Cydniey Buffers (cydniey) wrote,
Cydniey Buffers

I'm Still Fasting

Three things about myself. I am a Coca Cola and coffee addict; I starve myself on a regular basis; I have a deep seated mistrust, bordering on hatred of all authority figures.

Three things about my childhood in the Mormon cult: I was not allowed any caffeine. As a child, at various school and birthday and pool parties, I stuck out like a sore thumb because I couldn't drink coke with the rest of the kids, I had to ask for water or hope to hell they had 7Up.

The Mormons use the holy trinity as a celestial ATM machine. Want or need something? Fast (don't eat) and pray. When I was little, my parents wanted a lot. They made me fast with them, which resulted in a lot of fainting at school from low blood sugar. I don't pray anymore, but subconsciously I'm still on a permanent fast.

And the authority mistrust. That's a complicated one. I was 5 when my parents converted to the cult. My dad's side of the family were the bastard children of the early pioneers that got chased out of the east for their beliefs. My mom read a book about them and decided they were the "one true church", as they are fond of saying.

The whole church revolves around one man. Joseph Smith. And, as you've probably heard by now, he wasn't a good man. He took 40 wives, some married already to other men, some just teens. But as I was growing up, this was very hush hush. I had a Seminary teacher who admitted it to me after class one day, but that wasn't until high school. I knew from a very young age that he was a bad man and his "church" was a bad thing. When it came time for me to be baptized at age 8, I refused. My parents had to bribe the shit out of me to get me to agree to join the church and live by it.

After that, my life revolved around Joseph Smith. To get into the temples (which I had to 7 times) I had to swear that in my heart I knew that ol' Joe Smith was the one true prophet of the one true church. One of the things he was big on was women's subservience. But that's not what I saw at home. We had the requisite "Family Home Evenings" every Monday night where we studied the scriptures. My parents were constantly going off to do "temple work" (I still have no idea exactly what that entails a strange ceremony followed by some geneology work). But my mom was the boss of our family, never my dad.

And she was hassled and looked down upon for it by the other women in the church. My mom dared to go back to school. And even though they adopted several children, two of them were African American, and racism is inherent in the church, and it set up conflict in the form of sideways glances and harsh whispers.

This epiphany started with the Mormons openly admitting the truth about Joe's multiple wives. It started this whole ball rolling. Doc and I talked about it and he started putting things together. The ways that I am still punishing myself for something I had no control over: being a Mormon.

I left the cult as soon as I was able. It wasn't soon enough not to get raped and blamed for it at one of their colleges. It wasn't soon enough not to go on creepy daddy/daughter dates. It wasn't soon enough not to attend four years of Seminary (scripture study) and find massive inconsistencies in the scripture Joe had provided from his golden plates and revelation.

My dad once pushed me down the stairs. I called our Bishop, arbiter of fairness and protector of children. He came over and within 5 minutes my dad had him convinced that I had just made it up, I was mentally ill, after all.

I remember my first hallucination. I was around 5. My paternal grandfather had recently died and it had been a catalyst for my parents to join the cult and change their partying ways. This meant they had to be "sealed" together in the temple, so they could meet up in heaven. Since I had been born out of the seal, I had to be there too. So I got my little outfit (all white, floor length dress with long sleeves and high neck, opaque tights, shiny white Mary Janes), tried not to think about how skeevy it was to be marrying one's own parents, and headed off to the Oakland temple. It was all bright light and huge gold-framed mirrors facing each other, to give you a sense of eternity. It gave me a sense of vertigo.

We went into a room with a padded altar and velvet padded chairs surrounding. There were a couple of friends of my parents from church there to witness, and as the man in charge spoke to me, (the only thing I really remember is him going on about a special kind of celestial glue binding our family for "time and all eternity"), I turned around and saw my dead grandfather in an all white cowboy outfit sitting in one of the velvet padded chairs, beaming at me with his sparkling eyes. As the man asked me if I was ready to begin the ceremony, I said, "Yes! Granpa Earl is here now, we can start", and turned around and winked at him.

There was havoc in the room. The adults all crowded around me, weeping. All of them jabbering about how I was truly blessed with the Holy Ghost, and this just proved everything was right with God here. I was scared shitless. I remember nothing else of that day. What they should have done was get me to a psychiatrist.

Which brings me to another aspect of Mormons in the 70's. Faith Healing, or, as they call it, "the laying on of hands". Members of the Priesthood (men only, and until 1978, whites only) carry around vials of consecrated oil. And when a person is sick, or otherwise needs a blessing, a gaggle of men gather round, pour some oil on the person's head and pile their hands on the head, pushing it down under the weight of bullshit, and pray for the person.

They tried to pray the chicken pox out of me, to no avail. I hurt my ankle and they prayed over me until my gym teacher threatened my mother with Child Protective Services if she didn't come directly to the school and take me to a doctor/ER. I ended up in surgery for the injury a week later. And they just plain laughed at my suicide attempts when I told them about them, until my mom walked in on me slashing my wrists in a Xanax haze. I was hospitalized for three months. Mis-diagnosed, and when the therapy and wrong drugs didn't work in 6 months, they went back to praying over me and gave up on the shrink and the meds.

As my siblings grew up, every time one of them hurt themselves, my mother just laughed at them. I don't know what twisted her into that, maybe it was the church, trying to live up to the standard of subservience and always keeping who she really was locked up inside.

But it twisted me into a professional victim. Obviously I was sick before I was Mormon, but the cult didn't help. When they decided I was too disruptive for Relief Society (what the women folk did while the Priesthood did important church stuff), I was put in the Nursery, where all the members drooped their babies and toddlers off. I have always hated kids. This did nothing to change my mind. But when the Bishop called you to a position, it came directly from God through the Bishop, and there was a reason in the grander scheme of things. For example of my feelings about children were well known, so calling me to the Nursery, was God's way of challenging me to get over that so I could later fulfill my role as wife and mother.

There was no one there interested in helping me. I was almost sexually assaulted by one bishop. Any time I talked to one of the "Sisters" I was told to go to my dad, the nearest Priesthood member and seek his counsel, then to fast and pray.

I'm still fasting.

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