Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Beginning of this Mortal Koil

It would be great if the circumstances of my human birth were befitting of the awesomeness that is my name.  That I could just say, "BEHOLD! And the Raptor Jesus was born in the midst of a tornado of fire-breathing sharks as was written by prophecy!  And the cries of the babe did cause the sharks to explode into showers of chocolate that rained upon the open mouths of the Children of Men until their tummies ached."

I'm hoping to get this memoir published, and if it does - there will have to be someone who comes along and says that this memoir is full of lies.  I'm pretty sure that's the law now.  Anyway, in order to keep my chances of getting the book on Oprah's Book Club - I've got to keep this to the truth.  Otherwise some pretentious ass-hat would figure out that I couldn't be raised by both Mormons AND a group of cyberneticaly enhanced ninjas, and then instead of apologizing on talk shows for using curse words on Network television - I'd have to say sorry for lying.  And all of the Mormons who will eventually call me a "rabid anti-Mormon" can show that I was also a liar for claiming that my mother dipped me in the blood of a dragon that gave me a colorful candy shell.

No, I was born in a suburb of Northern Utah to a multi-generational Mormon family.  The area I was born was about 80% Mormon, and pretty much everyone was white and middle to upper-middle class.  If we had lived in the Mid-West we would be considered "real Americans" - except for the Mormon thing of course.  There's quite a litmus test for being a "real American," but that's a rant for another time.

I was born in the early 80's and the only reason why that's important (other than all the pop-culture references I'll be making from my childhood) is because Mormonism has slowly changed over time.  Not Evolved though! Blasphemy!  And because I grew up in Northern Utah to an active family - Mormonism was all that I knew, and it permeated my entire life.

Now what is Mormonism really?  As this shit unfolds before you, you'll get a lot more information, but in order for me to get to more profanity and sex jokes (which this "book" is chalk full of.  So, if you don't like it- just give me your money and move along.  Then tonight after watching Bill O'Riley, you can rock and cry yourself to sleep about the destruction of "American Values.")

The quick and dirty answer to the question above is simply that once upon a time Jesus Christ was actually the savior of Mankind, and along with calling people sinners while touching their oozing sores to heal them and then handling fish and bread for large amounts of people (no wonder everyone was suddenly "full"), he also started a church.  He didn't just want people to believe in him or "follow" him without going anywhere, no he wanted them to also be bored on Sundays and listen to people say who and what Jesus would and wouldn't do, more importantly who or what Jesus would vote for, and most importantly that Jesus still was pretty strapped for cash.

Contrary to popular belief, the church that Jesus started was the Mormon church. But after Jesus died and his original apostles did too, that church fell into "Apostasy" and became the evil Catholic church.  Jesus wasn't too worried about his church being wiped from the earth for some reason - I guess he was too busy watching everyone shit and fuck while creating the ultimate Naughty and Nice list, but finally in the early 1800's Joseph Smith was born.  Joseph prayed to find which church to join and because I guess no one had ever done that before, god showed up to Joseph and told him the other churches all sucked Satan's dick, and that Joseph was going to "restore the True Church."

Tada!  Mormonism is the restored and only true church on the earth.  Other churches may have "some truth" but only Mormonism has "fullness of the gospel."  And this is why when talking to Mormons, they'll always refer to their church as "The Church."  Because any other church is just some other silly billy church.  And from here on out, if I ever say the church - I mean the Mormon Church most likely.

The family I was born into was pretty "normal," and my parents were loving.  This won't be one of those "literary adventures" where you are sobbing and in between wiping the snot bubbles from your nose, you read about the protagonist being chained up to a toilet and the parents are screaming, "Eat this plate of uncooked spiders, or you'll be beaten again with your mother's double headed dildo that she uses for 'work!'"

My parents were both well educated and were educators themselves.  My father was just as comfortable behind a piano playing the classics (and I don't fucking mean Yanni!) as he was in front of unruly teenagers, and my mother came from a long line of Stoics (she could have showed Marcus Aurelius a trick or too) but was more of a Mormon anomaly because she worked outside of the home.  Mormonism has been very clear that bitches ain't shit unless they be in the kitchen making sammiches for the pimps of the household.  That's their "divine" role.  My mother was also a Democrat - which in Northern Utah is code for "unburned witch."

Because both of my parents worked and Sundays were devoted to church, Saturdays were times to run errands.  Leaving us alone was always risky because my parents had been "blessed" with "smart" and creative children.  We would notice that the dishwasher door seemed springy, so maybe we could jump on it like trampolines.  Then when that plan failed miserably - Quick! Get the tools because we need to make it so that the dishwasher door at least stays on the front.  Then when dad opens the dishwasher and the door comes right off in his hands and he looks like, "What the FUCK???"  My older sister, brother, and I can wordlessly look like, "Wow! How weird was that???" And then we would all get sent to our rooms.  Apparently I had a near legendary temper as a child and would take apart a chair made of PVC pipes and cloth, and would throw the large PVC pipes at the wall to show my displeasure with being punished.

Sundays were the "days of the lord."  Mormonism has church for a three hour block of time.  The group of people that you attend with is called a "ward" and is dictated by the group of wards in the area known as the "stake."  Both the place and time was dictated.  You could either have the 9:00am time (that ran until 12:00), the 11:00am time, or the shitty 1:00pm time.  Each year your time would would shift to the one below it, so if you had the 9:00 time, you'd move to the awesome 11:00 time the next calendar year.

Church itself consisted of three distinct "meetings."  And the order of the meetings could be slightly different.  Where I grew up, the first meeting was "primary" for the children ("Relief Society" for the grown women, and "Priesthood" for the grown men), followed by Sunday School (which was also broken up by age), and finally "Sacrament Meeting" where we sat as families.  Primary was kids from ages 3-11 broken up in calendar year all together in a room.  We had teachers that sat with our "class" and would first have "sharing time" where we would hear the message of the "gospel" for that week, and then we would have singing  time where we would sing about loving Jesus, being obedient to god's commandments, reading the scriptures, loving and following the Mormon "prophet," and attending the Mormon temple "worthily."  After about an hour of this, we would then have our Primary lesson while our parents had Sunday School where we had another hour of a spoken lesson about loving Jesus, being obedient to god's commandments, reading the scriptures, loving and following the Mormon "prophet," and attending the Mormon temple "worthily."

Sacrament meeting came last and we sat as families (usually I wasn't allowed to sit right next to my brother because we were too naught together), and we sang hymns, ate pieces of bread and drank tiny cups of water in remembrance of Jesus' hot body and sweet tasting blood, and then we would listen to talks that would usually range from the topics of "loving Jesus, being obedient to god's commandments, reading the scriptures, loving and following the Mormon "prophet," and attending the Mormon temple "worthily."

Each week this process would repeat except for the first Sunday of every month.  This was known as "Fast and Testimony" Sunday.  Everything would be the same except that we weren't allowed to eat before going to church.  Then after taking the Sacrament, the meeting turned into "open mic night" for those who loved the church most and had a long, rambling story that made no fucking sense - but you were going to hear about it anyway.

"Fast and Testimony Meeting" was supposed to be where one could get up in front of the church congregation and would "bare their testimony" about how the "Church was True," "Joseph Smith was a Prophet who restored the Gospel," "the Book of Mormon" was totally not suicidally boring, and that the current prophet was badass and talked to god for reals, yo.  Those sentiments came through, but usually not without some really embarrassing shit from the speaker.  "Members of the Church" were supposed to bare their testimonies after being "moved by the Holy Spirit," but side effects from being moved by the Spirit generally included: diarrhea of the mouth, too much information, and incoherent rambling.

Yes, church was long, boring, and repetitive.  But as Mormons, that's what we did, that's what our parents had done except that it was worse for them because back in their day, church was all goddamn day long.  So if you questioned things, then somehow you weren't able to "feel the Spirit" properly, and if you weren't under the influence of the Spirit, then you were susceptible to the influence of Satan.

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