Saturday, June 15, 2013

Seminary Buff

  You are lying in a peaceful field of butterflies. The wind playfully dances across your arms, the clouds are in the shapes of bunnies and centaurs are braiding your hair. All is right in the world. Whack! Sudden burning light scorches your retinas. The warm field of butterflies is dragged from you as your father tears off your covers and yells, “Wake up!  It’s 5am! Time for seminary!” 

There is a battle every teenager must fight.  It is the wake-up call, and the earlier in the morning, the fiercer the combat.  It takes every ounce of determination and very rarely is there a compromise.  Every morning the loud crack of the door coupled with the light and ceremonial tearing-off of the covers put me in a state of panic. I was convinced that ripping me from my sleep so abruptly was going to give me brain damage. I had to fight back. At first I tried to be diplomatic, but my father is not capable of peacefully awakening someone.  I had to take drastic measures. I only had one goal for my early morning church class: barely pass. Technically I could show up 20 minutes late and still be marked as present, though tardy. So, I developed a few schemes to help ensure my tardiness.  When you have to get up every morning at 5:00, you will be surprised at the lengths you will go to for an extra 10 minutes of sleep.
I started with the alarm clock.  Every night I would sneak into my father’s room and set the alarm clock back.  Sometimes I would turn it off entirely.  Unfortunately my father soon caught on to this. He puppy guarded his alarm clock so I had to try something else.

As far as I saw it, there were three things dad had on his side: the sound, the light, and the cold.  Sound was easy:  ear plugs. Light? …hmmm…duct tape!  How, you may ask?


Wack! Door bangs open.

 “Wake up! …Hey! What the??  Why is there duct tape all over your light switch?”

For 5 minutes my father had to peel away the sticky tape as I sweetly, slowly, and rationally drifted into wakeful reality. Then dad hid the duct tape. A worthy opponent, he was. Soon I went directly to the source by unscrewing the light bulb every night before bed. My father quickly adapted to this as well. One morning the lighting fixture just exploded. I was thrilled! But that very night my father was right there in the ceiling fixing it.  Curse his handyman hands!

While the fight against the light was an ongoing battle, it was the freezing-cold air that seemed to have me beat. Every morning he would steal the covers from me.  Electrocuting me back to life. I begged—I held my covers as tight as I could—but alas, there was nothing I could do... or was there?

Wack! “Wake up! Time for seminary! Here, I’ll turn your light on for you! Now you don’t need those covers –“

“Dad—don’t—I’m naked!” I screamed.  And I was naked. As an actress I was not going half-ass this role.  My father stared at me, stunned. He dropped the covers.

“WHY ARE YOU NAKED??", he said shielding his eyes, "Don’t you have pajamas?”

“Yes, but I just wanted to sleep naked.”

He was speechless.  There was nothing he could do. Then something amazing happened.  He left my room.  My covers were still on and he was gone.  From that day on I never wore PJs again.  My father was very annoyed.  He would bring it up at the dinner table.

 “She needs pajamas.” He would tell my Mom.

“No I don’t. I sleep just fine without them.” I would say.

My mother was smart enough to stay out of it.  I would come home from school and there would be a nice new pair of PJ’s laid out carefully on the bed. Unfortunately for my dad, sleeping in the buff was growing on me. I figured I’d better enjoy it then before I was forced to wear those Mormon Underwears every night.  Early morning wake-up calls were never as bad—I could lay with the butterflies in the sunny field just a little longer.

 I did pass seminary… “barely.”



  1. Amazing! Yes, I hated early morning seminary as well. I was a dedicated student, so I stayed up late and got up early. I felt like crap all the time from lack of sleep.

  2. You should have slept in a sleeping bag....

  3. He would just unzip it...clever devil.

  4. My husband and I are planning on leaving the Church, and I just found your blog. It is so hilarious!! This post especially struck a chord for me because my sisters and I used to do something very similar. The only way we could get our dad to leave us alone (not for seminary but just in general if he was coming to be bossy about something) was to start undressing. We would very dramatically comment about how hot it was in the room and how we needed to take off our clothes. We never got very far because he would run out of the room yelling for my mom to come fix the situation! It was the only trick we could think of that really worked! (He was a nice dad, but very intense so sometimes we needed a break!) Anyway, thanks for writing, your blog is awesome :)