On Having An Article Published In Salon

A few days ago, I was contacted by the editor of Salon – he wanted to know if he could use my story about attempting to resign from the Mormon Church for Salon’s main page. I said yes, typing out a reply as quickly as my fingers could manage. But then the doubts began to creep in. He wanted to use my real name. To date, I have been using the online name postmormongirl. Was I ready to go public with my identity? I told the editor to use the name Rachel Velamur, which is only a slight stretching of the truth. Velamur is my husband’s name; legally I go by my maiden name. People who know me well enough will be able to figure out my identity; passing acquaintances will not.

The result is the article “My Failed Mormon Resignation”. My attempts to have my name removed were youthful and inefficient. Nowadays, I would hire a lawyer to draft a letter stating my intent to resign and my request for privacy, have the letter notarized, and then I would send the letter to Church Headquarters via registered mail. But at the time I was young and poor and naive. Now I am older, cynical, and too tired to contemplate a step that might hurt my family. And since the Mormons now leave me alone, I guess I am OK with the situation. I am not happy, but I am OK.

When I started up my blog “A POST-MORMON LIFE”, my intentions were simply to write the story of my life as a Mormon and a post-Mormon. I was terrified when I first started posting my writing – I thought I was going to have to fend off angry people telling me that I was a horrible person and that I was nothing more than just an angry apostate who couldn’t leave the church alone. I was afraid but I was also determined to tell a tale of a girl who grew up Mormon and then found the courage to forge her own path in life.

The reality has been far different. People have been nice. Overwhelmingly nice. Between Donna’s good humor, Carol’s support in the weekly SiOB, and the hundreds of comments I have received in the past few months, I am now at a point where I realize there are a lot of really good people out there. People that have either gone through the same process of leaving or known someone who has. I also had the over-whelming honor of being profiled on a faithful Mormon’s blog – her comment was that I helped her understand one of her high school friends that left the Church. We have since been communicating regularly; I have a deep respect for her willingness to understand the different paths people take in life.

The process of writing has helped strengthen my conviction that people are inherently good. I am sure that if my writing receives more attention negative comments will start coming in. But the comments and e-mails I’ve received to date have been heart-warming, life-affirming, and a reminder of why I do what I do. I am grateful – so very grateful – that there is a vibrant and diverse community of post-Mormons and atypical Mormons that I can take refuge in. I am also grateful that I can reach a few more people with my story – no one should ever have to feel that they are alone.


Thank you all so much.


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9 Responses

  1. Julia says:

    I am so glad that you have found support and love in a place that brought the fear of darkness and rejection! No one has the right to choose your life except for you.

    Not everyone who reads your blog, or mine, or anyone’s really, will automatically find a “kindred spirit” (Anne of Green Gables reference, not Holy Ghost reference ;-). Just to be clear) or even agree with what we write.

    Very occasionally I feel the need to clarify or defend myself, but I always try to find the good in others, and most of the time I find it. I see that reflected in your blog as you reach out to share your experiences, not to convince other to follow your path, but to let others know that your path exists, and it makes you happy!

  2. Goldarn says:

    I’m kinda surprised you didn’t get a flood of “if you had just done this, it would all be taken care of” with the subtext of “how stupid do you have to be to not know this?” You know, the attitude you see everywhere from FAIR to open source blogs. 🙂

    I think the point that needs to be made in all these kinds of stories is this: It’s just TOO FREAKIN’ HARD to leave the Mormon church!

  3. Holly says:

    Congratulations! I saw the piece and liked it.

    very cool, all around.

  4. @Goldarn: I have gotten a fair number of those. But I’m hoping that if people tell their stories, other people will understand just how many hoops you have to jump through and how many roadblocks authorities put in your way in order to resign successfully

  5. Julia says:

    Just wanted to let you know that this post is linked to in this Sunday’s edition of “My New Favorite Blogs.” http://poetrysansonions.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-new-favorite-blogs-sunday-july-15th.html

    I am so glad that you are able to reach a larger and larger audience, starting at your personal blog, moving through MSP, which brings to many voices together, and on to a huge platform like Salon!

  6. chanson says:

    Ditto what Goldarn said @3, and congrats for getting published in Salon!!

  7. Thanks chanson! And good luck with Sunstone!

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