Sunday, June 19, 2011

A New Beginning


Once, I embarked on a fantastic project. First, I'd meet my true soulmate, fall in love, and get married. Then, we'd have lots of children and create a heaven on earth by designing a life which had just the right balance of challenge and risk and fun and adventure. We would continuously grow in unity and love as husband and wife and children (and eventually, with their spouses), and their children, until, in the end, my beloved and I would pass away, leaving an inspiring legacy for our descendants. The end.

The truth is that no words can describe, three years on from the violent rupture of my marriage, the combination of shellshock and nausea-inducing horror I continue to feel over the fact that this project has been destroyed, and that my efforts to save it have failed. Worst of all is knowing that my children will pay the heaviest price.

After all the conventional sloganeering about "two sides to every story" and "people just growing apart" and "you need to do what's best for you" stops, a brute fact remains: there is no way to justify the destruction of this beautiful family. A million dippy friends and "finding yourself"/"self-realization" articles and cliches could be trotted out; they don't change anything. There is no way to justify the destruction of this family, and the heartache it has caused to the children, and the heartache and trouble it will cause for many years to come.

Certainly, innumerable excuses have been imaginatively created and announced, each one seemingly more detached from the actual events of the past than the one before, and thus, more obviously ridiculous than the one before; but there's no point in pretending anymore that they are anything besides attempts at guilt-reduction and defending the indefensible. We had created a heaven on earth; we had countless adventures and laughs, done a hundred little projects, road trips to California and camping and dinosaur fossil-digging and barbecues and building bird cages and visiting hot springs and making beach bonfires; we had welcomed each new child with greatest gratitude; each day, each moment, as a bound family unit, was a miracle. All that is gone now, replaced by nothing but two souls, still completely bound at the cellular soulmate level regardless of the past and regardless of what either person tells anyone else, just living in different houses now, taking turns visiting the children we ought to be raising together, one of us in the throes of a kind of insane, stubborn hubris which impels her to keep on trying to accomplish what deep down she must know she shouldn't, and the other, a man still unable to conceive of himself with any other woman than the one he still feels cosmically bound to, despite all that has occurred, and who is therefore completely uninterested in any kind of intimate relationship with any other woman - and who is therefore, stuck. The children, I can't go into detail about, of course...but I will say they deserved a lot better than this. And they once had it, which I think makes this all the worse for them.

In a way, I want God in on this. I want a final reckoning. Of course I submit myself to such judgment; after all, this destruction is so rotten, that whatever I've inadvertently done to contribute to it or misguidedly enable it, I ought to pay for, as much as the force which actually lusted for, and caused, the destruction. I am so frazzled, so heartsick, so totally dumbstruck by the violence and insanity of it all, that I want some eventual clarity to replace the confusion, some final, righteous judgment to replace all the misjudgments, some final investigation, with appropriately excruciating punishments meted out. I want some divine order after all the hellish disorder. And I want to know how a parent could look into the young, innocent, trusting eyes of their own flesh and blood, and then walk out the door and destroy everything those children cherish most in life, which they are trusting that parent to protect.

I'm sure I sound bitter. It's more complicated than that, and far more overwhelming. Mixed up with the shell-shock and horror are all sorts of other feelings that never go away, and I don't know if they will ever go away. The incredulity, the outrage, the regret, the sense of loss and failure, the deep conviction of the wrongness of it all, the total frustration and pining for her and powerlessness and sorrow...when does it all go away? My whole adult life I thought of myself as the protector of my family. When it came down to it, it was destroyed from within, and - that I could find anyway - I had no power to stop it. And that - - really - - sucks. I have this terrible feeling I will never, ever get over it.

Resurrecting this seems impossible. But as another old saying goes, "you can't begin again; but you can make a new beginning". Maybe, one day, I will find someone I can make a new beginning with. Maybe I'll be like one of my musician buddies - a devoted father and husband by day, a famous rock star by night - who told me once that dealing with his first wife, and the ensuing divorce, was the worst thing he'd ever been through, but that it was all worth it just to meet his new wife, who was the most incredible woman he'd ever met: willing to accept love and appreciate the gifts he can give her, and who was attentive, supportive, loyal, etc.

Maybe the woman I meet one day will be moved by a love song I write, or excited by an adventure I plan for us. Maybe she will come up with her own ways of infusing our lives with peace and respect and love. Maybe she and I will really complement each other. Maybe she will love my children as her own. I can't say there is anyone like that on the horizon, but maybe that will happen one day. I don't know.

What I do know is that right now....I....ummm....well...I need to buy some horses, and start riding with my kids, as many of them as will come...and we need to ride up to Michell's farm, and ride over to the beach and have a picnic, and ride round Elk Lake, and Thetis Lake, and maybe even ride out through the wilds, near Goldstream, and camp out overnight, and maybe even try to make it all the way up to the Cowichan Valley, and try to keep as much of the magic we once had all together going, for as long as I can...and maybe, one day, a beautiful girl will join me; and the kids will love her, and she will love me, and I'll love her back, and we'll all build a beautiful heaven on earth together. And maybe that heaven is one which will last forever.

73 comments:

junesteedlifecoach.com said...

A sad situation, Tal. I hope love and joy come your way again soon.

Heather said...

Thank you for being honest in this post. I have watched so many of my friends go through divorce and reading what you had to say put a different perspective on it. Give your kids a squeeze, as they are the most important part of you that you can hold onto.

Best wishes...

Erika said...

Tear-jerking and touching. If there is such a thing as everlasting romantic love, I hope you find it. Anyone with a heart as big as yours deserves that much.

l4k said...

"And I want to know how a parent could look into the young, innocent, trusting eyes of their own flesh and blood, and then walk out the door and destroy everything those children cherish most in life, which they are trusting you to protect."

I don't think I have ever read a more profound statement on why two people shouldn't divorce.

Sandy-san said...

I'm SOOO sorry to hear about this... My husband said you hit many of the same feelings after his divorce nearly 7-years ago. I'm so shocked about you and PW... you just can't imagine. I'm immensely sad for all of your children. May God bless you and your family... and may He give you peace. SandyB

your correspondent friend, Kate Myers said...

Tal, the best part about this post is that you end with some hope and an image of new happiness. Whoever she turns out to be, what a lucky woman! May she read this somehow and see herself in this vision, too, and have the nerve to tell you so. You deserve the heaven on earth you've worked so hard to create. Also, maybe be open to a lady who could not have her own children? She would love yours all the more because of it....

CodyAnne. said...

I feel compelled to say something reassuring, but there's nothing left to say that hasn't been said. I appreciate your outlook and am reminded of my own family, and am grateful.

I've been following your blog for some time and it's very obvious you love your kids immensely. They are lucky to have such a wonderful Dad in you, and whomever you may find in your future, is also quite a lucky lady.

Danny Boy said...

Tal, I happened upon your blog today and can't help but comment. By no skill of my own I haven't had to "walk what you are walking" (not yet), but I have sat with numerous folk who have, in a weak attempt to somehow help. But I have not been witness to such a searingly honest description of the "dark night of the soul" as you gifted all who are looking for the words to describe their reality. Thank you...finding the words is one of the ways of finding one's way back...I think.

BETH ;-[ said...

If you are not friends with Eddie Zeeman (another wonderful musician on facebook) then you definitely should be. He went through a similar event, and felt very much the way you sound. He HAS found his heaven. And this will be you, in time.
Your post made my heart break for you.

Erica said...

Your words are so pain-ridden and so true. I experienced a painful divorce over ten years ago and the effects on my daughter ripple through every experience of her life. Divorce is -without a doubt- the most evil, painful experience in human existence. HOWEVER, there is the blessing of clarity, gratitude and strength that emerge from the rubble. Years later, I still have a dream of peace, love and a true connection to another soul. A dream I want to pass on to my own child...as you can as well. Do not allow this event to quiet the music in your soul. While it may seem that finding the answers to explain the injustice of the situation will lessen the pain, I have found that creating new questions solve the old aches.
My sincerest hopes for your family's new journey...

thinkerman said...

Wow, what a lesson to learn the hardest way. Forsake and break your most sacred covenants ever made and then expect your good wife to follow you to HELL where sons of perdition will go... how could you EVER expect that she would forsake her life long faith, and for what? You were wrong. The faith is true. The church is most definitely true, and you have drank the DREGS of a most bitter cup. I am so mad at you really, still. I don't just feel sorry for you, I am disturbed and angry at what you did to your wife to your kids, and to numerous people who find a wicked commiseration in your tale, you miserable antimormon. I'm not sure what you can do now, but you are NOT humble yet, you seem to blame your wife at so-called hurting the kids, but YOU did it. YOU did it. Get that through your THICK rock and roll head. You have no hope in that sorry and pathetic lacking humility condition. How many years are you going to carry on this CHARADE? Its been a decade now. I do know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, you do too, and you have done a lot of bad things in trying to damage all these things, but I guess even you can repent after all. I don't understand that, but God does. You don't deserve another "lucky lady." What you need to do is repent, regain your testimony, be faithful, be HUMBLE, and ask for your wife's forgiveness, AFTER you have once again received your priesthood. It is going to take a while. There is no other way out of this.

Tal said...

Thinkerman,

I guess I have to point out that your anger does not make the lies told by Joseph Smith any truer. I might add also that your imagination does not change the facts of my own situation.

I spent two years of agonizing research looking into Joseph Smith's tales before concluding that, no matter how great Mormonism was in other respects, it could not possibly be what it claimed to be. Once I confessed my conclusion to Tracy, it took her about three days to come to the same conclusion. I would have been perfectly happy if she had continued going to church, and told her so sincerely many times. And many times, I have wished she had never done that research at all. (Tracy, by the way, only had to read "Mormon Enigma", after which she came in and said "no 'man of God' could have behaved in such a way", and that was it).

The "sacred covenants" of loyalty you refer to, I would have died to uphold. And in fact, I almost did die a couple of times on my mission, which (odds are) is probably more than you've ever done for the church. And because of those covenants, I had eight children with Tracy, and devoted my life to the church. That meant, amongst many other things, being the sole breadwinner for my family of ten, since President Benson had encouraged that (which, again, I doubt you've done).

I'm not sure if you're going to be able to understand this in your agitated state, but the problem was that those "sacred covenants" of loyalty to the church were based on the presumption that Joseph Smith actually had had the sorts of experiences he claimed to. But he didn't, Thinkerman. And once you find that out, it doesn't make sense anymore to remain loyal to the thing, does it?

If I were "anti-Mormon", I'd be spending a lot of my time crusading against the Mormon church. In reality, I know a number of people who really need Mormonism, and I couldn't care less that they belong to it, and I don't really care if anyone else does, either. I do think that the church should open its historical archives so that investigating members have access to the facts relevant to their decisions; but if, after that, they still decide to join, then...who cares? Besides, it is precisely the increasing access to information about Joseph Smith's credibility which has damaged church conversion rates in the industrialized world, so I doubt that process of decline needs any help from me, even if I were inclined to waste my time trying to aid it, which I'm not, because I couldn't care less if people decide to be Mormons or not. In fact, many doubting members have written to me over the years, and more often than not, I end up suggesting that if they're happy in church, that they stop investigating and stay in. After all - again - who cares?

Tal said...

To continue:

The question of whether shared transcendent beliefs are really warranted, or really true, becomes less and less important the more real relationships, hopes, affections, ideals, and the satisfaction of deep, primal needs for ritual, tribalism, identity, purpose, etc., emerge from them.

So it is not that truth does not matter, but that - as Boyd K. Packer put it once - there are other values which are important, too; and I think that if an entire family would disintegrate if they found out that their belief in Pentecostalism weren't true, that usually, it would be better if they never found out; and obviously, the same goes for Seventh-day Adventism, Mormonism, etc.

But, the point really is that once you find out that those shared transcendent beliefs aren't true, it's already too late. You can't un-find out. And whether you were a Mormon, Baptist, Moonie, or anything else, not sharing those beliefs any more can have a deeply disruptive effect on families and communities. Sometimes, people even turn into unrecognizable versions of themselves once they see that their beliefs weren't actually true.

In any case, it sounds very much like you'll never have to cope with that sort of disruption, which I'm sure is a good thing.

Lastly, I want to suggest that the rash tone and ignorance of your note does not reflect well on your religious beliefs. Just something to think about, since this is a public blog.

thinkerman said...

Sanctimonious much, yes. I have read enough of your interviews, presentations, and writings in the past to know how disingenuous your concern is for how I reflect on the church. My personal ramblings are my own, and I still am married for many years and have more kids than you FWIW so your assessment is multiple times wrong.

You claim to "know" that certain things are not true. Certain "transcendent" beliefs. I say, because I do know they ARE true, that your claim that they are not true is meaningless. How can you know something is "not" true? You can't possibly know such a thing. That's like me pretending to read your mind and tell you what I certainly do NOT know. You can't know a negative. You can only know a positive, that which God reveals to you, and you are not even buying into that anymore, so...

What hope is there? You are right in your mind. And look at what you have "gained" for it. No hope in the afterlife and a sucky present life. It was NOT worth it.

Tal said...

Thinkerman

You seem to have misunderstood me. It's not that I am particularly personally concerned about Mormonism's image. But it is always a wonder to me when people who think of themselves as defending some ideology, can't seen to grasp how their own words and actions show that ideology in a bad light. In this case, you sound very angry, and incapable of reason, so I don't really know how that's doing your cause any good. But I guess that's up to you to figure out.

I've done my best to know the truth regarding Joseph Smith's tales. If my conclusions sound sanctimonious to you, I don't really have any control over that. And if I sound sanctimonious because I've tried to keep my family together, I also don't really care. I'm not saying I'm perfect; I'm saying I've tried everything I could think of to keep my marriage and family together in the years since we discovered that the religion we had built our lives upon was not what it claims to be, despite whatever good things it offers.

If, by chance, it is true that you have a giant family, I think it is probably all the more important that you downgrade the importance of truth in favour of the sheer utility of believing in what you already believe in. The effects of devoutly believing in a myth are just as powerful as believing in the truth (and can even be more beneficial), as long as the believer mistakes the myth for the truth. So when a wide range of real things are built on that devout belief in a myth-as-truth, the real truth can be lethal, and can cause great suffering. So why trade all the good things resulting from an unjustified belief, for some cold, hard, lonely truth? What sort of trade is that? If you never spent five seconds questioning your belief in Mormonism, I wouldn't even blame you. What your own inclination to so readily blame and infer base motives in others says about you personally, and about the ideology you claim to believe in, I'll leave to others to decide.

Tal said...

To continue:

I'm not sure you'll be able to grasp this, but this is sort of what it's like for those who *do* do the research into Joseph Smith's stories.

Imagine that you and your kin and friends are "five-ists": you all believe that two plus two equal five. You have church services based on Five, songs, sacred rituals, youth programs, you have status in your family and community because you are a great explicator of why two and two equal five, etc. In short, a lot of awesome, wonderful, valuable things have come from the belief in Five that you and your community have.

And then one day, you happen to notice that adding two oranges to the two you already had, only resulted in having four. Not five. You count them up again. Still, they equal four. No matter what, they equal four. You're freaked. And then, you start thinking back over all the explanations as to they equal five; and, your critical faculties suddenly activated, you begin to realize that those explanations just don't fly. They rely on non sequitirs and hidden hypotheses and even mind games. Frantic, you try to find an argument that is airtight so you can keep on believing in Five. But you can't. None of them do add up. In the end, you realize that your belief in Five was not justified by the facts, and even contradicted by them, even though the belief in Five is the most precious belief you have, and the basis for your entire life.

And now, you look at your wife and your kids, and your whole community, and you wonder what you should do. They are relying on you, to some degree, to provide sincere guidance about the world. Yet they all seem happy believing in Five. Yet you can't stomach the thought of living a lie, or even worse, continuing to teach them to believe in something that you now see is not true. You would be violating a sacred trust to them.

To not share the truth with them as you now see it, would be to embody falsehood and cynicism and deception. To speak the truth would be to obliterate all the valuable things based on the false belief that two plus two equal five.

What do you do?

Tal said...

Some men (including some church leaders) have decided that the truth is not worth it. They have decided to keep their mouths shut. They know, or strongly suspect, that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth about his stories, but in their minds, that doesn't really matter, because believing in those stories has resulted in many good things (just as being a Southern Baptist would for another family).

In a way, I envy them. I was not able to get my brain to the place where I could downgrade the importance of the truth, and keep it hidden from those I loved most in the world. And if I had, maybe they would all be better off. As it was, I told my wife what I had found. I felt certain that our love was real, and that our devotion to each other was stronger than our shared, but now obviously mistaken, belief that Joseph Smith's stories were true. But once she saw what I saw, she struggled to believe in anything again, including our love, marriage, and family. I didn't foresee that at all. I was devastated to discover what I did about the religion I held so dear, but I thought we could make it through. And I thought it was obvious that the fact that a young, desperate man once didn't tell the truth, had nothing to do with the truth of our love and devotion to each other.

It is not because Joseph Smith's stories are true that we have lost the benefits of belong to a community based on shared, transcendent beliefs, thinkerman. It is that those benefits emerge in any community rooted in shared, transcendent beliefs, regardless of whether they are true or not. That is why nature has selected for human beings who have transcendent beliefs, and root their communities in them. It is why the atheists will never succeed: humans are believing-machines. We are innately religious, and we are innately religious, because being innately religious is *adaptive*. And it's why you would probably be better off NOT doing any research into your own most cherished beliefs, and why I don't have any particular desire for you, or anyone else, to leave their religion.

thinkerman said...

Sounds nice enough, and I do appreciate the tone, I've had previous exchanges with you in years long past where YOUR tone was so over the top angry and you threatened me with "legal action" to some fullest extent of the law if I ever dared to respond to your email again (you had to have the LAST word), and so if that's any help as to why I wasn't all rosy warm in my initial comments... don't know if this helps.

Anyway, you STILL believe in a belief system for all that you think you "know" about Joseph Smith. You are believing of the very limited historical accounts, even if they are incomplete or paint a very strange picture, or are accounts from KNOWN enemies of Joseph Smith. It doesn't matter?

Do you think people lie about Obama? Did anyone tell anything untrue about GW Bush? Ever? Did a LOT of people do that? Did Bill Clinton lie, a lot? People do lie, so I would leave the Joseph Smith accounts at that, there are going to be a LOT of lies about him, a LOT of half truths, and a LOT of partial truths that make him look bad. Just like you could take my initial comment here to you, and take that out of the context of our whole discussion, and paint me as THAT mean and angry person. Even though it was YOU that wrote me the most mean and angry and threatening note many many years ago. You could still do that and tell your partial truth about me here, just like, I am sure, some very jealous and envious contemporaries of Joseph Smith actually DID to him. There are so many conflcting accounts of what Joseph Smith did and didn't do. How do you sift through that with ANY confidence?

That is why I always advocate getting the truth from God, and I have done that and THAT is why I believe what I do, not because I have read some selective history, and isn't ALL history SELECTIVE? Yes, you know it is, it is the sum of tidbits that the writer selected to include. History gets rewritten all the time, and so while it is useful, it can also be a false picture. How do you sift through that part of it with ANY confidence when it comes to the eternal salvation of things? I know I can't do that.

So while you say you know, you can't possibly, you are a believer still, you now BELIEVE that Joseph Smith was some awful human being. I believe just the opposite because of the visions and manifestations I have received from God. I do know.

BTW, I have read ALL the things that beset you. But I have read them with the understanding that people do lie, or tell partial truths, and also the understanding that people, even prophets, are capable of making some mistakes in dealing with people and they are sometimes going to make some pretty extraordinary enemies. Joseph did. But so did every other prophet who ever lived to offend people with the truth. They all made enemies. You are going to have to look at history with the glasses on that expose that enemies do write history too.

thinkerman said...

If some men in the church are "keeping their mouth shut" rather than face the truth of what they found out, or what they think they have found out, then I certainly admire you immensely more than them for standing up for what you believe, if you really believe it, and the only reason I have ever been "angry" at what you have done is because you did in fact go very public in multiple interviews and public venues with your personal decision to make the church, its leaders, and the founders, etc. all look as bad as you could make them look. You didn't just make a choice for you, but you made public choices for many other people who may have been influenced by what you have said, etc. Your very public outspokenness against what I believe is the very issue for me. If you feel you are telling the truth, what can I say except that I know you are not except that you maybe sincerely think that you are... but you are in a BELIEF system of history, as limited as it may be. Its no different than archaeology, which to some, PROVES that Evolution is the way God created man, yet we have this Adam and Eve story in the Bible and the resurrection of Christ Himself that kind of refutes that very limited method, the theory of evolution and God needing millions of years to create man when Christ needed only 3 days to resurrect... and I might add, archaeology has a very limited theory of Book of Mormon lands. Science having say, two pieces to a million piece puzzle, and yet makes such such firm conclusions about the so-called origins of life and histories of the world. Heck, some dig up a bone and with that bone make all kinds of conclusions about what kind of sugar they sprinkled on their cornflakes. How do they do that, I'll never know OR believe. Scientists should admit their limitations and so should historians. They create a limited belief system, really. With partial facts. Really partial. Can you imagine the volumes of a REAL history? The one God keeps? That's the FAIR one.

Tal said...

Thinkerman

I want to point out that you consistently impose your own imagination into your understanding of what I say. This is very irritating. I want to ask you to try to simply focus on what I am saying, in the same way I focus on what you are saying. Otherwise, you are sort of having a conversation with yourself.

As one example, I have not said here, nor do I think I have ever said, that Joseph Smith was an "awful human being". A well-conditioned, psychological, victim reflex is your problem; it is not my judgment. All I have said is that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth about his experiences. That fact, incidentally, is not one established by the "enemies" of the church, but by a simple, but careful, examination of relevant material, much of which is actually available in your nearest Deseret Book Store.

But since you appear to have absolutely no inclination to know about any of that, and indeed seem wholly and willfully ignorant of that whole topic, I want to suggest that you have no credibility, no grounds, for lecturing anyone who - unlike you - has actually undertaken the difficult and painful task of exploring whether his/her most cherished beliefs are actually true. You might want to stick with Mormonism because you felt it was true; if you do, no problem. That doesn't give you ground to lecture people regarding their fact-based, truth-inspired investigation into whether Joseph Smith's stories about homicidal angels, papyrus scrolls authored by Abraham, Kolob, your local Navajo tribe being the descendants of Jewish sailors, etc., are true. On using logic or simple inductive methods of reasoning vis-a-vis those points, I suggest you have zero credibility, because you've never done that, and don't want to do that. By your own admission, your "process" is only: I feel it is true, therefore it is true.

Maybe you notice that I am not going into detail about how to establish that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth. Do you know why? *Because I don't care that you're a Mormon*. For all I know, you are one of those people, like others I know, who *need* the church, even though it is not what it claims to be, in order to function on this planet. So how you choose to approach the question of truth versus utility is up to you, and I don't have any desire to inadvertently debilitate someone who may be utterly dependent on sincere belief in a fabric of falsehoods, however beautiful many of them may be. Besides, anyone who doesn't really - I mean *really* - want the truth, doesn't deserve it anyway.

Tal said...

Regarding your cries that I was rude to you, you repeatedly ignored my formal requests to stop sending me your rambling, ignorant, presumptuous, disdainful emails. When someone is polite to you three times, and you still don't have enough respect for them to comply with their request, you deserve to be shut down.

I don't care about your "testimony", thinkerman. Don't you get it? I don't care that you're a Mormon. And I don't have time to sit around listening to monologues from the critically disabled about how *their own feelings* let them know that *their own preferred religion* is "God's only true religion in the universe". It's totally ludicrous. And I especially don't have time to sit around listening, when that person keeps insinuating things which exist only in their own heads.

If the day ever comes when you would *really* want to know if Mormonism were a fraud, if by chance it were, then we have something to discuss. Until then, there's not really anything to discuss, because clearly, right now, you're content to stick with: "I feel it's true; therefore, it's true". And I wasn't. If I have two oranges, and then I get two more, and I notice that they only equal four - not five - then that's something I want to acknowledge and explore. There is no common ground, or even point, to discussing that with someone who just keeps saying, "but I KNOW THEY ACTUALLY EQUAL FIVE BECAUSE I FEEL THAT THEY DO!".

Melissah said...

What makes people respond is rooted in what they think is honesty. Well, here's my honest bit of public advice. It's two-part: Don't quit. Time changes everything, maybe the focus shouldn't be on what is lost or causes pain, but how it can be good. I think people look to you to see how you handle this because they have gone through similar things, maybe they will be able to find a solution by your example, and just maybe (without dwelling on this thought) that influence will be greater.

Tal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tal said...

I'm beat, Melissah. I've tried everything, and it has gone on for years. And years. She's not coming back.

Melissah said...

As is the case usually, my comment was not taken as it was intended, which your intelect has proven that you have the potential to comprehend what I meant from what I said. I know my speech is cryptic sometimes.

I can see how I was understood, and sort of empathetically seeing things as you see them, it is frightening it was what I feared for you long ago, but obviously I missed something because you managed to keep things together with a happy face despite the massive upheval that destroyed other people. But, you're a phoenix.

Though I speak in a public forum, It is not necessarily intended for perusal of the masses, it is here by way of assigned topic.

I wanted to toss out more cliche's, out of concern, if a thing is truly yours, set it free and it will return to you. No less true for people as it is obvious in the observation of other creatures.

Owning a living thing is quite a challenge, one I have not mastered myself so I cannot offer anything. Ooh! I just thought of a perfect song "Nothing" by Kevin Montgomery. As I typicaly do, I'll over explain, the song expresses the desire to help, though nothing substantial can be offered.

By the following of this post I think your situation might produce alot of songs that will ring true in listening ears. My movie awaits, I have exceeded the allotted pause time only because I wanted to say something to you, what? hmm, I don't know. but, I tried, nonetheless.

junesteedlifecoach.com said...

Is Thinkerman real? Seems fake to me.

Tal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissah said...

Tal,

Do you believe in ID or prayer? I'd really like to hear/read your stance on them. I can see how facts can shake a belief, but belief isn't based on facts, and I'm not asking out of any purpose but a lingering confusion on my part. I feel like you lost faith over a fact but faith isn't based on facts anyway which is why "intellects" often give up their fight with religion. The analogy of the 2 and 2 making 4 is wonderful, but if you take it seriously, what exactly could one teach/lecture (in your story) of it without factual support? Do you see how it was never based on fact in the first place? So, the realization of the facts doesn't change any belief, like the movie "Contact". Belief cannot be explained, but does truth only happen in science?

Sorry this is sort of off topic, but I asked because I honestly want to know and your comments to thinkerman demonstrated your openess regarding the topic of Mormonism. Though it seems frustrating to have that forever linked to your name and spoiling your lovely post about a new begining.

Sincerely,
Melissah

Tal said...

Thinkerman

You sound like many other Mormons who have written to me. The Mormon church spends literally tens of millions of dollars per year making ads and putting them on television, radio, print, and the internet. That's no problem for you. But for some reason, someone happening to mention publicly that the Mormon Church is not what it claims to be, makes you feel a sort of rage. Most people would think that anyone that irrational and inconsistent had been brainwashed by a cult or something.

I didn't "make a choice" for anyone else. That's completely ridiculous. By your reasoning, the Mormon church has also "made the choice" for the few people who end up joining it these days because of its costly ad campaigns. In fact, the many millions of dollars no more "made the choice" for Mormon converts, than I have for those who care about the truth more than fantasy. That you can't see that says a lot more about your mental state than it does about anything else.

I completely reject your silly claim that *I* made church leaders and founders look bad. Guess what, genius? *I* don't force LDS church leaders to do things like fill church coffers by broadcasting six hours of sports on church-owned KSL every single Sunday, *while they preach to Mormons that they should not watch sports on Sunday*. THEY DO THAT THEMSELVES. Me happening to notice that, and mention it publicly, is actually what YOU should be doing *if you had one-tenth the amount of integrity you imagine yourself to have*. Instead, you just express outrage that anyone dare notice that the leaders you revere are completely blatant hypocrites, when they themselves have made it obvious.

I have told the truth as I understand it, the same way I did when I thought Mormonism was God's only true religion, and I was serving a mission in places in Argentina so dangerous, that you would think I was exaggerating if I told you about them. And frankly, that's a lot more than can be said about some of the guys sitting in leadership positions in the Mormon church, who know Joseph Smith didn't tell the truth but keep their mouths shut. (Speaking of missions, Monson, by the way, didn't even *serve* a mission. He enjoys telling people he served in the armed forces. In fact, he went to basic training, the war ended within a few weeks, and then he enrolled in university and skipped his mission altogether. THAT is ridiculous, when church leadership have asked "all worthy men to serve". Monson didn't serve, and has never ever expressed remorse at all for skipping out. Do you care? Of course not. You're in a cult, thinkerman, or at least, something close to it, where no matter how outrageous the hypocrisy, no matter how easy it would be for you to find out that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth, you don't want to go there. If you actually cared about the truth as much as you care about perpetuating the feeling that you're "not wrong", you would actually take that leap. But you don't. And that's why, as I said before, you have no standing to lecture others on truth.)

You claim that God has told you that Mormonism is his only true religion. Would you be so kind as to explain why he also told the Catholics that Catholicism was his only true religion, and Muslims theirs, and believing Jews theirs, and Baptists theirs?

Is it dawning on you yet?

Tal said...

Melissah

I'm not sure I understand some of your comment.

Regarding the notion of Intelligent Design, I think that it is inherently attractive. Whether it is true or not, I can't say, but it wouldn't surprise me. I think it is at least as plausible as the notion that non-life begat life.

Melissah said...

First of all, I need to make sure, even if it is picked up somehow unintended in my tone, I am not embittered or angry. I just like to see things from both sides, there are always 2 sides. but one has to be more correct or there woudn't be a choice and agency would be wasted.

In this case, though "by their fruits..." Does make me scramble to your side. However; I cannot agree with things unless I understand them, a tragic flaw perhaps. Not really, unless it is assumed we only understand in thoughts...blah, blah, blah, oh! how I can go on!

Maybe I said too much, again. I'll try again:

I gathered that you can agree with Intelligent Design because science, though currently wrong, supports such an idea factually?

ha ha, just today I tried to give, things were in place then zap! they just happened as an excuse for how something occurred and it was obviously foolish, just wish my professors of Astronomy and evolution could have seen that. But, what if ID were not to be explained rationally? would it still be truth?

Tal said...

Melissah, once again I did not understand much of your note.

I think that Intelligent Design rests on a reasonable inference. I don't know if it's true or not, or whether we will ever know as long as we are on this planet.

Melissah said...

ok, that is frustrating. Forget everything I've said, but this:

Do you find something true or false based on fact? (My honest question in it's simplest form)

Jill Knapp said...

Hey Tal! I just listened to She's so high then went on to pandora to hear more. Hope your doing well. Just wanted to say Hello!!

Jill Knapp said...

Hey Tal! I just listened to She's so high then went on to pandora to hear more. Hope your doing well. Just wanted to say Hello!!

junesteedlifecoach.com said...

Can I ask, Tal, if you are planning to record and release more music? It seems a shame to not do it, as you still have so many fans.

ajackson6800 said...

Six years ago I had the joyous experience of the betrayal of a husband and a back-stabbing friend. I was alternately a heaving, sobbing, wailing mess and sometimes all three at once which was pretty. Eventually, I realized I had seen Gone With The Wind too many times to let one civil war keep me down. I was going to turn this shit storm into a learning experience and come out of this a better person. I stopped judging my situation and came to realize it wasn't good, bad, right or wrong. It was just different. And that God usually gives you exactly what you need, but not always in the package you were expecting. Repeat, as needed, the following...."It's just different". You'll get there, just breathe, forgive yourself, mourn the death of "could have been" and let it go. Different can be better. Mine certainly is now. :)

I am the Clay said...

I just discovered your blog..... this article left me in tears.... and once again "face to face" with the reality of my own nightmare of a divorce I am going thru ... like you, I did not choose this, and can NOT rationalize for one minute how this can possibly be 'good' for any of us..... heart sick, yeah.....trying to make some sort of sense of it all....

Thanks for being so vulnerable and open and sharing what so many of us are expierencing as well.

Kind regards,

I am the Clay said...

Tal,

I just realized after reading the comments on this thread, that you are a former Latter-day Saint. I don't know how I missed that detail, but I did. :) I too left the LDS church almost 4 yrs ago, and as a result my Mormon husband filed for a divorce and chose to break apart our large family. We had 10 kids together and 19 yrs of wedded life.......it's insane and I don't get it.... but this happens all too often with those who leave " The Church". For some reason "families are forever" only if you choose to stay Mormon. Where is the grace & unconditional love? Sigh.....

In any case, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and many of us share your angst and heart ache.

Kind regards,

Tal said...

Hi Clay

So sorry to hear about your experiences...

In my own case, the problem wasn't that I discovered that Joseph Smith had invented his stories, and she wouldn't hear of it. The problem was that *she* discovered that he'd invented his stories, too. To put it concisely, she had a different reaction to that discovery than I did.

Melissah said...

"The question of whether shared transcendent beliefs are really warranted, or really true, becomes less and less important the more real relationships, hopes, affections, ideals, and the satisfaction of deep, primal needs for ritual, tribalism, identity, purpose, etc., emerge from them."

Wow! The ever rare paragraphical sentance, I just knew they had to exsist! I hope everyone reads this.(repeat). I am inclined to write it on tiny note cards and put it in public bathrooms and phonebooths!

Really, It is perfect, too. Though I have to reread it to make sure I'm absorbing all the implications. It really answers much of my remaining question. Thanks!

In conclusion: Again, we find what we are looking for.

Lisa said...

Tal, To me you seem like one of the good guys. You may be stubborn, you have a good heart and you mean well. Im sure you will find someone out there.. Just make sure she makes effort to get to know you and your kids.That says a lot. Its easy to say I love you but to really mean it is another thing. Hope that makes seance to you. I see a lot of people use those words and not mean it. I wish the best for you.. Lisa

Lisa said...

Tal,
To me you seem like one of the good guys. You may be stubborn, you have a good heart and mean well. Im sure you will find someone out there. When your ready. Just make sure she makes effort to get to know you and your kids.That says a lot. Its easy to say I love you but to really mean it is another thing. Hope that makes seance to you. I see a lot of people use those words and not mean it. Im sure you will hear it from some too. I wish the best for you. Lisa

mav3rick said...

Tal, I was just listening to She's So High the other day and thought, "wow, he's really sweet." I don't know another word for it... I can tell you really respect and truly admire the woman like you love. What a lucky lady. I don't know many guys who are as intelligent and loving as you. I hope you someday can find that special someone who you can grow old with, because you definitely deserve to. In the meantime, you can get through this crisis with your children and know that brighter days are ahead.

Much love from all us,
Mav <3

Melissah said...

Have you met your quota yet, for comments? I am desperate for a new post.

You are Mr. Entertainerman. It's your lot in life.

Now, Go entertain, young man!

Would it help if I didn't say anything?

I'll be quiet, really (like a tiny gnat). To quiet an annoying buzz, just keep swatting, or in this case, say something new. I'd rather read more from you than other online persuits (including publicizing my thoughts) anyway.

Fred Cline said...

My biggest fear is to go through a divorce someday. Is there any advice you can give to others to avoid what you went through?

Tal said...

Hi Fred - I hear you. Maybe I will post a follow-up on your question.

Stay tuned.

Sidewinder said...

Tal,

A few months ago I came to the same conclusions that you did about Joseph Smith and his claims. Like you I shared that information with my wife and consequently, I'm desperately trying to save my marriage spare my children a lifetime of confusion. I only recently discovered your many writings on post mormonism, and I want to thank you. For whatever reason, you have been able to help me so much in my struggle through these issues. Your self-effacing honesty is enlightening, and helps greatly with my feelings of isolation, but at the same time makes me doubt that a happy resolution to my situation is possible.

My wife has always been more open minded and progressive that I am, and her decision to cling even harder to the LDS church since I shared my conclusions about Joseph Smith with her has befuddled me a bit. I had not considered that like your ex wife, everything, including our marriage and family would crumble for her along with the church. I see now that this is a real possibility.
She is truly afraid of what she might lose if she embraces the truth.

One thing I can say is that living a life committed to observable truth means having to get comfortable with arriving at more questions than answers. (you stated this more eloquently in your post) I don't know what the future holds for you or for me, but feel that I do understand some of what you are going through and I sincerely hope that you will find the peace and fulfillment that you seek. At the very least, know that your honesty and courage have been helpful to me.

PhDrummer said...

I wish that everything you wrote wouldn't be attacked by LDS members. It seems the church has done a decent job of training dogs to sniff out heresy. Too bad more people don't have a natural instinct for the scent of truth: the one thing we all have is a human connection. We're here now, and we need to come to terms with the universal nature of human existence. One can think what they will about the afterlife, but they can't prove anything other than the fact that they are currently alive on earth.

Enough with my humanist rant. I simply wanted to let you know that I'm sorry. I recently went through an amicable divorce. I found out that, no matter how amicable a divorce is, it's still horrible. I hope that you and your family experience as little pain as is possible in such a situation.

Boreal Swimmer said...

Hi Tal,
I'm so sorry that you and your family have had to deal with such pain. I am LDS, and I just want to say that if our faith has had anything to do with your situation I am truly sorry. We can and must do better than we are! While I remain active, my concerns with the faith are not that it may be based on false claims, but that our members don't often seem to respect what we have. Consequently, our religious experience is often shallow, without enough substance to nourish hurting souls. I've known some pain in my life, and rather than finding solace in my faith community I have often felt just plain lonely.

I have found that if one makes efforts to promote the healing teachings of the faith, those efforts are often met with resistance because they require introspection and change, and few want to undertake that journey.

For instance, the conclusion of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 7 and 10 in particular) emphasize faith, hope, and charity. After the fall of two entire civilizations, this is the message: faith, hope, and charity. Yet, if I attempt to stress charity its meaning tends to get mixed up in members' minds with their politics. They fear to take this topic on, yet it is one of the most important healing topics imaginable.

I wish I had some better comfort to offer you. All I can say is that as long as I am LDS I will do what I can to hold us to a higher standard. We have to do better. Perhaps if we did, then concerns about Joseph Smith's experiences would be minimized. As it is though, we seem to have a preference for raising Eagle Scouts than honorable priesthood holders. We seem to prefer endless meetings rather than charitable actions. We seem to prefer staid worship rather than joyful communion with our Father in Heaven. We seem to prefer heirarchy to family. None of these preferences are doctrinal, but they happen, and they hurt. Or, at a minimum, they don't help when people need solace. I am sorry for how much and how often we have failed.

Tal said...

Hi Boreal

Thanks for your sensitive note.

I understand your quibbles with Mormon church meetings, and your concerns about members, but those were not issues, and to my mind, have absolutely nothing to do with whether Mormonism is what it claims to be - that is, with whether Joseph Smith told the truth about his experiences.

The members in our last congregation were great, and the meetings were very good. I enjoyed attending church and enjoyed my calling (I was the Gospel Doctrine teacher). That wasn't the problem.

The problem was that Joseph Smith invented his stories, and that meant that despite all the other good things which exist within Mormonism, in the end, it is not what it claims to be. And if you are a true believe, who has devoted his whole life to the religion on grounds that it really *is* God's only true religion, that is a huge blow. It was impossible to keep going after I realized that.

Joseph Smith did not produce the Book of Mormon from "golden plates"; the Native Americans are not the descendants of Jewish people; etc. He did not tell the truth about his experiences. That was the problem.

Boreal Swimmer said...

Hello Again Tal,

Thanks for responding. I hope you won't mind if I ask one question. I can accept that you found the doctrine to be false, though I have a different opinion. What really concerns me though is whether or not we "walk the talk." So, my question is, when you decided not to participate in church anymore did your LDS friends continue to reach out to you in true, charitable manner. Did they love you unconditionally? To me, this is the proof in the pudding, so to speak, more than whether or not the historical records are accurate. Have our hearts been truly changed due to our faith? Or, are we merely "playing church?" I understand if you do not want to answer, and I understand also that your response will not change your decision. My reason for asking is more to help me know how to better engage our people in the essence of our faith rather than in the outward appearances. If you have experienced this kind of charity, great. And, again, I understand that it isn't a part of your decision. Thanks again for responding.

Tal said...

Boreal - Friendships made in the Mormon church between devoutly believing members can never be the same once one party no longer believes. That is not the fault of Mormons. That is an expression of human nature, and it can never be changed.

So of course, we lost many friendships, and those few that remained, were but a shadow of what they had once been. But again, that does not mean that the Mormons were not good Mormons, in my view; only that they were human.

In fact, I might even argue that if "being a good Mormon" means "continuing to believe in Mormonism", the best thing any Mormon could do to be a "good Mormon" is to avoid contact with those who have left because of a conclusion that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth.

After all, it is easy to keep on believing in Mormonism as long as you don't come face to face with the blatant evidence that JS didn't tell the truth. But once you do, I can tell you that no matter how powerful and real your spiritual experiences have been as a Mormon, you simply cannot help but realize that, whatever else the church might be, it *cannot be what it claims*. And contact with those who have done the hard, and I might say, heartbreaking research, makes it difficult to avoid that evidence. It is devastating, and in the end, open and shut.

My advice to Mormons who want to keep on believing in Mormonism is:

1.) Continue to tell yourself that your spiritual experiences constitute knowledge that "the church is true", so that any hard re-examination is a waste of time, since you "already know";

2.) Avoid wondering how your spiritual experiences give you any surer basis for your "knowledge" than the life-changing spiritual experiences of Catholics (or anyone else) give to them; and in fact, simply tell yourself that *your* experiences are entirely real and validating, while those of Catholics confirm "but a part of the truth";

3.) Automatically assume that anyone who leaves the church has been "misled by anti-Mormons", "trusted their intellect more than the Spirit", "wanted to sin", or "never really had a testimony in the first place", and never bother probing in any depth the specifics of why they left (you're off to a good start on this one);

4.) When confronted with the religious requirement to believe that two (LDS doctrinal) propositions are true, which cannot both be true since they contradict each other, avoid recognizing that this shows that at least one of the propositions must be false. Instead, simply summon up a thought-terminating cliche (like "I'll just have to put that on the shelf"), and then switch off your critical faculties, reminding yourself that you "already know the church is true, therefore, it can't really be a problem" (see Point One, above).

I could go on, but that's really the basis of what you need.

Boreal Swimmer said...

Just wanted to close with a final "thanks" for taking the time to reply. I hardly think it's in the realm of possibility, but if I ever have the chance to meet you in person I'd be honored.

Melissah said...

Wait, Boreal, I need to address you beforre the conversation turns. I want to tell you of an experience a friend of mine had with this "walk the talk" that suprrised me and opened my eyes to a reality of which I was unaware.

It seemed common in the Bible belt for "Christians" who gladly paraded around in the name but were quite far from any change of heart.

None of that disturbed my belief system though. It just firmed up my desire to be with others who actually did live as they were taught. I moved out west.

Here is a summary of her story: She had made a lot of friends, close, good friends. But, when she made a choice, that she felt was not changing who she was at all.

It was decided that she must be excommunicated from the church. She told of how all of her friends stopped talking to her and avoided her in the grocery store.

I brushed it off to her face and told her that maybe it was just a matter of obedience, like her not changing because she was excommunicated, maybe they didn't change, but were just doing as told. But, it did really disturb me. If not quickly addressed and fixed, my wall could crumble. A brick in my wall was that we love the sinner not the sin, so even if told to "shun" this woman, without knowing what exactly she had done, which ought not to matter, anyway, it seemed wrong.

I really ought to have asked her what she did, because she was a wonderful woman of which I knew nothing of her past. "forgive and forget, huh?" Well, I addressed my issue by trying to understand the Atonement. It never mended my wall, but side-tracked me until I had to rebuild entirely, but I do not find myself in a different place after rebuilding. I suppose even if our ideas are shaken, part of us, isn't.

Now, is the key point, though, How do you explain this? There just must be way to stregnthen the Brick of "loving one another' inconditionally. I feel that it is probably something to do with Charity, but would like to know how you deal with it.


I live out west, in Utah now, and have noticed firsthand how others lack the ability to truly love or forgive one another (at least that's how I explain the hyprocrisy).

justthinkin said...

So sad dude

mav3rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aurora's Sister said...

Your realistic writing of this experience is an echo for many of us who endure heart breaking situations we do not understand. Thank you for being human and for speaking (out as I try to.) Perhaps... if more of us were willing to speak out with such candor, fewer of us would feel we walk these roads of pain alone. Life is a journey better shared, I agree. I'm going to join your blog now, love your header and hope to read more of what you have to say soon.

Janice (Writer)

Aurora Morealist on Wordpress and Facebook
http://auroramorealist.wordpress.com

Aurora's Sister said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aurora's Sister said...

Your realistic writing of this experience is an echo for many of us who endure heart breaking situations we do not understand. Thank you for being human and for speaking (out as I try to.) Perhaps... if more of us were willing to speak out with such candor, fewer of us would feel we walk these roads of pain alone. Life is a journey better shared, I agree. I'm going to join your blog now, love your header and hope to read more of what you have to say soon.

Janice (Writer)

Aurora Morealist on Wordpress and Facebook
http://auroramorealist.wordpress.com

Brandon said...

So many of your posts helped give me confidence as I was finding my own path out of the church. Once you stopped posting on ex mormon blogs I found your personal blog and delighted to read about the new experiences you found outside the boundaries of the church.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. This was also one of my greatest fears when sharing my deconversion with my wife. Fortunately, I have not suffered the same fate. While it does nothing to remove the pain of your situation, I just want to thank you and let you know that sharing your experiences has truly helped me move on and I am sure I am not the only one.
Here's to hoping you find peace in your personal life. I don't know the situation with your children, but if you are as great a dad as you seem on your blog, I am sure that one day they will realize how much you have given to try to give them the best life possible.
Best of luck and again, thanks for sharing with strangers, you have made a differencefor at least one person.

Steve said...

I showed this to my wife and told her that this is how I have always imagined I would feel if I ended up without her. Hopefully telling her stuff like that will help keep her with me.

Melissah said...

hi Tal,

this is probably not the best place to ask you but, you seem to be around here ocassionaly. I'm doing a bit of research and I think that you have more popular ideas, which leads me to ask, where do you get them?

I have a solid grasp on one thing that I like ideas, but I do not know where they come from and no one has a good answer, so naturally, I turned to you. I like your ideas and wondered where you get them.

I have been dealing with this for a long while, it seems everyone charges for "their" ideas. hmmmm...

IE: What is intellectual property anyway?

Melissah

Hannah-chan said...

Hey, just looking to see if there were any updates.

I hope 2012 is a great year for you.

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Mel said...

Si no sueltas el pasado...Con que mano tomas el futuro?

:)

Red hot Ginger said...

Why did you stop blogging? I can't say much for the commentators but your story is powerful and well written. Your absolute anguish for what your children have suffered is tender and real. I live in a culture where the men think of the children's well being as women's work. They also think that women don't need to get anything out of the relationship because "it's all about their own needs being met". It is odd and surreal to see a man outside of a romance novel give a crap about his wife and kids. You have blown me away with your words and insight.

Poser said...

Tal,
I came upon your blog while trying to find that one chord in "Beside You". (...until the end, beside you ...(?) - that special chord right there. (I play guitar by ear and transpose everything into C or G and then use a capo...) It's one of my favourite songs, which I'm hoping to sing at my brothers wedding. Anyway, in my search I found your blog and started reading your heartbreaking story of de-conversion from Mormonism and how it unexpectedly broke apart your family. So sad as I think of this achingly beautiful song now, in light of your love story ending. But then the leaving-your-religion part...so close to home! I know exactly what you mean! I am still very involved in my Mennonite church - it's a big part of my world - but am secretly a non-believer...have been for years, after doing some reading and research and critical thinking. But I remain in the church. So how do I do it? I have confessed to a few people, including my husband, a few friends and my pastor, all who are keeping my secet safe and are puzzled but not freaked out.. (Mostly I don't want mom and dad to know...) I still lead music and worship in church and this is why- even though I don't believe in the mythical, super-natural and dogmatic components of the faith I grew up in, I still SO believe in the same values...the fruits of that faith, and the spirit of what Jesus represents and is said to have taught - kindness, forgiveness, reconciliation, non-violence, responding to evil with good, turning the other cheek, seeking justice for the oppressed, because I see the good that those values have done in the world. I see many good people motivated by their faith to do incredible things to change this world for the better - to work for the poor, to be kinder and more patient and more tolerant of those who are different. They feel they need their Mennonite/Christian beliefs in order to stay motivated. So I say "More power to them" and encourage them and pretend to be of same mind, and then try to find out if anyone in my church is actually secretly on the same wave-length as I am. I can't see myself walking away from it all completely. A little like living a lie, maybe. It gets easier all the time! And Mormons also live such good clean lives by all appearances, and if all that flawed and mythical thinking is what does it, maybe it's OK? I thank you for being so honest in sharing your journey, I wish you a really happy life.. (And I still hope to figure out what that chord is!)

I.M. Marie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I.M. Marie said...

Once, I embarked on a mission to do something different one evening and agreed to attend Stan’s Texas Hold’em Night with a bunch of boys from this new home of mine they call, “the Island”. Being the only female of the group, I was a little anxious. Fortunately, this group of men ended up to be, surprisingly, men of character. There was one, in particular, who had left mighty hastily after being so generous in leaving his money with the rest of us and did not get to know who I really was. I, however, sensed a quiet moral fortitude emanating from his being. Unfortunately, my inner-Beyonce overtook me that evening (usually does when I am anxious). I knew nothing about him. I am mortified by the sense that I, perhaps, acted like some urban hip-hopster who wanted to hear some, apparently for lack of a better word, “music” (from Pit Bull) during the poker tourney. I feel the need to somehow demonstrate that I am much more than that…. A dear friend, who, the morning after the tourney, wanted to know how the only one in the room with two X chromosomes did in the tourney, happened to mention that the tourney player who had to buy in twice, had a very interesting blog. After the obligatory congratulatory sentiments to my being in the poker showdown and second overall placing I decided to explore said blog. I, knowing nothing about any of the X-Y chromosome players in the room that night, was fascinated (nay, speechless) after reading his blog and the thoughts that reverberated off my screen. Impressed does not begin to describe… and then…. I read it… the blog entitled, “A New Beginning”. It was my, almost, exact story but with the Y and X-Y chromosome characters (who are pretty much the same age) in reverse. Slight differences – 3 children instead of 8; this is my 4th year since MY New Beginning; he is writing a blog; and I am in the midst of my Mitch Albom-esque novel. Yes, I know this email is beyond verbose but I was so compelled to let you know how much I appreciated reading your story. After reading it for the 40th time, I had to respond somehow….no, I am not a crazy cyber-stalker… I am also of moral fortitude. Reading my (again), almost, exact thoughts and feelings, but from an X-Y chromosomer had a unique impact on me. It touched me….deeply…..it made me feel so, not alone…. Thanks, Tal… From, Marie

P.S. Thanks for buying in twice and, did I mention….I came in second place last night… Jason was the big winner… but not bad for being the only girl in the crowd…. and, most importantly, thank you for squeaking open that gate to my emotions that I wanted to forget, the ideals of my ‘heaven on earth’ that I did not want to think about again and for reminding me that there are still beautiful people everywhere…. angels on earth …..
(should you wish to text a response Stan has my coordinates)….

Tal said...

Hi Marie!

It was nice meeting you last night. Thanks for your kind comments here, and very sorry to hear about your own loss.

See you at the next poker game (where I hope I do better :).

rachael chatoor said...

I remember a long time ago seeing one of your EPK's which revealed this beautiful 'fiefdom' as you called it. You had created an absolute paradise. No wonder it was so difficult to see it end. I feel so sorry to your family for what you went through, I hope that time will be and has been good to you.

I myself wish I had read this post right when you wrote it rather than months later. It just might have saved me a world of trouble, as your writing tends to push me to think deeper for myself whenever I appear to be not thinking. By the time I did eventually come across this post however, I was already deep in a rut of poorly made decisions. In fact I could probably adequately use your own post about 'Blogger' changing itself without a lot of forethought, as a good analogy for how poorly people can run their lives without said forethought, but I digress... Your words here served as a wake up call reminder (for me at least and maybe others who needed to hear it) that there are still people out there who want this, will settle for no less and most importantly there are people who will tell the truth whether it's difficult to tell or not. And as I read the post I realized that I was making excuses for my situation, and that I was not with someone who thought I deserved the truth. Which helped me remember myself and what I had wanted and as a result I found myself taking back my life. So add me to the long list of people you aren't even aware of who are impacted by your heartfelt writing. Again.

You are a rare human, your energy is all good and whether you like it or believe it or not, it is powerful and it's very difficult for others not to be affected by it. So on that note thank you for being one of the nice guys around. It's rare. I'm not part of your facebook circle so I don't know how things are going for you now but I've seen a couple of pictures posted of you on another fb wall lately. You look gorgeous as you always have Tal, and I hope for you that you are doing well and that things have changed around for the better. All best, Rachael

LethargicLass said...

Wow... I read Elk Lake and Thetis Lake and there was an actual longing I could feel as memories unfurled... sure miss the west coast... and I get how it doesn't seem to make sense that anyone else could become the one when you already had the one...