I never met Kathy in person.
But her courage has touched my life none the less.
How many times over the years did I post a link to mormonnomore.com to someone to find out where to send their letter to get out off of the mormon rolls? And suggest what to say in their letter?
Kathy had the courage to create and maintain a website with that information.
I was lucky. My dad explained the process to me. I resigned before anyone had heard of exmormon.org. I didn't even know someone could resign from the mormon church - I thought you had to be excommunicated.
That's one of the cult-like aspects of mormonism. They refuse to let people just stop attending. Until the 1980s, you had to be excommunicated to stop having your bishop, missionaries or well-meaning visiting/home teachers from visiting you. Being ex'd meant attending a church "court of love" which Sonja Johnson describes in "From Housewife to Heretic". You couldn't just say, I no longer believe in mormonism. You had to do something wrong - adultery, murder, etc.
In the 80s, there was a lawsuit that forced LDS, Inc. to change this policy. A member had to follow certain steps, but could voluntarily resign their membership at any time. Of course, the process is still time-intensive and full of bureaucratic nonsense. You have to send your letter to your bishop's home. Not the ward building (which I did the first time) - you also have to know which ward your records are in and that bishop's home address.
Kathy's website had all that information, including the 800 number to call.
From what I understand, someone will be maintaining that site. I think that's the best tribute to Kathy and her legacy.
I found out more about her from her obituary and the article than I had known from my years on the e/yahoogroups list. That's the odd thing about email lists and blogging, you only know what people choose to tell.
I do know she will be missed.
It also greatly saddens me to read that she took her own life. Depression is such a difficult illness for many people. And simply calling it difficult is not doing it justice.
I have read that the GLBT community is more prone to depression and suicide. And I think former mormons are also prone to depression. Often there was/is mormon family involved who struggle to understand the family member who has left. Some families adjust. Others don't - I could post tons of examples, but just trust me. Some families have a rough time finding themselves when some of the family has left.
Mormonism is such an odd cultural phenomenon - it can take a long time to get unlearn what you've learned.
I'm just thoughtful and sad tonight. Rest in peace Kathy. and Thanks.