*Fiction Friday: Micropoetry from the Book

With any other youth group,
the idea of dating a lot of different people
seemed like cheating,
but in Mormonism,
until one felt ready to marry,
it was better not to get fixated on any one person,
for that might lead to falling in love
& that just might lead to sin.

Tony had been willing to give up his reputation for Kath
but not Elder Roberts.
Tony had sealed his fate with his beloved by impregnating her,
whereas Elder Roberts had denied himself
by denying me.

It was a jubilee of sorts—
the tinkling of our fluted stems
signaling the beginning of the New Year
& the best years of our lives to come.

A cool gust, a warm breeze,
stirred me from my slumber
like a ghostly lover beckoning me.
I just stood back and watched him,
enjoying him,
& when he spoke to the sky,
it was then that I realized that he was speaking to the God
I thought he didn’t believe in.

I would never know if David lied to himself,
so he could lie to Mother,
but they would have a year before the temple
for her to fall in love with him
without all the trappings of Mormonism,
before she would expect him to take her to the temple
& promise things that he would never do,
not even for her,
even if she were me.

Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.

Fiction Friday: Novelines from the Book

It had always been David who had made our house the kind of home the Church said a home should be—the second most sacred space, next to the temple.

“For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them,” Jesus had said, & so, the Mormon missionaries paired off like Noah’s Ark, except in a sexless, same-sex fashion.

His faith had been proven—his sacrifice hadn’t required the forsaking of his own life—only the forsaking of a chance at a life with me.

David appreciated the natural world as much as Mother & Caitlin did the spiritual, whereas I was caught somewhere between the two.

Man had been given dominion over all earthly creations (rather than God, who had dominion over all the heavenly ones).

Though we were surrounded by people, we were the only two people in our world—in the world, but not of it.

I sensed a change in my & David’s relationship, but I could not define it. It had matured. I was no longer his stepdaughter—I was his equal.

Christmas in the Deep South was twinkling lights for snowflakes, spray-on snow on windowpanes, & the Hallmark yule log flickering on a screen.

Fiction Friday: Novelines

“I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Nineteen-ninety-nine was the summer of my Mormon soldier. The idea that God was all-powerful, but all-loving, was incongruous to me. Due to pre-existing conditions, I believed the former.

Those first stirrings of a spiritual quickening were like a hurricane, blowing the facade that was our family away.

Memories of that long, hot summer brought me all the way back to Green Haven, Florida, when the LDS mish showed us another way to live.

Yes, my brief life as a Mormon had been sweet, but my life as an ex-Mormon turned out to be even sweeter.

What a magnificent illusion the Plan of Happiness! It became a magnificent obsession with my mother, who prized it above me.

Had even God Himself eternally progressed? Were we all as He once was? The Church made me see humans as gods, God as human.

I’d grown up near the Amish, in a Catholic home, & now Mormonism had touched our lives–all because I had answered a knock on the door.

My mother & sister had found solace in Catholicism; I had found mine in the humanism of my stepfather, whose doctrine was, “Do no harm”.

Those first three months I knew him, he was on a mission. It was the only time I ever knew him as he was then.

Did the light come from him, or was it the light of Jesus shining in him? Just who was it I fell in love with that day?

Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.

The Final Authority

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:27

I was who I was,
two weeks ago yesterday.
The day of our wedding then,
is already a memory.

I’d found God before I married you,
and then I found myself.
The person you wed is gone,
but you’ve not forgotten.

I am not your child,
your soldier,
or your little pet.

I am a grown woman,
with goals, ideas, and opinions of my own.
I will support you,
as I hope you will support me,
so that we can both become the best we can be.

I didn’t know what I wanted when I married you,
I only knew I wanted you.
You wanted me then—
please, want all of me now.
Love me for my goodness,
not my obedience.

We can be as different as we are equal—
as happy in one another’s successes as we are in our own.

I am not an extension of you,
but rather am One with you.
Be my husband,
my co-pilot,
my friend and soul-mate,
but don’t be my final authority.

The Honest Tree

I am who I am,
barefoot in the garden,
in the midst of the lambs.
Fruits sweet,
birds tweet,
the grass soft beneath my feet.

My husband is not with me,
for he gathers,
but toils not.

From another world we came—
a world we cannot remember.
Like the Ark of Noah that has been prophesied,
we floated through the atmosphere in a vessel,
through the starry galaxy and to this green planet.

In the center of this orchard,
there is a tree—
with fruit as white as can be.
It glows like the firmament,
like the Creator of All Things—
the only God we know,
the only God we are to know.

An asp approaches me,
slithering on the ground without a sound.
He is a beguiling creature,
and I trust his quiet nature.
He is a charmer,
“Take a bite,” he says,
“for it is sweetest above all,
and you will no more be benighted.”

I am drawn to the fruit–
to the light–
and I think, just a little one,
but it is bitter.
There is a rumble in the sky,
and I know I’ve earned the wrath of the Cloud Knitter.
“I told you not to eat of this tree,
for now you are as I once was,
and will suffer pain,
as the Earth will suffer all calamity.”

I weep,
for now the veil has been ripped off–
I am not a beautiful virgin on her wedding night,
but am a crooked old woman with hooves and claws—
a creature of many flaws.
And yet,
I have a consciousness,
an awareness I had not before,
and I am more than I was before.
The scales have fallen from my eyes,
and I see with such clarity,
true goodness and beauty.

I must get Adam to eat,
lest we be separated forever,
and this new world end with us.
I look up to the God of Kolob,
and now the Planet Earth,
praying for a respite from death–
for another birth.

“Do my will,” the Tree Weaver says,
“for what I hath joined together,
neither man nor beast may tear asunder.”

I go to do His bidding,
and find Adam tending to the flock,
and tell him, “Take, eat,
for it will seal us together forever.”

He heeds my word,
and at first bite,
he knows Death will touch our lips,
kissing us good-bye.
But this was how it was to be all along–
for we will no longer live as children,
ignorant of sin,
but will be given the chance to know wrong
and the choice to do right,
so we can be with God again.

I look up to the heavens and smile,
and God baptizes us in the rain.
“For the remission of sins,” God says,
“which hath brought about the greater good.
I baptize thee in My Name,
for I Am Who I Am.”

*I have found I gravitate towards long, narrative poems (or, if I don’t have a “story” idea, I write something short and silly).  The following is what one might refer to as a “shaggy God” poem.  This is basically the story of Genesis, told a different way (with shades of Mormonism and Scientology).  This was a fun “what-if” type of exercise.