Disclaimer: This post is based on real events. Certain names and details have been changed.
F*ck. F*ck. F*ck. F*ck. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Sh!t. Sh!t. Sh!t. Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!
No. I’m not upset. I’m practicing in front of the mirror at the bequest of my youngest son. I didn’t know there was a f*cking acceptable process to swearing, but, apparently there is. And my son tells me I suck at it. “Ya gotta own it, Mom. If you’re gonna swear ya gotta let it out. You’re too timid. Ya can’t say f**k like fffffuck. It makes you sound like you’re stuttering. Don’t embarrass me. Practice when you’re alone in the car. And don’t ever say the f-word on a date—at least, not until you’re in a committed relationship—because the dude will think you’re a slut…or if kids are in the room…or if active church members are around, which is…well…all the time. So, really, Mom, ya can’t go around cussin’.”
What the F*ck?! I’m new at this. What does he f*cking expect? I haven’t murmured anything more than an occasional damn or shit under my breath until now. Mother f*cker! Oops that’s me. Can’t slander myself. (No, I’m not f*cking mothers. I’m HIS mother who’s f*uking men. Keep it straight, will ya?) It’s my ex that’s the Mother In-law F*cker…well…almost. (Kevin—my editor, muse and comedy Yoda—says I have to take that out. Not the right time to introduce that story.) Gosh God, I do suck at this. I better go study the PUSI (Permissible Utah Swearing Instruction) manual.
So why the f*ck am I learning how to swear anyway? Do I really want to swear? F*ck yes and hell no. Kevin got me to swear in my first blog and I just went with it because it was funny and it made us laugh. (STFU Kevin…I’m not blaming you!) But at the same time, my Hulk-like powers of obscenity-hurling have given me some serious anxiety. Kevin doesn’t understand that for a Mormon, the F-word and using God’s name irreverently is a big f*cking deal.
Mormons view sex as a sacred act between husband and wife and God—the ultimate threesome (a metaphor sure to cast me into some serious hellfire if I land on the Mormon side of the afterlife). God sends down spirit children to husband and wife, so, basically, all three are involved in procreation. Mormons are taught never to use foul language, especially not the F-Bomb, during the act of f*cking. I don’t worry about offending Mormons (I’m slowly coming to terms with that) but I do worry—A LOT—about offending those who may have left the church but still find profanity offensive.
As for taking the Lord’s name or God’s name in vain, when I was a member, I was careful to reverence God by saying Heavenly Father when referring to God the Father, and saying The Lord when referring to his son, Jesus Christ. Pious readers will notice I still haven’t said “Jesus Christ” in a slanderous way. The only reason I’m able to say “God” with a little more ease is because I hear it so often on TV, especially on reality shows when people walk into a remodeled room as say, “Oh MY God!” So to my ears, “God” isn’t as jarring. But if more of them walked into a house and said, “Jesus Christ, Honey, will ya look at that! It’s f*cking gorgeous!” Then these Mormon-forbidden words might sound more natural to me.
Then there are the literary reasons to refrain from profanity. Too much of it may categorize me as the cheap, vulgar, low-class writer I’ve been taught to hate. It’s kinda like the Gone with the Wind controversy over the word “damn.” Literarily speaking, anything short of “damn” would have weakened f*cked up that final scene. So yes, I’m learning to spice up my word salad to stress important points. But no, I don’t want to overload the cussing-spices with a shitload of goddamn, buttf*cker, bitchass, cuntslut, dickbeater, jagoff, peckerhead, poon-sucking swear words because too much of anything, even mayonnaise, ruins the meal.
Swearing is the next step in my journey out of the church. Leaving doesn’t happen all at once. Swearing or not swearing symbolizes the level of your testimony. And Mormons are all about symbolism. When I decided to escape in 2011, I didn’t just toss my garments in the trash, put on a bear costume and walk immediately away from Mormonism. Step one spanned five pain-filled years of secretly questioning my beliefs. Taking off my garments periodically, then permanently came next. But I didn’t discard them. I stored them in the closet so I could retrieve them if I changed my mind. I was testing the waters, watching the reaction of friends and family members when I showed up to family or neighborhood events without the tale-tell sign of garment lines beneath my shirts. Would I become an outcast? Would I be pitied and misunderstood just as I, too, once pitied and misunderstood others?
After storing them for an f*cking year, I got brave enough to throw them away. I cut out my garment markings—the symbols that were once sacred to me—in the manner I’d been taught to dispose of old garments. Why didn’t I just toss them, marking and all, if I no longer believed in the church? Was I still under the control of a religion I no longer believed? Did I still fear the wrath of God?
Yesterday, my cursing instructor son called me a pussy and my reaction was simply to laugh. He grinned saying, “God…you have no idea how many times I wanted to call you that.”
Even though I stutter saying f*ck in front of my son, symbolically, I’m opening up doors to a better relationship with him. I’m really saying, “I’m not the f*cked up fanatical, overbearing mother I used to be. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. You can be yourself in front of me. I’ll never judge you again. I love you no matter what…always have and always will.”
And when he called me a pussy, he was really saying, “For my whole life you acted like a f*cked up, fanatical, overbearing MoMo. But I love ya anyway Mama Bear.”