I almost remained in the Church. Almost kept the Sabbath holy forever, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday no TV, no work, no nothing that didn’t pertain to God. I almost never had a Friday night date. Almost never drank coffee. Almost never went to the movies. Never danced a waltz much less on stage with rock bands. Almost never had my ears, much less my nose, pierced. I almost never had a beer or a glass of wine or a shot of bourbon. I almost never drank so much that I threw up beer foam before vomiting beer. I almost didn’t eat mushrooms or smoke a bowl. I almost kept the temple of my body holy.
I almost kept studying Ellen G. White and her prophecies. Even now they come back to me and ring true. Mad cow disease, tsunamis, bird flu, hurricanes, and the calls for peace, peace when there is no peace, are all signs of the last days. And what else is a chip reader than a mark of the beast? I almost kept closely reading my bible, memorizing verses, cross-referencing passages so I could prove the seventh-day is holy and that the dead are sleeping in the ground until Christ returns. I almost didn’t read Jitterbug Perfume or Fahrenheit 451 or To Kill a Mockingbird or any other work of fiction because of “whatsoever is true.…think on these things.”
I almost kept up in-gathering (an Adventist word for asking for money for missions). I almost applied to a Southern College in Collegedale though it wasn’t accredited. I almost kept cleaning the house on Fridays to prepare for the Sabbath. I almost kept going to pot-lucks and women’s retreats and vespers and prayer-meetings and eating vegetarian inventions like haystacks and cashew loaf. I’m still a vegetarian. That much stuck.
I almost burned records; at church someone played them backwards to reveal their satanic messages. I almost didn’t follow Phish to Austin, Texas and the Allman Brothers to Lawrence, Kansas. I almost believed mediation let demons in and that I had to defend against or I’d experience Bibles flying across the room like the guy telling his conversion story during Vespers one night. I almost never did yoga.
I almost became a fundamentalist but didn’t.
I didn’t because I learned to read the Bible closely and to trust my interpretations in Sabbath School. Because a church member told me that I would make a good preacher’s wife when I said I wanted to be a preacher when I grew up. Because I found Christ to be loving and forgiving and kinder to women and more concerned with mercy than how anyone follows a litany of rules than the Church was.