I cannot begin to say how close to home your book was to me.
I was 20 and at a time in my life where an attempt at living on my own failed and I ended up back in my disfunctional family's home. I am from a family where I am the black sheep because I have no criminal record and am clean cut and trying to stay on the right track.
I began dating someone I knew from high school and we fell in love quickly. He had to leave town for about 3 months, but during his leave we wrote each other daily. He was Mormon and we agreed that during this time apart I would study and decide if I was going to join the church without our feelings for each other influencing me.
I read the BoM in about 2 weeks, cover to cover. I couldn't put it down. I still feel that it is a great piece of literature, and as you believed, that some parts may have facts behind them.
The missionaries had their work cut out for them. I was eager for their information, but I questioned EVERYTHING
My beau returned and we were engaged soon after. He baptized me and in the beginning it was one of the happiest times of my life. We married out of the temple 3 months later, with expectations of being "sealed" the next year.
Our marriage, like yours was seriously lacking something that I just couldn't put my finger on.
Soon, it was a year after my baptism and I hadn't gone to the temple for baptism. Then, it was a year after our wedding and when he asked me about being sealed, I told him I was still learning a lot about the church and did not feel far enough along in my conversion to go to temple. I felt, and still do, that even if I didn't agree with them, it was sacred to those who believed in it, and if I went without being spiritually confident, it would, in a way, desecrate their temple. A month after our one year anniversary, my husband packed his bags an disappeared in the middle of the night. We had some contact, but my trust was gone and their was no reconciliation.
I had tried to share with him contradictions I was finding that were making me uncomfortable with the religion, but being a returned missionary, he had a response for everything, but his answers really were just dodges. I was finding the same problems with the church that you wrote of in your book.
I, however, was not ostracized, but embraced by a very loving group of church people who it broke my heart to leave and lose contact with, but I knew I had to because I didn't believe what they did and I did not want to be harassed.
I wish your book had come to me sooner, maybe I could have articulated myself better, or at least of had something to hand to my husband with reference verses and facts the way I was interpreting them.
It probably wouldn't have saved my marriage, but it would have been worth the shot to at least make myself understood.
Thank you for writing your story.
Thank you for telling me your story, as heartbreaking as it is. I'm so glad my book helped you.
If you will send me your postal address, I will send you some material that may be helpful, and if you ask, I'll send you a signed copy of my book. :)
I want to post your letter on my web site, but I only use first names, so don't worry about your privacy.