My name is Marie White and I was born in SLC, UT into a Jack Mormon family. Growing up in Utah, you just assume everyone is Mormon until being told otherwise. I have always been interested in people and noticed at a young age that not being an active member of the LDS community, you are treated differently.
It was also apparent to me that these people did not practice what they preached. They could be very hurtful with their words and they seemed to love to gossip. I didn’t have a problem with the gospel, the little I knew about it, but I didn’t like the way the people lived their faith. I questioned that they could be the only true church at a very young age and was told not to say that again and I would know when I was baptized. Most of my questions were dismissed by the bishop and his counselors.
As a teenager, I met a Mexican boy from across town. He was older than me by 3 years. This was during the Vietnam war when boys were being drafted every day. He joined the air force and before leaving for boot camp, convinced me to seal our love with sex. When he came home from basic training, he called me to tell me he was getting married to a girl I didn’t know about who had just delivered his baby.
Three weeks later, I realized I was pregnant. I was a naive teenage girl in the early 60’s with few choices. I didn’t tell anyone one until I was 6 months along and once my mom knew, it was out of my hands. She took over hiding me in the basement to protect my reputation she said. And when it was time, I went to an adoption agency. As careful as my mother was, the church knew and gossiped about me anyway. After that I felt like damaged goods with no chance of getting into heaven so I went even further away from any religion.
A few years later, I met a divorced man who didn’t seem to care about my past. He was a party boy with 2 small children he didn’t see often, his choice, but was good about paying his child support for. It was love at 1st sight for me with his children. Their mother didn’t seem to have a lot of time for them either, so she let me take them whenever I wanted.
I got pregnant again while we were dating. He being more worldly then me, insisted I have an abortion, which I did, alone and in a strange city. Within a short amount of time we were married, not out of love, but convenience for both of us. This man was a bully who poked at my low self esteem regularly. When I got pregnant again, I refused another abortion. I was finally going to be a mother. At this time, his kids’ mom decided she didn’t want the older son and insisted I take him or she would put him in foster care. He was 8 years old at the time. I was thrilled to get 2 kids 8 years apart. Four years later, it happened again. I delivered my son and got custody of my husband’s daughter about the same time.
When my son came to live with me, he asked me not to tell anyone he was my stepson and wanted to call me mom. I was thrilled and we decided “step” and “half” were 4 letter words we wouldn’t use in our house. By this time, my husband and I didn’t like each other much. Both of us drank a lot, we smoked, did drugs and avoided each other whenever possible. Within a few years, he also started having affairs and eventually got my friend pregnant. That was the last straw for me. I knew I didn’t deserve this and began to plan my escape.
I began to really look at my life and who I could be. I spent 2 years preparing to leave. In those years, I quit drinking, started taking better care of myself, got so I didn’t hear or acknowledge his insults of me and got a job. My biggest concern was the 2 oldest kids, how to keep them in my life without their mother or father. Again, my oldest son came to my rescue when he said not to stay for him, that the kids were miserable too.
After my divorce, I sincerely began my search for the truth of who I am and why I’m here. I studied the Tao, Buddhism, Catholicism, and all the religions I could find. What I learned was my God didn’t live in a church. Nature is where I felt the most comfortable. Always on my quest, I spoke to many people about their faith and how they acquired it. One day, I brought my questions to a friend who said Christopher had the answers I was searching for and suggested I go with her to listen to him. She took me to a meeting at the Salt Lake City library and from day one I was hooked.
I love listening to Christopher talk and what he says aligns with what I feel to be true.