Hi, I'm Robbie Bridgstock
I was a Mormon - Joined when I was 18 in 1964 and left when I was around 59 in 2006
I watched my lovely 56 year old wife die in our bed on an early May morning, when birds were singing outside; watched her taken away into some other world without me. Taken – this woman who would not even enter a room of strangers in front of me out of shyness, yet here she was, dragged irrevocably by forces too awful and too powerful to prevent. I still sometimes recall it and at odd times since then, have had dreams in the night when I have grieved for her.
I used to go home and enter my warm house, yet inside I felt so cold. She was not there; she was lost.
Seeing someone you love after a day away, is incredible – their blessed face burns back into you and your heart races with joy. Their laughter; their voice – the whole house would ring with their presence, but suddenly it is now gone, the house empties into total silence. Nothing moves. Nothing gives. Nothing breathes. The rooms were new and beautiful, but they had no love except mine and mine was cut to pieces by death. There was only a void – so vast I could not see its beginning, never mind its end. She was nowhere.
For thirteen thousand, one hundred and twelve days I returned home to this stunning woman. Seeing her face upon my return was like a living fire in a frozen landscape. Now I had ice in hell. There was no fire to warm me, just the pain of cold reality that even Angels must die. Left was an intolerable ache; a mind numbing emptiness; a broken bleeding heart – not to see or touch her dear face again.
Eleven months after her death, I attended my own disciplinary council. I thought it would be a bit grueling and so it was, but I did not reckon on the affect of hearing the announcement from the other end of the room that I was to be excommunicated. “For God shall not be mocked,” concluded the stake president.
There I was, with no testimony and no reason to want to remain a member, yet it was as if I too was dying and being – not dragged away, like my wife, but ‘thrown away’ by my friends. The church had been my life – my everything. All meaning, purpose and happiness had been centered upon it for over 40 years. Inside of my grieving heart, I was screaming for warmth, for love and for fellowship, but in those moments following that announcement, I felt like a little boy whose parents had arranged for him to be dumped – to fend for himself; utterly alone once again. Whenever I seriously think about that evening I still want to cry.
The idea that an institution – in conflict with an individual, thinks it can SEPARATE FOREVER, the love between that individual and his family, is as absurd as the idea that they could SEAL THEM FOREVER in the first place! We fell for it. By default, the LDS position on families and love is SEPARATION, unless joined or sealed in a temple. The fragile security of this claim is an awareness that the governing body of this cult, can, if demonstrated by our refusal to conform, disconnect and annihilate the presence of persons within a family from each other – ETERNALLY. Thank God, that when I was excommunicated, I no longer believed their power and authority over my life (Or my wife’s) or our immortality -- they had no more fear or affect upon my mind than that of a dead dog, yet emotionally, they took me to a place where another love died…. My church – my Spiritual Mother, as good as kicked me to the floor and smashed my face in. That is what it felt like.
Moments after this, duty seemed to compel them to try a little harder to make sure I was alright? In this late interview after the council had gone home, I sat down with them and realized the burden of their remarks were intent on helping me understand that what they had just done was the WILL of God. President Munser related a story from his own past where he sought ‘confirmation’ from the Lord about something he was agonizing over. LOOKING DIRECTLY IN MY EYES, HE TESTIFIED, THAT IF I WOULD DO THE SAME, I WOULD RECEIVE THE SAME CONFIRMATION THAT MY EXCOMMUNICATION WAS THE WILL OF GOD. THE OTHER TWO INDORSED HIS WORDS. I looked at my watch — they had started my disciplinary council at 7pm and it was now midnight. I went home to a cold dark house.
Despite my unbelief, I followed President Munser’s advice and over the next few days prayed for a confirmation as he had directed. I did so without cynicism. After all, this was perhaps my last chance to be obedient and for one more time – just trust. I was not bankrupt of the humility of believing that perhaps there was still the remotest possibility I might be wrong? An answer to such a prayer might be the means to perceive my own stupidity and deception, yet despite repeated attempts to supplicate God, nothing ever came. They had not said that such a confirmation would ONLY come when I returned to full activity, or had fully repented. No, they had said absolutely nothing of such conditions, just go home and seek confirmation.
This little but important thing shows how very derelict the Mormon god is. If he really loved and cared about me – as they kept saying he did — why then did he fail me and fail to honor President Munser? Such an amazing opportunity for God to shine with mercy and to respect 3 of His servant’s, who absolutely promised me an answer!
There was no failure, because there was no god of Mormonism – only men playing god.