Doubt

“I thought my mom was crazy, you know? I hated her. I was mad.”

Recently, my friends and I have watched Terminator, both the first and second. Terminator 2 was very interesting, moreso, perhaps, than Terminator 1.

John, the 10-13 year old main character, grew up with his mother in the hills, being taught to be a great military leader. She tells him all about how his father came from the future to tell her all this, and then they had sex, creating John. Because John’s mom knows that a certain company is going to create this major war (which will leave lots of random skulls lying around, but no other bones), she tries to blow it up.

John’s mom gets caught trying to bomb the buildings, and gets taken away to a mental institution.  When CPS takes John away, they tell him that his mother is crazy. That there’s no way she can know the future, that John is not going to grow up to be this great military leader, and that everything he’s ever known is a lie.

John believes them, of course, and then he gets angry. He is angry that his mother lied to him for years and fed him all this crap.

So when the two robots get sent back in time to kill and protect him, and John discovers his mother’s teaching was true….it’s a mind fuck for him. In fact, I think the movie kind of underestimated the impact something like this would have.

John’s been angry at his mother for years for telling him lies, only to find out that these are not lies.

For years, I’ve been angry at my mother for telling me lies. (And it doesn’t matter, for the most part, that my mother believed the lies she told me. They’re still lies.) My mother, along with all the other adults in my life, believed that we had special information from the bible about the upcoming apocalypse—the return of Jesus Christ. My mother and the other adults around me told me that soon, before I hit X milestone (these milestones kept changing as I hit one and then the other) Jesus would come.

And this was good news, despite the fact that before he got here, there was going to be a time of trouble. During this time of trouble, we would have to head for the hills and or be persecuted.

I was going to have to either give up Jesus and be damned for all eternity, or be brutally tortured to death.

The nightmares started when I was 6.

Like John in the movie, I was relatively young when I found out that all this—Jesus’ soon return, the time of trouble—was a lie. I was 15 when I first began looking into this. By the time I Was 16, I no longer believed. I was still a Christian, I still believed in God, but I no longer believed in most things that were distinctly Adventist.

But ever since I was 16, I had the nagging feeling: what if it’s all true? What if you are wrong? The things Adventists say about the bible are true, you’re just too stupid to realize it. Nobody else has these doubts. Why do you?

When you are immersed in the culture, even if you don’t believe, the attitude can be hard to get away from. I’ve been out of the culture for 3 years, and I still wonder: Those crazy things my mother told me as a kid? What if they’re all true?

I told my friend S—- a little bit about what Adventists believe about the End Times. She listened to me for a while, then said, “do you know how crazy you sound? None of that would actually ever happen.”

That’s probably what John’s foster parents told him. That’s probably what Noah’s critics told him. There are a metric fuckton of stories I could point to and say, “people thought this character was crazy, but they were actually right the whole time.”

But the thing is, these stories are all fiction. Noah’s flood never happened, Terminator never happened, and Roswell really never happened. In fact, a lot of well crafted stories seem to have this particular theme.

Mandatory Sunday Laws enforced by the death penalty are ridiculous.  The idea of Seventh Day Adventists being persecuted is ridiculous.* The idea that a supernatural being is going to come and take me to live with him someday is ridiculous.

Even now that I am out, doubts still plague me. Every time I hear about blue laws, I flinch inwardly. Every time I hear about a major natural disaster, my heart starts beating just a little bit faster.

Like John in the movie, if things ever do start happening, I will know.  When the robots show up, John never has to ask, he immediately knows what they are and what they’re there for. Like John, I will know instantly what is going on. I will know that *I* was the crazy one, not them. And I will know that I am doomed for all eternity.

It’s all crazy talk. Right? Or is it.

 

*At least, here in the States. I do realize that in some countries, persecution of Adventists is a very real thing.

 

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3 thoughts on “Doubt

  1. There’s potential for some good fanfiction here if you were so inclined, on John’s mindset through different events.

    The thing that blindsided me most of all about you telling me the end of times stuff was the idea Adventists must have that Jewish and Muslim people wouldn’t be bothered by being told they have to worship on Sundays. Two groups of people that are deeply entrenched in traditions. Because Adventists are better.

    • The thing is, I don’t think Adventists ever thought about Jews or Muslims much. They just think that everybody (and I do mean every single person in the entire world, not just Americans) will give in, because they don’t want to get shot. They honestly don’t think about the fact that Jews and Muslims are also persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs. In fact, I don’t even know how old I was before I realized that Muslims also were persecuted.

  2. Re fanfiction, I could, I suppose. At some point in the future when I have time for that. I’d probably have to rewatch the movie like 3 times in order to get a good feel for it.

    The thing is, I’m not really sure what I would write about his mindset, except for what I’ve already written. I could probably find something if I do watch it 3 more times….

    When I first saw the first sentence of your comment I thought you meant I should write fan fiction in which SDA prophecy events actually happen.

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