How to Start Over

I was sexually assaulted.

There. I’ve said those words. I’ve used the technical terms for what happened to me, though I often want to shy away from them. It feels sometimes like using those words is an exaggeration. I wasn’t raped. I wasn’t held by gunpoint. What happened to me happened in a public place. There were witnesses who stood by and did nothing, as I did nothing.

I was sexually assaulted.

My body was groped and stroked and I was afraid to say anything or do anything. I floated away from what was happening to me because that was…

Reluctant Advice on Grief

After my daughter died in 2005, I was angry at other people a lot. Why were they so bad at allowing me to grieve? Most of what they said and did seemed patently self-protective, reassuring themselves that “this won’t happen to me.” They told me inspirational stories about people who changed their lives after a tragedy (because it was their fault) or they asked me invasive questions that seemed to be designed to help them see how I’d made choices they wouldn’t make, so they wouldn’t have to face my tragedy.

As a result, instead of…

I’m So Angry

I’m angry about rape culture. Let me just take a moment to explain what rape culture is. Rape culture is the assumption that men are natural rapists and that it’s up to women to make sure that men don’t rape them. So, don’t wear skimpy clothing. Don’t drink at bars. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t say anything suggestive. Don’t invite a man back to your apartment. Don’t, don’t, don’t. All the rules are for women.

Why would it be so ridiculous to say to men — don’t go out at night because it’s dangerous for you…

I’m So Tired

I’m tired. You want to know why I’m so tired at the end (I hope) of a pandemic where women took the brunt of all the extra home labor that had to be done? Where women lost most of the jobs because they couldn’t do everything? Where women, who have been managing kids around home jobs for centuries, get ignored when men have cute Zoom moments where the toddler stops in for a moment before being whisked away by Mom?

Its because women still do most of the childcare and housework in the world. But yay for…

Giving Up Love-Bombing

There’s a lot of talk in the post-Mormon world about how to rebuild “community.” Mormons do community well, that’s what they say. And in some ways, it is true. No matter where you move in the world, it seems, there is a Mormon ward to greet you. They will likely help you move in (actually physically carrying boxes for you), bring you casseroles, and greet you with smiling faces when you show up to church on Sunday. They’ll also be quick to put you to work with callings in the ward that will help you feel integrated…

I’ve been watching scenes of happy celebration around the country, as Democrats rejoice over Biden’s final, late-called victory. I’m a registered Republican who voted Hilary in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Maybe I’m a Democrat now. I don’t know. Certainly most of the Republicans in Utah would say that I’m not a “real” Republican. But I find it very difficult to feel anything like celebratory excitement right now. I wish I could. I don’t think it’s because of Biden. It’s because of Trump.

In 2016, when the election was called for Trump, I wasn’t one of those people who went…

I’m a Proud Covenant-Breaker

Sometimes when I openly admit that I’m a covenant breaker, other ex-Mormons interrupt me and insist that I’m not. A covenant, they argue, doesn’t count if you didn’t really understand what the covenant was going to be. Since you didn’t know what was going to happen in the temple and you were so pressured into saying yes to everything in the temple, you aren’t the one breaking the covenant, the Mormon church is. The Mormon church lied about its history, lied about its power and priesthood, lied about being the only true church on the earth…

Ex-Mormon Women and Lasting Financial Disparities

I’ve written before about the on-going problem of structures of Mormonism remaining for those who leave Mormonism, and this is another one that it seems many ex-Mormon women see clearly and ex-Mormon men do not see at all. It is a painful reality of leaving Mormonism that it is difficult to undo the external and internal assumptions of church culture and doctrine that are so deeply embedded that we do not realize they are there. …

Mette Harrison

Author of The Bishop’s Wife mystery series, The Mormon Sabbatical Podcast, Princeton PhD, fiction editor at Exponent II, autist, she/her

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