Nancy Davis never felt more alone, more rejected, or more worthless than on the August day in 1992 when her husband banished her from their home in Jewett City.
Thirty-nine and then known as Nancy McPhaul, she had been unable to live up to the standards of The Kings Chapel. Nancy had admitted, when questioned by church leaders and prophet Syro, that she had thought about sex with other people. But the inquisitions never ceased. They always wanted to know more. The more they asked, the more her mind became a jumble of thoughts and images they judged as impure.
Finally, on that August day, her husband, Richard McPhaul, said he would not tolerate her anymore, she recalls. She describes him kicking her out of their Ashland Street home with $40 in her purse, a few pieces of clothing in a plastic bag and a sleeping bag. Nancys daughters, then ages 9 to 16, were returning that night from a visit in England. He wanted her gone. Her only friends were other church members. She felt too humiliated and unworthy to seek their help.
The fact that she had never done anything wrong was irrelevant, she says. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. It was a phrase from the Bible, Proverb 23, that church members hear often. To her husband, Nancys thoughts were as awful as the act of adultery, she says.
He said dont come back or contact him until I was completely free of sin, she said.
Nancy wandered for several miles, ending up at the Hopeville Pond Campground, where she slept overnight on a picnic table.
The next morning she was greeted by an elderly, gray-haired man who was looking through the camp for discarded cans and bottles.
He was so gentle and so kind, she said. Thats when I started seeing the true Christ, in that man right there.
He took her to a shelter for women in New London. The agency found her a place to stay in Danielson. She held out hope she could get back with her husband and children. She wanted to keep her mind pure.
I would walk the streets trying not to think anything for fear I would think the wrong thing, she said.
Reconciliation attempts failed, she says, because church leaders continued to see her as unworthy. On Feb. 9, 1994, her husband filed for divorce. Richard McPhaul declined to discuss the reasons for the divorce or to respond to his ex-wifes accounts.
Before the divorce, in June 1993, Nancy moved to California to be close to a brother there. She has received extensive counseling. Now 47, she has opened a small photography business and teaches photography.
In 1994, she returned briefly to Connecticut to get court authorization to see her children. She soon realized that they wanted nothing to do with her. The image of her created by the church, she says, made her odious to them.
The wife requests rights of reasonable visitation, however, she realizes the children do not want to see her at present, reads a Sept. 29, 1994, notation in her court divorce file.
The girls now range in age from 16 to 22. Nancy hopes to reconcile with them one day.
I love them very much, she said.