"Satan has his claws in you and Steven," Mom lamented.
I remained silent. Its my favorite tactic when my parents are "discussing" something with me that I don't agree with them on. I'm pretty quiet when I know I'm in the wrong, too, but its a different sort of quiet. This is the blank-faced, let them talk because it won't change my mind, staring sort of silent.
"You know that we'll lose you for eternity if you leave?" she pressed.
I nodded. "Yes," I said quietly. I didn't believe that anymore, but I didn't feel like arguing about it. Like I said, let them talk because it won't change my mind.
The conversation with my parents wasn't fun. I mostly spoke when I absolutely had to. My father was the first Mormon I ever heard justify false prophecies with personal failing on the prophet's part. He clung to his testimony, saying that things against the church didn't matter because his testimony was too strong. He didn't--couldn't--acknowledge the Bible reference I had given about one false prophecy being enough to make a prophet false.
"You should go to Utah to live with Donny and Molly," Mom suggested, speaking of my aunt and uncle in Utah. He's a seminary teacher, she's a Molly-Mormon. They have five adorable, well-behaved children. I love that family, and they're very, very faithful. "If anyone can answer your questions, Donny can."
"That is such a good idea," Dad agreed. "You know, Lee, I think Mom was inspired to say that."
I had my doubts, but of course didn't say so.
"You could leave at the end of your quarter," Mom said, "And live there for a few months."
Since college had now been mentioned, Dad went further. "We could pay for you to go to Utah State for a semester," Dad offered. Donny and Molly live close to Logan, where the University is located. No housing costs.
This surprised me. Dad had been complaining about paying for community college, and was now offering to pay out of state tuition. I said as much.
"We've always said that we'll take care of whatever you need us to for college, wherever you want to go," he placated. I didn't bother to point out the inaccuracy of the statement.
"Then," Mom continued, hopeful, "You can have a summer wedding, when you get back, if you and Steven still want to get married at that point."
The "if" actually made them hopeful. They felt Steven's doubts had been a bad influence on me--that I hadn't been strong enough. They liked him otherwise, but I knew they would have preferred me to go to Utah, come back to the church, and find a good Mormon boy instead, to take me to the temple.
They asked me to think and pray about it. I said okay. I did what they asked...and didn't go to Utah. Bribery, no matter how "inspired," isn't my thing, and I was sure about my choice, so dealing with family trying to reconvert me for half a year wasn't appealing.
Things were tense at home after that. My brother acted like I'd lost all my values. I have friends that drink and such, and my own husband has his share of stories from high school. Many of these stories are amusing, and once upon a time my brother and I would laugh together about them, but suddenly I get "why are all your stories about drinking now?" as if I was suddenly a slutty party-er. The next day he put up a quote about temple marriage by Brigham Young right smack on the kitchen window. Everyone got upset when I tried moving it to his bedroom door, even though he'd "put it up for himself."
The final straw was when my mom got upset about me staying overnight at a friend's house with Steven one night. We'd stayed late and were tired, so I called and left a message for my mom letting her know i wasn't coming home and why. It was a half hour drive back. Steven and I stayed at our friend's. Being an adult and in college, notifying was all I was required to do by house rules.
I went to college the next morning, and had only fifteen minutes at home to change between classes and work. I came into my bedroom to find the dirty dishes on the floor, just because I hadn't been home to do them the night before. If I had been home and hadn't done the dishes, that wouldn't have happened. In all the years of my brother always "forgetting" to do the dishes and me sometimes spacing them, that had never happened.
Mom and i never discussed those dishes, but she did make it clear that she felt like I'd waited until after she was asleep to call about staying at our friend's house one purpose, so that she couldn't say no. Not that she could have said no, considering that I was no longer in high school or a minor. She said she felt I'd done it just to stay the night with Steven, and said I couldn't do that while living there.
She compared it to a smoker. She couldn't stop them from smoking, but they weren't allowed to do so in the house. But if they wanted to go to the end of the driveway or the field behind the backyard, they were more than welcome to. And the same applied to me and staying the night with Steven. I didn't quite get that, as it seemed to me I had gone to the figurative end of the driveway, and I had followed the house rules, but I didn't argue it with her. She told me I couldn't do it again while living there, no matter why I'd done it (because being very tired late at night on a school night wasn't a valid reason not to drive home, apparently).
I had been trying to avoid moving in with Steven before marriage--not that we'd been sinless, but I was taking the first steps to becoming a Christian and certainly didn't want to give the Mormons I knew ammo against me. I was done, though, I couldn't deal with anymore. I left my parents' house, Steven and I found an apartment, and we moved our wedding date up since we no longer had to wait for a temple wedding. (He'd been baptized in late March '09, so we had put the original date for mid-April of '10, we moved it to the beginning of January '10). I was out of there, and could start my own life.