Middle Minnesota Mormon by Rhett Sjur

The Devil and Me

The Little Guys On My Shoulders Who Try to Make My Decisions and How It Relates to Beer and Sports (since this is The Packie). I’d like to start out by saying Thank You to Arty for inviting me to The Packie.

Innocence. Lost. So begins the harrowing story of a rational young boy thrust into the White privileged life of goody two-shoes, Christian, cult comfort. It is a confusing one at best and can only truly be understood from the inside, but I’ll do my darn-tootin’est to explain it.

My mother raised me Mormon because she was a huge fan of The Osmonds, the 1970s pop group. She converted my father and had seven children. I am the middle one. The rest is history.

It was a drizzling, foggy day in the sauna as my father waited for my mother to birth me. I was the third child that month from among the sister-wives and he had finally gotten used to the idea that this is the way life was, so he better just relax and enjoy it.

People always asked me, “So what, do you have like twenty moms or something?” I said, “No, most Mormons are mainstream, I only have four moms. One does the cooking, one does the cleaning, one is in charge of making me feel guilty for everything, and one always comes into my room unannounced. You know what that means. She’d always catch me…listening to rap music.” In order to continue to listen to rap music I had to move to New York.

Growing up around so many other children makes you feel like you’re just another mouth that has to be fed, just another butt that needs clothes and just another butt that needs to be spanked when you get out of line. All your energy goes into trying to stand out, get attention and distinguish your butt from all the others. My butt was alright and safe in its clean, crisp Sunday best. I have no reason to complain about it, so I’ll stop talking about it. It was the rest of me I was worried about.

I asked my Sunday school teacher in Sunbeam class “Mrs. Smith, if our religion is the true religion, why do we need faith to believe in it? I don’t have faith that one plus one is two. It is a fact. Can I not worry about this whole faith thing and just accept that this is the true religion?” She said, “Oh no, you must always keep your faith.” I said, “You mean one day I’m going to have trouble believing in this stable, house-of-cards operation they’re running here and I’ll need it? You don’t say?”

There were so many things I felt guilty about while growing up because of my religion. I regret not rebelling sooner and having fun. I should’ve taken my siblings’ toys they left lying around. I should’ve skipped over the boring parts of The Bible and Book of Mormon. If I had forgotten my tie, I should not have dutifully borrowed the ugly old ones from the church closet. I should have drunk caffeine if I felt like it. I should’ve felt-up Jenny when she invited the chance. I should’ve tried at least one beer and one doobie. What was my problem? I knew the other guys were having fun. I blame my OCD for making me want to do everything perfectly. I thought I was having fun, at the time it was the way life was. It wasn’t until age 14 that I finally realized I was a fucking goody two-shoes idiot!

I started to openly question my faith and had fights with my parents. I quit wrestling and took up tennis, which doesn’t make sense. I was throwing anything at the wall. I talked back to teachers and I was even sent to the Principal’s office once. In Spanish class we had to demonstrate vocabulary through skits and during the “Getting Ready for the Day” skit I said, “Me doy una ducha con mi novia.” I take a shower with my girlfriend. Even though only the teacher and one other nerd girl understood me and were actually paying attention, I still got in trouble. I didn’t care though, I was starting to embrace my inner freak that I had been taught to repress my whole life.

Stay tuned for more Ex-Mormon Adventures on The Rhett Sjur Blogsplat. Because this blog is about self-indulgence, and you know what the ultimate self-indulgence ends in: a splat! HEY!!! NO!!! A splat of spilt alcoholic beverage, silly!!! Get your mind in the gutter where it has more fun!!! (I don’t know what I’m talking about, I barely drink.)

Also, the name is pronounced See-ver. It’s Norwegian.

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Copyright 2013 Maxwell Spencer Grape Productions

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