Quora: As a Mormon, what triggered your deconversion?
When I was a young man in New Zealand serving an LDS mission I often fasted and prayed. I knew I belonged to the true church. I regarded all the others as cults.
I wrote a novel about my deconversion after I blessed and healed Watty.
I commissioned Charles McFee
to paint Watty Ormsby in 1964.
When they arrived at The Auckland Public Hospital, Jerry encountered a tall, white-coated man with a stethoscope and a nametag: Samtani, M.D.
Jerry produced his missionary ID. “I am an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Brother Ormsby awaits my blessing. I have prepared myself by a week-long fast. This is my missionary identification, signed by a living prophet.
“How about that? And how about letting your church member rest, Elder Wonder. Could you come back tomorrow?”
Hearing Jerry’s voice, Brother Ormsby raised a limp hand and beckoned the young man to come closer.
Jerry was calm. Too calm. And later people would remember him as too earnest. “Doctor, I give you my word we will do nothing to upset your patient.”
“There’s not going to be talking in tongues or snake smooching or toad licking?”
“No, Doctor. You will not even know we are here.”
“Okay, Elder Wonder, bless your parishioner. You have five minutes.”
Jerry, filled with the Holy Spirit, vaulted over a bedpan and landed beside Brother Ormsby who said, “Don’t worry if things don’t work out, Elder Wonder.”
“Not to fret, Ehoa,” said Jerry, dizzy from lack of nourishment.
Jerry laid hands on the old Maori, glanced up at the heavens and spoke to God in a resounding voice that reverberated throughout the ward: “Brother Ormsby, you will rise from your bed and many will be comforted by this healing.” Moses could not have done it better.
Moments seemed to turn to eternity.
Jerry soldiered on … could sense Brother Ormsby healing beneath his fingertips. The young elder bestowed upon Brother Ormsby an irrevocable blessing.
Sweet Jesus … the blessing seemed a success for Watty slept peacefully. Jerry had not only cured the old Maori, but he had also afforded his brother a chance to gain a much-needed rest.
Jerry’s eyes locked briefly with the doctor’s. The missionary glanced down with love at the old Maori and felt pride in what surely was close to a miracle.
The doctor took Watty’s pulse. “He’s clinically dead, so, if you’ll excuse me while I’m still a member in good standing of the New Zealand medical community, we’ll try to bring this poor chap back.”
“He’s not really dead. And if he is I shall command his spirit to return to his body,” said Jerry. “Jesus Christ will keep this man alive.”
“It’s a bad idea to go any further,” said the doctor, a man of occasional compassion. “Please leave now.”
“Doctor, your interference could result in the death of this man. I shall lock his spirit in this body –” Jerry lurched forward, hands outstretched, seeking to re-bless the elderly man.
The doctor was able to restrain Jerry. But only barely.
“Fetch off!” Jerry said (by the way, “fetch” is an LDS euphemism for fuck).
The MD saw Jerry’s knees buckle; the floor rushed up to meet him. The elder passed out cold on the white tile.
“Get an IV into Wonder Boy; this demented deacon’s damned near dead from dehydration,” said Dr. Samtani, rather pleased with his immediate alliteration.