Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Month: April 2014 (page 1 of 3)

New definitions: Did Phil rape me?–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–November 1994, Part 4

My apartment building was now dubbed the Morland House.  The other was the Hill House.  I loved Northanger Abbey (by Jane Austen), especially the movie.  I would forever associate the name “Morland” with Catherine Morland, the heroine.  So it was funny and fitting to live in a building named Morland.

Pearl asked to use my phone one day, since her phone was out of order for some reason, so she sat on my bed (the lower bunk), where the phone was.  She told me later,

“I saw an Alice in Chains CD on top of a Sheila Walsh CD on your radio, and I thought, ‘That is so Nyssa!'”  She laughed.

(In case you don’t know, Sheila Walsh is a sweet, contemporary Christian music singer, once a rocker but now much more mellow.  It might have been the Dirt or Facelift Alice in Chains CD, and Sheila’s For A Time Like This, which is mellow but not too mellow.)

That night, I found another saying to use as Dolphin Philosophy.  It was taken from that wonderful show, My So-Called Life, and said by Brian: “How much more ironic can you get without vomiting?”

****

The following happened on Thursday, November 10, in the morning during the time I usually had Intro to Psych, since on that date I have a note in my day planner saying class would be in room 100.  This was the room I had for Botany junior year, and for entrance exams back in the spring of 1991.  In this room on the 10th, several classes filed in and a speaker told them about date rape.

He told us that if one person is drunk and someone has sex with them, it’s now considered rape because the alcohol impairs your reasoning abilities.

Among sober people, it’s also rape if she says no, if she feels it’s a rape, when he uses false pretenses or manipulation or guilt trips to get her to consent, or when she never actually says “yes.”  He gave examples of what he meant.

I don’t think he meant to stir up paranoia, but to make guys aware that they need to be careful what they do, and to help young college women realize they don’t have to be treated this way.

Soon after, I asked Pearl into my room, and we sat on my bed.  I told her this speaker’s examples and words made me realize that sometimes John did rape me:

There was the time we were having sex, and then he suddenly withdrew and tried to stick it in my anus, even though I begged him not to.  This was when he got upset because I said rape was grounds for divorce.  (I probably didn’t tell Pearl these details.)

He used begging, pleading, manipulation, guilt-trips and false pretenses as well, like with the “subconscious” thing and snipping “You always get your way” when I didn’t want to do it anally or orally.

(I’d heard about a guy who fought at the Alamo who’d pretend to marry a girl just to get her into bed; I now knew that would be rape.)

I didn’t even know yet that the time we got back together was just so he could get sex from me; that would be rape.

Pearl prayed with me, and said, “If you do get back together, you’ll have to deal with that first.”

We also talked about whether or not I should press charges, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to pull this into a court.  Still, knowing I could if I wanted to, made me feel powerful.

I didn’t want my parents to know what was going on, though.  I didn’t want the details of our relationship being made so public.  I may also have feared that the judge would throw it out of court, just because I consented to have sex with Phil.  I wasn’t sure what to call it, but it did feel like rape for the reasons I gave above.  Phil had violated my trust as well.

I remember Phil and I talking over an episode of “Picket Fences” in which the judge threw a rape case out of court.  The judge said it didn’t count just because the guy got the woman liquored up so she’d consent.

I think Phil and I disagreed over this part.  I don’t remember if we were talking about rape in general and he brought up this episode, or if we were talking about the episode itself.  But according to the speaker, yes, it would be considered rape, both because she was liquored up and because she felt like she’d been raped.

Recently (it’s January 1999) a guy called up MTV’s Loveline and said that he got drunk at a party, so drunk he couldn’t remember anything.  Then a girl told him they’d had sex and she was now pregnant.  He said, “I think I was raped.”

This also related to a “Picket Fences” episode, in which the annoying lawyer Wambaugh said a raped man’s member was, after all, “at attention” when it happened.  But I believe a doctor said he could’ve been erect due to fear, not attraction.

On Loveline, they wondered if the guy could have been able to hold an erection while drunk long enough to ejaculate, but it’s also been said that all you need is one little sperm, and some of them are released even before ejaculation.  That’s one reason why the “withdrawal” method of birth control doesn’t work.

Apparently the caller wondered if he could have had sex with this girl while drunk, and if what she said was true, then because he was drunk it was rape.

[Written 4/25/14:] This shows how confusing this issue got in the 90s.  I know I felt used by Phil, and he did sexually assault me once.  But whether or not it’s actually “rape” to manipulate someone into sex–I don’t know.

****

Then right after this conversation with Pearl, Phil sat with someone else at lunch, but back with Persephone (and my group) at dinner.  I was angry, because I had told him in the letter to stay away from me.

Once I got up to take my tray up and go to the bathroom, just to get away from him.  Pearl said his eyes kept straying to me, which he didn’t do before today.

Persephone left, but he stayed–making Pearl and me both fear he’d confront me right there at the table.  He sat there a few moments, head down, fists on his temples, said something to Charles, then finally got up and left.

****

The school play, Measure for Measure, ran from November 10-12 at 8pm each night.  I didn’t go to the first showing.  A guy in one of my classes said he went to the opening night performance, but the acting was bad and the words were all muted and unintelligible.  He couldn’t tell what was going on.

Pearl and I went to the play on Friday the 11th.  It was weird to see Phil in it, playing the role of Vincentio, Duke of Vienna.  I tried to remember that other people I knew and liked were in the play.  One of these days I’ll have to read the play and find out what happened, since that guy in class was right.  Even Phil didn’t sound convincing.

I dreaded having to sit and watch this guy I’d been trying to avoid and ignore.  He even had the lead role, so I had to see him most often.  During an intermission, I heard a girl near the bathroom say “Phil O’Hara” with a smile.  I think she was a freshman.  I cringed, wondering if she had a thing for him.

I wondered if he even knew I was there, if he could see me in the audience.  I suspected he could, but I’d also heard somewhere that with the lights off you can’t see the audience that well.  Later, I admitted to Pearl that while watching I discovered I did still love him, after all.

Usually, the actors and actresses in each play would come out in the lobby so you could congratulate them on their performances.  After Lucky Spot, Pearl and I had stopped to congratulate Phil.  This time, I don’t remember if we stopped to talk to our friends in the play, which we might have done, but we said not a word to Phil.

****

Sharon and I went on many walks that fall through the woods and down by the lake together.  We talked about many things, such as childhood games and friends.

We spotted the covered Friendship Bridge, which had been partially destroyed when a tree fell on it.  It later collapsed.  This might have happened in a storm.  The tree was still there when we saw it.  The school knew about this, and the Zetas were to build a new one.

I believe this was also the first time I ever saw the Friendship Bridge.  I know I saw this in the fall of 1994–though a Mirror issue says the Zetas built a new bridge in the summer of 1994–so they must have left the old one the way it was.

I discovered that Sharon agreed with me on people banging on the bathroom door, like Dave’s fiancée did to me.  Things don’t always move along for me like they should, or it comes continuously for a long time; one day, Tara came along, banged on the bathroom door, scared me half to death, and yelled, “Would you hurry up in there!”

Why didn’t she just lightly knock and politely ask, “Are you going to be in there much longer?”  I wasn’t in there for my own amusement.  I was so ticked.  And I later found that Sharon agreed with me: She called that “intimidation” and dysfunctional behavior.

Thus was cemented a lifelong friendship.  We still see each other now and then, though we’re in two different cities.

****

I wasn’t attracted to Mike when I first met him, back when I was in love with Shawn.  But now, he was so cute and sweet and moral, and I wanted to date him so bad. I dreamed of being with him, and wondered what it would be like to be a pastor’s wife.

I’d always admired spiritual people, like pastors and missionaries, and thought it would be cool to be married to one (unlike my mom, who protested back when Dad started studying for the ministry because she’d never wanted to be a pastor’s wife).

I also saw them on TV and movies, and wanted a man like them (for example, How Green Was My Valley and an episode of The Campbells in which the Campbell girl thinks a traveling, young pastor wants to marry her).

Back when I had a crush on Phil junior year, I also had a crush on Mike.  I couldn’t decide which one I wanted most.  They both showed signs of possibly liking me back, though Phil’s were stronger.

I can remember walking next to Mike in the parking lot at the Susan Ashton concert, feeling like I belonged there.  At the same concert, as Susan told us all about her pastor-husband, I thought how cool it would be to marry Mike and have my own pastor-husband.  At that point, my crush on Mike was stronger than the one on Phil.

As Dad drove me home from Roanoke at the beginning of Thanksgiving Break, I thought of both of them as we rode through the darkness.  Finally, there was someone besides Shawn or Peter for me to dream of, someone I might actually get to date.  Not some elusive dream, like James, whom I’d also tried asking out.

But by December, a lack of signs from Mike and an abundance of signs from Phil, plus Phil’s physical appearance and oddness and Christian beliefs and apparent niceness, tipped the scale in Phil’s favor.

(Mike’s niceness was real, but not Phil’s, but I didn’t know that yet.)

You know what happened next.

Around that time I heard some guy call “Nyssa” from an upper library window as I passed, but I couldn’t see who it was.  I always wondered if it was Phil, but he insisted it wasn’t him.  I even asked his “subconscious,” who said it wasn’t him but he wished it was.

I wonder now what it would’ve been like if I’d asked Mike out instead of Phil.  I was afraid to ask Mike out senior year because at the beginning of the year he told Pearl, “I know she likes me, and I don’t know what to do about it.”  Phil had told him, as I mentioned before.  But I kept hoping he’d change his mind and decide he wanted to be with me.

I kept trying to attract his notice by dressing well (he said he liked this in a girl), taking off my glasses in his presence to clean them and show him what my face really looked like, talking with him about Intro to Christianity, things like that.

Once or twice I had to pass him in the apartment hall in a T-shirt nightgown and my robe, which was hot pink and really nice-looking.  I wondered if this would stir any passion in him.

Yet he never made a move, and I wondered if it was futile.  But I have to give him credit: He was nice to me, but without leading me on.  Some guys will be mean to you.  I also never “threw” myself at him, so he had nothing to rebuff.

****

Those brown Dodge Caravans were everywhere that fall!  Phil’s model was very popular.  (They were popular in 1993 and 1994, but Phil’s was from around 1984, which confuses me now because how could a 10-year-old van be suddenly popular?)

I used to like it, and there was another one on my street that past summer, which we thought was funny.  We always had to check the license plate in a parking lot because it was easy to get confused.

Now, they reminded me of Phil, which I did not want.  One of the other students, a female non-trad, also owned one.  So I saw them a lot, and always had to check the license plate or the driver to see if it was his.

Even worse, Phil kept parking his minivan in the lot next to my apartment building, in view of my window.  I knew he was probably either in Muehlmeier seeing Persephone (doing who knew what) or in my own apartment building seeing Dirk.

Did he park there deliberately so I’d know he was there?  He wasn’t supposed to park there, but by Grossheusch, according to campus rules.  I kept hoping he’d get a ticket.  He rarely parked by Grossheusch.

Was he trying to upset me?  He knew I lived there.  He knew I had to walk right by the parking lot to get anywhere on campus.  And he usually parked right next to the sidewalk.  It was all I could do to restrain myself from kicking the tires.  But I forced myself to restrain, because I knew it was right.

On the 12th, I wrote this to friends:

I also want to say I’m feeling happier now than I have for a while.  And the day after I wrote in the journal about this hate and anger I didn’t know how to deal with, I had to re-shelve some books in the religion section of the library.

I had several spiritual questions, and started looking over the titles to see if there was a book that could help me.  And there was a little white paperback called Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts you Don’t Deserve.  So I snatched it up and checked it out at the desk.

It’s been quite helpful, and even though I still think what’s-their-name is an idiot and a jerk, it seems my hatred has lost some of its intensity.  The problem is that I keep wanting to hang onto it, but the book says, hatred’s power is short-lived.  It may give you power, but it won’t last as long as the power forgiveness gives you.

The book also told me to confront the person who’s hurt me, and tell them just what they’ve done to me.  I did just that in a letter, and I feel so much better now because of it.

They had been going on their merry way like they didn’t know the damage they left in their wake, but a day or two after they got the letter, I could tell they now had a better concept of what they’d done.  I now pray that God will convict this person, because He’s the only one who can.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Remember: Nasty people bring ostracism on themselves

Sure there are narcissists and abusers who slip undetected under everyone’s radar screen, until one day the victim speaks up.  But a good many are openly nasty, so much so that anyone can see it.  And I’ve noticed that such people bring social results on themselves, as one by one, the people around them go away.

A few examples from my own life:

There is, of course, Tracy, who abused me, along with her husband and children.  I don’t know how many friends she’s lost, or who have broken off relations with her husband because of her, but I do know of several.

I have heard how these people now refer to her.  I have seen firsthand as she chased off a friend.  I was not the first, nor will I probably be the last.

Wherever she goes, whatever she does, how she treats people will lead to her losing friends and gaining enemies.

Also, her husband, who helped her bully me and was also emotionally abusive of me himself, eventually was convicted of choking one of his children.  So the law finally caught up with their abuses.

Then there is “The Avenger” (also see here), another Tracy type, whom I met on a BBS back in college.  She had a group of worshippers, but there was also a large amount of BBSers who wanted nothing to do with her.  She brought that on herself by being a bully.

Then there is my aunt by marriage.  She, another Tracy type, would verbally abuse her mother (I saw this happen when I was 10), and had a sharp tongue for anybody and everybody.

She and my dad argued about religion and other things at every single holiday gathering.

I don’t know how my uncle has put up with her for so long.  She, living nearby, made my grandmother’s final years a misery–“destroyed her,” as my mother put it–then cut off relations with my grandmother.

Didn’t come to the funeral, didn’t make up with her at all, didn’t care.  My grandmother apparently had dementia, but my aunt didn’t seem to care how this would affect my grandmother’s actions.

This is one case of no-contact where you can easily say the one who cut off relations was the abuser, not the other way around.

My aunt recently accused my dad of molesting me, but with absolutely no grounds other than my shy, quiet, probably NVLD temperament.

A few years ago, my mother found a relative she did not know existed, who also knows my aunt.  According to the relative, my aunt has alienated everyone.

My ex Phil alienated all my friends by treating me like a child and trying to control me.  They saw it, so they began to distance themselves from him–which led to him telling me I should stick up for him against them.

After the breakup, even acquaintances I did not tell about his emotional abuse, wanted to “warn” the next girlfriend.  When he and she broke up finally, she realized just how dysfunctional the relationship was when her friends began “throwing other guys” at her.

He had trouble getting other girlfriends.  When he finally found another girlfriend, a transfer student now in my group of friends, they would leave them sitting alone together–same as they did when he was with me.  Acquaintances, friends, all hated him even when I didn’t tell them a word about the abuse.

Back in 1999, my SCA group’s web master made our new website into a platform for his religious views and a campaign he began waging against us.

We objected to the modern religious elements of the website, because we’re supposed to be a neutral, non-religious group, and this website would make our friends/church members think we were Pagans.  But instead of listening to our concerns, he accused us of bullying him and dug in his heels.

Um, it’s not YOUR site, it’s OURS.  Do whatever you want on your own site, but this represents our group.

He slandered and, right there on the website, libeled our group, including my husband.  He accused us of things we didn’t do, and twisted what really happened to make us look bad.  His slander was wide-ranging.

Off-site, he also looked for opportunities to get on his soapbox and harangue against Christianity, no matter what the event.  We were just trying to enjoy an SCA event, but he would try to get us into an argument about how horrible our entire religion is.

He was ostracized from the group, but that wasn’t the end.  Years later, I did a Google search to see if his webpage against Christianity was still up.  I discovered that he often got into wars with people or organizations.

Then one day, a Sheboygan friend from the SCA group informed us that he had been charged with taking sexy pictures of teenage girls.  He went to jail for this, and now has to register as a sex offender.

In Googling for more information on the charges, I discovered a Sheboygan forum full of members who hated him!  They had whole threads diving into his criminal record and demonstrating why he was so widely hated.  These people had nothing to do with the SCA group.

So if your abuser is visibly abusive, there’s a good chance they will ostracize themselves.  People like this make many enemies throughout life.  Your story will only confirm what people already know.

You’ll note that my website does not use real names of any of my abusers.  My friends and family know who they are, but I don’t tell the world.  No, let “karma” take care of them.

 

People connecting with my posts, makes it all worth it….

In the early days, I wondered, should I blog about my recent abuse experiences, or just stick to book reviews?  Is it too personal?

But then there are days like this one: In my Statcounter, I see not one, but TWO people connecting with my blog posts.  And every once in a while, I see others going through my posts, sometimes even subscribing.

Even after the ANA traffic died down, I’ve been getting well over 100 hits a day.  🙂  (And now I have 11 subscribers.)  I see repeat visitors all the time.  The abuse victim described in one of my posts, about a local court case, even found the post and was touched by it.

And that tells me that these posts are worthwhile, that there are others out there who are looking for blogs like these, for that human connection even through a computer, with someone else in the same circumstance.

And that tells me to keep my blog up, keep these posts up even after I stop writing about the Richard/Tracy situation.

It makes it all worth it, even with Richard and Tracy’s threats and intimidation and all they’ve put me through over the years.  It means my blog really is making a difference.

 

Breaking up with Charles–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–November 1994, Part 3

I admit I skipped a few Intro to Christianity classes.  But sometimes I just didn’t want to get up and run off to a 9:15 class.  I’d either be tired or depressed about Phil again.  Once or twice I actually felt under the weather.

(Maybe this is a symptom of depression; after all, up until this time, I wouldn’t dream of skipping class unless I was sick or had a bout with insomnia or had to tend to Phil’s nervous breakdown.)

So I’d skip it, and copy the day’s lecture notes from Mike.

I followed the syllabus, read the assignments, did the research essays and studied for the tests, so I didn’t miss much.  Since I knew the material, I made an A or B in the class.  And I didn’t have to tell the teacher where I’d been.

I did show up to most of the classes, though sometimes I think I barely made it on time.  (I don’t remember now how often I was late or on time.)

But then, after all, I just took this class for the credits anyway.  It was interesting, but I’d taken all the required courses and only needed a certain number of credits so I could graduate, so I took whatever looked like fun.

****

Sharon began giving us all titles, all in fun, not because she really felt this way about us:

Pearl was sometimes the Slut.  I was also the Slut, but I don’t remember if I had another title.

Pearl was also the Druggie because of all the prescription drugs she had to take after her surgery.  There may have even been a hypodermic needle involved.

Tara was the Alcoholic.  I forget why, exactly–maybe because she sometimes liked to mix up Sloe Screws and drink Daiquiris and Sex on the Beach.

Sharon kept torturing Tara and me with the song “Zombie” by the Cranberries.  She’d sing, “In your head!  In your head!” until we pretended to hit her.  One of us would say, “It’s in my head and I can’t get it out.”  So Sharon would sing, “In your head!  In my head!” and laugh.

****

Over the weekend, Mike joined us for a meal.  Charles saw a picture of his sister Wendy.  Mike told her age, which was closer to Charles’, and Charles said, “Could you introduce me to her?”

At another point, he said he was “twenty-four, and still not dating anyone seriously.”  He smiled at me after he said that.

A twinge of insult lasted only one nanosecond.  I didn’t feel insulted after that, just wondered what was going on.

Charles hadn’t been coming over much, I had given up on trying to be in love with him (I guess I no longer felt that “spark” as he called it), and after his comments I started to feel like we weren’t really seeing each other anymore.

I tried to work up the courage to break up with him.  I’d even been depressed lately, wanting more and more to be with Mike (or Phil if he repented of his abuse) instead, so depressed Clarissa even noticed one day before dinner and asked what was wrong.  (I didn’t tell her.)

We also had different political opinions: We were both Republicans, but his opinions were much farther to the right.  One evening, he turned on Rush Limbaugh’s TV show, to my dismay.  I kept my mouth shut to avoid trouble.

And he could get vocal with people who disagreed with him on politics.  He recently embarrassed me when, to an innocent comment made by the elderly Southern teacher I’ve mentioned before, he blew up and yelled at her.  He said he was so sick of people saying such-and-such.

I don’t remember what she had said or if she meant it politically, but he made it so.  She was a sweet lady, and his elder, and didn’t deserve that at all.

I think that was when I first seriously considered breaking up with him.  I knew this just wasn’t going to work out.

(Ironically, my future brother-in-law would be just like him.)

On the tenth, the group walked back from lunch and got to where the sidewalk forked, one way leading to Muehlmeier and the other to the apartments.  Charles usually came along with us to our apartment, but lately he’d been splitting with us and going alone to his room in Muehlmeier.  I thought he did this because Sharon complained about him coming over every evening.

He said good-bye to us again on the tenth, and I thought about pulling him aside right then and breaking up with him, but wondered if it was really necessary: As far as I could tell, we were just friends now, no more.  Our dating status seemed to have dissolved without a word.  So my roommies and I just said “bye” to him and walked on.

But then Charles pulled me aside and said we should break up.  He could see the feelings I still had for Phil.  There were things he’d heard, though he didn’t say what, and he said something about Phil and I wanting to get back together.  The wording made me think Phil wanted me back and was about to come back to me.

My heart jumping, I said, “Why do you say that?”

But this wasn’t the case, to my disappointment.

Had he heard about the angry letter?  If so–well, I had to send it.  Confronting an abuser–whether by letter or otherwise–and cutting him off if he won’t repent, is common advice.

Did he mean the secret marriage?  If so–well, the practice is hardly limited to the young and foolish.  Couples far older and wiser, agree to secret marriages long before the public wedding.

I never did find out what “things” Charles “heard.”  All I knew was he said Phil and I needed to grow up, that he was older and knew better.

He said, “It seems to be a rebound thing for you after all.”

I said, “I didn’t mean it that way.”

“We can still be friends.”

“Of course.”

And we truly were.  I harbored no bad feelings, except for the “grow up” crack (which Pearl considered arrogant).  He didn’t appear to resent me, either.

As far as I was concerned, he didn’t break up with me: We broke up with each other.  It was mutual, the first time I’d ever experienced such a breakup.

Finally, I was free from trying to feel attracted to him, and from wondering if other guys realized I could still go out with them.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

“Kingdom Come”: Left Behind Review, Part 4–Prudes, Faulty Theology, Brainwashing, and Learning to Love the Judgment

Previous parts

On page 128, Qasim flirts with and asks out young and beautiful Ekaterina.  It’s ONE date, hasn’t even happened yet.  Still, young Kenny

wanted to blurt out that he cared for her and would rather date her himself, but it was too late.  He had missed his window of opportunity. He would look jealous and desperate.  Would he have to compete with Qasim to see her at all now?

Come on, Kenny, where’s your sense of competition?  She’s asked out on one date and you just give her up to Qasim without even a fight?

You act like she’s engaged!  It’s called DATING.  You do it before you get engaged.  And you can date lots of people at the same time if you want.

None of the guys asking out a girl are called “jealous” or “desperate” just because she went out with somebody else last week.

On page 133, Abdullah introduces his wife Yasmine to his old fellow Tribulation Forcer Gustaf (Zeke).  Before the Rapture, Yasmine converted from Islam and tried to convince Abdullah to become a Christian, but he refused:

The big man [Zeke] greeted Yasmine with a bear hug.  “I heard all about you, ma’am,” he said.  “I sure did.  Tell you what–I’da been your husband, you’d have changed my mind.”

As soon as he said it he appeared to realize how it sounded, blushed, and apologized.  “I just meant…you know….never mind.”

What, you can’t make jokes in the Millennium?  What’s he apologizing for?

Then on page 134, he says to her, “Now Yasmine here–you don’t mind if I use your first name, do you, ma’am?”  Um, why on earth would she mind?

People are just so–odd here, uptight.  Perfectly normal actions and words are treated like blunders or like they must be okayed first, such as Ekaterina calling her boss Kenny by his first name on page 94.  Even Ekaterina resisted flirting with Qasim on page 128, for no reason I could see.

On page 144, Rayford wants to know if God wants him and Tsion to go see Noah speak to the kids at COT the next day.  (What, aren’t you allowed to make decisions for yourself anymore?)  But God’s not saying, so Tsion says,

How about we put out a fleece?  See if Mac can get us there by the crack of dawn and back as soon as it’s over, and if he can, we’ll take that as divine permission.

Oh, geez, not a fleece!  I have had bad experiences with fleeces, the Evangelical version of divination, and just as reliable.  See here, here, here and here.

On page 153, I’m a bit disappointed because–if Buck were still called Buck like in every other Left Behind book–this would be another “Buck was struck.”  But no, it’s “Cameron was struck.”

This is bad in writing: Don’t confuse the reader by changing the name your character has used for all this time.  Except for the Bible and Russian novels, this is an amateurish fail.

Interesting note from Noah on page 156:

Why did we live so long back then?  For the same reason you will live long [ie, about 1000 years].  The world actually exists now, as it did then, under a canopy of water that blocks the most harmful effects of the sun.  When that condition no longer existed, life spans were greatly reduced, as history shows.

Hmmm….I wonder what scientists would think of this theory…..Let’s see….I’m not sure if a credible scientific website would even bother with this.  But I found a scientific rebuttal on a website about creationism:

Neither the Bible nor science support the idea that a water canopy ever existed above the earth. The Bible teaches that the “expanse” of Genesis 1:6-8 cannot be a canopy, since it encompasses both the atmosphere and interstellar space.

The Bible also indicates that the “floodgates of heaven” are nothing more than a reference to clouds and rain (as found in passages after the Genesis flood). Scientifically, any kind of water canopy produces so much heat that it would cook everything on the planet.

See that site for more information.  Another one is here.

Page 159 has yet more padding.  Oftentimes it’s the Bible clipped-and-pasted.  This time, it’s the story of Noah, recited again as children cheer at appropriate spots, to remind us that we haven’t just tripped into a book of Genesis.

Yeah, yeah, we know the story, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of this book.  The one good spot of all this padding: It gives me a chance to skim without missing anything.

On page 189, Chloe asks Ekaterina, Kenny and Bahira (young people), “[The Tribulation Force] had one goal, one mission, and that was to thwart Antichrist as best we could by what?”

Their response is the best part: “They all looked blank.”

Obviously nobody knows.  We readers sure don’t!

The answer finally comes out: “By adding as many people to the family of God as you could.”

Wait, that was it?  Well, other than wiretapping the Antichrist’s office and plane, which never seemed to be used for much of anything.  You have the ultimate good-vs-evil, and you can’t even muster up a decent Underground Resistance movement.

On page 198, Kenny says that Raymie and another Raptured person could have ended up married if they were “naturals” (ie, were not Raptured/glorified and could still have families).  Kenny says that because they’re “not wired that way anymore,”

That allows us to spend a lot of time together, really as brother and sister, worshiping, praying, studying, planning.  I can’t tell you how rewarding it is.

Eh, that’s only because you don’t know what you’re missing.  😉   But Kenny does say, “And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have someone like that in my life, plus adding the romance to it.”

On page 215, Bu–er, Cameron says a mouthful:

Cameron whispered to [Joshua and Caleb], “I will, of course, accede to your wishes, but before you begin, the children would like to recite to you in unison what they memorized from the Scriptures yesterday.  Would that be permissible?”

Did you swallow a dictionary, Buck?  Come on, nobody actually talks like that in non-professional real life unless they want to impress people with their booklearnin’.  Are you a sycophant, Buck?

Even worse is finding out what the children memorized from the Scriptures:

The Lord’s anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying,

“Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from 20 years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.”

You had children memorize a verse about Old Testament wrath?  Is this meant to scare them into righteousness?

And then, of course, there’s more cut and pasting from the Bible, as we read the story of Joshua and Caleb yet again.  Pretty much nothing new happens except for the kids cheering now and then.

On page 223, Joshua and Caleb mention the harlot Rahab from the story.  Yet none of the kids asks, “What’s a harlot?”

Yeah, riiiight… LOL  Heck, when my parents watched Blazing Saddles when I was a kid, my little voice piped up with, “What’s a whore?”  (My dad’s response: “Look it up in the dictionary.”  Which I did.)

On page 305, Rayford says, “There is no question Irene and my daughter and I are biased, so I would ask that we simply accede to my grandson’s request that we covenant together in prayer and seek the Lord over this.”

What are you saying, again?  What’s wrong with plain English?  Nobody talks like that in normal conversation!

At the end of all things, we finally get to the last judgment, of the lost.  It is explained on page 350 that these are “all the men and women in history who died outside of Christ.”  Then we read,

Rayford had the feeling that the many verdicts he had just heard would have horrified him in the old days.

And yet now, hearing the offenses of those who had rejected and rejected and rejected the One who was “not willing that any should perish” and seeing Jesus’ own tears as He pronounced the sentences, Rayford understood as never before that Jesus sent no one to hell.  They chose their own paths.

Er…It’s made clear that these are people who died without being Christians.  But there are a myriad of reasons why people don’t choose to be Christians.

It’s not all about wanting to do your own thing and stick your tongue out at God.  Many don’t believe there is a God.  Or they were raised in a family/country where Christianity is generally considered blasphemy, or simply not taught.

Christians sin just as much as non-Christians, and deserve Hell as well, but it’s made clear in this passage that the “transaction” (ie, saying the sinner’s prayer) decides whether you’re “saved” or “lost.”

But no human can be more merciful than God.  By saying people automatically go to Hell just because of their religion, you tread in dangerous waters, crossing over into God’s territory: the final Judgment.

Here’s another review of this book.

FINALLY!  I am DONE with this series!

[2/6/14-3/5/14]

Full review

 

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