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In Search of Peace: Part One

In Search of Peace: Part One

“For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all…” Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Fifteen can be a very awkward age for a young man. The only home I knew through ninth grade was in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In Maryland, my neighborhood and school friends were a study in racial, economic and religious diversity. Anyone who wanted to be my friend was my friend. All that was gone as we moved to a very rural Utah town—clean air, awesome mountains, and a community where it seemed that everyone was Mormon, white, and had perfect nuclear families—well except one divorced lady and her four sons, the youngest also being fifteen. “Manny” (changed name) was the first to come to our new home and visit. He came everyday. He helped prepare our alfalfa fields, dug trenches, and became a fixture in our new life in this small town. That first summer in Utah we became good friends. I spent nights at his home with his brothers and we camped on the mountains by our homes and spent the summer doing odd jobs, playing sports and trying to stay out of trouble.

When school started I wanted to fit in and be accepted. I never really thought about how different Manny was from the community norm until a very popular girl showed interest in me. She asked me: “why do you hang around Manny?” I couldn’t give an answer. She told me all the reasons why I shouldn’t have Manny as a friend and pointed out what I had not noticed or at least not thought about: Manny had very large “coke” bottle glasses and eyes that wobbled; he was totally un-athletic; major nerdy; clothes and appearance that reflected the abject poverty of his family—I don’t remember ever seeing any food at his very dilapidated home when I spent time there, although he was always foraging for food at my home. And as if Manny did not have enough strikes against him, I was told that the previous school year he was caught stealing money from the school lunch register. That first school year I consciously avoided Manny. His family only occasionally attended church, but one Bishop’s fireside I remember Manny being there wearing a brand new, colorful shirt. He never seemed happier. When the fireside was over some of my new found church friends consisting of “teachers” and “Priests” had the bright idea to hide in the bushes along the long dark road leading to Manny’s house and then jump out and scare him. Great fun. So Manny came walking alone down the country road and we all jumped out and attacked him. One of us somehow while grabbing him ripped the sleeve of his new shirt. Manny did not react but looked at his torn sleeve and then without a word of protest he just walked away down that dark road. That is the last image I have of Manny. Later that year Manny’s family moved. A year later I had learned that Manny had developed a drug addiction and was in and out of trouble. I have not heard about him since---now forty years later the image of his person silhouetted in the darkness remains…

“water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink…” The Ancient Mariner

Written by Diogenes


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who we are

Welcome to The Peacewriter.

We all want to belong somewhere, to someone. It is a basic human need.

If you have ever experienced a period of doubt or questioned your beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that this is not a minor thing. It is tantamount to a crisis, and one that can be life altering.

Lose your testimony, and you stand to lose everything that matters.

There are those who exist on the fringes of the Church, who feel disenfranchised, even unwanted. If you are single, gay or lesbian, feminist, atheist, or uncorrelated, it can be tough to feel like a part of the community. You may feel that you do not belong.

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If you have ever loved someone who endured a faith crisis, you know that there are a lot of gray areas. Uncertainty is the dominant force; black and white become moot points.

Those who have walked the same path share a common bond, understood by few who have not traveled the same road.

This is the place to share common experiences, to find a voice, to be heard. This is the place to seek after peace, and to find it in the common ties we share.

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