Date: April 30, 2021 03:06AM
Thanks for all who have responded on this thread. I enjoy hearing the stories of those who were able to leave their missions, and those who stuck it out. The topic still triggers me, and although it has been 40+ years, I remember most details like it was yesterday. Seeing the responses from some of the other “old farts” on here, I understand if it still triggers something in you as well.
I have told my story before on here over the years, so for those who don’t wish to read it again, feel free to skip it.
In a nutshell, after high school I went to BYU and hit it off with a fellow freshman co-ed. As we got closer, intimacy grew, and we eventually committed the “sin next to murder”…over, and over, and over again. In the back of my mind I always wondered how I was going to clear this up so I could go on a mission.
After the school year, I did the confession thing and was told I would have to speak with a General Authority before submitting my mission papers. An appointment was set for six weeks later when a G.A. would be in the area. Two weeks before meeting with the G.A., my BYU girlfriend flew into town for a surprise visit and we picked up where we had left off. When I met with the G.A. (Henry D. Taylor). I told him all I had done while at BYU, but he was such a nice, kind, loving old man…I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what I had done two weeks earlier.
My mission call came for the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission (1976 - 1978). When I showed up in Provo the MTC buildings were fairly new. I was doing well learning Spanish and memorizing, but every day I heard, “If there is something you haven’t confessed to…you won’t have the spirit to guide you…you’ll have difficulty with the language…blah, blah, blah.”
After four weeks, I hit a wall. Of course in my mind it was because I hadn’t confessed to EVERYTHING. So, I contacted my Branch Prez and told him what was going on. He kicked me upstairs to the MTC Prez (Pinegar). I met with Pinegar and told him my story. He told me to write three letters home explaining everything. One to my Stake Prez, one to my Bishop, and one to my father. I told him that “two out of three wasn’t bad”, that I didn’t have “that kind” of relationship with my father, and that there was “NO WAY” I was going to write him a letter or tell him anything. Pinegar said, “O.K., write the other two and I will meet with you next week”.
A week later after I received a message to meet with Pinegar following a G.A. fireside. When I went to his office he was there with the G.A. (Carlos Asay). My Stake Prez was on the phone. He was a great guy. A few years later it came out that he was in a secret 7-year gay relationship (not that here is anything wrong with that). He told me I was loved, forgiven, and to go on and serve a joyful and honorable mission. He said that my Bishop felt the same way. When I hung up the phone I was feeling pretty good.
I looked up at Pinegar and Asay with kind of a “what next” expression on my face. Asay spoke up and said, “Oh, and by the way. We told your father. He approves you staying out continuing your mission as well.”
I immediately thought, “Why the fuck do I need my father’s permission or approval?” Up until that point, all of the money towards my mission had come from ME!! Not ONE DIME from my father!! I was PISSED!!!!!!!!!! I glared at Pinegar and Asay, and under my breath but loud enough for them to hear, I said, “You sons of bitches. I told you he was not to be told.” They countered with some sort of bullshit answer that it was “all good “ because he was supportive of me staying out. That just pissed me off even more until I said, “I’m done. I’m out of here. Do you take care of my travel home or do I?” After picking their jaws up off of the desktop, they tried to convince me to stay. “Who is going to teach those souls in Argentina who are waiting to hear your message?” I said, “Well, I guess they are going to have to hear it from someone else.”
One of the hardest things I had ever done in my life up until that time was telling my fellow district missionaries that I was leaving. We had been so supportive of each other during our time there, and there was a true bond of love. There were a lot of tears as I stood outside the front entrance of the MTC while a van waited to take me to the SLC airport. The Hermanas hugged me so tightly I didn’t think they would ever let go. After five weeks in the MTC, I was out of there.
On my flight home to LAX, I had no idea if anyone would be there for me when I landed. As I walked off of the plane towards the gate I noticed my father. When I approached him there was no hug or arm around my shoulder…just an extended hand to shake and a terse, “You look good…I can’t say I am glad to see you.” The 30-minute ride home he was screaming at the top of his lungs at me. I don’t remember much, but I do remember him saying things like, “How could you do that to a daughter of our father in heaven!?!?!?” I wanted to respond but felt it was wise to sit there and take it. I REALLY wanted him to pull over so I could have kicked his ass…but I had nowhere else to go and was TOTALLY dependent on him. I was told not to ask for anything. If my mother was cooking…I could eat. No use of any cars, phone, forget about school being paid for, etc.
The house was dark when we arrived. It was around 11:00pm. I went to my room, closed my door, crawled in bed, threw the blankets over my head, and spent the rest of the night trembling. The next morning there was a knock at my door…it was my sister. She was in tears and asked how I could do this to the family. I slowly closed the door on her. My mother couldn’t face me for 2-3 days. I had stepped out of the MTC and into a whole other kind of HELL.
Word got out that I was home. After being holed up in my room for three days, I heard a horn honk and my name being screamed out on the street. Looking out of the window…it was one of my best friends. He motioned for me to come down. I bolted out of my room, down the stairs, out the door, and dove into his car. He sped away and a few blocks away he pulled over. He got out and came around to my side of the car. I got out and he hugged me. I collapsed in his arms and he held me until I could stand again. Without his, and my other friends help, I don’t know how I would have made it.
I had a little money left and scraped together some more. I couldn’t afford to buy a car, but I could afford a motorcycle. Being mobile allowed me to find a job. I became less and less dependent on my father. That didn’t make him happy. You know how there are some TBM’s who believe they have to treat you poorly, tear you down, make you beg? That is how he was. About five months later I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That is when he came to me one night and said, “I think it would best for the family if you were to leave.” My mother was out of state and he must have mentioned something to her. She sped home the next day and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. She must have realized that once I left, I would NEVER see them again. This caused a rift between my father and her that lasted for months.
Because of my experiences I have an incredible soft spot in my heart for the missionaries. I realize that although they won’t admit it, most of them probably wish they weren’t on their missions. They are afraid to leave for various reasons but perhaps most out of fear for recriminations of what they would face from their “loving” family.
Those fears are real. I lived them.