Date: November 14, 2018 09:13PM
My first mission companion, my trainer, rose to be an AP. I really respected him because he walked the walk. I tried keeping up and that apparently satisfied him. He wrote a book about his mission and couldn't find me, to ask to use my real name, so he gave me a pseudonym. Actually, he and his twin brother wrote the book together; the twin was in the next mission over, the SouthEast Mexican mission. So I had three months with him and it was good. Then the next thing I heard, he was an AP. I was in DF (Mexico City) when he left so I went to his farewell and met his twin. There was ZERO indication regarding what was about to happen...
About two months after he left, the scandal ran through the mission (and probably the SE mission, too). The brothers left the church. Their book about the mission turned out to be a sociological treatise on 'why do they do it?' It wasn't in popular print, but I got a copy with my middle son's help when he was working in the library at CSULB. All I bothered to read was the part I was in, and it was boring.
My last senior companion was a NorCal mormon, with lots or worldly experience, like having sex in a swimming pool while he hung on to the diving board and she did all the work. How's an Elder not going to masturbate after hearing a story like that?! He came back down to DF after his release and my last Junior and I partied hard with him for a week. He got married the same day I did, the first Saturday after school was out, in late May, him in the SLC temple and me in St. George.
I totally lost track of him after that. I know he had a lot of kids and that the first child, a girl, rebelled pretty hard when she turned 18, because she'd been used as a Junior Mom. He became a bishop in Oklahoma and also went into insurance claims, as did I. We had one conversation about all this in 1990, when he tracked me down to ask for some help for that oldest daughter, who was living in LA at the time. He's on FB, but I have zero interest in getting in touch. I don't know if he's still married, but I formed the opinion that his wife, whom I hardly got to know at the Y (I think she didn't like Lamanites) was TBM³. My BYU bride's insistence on being mormon was bad enough; a TBM³ would have caused me to slit my wrists.
My very first companion, there in the old Salt Lake City mission home, was Melvin T. Bowler, of St. George, Utah. He's deceased now. My mom drove me up from Las Vegas and I unloaded the car and while all the other parents are saying "see you in two years or two years and three months (LTM)" my mom said, "See you next year..."
I got my room assignment and took my suitcases down to the basement and found my room, which upon inspection had 1 (one) double bed, on which a set of luggage already reposed. I left my luggage there and went up to discuss the issue of an only child (me) having to share a bed with another human being. I spoke to some adult types, but nothing ever came of it and Elder Bowler and I slept together in that double bed for a week. I did not sleep all that well... When we finally left the LTM, it was he and I flying together to DF, via LAX. When I gave my mom our itinerary, she and her best friend met us at LAX and we all ate at the flying saucer thing in the middle, which was new then and was a fine dining restaurant. Then we caught our Varig flight to DF.
Elder Bowler was a superhuman being and a super mormon. He was an AP when I was released. He could have been released a couple of weeks early like I was, but he chose to serve the full mission, for him, a total of 28 months, where I only served 27 months. We had visa-waited a month at the LTM...
Elder Bowler was killed a year after he got home when as a passenger in his girl friend's unseat-belted VW bug, the vehicle was supposedly wind sheered off the roadway and into a bridge abutment. She survived because only his side of the car hit the abutment. She sailed through the windshield, too, but then just hit the ground and rolled. Couldn't have been any fun, but it wasn't the death sentence E. Bowler got. He would have been a GA today (so say I!).
Elder P was my first Junior Companion. I played it by the book with him. He probably thought I was a stalwart in the church. He has become quite successful, importing fruits and vegetables from Mexico. But he had one failing as a mormon: he wasn't handsome, so not worthy of adulation. Per the mission webpage, he kept in touch with our MP, Jasper McClellan, and put out the word when Jasper passed on.
About MP McClellan: he was a Mexican citizen, from Colonia Juarez. He had been a construction manager for the church, a guy who wore jeans and boots on a daily basis and probably had a very practical view of the world. But that's just my guess. How he got to be an MP would probably make for and interesting tale. I hardly ever spoke with him. He never interviewed me, EVER. There was no exit interview. The only personal message I ever got from him was when I was in Guadalajara, and it came via the APs. The message was to get a haircut. When I left, I think he shook my hand, but maybe all he did was nod. He probably knew I was a fuck up, but I was orderly about it and maybe that's why he never made an issue of it. My mom did come down that next year, 1966, and the year after that, 1967. The second time she drove down from Las Vegas to DF!! Then she left her 1967 Thunderbird with me in DF for the two weeks while she and her friend did the Mayan tour thing. Elder G., my last Junior, who was a greenie, was probably spoiled for the entire mission. My last nine months of the mission, I only tracted one day, and that was to shut up Elder Bear. He didn't complain anymore when the few people in Lagos de Moreno whom we met at their doors told us that "Oh, Father Garcia said to be nice to you mormon boys because you just never had a chance to learn the truth..." Which was a lot nicer than having them yell at us or threaten us...
Elder Bear was the companion who didn't get off the bus with me when a guy challenged me to a fight. As I'm squaring up to this dude, there goes the bus, with Elder Bear and two other missionaries staring out the back window at me. The fight was a draw, as people finally separated us and told us we were crazy to take the chance of being arrested. The other elders got off at the next stop and came walking back to get me. Fuckers!
It was in Leon, GTO that Elder Smith (who was my best man) and I slept in a single bed together, but each of us had out head opposite the other guy's head. In reviewing what I remember about him, it's likely that he was gay. But I was so oblivious to stuff like that back then, I wouldn't have noticed. Him I would like to meet up with again. If you know a Michael Smith (how generic, huh?) who grew up in Long Beach, CA, went to the Mexican mission 66-68 and became a flight attendant after BYU, tell him to call me!!!
I had a great time on my mission!!