Terina has left behind a life of Mormonism and the shame that accompanied it and is loving her new life of freedom and joy. She loves to share her story through public speaking, knowing as we share our stories we heal together. She also loves writing and plans for this to be the first of her published works as an author, watch for a memoir in the future. Terina’s greatest joy is found in her family with her husband and three children. If you wish to contact Terina please email at email@example.com or visit www.terinamaldonado.com
Building a new life after my foundation in Mormonism crumbled.
By Terina Maldonado
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brene Brown
It’s a beautiful winter morning; the sun is warm in the Arizona desert. As I sit down to write this chapter I’m watching my children play, and I'm overwhelmed at the peace of this moment. I sip on a hot chai tea, a delicious cup of freedom that was once forbidden from my life. My children will never be bound down by such arbitrary man-made rules proclaimed to be from God. I envy the life that lies before them, free of religion. I reflect on my life in comparison to what they have experienced in their brief travels on earth. I had lived through so much trauma by the age of 18 as a survivor of child abuse and sexual assault, I never imagined experiencing another trauma that could meet or even exceed the impact those had on my life. Yet, as I found my belief in the Mormon religion unraveling, my faith crisis and loss of my community turned out to be just that. Having the spiritual foundation for my entire life crumble beneath me was absolutely devastating, leaving me with the all-too-familiar aftershocks. Every trauma I’ve survived hit me so hard, it took the breath out of my life. Each time, I lost the desire to fight to get that breath back. The task of healing and rebuilding would seem overwhelming; the thoughts of life being too hard, the pain being too great, and family being better off without me would enter uninvited into my mind. At this point, you might be wondering why I would say the shift in my belief system has been more difficult to heal from than child abuse and sexual assault. I promise you will not be left wondering for long.
Just as I am a survivor of child abuse and sexual assault I am a survivor of a high demand religion. As a survivor I am breaking cycles of abuse and trauma for my children. That is what I held onto as I traversed this journey out of Mormonism...