Childhood Lost 12
WHO WILL RULE?
Where can I find more cigarettes? That's what was uppermost in my proud, deceitful mind. I had but one fag left and, although I'd already stolen more than enough money from my brother Bruce's second tithe jar that morning to purchase several packs, the Pro Shop at Brookdale Golf Course would be closed several hours before Sabbath was over. And I didn't dare buy cigarettes on a holy day, for I knew that to do so might invite sudden and utter destruction from a thoroughly outraged God.
In the end, I just had to make that one lone coffin nail do till Sunday morning, when the heathens went to church...and God would, perhaps, be so preoccupied cataloging their disgusting abominations that he might have little time left over to take note of mine.
Sunday morning, of course, was a total loss. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many issues I desecrated, that f__king correspondence course kept turning up with appalling regularity. It wasn't until several months had passed that I discovered that brother Bruce had acquired his own private set of issues and (quite out of character for him) was only too glad to share them with me. They were like weeds, these things; the more I chopped, burned and buried, the more of them sprouted up elsewhere.
The momentous issue confronting me that morning dealt with the space race. A photograph of the most powerful operational rocket in the U.S. inventory, the Jupiter "C", appeared on the cover, captured at the instant of full lift off burn. Who will rule space? That was the question with which Herbert, who was always concerned about who would rule what, had captioned page one and for which, as always, he alone had the answer.
Human beings, he asserted, were unfit to even explore the pristine oceans of space beyond earth's shores, let alone colonize or rule over the planets beyond. Hearkening back to a religious belief popularized during the dark ages, he envisioned a kind of virginal cosmic purity existing out there which, he bluntly stated, God would never permit filthy rotten humans to defile.
Despite all the money and human resources the United States and the Soviet Union were pouring into their respective projects, the Lord, he said, would see to it that man would never make it to the moon, let alone the planets.
The Plain Truth about space race, he declared, was that it was really an insidious undertaking inspired by none other than that wily serpent, Satan the Devil. Satan, whose original name was Lucifer, had been, in the beginning, the most powerful and perfect being God had ever created.
He was an Archangel of the genus Cherub and all other angels were subordinate to him. But for all of that, his prime function was that of a baby sitter. God, Armstrong maintained, had always intended to create human beings and, when they reached a certain level of spiritual proficiency, had intended to change them into gods just like himself with all the power and prerequisites of the Godhood. These, literally, God begotten creatures would, incidently, then possess powers and abilities far surpassing that of their former nanny, and it was mainly for this reason that Lucifer was pissed.
Being assigned such a menial task, asserted Armstrong, eventually engendered such feelings of jealousy and resentment in the great Archangel that despite all the power, beauty, wealth and wisdom given to him by God, he became totally disenchanted with his station in life. He wanted more! Since, as Lucifer, there was little "more" left to be had, except God Almighty himself, he turned his covetous eyes towards the third heaven and plotted war.
As CEO and Supreme Dictator for Life over all the other angels, Lucifer managed to indoctrinate and recruit fully one third of his subordinates, who then accompanied him in a spiritual blitzkrieg of the heavens.
As the primordial battle between good and evil raged, supernatural forces beyond mortal comprehension were used by both sides, the results of which are still visible today. The universe, Herbert maintained, had originally been created perfect, like all of the Lord's creations, but if one looked around now the horrifying results of Satan's rebellion against authority, his dissatisfaction with his lot in life and his ensuing disobedience were clear. The craters on the moon, the disorderly and non symmetrical orbits of the planets, an earth tipped fully thirteen degrees off its axis resulting in desert terrain in one region and arctic wastes in another, these and other evidences bore mute witness to a supernatural calamity of unbelievable magnitude, one which God had determined must never happen again.
Sometime afterwards, the Lord patched up the Earth. With his original plan, which had been to create earthly children, have Lucifer baby sit them and then turn them into gods now in shambles he now knew that he could never trust them not to use their supernatural powers for evil purposes. The only way available to insure that his children would ever be trustworthy then, was to create a small number, give them free moral agency, and watch what they did with it.
So, he created a couple of humans and placed them in a garden. But Satan, being aware of all that went on, had never given up his obsessive ambition to destroy the Lord and his future children. As soon as the Lord was out of sight, he tempted the kids with stolen fruit and, on the basis of that, successfully subverted God's divine purpose once more. The Lord was forced to kick his kids out and they wandered the earth in shame and disgrace to God's dismay and Satan's delight.
But the kids began to dream about somehow reaching the planets and stars, and Satan, ever resourceful, made full and evil use of this proclivity as he did all with all things good. It was he, Herbert asserted, who was really behind the attempt to invade the heavens from that modest launch platform, the tower of Babel. It was he who, throughout history, had incited humans with hopeless dreams of flight, and thus there could not be the slightest doubt that Satan was the driving force behind NASA and the Russians.
Herbert stated that the concept of rocketry was the twentieth century's technological equivalent of the tower of Babel; that the language of science was rapidly becoming humanity's common medium of communication; and that their ultimate goal was to ascend into the heavens themselves that they might thumb their collective nose at God.
Whether NASA or the Soviets ever issued covert directives to their Astro/Cosmonaut Corps regarding thumbs and noses remains classified. Both agencies remained traditionally tight lipped about the subject. It has been alleged by those in the know, however, that during the height of the cold war it was perfectly permissible, when orbiting over enemy territory, to give ones adversaries the finger as one went zipping by.
The issue ended with Armstrong's reiteration that God would never allow humans to travel space or ever colonize the other planets. He had God's Word on it. This was thoroughly depressing news to me on an otherwise gloomy day. I'd been going down for over a week and although this in and of itself was not uncommon, the depth of the decent was. There truly was nothing worth living for on the best of days in Armstrong's Church and these were definitely not the best of days. I had to face it, I had no future.
Since the world was going to end before my seventeenth birthday, there was not much point in going to school. I knew I'd never have a chance to marry, raise children, own my own home, or embark on a good career. The only future available to me was that one of total obedience to God's dictums as interpreted by Herbert W.
If I somehow managed to please his implacable Deity, I would get to live forever, wield my own personalized rod of iron and rule over such squalid human scum as were placed at my disposal.
To rule or be ruled? The question itself was a disgusting one. I had, and I assumed most normal people had, neither the desire to rule over others nor to be ruled over by them. This type of attitude, in the estimation of the church at any rate, was regarded as rank heresy, undoubtedly emanating from the evil one, for only Satan it was said was in favor of anarchy. It was also one in a long line of proofs both to them and to me that I truly was different. Not only from the heathens of the world, but from those of the church of the Living God who had called me out of it, as well. When taken in context, for these and oh so many other reasons, I belonged, nowhere.
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