Nope….missed it. Thanks Mom and Dad….I could have been living in Colorado City with 8 wives and 34 children…..or in Salt Lake City with 1 wife and 34 children. But it was not to be.
I went through religions like popcorn when I was growing up….tried them all. Even the ones on the backs of matchbooks and in the advertisements of Popular Science. Thought I was going to Hell for touching myself and thinking impure thoughts of Janie Simpson. My Catholic friends didn’t help me out either. They were so guilt ridden they could barely pass water without the Padre’s say so. I confided to them I discovered a very novel way of entertaining myself and they said I was going to Hell! Why? They had no idea….something about spreading seeds outside of a woman’s womb. I was a kid not a farmer! Women were still a few years down the road. Wasn’t there a loophole? Nope.
So one summer two dapper young men wearing ties and sweating in the summer heat entered my little backwater town looking for souls to save and 10% of future earnings. I had a paper route….how many candles would that buy? Their names were Elder Pelicai and Elder Peck and they were very cordial young men. I first met them at the local park while we were playing football and they wanted to join us. Hell no these guys looked like college players. We looked like paperboys that live on lizards. But they insisted.
They said they would pick teams and play against each other. Great. I guess we knew who was going to play quarterback…..and they did. Of course they weren’t out to beat us they were out to build our confidence by intentionally missing tackles and gaslighting us into their belief system. Cool as long as I score two touchdowns you can tell me whatever you want and they did.
After the game they said they were going to be in town for only a short time so we better decide quick if we wanted to live in eternal love or a small town in Death Valley. Something like that. I wanted to play ball…quit talking! But they didn’t.
They convinced my friend Pat’s parents to host their indoctrination ….er…prayer group. We were all given a brand new white tee shirt from Sears with the initials LDS stenciled on them. No high tech embroidery….just spray paint and some stencils. Cool.
We were all given a copy of the Book Of Mormon….Joesph Smith’s masterwork taken from gold tablets that would have required a fork lift to carry…but that didn’t dissuade Joe. He muscled up and took them to his home where he would interpret the tablets behind a blanket he hung on a rope to his wife that served him water between writing cramps. When people asked him to show them the tablets that weigh several hundred pounds old Joe said that an angel named Moroni….love that name….came and took them away. Nothing to see here…. Carry on….and they did….right into my little town.
Now of course neither of the Elders told us that story….I mean they wanted recruits not deserters. Every time we would read a chapter or memorize something from the book they would spray paint a symbol in a different color on our shirt. A square. Triangle. Circle and I think a star. If you completed the course you ended up looking like a Mason on acid. But that was cool because they were going to take us camping.
It was fantastic. Camping. I loved it. Sign me up. I will swallow any fable if you let me pitch my tent next to a stream twice each summer! I wanted to be a Mormon! I already had the haircut. Suit and tie were hanging in a store downtown that reeked of mothballs but they had a nice tweed number that would fit me perfectly because once I got approval from my parents they were going to take all of us to the Oakland Temple!
I rode my Stingray bike home with the approval slip in my back pocket already thinking how dapper I was going to look in that new suit. Anything for camping. I threw the bike on the lawn….ran inside the house and slammed the door behind me. My parents told me to settle down. I pulled the paper out of my pocket and thrust it in my parents faces. Sign it….I demanded. My parents looked at each other and read the paper. It took them much longer than necessary so I knew they were formulating a reason to say no. Yes takes seconds. No takes forever.
My Dad looked at me and said he would think about it! No! I needed an answer….NOW! Ok…than the answer is no. But why? Because you are too young. What….to young to go camping? I can pee by myself…what is the problem? No Wolf…..the Temple will have to wait. You need to make that decision on your own later in life.
What a crock! Reasoning doesn’t work on a temperamental 12 year old. Hey but I was their slave. Mowing the damn lawn and the neighbor’s lawn and their neighbor’s lawn with a crappy Western Auto mower with a crank on the top! Screw this!
I went to my room and dreamed of golden temples until about 6 years later when Buddha came into my life for a year or two. But there weren’t any camping trips to hold my attention so I move on…… ; )