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Posted by: miriamegress ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 05:47PM

(I'm new to this forum, just ran across it today and decided to join. I left the church quite a few years ago, but have recently written about it a bit. I'm not sure either of these falls into the short story category, but I'd like to try submitting them anyway. If they don't fit the contest I'd like to just share them.)

The Favored
by Miriam Egress

We are a chosen people.
Chosen to bring the world
This glad message of Christ.
We have the fullness of The Gospel;
The Truth, the whole Truth,
And nothing but the Truth, so help us God.
Never mind the way things change, albeit slowly,
To match the social norms of the day…
Continuing revelation is both beautiful and pragmatic.

You are a chosen generation.
Chosen because of your strength
To come in this, The Fullness of Times.
There has never been a harder time
To be righteous and stalwart.
Never mind the ease of making morally correct decisions
In an age when hitting a child is a crime,
Society acknowledges that it is rape
Even if it is your spouse saying “No.”
And the mentally disabled are no longer
Tortured for being possessed.

You were chosen to be a Mother.
This is your greatest calling,
To bring children into the world,
To bring them up in righteousness
Before the Lord.
To fill His spiritual army, to spread His word.
Never mind the cultural destruction
Christian armies have wrought worldwide.
Our army carries scriptures, not weapons.
And there is nothing wrong with telling people
They are worshiping incorrectly
If we do it in love.
Ours is a message of joy,
So there should be no problem
In letting go of life-long beliefs,
Cultural norms or family traditions.

We are a chosen people.
Peculiar in the eyes of the world,
But beautiful in the sight of God.
We are a chosen people,
Adopted into the lineage
Of His original chosen children.


What kind of Father plays favorites anyways?

A Letter to My Father
by Miriam Egress

You were the standard everyone was held to. Your wisdom and understanding helped guide my faith. I internalized every word you spoke:
I am a daughter of God.
We are a chosen and peculiar people with a special role to play in bringing about God’s work.
Faith can move mountains.
Men are that they might have joy.
God is love.
Ordinances are divine.
Marriage is divine.
Motherhood is divine.
All we do is in striving for the ultimate goal – the Celestial Kingdom. Only those who are worthy, only those that will be comfortable in the presence of God will be allowed this ultimate glory, this ultimate happiness.
Faith and prayer and more faith is always the answer.
I did all the things required and finally went to the Temple in preparation for my marriage – you cannot attain the ultimate goal alone.
On the other side of that rite of passage my first thought was, Oh, we’re just like everyone else. We use rituals to try and make sense of the world, to give us meaning. Only later would I realize our rituals aren’t even unique to us, most hailing either from the Masons or the rituals used to anoint the Monarchs that ruled over our ancestors. I do not know what this says about their divinity.
I believe there is one thing in life that is unquestioningly divine. Love.
Love has no limits, but instead a constant capacity for expansion.
Love, care for our fellow humans. This is my religion, my form of worship. I am not perfect at it; much of the time I’m not even good at it. But I will spend my entire journey on this Earth trying to spread it. Trying to do better at it.
If the God that created me is more concerned with checklists and memorized rites in order to prove worthiness than He is the love we show each other, and more importantly the love we show “the least of these,” then you are right. I will never be comfortable living with Him through the eternities. And if this is not the case then something has gone terribly wrong.
Over the years the rules and checklists seem to have clouded one truth. God is Love.
Our last discussion sent me into a tailspin. You said that a union incapable of creating offspring was not equal to one that can; to yours. You meant homosexual unions, gay marriages. But when questioned you had to, out of necessity to make your point, concede that straight marriages that remain childless could not be equal either.
Did you stop to think that if we’d had this conversation sixty-five years ago you would have looked me in the eye and told me that my marriage was not equal to yours. That the over twenty-year relationship I have with my husband was not equal to yours. Yours, which has teetered, often precariously, on rocky terrain for the last decade, if not longer.
Did you stop to think that in your actual reality the time will come when you will have to look another daughter in the face and tell her the same thing. A daughter who has accepted that to survive in this life she has to forego the pinnacle of salvation in the next. Will you watch her stand before her soon to be wife, prepared to make vows of love and sacrifice, communication and compromise and pity her for the sacrifices she couldn’t make. The sacrifice of spending her life alone in mental and emotional anguish so in the next life the Lord might provide a man she could stomach giving her heart and body to so that the Celestial Kingdom could be attained. If such a drastic change could be wrought would she even be herself?
I choose to accept love as love in this life. It will not always be perfect, because in the end humans are not. But it is the most perfect thing about us, and I will never discourage that in any of us.
If my paltry attempts at spreading love and compassion in this life are not enough to exalt my soul, then so be it. I will not waste my time with a checklist of other things that tend to distract and even cause division between individuals. I will be content and clear of conscience knowing I have tried to create and foster more of what I find divine within our meager, mortal selves.
In the end I have found that Love is always the answer.

With Love,
Your Daughter

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 06:31PM

Welcome to RfM, Miriam.

Love these. Very well said.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 07:32PM

The structure of "The Favored" is intellectually stealthy. Love the way you build the case and then bring it home at the end.

The sentiments in the second, "Letter to my Father," has bare bones heart. You have a very erudite way with with intersection of the brain and the

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 07:34PM

. . . heart. Oops.

Glad you found RFM.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 07:47PM

Way to add suspense Done & Done. I had to keep reading to find out intersection between brain and WHAT? Oh. Heart. Good one.

To OP: Yes, welcome to the board. You're brave to put your work out there to a strange crowd (strange to you in that you haven't met us yet). I enjoyed reading those. Who's to say what the absolute definition of a short story is? A lot of folks here emphasize the 'short' part. I love to read and am always shocked when people think 5 pages is very, very, very long. I do admire, though, the pithy amongst us.

Which isn't me - I tend to write long posts. But I'll shut up now. For a while. And just say welcome, thanks for the reading material that went nicely with my tea break. Keep reading here and have fun!

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Posted by: Mother Who Knows ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 08:13PM

I love both of your entries, and I'm glad you submitted both, and didn't make us choose between them.

You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself!

Plus, what you said!

"Over the years the rules and checklists seem to have clouded one truth. God is Love."

Your narrator rings true to herself, humble, yet determined. She is making sense of the world around her.

As a lifetime BIC Mormon, I always tried to obey the rules and checklists. At the same time, I valued integrity. Experience taught me so much more than scriptures ever did. I also valued the non-Mormons in my life. There was too much "cognitive dissonance" and self-alienation, when I was a Mormon. I didn't find true integrity, peace, and love, until I resigned from the cult.

Throughout your writing, you have two underlying themes, of 1) realizing the Truth and 2) accepting yourself. I love that you know you will never be perfect, but you will also never give up your devotion to Love.

"Love is always the answer." Yes to that!

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: November 14, 2018 08:20PM

Welcome, welcome is they dawning, Rebellious Exit!

Nice twisty ending to the first one.

VERY powerful pummeling in the second. I think you broke some of his ribs...

Glad you showed up to the party!

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Posted by: miriamegress ( )
Date: November 15, 2018 02:23PM

Thank you everybody for the warm welcome!
I'm so glad you enjoyed my entries. I love to write but sometimes I find there are things that are just too specifically Mormon to share with a larger audience. I'm glad I have found a space to share and discuss this aspect of myself and upbringing.

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