Okay, yeah, I’m a religious nutcase

Wednesday night the training supervisor at the temple (where I serve one night a week as an ordinance worker) reminded me that a) this Sunday was the training film, b) everybody needs to see it about once every six months, and c) the new guys like me need to see it at their earliest convenience.

“Earliest convenience” is a funny misnomer. Training Sessions run at 7am, 9am, and 11am, but my congregation meets from 9am until noon. Thus, if I wanted to attend Sacrament meeting with my family, I needed to be at the temple, dressed out, at 7am. That pretty much dictates a 5:45am wake-up call.

The life of a full-time cartoonist has lots of “sleeping in” in it, especially lately. You might as well ask me to wake up on the moon.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. It was 1am before my lids grew heavy enough that the idea-hamster in my brain could quit running in circles and finally get off his wheel.

So… in my prayers before getting BACK into bed I said (and I paraphrase) “Lord, I’m not setting my alarm. If you want me at this training meeting tomorrow, you’ll need to pop me awake in time. If you DO, I promise I’ll go. But I have to be AWAKE, not this foggy ‘almost awake’ from which I can later remember looking at the clock, but from which I’m all but powerless to arise.”

Fellow-saints reading this know that this kind of “bargaining with the Lord” prayer is risky.

I realized as I uttered it that what I really WANTED was to sleep until 8am undisturbed, and that it would be WONDERFUL if I could do that with the peace of mind that comes with believing that it was okay to do. I also realized, with the certainty that comes from the still, small voice that occasionally answers prayers, that sleeping in was NOT going to happen.

5:30am, I popped awake, and the first thought into my mind was a quote for which I can’t find the reference: “The Sabbath day is a day for doing My Will, not thine own.”

So… I’m up, I’m dressed, and I’ve got time to spare to write about it.

I’m also pleased that the Lord hasn’t said anything like “No, Howard, You May Not Have A Nap After Church,” because I know I’m going to need one.

See? I told you I’m a religious nutcase.


41 thoughts on “Okay, yeah, I’m a religious nutcase”

  1. I read that as “an ordnance worker”, and had no trouble conceiving you performing routine maintenence on all manner of small-arms. For the Lord. 🙂

      1. I think ALL religions “officially” abhor violence. But the devil is in the details. I wouldn’t say that Christianity is especially more or less violent than Islam or Judaism.

        I’ve never seen Buddhists get up in arms, however. 🙂


          1. Go see ‘Ong-Bak’, wherein you find out that Buddhist training gives you Extreme Martial-Arts Kick-Butt Skills And Powers.

          2. Both plenty violent. Most Japanese martial arts started off as shinto spiritual activities.

            Zen Bhuddism, especially practised by Samurai was practically a form of death worship.

            Combine the asceticism, the anihilation of the ego and the general belief that the real world isn’t and you get a religious practise that causes people to put a disturbingly low value on human life.

            It was kind of a shock when I found out, so it really annoys me that people think that Bhuddism is the shiny, happy peaceful religion just because it hasn’t been overtly violent in the last couple hundred years. Frankly, Christianity has been about as generally non-violent in the same time frame, but since we’re taught European rather than SE Asian history, we’re familiar with Christianity’s past transgressions and not Bhuddism’s.

            If you really have a hangup about the Shinto thing, then have a look at Chinese history. The seminal ancient text of warfare came out of China for a reason.

          3. …and then you can argue that the Chinese aren’t really Buddhists per se, again, but instead collectively and syncretically combine elements of Taoism, Buddhism and philosophical movements like Confucianism into something that isn’t easily categorizable.

            And you could say, up until quite recently, that both Chinese and Japanese political systems were based on agrarian feudalism. Agrarian feudalism has a whole class of people whose lives aren’t worth a gold piece.

            But hey, Buddhism isn’t as peaceful as most people take it to be. I agree with you on that. But you really have to realize that the Japanese and the Chinese aren’t purely Buddhist, and it’s really a lot more complicated than just, you know, the features of a religion.

            Hell, ascetism, annhilation of ego crops up in any mystical religion once in a while. So is mystical religion, despite what it may preach, inherently violent? Well, you can believe that… but the argument needs more rigor before I’ll believe it.

          4. *shrug* Frankly, one would be hard pressed to find any country where “pure” Bhuddism was practised for any length of time, and even if you did, the sample size would probably be too small to draw any great conclusions.

            People sometimes forget that religious wars are often fought for political convenience more than anything else. If the sauce is fit for the goose, it’s fit for the gander. Both Bhuddism & Christianity have been used as an opportunitstic means to make a war more popular.

            And yes, I personally think that asceticism and ego-annhilation are Very Bad Things (or at least very dangerous). Historically, they’ve led to bloodshed because of the combination of glorifying suffering (& death) and making oneself more psychologically malleable. Of course, I’m something of an egoistic hedonist, so I would say that, wouldn’t I?

          5. And yes, I personally think that asceticism and ego-annhilation are Very Bad Things (or at least very dangerous). Historically, they’ve led to bloodshed because of the combination of glorifying suffering (& death) and making oneself more psychologically malleable. Of course, I’m something of an egoistic hedonist, so I would say that, wouldn’t I?

            Well, sure you would. Mind you, I agree with the with ego-anihillation and ascetism as Very Dangerous part, myself.

            But then again so is antimatter technology, if the comic of late is of any indication. Tools are tools.

          6. I’m probably crazy.

            Is not the seminal ancient text of warfare “The Art of War”, by Sun Tzu? Is he not Japanese?

            Please, if there’s another book, I need to know.

            And if he’s Chinese, I’m going to need to wipe and reload.

          7. Wipe and reload, wipe and reload.

            Sun Tzu was a Chinese general.

            You possibly are thinking of the Book of Five Rings, which is Japanese, and it is a warfare book.

  2. I have to say that I suspect you are not a nutcase so much as you are mearly truly in touch with God and you know what he expects of you. On the one hand, a wonderful thing to be able to see in oneself. On the other, a rather large basket of fish to live up to. : ]

  3. One thing I know about God is that he is like a Hollywood Genie. That is to say he will take every possible opportunity to fulfil your requests in the most perverse possible fashion.

    1. I disagree, to some extent.

      One time, about 14 years ago, because I thought it was a good idea and because I was being very prideful, I said a prayer as I went to bed that night, asking the Lord to humble me.

      The next day, some truly stupid stuff happened, I overreacted, and I was humbled.

      Now, at that time, I came to a determination that you are exactly correct.

      Yesterday, it occurred to me that perhaps the whole thing was my own fault. The Lord didn’t make me overreact, afterall, and that was what led to my humiliating experience.

      Anyway, that’s just a thought. I’m not in a position to tell you that you’re wrong. 😉

  4. Isn’t it great when your prayers get answered in that “no fooling around” tone like that?

    I am happy for you that you are able to have communications with your God in that manner. I don’t think it makes you a religious nutcase at all. You are in touch with your Divinity and actually recognize when He speaks to you.

  5. Reminds me of a prayer I whipped out a few times when I was in high school: ‘Not my will but thine be done, Lord, but if thine and mine should happen to coincide, I wouldn’t be the one to object.’

    *scurries off to get ready for her own church*

  6. I hope the film was worth watching (unlike many training films)…

    But you got an answer…and having done what was required, enjoy that nap.

  7. Maybe so, but if that’s the case, then you’re the good kind of religious nutcase, instead of the knd that insists on forcing their views on everyone who doesn’t share them. I wish there were more ‘nutcases’ like you in the world.

    And extra kudos for getting up at 5:30 AM. Even when it’s at the behest of The Powers That Be, that ain’t ever easy.

      1. Thanks. ^_^ It’s from the anime Full Metal Alchemist (or Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, or Hagaren, or FMA…) Most of my icons come from that series. It’s good stuff.

  8. One thing that caught my eye was “Fellow-saints”

    This at first caused me some laughter, thinking of the common, perfect, sterotyped catholic saint-hood being given to you, considering schlock. And then the idea of Schlock being named by the Pope: “Saint Schlock” poped to mind, with lots of laughter.

    Then curiosity took over.

    1) I’m wondering if “Fellow-saints” is a common way of reference to others of your church?

    2) What could Schlock do that would make a future church declare him a Saint?

    No offense intended to anyone. Just humor and curiosity. ^_~

    1. 1. I’m not a mormon but I work with several. It is my understanding that they refer to each other as saints. Hence the name of the church, Latter-Day Saints (LDS).

      2. I wouldn’t say the good sgt. is irredemable, but I think it’d take a bit of work. Still, his pulmonary organ(s) (if any) are presumed to be in the correct location, so it’s not inconceivable that he could be sainted.

      Or he could just join the LDS church. Probably be a lot easier. 8^)

    2. Fellow-saints is a term used by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament to refer to fellow members of the early Christian Church. I’m using that term to refer to:

      1) Fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      2) Fellow Christians
      3) Anybody who has a relationship with God such that they know better than to try to bargain with him during prayer.


      1. I don’t bargain with God. I have enough troubles, and it’s hard enough running my own life by myself 🙂

        I do my best to do right by others, and I figure that’s good enough for both of us.


      2. The “if it be your will” prayers generally bothers me a little. A little time spent in the word will usually tell you if what you want is His will or not. A person making that prayer shouldn’t be asking for something that isn’t God’s will.

        But I’m referring to “If it’s Your will, make my neighbour sick” (not likely) or “If it’s Your will, make me well again” (well, duh) rather than “Hey, you want me to go to a meeting? Just let me know, and please help me out a little!”

        And getting an answer is good. I’ve had a clear answer a couple times in my life, and it’s a wonderful thing.

    3. You don’t watch enough anime.

      … I immediately wondered how Seiya ended up a Mormon when he’s supposed to serve Athena.

  9. I have a question.

    Why did your supervisor schedule this training film for Sunday morning in the first place? Was the hall already booked Tuesday evening for bingo?

    I just seems odd to me that a training film for the faithful would be scheduled in such a way as to make you choose between it and church services. Out of curiosity, is this the same individual who informed you that wearing a beard while serving god/God was wrong?

    Yeah yeah, I already know that for questioning religious authority figures I’ll go to hell. But hopefully I’ll be able to take a few of them with me. >:-)

    1. Yeah yeah, I already know that for questioning religious authority figures I’ll go to hell. But hopefully I’ll be able to take a few of them with me. >:-)

      No, you’re thinking of Islam, the “Don’t Ask And We Won’t Kill Or Maim You” religion. Mormons (the ones I’ve known) tend to be pretty relaxed.

  10. *snickers*

    *snickers some more*

    *bursts out laughing*

    Ooooh, I’m so going to pay for laughing at this, so I might as well enjoy it fully.

    *continues laughing*

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