On the first Episode Sandra recounts what she can remember from her early childhood. Growing up in the 50’s as a tomboy in Idaho, before knowing what it was to be a lesbian. Being bullied, fighting back, and discovering an escape through theater.
On the second Episode Sandra takes us from her childhood into her early adulthood. She explains how she became a convert into the Mormon religion and how she was ostracized because her parents drank coffee and her dad smoked cigarettes. She chronicles her first romances and we hear about her first kiss. And the fateful circumstances that would send her to Utah to undergo conversion therapy.
On Episode Three Sandra explains to her son how she was lured into the LDS church. Then we learn more about the long history of intolerance from the leaders of the Mormon church. And finally, she describes the nightmare that was her conversion therapy at Brigham Young University.
On Episode four Sandra’s son finds out how she met his father, “Mr. Smiles,” and what events led up to them getting married. We learn about the red flags she ignored and we hear the nightmarish details of his abuse beginning to unfold.
On Episode Five Sandra has the shattering realization that she did not marry a Man of God. The abuse continues to escalate and she finds herself having another child with Mr. Smiles. Then Sandra and her son discuss what goes on inside the mind of an abused person.
The pressure cooker is about to blow. On Episode Six, Sandra and her son painfully recount the horrible events that led up to Sandra’s breaking point. When, completely shattered, she somehow finds strength from within to put an end to the marriage.
All hell breaks loose when Sandra divorces Neal. On the Seventh Episode, Sandra recounts the vicious tactics employed by Mr. Smiles. In a state where the legislation is intertwined with Mormonism and, at the time, very intolerant toward homosexuals, he uses this and his skills in accounting to ensure Sandra is left with nothing. Out of his mind, he forces her to face the most difficult decision she’ll ever make.
A thousand miles away from Mr. Smiles, Sandra can finally begin to heal. On Episode 8, she discusses her spiritual journey, being in a lesbian relationship, and building a new life in Los Angeles. It takes several years, but she finally heals, and finds peace and love.
On the final Episode, Sandra’s son asks her what advice she might have for people caught in abusive relationships or LGBTQ people confined to conservative communities. Finally we thank all of our listeners and fellow podcasters and give shout outs to some of our favorite podcasts. Thanks so much for listening. Find us on twitter @storyofsandra. Email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org