Friday, March 6, 2015

Cheers to Susan I/S and RfM!

Twenty-three years ago I was an emotional train wreck. My hands were covered with eczema and I had nightmares about being trapped in a box. I knew I was faced with the unfortunate choice between my church and my sanity. Fortunately, I opted for sanity.

And I was fortunate. I had the love and support of my husband and children. (Not all ex-Mormons do.) Plus my hands stopped itching and I was back to getting a good night's sleep.

But in other ways my situation sucked. Back then, the only thing close to a support group for doubters was Sunstone. And while the Sunstone community was, and continues to be, an excellent home for liberal Mormons, it can be a less than perfect place for ex-Mormons. We needed a home of our own.

Bizarrely, like so many ex-Mormons, I no longer believed in the golden plates, the first vision, or the living prophet. But I still bought into that erroneous assumption that those who left the church were angry, bitter people who were offended by some triviality and wanted to sin. That is, until around 1998 when I wandered on to Recovery from Mormonism.

Within days of combing the site, I learned three very important things. First, that the denigration of women, gays and intellectuals is not a trivial offense. Second, that a lot of Mormon "sins" are actually normal, perfectly moral, and even fun. And third, and perhaps most importantly, there's nothing wrong with being angry. It can be a good thing. It can help you see the light. And it can be an important step in your recovery.

Over the years the ex-Mormon community has expanded along with the Internet. Now there are myriad discussion boards and groups on Reddit, Facebook, places like, and a whole host of blogs in Main Street Plaza's Outerblogness. But, for many of us, it all started with RfM.

RfM continues to be a safe place for people who have left or are in the process of leaving the LDS Church. And it has been a labor of love for Eric Kettunen and his volunteer staff. Yesterday Eric announced that longtime poster and admin Susan I/S is retiring. At press time, his pinned post has over 140 comments. Other Recovery Board regulars have posted individually in her honor as well. It's no wonder. She was there at the beginning of so many of our journeys, and she will be missed.

Tonight Mark and I will raise our Friday night cocktail glasses to Susan I/S and her legacy at RfM. She could have devoted the past 2 decades to crocheting toilet roll covers in Relief Society. But instead she opted for helping hundreds, if not thousands, of people regain their sanity and lead authentic lives.

Cheers to Susan!


  1. I've been reading at rFM ever since I had Internet privileges, although I only registered there recently. Susan has worked to provide such a valuable resource - life-saving in some cases -- to so many people. Thank you for honoring her with your words.

  2. Cheers to Susan and to rFM and to sanity.

  3. Thanks Beth, Richard, Alexis and JJ. We're a great community thanks to the tireless efforts of Susan and others like her.

  4. RfM was a lifesaver and an invaluable resource at a time when I had almost no one else I could talk to. It was a huge factor in my own process of deconstruction. And if there is one thing the cult does very effectively, it is isolating non-believers from our loved ones. (That is my personal definition of a cult, btw.)

    So a big hearty thank you to the wonderful folks who made RfM what it is. And thank you Susan I/S for all your hard work. Enjoy your retirement!

  5. RfM may have saved my life. I owe a lot to Susan I/S and her understanding but firm ways. And RfM is also responsible for my having met you two and many others posters and bloggers.

    Best of luck to Susan. God save her! God save Recovery from Mormonism! (Huzzahs! all around.)

    cludgie (a.k.a many other things, some quite objectionable)

  6. cludgie, we're so glad we know you - and all of your aka's as well. ;)

  7. It's so important for people leaving religion to have a safe sanctuary. You were very lucky to find a supportive ex-Mormon space.