One week has passed since the events in our last post. That’s not that big a time jump, so I can roll with it. Merikay tells us that she and her parents have had many discussions about moving, but it turns out that they aren’t as eager to go live in the wilderness as she is.
Finally, Merikay’s mother promises that if Elder J is moving, Merikay and Pat can go with him. I have no idea if “J” is the man’s real name, so I’m leaving it out.
It seemed to me that she wanted us to leave, and yet she didn’t want to really let us go.
I wouldn’t want to let my teenagers go live by themselves in the woods either. I would also not want my teenage children to run off with some lunatic to go live in the woods either. (Note that I do not even have teenage children.)
In any case, Merikay is excited to go to church, mainly so she can run away with her brother and Elder J to form their own doomsday cult.
Elder J, of course, preaches a message about the new Sunday Laws. He also preaches that the close of probation is near and they should so totally move out of the cities.
Everyone agreed with him. People cried and gave hearty amens. Now things were happening.
But later, as I walked out of church, I noticed that people were laughing and joking together just like every other Sabbath. Some were talking about the new addition they were putting on their house or the new TV they had purchased.
At first, I thought that for sure this was inaccurate. Adventists have been waiting for this for years. Of course they’d take this new chance to panic about the end of the world.
Or would they?
See, the thing of it is, pastors and elders and teachers are always giving such sermons. “This current event happened, it’s a sign of the end of the world! Get ready!” And people get scared and panic about the end of the world.
But the thing is, you can only remain in a state of anticipation and fear and panic for so long before your mind and body acclimate to the new level or normal. Soon you will hear sermons saying, “the end of the world is near because of this current event,” and be totally immune. Just like any other Sabbath, you think as you head home to pass out in a potluck induced coma.
And so when the real last day events start, nobody’s paying attention, because the pastor has preached such sermons before. When the end of the world actually happens, they’re not ready, because they’re tired of hearing about it.
It’s like the little boy who cried wolf. Eventually, people stopped believing him. Likewise, they also no longer believe “the pastor who cried end times.”
I eventually came to the conclusion that maybe Merikay wasn’t so far off, though we probably have serious disagreements about the reasons. Teenage!Merikay probably thought it was something to do with people not being godly enough.
After church, Pat and Merikay go to Elder J’s house for Sabbath afternoon lunch.
After we had eaten and were talking in the living room, I finally said, “When are you moving?”
There was silence as Elder J thoughtfully stared at his feet…… “Well…” I waited, my eyes fixed on his face……He looked up at me. “I don’t really know, Merikay.”
When I first heard this read out loud, I remember thinking that perhaps The Good Pastor saw it as his duty to stay behind to help others who may not have been able to leave the city. I mean, Merikay is talking about packing and moving like it’s something everyone can do with relative ease. And that’s not always the case. My parents are very well off, and even they couldn’t afford to just put the house on the market and buy a house in the country.
Since we don’t know how much time is going to be passing between now and the death decree, it’s a bit unrealistic to start living in a cave at this point, so unless you’ve already got some property somewhere, you’re probably going to have to stay in the city a little bit longer, at least until you can be sure it’s 100% necessary to go live in a cave.
Also, I imagine there are many other teenagers in Merikay’s position, who want to leave but can’t. If no one stays behind, who’s going to help them?
Staying behind to help those in the cities, especially since there is a short window where people can be converted, is absolutely a noble cause. I don’t honestly know if teenage Merikay even thought about that. It’s probably not something I’d have thought of either, if I hadn’t already read about it in Left Behind.
In any case, Merikay takes this as a sign that Elder J is not as godly as she thought. She goes on for a bit about how spiritual the man is, and how she’s looked up to him. It takes 3 paragraphs, I’m skipping over it.
My whole world collapsed, and I felt my heart sink. I felt sick, dizzy, like I wanted to die. Oh, why was I ever born?
That “Oh, why was I ever born?” seems kind of odd and randomly thrown in. I hope like hell that teenage Merikay didn’t feel like that in real life.
Now what was I going to do? I wasn’t old enough to leave home. The Jenkins weren’t moving, and I knew I had to leave the city. Why did everything have to happen now?
Yanno, there are probably a lot of other teenagers in your situation. Have you thought of maybe finding them and forming a secret underground resistance group? You could probably do a lot of good if you remain behind. You could, I dunno, collect bottled water for when the plagues hit, distribute pamphlets while you still can, and just generally support those who also have no means to leave the city.
Actually, I’m not sure teenage me would have thought about that either. And in a way it doesn’t matter. If the end time events are happening SDA style, then Ellen White is a true prophet and if she says we need to leave the cities, we need to leave the cities because God will punish us if we don’t do what Ellen White tells us to.
Finally, Merikay and her brother have worn down their mom and dad enough that they tell the kids they can go live in the lake cabin for a while. Since they do have a lake cabin, I’m going to go ahead and guess that not wanting to move may not be a matter of logistics.
“But you can take only what we can get into the car in one trip,” Dad said…. Mother gave us food, money, bedding, and linens… I took my clothes, shoes, books, radio, the photographs I had won all my awards for, my camera, rollers and bobby pins, and of course, my driver’s license. Pat packed his clothes, models, magazines, transistor radio, flashlight, compass, and camping equipment.
Here my 11th grade bible teacher stopped reading to us, and told us that this was unbiblical. When the end times happened, he said, the Bible said that we were to just go. Don’t take anything with you, just go.
As an adult, I think that kind of depends. If matters were more urgent, he’d be right. But the Sunday Law has just gone into effect. It takes a while to enforce something like that, and there is a small window of time where you should, you know, pack things like food, clothes, flashlights, compasses, and, for some reason, rollers and bobby pins.