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Book Title: Religious Rehab: A Memoir|
The author of the book: Todd M Preston
Edition: Awakened Healing
Date of issue: November 20th 2016
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 938 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.4
ISBN 13: 9780473380205
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I spent my evenings sitting on a bench behind luxurious apartments that were only a stone throw from my sardine can. From there, I had a priceless view of the George Washington Bridge. I would gaze at it every night, and many times, I had visualized jumping calmly from this architectural masterpiece. As my world caved in, I swayed between staying and departing in this way. Finally, late one afternoon, I found myself down to my last dollar-fifty. That fact brought reality starkly into focus. Life needed to stop for me. I walked clumsily towards the bridge, crying, laughing, trying to hide my avalanche of pain. The sun beat on my back. I could feel perspiration trickling down my spine. The blasting of horns and the noisy traffic stopped. Everything slowed, like a giant hand had reached down and hit a switch, and my life unraveled across an imaginary screen. The giant steel beams blocked my vision - I looked down at the Hudson and could not make out a single ripple. But all I had to do was fall; I didn't even need to jump. I just had to fall and falling was something I was good at. I closed my burning eyes and visualized my plunge and poetically felt justice in ending my life. It felt magical and ethereal, as though it was my destiny.
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Read information about the authorPREFACE
In April 2009, I boarded a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to New York, my friends awaiting my arrival, Brandon and Kelli passed me a map of downtown New York City. In ‘sharpie’ they had written the words ‘Mormon Rehab’ on the front. We all laughed, knowing full well the depth of the joke. As I write this, more than seven years later, I have had time to reflect on the gravity behind that flippant phrase.
Following that spontaneous trip to New York, I would resign my membership of the Mormon Church, an action that went hand in hand with ending my twelve-year marriage. I would walk away from my former beliefs and, in doing so, gave up my business and job, my financial security, most of my property and money, much of my family, and many people whom I had considered friends. Worst of all, I would lose visitation rights to my four daughters. Looking back, I realize I had forced a reset button on virtually my entire life.
In losing everything I found myself staring at a blank canvas. In July 2009, I drove to New York State from Utah with the few personal belongings I still owned. My friend Kelli rented a small room to me, where I would live, off and on, for the next six months. I spent the first three months writing a memoir – longhand in three empty journals, which quickly became full. I then converted what I had written into a manuscript, and gave it the title Sacred Road.
That writing was the beginning of a cathartic journey from my tortured upbringing in Mormonism. My questions and doubts – built up over years of reading works on religion and history, but stacked away on a metaphorical shelf – came crashing down. The words poured onto the page, and that pouring felt like a detox program, as I purged my childhood inculcation.
While I wrote, I searched for a story that would shed light, not only on the leaving of a religion as indoctrinating as Mormonism, but also on how one would start afresh in an unfamiliar world. I had relinquished the traumatic creed that once imprisoned me, but the task ahead, that of building a new life, was daunting. I found many books about leaving a religion and the tumultuous road that the lead-up to that decision so often takes. But I found little about the recovery from losing a faith, a dogma, and how one finds one’s feet again in the aftermath.
Find my feet I did, although the journey was much tougher, took longer, and brought me much nearer to disaster and death, than I could possibly have imagined. I have encountered a world of beauty and color, contrasting with the black and white morality of Mormonism. I have discovered a depth of individuality and creativity, where Mormonism preaches structure and obedience. I have found friendship and love that are gifts given without expectation: so different from Mormon love which depends on faith and obedience to a white god. I have read great works of literature and seen great works of art which have been banned or restricted by the Mormon Church. I have met kind-hearted souls who do not care about wealth and palatial buildings – those ostentatious displays of Mormon worth. I have seen the ocean and the trees for the first time, not as temporary distractions while awaiting a returning Messiah, but as existing glories of Nature to admire and care for throughout our own lifetimes. I have realized the value of the internal person, while external image is all-important in Mormonism. And I feel I have finally discovered my true self and the things I love and enjoy. I have grown up and started to take responsibility for my actions. I have developed a heart I never knew I had, and discovered courage, not bestowed by a patriarchal god, but found within others and within myself.
Yes, I found my feet, and without that this book would not exist. It is my seven-year project about the greatest two years of my life. Not my two-year mission to Australia, as Mormon culture would have had me believe, but my two-year recovery from the icy stares and cold h
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