Monday, February 11, 2008

The most non-conformist girl in our dormitory



I watched the second hand slowly make its way around the clock face. For all of the bright, enthusiastic people running it, Sacrament Meeting in a BYU student ward really wasn't any more interesting than the Sacrament Meetings put on by the worn-out, tired families back home. And here of course Sacrament Meeting had the added fun of being mandatory, and I don't mean just "earn your stars in heaven" kind of mandatory. I mean more like "if you don't show up for church regularly, then don't bother to come back to school next semester" kind of mandatory. At BYU, your bishop was always watching, and an "ecclesiastical endorsement" from him every year was a requirement for continuing enrollment.

I shifted around in my uncomfortable wooden chair. The speaker had just gotten to the crying part of her story. I wished I were instead attending my Physics lecture that was held in the same building during the week. I felt like a real jerk for being so indifferent to the girl's spiritual joy in finding the one and only true gospel, but she'd already told essentially this same story in a couple of Fast and Testimony meetings, and I really just wanted to get home and out of these uncomfortable nylons.

The girl giving the talk was something of a celebrity or hero to our ward because she was a convert. She demonstrated the wonderful effects that the only true gospel has on people's lives when they join the world's fastest-growing religion. She was an inspiration to the rest of the ward who didn't have to find the true church because we were raised in it. I sincerely wanted to be happy for her. Yet I also wanted to go home. Read the rest of the story ->

16 comments:

hm-uk said...

"I shifted around in my uncomfortable wooden chair. The speaker had just gotten to the crying part of her story."

Good line, chanson! I enjoyed this installment of the story.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Hm-Uk!!! :D

Robyn said...

Enjoying it so far. Is there more?

erlybird said...

Thanks for the segment, Ms. Hanson.

I went to church exactly 3 times during my year at BYU. What finally drove me away was the golden boy who managed to get on the program ALL THREE TIMES to play the piano and sing an "original composition" of gospel importance. Maybe titles like "As I Approach the Veil" or "Guide Me Spirit, Protect Me Garments". He always had a "crying part" built right into the song. He also had a bunch of female groupies, all of whom were completely oblivious to his quite apparent yet still un-outed homosexuality.

After that I opted to stay in my dorm room and play Hearts. Funny how all us non-attendees played Hearts. I continue to play to this day though I am much, much better than I was then.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Robyn!!!

Glad you like it!!! Yes, there's more! :D

The BYU segment has five chapters plus one bonus chapter. I'll be posting new chapters on Tuesdays for the next few weeks. Also, the BYU part is the fourth of nine intertwined stories, three of which have been posted already: Young Women's, Youth Conference, and Saturday's Warrior.

Hey ErlyBrd!!!

LOL, that is so BYU!!! How come you were only there for a year? Couldn't stand it? Or did you get kicked out for missing church too many times?

erlybird said...

My reasons for not going back were varied. I should and will write my own post about that...but the short version is that I went on a mission in order to convert myself...failed...left.

I would not have gone back even if I had stayed in the Church. I was essentially homesick. There was an Institute and Housing available at Michigan State. I pretended for a while and then went out and found another place to live because I felt guilty about taking a spot when someone else might have needed it.

I actually liked BYU in a lot of ways. The freshman honors colloquia were extraordinary. Prof. Ted Lyon? You still out there? I also loved the uncensored movies supported by the Humanities Department IN THE KIMBALL building no less.

Robyn said...

Uncensored? Yes, but...I distinctly remember going to see "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum." The movie start time came. The movie start time went. After about five minutes, the screen came down out of the ceiling. The screen went back up into the ceiling. Some poor kid had to come out and announce that the movie had been deemed inappropriate, so we were going to watch the selection from the previous night instead. It was "The Taming of the Shrew." You know, the Shakespeare classic about beating your wife into submission.

erlybird said...

I would not say "uncensored" if I did not mean it. Bergman, Polish and Hungerian films...full nudity...sex on the beach. Maybe they just wereen't watching that year ;-)

lma said...

Good stuff.

I lasted all of two months at the Zoo. Yes, I was homesick, but my leaving had just as much to do with the fact that there was this idiot grad student teaching my archaeology class who thought that the Neolithc came before the Mesolithic.

I think in that two months I went to exactly one Sunday's worth of meetings. Instead, I took long walks all over Provo.

Also, it occurred to me as I read this first installment that if there were FHE groups back then (that was in 1975), nobody ever told me about it. Not that I would have gone to them anyway.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Ima!!!

Only two months? Good for you!!! I was nutty enough to stay all the way to graduation...

John Evo said...

Totally off-topic, CL (but you don't show an email address). I thought you might be interested in this blog I came across today. He's an ex-Mormon missionary.

http://markii.wordpress.com/

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks John!!!

I've just added him to Outer Blogness.

Everyone: please remember to follow this good example and tell me if you see an exmo blog I don't have on my list yet. :D

woundedhart said...

I haven't finished this installment yet, but it cracks me up. I spent 8 years at The BYU, with a mission in the middle, and I never missed church unless I was dying. I'm sure if I went back now, though, my experience would be a little more like yours. :)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Woundedhart!!!

Eight years? Wow!!! I'm surprised I survived three and a half myself... ;^)

the chaplain said...

I enjoyed this very much. It reminded me of my time at a non-denominational college. There seem to have been some some striking similarities as well as quirky differences between BYU and my alma mater. I'm looking forward to reading more.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Chaplain!!!