Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Mission - In A Nutshell

People who know me personally and are aware of my LDS apostasy (which are few) are surprised. I was totally into the church. Prior to my mission, I attended a college singles ward and hoped to leave on my mission from that ward, due to conflicts between my mother and the bishop of my home ward. Unfortunately, I was informed that it couldn't be done, so I started attending my home ward as well... two wards = six hours of church every Sunday. I attended faithfully, sitting through two complete blocks of LDS Sunday services.

I had never been inactive in my life. I did go through a phase where I did not want to offer any prayers. My mom remedied that by constantly asking me to pray, even though she knew I didn't want to.

My ward had about 3 young men and about 20 young women. Therefore, I wouldn't say I was popular with the girls, but I did have lots of dates. There was one young woman who was maybe three or four years younger than me, very pretty. I dated her a few times and she would always kiss me. In fact, she was the last girl I kissed before my mission. I was surprised when I only got one letter from her during the entire two years.

As a young man, I naturally was attracted to the girls and had my fantasies about what I would like to do with them. But actually doing them was not an option. I was far too afraid of the Mormon god. There was no way I could handle the shame and label of being ex'ed from the lords only true church.

What little messing around I did do went unreported to my bishop and so I went on a mission feeling the weight and guilt of some petty sins.

I believed I went on a mission for the right reason. My father had left the church already and my mom said that she would accept me no matter what I chose (I didn't fully believe that as my mom was staunch LDS). My suitcase sat in my bedroom for months before I left in preparation.

The mission was not at all what I was expecting. The first month in the MTC passed quickly with no incident that I remember. But when I got to the field and was assigned to my first companion, I quickly learned what the church was all about... control.

My first companion was a drill sergeant. He obeyed every rule above and beyond the letter. He did not give me any room for decisions or thinking. He knew the rules and was not about to even let me think about not keeping them. Any form of resistance on my part was immediately reported to the district leader, and I quickly earned the label of rebellious.

This asshole kept me pinned down under his thumb for three long and miserable months. He was perfect and righteous and since I did not share his obsession for complete obedience, we rarely got along. He would contantly threaten my soul with damnation; after all, the rules are given to us by a living prophet. If you don't obey the rules, you are openly rebelling against god himself. Therefore, even though he was a complete dictator and asshole, I was the one who got the label, while he got the glory. Everyone praised him for how dedicated he was... which he was. But the entire missionary program forgets one thing... the most important thing in the so-called gospel... free agency. I had none. If I didn't obey every rule, real or imagined, I was threatened with being sent home, a disgrace that I could not possibly face. No, going through complete and utter hell on my mission was still better than getting sent home early.

I was relieved to discover that not all missionaries were as die-hard as my first companion. I had a few that were close. In fact, all the staunch rule keepers behaved so similarly that it constantly amazed me.

So I received the label and was junior companion my entire mission. Now keep in mind that this is the missionary who went to six hours of church every sunday, of his own complete will. He blessed the sacrament every week. He went on a mission of his own decision and (for the most part - 99%) kept himself worthy (by LDS standards) to go on a mission.

I was assigned to some pretty rebellious senior companions. I had one companion who would sleep in until noon, listen to any music he wanted, often leave me home alone while going places, and abused the living hell out of the mission car. One time he wanted to borrow $10 from me to buy a calling card so he could call a girl from his previous area. When I refused, he punched a hole in the wall. This was my senior companion; put into this position by pure revelation... And since that was the case, who was I, in all my inferiority, to argue with his inspired decisions to be a complete jack-off missionary?

As you can see, I still believed in the church at this point but I was beginning to see some flaws in the "perfect" church. I was a good person and a good missionary. People loved me. And yet I had the label. I believed in the church and in the work, but I strongly disagreed with this idea that a missionary has to be completely, 100% obedient to every rule, or else he can't have the spirit. It was pure nonsense to me, even as a TBM missionary.

I knew the real reason for the existance of the rules. They were there because the church knew that 95% of the elders didn't want to be there. They kept this crowd under control by threatening them with sure damnation if they did not comply. I knew the rules were nothing but control tactics... for brainless, horny dorks who would rather be anywhere than on a mission. It was crystal clear to me then and even more so now.

My mission was the beginning of the end for me. My personal drill sergeant even prophesied that I would eventually leave the church. I held out on my apostasy as long as possible, just so that he wouldn't be right! LOL. But my drill sergeant was a few eggs short of a dozen. He did some incredibly wierd and bizzar things. In fact, I filled the first one-third of my journal with all the manipulating and wierd shit that he did. He was a fucking psycho; I can see that now.

I had another companion later who was very much like my first companion. This jerk was a little boy who thought he was the shit! He would always order me around like a fucking dictator saying, "I'm the senior companion and what I say, goes!", followed up with "I said now, and I mean now!" This asshole once told me that I had a $10 testimony. It took every ounce of strength I had to not bust his nose, right there on the street. He was a scrawny little fucker and I could have easily beat the shit out of him. But I didn't, out of the fear of being sent home. Damn, if I could only go back... I would probably permanantly disfigure his face.

Mormonism is all about fear and control. Or control by fear.


Ray Agostini said...

The slack missionary companion you mention reminded me of a missionary I knew just after I joined the Church. He seemed sincere in testimony, but a real slacko who sometimes gave the impression that he was also plagued with doubts. This he threw off with humour. He had an eye for the girls but naturally gagged himself. One day I was driving him and his companion and we passed a real foxy woman in the street. He took a long look and couldn't resist the "don't look, don't touch" frustration he felt by quoting D&C 4 with a huge anticipatory smile on his face:

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul

A bit shocked in my newly converted innocence, I realised then that the Elders were human, something I would later learn a lot more about when I too served a mission.

You were a junior your whole mission? That's not only rare, but weird, and a petty mentality for the MP to take. I too quickly learned it's much about stats, competition and VG (vainglory). The motto was "if they don't listen, move on to someone else, don't waste time with kickers". In short, I felt that we couldn't "waste time" actually helping people with personal or family problems, or just getting to know them and be friends without ulterior motives. A person only had worth if they showed an interest in the Church.

Just another evil apostate... said...

D&C, section 4. Naturally we all had to memorize it and quote it at every district and zone meeting...

It is quite funny, I realize now, how sexual it is in nature! LOL. I never even thought about it that way before.

Yes, Elders are very much human and no matter how righteous they appear to be, very few of them really want to be on a mission. Even myself, going of my own free will, couldn't wait till it was over. In fact, I dreaded going my whole life.

Yes, junior the whole mission. That's what you get for any type of questioning.

Many MP's are interested in the numbers because they are hoping for a nice promotion in the church (general authority). I suppose the MP's with the most impressive numbers are the ones who get the promotions and the glory.

(Unless you are Bednar and president of Rick's College. Just name a building after the prophet and you can get your promotion that way too.)

Thanks, Ray, for your comment. I hope you'll stick around. :)

Ray Agostini said...

Always enjoy reading your commentary. Be independent, and be an independent thnker. Don't kowtow to anyone, not even "exmos". True independence means thinking your own thoughts, and publishing them, without fear of anyone, or any "orthodoxies", Mormon or not.