Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Episode 22: "Choices and Options" — Katrina's Story

Right click here to download the mp3.

Art by Brian Kershisnick
Part of the aim of this podcast is to give voice to our stories as Daughters of Mormonism. This episode is an interview with Katrina, one of our panelists. She shares how her story didn't happen the way she had planned, as she married a divorced man with three children.

When they applied for a sealing clearance so they could marry in the temple, they were denied with no explanation. Katrina moved on from this point to create her own script for her life, including how she would bear her children.

Katrina will be watching the comments to answer questions or discuss issues raised in her interview.

Posts from Katrina's Blog: Musings of a Redhead
Katrina's Photography Websites
Recommended Books


  1. I listened to this while I "puttered" around the kitchen cooking and cleaning. I really enjoyed it! Katrina's experience with home birth really made me want to have a #3 baby in the future at home! I loved getting to know Katrina! What an awesome woman!

  2. Loved this Katrina. You always make me feel empowered!

  3. Katrina, great interview. Just wondering, have you since found others who had their sealing clearance denied and then later approved? And have you ever heard from anyone in the thick of the COB give you any explanation for what is supposedly going on with the packets of letters that are sent off to SLC?

  4. Katrina,
    I loved listening to your story :) Your experience with trying to get the sealing clearance was very interesting, and your views of the practical implications of technically living in a polygamous marriage (even though it's "only" spiritual polygamy, or after death, or never according to you...). It's just mind boggling to me. I also find it very interesting that here in the US, we have the one year penalty wait for not getting married in the temple right away, and how that always seems to say that the couple had some sexual indiscretion. So stupid. Since it's no problem to have a civil wedding first and then get sealed the same day even in Germany, where I come from, I've always wondered why it's not the same here in the US. Obviously it's a policy issue, not a doctrinal issue, or else it would be the same everywhere. It definitely seems as if the church is so heavily pushing getting married only in the temple, that the one year wait is supposed to feel like a punishment. Why else would it be there? There's no good reason. Arrrghhh. I'm frustrated about this, if you couldn't tell ;)

    Anyway, I loved your birth stories, and went and checked out your birth pictures on your blog. Gosh, you are so gorgeous! In labor!!! Positively glowing my dear! It does make me want to have a homebirth, too. My "easiest" birth was my last one when I used affirmations and visualization techniques as well. She was over nine pounds, so it wasn't an easy birth physically, but my pain management was so much better, I was more peaceful, felt safer, and more immediately connected to my daughter. It was wonderful. Also, my fastest birth. Reading "Pushed" by Jennifer Block really radicalized me when I was pregnant with my fourth, to the point where I now would see a home birth as my only option :)

    Anyway, I could go on forever. Thanks for letting us get to know you a little :) oh, and what I have seen of your photography is beautiful!! Keep going at it, you have great talent!

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed my story. I just listened to it myself so I could remember what all we talked about!

    One quick clarification I'd like to make. I mentioned my extended family at the beginning and I'd like to emphasize how despite some issues, there is a lot of love in my family. I'm grateful for all the love and support I've been given throughout my life.

    Anon-- Yes, I've since heard of several couples who have had to go through the sealing clearance process. I know of one woman who applied at least 3 times before she was given a cancellation. I know of others who were counselled to not attempt to get a clearance until they'd been married at least a year. I know someone else though who was granted a clearance on the first request and was able to be married in the temple to his second wife. SO... I really don't get how it works. My husband did talk to someone from the temple department once who said that they encouraged Bishops to tell couples to get married civilly before trying to get a clearance. Other than that, I don't know what goes on at the COB with the applications. I find the whole thing incredibly frustrating to say the least.

  6. Katrina,
    What an inspiration! I appreciate your story and your willingness to share. I feel strongly about nursing as well, but it wasn't until my last child was born early that I came to understand how amazing breast milk really is. Breast milk itself impacts hearing, vision, IQ, metabolic functions... and others vital areas of development, especially of the immune system. There are also long lasting health benefits to mothers who nurse too. Of course, the nursing relationship is lovely and very nurturing and reason enough to nurse. I nursed all of my children for at least 2 1/2 years but only because we loved it and I figured it must be healthy. In reality, there are so many more proven health benefits to breastfeeding and breast milk than I understood. It is really quite a miracle... for both mother and child.

    Of my four childbirths, only one was natural and I was able to relax for it through meditation/self hypnosis. During that labor, I remember the nurse coming in to increase the pitocin once (I had been induced). When I asked her why, she said I must not be having contractions if I could sleep so peacefully. I pointed out that I had been feeling a lot of pain but was meditating. When she checked the fetal monitor read out, she was shocked at the strength of my contractions. I was progressing well enough to have the pitocin shut off and deliver without intervention.

    Thank you for spreading a message of empowerment for women in giving birth and nursing. The pictures you've taken of mothers and children nursing are absolutely stunning... and so precious... what amazing talent you have! I wish I would have thought to be photographed nursing my children... what a wonderful idea. Thank you for impacting the world so beautifully. :)

  7. CPS, Thank you so much for your kind comment. As I relistened to the podcast I realized I should have given more of the many, many reasons why breastfeeding is so beneficial to both mother and baby. I think I'll have Sybil post a few links with resources.

  8. Katrina and Sybil,
    Thanks to both of you for another great podcast. Katrina, I believe I heard you say that when the sealing clearance was denied, your stake president was informed and he then informed you. However, when the clearance was approved, you personally received a letter with this info. Did your stake president and/or Bishop also receive a copy of the approval letter? I ask this because my husband and I have been involved in this convoluted process over seven years and three Bishops and your comment made me wonder if there is any possibility that my approval letter got lost in the mail!

  9. Paula, I don't recall whether they received a notice or not, but either of them can call the COB and get a status update on your application. Both times we applied, our application was processed in a matter of days after reaching church headquarters. Do you know for sure that your SP has sent everything in? I would check with him first. Good luck! This is an excruciating process.

  10. Katrina,
    Thanks for the helpful info. Our SP has also recently changed, but the new SP seems like the logical place to go.

  11. Katrina,
    I enjoyed hearing your podcast. You are an amazing person. We need to hear more from women like you; women who see a need and fill it, who have opinions and express them, who are intelligent and articulate.
    Your photographs are inspiring and so beautiful. And although I am a grandmother, these images brought back to me the joys of nursing and nurturing my adorable babies (all of whom are older than you are!)

  12. I downloaded every podcast to entertain me on my drive from Kaysville to St. George. Loved listening to all of them. I had four boys with an epidural & everything was great but it's still interesting for me to hear about how other people do things. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited to listen to the rest of the podcasts while driving in my minivan with my boys. They wrestled & fought & were just NOISY on our drive but I got to listen to the soothing voice of Sybil & the rest of the people you've interviewed. Thanks!!

  13. I love hearing the personal stories of Mormon women and their outlook on life. Its beautiful to have a diversity of experiences and perspectives. Thanks Katrina for sharing your story.

  14. Great to hear more from you Katrina. And amazing that you had a breech birth at home! It was so inspiring and hopeful to hear that you were able to be strong in your convictions and feel empowered to stick to what you knew would work for you - and I'm so happy to hear it turned out how you wanted. Out of my 4 natural births, my last that I practiced the hypnobirthing was definitely the best and most peaceful, even though he came out posterior. Thank you for sharing your views on women needing to educate themselves to their options and not give away the power that is theirs inherently, it's how I feel as well and have been trying to figure out how to share my opinions with others in a positive and empowering way so that the women I have contact with can really feel that they made the most informed decision that was best for them, and not just convenient for someone else. I think I've come to feel this way about all women's issues, especially all feminist ones - that the power comes from within and from searching for one's own answers andthen following through with the truth that one finds.

    And I love your photography. I need to get some good ones of me and my last baby :)

  15. Courtney, next time you are in SLC, lets get together and I'll take some!

  16. Katrina: I'm always interested to hear other people's thoughts on sealing clearances. I'd like to share my own thoughts/feelings on the subject. I married a divorced man, got an annulment from him 5 months later, got my sealing canceled BEFORE I was even dating anyone new, and then had my new marriage approved seamlessly. I really think this whole process would have been harder for me if I had children previously, and maybe if I had been married longer. I know the letter process is hard and brings up feelings you may not want to revisit, but I'd just like to say that a) I wish I would have been made aware of some of the accusations made by my first husband's first wife related to porn and abuse and b) I'm glad that I was able to write a letter when my ex tried to get married in the temple for the 3rd time. I completely agree with you that it would be cool if we all got married civilly first. I think we eventually will do this in the US as marriage equality laws become more progressive. On my mission to Uruguay I felt sad that people had to get married civilly first and then have a temple marriage. However, I agree with you now that separating the sealing could put more emphasis on it and make it more special. Anyways, Happy Eternity to you! A friend of mine met you guys at a Mormon Stories event and said you were a really cute couple.

  17. One more comment about me getting my sealing canceled before I was ever dating anyone new...I was advised against doing this because of the whole losing blessings thing. I told my Stake President that I didn't think HF would care as much about the paperwork, that I didn't think I would lose blessings, and that my heart was wide open to embrace the Savior. My bishop wasn't aware that this could even be done, but I think it's a fairly new practice. I just wanted share that aspect of my story in this forum because I'm happy when I see the church making positive changes. I can see how they'd be reluctant to do this if there are children involved though.

  18. Anon... Thanks for sharing your perspective. I'm really glad that you were able to have your first sealing cancelled and be sealed without issue to your second husband. I wonder if it was more seamless for you because your marriage was annulled after so short a time, instead of a divorce after years of marriage. And of course, I feel strongly that children being involved definitely influences things. It is encouraging that you were able to cancel your sealing right away.

    As for the letters, I don't have a problem with them in principle. I do have a problem with the fact that everything is totally based on the past and that my say was not required. I also have a problem in that despite writing the letters and meeting with local leaders, it still feels pretty inconsistent in how the clearances/cancellations are actually handled from the COB.

  19. Loved it! That is all.

  20. I finally got around to listening to this! Makes me want to be more active on Mutual Approbation. I've been essay-less for a couple of months. :)

  21. I finally got around to listening to this one (I got way behind over the summer while we moved). We also had to get a sealing clearance, and it was seamless... I had heard that it can take a while, and we were concerned about the timetable (and had agreed to go ahead and get married regardless), but I had no idea it was so common for them to be denied! I really thought that the only unusual thing about ours was the speed with which it went through (just a couple of months), and I knew that was because we had called in a favor (My FIL was a mission president, and had hosted Richard G Scott a few months earlier, and my husband's story with the single parenthood etc had come up, and Elder Scott said well if I can ever help give me a call...♥ that guy. Anyway, when we sent in our paperwork, FIL called him and said hey can you expedite this, and he said sure, and he did). Three years later, when DH's ex decided to get married, she did the paperwork for a cancellation, and that also went through without a hitch. So like I said, I had no idea it was so common for them to be denied!

    I relate a little to that "spiritual polygamy" thing, as we had that for those first few years. We did not have shared custody though, and due to the situation under which she left, I felt very certain that she had lost the blessings of the sealing and that we wouldn't have to worry about her in the next life. I'm glad you can make jokes about it--the zoo pass story sounds like something I would have said LOL!


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