Thursday, February 10, 2011
Me. This is ME! Who is Norm. Crap how do you bloggers do this stuff. Alright, lets begin with well.....me....ah.....not much to tell really.
I have had some negative LDS experiences in my life, but if there were ever a time of true enjoyment it was in my youth. The leaders, and youth themselves were a great group in London, and I specifically had some very close friends that I truly love and have stayed with me through the years. We were an extremely dedicated group, and always supported one another in following the rules and commandments.
There are many stories and silliness from my youth as everyone has, however mine generally did not relate to disobedience, property damage or wild partying.
Here is one such story.
I had changed schools in grade ten to attend a downtown school which had more of a trade than an academic focus. The LDS church in those days was very sports orientated and London was known for Volleyball. My older brother Ron had been very involved and then I also became involved. This transferred to high school, where I played on our HS team, I think every year. There were other, younger brothers from the church like me, very into volleyball, it just so happened that many of us (LDS kids) began attending this particular HS. Most of the area in Southern Ontario there may be one or two lds kids in a HS however this particular school at this particular time had anywhere from 10-20 kids. Now we were such an amazing dedicated and righteous bunch of self righteous LDS kids that we had regular LDS stuff going on at the school.
Anyways.....to continue with the 'Story'.......
Once time we decided to Celebrate the Birth of The Savior Jesus Christ. Now....wait....nope...it wasn't Christmas, cause well good old Joseph Smith said that the JC the big guy, was born on April 6th. Sooo, we just had to celebrate in our own strange, weird Mormon manner right??
We all wore church cloths to school that day, carried our scriptures around the school, in our church cloths that day and I think, we all sat in the cafeteria and had scripture study together. Can you imagine, this was in the late 70's the whole drug era was just closing up from the left over 60's influence. You know jeans, long hair drugs, etc. and here we are in a big downtown school, all wearing our three piece suites and long dresses and carrying our scriptures around. I cant help but laugh. What a strange group of kids.
I told my wife and kids this story and ya....they laughed....and no it wasn't with me that they were laughing!!!
Here is a photo of some of the old gang
LDS MISSION TO UTAH
I wanted and planned to serve a mission my entire life. Not likely because of some sincere desire to serve others as much likely due to an unconscious desire to have a long term plan of escape that I suffered as a result of living with an abusive mother who was an abused child herself, you know the drill.
Getting out by serving a mission in my childlike Mormon mind, was at least a planned exit.
I used to hang around the missionaries, spend their off days with them, play basketball, they are still in my personal opinion, amazing and dedicated souls for the most part doing the LDS church's dirty laundry by trying desperately to singly improve the reputation of the LDS church worldwide. They generally do an amazing job of it in my opinion.
Regardless, I was called to serve long, long ago to the Utah Salt Lake City Mission of the church. Now, being that most of my missionary pals came for this area, and that every young missionary dreams of going someplace culturally unique and wonderful, the thought of being around millions of Mormons doing missionary work, well, its not quite what I had planned (no offense).
When I received my call and carefully reviewed the very jagged Signature of the prophet SW Kimball (we were told it was his signature, but like many other things in the LDS church, well, that wasn't quite true). I figured you know, the prophet himself likely received a revelation for me to go to SLC so that I could learn about Church government so that I could someday help the church by serving in the corridors of power. Oh boys....did I have a lot to learn.
In the early 80's during the height of a major recession when families could simply not afford to send out missionaries, the LDS leaders decided to shorten missions to 18 months. So for a period of about 3 years, any young man that got called had the choice honor of being told that he was being called to a 'girlie' mission (the sisters have always served 18 months).
I was devastated, not only was I called to somewhere that probably had no non-members to convert (yes i was stupid....still am!), but that I was forever going to be teased because I was not given the wonderful opportunity to serve a full and complete mission.
Little did I know at the time how 'blessed' I was.
I had ultimately a positive experience on my mission. Yes there were challenging days, companions that were strange and unhealthy, lots of pretty girls who were quite happy to flirt with a Canadian Elder, especially if he would come back to marry them after his mission, and there were for the most part, some pretty amazing people and experiences that I have not forgotten.
I learned pretty quickly to not worry about the stats and crapola that is a large part of the missionary program in the church, or go baptize them any way you can, they don't have to really know what they are getting into. What ever you do don't tell them all of that temple crap! Sure that was a significant problem but I learned somehow, that all that really mattered was very different then what the leaders, any of them asked. Basically my mission helped me learn service and its one of the very few things I am grateful for in my lifetime of LDS experience, I plan to keep this quality as part of my life, in one way or another, for the rest of my life.
There are tons of crazy stories that each missionary has, but with distance and perspective most of them are passed off now as figments of the overly-spiritual mind that is often perpetuated among the LDS faithful. However, there are some, even today, that give me pause for thought and gratitude for the universe of the Divine..
Alright that's about half of my life...the rest, marriage kids job its kind of all boring but I will try to cover it in another post. Hope you enjoyed reading.