Fiction Friday: Micropoetry Based on the Book

mormoni

Loving Brad in my way had been so easy.
I would never have that kind of uncomplicated friendship
with another man again.
I had already decided to move on to a life without him—
just as I had to a life without Elder Roberts.
The only exception was that I had loved Brad
& had lost him,
I believe,
because he had chosen me,
even as Elder Roberts had chosen against me.

The night of the Johnny Lingo luau
was a sea of modest swimsuits,
an expanse of Mardi Gras bead grass skirts,
& an ocean of plastic palm trees—
a wholesome activity
to keep us out of the lake of fire & brimstone.
The tableau was like a movie set
where everyone was ad-libbing.
We weren’t on the beach
but in the cultural hall,
where we would not possibly see
any scantily clad females,
for we were responsible for helping men
control their desires
by covering the flesh
that draped our lovely bones.

A 1969 BYU short film that reminded me
of The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields—
minus the cinematography
or Brooke Shields—
at its soul,
was not about a girl who fought against the system
of being bought
but who bought into it,
given away by her father as property
to be loved, honored, & cherished
as someone else’s.
Though I had always seen Mother as a kept woman,
thinking my ugly thoughts about what that meant,
I was a hypocrite,
for I felt that David
belonged to me.

Like many ugly duckling stories,
3-cow Mahana
magically became beautiful—
with just a smile.
She hadn’t had to lose weight
or get plastic surgery;
there were no birthmarks,
burns,
or scars
to blemish the already perfect specimen,
& the knowledge that she was not worth more
but had been paid more for
than any other woman on the island
had turned her into a dark swan.
There was a certain irony that,
unlike the adage about buying the cow,
Johnny Lingo had paid for his
with 10 of them.

The pink lei I had been given at the door
which hung over my chest made me appear
bigger than a B-cup—
a symbol (or two) of fertility,
which was highly prized in the Church,
& I wondered if,
by having 10 children,
& smiling all through it,
I, too,
could be a 10-cow wife.

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

mormoni

In the world,
one’s relationship with their children
was paramount
but in Christianity,
the marital relationship was prized & protected
above all others,
for no one made covenants with their children
as they did with their spouses,
but perhaps that was because
bonds between parents & children
were thickened with blood,
so no covenant was needed.

When children died from illness,
it was the result of a fallen world,
of biology,
of pollution,
& a multitude of other things.
If they died from injury,
it was Fate,
Destiny,
or because another person’s free will
had infringed on theirs.
For both,
when it came to the devout,
it was that God needed another angel
when He had how many already?
God wasn’t always directly blamed
but rather,
He was blamed for not stopping it.

In the Old Testament,
when God Himself seemed to play a role in the world,
& all the Israelite children were murdered,
I knew I would never be able to defend His decisions,
& so I could never defend His book.
I could only say that the evil spoken of in it
had brought about good
that might otherwise have never existed.

The Church was the lie that led me to the truth.
It was the lie that had exposed another lie:
the death of my father.
I wondered what next big truth would turn out
to be a lie also,
& what lie it would expose.

The line between fantasy & reality
had become a canvas
that had been left out in the sun too long.
My life had been a dream up till now,
& Mormonism,
like a dream within a dream.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a Mormon in faith & works, whereas I was not. Yet long after I left it, my works (or lack of sin) would become acceptable to it.

Marriage was akin to a conversion, & then there was a process to keep it. There was no once married, always married—it was never my salvation.

I had always imagined Adam & Eve & all the others to be mere symbols, or representations of the best & the worst traits that human beings possessed.

Mormons loved stories even as Jesus loved parables. There were conversion stories, faith-promoting stories, & stories of Joseph Smith’s birth, life, ministry, murder, & his role in the life to come. He was a god, even as God was God.

The Mormons had their mottos: “Modesty is the best policy” (which was always directed at the ladies) & “I didn’t promise it would be easy; I only promised it would be worth it” (or so they said Jesus said).

How Mormons were supposed to live was outlined to the smallest detail—to keep everything as uniform as the concourses of the angels in Heaven.

Tony, Mart, & Mick thought of themselves as “The Three Wise Mor-men,” but Kath, Leann, & I saw them as The Three Stooges—an unholy trinity.

As Mother played the piano, I looked out of the corner of my eye at Brad’s profile, and saw the story of my life—watching men watching her.