Sunday, October 17, 2010

The beginnings of my Mormon roots...

I got up around 9:30 this morning, and Jimi had already been up for a few hours.  I made coffee, which is rare for us (if we drink a hot beverage, it's usually tea, though we always have coffee on hand), and he made breakfast, which isn't so unusual.  Ham and eggs and toast.  A good start to the day, even if it was 11 a.m. by the time we were eating.  :)  No sense in rushing on a lazy Sunday morning, right?

David's been on my mind lately.  A lot.  You don't know David, probably.  I've been planning on writing about him for a long time, but I've not been sure when or how I'd get to it.  I'm still not sure if this will end up posted.  Depends on where I end up when I'm done rambling, i suppose.

David was my best friend in high school.  I generally refer to Kat as my BFF in high school, and if we're talking about same-sex friends, then yeah, she was.  But David was my best friend.  When I look back over those years, it was David who was my cohort in all of my tales.  It was David's support and friendship that kept me moving forward, it was David who comforted me when I was down.  David was my BFF.

David was Mormon.  David is the spring from which my fascination/obsession with the LDS faith originates.  David's dad was the Bishop of the local Ward.  He had 7 brothers and sisters, I think; 5 sisters, 2 brothers.  His brothers were older, and I think there were 3 girls behind him.  All of them were good Mormon boys and girls - honors students, following the faith, returned missionaries, married in the temple - except one.  One had experienced drugs and premarital sex and had even had a child out of wedlock.  David told me once he was scared of that sister, or had been, in the midst of rebellion.

I met David in science class.  He was tall and blonde and lanky and blue-eyed and nice and smart and a complete geek.  He had an awesome sense of humor.  And was so incredibly kind and good-natured.  That first year, I think I mostly snapped rubberbands on the back of his neck and teased him.  I didn't notice him much.

We were in JROTC together, on the drill team.  And he adored me.  I've always been all about surrounding myself with people who think I'm awesome, and as I mentioned, David had an awesome sense of humor and was sweet and good and kind.  Why wouldn't I want to hang out with him?  We spend every available evening together - driving his parents' car all over Louisville, sometimes putting 200 miles on the vehicle in a single night.  We talked on the phone until 3 in the morning, despite him having to get up at 5 a.m. to attend seminary.  He never complained; he was always happy to talk to me, to hang out with me, to be my friend.

We talked about his church as much as I'd allow him to.  Sometimes we argued, because some things about his beliefs offended me.  Later, I looked back at this and was ashamed; he was so willing to accept me, for all my shortcomings, yet I criticized what he believed, often.  The idea of 3 levels of Heaven offended me, I told him; realistically, it scared me.  Because I felt like I was being left out.

He was my first introduction to the LDS faith; he got me fresh, before I'd heard any rumors or jokes about their beliefs, and so he managed to cut off at the pass any bigotry or lies or exaggerations about what they believe.  When it came to polygamy, he told me that the men had taken multiple wives when they'd been moving out west, because so many men died and left women behind with families and no income.  The men did it to help the general population, not because they WANTED to.  And he believed that.  Completely.  I did too, after he told me so.  I used it for years to defend the LDS church.

About the middle of our sophomore year, I realized he wanted to be more than friends, and was pretty serious about it.  I had a boyfriend who lived out of town.  He told me he'd talked to his mom about his feelings for me, and in so confessing, he'd told her that I'd already had sex.  I was furious with him.  How dare he tell my intimate personal details to his mother...what business was it of hers?!  And when he told me she'd urged him away from me, told him not to pursue me, because "while hand-holding may be enough for you, David, eventually, she's going to want more".  I was shamed, and the way for me to deal with that shame, embarrassment, was to lash out at him.

But I get it now, and I hope that when I eventually have children, I'll have done a good enough job raising them that they'll feel comfortable coming to me about the potential loves they're falling for, and be willing to talk with me about the pros and cons of pursuing relationships.

Eventually, David and I were able to find a happy middle ground;  basically, we acted as if we were boyfriend and girlfriend, by going out and being together and talking on the phone all night every night, but without the physical aspects of a relationship.  We held hands sometimes, and we hugged, but there was no kissing.  We loved each other, but we told ourselves it was the love of siblings, even though we both knew he felt more, and looking back, I know for sure I was in love with him, even if I didn't admit it for years.

Our senior year, he started dating Kat.  I was lost without him by my side constantly, and I did everything in my power to try to steal him away from her, including one afternoon where I tried to seduce him.  I managed to get him to kiss me, but when I tried to rub his special place, he pushed me away and shook his head no and the moment was gone.  After that, things were cool between us, needless to say.  I was embarrassed, he was in love with Kat.

David was accepted into all of the military academies after high school, as we knew he would be, and chose to attend the Naval Academy.  Two years after graduation, he took a hiatus from school and went to Russia for two years to serve his mission.  He and Kat had been on again when he left; I was convinced they'd end up married after he returned and graduated.

While he was in Russia, he sent me a hardbound Book of Mormon.  He included in the front cover a personal message to me, which I still hold close to my heart, and when I read it I feel I've let him down, as he encouraged me to find the Spirit and join his faith.


There's a story there in the middle, but I've run out of words.  Later, I promise.  

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