Although I have talked a bit about the fact that I never wanted to be a “medical marijuana Mormon” or how I didn’t want my Testimony “tainted” green, I have not talked much (except by video) about why I willingly took on the moniker, “Medical Marijuana Mormon” at least in the choice of URL.
When I made the decision to purchase MedicalMarijuanaMormon.com as well as MaggieSlighte.com in January, 2017, I was taking a social media marketing class for writers in my bachelor’s program. I learned many techniques and improved some that I had already been working on developing.
I have been a “medical marijuana Mormon” since the day I was Baptized a Mormon, but it wasn’t until my own trial about the herb when I decided research I had performed might be useful to many other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when making the decisions about using cannabis as a medicine for themselves or a family member.
Two weeks to the day from the date I received my Endowments in the Seattle Washington Temple, I fell profoundly backwards 10 feet from the top of an attic ladder, incurring a compression fracture of my T-11, essentially “breaking my back.” What few people in the church knew about me at that time is that I was a medical marijuana patient. I had been even before I was Baptized.
Before I was even interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I knew medical cannabis patients who were Mormon. In fact, the seventh legal patient in Washington State was a Mormon and was a dear friend of mine. From him I first heard the words “The Church says it’s an herb, treat it as such,” meaning that smoking it is discouraged, but ultimately the route of administration is between the patient (member), their physician and God.
Contrary to many beliefs, there are many and varied reasons that a physician may direct a patient to inhale their medication. Although “vaping” or vaporizing is preferred to smoking or combusting cannabis in the administration of the medication, inhalation can be useful when attempting to bypass competing digestive liver enzymes. The simple fact is that when inhaled, the liver is not involved in the absorption and for many reasons this can be helpful. But I digress. Topicals are a great option for patients needing to avoid the liver-involved administration as well! In fact, topicals are the least-used and most effective forms of cannabis medication!
When I broke my back, my cannabis use came “out of the closet” during an interview between myself, my husband and our Bishop. When the Bishop offered to help find a program to assist with the costs of my prescriptions, he soon realized that wouldn’t be possible. I had been in recovery for five years. The opioid medications Fentanyl, Percocet and Vicodin had been prescribed to me for over 7 years between 2002-2009. My physicians all agreed: I couldn’t take opioids even for the back pain. I was recommended a strong preparation of cannabis oil and given muscle relaxers as well.
My Bishop was new to this country and to the cannabis laws. My state had recently legalized “recreational cannabis” and that seemed to confuse things with the Bishops even more. He referred the matter to our Stake President. The Stake President in the Centralia area had been in place for over a decade. His politics were not liberal in the least. He had NO love for cannabis.
My Bishop was directed by the Stake President to take my Temple Recommend.
I was devastated.
As the Bishop took the Recommend from my hand, I saw the tears in my eyes echoed in his own. Neither of us felt The Spirit in the action, but we would both be obedient. He obediently took my Recommend, I obediently gave it.
An interjected third person in the equation was my non-Priesthood holding husband of the time. He was offended and he was loud about it. He made a point to tell anyone who would listen that we were forced to kill our plants and shop from the local dispensaries instead of growing our own which was a much more affordable option available to us legally in our state as patients.
It didn’t matter how patient I attempted to be while I healed from my back injury, the scenes that my husband made at church became embarrassing. His actions did NOT echo my feelings. I knew it would be resolved in God’s time. But the husband I was married to then didn’t believe in waiting for God for much of anything.
Late in August, after being without my Temple Recommend for about a month, Stake Conference was held in Centralia, Washington. I invited a good friend of mine who is “fifth-generation LDS,” and was thankful for his perceptions. Elder L. Tom Perry had celebrated his 92nd birthday that week. We didn’t know that would be his last birthday on this side of the veil.
Elder Perry was a giant of a man standing at the podium I peeked in from the door at the side of the chapel. I stayed in the foyer contained within my steel cage of a back brace with the walker that I still depended upon. I was happy with my viewpoint as the Stake appeared to receive a rebuke. He gave us a lesson in who reports to whom in the Priesthood offices. He tested the Priesthood holders in their knowledge of their duties and charges. He taught us all with an abundance of love. Elder Perry taught us about obedience. Then he replaced the Stake President, informing us of Brother Smith’s call to the Stake Presidency. President Smith’s day job was an FBI agent. He worked for the Federal Government.
I can’t remember if it was the next Sunday or the Sunday thereafter when my Bishop called me to his office and joyfully handed me my Temple Recommend back. We had both survived the trial.
I learned a lot during that trial. I received a Priesthood blessing when I fell.
That blessing, given by the Elders of the Centralia Ward in late May 2014, on my mother’s front lawn, while I lay on a gurney ready to be loaded up into the ambulance that awaited, specified that I needed to follow my physician’s advice and I would be healed.
I followed the advice of my doctors: I used cannabis and I healed.
I learned to walk again and I live to this day with about the same amount of “able-ness” as I had previous to breaking my back.
I was left with the feeling much of the research I have performed in my own health-information-gathering could be very useful to others. I was also left thinking about the number of children who are finding relief from severe epilepsy and violent forms of autism with cannabis medications.
I decided at that point to write a book called A Good Herb In Its Time, both to educate other Latter-Day Saints about the herbal medication but also to help those who were in the process of a trial or making the decision to move to an area where the herb is legal for medical use.
I have completed the outline and a few of the chapters. Research for the book is ongoing due to the fact that new studies are coming to light daily about the botanical medication.
Being a “Medical Marijuana Mormon” doesn’t mean my testimony of Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit is any less. My testimony is strong. I know my Heavenly Father knows and loves me and created me exactly the way He wanted me. He is the reason I want to share what I have learned about this herb He created. I know His love is in the compassion that people who are in pain feel from this plant. I know it is a gift from Him. It is my job to do my utmost to educate myself and others through publishing this book.
Update: When the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informed The Church of the revelation about stopping the use of the word Mormon, many of the ideas within this post became in question. I am continuing to write, but titles of works will not include “Mormon.”
I have one more change to the above, as I transferred the domain MedicalMarijuanaMormon.com to my previous blog which concentrates my cannabis writing in one place. Then, as part of the progress of another book I’m working on, this was changed to AGoodHerbInItsTime.com to reflect the working name of the book.