Most Embarrassing Moments, Gospel Style

April 3, 2004 | 9 comments
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As an adult convert to the Church, I had plenty of embarrassing moments of adjustment along the path to integration. Mostly, these were caused by excessive zeal, rather than lingering bad habits. For example, there was the formal meal when I realized that I had just taken one bite of a dessert that contained trace amounts of alcohol. I excused myself from the table, dashed from the restaurant, and drove to the house of my “mentor” (a young returned missionary), who assured me that I wasn’t going to hell … at least for that. This was a bit embarrassing, to be sure, but it does not hold a candle to my most embarrassing moment.

My most embarrassing moment involved a young woman whom I met in my Missionary Preparation class at BYU. We were both from Wisconsin, but she was a city girl, and I was a country bumpkin. She came from a family with money, and I was lucky to make my apartment rental payments. She was thinking about a mission, but I had firmly decided that a mission was the most important thing I could do with my life at that time.

I have never been more attractive to women than immediately after my baptism. In reflecting on this phenomenon, I later concluded that this was largely due to the fact that I was absolutely set on a mission. As a result, I was a low-risk dating partner (i.e., not likely to pursue marriage). It may also have had something to do with the fact that I was quite uninterested in dating. For some people, nothing is more attractive than disinterest. In any event, I found that my social life was detracting from my focus on mission preparation, so I resolved to stop dating until after my mission. (As you might imagine, my returned-missionary roommates thought I was nuts, and they were probably right. But I was sincere!)

One Friday night, I arrived back at my apartment after studying late at the Harold B. Lee Library. (Yes, I was as geeky as I sound.) The ward was having a dance in my apartment complex, but dancing was strictly verboten under my new resolution. As I walked past the event, the second counselor in the bishopric rushed over to me, a glint in his eye, and said, “Someone is looking for you.”

G: “Who?”
C: “A beautiful girl in a brand new Mercedes.”
G: “That doesn’t sound like anyone I know.”
C: “Well, she said she sits next to you in your Missionary Prep class.”

It took me a minute or two to think of who that might be. According to this fellow, she had stopped by to ask me out on a date. And left her telephone number! When I met up with my roommates, they were all in a dither. “She’s gorgeous,” “Yeah, and that car!” Stuff like that. I said, “Do I have to call her? (Sound of jaws dropping.)

Anyway, I felt obliged to call, and I explained that I had sworn off dating. Just imagine that conversation! I am blushing just thinking about it.

“Gee, that’s really thoughtful of you, but I’ve decided to stop dating.”
Silence
“Not forever, you understand, just until after my mission. It’s really important to me, you know.”
“Well, I was just thinking of a movie or something. I wasn’t implying …”
“It has nothing to do with you. It’s just …”

We didn’t talk much after that.

With that sort of resolve, you can guess that I made it all the way to (and through!) my mission without another date. When I returned to BYU, however, I found that my social status had changed dramatically, from “cool new convert” to “desperate RM.” Especially desperate since I tacked on an extra six months of no dating to the front of my mission! Nevertheless, after six months of mind games with members of the opposite gender, I was ready to call a moratorium again. I needed a fresh start. About a month prior to the end of the winter semester, I again resolved to forego dating, this time until the fall semester.

Shortly thereafter, my next-door neighbor called and asked me to attend a small social gathering. Just three couples. Couples?

“But, Rick, remember that I am not dating?”
“You don’t need to bring a date, exactly, but you need to bring a girl.”

We were close friends, and I didn’t want to disappoint, but I had made the resolution. Could I find a way to accommodate both? My roommate suggested that I call my friend Sue. She wouldn’t read anything into it. After much self-fortification — I hated making those calls — I telephoned Sue. We talked for a very long time about her day, the weather, school, soccer, and who knows what else. Finally, I asked her if she would be willing to accompany me to this party. I was trying to make it sound un-datelike, but it was hopeless. I had broken my resolution. Two months later, we were engaged. Now, almost 19 years later, we are still together. There it is folks, proof that I can be taught!

So, anyone else out there who has taken faithfulness a smidge too far?

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9 Responses to Most Embarrassing Moments, Gospel Style

  1. Kristine on April 3, 2004 at 7:10 pm

    Gee, Gordon, I guess it’s just you : )

  2. Kaimi on April 3, 2004 at 9:26 pm

    Let’s see . . .

    Swearing off dating prior to mission? Check.
    Throwing away a whole bunch of good music? Check.
    Removing all posters from bedroom, replacing with pics from Deseret Book (including all 12 apostles in 11 x 14)? Check.

    We’ve all been a little wierd at times, I think. (Or maybe it’s just me).

  3. Gordon Smith on April 4, 2004 at 1:46 am

    Yes, Kristine, I was worried about that, until Kaimi came along. Hey, I threw away a bunch of music, too! (I missed out the the Deseret Book pictures, though.) Being overzealous seems like it might be more of a convert phenomenon. Church-grown kids learn early to flaunt the commandments from their youth leaders. (Not completely tic.)

  4. Kaimi on March 15, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    Well, I just noticed this post again when a bizarre spam comment (cash advance links mixed with discussion of Soviet farming, presumably to try to get past spam filters) popped up.

    And it gave me a chuckle to read over it again.

    So I guess spam’s effects aren’t always 100% bad. Just 99%.

  5. a random John on March 15, 2005 at 7:53 pm

    Kaimi,

    Given that you won’t respond to my attempts to engage you in a debate on the merits of the T&S comment system, how about a sidebar link near the top that simply has different random article from the past each day. That way you wouldn’t have to rely on spam to discover hidden jewels?

  6. Kaimi on March 15, 2005 at 8:01 pm

    John,

    I appreciate the merits of what you’ve said about how to improve the T & S infrastructure. Unfortunately (remember the Far Side where the dog hears “blah blah blah Rover blah blah blah”), I mentally translate your comments as:

    “blah blah blah oh-here’s-an-extra-72-hours-of-work-for-Kaimi blah blah blah.”

    I know that our infrastructure is not quite state-of-the-art. But it’s not sufficiently bad that it creates the desire on my end to set up another platform. At least not enough for me to want to invest the time and energy to learn yet another software platform. The move to WP was days of work on my end, and the move to the new server was the same. We’re working on another possible server move. Plus assorted stuff here and there. And so, given time constraints, I don’t feel a need to change from WP right now.

    As for a random post from the past, that should be pretty easy. (In fact, we had something like that on MT, for a short while, before the switch to WP). I’ll look into it.

  7. annegb on March 15, 2005 at 8:37 pm

    I embarrassed myself one time when a female missionary friend wrote me telling me that her mission president had them take the sacrament using real wine. So I was alarmed and called the church administration. At first I didn’t give my name. Then I called again and I said, “hi, this is so and so–and oh, shit, I gave my name! And I cussed to a church person!” I was mortified, but the guy just laughed and said it was okay. I’m still mortified that I cussed. It was embarrassing. Also funny.

  8. a random John on March 15, 2005 at 9:13 pm

    Kaimi,

    I realize this is the wrong thread for it, but this is where you’ve replied, so here goes. I have offered privately, and now do in public, to help with a future move to a Slashcode based system. Unfortunately I have no time for this in the next few months, but I would be happy to soon enough, if such help would be needed.

  9. Gordon Smith on March 15, 2005 at 9:20 pm

    When I wrote this post, I knew that it was ahead of its time. Thanks for the story, Anne.

    Kaimi and arJ, you have nearly tripled the comments on the original post by talking about comments. T&S has come a long way.

WELCOME

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