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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 02:06PM

The Spoils of the Victor

Margery sat with Thelma and Helen on each side of her in the folding chairs. Veils folded on their laps on top of the green aprons yet to be tied around elderly waists over yards of shapeless white. The quiet in the room was stunning. Not like library quiet, but like the world had ended. Which perhaps it had. Although Margery considered her world was only ailing, or, Margery thought, “challenged” is more accurate.

“How much longer should we wait for the others?” Margery asked her side-kicks.

“Others?” mused Thelma as the image of the statue of the soldiers holding the flag up as all lay dead around them flashed across her cerebellum. “I wouldn’t hold your breath, Margery.”

“Apocalypse,” Helen suddenly started. “That is what this is. Desolation. How did we end up holding up the world? Us!”

The three stared at the empty screen. They could get started but couldn’t face the extreme loneliness of being the only ones in the theater for the session. Being the last standing only confirmed what they tried so hard to deny---having the most faith was not a reward unto itself. ‘It’s lonely at the top,’ thought Margery and then chided herself for the idea of that.

The longer they sat, the less anyone wanted to begin. Ever since the prophet had announced that Joseph Smith had been a fraud nothing had been the same. Margery of course had known immediately that, as they always said, “Satan is so clever that he can fool even the very elite.” She had felt immense sadness immediately as the words heralding the denial of Joseph Smith fell on her, that this phrase--Satan fooling the elite---would now include a prophet, and that such a wonderful man of god would suddenly be, well, not of God at all.

A gasp rushed across the congregation that day in General Conference. Tears welled. Unintelligible murmurs that could only be translated as shock as they grew louder. A few were heard to say, “I knew it!” and someone at the very back in a very loud voice said, “Well, DUH!” But not Margery. Margery, who immediately stood and raised her arm to the square and faced the remaining Apostles just as three more G.A. s stood and left the building.

The panic. The confusion. The relief for some. The frantic emotion suddenly careening through the air that Sunday Morning would have made Pandora jealous that she hadn’t opened that box herself and added this spectacular mess to her collection of delightful mischief.

And now, weeks later, sitting here in the Holy Temple, the deafening quiet seemed to echo that day all over again. Of course, many stayed. Of course, Elder Bednar immediately assumed the pulpit with steely resolve and a manner that said, “The captain has turned on the seat belt sign.” And of course, Margery was still there with her arm firmly to the square as others began to rise in the now half vacant audience and let their arms rise as well.

That felt good. To be the stalwart. The beacon of faith. Nothing would ever stop Margery. She was the elite who would never be fooled.

But now this isolation. So few looked at her in awe now. Made her remember being Relief Society President when Harry was Bishop. What a duo. How they were admired. And, she was good at it. The quilts, the soups to the infirm. The lessons every month. And craft projects they used to do. ‘They should have left things that way,’she now thought, and then immediately corrected herself since all changes came from Heavenly Father and must be accepted as revelation. “There is always a purpose,” she knew.

Out of the corner of her eye Margery felt as much as saw, a tear roll down Helen’s cheek. She turned and looked and grasped Helen’s hand. She wanted to offer comfort, but she knew what was coming.

“I can’t do this anymore,” Helen quivered as she spoke. “I’m not you Margery. I need my family.”

“But you’ll have them in the Celestial Kingdom, Helen.” Said Margery in her best inspirational voice as Helen stood.

“I want them now. At any cost. I have to go. You coming Thelma?”

When they were gone a stunned Margery looked down to see her arthritic liver spotted hands had been wrenching and kneading her apron and veil—so wrinkled now. She stood and walked around the empty room. She ran her gnarled hand along the backs of the padded folding chairs as she walked slowly down each row. She looked up at the crown molding and the soft blue sky painted on the ceiling. The chandelier hung there gleaming and she felt a kinship. She looked up at it and beheld the Celestial sparkle and said, “It’s just you and me now, you know?”

Margery brought the veil to her face and dried her eyes, went to the wall and dimmed the lights, walked solemnly to the screen, and put her finger to the button on the side that needed to be pushed to start the movie and laughed a little that this was all self-serve now. She wondered if there would be anyone to bring her through the veil today. And if not this time, should she go back the way she came or just take herself through the gauzy curtains without a priesthood bearer? She wished Harry would be there in the celestial room waiting for her. That would be nice. It had been so long without her Harry.

“All will be made known in the afterlife,” she said in a voice no one could hear. “Heavenly Father loves us.”

*This story may be used as RFM pleases. Hope somebody likes it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/08/2018 04:37PM by Concrete Zipper.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 02:15PM

Mods: I proofed so many times but still have a typo in the second to last paragraph. I would really appreciate if some one could change the "say she came" to the "way she came.

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Posted by: Concrete Zipper ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 04:37PM


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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 04:46PM

Thank you CZ.

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Posted by: ziller ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 02:20PM

in b 4 ~ that was pretty good D & D ~

ziller got chilly bumps ~ (srs) ~

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Posted by: silvergenie ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 04:15PM

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, "This is the way the (Mormon) world ends, not with a bang but a whimper."

Good work, D & D, I enjoyed it.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 04:19PM

A T.S. Eliot reference? You are putting us all to shame.

But it is appropriate in a D&D thread. No Wasteland here!

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 04:44PM

> “I want them now. At any cost..."

Yeah, I get it! Helen and Thelma's husbands and families believed the prophet when he said it was all a fraud. Of course, Helen and Thelma would have liked to be 'favored of the Lord' like Margery, but they had very practical reasons for finally giving up. If Margery gave up, she'd lose her connection to her husband. So it's sort of a love story, too.

I wonder if Margery knew where all the lighting panels were, and how to set the alarms, and how to lock up properly?

I love the 'will the last one to finally give up on mormonism please turn out the lights' aspect of it.

I loved this story!

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 07:40PM

"I wonder if Margery knew where all the lighting panels were, and how to set the alarms, and how to lock up properly?"

Haha. I love that. You are killing me here. Once again. You get it.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 05:31PM

Most excellent!

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 06:28PM

Celestial sparkle. Luv it! The story too. Great concept. Sad about Harry. Not in the CR I assume. :/

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 06:38PM

"...Elder Bednar immediately assumed the pulpit with steely resolve..."

“There have been times when a particularly heavy dose of such cynicism has caused me to reflect that surely this is the age and place of the gifted pickle sucker!”
― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: November 08, 2018 06:50PM

That's a good piece of short fiction.

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Posted by: exminion ( )
Date: November 09, 2018 01:50AM


I like all of your posts, Done & Done.

Yes, I get it, too. Those few old folks who endure to the end, won't really know why...except for that evil myth that gives them false hopes about Heaven. (The truth is, if Harry were there with her, he would probably be dreaming about his future harem of wives, as my Stake President brother dreamed, in his final days.

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Posted by: DeAnn ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 01:10AM

This is a writer who may have written before. . .profesionally. She writes in a way that displays not only a deep knowledge of English usage and grammar but also the principles and guidelines of fiction writing. Really impressive.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 10:15AM

Thank you. Your words mean a lot. I've never written professionally though. But I write a lot just for me. Always have.

Also, it's "he." :)

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Posted by: Wally Prince ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 03:25AM

several of my elderly relatives and the impossibility of them doubting or leaving the church at this stage in their lives.

It's the only community they've ever known. It's the only way of life they've ever known. All of their life accomplishments, joys, sorrows and memories are inextricably intertwined with their "faith," i.e. their emotional connection to the organization

When I'm around them, I don't even attempt to critique or question their faith. It seems like it would just be pointless cruelty at this stage of their life.

I once read an interview done with some lady in SLC who claimed to be a psychic who was in touch with spirits and had been in touch with Joseph Smith's spirit. I don't particularly believe in psychics, but her report was interesting anyway. She claimed that Joseph Smith had confessed that he had gotten carried away in getting a lot of gullible people to believe in things that were made up and, as a result, there was actually a transitional space in the afterlife that had developed as a kind of "Mormon heaven" for consciousnesses that could not immediately cope with learning that their whole lives had been built on a lie. Joseph Smith's "penance" for his role in all of that was to minister to the people in Mormon heaven and help them transition to a truth-based understanding of the universe. (I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it.)

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 10:25AM

I come from a small mountain town settled by Mormon pioneers in the most Mormon dense county of Utah. I was raised in that brief window in the fifties and sixties when Mormonism had a fun side--at least there. The road shows, the hayrides, the breakfasts, and lots of camaraderie.

When I left for the mission, for BYU, and other Mormon parts unknown, I found a different Mormon than I had known. I recently went home for my elderly mother's birthday--in her nineties now---and found the same wonderful people. Like Mom, they all still go to the temple regularly. My Mom makes or buys food and takes it to people even though she isn't their home teacher. None of it is like what I read here. Everyone at the party for Mom was so genuinely happy to see me, couldn't wait to talk to me. Me, the apostate q**3r.

Because of all that I appreciate your take--- "All of their life accomplishments, joys, sorrows and memories are inextricably intertwined with their "faith," i.e. their emotional connection to the organization." You have nailed it with that phrase. And that is why I wrote what I wrote with my mother in mind. Being understood is one of life's great luxuries and you have given me a bit of that. Thank you.

And so I listen to my mother when she talks about any of it and all of it and, I guess, I want her to keep what she has.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 11:00AM

D&D, your description of “Marjorie” is so compelling that one can almost see flashbacks into her past.

Can I buy advance tickets to the movie ?

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 27, 2020 06:50PM

I grew up with women like this and, like you said, when the church was different. I am 62 and I remember well the church in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1980s or late 1970s started to change. But no matter how hard I tried and no matter how hard my own mother tried, we were never "those" women. It wasn't the gay boyfriend who ended my efforts to become one of the women, it was THE TEMPLE.

Reading your story freaks me out in terms of the temple. I know who those people would be in my group of friends. One is my good friend (though she lives in Lehi now so her daughter can care for her as she is in her late 80s). We are still friends.

But I could never be one of them whether gay hit my life or not.

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Posted by: Kathleen ( )
Date: January 28, 2020 03:00AM

Even better reading it again. Congratulations, Done & Done.

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