My mother is 77 (let’s say it all together..) “bless her heart”. She has severe senile dementia, congestive heart failure and is a breast cancer survivor. She is, in a nutshell, A Survivor.

She has also reverted back to that state of a child where she’s lost certain social proprieties that have heretofore been an integral part of who she is. Either that, or she knows she can get away with it. I’m leaning toward the latter. Once, a nurse accidentally hurt her, and my mother referred to her as a ‘fat cow’ as she left the room. I scolded her, saying, “Mom, that isn’t nice!” She replied, louder of course, “I don’t care, she’s a FAT COW!” Sigh.

I took my mother out for groceries the other day, and she complained that she wanted caramels. I told her that she’d just had a new crown put on her tooth, so she couldn’t have them for a couple of days. I put the $9 box of candy back on the shelf. I paid, took the groceries to the car, and upon unloading them, the little sneak had snuck them into the food, hiding them so I couldn’t see that I was buying them! Ah…good times.

Well, as we sat in the car she and I had a conversation on the way home, and she, knowing full well I’m not Mormon, brought up Jospeh Smith. The conversation went like this.

“You know, mom, Joseph Smith was a polygamist.”

“Oh, yes, I know.” She nodded, solemnly.

“Did you know that he also practiced polyandry?”

“What’s that, dear?”

“He married other men’s wives. Four of them. Another four he married who were married to non-Mormon men.”

“What? I didn’t know that! Oo, I don’t like him anymore.” She scowled and shook her head.

“Mom, he’s the founder of the Church.”

“I don’t care, he’s a stinker.”

“He also married a 14 year old girl.”

“Oooh, I do NOT like him at all.”

“But mom, he’s the first prophet of your Church!”

“Well, he’s still a stinker!”

I was trying so hard not to melt down in hysterics until she got safely in her apartment. I laughed and laughed when I got back into the car. My mom has always been a devout Mormon, even witnessing to me at one point that she believed she saw Jesus once in the hospital as she lay near death when I was just a baby.

Now she drinks coffee and bad-mouths Joseph Smith. I know very well that she cannot be held accountable for what she says and does; she is, after all, not well mentally. But her first instinct when she learned the truth without being mired in her Mormon paradigm is one of repugnance and astonishment. It makes me wonder if they gave the converts the “meat” first, then the “milk”, how many would convert without first doing some serious research on their own.

Then they would find out that they are joining a church invented by the quintessential stinker.



My name is JulieAnn Henneman. I am an author living in Draper, Utah. My first novel, 2000 dollar loan online. Always Listen to the Ravings of a Mad Woman: a Story of Sex, Porn and Postum in the Land of Zion, is a fictional story about a suburban Mormon housewife who discovers that her husband of 17 years is a sex and pornography addict. I am also a poet and enjoy writing short stories with an erotic bent. You can find my poetry online, and probably some erotic shorts. I will be performing my poetry in the Utah Arts Festival this year, among other venues. I was born and raised in the LDS faith and left several times throughout my life; however, I left for good in 1995. Currently, I am a full-time writer and parent. Beginning next month, I will reprise my role as a creative writing workshop facilitator for Art Access of Utah. Through Art Access, I teach creative writing workshops to adults and teens with disabilities and addiction issues. Oh, and I really, really love coffee.

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8 Responses

  1. Hellmut says:

    That’s it, Julie. You are bound for outer darkness. Snatching a woman on death bed from Mormonism!

  2. JulieAnn says:

    I can’t help it if he’s a stinker.

  3. Nurse in Black says:

    Nurses love the spunky old ladies the best….we appreciate their zest and zip. It’s alot more fun to care for someone who sneaks, cusses, calls you names, than someone who just lays there and waits for death. So even though your mom may not be who you knew (as her daughter), know that others probably find her refeshing. I had a patient who always refered to me as ‘the chubby one’ and I thought he was really a doll.

  4. Kullervo says:

    Yeah… the more I think about the early church on its own, the more it just, well, looks like a cult. With a charismatic leader.

  5. JulieAnn says:

    Yeah, my mom is one of the favorites. She has a whip-fast sense of humor despite the cognition. Glad to know it isn’t just my mom that loses all sense of propriety! LOL


  6. FFG says:

    Oh, you have quite a character on your hands. She would make me laugh too.

  7. The Sacred Sister says:

    This reminds me of my great-grandmother and the many conversations we had about her painting of Christ…
    Like your mother, she had dementia and used to say the most hilarious things. She usually asked me how my children and husband were doing (I was 18 and unmarried) and she asked me if I would take her places because she couldn’t “find her keys.”
    One afternoon, I was essentially “babysitting” her, because she used to wander off.
    On her living room wall was a painting of Christ that my aunt had done for her. I personally never liked this painting because my aunt had not-so-subtly made Christ look more like her oldest son.
    My Gram’s mind had also reverted to her earlier years and she thought I was her daughter, Patty, who had passed away before I was even born.
    So she was eying this painting when she says, “Patty take that picture off my wall; I don’t like that man staring at me!”
    I said, “But Grams, that’s the painting Aunt Rose made for you…”
    “I don’t care. I don’t want him lookin’ at me. Take it down!”
    At this point, I started laughing! If my aunt could only hear her talk about her precious painting now!
    Finally I said, “Grams, you don’t want me to take it down; that’s a painting of Jesus.”
    She said, “Some say it is, but I don’t think so!”
    I tried to distract her with singing, she loved to sing and I learned many older songs from her.
    About an hour later, the conversation started over again with her saying, “Well, that’s an interesting picture isn’t it?” She looked at it, like she had never seen it before and scrunched up her nose.
    And then the requests to remove the painting would start over again…
    I never did take it down because I thought it would upset my aunt. I wish I would have since Grams obviosuly didn’t like it.
    Rest in peace, Grams.

  8. JulieAnn says:

    FFG–She is hilarious, but my “old mom” with all of her faculties was a riot as well. I miss her so much. It’s tough when that role-reversal takes place. My mom from ten years ago was a riot and so much fun. *sigh*

    Caryn–great story! Isn’t it great to get old? LOL