A 2-year-old Got Excommunicated By the Mormon Church -
am the son of a career Army officer and we moved many
times when I was growing up, but Salt Lake City, UT was
always the center of our world since we had family there.
My dad's father emigrated to the US when he was 16 and
ended up in Salt Lake to attend school at the University
of Utah. When he married my Grandmother he converted
to Mormonism on paper, but he was never a believer. My
Grandmother never really was either, she was a school
teacher and one of the influential people in my life
who taught me the scientific method and critical thinking.
Why am I telling you all this? Because the Mormon church
keeps records on it's membership and their genealogy
that would put both the CIA and Santa Claus to shame.
So, let's set the way-back machine for the early 80s;
the city, Lawton, Oklahoma. Here is the story as my parents
told it. Being a good little scientist, when my dad told
me what happened I went and asked my mom for her version;
both their stories were consistent.
I am about two and my younger brother is a newborn and
my family has recently moved into off-post housing. My
dad is off at work and my mom is home taking care of
my brother and me. The door bell rings and my mom answers.
At the door are two men, one tall and thin, the other
short and chubby; let's call them Laurel and Hardy. Hardy
was the mouthpiece of the duo. He said that they were
Mormon "Home Teachers" and that they were there
to deliver their lesson. (Think of Home Teachers as Missionaries
for members, essentially they are "customer retention".)
Now, my mom was never Mormon and she was new to the area.
She told Laurel and Hardy that they needed to call for
an appointment when my father was home. She quickly closed
and bolted the door.
She thought that was the end of it, but two weeks later
Laurel and Hardy are back, this time in the evening.
The bell rings and she answers the door, with two-year-old
me by the hand and my newborn brother in her arms. Hardy,
apparently remembering my mom's mad ninja door-closing
skills, immediately stuck his foot in the door. He forcefully
said that he was her home teacher and that he would come
in and deliver the lesson, he then tried to push his
way into the house.
At this point my father stuck his head out of the study
to see what the fuck was going on. From his perspective
all he sees are two strange men trying to forcibly enter
his home and assaulting his wife and kids. Now, my dad
was not a small man, 6'4" and in his prime. Army
physical training, the whole bit. He comes charging across
the house like a line backer and hits both these guys
as hard as he can. There is some disagreement about whether
or not Laurel and Hardy even touched the front steps
or if all three just landed in the front yard. My dad
got up, stood over Hardy, reached down and stuck his
fingers inside the front of his shirt, grabbing a fist
full of shirt and sloppy half-Windsor. With one hand
he lifts the prone Hardy's head and shoulders off the
lawn until they are nose-to-nose and informs him in no
uncertain terms that the two of them had better get the
fuck out of pistol range in less time that it takes my
dad to go back inside and get his gun. He goes on to
indicate that if he ever sees the two of them ever again
anywhere what is left of them will have to be shipped
back to their families in a sandwich bag.
Laurel and Hardy run like their lives depend on it -
and they aren't wrong.
A few days later my dad, a Colonel, gets a letter from
the local Mormon Bishop commanding him to appear before
some sort of ecclesiastical court to explain himself.
That letter was chucked in the bin.
A couple weeks later he got a letter saying that he,
and his entire family, had been excommunicated.
And that's how I got kicked out of the Mormon church
when I was 2 years old - without even being a member.