Guest Post: Still

by N. Christensen

We still love you, they said.
Even though your countenance is dark
We’re so sad for you.
Was it pride or sin or did you choose offense?
But we can still be friends.
You’ve turned your back on your covenants
You’ve turned your back on God
You’ve turned your back on this family
You’ve betrayed your ancestors
But we can coexist.
We’ll respect you if you respect our beliefs
Just sit there in silence
Don’t speak up
Your experiences don’t belong to you
It’s our church, you can’t talk about it.
Don’t be bitter
Don’t talk about why
You’re trying to destroy faith
You’ve left the church, now why can’t you leave it alone?
But we can agree to disagree.
Here, this talk made us think of you
Let us bear our testimony
Don’t you dare testify in turn.
We know better than you
You unruly, rebellious child.
You used to be so strong
We used to admire you
We used to trust you
You were never really one of us
What happened to you?
We won’t listen to your lies.
Cover your wounds, the blood makes us uncomfortable.
We’re as secure in our salvation as we are in your unworthiness
But we still love you.

N. Christensen is a teacher of some things, a student of others, and a master of little.

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9 Responses

  1. Stacy says:

    This. This is what I imagine would be said to me by my ward, by my parents, by my neighbors. Beautifully written.

  2. Rachel says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

  3. meri says:

    You presume to know what others are thinking. Ysmithm31@our own bitterness shines through this.

    • N. Christensen says:

      This ppem was composed of things I was told both directly and indirectly when I became open about my faith transition and eventual departure from the church.

      Thanks, though, “Your bitterness shines through” is a great line to remember if I ever write a sequel! 😘

  4. PeaceMom says:

    The person who speaks of bitterness kind of proves the point of your poem.

    The belief of devout members is that someone is offended and shortly after that, boom! They leave the church.

    It’s more like after months or years of feeling othered and abused that they can’t take it anymore and go to find the happiness of not being judged.

    Those who stay in the church should not be angry. They should be sad to lose a good person from the church. We all have our free agency. Devout people, give us our right to struggle. We don’t criticize your right to believe.

    (Written by a 64 year old woman who is still in the church after 2+ years of faith struggle)

  5. PJP says:

    So much is conveyed in this poem! All the shaming I have felt, all the fear of rejection and condescending looks and disappointment. I used to be the person saying those things (at least in my head) to other people. Now I am here on the other side.

  6. Evangelina Voz says:

    Profoundly and horrifically true.

    The beauty of an individual and collective voice finally being heard, contrasted with the shattering horror of the spiritual violence all these dear ones suffer (at the hands of those who profess Jesus name in their abuse of his authentic lambs no less) is staggering and breathtaking.

  7. K says:

    Religion–where someone can say something horribly rude, hurtful, and self centered, all while believing they are being respectful, kind, and generous. The blindness of their own behavior sometimes astounds me. It is cruel self-righteousness.

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