Man, where do I start?
Everything I’ve ever learned about religion, I’ve learned through the Marvelous Work and Wonder.
Everything I’ve ever learned about politics and government, I’ve learned through the Humanity Party.
Well, I was born and raised in central Utah, Richfield to be exact. I grew-up across from the LDS seminary, one block from the high school and one block from “our” ward building. I would play catch and pool with the seminary “brethren” before I was in high school (our seminary had a big lawn out front). The seminary had a pool table!! I was in “Mormon” (I know they don’t like to be called Mormon, anymore) heaven/Utopia!! All my friends were LDS, I mean ALL of them, and in fact one of my friend’s father was a former seminary teacher. To be truthful, I didn’t know what it was like not to be a member of the church (my True Self really wanted a challenge, I guess). I was an active member, by the example of my father. He had all sorts of callings, except Bishop but I would see him read the Book of Mormon a lot and that would fuel my desire to learn about the book. But I always fought going to church, in my heart. I didn’t like it much but everyone was there and I thought it okay and I certainly didn’t want to ‘rock the boat’. I played church basketball, church softball and went to most mutual gatherings and dances (all sponsored by the church). I was active in scouting although I never earned my eagle scout. All my interactions were with church people and functions. There was absolutely no reason to question anything about the church, in those days. I do remember when Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves gave a fireside at our stake. His parents lived in Richfield at the time. I was excited to see him, though.
When I was 14 I had my own lawn mowing business and making pretty good money when my best friend landed a job at the local bakery. He asked me one day if I would come in and help him clean so he could leave earlier to hang out. I agreed and that night the owner came in and wondered why there were two of us? Scared, we lied and said that her daughter, Pam said it was okay. Pam practically ran the bakery. Anyway, to make a long story short I was given that job, too. So, the both of us worked the bakery. I thought I could handle both lawn and bakery jobs but I was too young to balance that kind of work load and school and I eventually lost my lawn jobs to help my friend. Funny, too. I made about $200 a week mowing lawns and my first paycheck from the Bakery was a measly $36- FOR TWO WEEKS!! I tried to get my lawns back but by that time my customers had found someone else! So, I applied to the local movie theatre, instead!!
At age 17 I had a very adult experience. A new family (converts to the church) moves to our small community from Boston (I think) to be close to “their” missionary. A friend of mine had befriended their eldest son and introduced him to us (there were 2 boys and one daughter). This friendship grew and during the summer to my senior year of high school we would play basketball at the local park for hours. Some nights playing to 1-2 am in the morning. My parents were very “good” to a 17 year old boy. I just told them where I was going and who I was with had to wake my mother up once I got home. Yep, no curfew. Nothing was said or asked.
One night we were asked to sleep over to this family’s home, not just me but most of us. There was like 5-6 of us in total. I told my parents and they thought it okay since all of us were invited. I remember we were all asleep, on the floor. I was in the middle and was awoken by someone rubbing my crotch! I was scared, petrified even. I didn’t move. I opened one eye to see who was doing the rubbing. It was the mother! The father worked out of town or something. I just know he wasn’t there that night. No, I didn’t find it odd he was gone. I was still pretty naive and innocent at this point in my adolescence. Sure, I dated a few girls and gave into the temptations of youth that added to my worldly experience. I had no idea what I was in for.
I was shocked and scared to death. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about just running out and getting in my car (I drove) and fleeing (like Joseph of the Old Testament before Potifar’s wife, but not). But then I thought about my friends that I had brought over. How were they going to get home?? What will they say the next day? What happened, where did you go? Why did you go? What was I to say, then? “Oh, the mother woke me by rubbing my dick and wanting me to go to her bedroom??” Really!! I was 17!! She was 34 with three kids!! Trivial, I know!! But those were the thoughts that stuck in my head and convinced me to stay!! What to do??? She wasn’t about to stop. Of course I was getting aroused and she could feel it. I admitted to myself that I didn’t know what to do, so I rolled to my side and she looked at me and said softly, “You’re not scared are you?? “ Really!! Of course I was but my pride wasn’t about to let her know that!! Damn PRIDE!!
I said, “No…” In a hushed trailing voice so as not to wake my friends-RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!
She said, “Good! Come with me.” And I foolishly did. I told no one of this experience. Not. One. Single. Person, yet! I couldn’t brag about something like that! I held in everything that happened to me over the course of several weeks to myself. That was not a singular event. I was groomed over the course of those weeks, getting an education that I was not prepared for or equipped to handle, properly. Yes, she eventually got pregnant and had an abortion to hide “our” secret. The guilt started to build.
I graduated from high school and I was asked to give the closing prayer at seminary graduation. My parents gave my older sister and me a gift by paying for a trip to go on the “church history tour” now known as the CHT. It was a three week tour, by bus, to all church sites back east and a lot of US history sites thrown in. The tour was managed by the seminary brethren and my friend’s dad was one of the chaperones. It’s also where I met my, now, wife.
We (the students) were split up into 4 groups of approximately 30-40 kids and did everything within those groups. Every night we had dinner together, devotionals/testimonies and even skits. It was actually quite fun. The first night of the tour we were camped in Hannibal, MO by the banks of the Mississippi River and our group was given the skit of the first vision of Joseph Smith and I happened to land the part of Satan!! How ironic is that!!! I think about it now and just laugh!! I met my wife on that trip (she was in my group) just after the tour and testimony in the Sacred Grove!! I was wagered by my friends that I wouldn’t just walk up this girl sitting on a bench by herself outside of the Joseph Smith frame home!! Oh, Yeah!! You’re not scared are you? Damn PRIDE!! So, I landed a girlfriend and decided to go on a mission.
This is getting long but I was nervous before I put in my mission papers because of what had happened a year ago. I was working at the local theatre and my guilt was getting the best of me and I confessed to my boss of what had happened. He was a great man. He listened and compassionately gave me a hug and said that it was alright, but that I should talk to my bishop about the events. WTF!! I was floored!! But I wanted to do the “right thing” so I scheduled an interview. My experience with bishops seems to be very different than what most experience with their bishops. I confessed everything that had happened and he forgave me on behalf of the church and all he wanted to know was her name. I told him. I can only imagine how her side of that situation turned out! He didn’t even say I had to let my parents know. Whew!! That was a relief, not to tell my parents. All kids want that!! Looking back on that, I now know why he wanted her name. Atrocious!! The family eventually moved from rural Utah a couple years later (I was on my mission at the time they left).
So, I went on an LDS mission to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Che’pibe!! I came home got married to the girl from the CHT in the temple and landed a job for the state of Utah as a Corrections Officer and started a family. About 14 years into this career, in 2008 and while in the mountains camping, I got a phone call from my dad regarding my younger brother. My brother had been arrested. My parents were distraught by the news, as were all of us. I basically told them it wasn’t going go good for him. It didn’t, he was incarcerated for six years and was released in August of 2014.
This is where is it gets interesting, apparently my brother had found ‘the work’ while incarcerated. He didn’t say anything to anyone about what he was reading, even my Dad. For six years. He was released that August and stayed with my parents until he could get his own place. Anyway, I think it was a day or two later that I went to visit him and my father. I went with the intention of finding faults with my brother, to see how many tattoos he got, how many fights he got in, was he given gate (parole) money basically free money ($100). Is he a mooch? Still mooching? How long will he be mooching off mom and dad. Because nobody should ever be “given” free stuff because he broke the law and I didn’t. What is he like or will be like with my family? Damn PRIDE!! Because I’m the “good” brother with a job, wife, children, church attendance and family bullshit. I’m better than you, attitude. But none of that happened. In fact, he’s the “good” brother, no tattoos, no fighting, nothing. Just a very humble man who had saved over $2200 dollars so he would have something when he got out. So he wouldn’t impose on others. Mind you he was being paid $.40 hr.! That’s forty cents an hour for his labor while incarcerated. He saved over $2200.00. Needless to say I was floored. Humbled even!!
So, our conversation changed and we were talking about things and I noticed that a big book had been opened on the table. My parents table is usually cluttered ALL the time. So to notice a big book, is not that big of deal. I started to read the open page, thinking that it was the big print Book of Mormon my parents have and realized it wasn’t the big print Book of Mormon that my parents have… but another. I read “And now I, Moroni…” and read a few passages and immediately realized that it was not the big print Book of Mormon my parents have but something different…very different. My heart jumped in my chest and my breathing increased. I flipped the book to the cover and read the cover, my heart pounding even harder. I couldn’t believe what I read. I then flipped to the title page looking for the publisher, thinking that it was published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. NOPE!! When I read that it wasn’t published by the church but by Pearl Publishing (still thinking it apart of a publishing subsidiary of the church) but authored by a Christopher M. Nemelka. WTF? And WTF (Who the Fuck???) is this guy?? This was supposed to come through the “brethren” of the Church, I then immediately realized “Ohhhh, shhiiitttt…” but I couldn’t help it, my heart was pounding, my mind was racing and I was getting scared!! It was a copy of the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon the Final Testament of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t believe it!! Funny too, I glanced to my brother and saw his smirk. He knew exactly what I was thinking. “Yep, the church is NOT true!!” After reading the book, I finally know what Parley P. Pratt meant and felt in “How Rare a Possession.” I always wanted that type of reassurance/answer about the Book of Mormon; it just wasn’t the BOM but is failsafe. I certainly got it!! I’ve not been the same since.
I’ll make this confession, I used the system that I have at work and I searched to see if “C” was in the system. Of course he was!! I read everything about him, even had a picture! Good looking guy, kind of sexier than Jesus!! I had access to his file and for some reason as I read, I thought this guy, like a lot of guys incarcerated, got screwed!! My heart broke for him!! After reading what he has produced of his autobiography, I perfectly understand where he comes from. I knew he is what he claims he is.
After all my experiences of church activity, temple attendance, seminary classes, firesides, tithe paying, callings, partriarchal blessings, priesthood holdings, blessings, temple marriage, talks, priesthood lessons, classroom discussions, children, eternity…after all my (at that time) 42 years of earthly experiences regarding religion and truth; shattered. My foundation upon sand. After all that -none of it is true. Everything that I once knew, believed in, worshipped, emulated, proselytized, testified, taught, shared, family home taught, splits with missionaries, sacrament meetings, temple recommends, came crashing down; internally. A little cognitive dissonance at work!! It all came crashing down in that “Oh, shit…” moment. ALL. OF. IT!
I was an emotional mess of what to do!! My foundation of belief had crumbled so easily, it scared the shit out me!! I had to do something, talk to someone because my wife was getting worried. Really worried!! In fact, she had made arrangements to speak to the stake president about “our” situation. I settled on my brother. Why? Because he was the only one close who understood what was happening. He settled my emotions by saying, “You don’t have to do anything!! Just live your life as best you can. It’s all a game!!” Whoa!! It worked for awhile, but it upset my wife.
To make this shorter, I read everything I could, at work!! I read all the MWAW books that are online. As I was reading, I kept shaking my head, not about what I was reading but about my family. My eldest daughter (I have five children) was preparing for her mission, we were an active family in the church, and this isn’t going to go well. I was pondering how I would break this news to them. I thought about a family home evening and reading a few passages from the BOM then break out the Sealed Portion to introduce it subtly to them. I eventually settled and decided by telling my eldest daughter and my wife that I had read the lost 116 pages and what Joseph Smith was told in the first visitation. She didn’t believe me, they didn’t believe me. I tried to tell my wife but she told me it’s all lies and that it isn’t true. From then on, I said nothing. It’s this “worry” that I keep quiet and secret. I’ve learned that it’s the “worry” that got Joseph Smith killed, it’s this “worry” that gets people to do all sorts of stuff that they otherwise would not do. I realized exactly what was going to happen. So, I bought all, now 7 books, of the MWAW and have them on my nightstand, waiting for questions. But none will come.
By finding the real truth, it sets a man at variance with his family/friends and loved ones; for the enemy of a man will be they of his own household!! Since finding the work I’ve been to many meet ‘n’ greets symposiums and even met Christopher, once. Yep, I’m the big guy!
I guess my point to all this is this: I was born into Mormon Mecca and one book took me out!!
I have never been so at peace, within myself. The MWAW and Humanity Party ARE the solutions to what this world needs!! But with my family, that’s a whole ‘nutha can o’worms! The ‘gulf’ between us is getting bigger. I can’t go back to who I was or what I once knew. I just can’t! I understand what it means to be FREE!!
I will try to keep my story about my search for truth as short as I can since […]
My life was affected by memories whether good or bad, remembered or not. They all affected me and […]
My name is Heather Burdick. I was born the youngest of 7 into a very religious LDS family. […]
Hola, me llamo Pablo Medardo Vargas Flores y soy de Oruro, Bolivia. Bueno, quizás sólo sea suficiente decir […]