A series of small failures

Coming out, all over again
November 14, 2008, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Night before last, I realized that I should talk to my family before Salon ran my story about leaving the church. My parents are still in California (they try to be there as much as possible… at least my dad does, and my mom is a good, supportive wife…). So i called and my dad answered. This meant that mom was not home. I was relieved. When i decided to come out to them in 1993, I talked to my dad first. he’s the non-mormon, the democrat, the one member of my immediate family who makes me feel that perhaps I’m not a total freak. He was awesome, and said that he just wanted me to be happy. He passed the word to my mom, who didn’t call me for almost a week. And when she did, she was crying. It was horrible, gut wrenching.  But in the end, I didn’t change… or did I? I stopped being a lesbian after Heather broke up with me in 2000. Being bi, I could choose relationships that could make my family happier. And I never chose to be with a woman again. Heather used to say I was homophobic. Maybe I was just a coward.

This time, when I came out to my  about leaving the church, he said he supported me, but wished that I had talked to my brothers about it first. He hoped that I wouldn’t do anything to offend them or embarrass them. Again, he brought up the anger issue. Why are you so angry at the church? What has the church done to you? 

That’s a digression I will get into that later. 

Something else has come up that needs attention: my family. I was surprised at how hard on me my dad was. I eventually called my mom. She hung up on me, just after saying, “you might as well have slapped me in the face.”

I talked to my youngest brother, who said right off that he loves me no matter what. I *really* love and admire him. He knows what it’s like to be on the outskirts, and to not fit in with the rest. But for the last 15 years, he has immersed himself in the church and believes in it and really lives it. He doesn’t understand same sex marriage, however, despite the fact that, hello, I used to be gay, and also, our beloved cousin John is gay — has been all his life. My brother actually fundamentally believes that you cannot be happy in a gay relationship. The lord’s plan is for a man and a woman to join together and create a family.  He and his wife have built their lives around the bond they share, which is partially built on the physical connection they have, and on their sons and their religion. But the foundation of it all is their relationship. I can see how much they love each other. Can he really believe that two men or two women can’t achieve the same? Their bodies don’t fit together in the requisite way to conceive and bear a being with their DNA. But guess what? They do have children — through insemination, through adoption… And they love their children just as much as someone who conceived and bore their own. Perhaps because I’m infertile (one of my failures) I came to terms with the idea of a nontraditional family long ago. I was going to use an anonymous sperm donor as the father of my children. Unfortunately, I was already in menopause, at 36, when I was ready for that. My fertility doctor told me that my uterus was fine, and that I had a 90-some percent change of having a successful pregnancy, as long as I had an egg donor and invitro fertilization. My ex, the one I went to Puerto Rico with, wanted to have a family. He wasn’t OK with going the donor route, at least not before trying everything we could to have *our* baby. My time was already way running out by then, and I wanted to just go the donor route. But I went along with him, and that’s how we ended up in Puerto Rico in the first place — to go the Ann Wigmore Insitute, cleanse and hopefully heal my ovaries.  

Children in nontraditional families deserve the same as children with a mom and dad who are still married (and hopefully love each other). Preventing gay marriage hurts those children. Getting back to the bond between husband and wife, and acknowledging how that’s the source of his joy in the world, I asked if it was fair to prevent people who want the same from having that. 

My other brother wrote me something so hurtful, questioning my motives and integrity. I’m working on a response to him, especially to the things he forwarded me. 

His wife unfriended me on Facebook. So did one of her daughters and that daughter’s best friend. 

My mom and dad still haven’t spoken to me.


On another topic, I just can’t stop feeling weird and different: I interviewed at a gorgeous new yoga studio in Alpine today. They have their schedule full at the moment, but we talked about the kind of classes i’d want to teach, and we decided that doing a meditation workshop or a workshop class in prana vinyasa would be a good way for people to get to know me, and we could go from there. I asked, “are you at all open to having classes on sunday?” because there are no Sunday classes on the schedule. “Would the community support that?” They told me it’s in their contract that they cannot be open on Sunday. They believed the community wouldn’t support it. One of the partners said she was personally opposed to it as well.  I told her about the Sunday classes i’ve been going to in SLC. They’re big. For people who aren’t in the church, it can be like Sunday church.  I wonder if my willingness to teach on sunday will make them not want to trust me. Seriously? do i sound paranoid?  I’m feeling hopeful about it.  I can’t wait to start teaching group classes again. Privates are fun, but the vibe in a group class can be so amazing.

When I got home, my dogs were so happy to see me. Gogo gets up on his back legs, puts his front paws on my shoulder (i’m kneeling down at this point) and he licks my entire face with total unabashed joy. Thank god for the dogs.


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Is it important for your parents to know you had your names taken off the records? They already know you’re not a real member, just filling out the paperwork makes it official… Perhaps you could have avoided the whole issue by not telling them? I’ve had my name taken off the records but I haven’t told my parents or family. It seems like unnecessary drama, they know where I stand on gay marriage and how I feel about their actions. Best of luck, they’ll come around blood is thicker than water and the mormon church

Comment by Jonathon Howard

I just talked to my mom. She’s very upset about what I wrote, but mostly upset that i published it. She says she knows how I feel about the church, but that it was hurtful to publish it. She wanted to know what good it did to publish it. I’m really sorry for the pain I’ve caused them.

Yes, I could have avoided the whole situation by not telling them. Or not writing or publishing it. If i didn’t write about it or publish it, I’d be allowing it to fester (and I’m really getting sick of the festering). For better or worse, I’m trying to process everything. Also, I’m a writer. This is what I do. I’ve had writer’s block for 8 years, so it feels amazing to care enough about something to want to write again.

Comment by jodimardesich

Hello Jodi,

Seen this?

A recent post

You are not alone, dear lady.

Best Regards,
George in Placerville, CA

Comment by George Lowry

I know it’s tough, but you did the right thing, the moral thing. you stood up for what is right. eventually, your family will undrstand that. it may take decades for some, but they will come around because you have the moral high ground. coninue to show them love and be charitable when they realize their mistake in choosing ideology over love.

Comment by jc christian

Your own story is yours to publish. You weren’t disrespectful of anyone, your family least of all–though it’s understandable that it would upset them. Hopefully, though, they’ll eventually be able to let their love for you triumph over their own fear and institutionally-reinforced hatred. If you came from this family, they must have some really great qualities.

Comment by Maggie

thanks maggie. i think they will. hopefully in time for me to leave one of my dogs with them when i go on a road trip to arizona next week. 🙂 They are very loving.

Comment by jodimardesich

George, i posted my letter at signingforsomething.org. FWIW. thanks for love.

Comment by jodimardesich

Jodi ~

You could have taken the easy way out–and you didn’t. You are to be commended for your bravery and the courage to stand up for something larger than yourself: the right for people to love who their hearts tell them to love. Speaking up against injustice isn’t an easy thing to do–particularly when you have the full force of a church trying to make you behave in a way that goes against your conscience. I am proud of you–you are about as far away from being a failure as you can get. You are a hero.

Comment by VoiceofReason


A success to add to your list! It took much courage for you to publish your writing and tell your family. In time, I am sure that things will heal over. I like to think that your family’s actions are motivated by their love for you, and in their own way, they want what’s best for you.

Comment by Kristy

I found your link to this site through reading your resigination at singingforsomething.org. I have enjoyed reading about your experience. While reading, I thought of something I sometimes think about my own family. I am the only one in my immediate family who no longer believes in the church. It was July of this year I wrote them an email telling them I no longer believe and I still wanted their love and support. Leaving the church is pretty much a social suicide. My parents have yet to mention the email and both of my older siblings questioned me. My sister took it the hardest, which I wasn’t the least bit surprised because she is hard core mormon. So what I was getting at… I realized their reaction and not wanting to discuss the detail of why the church is not true was not about me. It is of their own insecurity and I am a threat to their faith in the church. Somedays I hope my family would be a little more open minded and accepting but I figure they are happier being believers then let them be.

Comment by Camille

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