A Still, Small Voice
My dad has always hated noise. Not at home, not in public, and certainly not at church. But when you have six sons all within twelve years, noise is unavoidable.
While my dad was never loud or even remotely violent, it was UNDERSTOOD you DID NOT make noise in HIS house. And so, from an early age, we learned to be quiet.
I learned to keep to myself. To not distract him when he was reading his Book of Mormon or preparing his meeting remarks. To never yell. To never laugh too loudly.
And so I turned inward. Deep inward.
My dad said that a quiet house was necessary for the spirit to whisper to us. We needed quiet minds to hear the heeding of that still, small voice.
Years later, my friends in middle school made fun of me because I would never laugh. When something was funny I would smile and open my mouth, but literally no sound would come out. It was fucking weird. I would never raise my voice. I would almost never speak at all, In fact, most people assumed I was an introvert. Hell, I thought I was an introvert. For years.
I began to identify with the character of Spock from the original Star Trek, which I watched voraciously on VHSs checked out of the local library. I had to keep my emotions in check. I had to keep quiet. I had to keep small.
A large part of my experience growing up Mormon was of being crushed, weighed down, having my voice silenced. In trying so hard to listen to that still, small voice of the holy spirit, my OWN voice got still and small, and all but silent.
But I got out of that quiet house. I got out of that hideous religion. I found my voice. And I’ve been striving ever since to make some goddamn noise about the dangers I’ve seen, about the path that almost stole my voice from me.
And so I want to speak to all those “quiet” mormon kids who are stuck in “quiet” mormon homes: Don’t let them silence you. YOU HAVE A VOICE. USE IT. Sometimes you will have to appease your parents. Sometimes you just have to get through it. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. But hold strong because there is a world out here that welcomes you and your voice and what you have to say. No, it NEEDS your voice. It begs for your voice.
The same goes for all of us ex-mo’s. Let’s all speak up. Whatever gets your blood pumping, gets your ire up, make some noise about it. Let’s not let the church and all its abuses and lies slink quietly by.
Sound the alarm, friends. Your voice may be small but together, we can make one hell of a racket.