Penance

I spent the night on an outdoor couch on the front stoop of a boy’s apt at BYU-Idaho in the summer of 2001. We had worked together at Hogi Yogi, and he was beautiful. I had only ever been kissed one other time (when I asked a friend of a friend to teach me how) but this boy was the first to hold my hand (at the Bar J Wranglers Chuckwagon in Jackson Hole). He fell asleep holding me, and I loved being in his arms so much that I decided to just fall asleep, too. The next morning, I woke up and slipped back to my own apartment, where I WAS WRACKED WITH ALL THE PANGS OF GUILT AND HELLFIRE AND SACKCLOTH.

I was mortified that I had SLEPT WITH A BOY. That Sunday, I skipped the sacrament. With sweaty palms, I asked the executive secretary if I could have a meeting with the bishop that afternoon—it was urgent. In the meeting I told all: we had held hands, I had let him FRENCH KISS me, and then, worst of all, we had fallen asleep in each other’s arms on his front stoop and spent that summer night lying side by side, which the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet specifically says NOT to do.

I thought for sure I would be kicked out of school. I had prepared my heart for it.

But the bishop chuckled, told me french kissing is gross and that he and his wife only tried it once (which, in retrospect, was weird of him to tell me), and told me that he knew my heart was clean and to go and sin no more.

Later that evening in a walk through the gardens, I told the boy everything that had happened, expecting that he would be proud of my cleanliness and maybe even want to marry someone with a heart and soul that strives toward repentance and purity.

Instead, he said, “You WHAT?! Are you insane? Why the HELL would you do that?? You could have gotten us both kicked out of school!” and then he walked away and never spoke to me again. Like, literally: that was our last conversation.

One week later, I found out that the boy had given me mono and I spent the rest of the summer semester completing my coursework online from my parents’ house in Layton.

 

**Let this serve as a cautionary tale to never date someone you work with at Hogi Yogi**

Comments

  1. Yes! That’s EXACTLY the takeaway! :D

  2. My favorite part of this story is how the Bishop’s response sets you up to laugh at the idea that you could get kicked out of school for something so benign, but then the boy thought the exact same thing.

  3. nobody, really says:

    Euphemisms will bite you in the butt every time. We use “sleep with” as a substitute for “have sex with”, even if no sleeping takes place. And don’t even try to ask the youth today what the heck “petting”, “heavy petting”, and “necking” mean. They have no idea. Spell it out. They hear worse every day at school, and sometimes even from their teachers. I mean, my daughter had a Shakespeare teacher who explained all the innuendo jokes in Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, and that was a series of lessons she would never have received in Young Women, or read in For The Strength of Youth.

    Now, that being said, I’ve also heard youth claim “That didn’t count, because we were just practicing….”

  4. your food allergy is fake says:

    Hey Nobody, I’m pretty sure most of the modern adult world has no clue what “heavy petting” and “necking” mean. I certainly don’t.

  5. Heather Arnita says:

    This is all kinds of funny. That bishop! French kidding is gross? Ha ha ha

  6. I have also heard the “even my wife and I don’t tongue-kiss, ewww” from a student ward priesthood leader. Maybe that’s a requirement for the calling?

  7. Dude, that’s weird.

  8. I’m surprised. I didn’t think there were any bishops up in Rexburg who smoked. Or even any bishops whose wives smoked.

  9. Grover, this is hilarious. What an accurate snapshot of the weirdness of BYU campuses. And the mono. dying.

  10. I had a friend tell me he had told his Bishop that he was in a “sexual relationship” with somebody. The Bishop told him he’d have to start disciplinary council proceedings that could end in excommunication. He friend laughingly said he was confused by it until he realized the Bishop understood that phrase (sexual relationship) to have meant intercourse. My friend had only meant to convey they had been doing “sexual” things, like kissing and some petting. He thought it was hilarious that his phrasing conveyed such a drastically different message than he had desired to give. When he explained to the Bishop what he’d really meant, the Bishop told him to reconsider his use of the phrase “sexual relationship” and sent him on his way.

  11. When I was in college I overheard my married sister use the word “foreplay” once. I had no idea what it meant, but it was clear in context it meant something akin to “snuggling and kissing.” I kind of got the connotative sense of “snuggling and kissing that if you’re married might lead to sex,” but not really.

    So about a month later, I’m in church, and responding to some teasing about my very-chaste relationship with a brand-new boyfriend — and how do I defend myself?

    “All we do is engage in foreplay!”

  12. SG, that made my day. Hilarious.

  13. You obviously meant well, but I’m wth the boy: you actuary could have gotten him thrown out if school, possibly (depending on his situation) thrown out of his housing, lost his scholarship, serious conflict with his family… His version of this funny story is probably “that time a Mormon goodie-goodie almost ruined my life and didn’t even seem to realize she had done anything wrong.”

    Man, BYU is messed up.

  14. I’m betting that there is a 10-20% chance that The Boy in Question will read this and comment in some fashion or another. What am I wagered?

  15. No wonder he was so sleepy.

    And I agree that French kissing most bishops would be gross.

  16. I love this post. I think that oral sex (French kissing) is gross too. My wife and I tried it and it wasn’t as great as everyone says it is, and definitely not worth losing your temple recommend over.

  17. Everything is Awesome!

  18. Thanks for sharing such an extremely funny story!!! That just made my day! Hopefully in the future you won’t be so hard on yourself. :)

  19. Zach, please let your comment be satire. You realize that oral sex and French kissing are completely different, right?

  20. J, you probably have a point. From my goodie-goodie perspective, even if we had both been kicked out of college, that opportunity for repentance would have been far more preferable than the judgment that waited for us in The World to Come. But, yes, I’m sure he tells the story differently. And BYU schools are legit weird.

    And former Hogi Yogi coworker, if you’re out there, feel free to give a shout out. I hope you are well. No hard feelings about the mono btw.

  21. Th Other Brother Jones says:

    So ultimately the takeaway is that BYU and the church:
    use too many euphamisms.
    use outdated euphamisms
    we cannot be sure what they mean

  22. I will admit as some who went to BYUI for two semesters before transferring to Provo I am kind of surprised that was the end of it. Curfew is taken seriously up there people get locked out or reported to honor code or so says rumor. The scary part is that your Bishop could have very well reacted the other way and no one would have batted an eye. I had a Stake President who refused to give out recommends if he learned had been french kissing in the past six months.

  23. Th Other Brother Jones says:

    …and add to this the ex wife of good bro Porter who complained of spousal abuse by saying “he’s getting physical”

    That might not be good enough for a Bishop to understand. Especially if he is not clear on oral vs french kissing vs deep kissing vs toungue kissing……

  24. Anonforthis says:

    Former bishop here: I had a similar experience reported to me in the bishop’s office. I did manage to suppress a laugh. I did not completely suppress my surprise that the young woman had “confessed” to her mother first and had been instructed to talk to her bishop.

  25. Wow, this story is well made. Reminds me of Lydia Davis.

  26. Paul Ritchey says:

    I’ve always fancied that the Sun gets a chuckle out of rising over Rexburg on a Saturday, to watch the children, grieved in their nakedness, scurry back to their apartments.

  27. “Bishop, I went to this boy’s house, there was a couch in the front yard and, yadda yadda yadda, I was tired the next morning as I walked home. What kind of repentance are we looking at here?”

  28. So funny!
    I actually was at RiCks the year before your story and WAS put on probation because I slept over with a “boy” (22 yr old) in a DIFFERENT ROOM! ( A group of us went to a cabin and had guys room and girls room. No boos. No drugs. Just 20-something’s on a weekend in Sun River, ID.) They almost withheld us graduating.

  29. I had a Mission companion, who said that he & his girlfriend had “slept together”.

    I came back with a serious, straight laced “If you’ve confessed this, I don’t want to hear about it!” I could tell from his reaction it was a verbal slip, he & GF were leaning against each other, getting shuteye in a semi, while someone else was driving. Nothing else.

  30. This is an excellent post, comment thread.

  31. Loursat, that is high praise!

    Gus, my heart stops for you—I can’t believe you were put on probation for that. Except that I can.

  32. Reminds me of a time my 10-year-old son was talking to the bishop in the hallway about our new house. The bishop had asked if he had his own room. My son answered that he and his older brother slept in the same room, and that his mom sleeps with his dad. Though he meant ‘sleep’ literally, it was more information than the bishop was expecting.

  33. east of the mississippi says:

    BYU… where tomorrow is… yesterday…

  34. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: oral sex is NOT French kissing. That is all.

  35. Bro. Jones says:

    The Angel of Mononucleosis struck you down in your pride, that weak things might be made strong and unchaste things made chaste. (I’m so sorry.)

    Amanda: what if you’re in France at the time? Does that change the answer?

  36. This story can’t be real… hahahahaha this is 2018 who is this archaic.. kissing isn’t BAD😂😫 and that definitely wasn’t “sleeping” with someone..

  37. All I can think of is that old song “Wake Up Little Susie”

  38. This is cancer

  39. This level of cluelessness did not get the girl in any serious trouble. She lost another of probably many opportunities at romance and suffered a bit of embarrassment but no serious harm was done.

    The problem is when the same level of cluelessness runs the other direction. Ah, I never suspected a RM guy would actually spike my lemonade with vodka and take advantage of me. Or its not that bad, we always keep a quilt between us. Or its really not a problem to get in bed wearing only a bikini with a guy as long as you don’t go any farther. Or he said it wasn’t really unchaste if we only….

  40. Michael, I’ve been working up a more serious response to this piece for exactly the reason you mention in your comment. My naïveté made me really vulnerable, and this story might have ended very differently had circumstances been just a little different, had this young man wanted to take advantage of me. I tell this story lightheartedly, but when I look back at my late teens and early twenties, I cringe at how clueless I was and how lucky I was. I wish I had been more secular and worldly for the very reason that it would have made me wise and in control of what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I’m still working out exactly what I want to say about it.

  41. Kristine N says:

    “Necking and petting” are terms from the roaring 20’s. It would be nice if the church could update its terminology so people who are still alive could understand what they’re getting at.

  42. I was just thinking the other day how stupid I was at BYU since I was so trusting of all the nice Mormon boys. Pure luck that something bad didn’t happen. Also, with all the necking and petting talk I’m surprised someone hasn’t linked to this awesome post yet: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2018/02/12/necking-and-petting-a-how-to-guide/