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[HR] Joyful Abandonment and Impassioned Performances

2019.04.25 16:07 virgiltempleton [HR] Joyful Abandonment and Impassioned Performances

Ms. Scofield was not looking forward to her meeting with Shane Muncie. Sometimes his eccentric personality and foolish antics could be amusing, but she wasn't in the mood for it today. As the drama teacher for Edwardsville High School, Ms. Scofield was responsible for putting on two student productions a year and this fall the play was an ambitious drama; The Last of Mrs. Lincoln. Unfortunately, she'd just lost one of the cast members to a basketball team that had, unexpectedly, made State. This young thespian/point guard would, therefore, be in Topeka dribbling on opening night instead of on the boards, stammering.
Opening night was less than two weeks away and Ms. Scofield needed a replacement. She needed Shane Muncie.
It would be awkward, however, asking because Shane had auditioned for the play. And, even though Shane had been a consistent part of Edwardsville High's drama team since a sophomore - and he was a graduating senior this year - Ms. Scofield passed him over due to the fact that this was a serious production. There were no comedic parts. Shane's ceaseless goofiness had been great for Don't Drink the Water and Bell, Book, and Candle; but would've been a distraction here.
Desperate times, however. He was the only boy in this small, largely rural school who could learn, stand and deliver the lines in such short order.
If only he wasn't such an irrepressible spaz.
"Hey Ms. Scofield," Shane knocked on the door before entering the classroom. "You wanted to see me? Did I do something wrong? You didn't find that paper I was writing on? That was just a joke...."
Ms. Scofield smiled and lifted her chin. She was by no means pretty, but she wasn't yet thirty years old, unmarried, and still had a woman's figure and a flair for the dramatic. She knew the students - particularly the boys - gossiped and speculated about her, so she could imagine what one of Shane Muncie's errant notes might have implied.
"No, Shane. Come in. Sit down."
Shane shuffled between the desks. He was tall and ungainly. Awkward in his own skin. His nose was humped and large, a feature he often used for comic effect, and his hair a scuffled mess of dirty blond feathers. He had blue eyes that couldn't hide anything, and they were darting around now, nervous.
He sat at a desk on the front row. Ms. Scofield perched herself on the top of the teacher's desk and tugged on her denim, ankle-length skirt.
"Shane," she started. "Dear Shane. You know the basketball team is going to State?"
"Yeah? So?"
"So Steve Royal is going with them."
"Steve was supposed to be playing Ninnian Edwards in The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, but now he won't be able to."
Time stretched. Shane's face remained a blank canvas of clueless stupidity. Ms. Scofield slumped. "I'm asking you to take over the part, dummy."
"But I thought you didn't want me in this play," he replied.
Don't be a petty little shit, Ms. Scofield thought, but checked herself and said, "No, Shane, there just weren't enough parts to go around. You know I love to cast you in our productions, but this just wasn't right for you."
"But now it is?"
"Well, all things considered, yes."
"Geez, I don't know. I'm kind of busy these days. You know I'm writing a book?"
"It's about robots. From the future."
"They can feel emotions; like love and sadness."
"Darling Shane...."
"The hero robot is named Rusty. He cries a lot."
"Look, you're the only one who could possibly do this. I'm begging you, please."
That's it. Appeal to his ego. Now, give him a warm smile, pull your shoulders back and....
"Okay, Ms. Scofield. I'll do it."
The part Shane took over wasn't very involved in the action, so he had plenty of time to screw around backstage with the other secondary actors. During dress rehearsal he and his play-wife, Jody Martin, were rummaging through the prop-room, knowing they wouldn't be cued up for another fifteen or twenty minutes.
"Whoa," Shane exclaimed, "Check it." He'd found a WWI gas mask and turned it over in his hands, trying to figure out how to fit it on his head.
"You know Danielle?" Jody said, wrapping a rainbow boa around her neck. "She said she'd go to the prom with you if you asked."
"Danielle Jonas? Why the hell would she want to go to the prom with me? She doesn't even know me! You're full of shit." Shane bent over and placed the crown of his head in the gas mask's helmet.
"Well, maybe she thinks you're a cool dude and wants to get to know you. Ha!"
Shane struggled and pushed and wedged himself into the prop. "Holy shit," he said, his voice barely discernible behind the hard plastic and metal. "It smells like death in here."
"Anyway," Jody continued. "I told her I'd tell you and I told you so...."
Shane started clawing at the neck of the mask. "Hey! Help! I can't breathe!"
Jody ignored him at first, then heard the genuine rising panic in his voice and saw his eyes bugging behind the Plexiglas visor. She rushed over and started pulling at the helmet.
Eventually, with Shane on hands and knees, and Jody tugging with one foot braced against his shoulder, the mask popped off.
Extracted now, Shane's face was brick red and his ears looked like they'd just been slapped around by David Schultz. He gasped and said, "The prom with me? Is she crazy?"
"You guys are on in like two minutes!" One of their costars called from the doorway.
Danielle Jonas had a larger part in the play and was on stage most of the time. Shane watched her from the wings during the next dress rehearsal.
Danielle's most defining characteristic was a luxurious, glorious, flowing mane of platinum blond hair. Untethered, it flowed down her back in waves of soft curls. Braided, it looked like something that could turn lethal in the hands of Indiana Jones. For the play, she wore it coiffed; a huge, beautiful crown dripping gold ribbons.
Aside from that, eh, she was okay. Her face was a long and had an equine quality and she was skinny as a rail with little up top. Plus, she was only a sophomore. Also, to Shane she seemed a trifle dull and humorless. Her contributions to group conversations were rarely insightful or clever and she almost never laughed at his jokes.
Still, unless somebody was lying, she had expressed an interest in going out with him which put her in rare company. Exceedingly rare. In fact, so far the number of girls willing to date Shane during his entire High School career had been one. Her.
So he watched Danielle drift around the stage; hitting her marks, speaking her lines carefully, loudly, and wondered what if...?
"She's got crabs," somebody whispered behind him.
Shane turned and saw Roger Massing - short, greasy hair, thick glasses and flannel shirt. The twerp held the title of Assistant Stage Manager, but really, he was just an awkward student with a ridiculous crush on Ms. Scofield. In a way, it was cruel how the teacher let him hang around all the time, allowing his deviant fantasies to flourish; but on the other hand, he gladly ran all her errands and worked his heart out doing grunt labor on the stage. He was the drama department's perfect little bitch.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Shane scowled down at him.
"Danielle," Roger said, scratching the tip of his nose. "I heard you were going to prom with her. I thought you should know; she's got crabs."
"You're full of shit."
Roger shrugged. "Valerie told Virgil that Danielle uses a special medicated soap after gym class. Virgil told Brett and he told me. The soap is for to take care of crabs. All the girls moved their lockers away from hers."
"Roger, go away," Shane said. "You bother me."
The short geek drifted off to where he could get a better look at Ms. Scofield who was sitting in the audience, taking notes.
Shane continued waiting for his cue, but now there was a black cloud hanging over his head. Sure, crabs. The only girl who had ever even considered him for a date would have to have crabs, wouldn't she? On stage, Danielle collapsed in a chair, hiding her face in her hands, fake-weeping. Under the spotlight, her golden hair looked like a pirate's treasure. And what a shame, Shane thought, if the carpet that matched those drapes was all chewed up and threadbare.
Shane steadfastly avoided Danielle over the next few days; easy enough to do during school as they had no classes together, but he also started taking the long way home, walking on the out-of-the-way side streets in case she was cruising the main roads, looking for him.
It was down one of those narrow streets where Shane saw Bobby Bates shooting hoops at a dilapidated park next to the middle school. Shane had time to kill so he dropped his backpack and entered the court. "Yo," he called, holding out his hands for the ball. "Bobby rock."
Bobby delivered a chest-pass. Shane grabbed it and made a running shot. It missed. Bobby rebounded and took the ball outside the arch. Shane went into defense mode for an impromptu one-on-one.
"I hear you're taking Danielle to the prom," Bobby said as he blew right by Shane and scored two.
"What? No. Who told you that?" Shane dribbled around the arch.
Bobby shrugged. "It's all over school. She has crabs, you know."
Shane launched a prayer. It wasn't even close. "Yeah, but, I've been thinking, and that soap could be for any number of things. It doesn't have to mean crabs."
"What soap?"
"The medicated soap. Isn't that what you're talking about?"
"I don't know anything about no soap." Bobby head-faked and scored while Shane was still looking at the sky.
"Well then how do you know she has crabs?"
"She got them from my brother."
"Philip? He's, like, twenty years old!" Shane dribbled off his foot and had to chase the ball down.
"Right. I heard them fighting about it the other night. They're in the basement screaming at each other; he's trying to tell her he got them from a toilette seat. Ha! Oh, she was pissed! Rightfully so, I'd say. Crabs, man. That's a hard-to-scratch itch right there."
"So, if she's dating Philip, why would she go to the prom with me?"
"They're not dating. Just fucking. Besides, he can't take her to the prom, seeing as how he graduated two years ago." Bobby made a one handed rebound from the clumsy shot Shane heaved up.
"This is terrible." Shane watched the ball sail over his head and swish through the hoop. "What am I going to do?"
"Blowjobs," Bobby answered. "From her, anyway. You wouldn't want to go down there, though. I guess you could finger pop her, but I'd wear gloves."
"Thanks," Shane said. Bobby stole the ball, dribbled an unnecessary cross-over, and then drove the lane for a layup.
"Yeah, you don't want to mess with no crabs," Bobby concluded. "With Philip around, I've been taking my dumps at the Farmers' Market just to be safe."
Opening night. The play is over, bows have been taken, roses delivered. Backstage the thespians flit about with their costumes half-off; laughing and chatting, hugging and making plans for later.
At one point during the riot, Shane turned, and Danielle was there. "Good job!" she said, grabbing him in a hug. Tight. With one hand pressed against his lower back and the other on his neck.
Shane reciprocated stiffly. "You too."
"Are you going to Lisa's house?" Danielle broke the embrace; her hand now holding his.
"Uh. Yeah. Probably."
"Good." She smiled. "Great. I'll see you there."
"So, are you going to ask Danielle to the prom or what?" Julie came through the door of the boy's dressing room without so much as a courtesy knock.
Shane, dressed only in a wife-beater and briefs, squawked and pointed a finger for her to get out.
"Oh, stop being a baby. Like anybody cares." Julie helped herself to a ratty sofa pushed against the wall. "So? Are you?"
"No! Nonononono. No! Out!"
"Too bad," Julie said. She enjoyed Shane's discomfort and her eyes flashed with amusement as she watched him frantically trying to step into his jeans. "Then she's going to have to ask you."
"Why is all of a sudden everybody so goddamned interested in my love life? Jesus!" He fumbled the buttons, got them wrong, tried again.
Julie shrugged. "Like watching a train-wreck, I guess. Anyway, that's what Danielle said. She said if you don't ask her tonight, she's going to ask you tomorrow. Pretty embarrassing, having to be asked to the prom by a girl. A sophomore girl no less."
"Why?" Shane's voice was broke and pleading. "Why is she doing this? I don't even know her!"
"Well, she's got cr-"
"Gah! Yes! I've heard! She's got crabs! What has that got to do with me?"
"I suppose she thinks you're the only one desperate enough to take a sophomore with crabs to the senior prom." Julie tossed Shane his shirt. "I have to give her credit: that is a pretty astute observation coming from one so young."
"Oh, screw you," Shane flopped down on the other side of the sofa. "It's not just the crabs; I don't even think I like Danielle very much, from what little I know about her. What the hell am I going to do?"
"I suppose you could just tell her no."
"Yeah, right. Like I could ever tell any girl no."
"True. After all, half the school already thinks you're gay. Hey, that's an idea - you could ask Virgil to the prom. Then she'd have to leave you alone."
Shane showed Julie his middle finger. "Spin on it." Then he sat up, excited. "Hold on, wait a minute, that just might work!"
"Sure, it'll work. But be careful; Virgil's got the kind of crabs that snap fingers off Norwegian fishermen."
"No! Not Virg. Another girl. Surely there's somebody else I can take to prom...?"
"Oh baby, I hope you're not looking at me. I've already got a date. Besides. Yuk."
"Okay, okay." Shane grabbed her knee. "But think! There must be somebody?"
She swatted his hand away. "Fresh."
"Not fresh. Desperate! You've got a lot of weirdo friends. Hook me up!"
"I run with a free-spirited crowd, yes, but none of them.... Well, now, what about Heather?"
Shane looked at her blankly.
"Heather Lovchin?" Julie prompted.
"You know you are such a shit. That was like so long ago, but you and everybody else in this petty little town will never let it go. It's a wonder she hasn't really killed herself, with how supportive everybody's been."
"Cool your jets. I didn't say no."
"Oh, well, thank you for deigning to even consider thinking of her as a human being. You know what," Julie rose to leave, "Forget it. You're on your own."
"Come on, Julie." Shane followed, pleading. "I know how it is. People around here still talk about how much paste I used to eat in elementary school. They throw glitter at me thinking it'll stick. Look, I'm sorry I called her Broomhilda, all right? I didn't think. But you have to admit - she's kind of... well... she keeps to herself."
"Have you ever tried to draw her out? Talk to her? Treat her decent?"
"Oh, you know what, yes I have. When we were in Mrs. Stevens' English class. We were in that group project together and I was very nice to her. Even still. She probably didn't say more than two words to me the entire time."
"So, you would go to prom with her?"
"Yes! Well, maybe. I don't know. I'm having these Carrie flashbacks now-"
Julie pulled away. Shane cut her off. "Joking! I'm joking. Jesus."
"Okay, Shane. What do you want me to do?"
"Well, just.... Ask her if she'll go to the prom with me."
Julie gave Shane a withering look.
"Okay, what I mean is," Shane continued, "ask her if I were to ask her to the prom if she'd say yes. Yes?"
"Are you still stuck in the fifth grade?" Julie asked.
"Duh! All that paste I ate? Of course I am!"
The next day, as everybody was arriving to prepare for another performance, Shane waited in the parking-lot for Julie. When he saw Danielle's tomato red convertible driving up the road, he ducked behind a dumpster. He kept an eye out while she gathered her things and breathed a sigh of relief after she entered the school.
Shortly, Julie pulled up in a royal blue K-Car. Shane trotted over to greet her.
"So?" he asked, taking her bag. "What'd she say?"
"Well," Julie arched an eyebrow in his direction. "She didn't say yes."
"Okay? What's that mean?"
"You told me you treated her nice in Mrs. Stevens' English class."
"That's not the way she remembers it. She thinks you hate her."
Shane dropped the bag. Then scooped it up again. "What in God's green hell are you talking about?"
"She said you teased her a lot. You made her cry."
Shane lost all words. He stood there flat footed, stammering.
"Right," Julie took his arm and started for the school. "I know you better than to think you'd do something like that. You're a retard and a fool, but you're not mean. So, I told her you were probably just goofing off and she took it the wrong way."
"Of course!" Shane exclaimed. "I wouldn't... make her cry? I wouldn't do that! I don't remember her crying at all."
"She waited until she got home for the waterworks. Anyway, she agreed that she might have been overly sensitive. Also, I reaffirmed just how much of an ass-clown you are, and she could see how that's probably what happened. You were just being an idiot."
"Well, sure. Yes. I mean, God. I made her cry? How?"
"Oh, she hardly remembers. It's not important. Anyway, I told her you were interested in taking her to the prom and she did this," Julie bobbed her head both up and down and side to side at the same time.
"What does that mean?"
"I've no idea. I guess you'll just have to go talk to her yourself."
"Sure. Man, I feel sick that I made her cry." Shane looked so upset, Julie patted him on the back and stroked his shoulder.
"She's over it by now. Go talk to her."
"Do you have her phone number?"
"She'll be here tonight. I asked her to stick around after the show, so maybe you can get with her then."
"Okay, thanks Julie." Shane shuffled away, feeling low.
Shane was still in costume as he jogged across the school's parking-lot, waving both arms at a Chevette that was reversing out of a spot. The car's brake lights flared then went dark as it stopped. Shane moved quickly to the driver's side window and tapped on the glass.
The window came down. "Heather!" Shane knelt to look in the car. "Julie said you were leaving, thank God I caught you!"
Shane took in a sharp breath when he saw Heather bathed in the glow of the dashboard lights. Walking under the harsh fluorescents of the school halls with her head permanently hung, face obscured by a curtain of tangled hair, Shane had passed by Heather countless times without ever actually seeing her. Now, in the dark of night, with an ethereal light cast upon her countenance, Shane realized that this strange creature who had been the subject of so many terrible rumors and cruel jokes throughout the years had grown into a stunningly beautiful young woman.
Her long, blue-black hair had been combed out and tucked behind her ears. It was smooth and alluring as velvet; Shane's hands twitched at the thought of running it through his fingers. Exposed, her face was a delicate heart, the skin smooth with a dusky complexion. Her eyes were wide and dark; curious and warm. There was even a chocolate-drop beauty mark above her cupid-bow lips. As if to counter these almost impossibly flawless features, her nose had a slight hump. Ah, but the actual effect of that imperfection made her adorable. Shane had to resist the temptation to lean in and plant a kiss on that cute schnoz.
"Are you okay?" Heather asked.
"Oh." Shane snapped out of it. "Yeah. All that running - whew! I'm not used to that much exercise."
Heather smiled politely.
"Hey," Shane said. "Can I...? Well. Can you wait here for a minute? No, never-mind. Did you want to go get an ice-cream or something?"
"I don't know," Heather checked the clock on the dash. "It's kind of late."
"Winstead's is open. I'll buy you a 'scaper?" Heather pursed her lips and started to shake her head. "Or just a coco?" Shane pushed, desperate.
"Okay," she relented.
"Great!" Shane patted the door. "Can you drive? My moms got the car tonight."
"I would've waited for you to change," Heather said. They were sitting at a booth in Winstead's, Shane still done up in a late 1800's costume; stiff, cardboard collar, ruffled shirt, pinstripe brown vest and top coat with tails and matching trousers. Pearl buttons and cuff-links. The only thing missing, fortunately, was the stovepipe top hat which he'd left in the car.
There weren't many other customers in the diner at this hour - mostly older people going to or from night shifts - but all of them gave Heather and Shane a double-take. The attention made her uncomfortable.
"Thanks, but I couldn't risk it. I really have to talk with you."
The waitress came by with their coco, she smirked again at the get-up, and left.
"Shane," Heather said, wrapping her hands around her mug. "Julie told me you were going to ask me to the prom and -"
"-Wait, later for that," Shane interrupted. "First I want to apologize. Julie told me about how upset I made you when we did that project for Ms. Stevens? Honest to God, Heather, I had no idea. I know I run my stupid mouth too much, but I never, ever would have tried to hurt you deliberately. I can't even remember what I said, but I'm very sorry for it, whatever it was."
Heather lifted a shoulder, "Thanks, Shane. It was a misunderstanding on my part. No big deal."
"But what was it? Do you remember?"
Heather tucked her chin down and Shane worried that he'd lost her. Then she lifted her eyes and said, "You had taken charge the project and were delegating tasks?"
"So, you were telling everybody what to research and who to talk to, and you made a comment about how great it would've been to interview this one scientist, but he had died recently. So, then you asked if I could talk to him anyway. Something like that."
Shane flopped back against the padded seat. "Jesus," he said. "I remember now. Oh, Heather, that's awful. I'm so sorry. I don't know if you believe this - it's weird, looking back on it, I'm not even sure I can believe it - but I honestly don't think I meant it like that. I sometimes say things without... understanding how they'll be heard. Does that make sense?"
Heather tilted her chin for a reply.
"Can you forgive me?" Shane asked.
"Yes," she decided. Then smiled wryly. "Worse things have been said to me."
Shane surprised himself by reaching across the table and taking her hand. It was warm from the coco. He held it for a while and said, "Thank you."
She lowered her eyes again, pulled her hand back, and set it on her lap.
Shit, Shane thought. I've lost her.
"I know why you want to go to the prom with me," Heather said.
"Forget about it, Heather. Taking you to the prom was just another one of my stupid ideas. Wait. No. See? There it is again - my big mouth." Shane ground his teeth together. "Someday somebody will invent a time machine and I'll go back and shoot myself in the head on the day I'm born. That's the only cure for my kind of idiocy."
"Don't say that," Heather said softly, almost a whisper. Under the table, one hand rubbed the thick ridge of a scar that ran across her wrist.
Shane clenched his upper-lip between his teeth. He tried to imagine how he could fuck this up any more and decide that was impossible.
"You're beautiful," he said on an impulse, and then immediately thought - Hey, there it is! You did figure out a way to fuck it up even more. Congratulations.
Heather, shocked, looked at him with her mouth agape. Shane, just as shocked, stared back with wide, terrified eyes.
"I'm sorry," he stammered. "I didn't mean...." He clamped his mouth shut and closed his eyes. This was spiraling out of control.
"You didn't mean what?" Heather said, after what seemed like an eternity of silence. "That I'm beautiful?"
Shane risked opening his eyes. Heather sat across from him, her perfect lips smiling mischievously. Her hands were back on the table.
Shane exhaled. "No, I meant that. What I didn't mean was to come across like a pathetic loser. I'm really bad at this kind of thing, or had you noticed?"
"I'm sure I'm not the best at it either," she replied.
"Can I ask you something?"
Heather nodded.
"Will you go out on a date with me? Not the prom, just a date. A diner, a movie. Conversation that isn't so weird. Hopefully not as weird?"
"I'd like that," she said.
Emboldened, Shane took her hand again. This time she left it there for him to hold. And, after a while, she reached over with her other hand and took his, making Shane's heart flutter.
"But does this mean," she said, "that you're not asking me to the prom?"
Shane opened his mouth to blurt out an answer, closed it, gave himself a moment to formulate a correct response, and then replied, "See what I did there? I thought before speaking. I need to make a habit of doing that. So, to answer your question - fuck no, I'm not not asking you to the prom! I want to go with you! But I don't want you thinking that I'm just using you to avoid going with Danielle, because I'm not. Or I wouldn't be. I mean, yes, I was going to be, but not now. Ah shit. Looks like I should've taken even more time before speaking."
Heather laughed. "Julie told me about the thing with Danielle," she said. "But you know what else she said? She told me that even though you can be... imprudent... you've got a decent heart."
"She called me imprudent? That bitch."
"She thought," Heather continued, "and I agreed, that it would be good for me to get out of the house and be with people for a change. To experience my senior prom, like a normal person. Or as normal as possible with Shane Muncie as my date."
"Remind me to thank her for that."
"So, I'd pretty much decided I would go, if you asked," Heather admitted.
She squeezed his hands affectionately, then broke away to drink some coco.
"How long have we known each other?" Shane asked. "At school? All twelve years, I'm sure, even though I only really remember the last eight. So, it's strange, but I feel as if I'm meeting you for the first time tonight."
Heather lowered her eyes. The past had a way of making her uncomfortable.
Shane noticed the change in her demeanor and changed tracks, "Here's to fresh starts." He held up his drink for a toast. Heather smiled and tapped her mug against his.
"Fresh starts," she echoed.
In short time, the romance between Shane and Heather became the talk of Edwardsville High. Everybody had a comment about it; mostly spoken in whispers away from the ears of the subjects at large. The overall consensuses being that it was neat the two misfits had found each other. Hilarious, and more than a little creepy, but neat.
Shane folded the garment bag over his arm and rang the doorbell of Heather's house. He bounced on his heels while he waited, transferring the shoe-box he was carrying from one hand to the other to burn nervous energy. When Heather opened the door, he saw an expression on her face that caused him to ask, "What's wrong?"
She placed her hands on his shoulders, rose up on her toes, and kissed him on the lips. It was brief and awkward because his hands and arms were loaded with clothing, but it was their first kiss.
And, when it was over, Shane said, "Hi."
Heather laughed and pulled him inside. "I heard what you did today."
"What I what?" He entered the house dazed. Heather lived in a meticulously clean, one story ranch with modern furniture and art hanging on the walls. Like Shane, she stayed with one parent - her father - but he was a high-ranking military officer and rarely around. They had the place to themselves.
"The fight with Virgil?" She took the garment bag and draped it over the back of a white leather sofa. The shoe-box got dropped to the floor.
"That? That was nothing."
She crushed her body against his and, unburdened, he wrapped his arms around her tight. When she lifted her chin, he met her lips with his and they held each other like that for a good, long time.
When the embrace finally broke, Heather licked her lips and said, "Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before, Shane. You have no idea how much...." She placed her cheek against his chest.
Earlier that day at school, unaware that Shane was behind him, Virgil had made a crack that, if Shane and Heather ever had a child, it would be like a cross between the Omen and Weird Al Yankovic.
And then Shane had tossed him against a wall of lockers and shoved a forearm under his chin.
The fight had been broken up quick by a nearby teacher and both combatants claimed it was just a gag, so no punishments were handed out, nevertheless, word must have gotten around.
"Thank you," Heather said. And then she lifted her eyes to meet his. "But you really can't go around doing stuff like that."
"Um. Okay." Shane stroked her hair. "Are you aware that this is kind of coming across as somewhat of a mixed message?"
She took him by the hand and led him to the sofa. They sat close enough so their legs were touching. She held both his hands in her lap. "Virgil is your best friend."
"He's a dick."
"No, he's not. He just said something stupid." Heather grinned. "Now I know that's never happened to you, right?"
"Right," Shane nodded.
"You should apologize to him."
"Oh, no...."
"Shane," Heather sat up straight and grew serious. "This is my fresh start, remember? I don't want to be the freak everybody whispers about. So, let them talk about me out loud. That can't hurt me anymore. See, I've got a pretty cool boyfriend now, and he must think I'm okay."
"He thinks you're wonderful." Shane squeezed her hand. "But this is my fresh start, too. I'm done with being the class clown; a walking punch-line. Besides, I've got an awesome, beautiful girlfriend now. She must think I'm not a total ass."
Heather tucked her legs up and lunged into Shane, pushing him on his back. He swung his legs onto the sofa and she laid on top of him. "She thinks you're great," Heather said, then smothered his mouth with hers.
Heather came up on her elbows, her pelvis pressed against his stomach, and looked Shane in the eyes. "A compromise," she said.
"No more fighting for me unless it's, like, really, really bad. Like a threat or something." She ran a finger over his lips.
Shane caught the finger between his teeth then let it go. "Okay. But I get to decide what is really, really bad."
"Okay, but you have to promise to think about it first. Remember when you said you were going to start thinking before speaking? Same thing. Because, actually," Heather tilted her head and smiled, "a cross between the Omen and Weird Al Yankovic? That is kind of funny."
"God, I love you," Shane said. His eyes grew wide with panic when he saw the shocked reaction those words elicited. "Oh."
Heather kissed him again, passionately, her tongue pushing between his lips, playing over his teeth. She moved her mouth to his neck, nibbling and kissing around his collar. Her lips found his ear and she whispered, "I love-Ouch!"
The garment bag had slid off the back of the sofa and its heavy wooden hanger thumped Heather on her head.
"My mother used to be a fashion model," Heather explained. "Before she married my father."
They were in the attic looking at multiple racks of fancy dresses that were sealed up in see-through plastic bags. There must have been over a hundred outfits hanging on the pipes. Shane whistled low.
"Yeah. She was beautiful." The attic was lit by one hanging 60-watt bulb and it swayed slightly from having been turned on. Waves of light washed over Heather's face. She unzipped a bag and pulled out the sleeve of a red satin gown, softly stroking the fabric with her fingers.
Shane had never seen anything so sad and lovely.
"Do you have any pictures of her?" he asked.
"No," Heather shook her head. "I used to have some magazines with her, but no. They're all gone now. My dad threw everything away. Except these dressed. They're worth a lot of money, or so he says."
The sorrow in her voice and the way her shoulders slumped caused an unfamiliar ache in Shane's chest. He wished he was smart enough to say or do something that would make her happy, but he knew better than to try. Instead, he just went to her side and gently held her hand.
She leaned into him. When he looked down, she was smiling.
Hey now, sometimes the boy gets lucky.
"Did you want to go someplace else?" Shane asked. "I can get you a new dress."
"It's okay. I'm fine." She kissed the back of his hand. "Thank you."
Heather took the garment bag Shane had brought with him and hung it on a pipe. She tugged down the zipper exposing the blue tuxedo with a robins' egg pin striped vest, ruffled shirt, and emerald ascot and said, "Oh my."
"I borrowed it from my uncle," Shane said. "He used to be in some kind of bee-bop choir in college. Hey, if it's too hideous, let me know. I can rent something."
"It is wonderful!" Heather exclaimed. "And we're going to find the perfect dress to match. Come, help me look."
They browsed through the racks together; laughing at the outdated fashions, marveling at timeless classics. Having fun, the time flew. Night fell, and the porthole attic window grew dark. They still hadn't found the right dress.
"Hey, check this," Shane used both hands to make a separation in a line of clothes. Behind them was another line of dresses that had, until now, been hidden because it was cramped up between the rack and the wall.
"Let me see," Heather said, stepping through the opening Shane had made. He followed her and used his bulk to push the rack away, so they'd have some room. Heather ran her hands over the hangers then stopped. She clamped the hand over her mouth. Tears spilled from her eyes.
"Heather?" Shane asked.
She took a simple, white dress from the rack. It had a lace collar and one large blue flower print on the side. "Oh," Heather moaned. "Oh, Shane. I remember this one from before...."
She sat on the floor, cradling the dress. Shane sat next to her. He put an arm across her shoulders, but she hardly acknowledged his presence. She wept silently.
In the light of day, responsible adults would tell you about the Lovchin family. It was quite a story: Sarah Lovchin - the beautiful wife and mother - ran off with a charismatic hippy. She took her young daughter with them to California where they lived in some horrible commune for a year or so. Alan Lovchin - the devoted father - hired a lawyer to claim sole custody of the child and had her brought back to Kansas. Good thing, too, because a sensitive girl like Heather really needed a stable home life.
However, at night, after drinks, those same adults related a different story. This one they told in whispers and with raised eyebrows; unaware that their children's ears were big enough to catch the hushed words. Then later, beneath the prison-bar shadows of the jungle-gym in the school's playground, the children interpreted the events in their own voices:
Heather's mom is a witch! She and Heather were living in this coven where they worshiped Satan and Heather saw all these human sacrifices and stuff. They were going to sacrifice her too, because, you know she's a virgin and all, but her dad hired these army guys to go in and rescue her. Kind of like the A-Team. But Heather, man, she really got messed up. Like possessed or something. She kept trying to run away to go back so they could sacrifice her. She even tried to kill herself! Anyway, they put her on all these pills now, so she's okay.
Unless the pills stop working....
"I'm sorry," Heather said, wiping tears from her cheeks. "I'm a mess."
"Hey," Shane held her close. "It's okay."
She swallowed then exhaled through her nose. She turned away. "I should go wash my face."
Shane used two fingers on her chin to gently bring her back. "Here," he said, tugging out the bottom of his shirt and offering it too her. She buried her face in the fabric, then sighed deeply. She left her head resting against his chest and wrapped her arms around him.
"I miss her sometimes," Heather said. "The way she was before...."
"Do you think she'll ever come back?" Shane asked, stoking her hair.
Heather's hands clenched into tight balls and her body went ridged.
"Heather?" Shane said. "What's wrong."
"No," she sobbed. She started to tremble. "Oh God, no!"
"Hey, Heather," Shane pushed her away so he could see her face. Her eyes were wild with panic, intensely focused on a spot behind Shane's back.
Shane turned to look. He saw nothing at first, then, after checking Heather's eyes again, figured she was staring at a robe, or a cloak, that was hanging on one of the beams. The garment was pitch black and looked like it was made from heavy wool.
"What...?" Heather's trembling reached near seizure level intensity and she started to whine. Shane held her by the shoulders. "Heather! What's wrong."
She threw out an arm and pointed. Shane whipped his head around.
The black robe took flight. It flapped over their heads, made a wide circle, and then wrapped itself around the hanging light-bulb, casting the attic in total darkness.
Shane grabbed Heather desperately, trying to cover every inch of her with his body to protect her.
There was a tinkling sound - the light-bulb breaking - then deathly silence.
Perfect darkness; perfect silence.
Shane waited for his senses to adjust. His eyes would soon catch the ambient light from the window; his ears would open to the hum and flow of the house. Then he could get them to safety.
"Heather?" Shane whispered, rubbing his hands over her back. "Heather?"
At first, she didn't respond. Then, she made a low humming sound. She moved out from under his arms and stood up.
"Heather!" he cried in a panic. Impossible, but there was still no light whatsoever. If she stepped away, he would lose her in the darkness. He reached for her and she took his hand. She pulled him up.
Still, she would not reply to his voice.
She started walking, tugging him along behind. Again, it was impossible! Even with no light, Shane knew there were obstacles all around. There was no way Heather could navigate in this pitch, but somehow, they were moving towards a destination.
She stopped. Shane kept talking, trying to get her to reply, but she had no words for him. She took his hand, raised it, and placed it against something smooth.
Shane rubbed. It felt like glass, set in a circular wooden frame. The window, then. But how...? There would be streetlights or stars beyond. The world outside could not be this devoid of light.
Heather put her hand over his and pressed down on one finger. Shane focused at the area. There - assuming this was the window - in the sky above: a pinprick of light. Infinitesimally small, but red and shining.
Then, next to it, another pinprick flared. Same size, same color.
Like eyes. Gazing down on them from the void.
It has the same blood as sorcerers and madmen. Blood calls to blood.
Madmen have thick tongues and clumsy lips and cannot respond. They fill their heads with nonsense and line their veins with addictions because they so desire to hear the name of their master but are eternally frustrated by their own incompetence.
Sorcerers have Its name tattooed on their blood, but they have forgotten the language. They are confused by the call; their blood pulses, catches fire, some try to call forth the answer with sacrifice and ritual, but these efforts are futile.
The response is just below their skin.
From madmen It expects obedience.
From sorcerers It requires recognition.
Not all have forgotten. One must say Its name. One sorcerer will have the tongue, and a madman will open his ears.
Standing next to Shane it the absence of all light, Heather spoke.
And Shane took in a sharp breath of air.
submitted by virgiltempleton to shortstories [link] [comments]

2014.03.31 03:00 tabledresser [Table] I am a recently returned Mormon missionary, having just served a Mormon mission in Indiana and Ohio. AMA!

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Date: 2014-03-30
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What do you have to say about the overwhelming evidence that Joseph Smith was a convicted con artist? I would say the same thing I told everyone else. Read the Book of Mormon.
Moroni 10:4-6 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. 6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
I'm having trouble parsing that. Moroni explains that the ultimate witness for knowing spiritual truths comes from God. It can't come from any other source, empirical or otherwise. He gives lists the qualifications for receiving spiritual guidance. Ask God... in the name of Christ - self explanatory. Ask God through Prayer. All we do is in that name of the Son because it is through Christ and His grace we can approach God at all. This includes prayer. Sincere heart - We have to want to receive for our benefit, not just casual interest. This matters to us and we need this knowledge. Sincerity shows our faith in God and His desire to bless us. Real intent - We have to be willing to act upon the knowledge God gives us. If He says jump we jump. If He says go to church we go to church. We have to understand and be willing to pay whatever price it takes to follow the counsel of God. By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things - The Holy Ghost is a perfect teacher. He will speak directly to our spirits and His voice is so clear to us that many times we mistake it for our own. We can know His influence because it is uplifting and draws us closer to Christ. If what we are doing or praying about builds us up and we think and feel good we can know what it is that we are thinking/praying about it also good and comes from God. This witness is what converts people. When people up and change their lives and give up everything they have for their worship of Christ they have received this witness. You can apply this to the Book of Mormon. Quoting from the Introduction: "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah." TL:DR God tells us it is true not Joseph Smith. God's witness > Man's witness edit: formatting.
I'm not sure how quoting the Book of Mormon would change the mind of anyone doubting the truthfulness of Joseph Smith (and by extension, the Book of Mormon).
But Moroni explains this in the Book of Mormon, right? Which was discovered by Joseph Smith? So, to rephrase, Joseph Smith is telling the truth because it says so in the book that he wrote translated. Yes. It is the evidence that Joseph Smith was directed by God and everything he claimed was true. The authority of the Church hinges on whether the Book of Mormon is true or not.
So your evidence that Joseph Smith was providing the truth, is a telepathic message from an entity you can't measure or observe? Great questions. Haha as far as telepathy goes for me that is really rare. Most of the time it is more of a prompting or internal pressure to persue a path. This video explains it really well.
Given that other people who subscribe to all sorts of religions around the world receive what they call truth from 'their' God, and that the official facts proposed in those accounts often contradict each other, A) I believe that but moreso I believe that there is an adversary who is continually opposing God. His only goal is the misery of all of us and he deceives us however he can. Like the Holy Ghost his voice is very similar to ours but his leads us downward and away from happiness and light. These two opposing forces give us agency and a freedom to choose between the entities. b) Satan would teach us 50 truths in order to believe a lie. I believe wholeheartedly that God works in every church. Every good tendency and influence is founded in God. However the deceptions that Satan has created limit people who fall under them. God still loves them and will always teach those who listen as much as our agency allows Him but those missing truths limit people. I've seen some of those limitations and the blessings that I have received because I have more truth.
A) Do you accept that there psychological processes at play which cause some people to incorrectly conclude that they are communicating with/receiving information from a supernatural being? I am in no way saying I am more righteous than them but I was given the truth and accepted it. There are countless others in other faiths who are better than I and they will have opportunities (in this life or the next) to learn and accept the fullness of the gospel.
B) How do you differentiate the nature of your own opinions from the above? ie, without actual measurable data to objectively evaluate your beliefs, how do you conclude that your experience is truth rather than delusion? >I am a believer because of experiences I have had with Deity. I know I can't explain those in a way that will empirically make sense. It's like trying to explain the taste of salt to someone who hasn't ever had it. My conviction is secure in my knowledge and experiences but unfortunately I don't have words to convey that.
Which by extension means the authority of the church hinges on whether or not Joseph Smith was an honest man or not. So shouldn't the fact that he was convicted of being a con artist (see dishonest man) raise a few more eyebrows than it does? Since we know that Joseph Smith had many enemies and it was so long ago I find it unreasonable to judge others' perceptions of his persona as a basis for a testimony of God. Jesus Christ said, "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). The fruit of Joseph Smith is the Book of Mormon. We can know it is true by following the council it gives and seeing if it improves our lives. And we can always ask God.
Let's assume that everything you believe is actually true. This means that many beliefs other people have (formed by guidance received by prompting and internal pressure from their God) are inaccurate, given that they conflict logically/historically with yours. Given this obvious (and easily demonstrable) limitation on perception, what is it that makes you accept that your own feelings of internal pressure are directed at you by a supernatural being (who is utterly unmeasurable/unverifiable) rather than via normal psychological processes which we already know a lot about, can test, and do explain the feelings you have? Hmm... I don't know really. I'm still trying to understand everything you are saying. I don't agree with the first assumption because it ignores the possibility of internal pressures from negative forces such as Satan. God consistently teaches the same saving truths but Satan loves mucking things up. Like I said, if he can get you to believe fifty truths and one lie that will hurt them later on. Learning to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost is what gives people the confirming guidance they need to understand God's will and opportunities for them.
What are your thoughts on the musical, The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone? I think it is vulgar but great publicity. I know the Church bought some pages in the play bill to advertise. I would watch it if it wasn't so obscene. They could have made many great jokes without being crass.
its worth a trip to watch, it was easily the funniest thing I've ever seen. Also I dont think that publicity portrayed Mormons in that great a light......... Probably not. At least its popularity shows that Mormons are in the public eye. And maybe someone who has questions will invite some missionaries over for dinner. Dinner was always a plus for me.
All about Mormons. It's on my to-do list. I'll definitely get to it. I've heard from quite a few people that it's worth watching.
Mormons were a huge force against marriage equality. Do you feel that gays should have the right to get married? What sort of policies would you have wanted mitt Romney to enact had he become the president? Mormons only accepted black people as priests in the late 70's, would you consider the Mormon hierarchy to be currently adequately diverse? Link to I believe that marriage was instituted by God for the creation of children. "Any sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage is wrong and we define marriage as being between a man and a woman." In no way should gays be persecuted by anyone. They are still children of God, many of whom have natural impulses and inclinations. God will deal mercifully with them as He will with all His children.
Unfortunately I haven't invested enough time to be acquainted with politics enough to give a reasonable answer with regards to Romney.
I believe the Mormon hierarchy is very diverse with many areas and cultures represented and will continue to increase. Hopefully we will continue to have blacks called to more prominent positions in the Church.
How is denying gay people the right to marry not persecution? I answered this in a different subthread. If you want more information I would be happy to clarify further.
So if I follow your argument - infertile couples should be denied marriage? (Just so we're clear, I think that witholding marriage from anyone is obscene). I answered this in a different subthread.
He also said divorce is wrong. Divorce for selfish reasons is wrong. I believe most, if not all, divorces are caused by selfishness by one or both spouses. There are many better ways to solve conflicts rather than by divorce.
Of course, spousal or child abuse certainly qualifies as a valid reason for divorce.
That it explains why you believe homosexuality is wrong, because it doesn't contribute to this family ideal, but that's not the question. The question is, is denying them the right persecution? Are you willing to acknowledge you persecute gays because of this belief about families? I don't believe it is persecution for maintaining my beliefs of family. Were I to attack individuals I would consider it persecution but sharing my opinion on the subject hurts no one.
What did you learn during your your time as a missionary? Did you meet any interesting people? I've learned a lot about myself.
I like talking to people but I have to push myself to keep myself going.
God is very real.
Sometimes life is very difficult but always worthwhile.
Never ever smoke.
And as for interesting people Indiana is full of them. I loved finding out WHY people did what they did. It was great hearing their stories and seeing them change. Lots of crazy people but so many genuine awesome people who were really struggling with different circumstances.
God is very real. I have had several experiences over the past two years that I can't say were coincidences or simply my mind telling me what I want to hear. I've said prayers that were answered by someone and given knowledge on questions I had. Ideas and words come to my mind and voice that are far too intelligent and concrete to be my own. Miracles were common.
Once I rode the bus with a recent convert (I'll name her Sarah) to talk with some people. She struck up a conversation with someone who told us she had recently lost her dad and now wondered if God was really there at all. Sarah had also lost her dad and questioned God. That's how she found the Church in the first place and she was able to bear her witness of God's hand in her life to this young woman.
I have had so many things come together, even after my mission, that let me know God is pleased with me and He continues to love and care about me. I feel it. That's why I know He is there.
TL;DR: It may be a coincidence but I believe God places us where we need to be. He is there to give us answers when we need them.
Was anything particularly surprising to you, or were the people basically what you expected? I was just surprised at the depth people had. I would never have had experiences working with people like that if I hadn't served. Religion is a touchy subject and a good one for getting to know people. My favorite thing about my mission was getting to know people and WHY they did what they did. Met many great and not-so-great people. What choices did they make that got them there? Why did they not do this or did do that? It was fascinating to see how God had led them in their lives. Some people claimed God did everything for them and others claimed God was nothing to them. I liked learning about people. In fact I want to make that part of my career because of my experience in Indiana.
Never ever smoke. I've seen so many people smoke and dealing with the smell turned me off on it forever. Since you asked for a story early on in my mission we were teaching a man I'll call Lyle. Lyle was a bum living off the government (his words not mine). And he loved smoking. He would roll his own and I'd guess he would go through the equivalent of two packs a day. But he would smoke inside. That was my first experience with dealing with smokers. The walls were yellow and the room was dark. Everything was covered in dust and grime. My companion offered to clean Lyle's house for him. So armed with buckets and sponges we cleaned his house. I'll upload some pictures in a moment. It's worth it. And it's also why I will never smoke. The worst part was the entire time we cleaned it he sat on the couch and smoked. >_<\ edit I made a gif of me cleaning a light switch.
I am just trying to understand how not only are you a believer, your are helping others who don't have answers to life's questions, feel like you have the answers in the church. I am a believer because of experiences I have had with Deity. I know I can't explain those in a way that will empirically make sense. It's like trying to explain the taste of salt to someone who hasn't ever had it. My conviction is secure in my knowledge and experiences but unfortunately I don't have words to convey that.
I enjoy helping others understand God's plan for them. He wants us to experience life with its good and bad and ultimately choose the good. When we fall short Jesus Christ is there to help us repair our mistakes. The gospel answers questions of why and what of our existence. When people struggle with depressions or addictions the gospel helps them. People will die but the gospel promises peace in this life and happiness in the life to come.
What would you stop you from entering a house/yard and spreading the word? No trespassing or no soliciting signs. I'm fairly good with animals so dogs didn't bother me too much. I know many missionaries that didn't worry about signs though so you'll still have occasional Mormons come by.
What about a house that looks like its owned by a drug dealer or a house that looks dodgy? There's always that. Yeah drugs are bad.
Do you ride a bicycle around? Not anymore. But I would bike everyday otherwise. Most days I'd guess around six miles but once I biked over thirty in a day. For me that was a lot.
Do you think that if you weren't raised as a Mormon you would be receptive to Mormon missionaries coming to your home? I've thought about that. If someone came to my house telling me about prophets and new scripture I'd certainly be hesitant. Knowing what I know about myself I could say I would read the Book of Mormon. I'm cynical enough that I might get caught up in anti - mormon information. I'd hope that as time passed I would recognize that this is what I want. I really believe Mormonism is true and I've seen many others come to that conclusion.
Since you say you no longer speak for the church, does that mean you left entirely? Why? I know many people leave the church shortly before or after a mission and love hearing their stories. What I meant by that is that I am no longer authorized to speak as the Church's representative. I love the Church but, because I am no longer a missionary I don't have the ability to teach as a missionary. I'd love to share some stories if you're interested.
I know the rules have changed a bit about email communication in the last 5 or so years but I just can't imagine leaving everything I know behind for 2 (ish) years. It was hard at first. I missed Google more than anything. When I had a random question it was awful not being able to google the answer. But I adapted and it got easier as time went on. I was excited about the relaxing of rules regarding email.
It's kind of like how the Pope is only infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. The rest of the time what he says is just his opinion. Mormons only speak with the church's voice when they're on a mission. The rest of the time they're just regular dudes. Exactly.
Thanks for the AMA, where in Indiana were you? What was the average Hoosier's reaction to your work/door knocking? I served mostly in the central/southern areas, particularly in the central Indy, Terre Haute, Bloomington, and Muncie areas. Most of the hoosiers I met were nice but noncommittal. I didn't have too many horror stories you read about on Reddit. Typical response: "I'm glad you're out talking about God. Everyone here needs it but I'm not interested."
Thats cool, haven't really heard any horror stories on reddit. I've known a few Mormons and generally they are the nicest people you'll ever meet. I live in Bloomington and ride a bike around a lot, I used to Mormon Missionaries on their bikes and would sometimes ride a few blocks with them. Did you often travel by bike? All the time. I don't remember riding with anyone but I'm glad you've had a good experience with them. I was in B - town over a year ago so it's been awhile.
Been to Muncie, IN before. Crazy place, insane amount of railroad crossings, and hobos. First place I visited where liquor stores sold individual cigarettes. :D As far as railroad crossings go Terre Haute was worse. It seemed like we were always stuck behind trains. :P Indy is indeed a crazy place.
Where do you stay when you are on a mission? Hotel or host family? Where do you eat etc? In Indiana we had apartments or small houses. As for food if we weren't invited to dinner at someone's house we would usually eat like the college students we are. I can cook a lot with ramen.
Were you guys given money to use and budget, or did you save up for your mission? In my case my parents paid the expenses but many missionaries save up and pay the cost themselves. The Church is given the money and members in the local mission offices pay for our apartments, gas for the available cars and other necessary expenses. We are given back a salary back of our money for groceries and other necessities.
Anything left over goes to the Church's missionary fund. In situations where a missionary cannot pay (say a recent convert) the local ward will donate for them to serve. The Church does cover some missionary expenses but we definitely pay the bulk of it.
True that there is tremendous social pressure in the Momon community to complete a mission trip and that people who come home early are considered to be something like black sheep? Yes unfortunately. Serving a mission has become considered a rite of passage for the men of the Church and there is some stigma for not serving or coming home early for non-medical reasons. It doesn't affect your church standing at all but some people talk. Many who go home early dishonorably will go inactive because of it.
That being said there is no better feeling than having a missionary come back out after going home. I had a few friends leave and come back out and they were much better people and missionaries.
I had two sons return home early. One for OCD and one for anxiety. Fortunately they were both treated with love and compassion, and both have remained very active (one is now a ward clerk, the other a YM president). That's great to hear!
What made you decide to stay here in the USA, instead of going out to another country that may not be as exposed to Mormonism as we in the US are? Isn't it kind of a cop out staying where you're comfortable instead of going out into the world and out of your comfort zone? As missionaries we won't by assignment. We send in papers to church headquarters telling them we are worthy and willing to serve. They come together and individually make assignments. We can then accept or reject the assignment but rejection rarely occurs. It's where we believe God would have us. I believe the Lord places us in particular people's paths.
I would have loved serving in Europe or Asia but that wasn't were I was needed. There are pros and cons everywhere you serve. I missed out on some cultural experiences but it was nice serving in an area where the Church was already established.
Did you succeed in converting anyone? I had several baptisms but some people will stop attending because they lose jnterest. I believe I had some lasting converts as well as helped cement some people closer to God even if they didn't join my church.
What do you have to say about Doctrine and Covenant 132, which addresses polygamy? ETA: link to the document, for those who are interested: Link to The law eternal marriage and polygamy is given to us only at times when the Lord sees fit. Quoting from Jacob of the Book of Mormon the Lord says, D&C 132 explains eternal marriage in that context. We stopped its practice because of governmental pressure and the Lord's explanation of what would happen if the early saints didn't stop and we have not taken it up again because the Lord has not seen fit to implement it again.
If the Lord implemented it again, would you take multiple wives? Having had a few girlfriends (not simultaneouslywell, one overlapped) I can say that it is hard enough taking care of one woman. I don't know if I could do polygamy. Properly executed it seems like a great idea for raising children in a rural environment but in today's modernized society it would be difficult. If I were commanded by the prophet that would take some serious prayer and confirmation.
6 weeks back from your mission. Shouldn't you be engaged by now? You'd think that! :) This is my favorite post so far. Nah the girl I'm waiting for won't finish her mission until December. But I'm keeping my options open.
What is a Mormon and what is your mission? Mormons are a Christian religion that believes that God has restored truths about the gospel of Jesus Christ that were lost in the centuries after the death of Christ. He has done so through a living prophet. The Book of Mormon is evidence of that restoration.
Personally my mission is to live my life as happily as I can. I've found answers to my questions in Mormonism and I love helping others do the same.
Mormonism is not a Christian religion. There are many tenants of orthodox Christianity that mormonism is directly in conflict with. That's the first step to understanding mormonism. If you give me some examples I would be glad to address them and explain why we do or do not believe a certain way.
The Book of Mormon is evidence of that restoration. A view only held only by Mormons I'm afraid. Just sayin... Of course it's only held by Mormons. If all the masses agreed it was sent from God there wouldn't be much work for us to do.
Christian. lol. I define Christian as believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Bible to be the word of God.
Nicene Creed says otherwise. I don't believe the Nicene Creed was inspired of God especially considering how and why it was created. That and the resulting other creeds and arguments only add to my understanding of the loss of gospel truth that ensured over the next millennium.
I've always wondered if you get to choose where you do your missionary work? Did you pick the midwest? Are there places that are considered to be the worst (or the best) to have to do missionary work? All of it is assignment. We send in papers to church headquarters telling them we are worthy and willing to serve. They come together and individually make assignments. We can then accept or reject the assignment but rejection rarely occurs. It's where we believe God would have us. I believe the Lord places us in particular people's paths. And as far as best or worse missions I couldn't tell you. Each mission is so different from each other because of government and cultural changes. My sister wasn't able to proselyte or knock doors like I did. Some of my friends in the Philippines simply walk into people's houses because there that is culturally accepted. If I tried that in the States I would get shot.
What are your opinion on people who are already good people and following a separate religion? Ie. I'm a Sikh but have had people try and, for lack of a better word, sell me on their religion and it just came off as annoying. I didn't know how to respond. There are good people in every religion and most if not all believe in what they do. God will judge us according to the desires of our hearts and the opportunities given to us to learn and follow Him. If you believe God is leading you to try or do something I would follow it. We have too many people blindly following other people these days. Do what you believe is right and don't worry about others. If you are genuinely trying to follow God He will lead you where you need to be.
I hope that helps.
What was your weirdest encounter as a missionary? I imagine you run into some really strange people out there. There was one homeless man in Terre Haute that asked us to pray for him. We did so and started teaching him the first lesson about the restoration of the gospel. He started to interrupt us with comments about Catholicism being the right church and how we were right too. This went on for maybe fifteen minutes until my companion got frustrated and asked him to just pray and ask God if what we taught was true.
He immediately stood up and with raised arms said, "Lord if the Mormons are true send me a sign!"
And not two seconds later we heard church bells begin to ring.
"The winds blow. The church bells chime. The Mormons are true."
Then he went off on a tangent about how Christ was the first Pope and Moses the first Cardinal. We said a prayer for him and left.
I still laugh about it.
I have a question about Moroni's Promise. I know you don't claim to be a scriptural scholar or anything like that, but you do cite the promise elsewhere in this AMA, so you're at least familiar with it. Moroni's Promise basically says that if you want to know whether the Mormon faith is true, all you have to do is pray sincerely to God and ask him to show you whether it's true or not. It would seem to me that if a person were to receive a "no" answer, after praying to God sincerely, then not only should that lead the person to reject Mormonism ... but it should lead everyone else to reject Moroni's Promise, because implicit in that promise is that God will never answer "no." Casting aside the fact that people can erroneously interpret a "yes" as a "no" (and a "no" as a "yes"), would you agree that if a person were to follow Moroni's instructions and receive a resounding "no" answer, it should lead not only that person but all persons to reject Mormonism? I believe God doesn't change and certainly not a liar. He won't tell one person "yes" and another "no." I explained Moroni's promise in more depth in another subthread(is that what you call it?).
Do you believe that it's necessary to live your life according to specific religious principles in order to be accepted into Heaven or avoid any sort of punishment from God after you die? If so, what is your view on the morality of a God who would unilaterally punish the billions of people in the world who would never even have exposure to Mormonism to learn about it and accept it? The Bible (Romans 2:11-15) teaches us that God judges us both upon our understanding of the law and the thoughts and deeds of our hearts. It is apparent that those who never knew God do not have the fulness of the gospel. They will be judged according to the light that they have. I heard a story (probably from Ripley's Believe it or Not!) that there was a tribe of cannibals who would eat their elderly to preserve their "essence" as a way of remembering them and commemorating their lives. That belief, although awful from our standing, was done as an honorable way to remember and cherish family relations. I do not believe that they will be punished for those actions done out of ignorance and not the evils in their hearts. The Bible (KJV 1 Peter 3:18-20, 4:6) also teaches this about Sheol: That those who die without a knowledge of the gospel are given an opportunity to hear it in its fulness after this life. When Christ died he went to the spirits in prison and taught them. 33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, 34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Do you have an opinion on the musical The Book of Mormon? Link to
What is the deal with Mormons and the multiple wives? 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.
Last updated: 2014-04-04 00:58 UTC
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