Part two: How much more black can it get? None. None more black.
I started High School the next year. My love of learning began to blossom like a Mormon girl's hoohoo at a Rascal Flats concert. I took the widest variety of classes I could, and loved all of them. I loved English, Art, History, Band, Math, Science, and Seminary. I absorbed the knowledge like a sponge absorbs water and excelled at everything. My hobbies flourished as well. I loved playing bass guitar in a band, and I stilled loved to draw. I was working on drawing my own comics because I had found how much I loved them in 6th grade. My art was getting better, my songs were getting better, and the girls were getting hotter. Sweet sexy Jesus were the girls getting hotter. I tried my hand clumsily at dating with partial success my Sophomore year. In that year, two “tumultuous” relationships lasting all of a couple of weeks. But it was High School and that was par for the course.
By this time I had had several more priesthood interviews. After the third interview with my Bishop pulling out my spiritual permanent record, asking for tantalizing details, and copying down my deliciously decadent debauchery of pulling on myself; I learned a very valuable lesson. Just lie!
“Raptorjesus, do you still have a ‘problem’ masturbating?”
“Nope.” Next Question.
That didn’t stop the soul crushing guilt of what I was doing, but that was better than the alternative. I actually did stop masturbating for a period of time, and it was long enough to have several “wet dreams.” These “wet dreams” were not normal. Every single one of them was a “wet nightmare” that involved rape, incest, or sex with demons. After the third “dream,” I was done. I couldn’t control my dreaming, but I could control what I thought about awake. The “dreams” were awful. I didn’t care what any priesthood holder said or what kind of guilt they piled on. There was no way Jesus could condemn me for releasing my “little factory” in a way that didn’t equate ejaculation with terror and violence. This wasn't Russia.
The rest of High School was spent juggling learning everything I could about everything, dating, art, music, writing, martial arts (I started Taekwondo my Jr. year), work, and church activities. But with all of this, I was not a good Mormon teenager and was guilted frequently. I still loved metal music, I hated (HATED!) weekly NAMBLA meetings-- oops, I mean scouting. Never got my eagle scout, and Young Mens/Mutual was on the bottom of my priority list. If I didn’t have guitar lessons, or Taekwondo, or homework, or a date that night, I would go to the church activity; however, that was few and far between. So, no matter how busy I was, I was never good enough. But I didn’t let that get me down at the time because I had a different drive burning inside me at the time.
Seminary taught me that one of the core doctrines of the church was that we could, given a long time, be like god. Eternal progression meant that given enough time and enough knowledge, we could be given our own universes to create. That lesson hit me like a thunderclap. I was a creator at heart with an insatiable curiosity about everything. The church was telling me, that if I was obedient to god, that he would give me time to learn everything I’ve ever wanted about everything and let me create forever with no authority over me. Endless stories, endless music, endless history, perfect knowledge of the minute details of the universe.
The Church must be True! And if it was True, I had better know everything I could about the Church, and learn what I could about human knowledge along the way.
I read the Bible cover to cover. I read the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. I loved the Books of Abraham and Moses. Not only could I eventually create my own worlds, but I most likely already had helped create this world. I wanted to learn more; I read everything about Church Doctrine that was Church Approved. I was taught that Mormonism had the whole truth. That other religions were all partly true, but that Mormonism had the fullness of truth. Ok, well, I better learn what I can about other religions. I studied Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and past religions. The major world religions were a quick and dirty study because I kept getting distracted by ancient mythology. I loved Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology.
I put a lot of pressure on myself in High School. There was a lot to learn about everything, and I had very limited time with everything else going on in my life. I had AP classes and life was getting hard, and I got very stressed out. I could tell when I became extremely stressed out because my dreams changed. Instead of having a normal dream or even a nightmare, I would enter a weird mixture of being half awake and half asleep. I would always be conscious of my surroundings and would always be in the bed and room I fell asleep in. The room would always be exactly the same as when awake except for the lighting of the room. I would always be paralyzed, mute, and terrified. Sometimes I would be alone in this state until fully awake without incident. Other times I wouldn’t be so lucky. Those times would involve some kind of “visitor” that would usually enter the room and torture me physically until I awoke. I knew that these were dreams because the physical violence never left a mark and any entity would vanish the moment I awoke. Oddly enough, I never questioned my encounter with the evil spirit from Jr. High even though the similarities were so striking. I knew these were dreams, but I never thought the same about the first time until much later in my life.
It was time for my mission.
I didn’t want to go.
I knew that I had to, though. This feeling didn’t come purely from all the seminary lessons about “every worthy male.” The Church had the Truth. Who was I to not offer that to everyone? The Church promised me what I wanted from Eternity. I had to at least offer that to people, but how? People’s beliefs are personal. Who was I to try to change those? I was depressed because I didn’t want to go, and my family could sense that, but I assured them that I would go. That was most important. It’s normal to feel “nervous,” the mission is a big step in your life, but as long as you go you’ll be blessed for it.
I got depressed enough to go to my bishop. I had battled some depression in High School enough to know that I had a "cycle" that was just as beautiful as any other girl's cycle of sloughing off blood and tissue and having it slowly leak out an orifice. But this cycle turned into a spiral. Instead of every six to eight weeks feeling trapped in a shithouse for a few days without any sun or escape, I felt trapped in my life without any sun or escape.
I had not asked for help before, and my current bishop was a friend. I went to him and said that I just needed to talk to someone discreetly.
Well, if there's a problem in your life, the church can fix it! They always know what to do, and are better than any other organization in the world.
My bishop refers me to LDS family services just to talk to someone and says that it will be fine and discrete, and I go.
Five minutes into my session I get up and leave. I was asked if I was depressed. Yes. Did I have any suicidal thoughts? Yes.
Wrong answer. The counselor flipped his shit. I needed to shut my entire mission down right now. I didn't agree with him. I can't leave the session. I do.
I went home to a meeting with the bishop who is clearly feeling like an asshole. While traveling home from the "therapist's" office, counselor McBitchtits contacted the MTC and informed them that a dangerous young man was about to enter the MTC. The MTC then contacts the stake president to ax why in god's unholy name did he let an evil demon slip from hell to come and join god's army. Stake president then calls bishop to ax what the fuck was even going on, and bishop learns a hard lesson about LDS family services being malignant twats.
Getting into the MTC suddenly becomes the ordeal of getting a real, licensed therapist to write a note that I am not a danger to myself or anyone else.
This ordeal, of course, is all proof that Satan really didn't want ME to go on a mission, because I AM totally that badass. Satan's shit was about to get fucked up by me. I was going to go on a mission and kick open the doors of hell and unleash havoc on Satan and his minions.
"Merry Christmas, bitches!"
But since you are reading this on exmormon.org, you already know that Satan wins, and god's plans were retarded. Wait; frustrated....no, sorry, the first one.
Anyway, I hated the MTC. One of my favorite books in High School was 1984. I had sections committed to memory after reading it multiple times. Now I was living that book. The Thought Police were everywhere. I was taught double think daily. We were commanded to teach with the spirit, but taught to market the Gospel like a Product. I was an ambassador of the lord; I was a Door to Door Salesman. We were there to serve; The Commitment Pattern was the most Successful Tool for baptism. I was in hell; The Field would be Better.
And I did love Germany. I loved the people, the culture, the food, the architecture, the deep sense of history, the old toppled fortress and castle towers in random fields. I loved everything except for the Work. It didn’t take long for me to realize that missionaries were only there to annoy the shit out of Germans. They were happy and prosperous without god, and let us know quite bluntly. As missionaries, we could only sigh regretfully and make remarks about how they’d destroy themselves with their pride. While I hated the Work, I kept all of the missionary rules and continued to teach the Gospel anyway. I tried harder; I became more annoying. The Germans didn’t care what I had to say, but I was going to go home with a clear conscience. It wouldn’t be my fault that nobody was baptized. When general authorities came to rip on us about the lack of baptisms, I never took it personally. They weren’t talking to me. I was doing the best I was. They were talking to the other elders that I knew weren’t doing their part. Same went with the mission president’s motivational lectures about “catching the fire.” I had as much “fire” as god would give me; if he wanted more baptisms, he’d have to do something about the Germans he created.
One night, I get sick. Very sick. Something is seriously wrong with my abdomen. I have excruciating pain and it can’t be appendicitis because I already had that. My companion takes me to the hospital where I am admitted. After some tests, the German doctors feel it necessary to perform a quick surgery. I am admitted to the hospital and have surgery two days after being admitted. I am scared. I am in a foreign country alone—no friends, no family, no phone call home. The mission president will take care of it. This isn't a big deal. I will be fixed up lickity split, and be back out tracting in no time. But I am “lucky.” Very “lucky.” Most elders shouldn’t get to have a surgery. Most elders go home for surgery and then have to be “stateside.” I am “blessed,” aren’t I?
My recovery is slow. Too slow. My mission president demands to know why it is so slow.
I don’t know.
He demands to know why I am not getting up at 6:30 every morning.
I’m not sleeping at night.
He demands to know why.
I’m in too much pain to sleep.
I usually can only sleep from about 4:30 in the morning to about 9:00. If I get up at 6:30, I still won’t sleep until 4:30 the next night.
I’m in pain. I’m having a hard time getting around.
Where’s your Faith to be Healed, elder?
You aren’t trying hard enough. The best thing for your recovery is to do the Work of the lord. He will heal you if you are Faithful enough.
I complain about this conversation to my companion. He says that he got yelled at because he let me be so “lazy” and “disobedient.” I ask if him if the mission president actually used the words “lazy” and “disobedient” to describe me.
The next morning I get up to go to the weekly “street preach.” My companion asks how I’m feeling. I tell him, “It doesn’t matter.”
I collapse during the middle of the street preach. An ambulance is called. I feel strangely at peace for the moment. If I’m sent home, my conscience is clear. The apostles give talks about coming from the mission in a stretcher from working so hard, but none of them have ever done it.
The next month is a constant struggle. I feel better, I feel worse, I feel better, I feel worse. I am inundated with the most asinine stories of “miraculous healing” from everyone. My faith is constantly questioned. Finally my mission president has had enough. I have a “choice” to make. Either I choose to have faith and stay, or I go home like a coward.
I tell this to the mission doctor, and he looks at me like I’ve just said the stupidest thing that he’s ever heard. He tells me this, and I sob in his office like a small child.
You need to go home.
You don’t have a choice.
THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE.
I can’t say it this time.
My mission president calls me at the airport, and I’m given a lecture about not listening to Satan. It will be one of many of the same lectures I’ll hear for the next year from different people. The phone drops the call in the middle of the lecture so I don’t have to hang up on him. Maybe god still loves me.