I don't quite understand what's going on, but I am suddenly undergoing an intense spiritual/religious renaissance. Perhaps this happens when one's life turns into shit and nothing makes any sense, one has completely lost their direction in life and has nothing else to hang on to. This is different from what I experienced when I returned to religion in 2001. That was unexpected and uninvited. When those two missionaries knocked on my door, something inside me sang a song of psychic joy. I had been aching for a Mormon connection, especially with missionaries, with whom I felt an emotional link because I had served a mission myself, an experience that planted deep seeds. So I invited those Elders to return and give me the six discussions, telling myself I just wanted to see how different it was from when I was a missionary in 1972/73. I assured the Elders (and myself) that I would never return to the church. After the third discussion the Elders challenged me to pray when I was alone. The idea made me laugh, but then after they left I thought, "Oh what the hell, what's gonna happen?" Full of cynicism, the old queen got down on her knees and thought. I didn't even know if I believed in God, what was I going to ask. So I folded my arms, lowered my grinning mug and asked, "Do You Exist?" Some of my friends like to tell me I've been brainwashed by the church, but at that time the church had absolutely no hold on me, none whatsoever. I was a gnarly street transvestite, a glorious punk rock queen. I had been a male whore. The spirit of God was not a fire burning within me, and I had no clue about belief.
The result of prayer was immediate and overwhelming. It was like a vampire had been at my window, awaiting invitation, and so I said "Enter In" and thus I was seduced, trampled, infected. Immediately. My entire body froze as if it had been doused in ice water. I began to shake violently, my very bones trembling as they never had before. I felt the presence of my dead father, and his father, my beloved grandfather with whom I went through the Salt Lake Temple when I got my endowments before heading off to Ireland to preach the Book of Mormon. I heard a voice, within me or without I am uncertain, and it declared:
The church is true.
I was freaked out and pissed-off. This is not what I wanted. I did not want a renewal of testimony, I did not want some Heavenly Father reaching out for me. I was a screaming punk queen and exhibitionist and nothing was gonna change me. But punk had taught me to embrace everything I am, and Oscar Wilde had whispered in my ear, "Whatever is realised is right." What the fuck was I supposed to do, be a gutless hypocrite and pretend this thing had not happened to me? I refuse to be false. So I started going to church and after two years I entered ye waters of baptism once more in March of 2003.
It has not been easy, but easy is so boring. I adore complication and contradiction. However, since my last heart bollocks that sent me to hospital last Thanksgiving week-end, my life has slowly, fiendishly unraveled. I can't bloody write, I have no energy, I sometimes come close to fainting while walking from my car through the Safeway parking lot into the store. I found my father's old walking cane and use it. Home-life is messed-up big-time and leaves me exhausted. My drama queen tendencies are working overtime and it makes me grotesque. I've lost hope and peace of mind.
So suddenly I am going through this religious thing. Feels a bit like a cliche. Been getting gobs of LDS books, biographies of Spencer W. Kimbell and Parley P. Pratt, books by the amazing Terryl L. Givens (published by Oxford University Press no less) that explore Book of Mormon studies and religious matters. I haven't been able to attend church for months because I cannot leave my invalid mother alone, unattended. My elder sis is in town, and thus I was able to go to church last Sunday. Three hours never passed so quickly. It was heaven. I have an interview with my bishop this Tuesday evening to try and get the ball rolling in restoring my priesthood. The idea that I may, at some future time, become a high priest in the Mormon Church is utterly surreal. I love the unreality of it all. Great Yuggoth, life is a trip!
Now I want to write a new book of weird fiction about angels, dark angels, depraved angels, queer angels. But one section of it is going to be a sequence of sonnets and prose-poems in honor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, LDS up ye arse, darlings. If I am able to return to writing, I'm gonna write this book. But writing remains difficult because of household chaos that makes it totally impossible to concentrate on composing new work. Maybe if I pray for peace of mind, that will help me write, nu?
I love solitude and silence, and I often tell myself that the best life for me is one in which I live alone, am left utterly alone so as to summon my Muse and work my art. Now, going through this messed-up emotional debauch and feeling so out of it, I ache to have a hand to hold, someone in whom I can trust absolutely. That has led me to turn more and more to God, that daemon in ye sky whom I cannot comprehend yet who calls my name again and again. And so I grasp his essence, and feel that I do not walk alone. Freaky, innit?
And of course, when one thinks of all that is heavenly, one thinks of Barbra, doesn't one?