As someone who grew up in an LDS family that was also abusive, I have witnessed the blessings, and otherwise, that come from living in that sort of situation. It’s hard to complain about everything in my childhood because I did have my Dad, who did what he could to love me, and I was raised in the church. Those two facts are the only thing that kept my hope alive during the miserable days in my youth. As an adult those two factors sustained me through most of the years of my healing. When my Dad’s love ran out, I was devastated but I never completely lost hope. The fact that I was blessed with a knowledge of my Heavenly Father and Savior from my earliest days has meant more to me than I can possibly describe. It’s one of the blessings of being born into an LDS family, even if that family is cruel and unfeeling.
As a Mother who is also a survivor of childhood abuse, I have often thought of how I can improve upon the way that I was raised. Going to church and Family Home Evening, are important but it isn’t enough. There must be emotional and physical support and safety. Sexuality must also be viewed as sacred and worth fighting to protect. There must be the kind of environment where children feel valued and safe. They must know that if they share their feelings about something they will be believed and understood and those expressions won’t be used against them. In short, the very essence of the gospel – the pure love of Christ – will be in the fabric of every aspect of life.
We are born a member of a long since established family tree with roots that are deep. But when those roots are diseased, harboring a cycle of abuse, Jesus Christ will pick us up and give us the chance to put down our own roots in a place that is free from disease and corruption. We have the power to choose that this place is upon the rock of our Redeemer. We have the power to raise our children in a true place of joy and safety. Everything that we need is contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ, you only need to know where to look. –Nicole
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