My name is Danielle, and I’m an ex-mormon.
And I want to tell you why Romney’s 47% comment made the hair on my neck stand up, and my heart race. In a bad way.
When I was 20, just barely a year into my first marriage, I left the Mormon church. Truth be told, I had been bouncing in and out of it since I was about 15, but when I was 20, I made my official stance known. I was no longer going to participate in this religion that had isolated me, chastised me, and caused more heartache than happiness. I submitted to the tough reality that it was time to just sever ties and make myself whole, and separate from their doctrine. To this day, my resolve is absolute- there is nothing in this world that would ever convince me to return to this church. As I evolved and grew, it seemed to me, that the church was stagnant, a dead weight and honestly, I was not a good person when I was in the mormon church, at all.
When I became pregnant with The Kiddo, I was still involved in the church. I had been what they describe as “inactive” in their membership for a couple of years,attending as my moods and environment at home changed. Out of sheer necessity I went back, because it was all I knew, and that , even if it was very dysfunctional, it was comforting. Understand this: Here I was in this life-changing, mind-numbing situation, and I just wanted something to feel right- I needed someone to think for me, to do the leg work so I could just cope with the magnitude of being 17 and pregnant. I threw myself in, head first, and just did everything I was supposed to during this time. I prayed, and prayed. I read my scriptures, I took notes. I went to classes, I went to church, I paid my tithing even though I was making a measly $500 a month. I wanted those blessings that they were holding out in front me, like a golden carrot. I wanted to believe I could get them if I obeyed all the minute, micro-controlling rules.
And I wanted my parents to stop referring to me as a failure. As the daughter who messed up. As the slut. As the whore, as the stupid bitch who couldn’t make any right choices. I just wanted to fix everything that had always been wrong in my life because I was convinced that somehow, this was all my fault, and the church was quick to tell me that my pregnancy was God’s way of punishing me. Ultimately, my heart hurt too much to think of rebelling like I had before. I had completely lost my spirit and ability to have confidence in my choices.
I was a mess of a girl.
As if I was having an out of body experience, I watched myself go through the motions. I buckled to authority and chose a perfect mormon family to adopt my son. Even when I wanted to back out of our plan when they declared they were pregnant, I still relinquished my voice, and convinced myself this was clearly the right thing to do. The agency workers had all the words, all the right ones, all the ones that would hit me right where it was supposed to, all the words that would make me say: “I am no good. This is my punishment, God would much rather my child go to a good family”. If I thought about it beyond that, I would have panic attacks, because the reality was, simply stated, that I was offering my child up for adoption based on an antiquated religious belief.
I was carrying my child to the sacrificial altar and only then would I be forgiven for my grievous sins.
The idea that because I unwed was simply the only reason I was not good enough for them. Based on my age, as though I would forever be 17 and unwed, I was told without a doubt that I would never amount to anything more than what I would be if I kept my child: A struggling, poor, statistic ridden SINGLE (horror! gasp!) mother. Ironically, in the mormon faith it’s not uncommon for women to marry right out of high school and begin a family- but age is not an issue there at all, because they are married, though our capacity for being mothers would generally be identical, she had more right to parent my child than I did based on the ring around her finger and her standing in the church.
Simply put, I had clearly sinned, and for that, I must repent. To do this? They would have to take my child. That was, in their words, in their handouts, in their sessions with me, the only true path to truly regaining wholeness with God.
Oh, but they are so good at making you feel like you are doing it willingly. So good. My paperwork reeks of brainwashing and propaganda. My writing isn’t even my own, the words aren’t even ME. I read it now, and I wonder who in the hell actually wrote it. I know that my medical history was written, and had to be written in the presence of an adoption worker, and I know I wrote it. I thought she was being friendly and caring, maybe she was, but as I remember her coaching on certain words, and answers I gave, I know that it may not have been as innocent as I had once believed. They watched my every move, corrected my every word, and trained me in the art of refusing myself as a mother.
I found myself contending with the hypocritical doctrine during this time. The Mormon church is about family, and yet, they are hellbent to break biological families apart when they don’t fit into their ideal mold. As we have seen in footage from this election, Romney does not support women’s reproductive rights, nor does he support gay marriage. And, as I know first hand, the Mormon church does not actively support single women raising their own children out of wedlock. For instance, I remember a woman in our community who had been through a divorce, I used to babysit her kids, and I can still remember the callous way my parents, and the people they worked with, discussed her. As if she was diseased, and her kids were infected with this terrible disease. They talked about how bad it was to have no father, they made themselves feel better about their marriages, and problems because they were not in that position, at least. The Mormon church, and forgive my bluntness, would much rather break up a family that may not fit their ideal of a traditional family, potentially causing the mother and child a lifetime of trauma, so that they can put that child in a home that is, better for them and their doctrinal beliefs.
There is little to no concern for the mothers who relinquish, except that they do it in the end. If you decide to parent, they will leave cold, isolated, alone, with words of dread hovering over you, with no option to help you find resources so you can be an amazing parent. They don’t want to help you if they can’t have your baby. They care only for the families who are using either their own money or church resources (I assume, but do not know for certain, that some of this money comes from the members who contribute on a regular basis).
How is that pro-family in any way whatsoever? How is the separating of baby and mother, for the sole purpose of fufilling a business need, that they mask as a religious need, pro-family? Yes, there are families who are unable to have their own children, but manipulating the stakes so they can have a baby is not okay. Ever. No matter what.
The answer is, it’s not pro-family. In fact, I think it’s anti-family and completely counter intuitive. A family, is a family, is a family.
And we’re beginning to see why I no longer attend this religion…
When Romney speaks of the 47% with disdain, among other comments throughout this election campaign, I’m propelled to the moment when the agency workers, who are of course all mormon, threw statistics at me about single parenting. About the fact that I would undoubtedly have more children, and that my unborn son would wind up with a plethora of issues, learning behaviors, ADD, trust issues because his father was not present, and that it would bother him greatly to see men coming and going out of my life. To them, I would be a complete whore, always a whore with her legs open to the world. I would continually breed, causing a burden to the system, and of course, damaging my children for life. Of course, it was implied that I would always rely on the system. Always.
Because that’s what single parents do, they are just a burden, right?
You see, when he says things like he said in that video, my blood turns cold. You want to see the real man in there? That’s it, his religion will back those stats, though they claim to help those in need (members only and often based on “standing” in the church, or when they can print it in the news). You better believe under his reign as president that women will have all their rights reproductively speaking, taken away. You can bet that gay marriage will halt to a cold dead stop, and you better believe that adoption agencies will run amok doing as they wish, even stealing babies as it happened in the Scoop Era.
I experienced it first hand, through the religion that this man is devoted to. In order to be a Mormon there is much that you must give, and you are expected to, in some cases follow with a blind faith. He is, what I would define as a mainstream mormon. You won’t find him on the fringes discussing feminism, or discussing gay marriage and his church, no you’ll find him telling everyone, like my parents did, how anyone who participates in those things is an abomination to the world.
Romney belongs to a church who has created an agency that sells open adoption, but only truly promotes semi-open adoption. His church encourages abstinence, and does not agree with children having access to birth control methods. This organization will do whatever it takes to get you to give that baby to the family you have chosen. They’ll bring in members, Bishop’s, women who have adopted, women who relinquished, and they will do everything in their power to make you believe that you are not worthy of their help, their assistance, their time, or their sympathy if you decide to be the whore who keeps her baby.
Hours after The Kiddo was born, as I was holding him tightly in his bundle of blankets, begging the clock to stop, the agency worker came in and discussed how she had just been at a “placement” that did not go through. The girl had changed her mind at the last moment, and I was told this because she wanted me to remember how sad The Kiddo’s adoptive parents would be if I did the same thing. Words like selfish, and disappointing were thrown about. Tiny heartbreaking quips about the adoptive family were thrown in there. And there I was, just meeting my son for the first time, and having to deal with the constant pressure to make sure that I did what I was only there to do- be a womb for him, and give him to his rightful parents.
Make no mistake, Romney would hear my story and see no issue with it. In fact, there are rumors circulating on the internet that he chastised a woman in his ward (congregation) for having an abortion that would save her life. He will not progress women’s right forward, he will bring them back to the place that he, and unfortunate to say, his church believe they should be. I know there is arguments that his religion cannot be brought into this discussion, but when he makes remarks about certain people only being worthy, as a former Mormon, I have to bring his religion into this discussion. There is a constant, steady theme of this isolation, and this separation in the Mormon church. They do well to hide it, they do well to cover it up, and they do well to have their members to proclaim that these stories, even my story are just from embittered anti-mormon, ex-members.
Bitter, I am not, and I believe everyone has the right to participate in their own religion, but when you may run a country, and you believe in practices like I described above and your church is widely known as one of the worst, coercive adoption agencies, among other things, in the country, a discussion needs to happen. Mitt Romney’s religion is of total relevance because it will completely direct how he runs the USA:
Where women can’t have birth control. Where women cannot make their own reproductive choices, at any age. Where women are used only for their womb both in marriage and in singlehood. Where babies are taken from their biological families for the sake of repenting, even if it means lying until you are sure your tongue will fall off.
And, you had better believe, like LDS Family Services did to me, he’ll make you feel like it is all your fault. They are the bullies, and you deserve to be treated no better than the dirt on the sidewalk from their angle. They are helping you even when they are destroying your life.
Because his politics state, 47% of americans are leeches, who believe they are entitled to whatever services they can get their hands on.
Which is laughable because I am pretty sure that his church believed that they were entitled to my baby and that they owned my uterus. Unfortunately, we know how that turned out.
Don’t fall for it America, just don’t do it. Please, please talk about his religion and the influence it will have, and is having on his politics. Talk about their doctrine, and their moral beliefs, because I can assure you, that they will be heavily reflected in his policies should he come to office.
He will take control of your uterus, it’s contents, and see no issue with it, especially if he believes his God directs him to do so. This post may not entirely pertain to the direct 47% quote, but as I see it, Romney was born into riches, and he belongs to a church that delegates a culture that looks down on those who are not of the same standard as they hold themselves.
This is who he is. This is what he is.
Vote for your uterus, ladies and even gentlemen.