One of my daughters, Monica Moore Smith, divorced after more than two years in an abusive marriage. She had done “all the right things.” She had committed to living a moral life at a very young age and never wavered. She actively strengthened her testimony. She was very careful about what she said and did in dating. She was always temple worthy. She dated her ex-husband for a year and was thoughtful and prayerful and all the smart things. She was sealed in the temple to the man she hoped she'd spend eternity with.
In April she filed for divorce. In May it was finalized.
Earlier this week, Monica's friend, Al Fox Carraway (aka “The Tattooed Mormon”), hosted Monica in an Instagram takeover to answer questions about divorce and abuse, particularly in the church. Here it is:
I've included all the resources Monica references (as well as some of my own), on my main blog, here:
Over the course of this ordeal, I have learned so much. Most of it from Monica herself.
I was not the target. She was. I loved and accepted him like a son. Our family was just collateral damage. The toll taken by abuse impacts everyone who loves the victim.
Victims of abuse are so often silenced. This is additional abuse that protects the abusers, perpetuates further abuse, and further harms the victims. Spousal abuse in the church needs to have the disinfecting light of exposure. Men who hold the priesthood—”the power and authority to act in the name of God for the salvation of humankind”—must be held to a higher standard. The official rhetoric about abuse must be put into practice.
There is so much that needs to be said about emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and—on this site in particular—spiritual abuse. I'm researching as much as I can on those painful topics. If you have any insights or sources (other than those on the blog linked above), please let me know.
If you are in an abusive relationship, please get help. If your bishop doesn't understand abuse (sadly, often they do not), look elsewhere. Please check out the resources on the blog linked above. (I will update is regularly.) Please reach out if you don't know where to turn.
You are never obligated to stay where you are abused. God does not want you to be abused.