Thursday, January 24, 2013

Half Mormon

My parents would argue that it makes no sense whatsoever to call oneself one-half of a religion based on having inherited it but not on half-practicing it.  I argue that (A) they're wrong on so many levels it's tough for me to know where to start a rebuttal and (B) by the time I've been both blessed and necro-dunked, I can say I  have practiced it

I've discussed the circumstances surrounding my brother and I having been blessed before. My grandparents wanted my brother and me to be considered LDS children of record, so they had us blessed in an LDS chapel during Fast & Testimony Meeting when we were two years old without bothering to enlighten my parents as to what had been done.

The necro-dunking incident -- more properly known among true-believing Mormons as "Baptism for the Dead"  was more an act of confusion. I was staying with relatives in Utah. A necro-dunking trip had been planned for the local LDS ward's youth. My aunt was going to be gone for the day with her four children who were too young to participate in necro-dunking, while the other three children were going along for the temple trip, and she didn't trust me alone in her house all day. (I was twelve at the time.)  In order to be allowed to participate in the necro-dunking activity,  had to pass through two worthiness interview checkpoints.

The first checkpoint was with the local bishop, who was my uncle. He genuinely thought I had been baptized and was officially LDS.  The next worthiness interview checkpoint was with a member of the stake presidency; an LDS stake is the rough equivalent of a Catholic diocese. The stake president in the area happened to be  another uncle by marriage, who also was laboring under the false assumption that I had been baptized Mormon and was officially LDS, and therefore eligible for necro-dunking.

I told both of these men I had not been baptized, but both thought I was lying in order to avoid attending the necro-dunking activity, and both signed off on my level of worthiness to be baptized on behalf of someone who had died in the distant or not-so-distant past. With all the lying I was supposedly doing in order to get out of participating in this activity, one would have thought my worthiness would have  been seriously compromised. The last I heard, bearing false witness was one of The Big Ten No-Nos agreed upon by both Mormonism and Catholicism. (It's one of the relatively few distinctions upon which the two religions agree, and even here they cannot agree upon which number of commandment it is, which is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of all things Catholic, Mormon, or anywhere in between.)

Anyway, I was necro-dunked in the Manti Temple a huge number of times because I was such a light-weight that dunking me didn't tire out the priesthood holder who was doing the dunking.  I finally got the man's attention and told him I needed to catch me breath, so he let me go.

The whole issue regarding my bona fide Mormon-ness concerns whether or not I was baptized for myself.    We all agree now that it never happened.  I think, however, that by the time a Mormon priesthood holder dunked me somewhere between thirty and one-hundred times (even among those of us present for the particular necro-dunking session, we cannot agree on how many times I was actually dunked; my relatives say one person would never be dunked close to one-hundred times, even though they acknowledge that I was dunked substantially more than is usual; i say I lost count at sixty-eight and that it went on considerably past the point where i lost count) some of it had to have spilled over the temple's "to infinity and beyond" territory and into the here and now, and that it counts. I have the right to consider myself  however much Mormon that I choose to consider myself.

The interesting thing is what happened in the eyes of the LDS church to the souls of those dear departed dead people (I acknowledge the redundancy of my description) on whose behalf I was necro-dunked. Must someone else be necro-dunked on their behalf, or are they considered good to go?  I would write the LDS church headquarters in Salt Lake City to ask The Big Boys, but they no longer entertain letters with questions from the masses.  If you write them with a question now, they send you in return a form letter telling you to consult and rely upon the counsel of your local LDS leaders. I would consider doing that except that relying upon the counsel of local LDS leaders was what got me possibly  invalidly necro-dunked in the first place.

My brother, too, is in a somewhat unique state of half-Mormon-ness.  He holds the Aaronic Priesthood of the LDS church without ever having been baptized, which is, if anything, even less probable than having been baptized for the dead without having been baptized for the alive.  I think my family is  just a bit special where Mormonism is concerned in such a way  that we can skip steps of Mormonism just as some people skip grades in school. We skipped a grade in school as well; it seems we're special in more ways than one.

I may be half Mormon, but I'm not yet half-finished with my work for the quarter, so I much returned to the grindstone from whence I sprung.



5 comments:

  1. Sounds pretty half-baked, Alexis...I totally believe it happened, though. If people only knew how strange Mormonism is.

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  2. OMG, this one had me cracking up.

    Thank the gods I wasn't such a light weight when I did those baptisms...I remember doing #s like 15-20 typically in a session. But I never really counted either. I just liked getting out of school early to do it.

    I have no idea how the church views me, probably as "inactive" on some roll call sheet somewhere. I have had momentary thoughts of contacting the local missionaries to see if they want to feast with the pagans and see if I can corrupt more of them back into reality, but my neighborhood is scary enough.

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  3. I would have been willingly necro-dunked if i had gotten out of school early, but I wouldn't necessarily have traveled all the way to Manti for it.

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  4. I typed in half Mormon on google to see what came up, and found this. I never thought I'd ever find someone else who would consider themselves "half Mormon". I know this is probably kind of strange that I'm commenting and have no idea who you are, but please know that you referring to yourself as "half mormon" has helped me feel a little less alone in the universe. Thanks :)

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  5. Dallas,
    It is good to know that there are a few of us and that we're not entirely alone in the orld.
    Alexis

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