against her. Maybe your Aunt was trying to stand up for her rights & freedom. Maybe she wanted a better life for her kids & woman like you, but didn't know how to make that happen.

I'm sorry that she passed away, but I believe the mormon teachings had more to do with that than her drinking & smoking.

Trixie Granny said...


Your assumptions may be true. I wish I did have more answers to those questions. The only information I have is second and third hand from other true believing mormons. The message I was trying to send was that I don't really know how she was feeling or what her motives were because to true belivers there is no happiness once you leave the church. They don't try to understand what she was feeling or what her motives were.

I believe she did leave a note and she shared some of her feelings with her husband at the time, which he in turn shared at her funeral, I think mostly saying that she wished she could have been more involved in her childrens' lives. My cousin also mentioned that she wanted to end the hurt that she had caused to her children/family. So, in the eyes of a TBM this translates as "She regrets leaving the church because that was what separated her from her children."

I wonder what it would take to get a copy of her eulogy.