#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Leann was the girl who broke all the rules, writing half a dozen elders in the field. “I’m Snow White, & they’re my 7 perps,” she liked to say.

Kath, Leann, & I were like Neapolitan ice cream—Kath was chocolate, for obvious reasons, Leann was strawberry, for being short, & I was simply vanilla.

Donna Marley was known as “Twenty-Seven and Unmarried,” and often liked to brag that she was the most liberal Mormon with a temple recommend.

Donna considered herself a Mormon feminist, eschewing make-up & pretty clothes. Because Leann loved those things, she was called a fembot.

I’d never been a fan of fairy tales, which had always revolved around royalty. Heidi had been an ordinary girl who loved her simple town—a girl like me.

I was Heidi, Caitlin, Pippi Longstocking. As I looked around me—at all the girls my age in adult costumes—I wondered if we’d grown up at all.

Caitlin hadn’t been spiritually converted into the ward, but she had been converted socially, with flying pink colors.

Kath, Leann, & I hid under the refreshment table to hide from The 3 Stooges (a.k.a. Tony, Mart, & Mick) to listen to polite “locker room” talk.

Before going on their missions, Tony, Mart, & Mick had made calendars of themselves—advertising—like the young women did with their cookies.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

I saw, in all the girls,
something I wanted to be.
In Leann,
a family, solidified in marriage;
in Kath,
a funlovingness,
& Donna,
a carefree spirit.

They had Fall Festival,
not Trick-or-Treat.
They had Trunk-or-Treat,
but no Halloween masks—
no frames for the windows of the soul.

Mother toasted to love,
David, to peace,
& hope floated within me
like sherbet in the ginger ale
we drank
to cleanse our palates
from evil.

They had given my mother
a peace she had never known.
What she’d withheld from us,
she gave to them.

Leann was a Southern belle,
Kath, a rodeo queen,
but I was Heidi,
the Church was Frankfurt,
& David,
my beloved mountains.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

God was the Creator,
Jesus, the Savior of His creations;
the Holy Ghost was a spirit
that dwelt within me,
haunting my unholy temple.

There were God years & dog years,
& I found myself experiencing what it was like
to seemingly live forever in a day,
a day in forever.

There was a fair amount of diversity in the Church–
even diversity of thought–
for what did not fit with the status quo,
no one had to know.

They folded their arms &
bowed their heads to pray,
rather than press their palms heavenward,
facing upward.

They believed in burning in bosoms,
blessings, & joy manifested.
They said only their Church was true–
just as all the others said about theirs.

 

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

My eye was single to the glory of Elder Roberts—
to the promise of celestial glory with him.
In Heaven, we would be One in purpose.

All this I do,
I do for thee,
was my valentine
to Elder Roberts—
the boy whose face
would become a man’s
when he found out what
I had done.

As God knew the fall of every sparrow,
He knew every hair on my head.
Had one come up out of the water,
I would’ve had to do it again.

To marry Elder Roberts,
I had to confess my love for another Man—
I had to worship the ground
from which He’d created me.

I was Katryn to Elder Roberts,
but to David, I would become Katerina,
& to Evan, simply Katia.
Each name told me what they thought of me.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother had taken down all the crucifixes in our house (as Mormons preferred to focus on the resurrection rather than the crucifixion).

Caitlin was holding her rosary, the last vestige of our former faith; Mother held the attention of the brethren & elders, even as I held David’s.

Sister Wiley was the shark in a sea of smiling faces. We had intruded upon her territory, where she’d reigned as the last of the red hot mamas.

I was told my happiness was the Spirit converting me, but something else told me that my heart was deceitful above all things.

I looked at my hands, which were still, & that was when I realized the trembling was inside.

I was confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & given the gift of the Holy Ghost, through the laying on of hands.

When the brethren placed their hands upon my head, giving me the gift of this Holy Ghost, I felt a tingling, perhaps because I was told I would.

As Sister Schafer sang, “I Am a Child of God,” my cheeks became wet. It occurred to me I had never felt like someone’s child before.

I had expected a sprinkling of water on my head–not a total immersion into the one element over which Satan had been given dominion.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

I wondered how David’s “interview” had gone, wondering if he’d confessed his sins—sins he believed to be acts of love fueled by a healthy lust.

Our new ward family was so unlike ours—multi-generational—the laughter of children echoing in the hallowed halls, everyone smiling always.

For love, we’d bury ourselves in the waters of baptism, drowning ourselves in holy water, only to be resurrected by a lifeguard in white pants.

We would arise from our watery tombs changed people, not because we would suddenly believe, but because we would live as if we did.

Seeing all those smiling, happy faces, I began to fall in love with the Church. It certainly was the opium Mother needed.

I felt the Church pulling at my heartstrings even now, strumming a melody both beautiful & painful—beautiful because of Elder Roberts.

If Elder Roberts had told me he loved me, perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen from grace, landing in disgrace. But what had once been unspoken would never be spoken.

It would always be painful to be amongst them because I’d want so much to believe in it all, yet faith complete would always elude me.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

I’d thought the love story would strengthen with marriage, not usher in its end, for the honeymoon had been enjoyed long ago.

Because of my endowments, my baptismal clothing—a onesie white jumper— made me look twice my normal size.

David had taught me not to believe, & here I was, choosing to believe in something even greater than him.

Sister Corbin’s parents had cast her out for converting to Mormonism, even as I would someday be cast out by one, only to be clung to by another.

“I do,” I said, and so began my vow of being true to the Church in this life, only to be shackled to it the next.

I found it ironic how my previous faith, or upbringing, had influenced me in such a way as to make me acceptable to join another.

He asked a few more questions, & I felt I had not only passed the pre-baptismal test, I had passed his marriage qualifications test as well.

I didn’t even know his first name, yet he knew more about me than I would ever know about him. “I was brought up to wait for marriage.” “I know,” he said, looking at me in a way I realized just then that David had, at times, looked at me.