#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

I stood in awesome wonder as I beheld who I recognized as the Prophet Joseph as a boy, on the Hill Cumorah. He was conversing with an angel. I started to walk towards them. The angel looked my way, but the boy did not seem to hear me.

As I drew nearer, I saw that the apparition was not an angel but a goat. It was beyond this scene that I saw a path through a grove of trees, leading down into a dark abyss, & I knew that was from whence this creature had come.

I rushed to the boy, trying to tell him that this being was not of God but a demon, wanting to touch him, but unable to, screaming for him to see what I saw.

Ronald Reagan watched us enter the foyer, his eyes with that twinkle of merriment, almost as if he were laughing at us. David had always said Reagan had been such a charismatic President because of his acting ability, though many of his University colleagues had debated whether the Old Gipper had ever had any acting ability.

When Sister Schafer bragged that her husband was a direct descendant of Brigham Young,” David muttered, “Who isn’t?”

Brother Schafer had re-emerged, holding 2 large stones. They were the clearest rocks I had ever seen & looked almost like breast implants, so it was funny to see him balancing one in each hand.

Brother Schafer placed his palms on the stones, & his whole body was filled with light. He was like Brigham Young, his son, like Joseph Smith–everything was going in reverse chronological order.

It was strange, for I could still hear all around me, all that was going on in that room, the 2 worlds colliding—one of sight, in the past & one of sound, in the present.

The spell was broken as Brother Schafer ended what had turned out to be a séance of sorts, conjuring up visions of visions. Had I gone back in time, only to be unable to change the history that had been made before my eyes?

The lights came on, and with a shiver, I realized no one had seen what I had seen, for I had been alone there in the forest. The very people who believed in Joseph Smith’s teachings had brought him back from the dead, only for God (or had it been the devil tricking me?), to tell me that he had been mistaken, to show me that after all, he had been just a boy with an imagination out of this world.

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

For Sister Schafer,
her son was the second coming
of Joseph Smith,
the prophet who was,
according to them,
second in line to Christ.
For it was Tony who rediscovered
the Urim & Thummim–
the seer stones the Prophet Joseph used
to translate the golden plates–
those plates that were taken back by the angel Moroni,
lest any archaeologist might discover them.
They were the Interpreters,
glowing in the dark like cat eyes,
even as Tony was a cat-eye–
a tool with hands
& a tool with a voice,
whose genes were being replicated
inside the womb of a woman
whose conception was far from immaculate.

They prayed with bowed heads,
folded arms,
& closed eyes–
as if they were getting ready to be assassinated.
Such was how they presented themselves to the Mormon God–
a God who became more mysterious
the more I was told of Him.

There were “Amens” all around,
“Pay Lay Ale” was uttered thrice,
& a minty mist imbued the air.
It made my breath cold,
for a vapor pass my lips–
as if a spirit was escaping
My dying body.
The dampness–
like the verdant earth after the rain,
& the chanting in tongues–
not a foreign language,
but something guttural,
made my pulse quicken,
yet I felt paralyzed.
The floor beneath me shifted,
like plate tectonics.
My world wasn’t turned upside down
but shaken,
&, like a baby,
I was never the same again.

David held my hand,
& I was transported.
My heart was not troubled,
& neither was it afraid.
From 4 walls to a woodland,
the ceiling opened up & disappeared,
& sunlight streamed through the treetops;
birds were singing sweetly in the breeze.
I was not beside myself
but outside myself,
& it was a good place to be.

Family Home Evening–
the Monday installment of the Mormon life–
consisted of prayer,
to open the lines of communication with God,
for it was not His job to initiate contact;
of singing,
to praise this God who gave us his First, Last, & Only;
of a talk or lesson,
to further His global agenda
of building temples & spreading the Book of Mormon;
& to go over family business & family schedules.
It was all about “the family”–
like some kind of Anglo Mafia.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

My mother was once like me
as I was now,
even as she was now
what she would always be,
& I would never be–
like the unspoken Goddess of Kolob.

She would never change her mind
about the Church,
for the Church had changed her.
It was not the figurative blood of Jesus
that put the scarlet in her cheeks,
but it was the psychological hold
that the Church had on my mother
that removed her scarlet letter
like an old tattoo.

As she drew closer to God,
she withdrew from us,
even as David & I grew closer than ever,
but a part of me still feared losing him
if he lost Mother completely.

Those Mormons were a patriotic sort–
red, white, & blue all over–
for their church had been born
& come of age
in the American pioneer days;
they had abandoned God’s higher law
of polygamy
to bow down
& kowtow
to the less-enlightened practice
of monogamy.

What separated the occult
from the Divine?
Was it a matter of whom was sought out–
the God of our mothers & forefathers
or our ancestors & friends gone by?

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

Burgundies, navy blues, & hunter greens had been replaced with shades of cream, ecru, & chartreuse. It was as if the royal richness that was David had been replaced with the plainness & blandess of Mother.

Modern art that looked like shards of broken glass & felled raindrops had been replaced with several of Greg Olsen’s paintings, & the place began to more resemble a Mormon temple than a museum.

Mother had put off the natural woman to put on the spiritual; in her eyes, the 2 entities could not co-exist, for one would always rule over the other.

The Church cautioned against forbidden fruit, yet they dangled it in front of me, tied up in the most attractive packaging.

I had never heard David thank God for anything before, save that night in the hospital, & I wondered, if, in his own way, he was changing, too.

The sky was pitch-black, the clouds that floated across it a grayish purple, sailing past as if I was in a time machine, watching the many moons go by. It was cool, but not cold, yet I felt a chill, a foreboding, as I approached the house.

The Schafer home reminded me of the Cleavers’ house in “Leave it to Beaver.” The hedges surrounding the front porch had all had a crew cut, whereas ours grew like wild ferns. Our home on Harrington Court made me think of an aging Southern belle.

Though the new elders were polite, they were distant, & weren’t the friends we had known in Elders Johnson & Roberts.

When Sister Corbin & Sister Kyle left the area, we received one piece of correspondence from each–a wedding invite & a postcard of a broken engagement. It was the last we had ever heard from them.

Elder Johnson still said hello to what he referred to as “the new Dalton family” through the grapevine, or the grapes of wrath known as the elders. Wariness had replaced openness with them, at least towards us, despite Mother & David’s morally married state. I only hoped Elder Johnson would still think of us once he got back home.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

David, the king of the castle,
also known as Maxwell Manor,
had stayed for me.
He was as Rhett Butler
as I was Bonnie Blue,
& the torch he carried
was not for me,
but for my flag.

For her,
he’d bought a mink coat,
for me,
a stole.
Now he would buy her a diamond,
whereas I would have my own room
in his house.
If diamonds were forever,
were rooms forevermore?

Mother put her mark on David’s house,
just as the devil put the mark of the beast
on his unholy temples.

Y2K parties,
like hurricane parties,
were being held that New Year’s Eve
before the New Millennium,
& I saw this turning of time
as a turning of the tide.

For the Mormons,
the husband was the head of the home,
the wife,
the heart,
& I wondered what happened
to the body that was the family
when the head stopped thinking
& the heart stopped beating.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

It was Tradition vs. Truth
when it came to the Mormons
discussing the Catholics,
who seemed to be their biggest competition
when it came to procreation
& pomp & circumstance
& the rigid dogma that went far beyond
asking Jesus into your heart,
which I found strange,
as the mind was the control-center
of our actions–
intentional & autonomic;
our heart,
we simply followed.

Was it considered child sacrifice
to give up potential children
for the sake of love?
If so, David had done so–
he’d let his line die
so that with Mother,
he would truly live.

Just as God had no history,
for He had no beginning & no end,
so David had always seemed…
until I learned his past,
& the secrets thereof,
so that his flesh became more real
& beautiful
than it had ever been,
for, as the Mormons believed,
what was a spirit without a body?

The Mormons didn’t necessarily rewrite history
but rather,
they ignored it,
employing apologists for those who could not ignore
the Church’s past.
It had taken years of refining
to produce a religion
that exemplified Fifties-type family values.

I had told that the good feelings I was feeling
were the Holy Spirit.
It was almost New-Agey–
all this talk of feelings–
with no respect to logic or reason.
I began not to question things
but question me.

#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.