#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

There was Brigham Young University, singles conferences, Institute—so many ways to meet our eternal companion, which was about creating more tithe payers for future generations.

My life had been built in Green Haven; Mother wanted me to rebuild it in the Mormon Mecca. My life would be deconstructed in the Deep South, where it would rise again through Reconstruction.

Donna was a MINO (Mormon-in-name-only) because she was into NCMOs (non-committal making-out) sessions.

For him, I’d been willing to give up my family, but he hadn’t been willing to give up his Church. For him, I’d have given up everything, so he would have had to give up nothing.

A man could have a career & family, but a woman had to put the 2 together, so that they became her one & only purpose, for there was no purpose for a woman outside her family.

Donna had said make-up & pantyhose was like a Mormon burka, for she saw all that separated her from being a man as a form of oppression.

My awareness of men had been awakened in Elder Roberts the boy, but my sexuality would be awakened in David the man.

Mormon wives came in 2 forms: corporate & hausfrau. Though they looked different, in their hearts, they were 2 sides of the same feminine coin.

Life as a Mormon wife would be full of Sunday services, domesticity, & children. It was their ideal, but I wasn’t sure it was mine.

I was a romantic idealist who found the Mormon ideals neither romantic or ideal, except for those who’d been raised to believe them so.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

I felt the Church had not been made for me,
but I had been made for it,
for I was virgin-pure.
I had saved myself,
rather than get saved.

I’d been a provincial girl,
begat by a tortured piano player,
groomed by a tortured soul
who loved the sound of the
piano player’s voice.

Marriage, in the Church,
was an inevitability,
children, a possibility.
My purity was prized,
my fertility,
in a way,
even more so,
for I could always
“go & sin no more,”
but if I was barren,
such a thing was up to God
or science to sort out.

Marital, procreative sex was considered beautiful;
sexual sin, second only to murder,
& I wondered if, in God’s courtroom,
adultery would be akin to manslaughter.

David had provided shelter to his lover
& her children,
shelter to those who had raised him,
though it would be I
who would shelter 2 of his children,
prematurely evicting one of them.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a diamond—hopelessly & beautifully flawed.

Through Foster’s Diner, I’d had the extended family I’d longed for, but I hadn’t known until it was too late to know them as such.

There had been numerous incarnations of Beth & Gerald Foster, but their final incarnation had been of themselves—the adopted grandparents I had loved for themselves.

That was why they had seemed so familiar, for I had, in a way, grown up with them, even as they had watched me grow up.

I never asked why they had never voiced a desire to see Caitlin. Maybe it was just that I was so much like their beloved, adopted son.

I wish I would have been able to encapsulate those precious moments I had spent at the roadside diner, never knowing how precious they really were.

I’d never seen Mother struggle with anything before, but she struggled to fit the mold of the Mormon wife, pouring herself into it, but never quite jelling, for the molds were all the same.

Our living room resembled a room in one of the Mormon temples—white & delightsome—a microcosm of the celestial kingdom.

With the light reflecting off her glossy hair & radiant complexion, she looked like an angel. Yet, it was no marvel, for even Satan himself had been transformed into an angel of light.

I was 18 & the thought of moving into Maxwell Manor with Mother & David made me feel about 12 years old.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

A playground was spooky at night. The ponies on springs looked baleful & clown-like, the spiral slide menacing as it loomed like a large serpent.

When I woke to 5 faces peering over me, I wondered if they were there to plead my case before the judge whose authority I did not recognize.

The revelations in the yard hadn’t just told me I had lost my mother, but that the mother I’d loved & admired hadn’t existed at all.

What was unconditional love, but the ability to love someone for all their flaws & sins, committed against everyone but themselves?

My disappointment overshadowed the love I had for them, & it ate at me—not the disappointment itself, but allowing that disappointment to be so great.

Mother spoke differently, saying things like “Bless you,” rather than “Thank you,” but Mormons never went around saying, “Jesus loves you.”

Out of love for me, my family had been brought together, & out of love for my mother, the Church had come for me.

When I heard David thank God, I saw it not only as an act of gratitude, but an act of humility. My mother had brought God into the house, made Him comfortable there.

The happiest days of my life were those that led up to the Christmas of nineteen-hundred-&-ninety-nine.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

I asked my dead father,
who lived I knew not where,
to forgive me,
even as I’d never asked for David’s,
for not once had I ever sinned against him.

My pain was swallowed up in the light of his presence,
the sting of the death of Mother’s memory, gone—
all because of the light of his love.

I’d seen what I’d been allowed to see,
heard what I’d been allowed to hear.
The artist in David had painted a pretty picture,
the pianist, in Mother,
this score that had underscored the strange play
that was my life—
a life that had been a Hallmark greeting card,
personalized in cursive,
tea-stained at the edges,
protected in a pretty envelope.

The Protestants had “True Love Waits” rings,
the Mormons, CTR, for “Choose the Right.”
They were purity rings, & nothing more.

Purity rings & purity balls,
with chastity placed on a girl’s
uncovered shoulders.
Orgasms were something mysterious—
something experienced,
often by the inexperienced.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

I became somewhat of a Pollyanna during the heyday of my Mormon experience. I didn’t look around, but straight ahead—to the end I had to endure to.

The notion of a Church family was like a second cousin, thrice removed. It was unfamiliar & wonderful. It wasn’t obtained through blood or marriage, but through adoption.

Their highest level of heaven was about being reunited with their families, & I thought how many holes there would be in that happy place.

Here I was, not ready to grow up all the way quite yet, & Caitlin, in her own way, was growing up too fast.

Tony may have been a sex maniac, marrying Kath to relieve his urge to have sinless sex, but he was a better man than Elder Roberts, for he was marrying the one he loved.

The Coveys had more kids than the Von Trapps, & I thought how larger numbers seemed to breed informality.

My friend Brad saw in me then, what I did not see in myself—the love I had for my stepfather that went beyond fatherly.

The Fosters—the owners of the diner David & I had secretly dined in—had been the aunt & uncle who’d raised him, the foster parents who’d never approved of Mother.

Beth & Gerald had loved me as if I were David’s very own. If only I’d known, I would’ve loved them more while they were alive than after they died.

It was incongruous that David grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, only to become the epitome of urbanity in a township in Green Haven, Florida.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother wanted her stripling warriors,
like in the Book of Mormon—
sons, I feared, who would be David’s Only Begotten,
&, therefore, favored above me.

Catholicism & Mormonism were 2
of a Christian kind.
The first had their cathedrals,
the latter, their temples;
both had their godly quiverfuls.

The Church was constructed on feelings of faith,
that those good feelings were the Spirit,
testifying—to the deceitful heart—the truthfulness of all things.

Mine eyes saw the glory of the Mormon Lord,
manifested in their wonderful works.
Mine ears heard their heavenly hymns,
glorifying Joseph Smith—
their personal Prophet.

They spoke of Jesus marrying & having children,
& I thought how ungodly this seemed,
even as The Man had died without dignity.