#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


Faith was the acceptance
of things that could not be proven,
& hope that our faith
would get us those things
from that which could not be proven.

He’d wanted no children,
but he would have them
for salvation’s sake,
for his wife’s happiness,
& because,
in the Church,
conception was akin to birth.

In Catholicism, God was everywhere;
in Mormonism, He was not.
He’d gone from limitless
to contained
as the sole Ruler
of this world,
in an eternity of worlds.

My friend Brad would’ve given up the priesthood for me,
David, his own soul,
but Elder Roberts,
not even his reputation;
I had meant that little to him.

If my heart was hardened,
had God Himself hardened it—
like He had Pharaoh’s—
to bring about His work?
Was not autonomy an illusion?



#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


The clicking of laptop keyboards in a haze of coffee semi-consciousness lent a collegiate atmosphere to the bookstore.

I shelved the thought of Elder Roberts, like a book I had read as a child & had gone back to, only to find I had outgrown it.

In Mormonism, there was a Heavenly Mother, & I often wondered if that was the other part of “we” God spoke of collectively in Genesis.

I’d hidden Elder Roberts’ letter in David’s first edition of Gone with the Wind, for I felt the title exemplified our forbidden love.

Sometimes you chose to let go of those you loved, but you didn’t let them go if you believed you could make them happy.

Elder Roberts was enlisted in “God’s Army,” but I was a captain of David’s, defending his world as Elder Roberts spoke of the one to come.

Whenever Sister Schafer mentioned wine (which she called “strong drink”), the emphasis was always on “new,” meaning unfermented.

Mother spoke of this mysterious “burning in the bosom” which she claimed was the Spirit that testified of the truthfulness of all things.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


The temple was the Kingdom of God on Earth, the home, the second most sacred space, but under the banner of Heaven, I was closest to what I thought God was.

Pink, candy cotton clouds were spread across the periwinkle sky to the west, & I wondered for the first time how anyone could gaze upon such creation & not wonder if it all had a Creator.

The Church had made me think about God more.  Though I knew there was something more, I didn’t know what that something was.

Mother had never seemed so proud of me, perhaps because, for the first time in my life, it had been her I had tried to please.

Everything I had ever done had only been for David, but forsaking my lack of faith, I had done for her.

Memories of life before Mormonism seemed long ago, & I wondered if I was finding myself in the Church, losing myself in it, or simply finding a way to be lost.

Like mass hypnosis, during Fast & Testimony meetings, members would go up to the podium & testify of the truthfulness of the gospel.

I’d never understood why God gave his children weaknesses to overcome, for did not mortal parents try to prevent such things?

Once Tony married Kath, he would be able to burn off his passion in a way that was acceptable to God, so he would not burn for eternity.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


My sadness begat anger,
& my anger begat a strength
& a different hope for the future,
ushering in a new era,
with no man I could see.

I was Eve,
except I was the fruit
that was the temptation.
I was Ruth,
who followed another man’s God.
I was an unnamed daughter of Lot.

The love Elder Roberts had for me
was the milk—
a diluter of strength,
whereas Brad’s love was the sugar,
which made so many other things
But David’s,
David’s was the base—
the coffee—
for it was the strongest.

Unrequited love on my side
made me bitter;
unrequited love on his side
made me wistful.
When I found my love
& he found me,
I found contentment.

Even as Catholic priests took vows of poverty,
& obedience,
the Mormon vows of marriage,
& clean living applied to all members.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


Temples made of sugar cubes, rag rugs out of old BYU T-shirts, & skirts of out of careworn missionary ties—that was the crafty Mormon life.

Caitlin worked on a tote made of gum wrappers for a contest she’d seen in Tween magazine, enlisting all her friends as chewers.

According to Leann, women were the homemakers because her dad didn’t see the value in anything he couldn’t eat, drink, wear, or watch.

Leann had a different flavor of the month when it came to the elders, though Kath would joke that they were all just different kinds of vanilla.

Elder Roberts had had a promise in me, yet he had given me up, giving me away to another man to take to wife.

The Sweeneys were pizza & paper plates; we were haute cuisine on china. The more time I spent away from my family, the less like them I became.

The angel Moroni—a prophet who hadn’t made it to the highest level of heaven—stood with his bugle atop every temple, issuing a clarion call to the worthy masses.

Leann was like a grown-up version of Caitlin, even as I saw in my mother, what I feared I would become.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book


At the age of 18, I was finally getting my driver’s license, when I had been content to tag along with David wherever he went.

Food Storage Inventory Exchange was like a cookie exchange, except instead of swapping cake balls for brownie bites, it was rice for beans.

I knew God didn’t care whether I could cook, bake, or sew, for He had given us each different talents, but in the Church, the fluidity of gender roles had frozen in retro time.

I’d accepted Mother just the way she was, even as she had accepted that though I loved her very much, I loved David more.

I’d been given the gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism, but perhaps I hadn’t been worthy enough to unwrap it.

Had I a testimony, my heart would’ve been closed to Elder Roberts, & my heart would’ve been opened for another.

My mother’s home style was minimalist, her color, monochrome. It wasn’t till the Mormons came that our lives were infused with vintage color & became a sort of Pleasantville.

Leann & I worked on our sugar cube temple for Relief Society Enrichment Meeting, & I thought how much the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth resembled a glistening piece of Candyland.  A gingerbread house, without the warmth or frills.

Our fridge had never been cluttered with magnets holding up candid pictures or childish artwork or the hundreds of little notes that tiled Leann’s fridge.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


Some had their purity rings,
others, their purity balls,
& the Mormons–
the recommends to their temples.

The faithful would become gods,
not angels.
They would have sex,
not be sexless.
They would have children,
not be childless.

I was Katryn Nolan—
who only knew who she wanted,
not who she wanted to be
or what she wanted to do
with herself,
for herself was all she knew.

The Church had not built a bridge,
but rather a wall
between my mother & me,
which would eventually be the wall
that burned the bridge.

Mother was the lady,
Caitlin, a girl,
but I—I was a virgin
on the verge.