Hi, I'm Joanne, and I'm a truthoholic -- in the most progressive stage -- the kind who wants to know the truth always, even if it's going to kill me. All my life I've been driven by an insatiable urge to know things -- things that have always been simply dismissed as "mysteries". I displayed early symptoms of this sociological defect when, even as a small child, the plain facts were never quite enough to thrill me. I demanded to know the how's and why's of anything that tickled my inquisitive fancy. When my demands for logic were not met, I could make life miserable, especially for those whom I had naively supposed would be useful resources for knowledge and understanding.
Take for example, a memory from my fifth grade sex education class... 1966... Parochial school. Now, I'm assuming that today in 1998 (Chapter One excerpt from the book), very little is left to a fifth-grader's imagination... Not then, and especially not there. I hardly noticed that I was the only one in my class asking the questions, and I barely thought it strange that I was the only one taken aside for private explanations... or so I figured, until an hour went by and all I got was a lesson review. Then I thought: two nurses, two nuns and my mom combined all must have credited me with a much bigger imagination than I actually had, or they simply would have explained exactly how the sperm and the egg got together. But no, instead they turned the table on me. They evaded my original question by pretending they had already explained it all and it was me who was the one not getting it.
I have played and replayed the whole scenario over and over again in my head, and to this day I have my own conspiracy theory: I swear, they purposely left a gap in that lesson so as not to divulge information that could create potential... No, let's just say, it could potentially create.
Needless to say, I had to learn my lessons the hard way -- a fourth grade, neighborhood friend, self-educated via her dad's Playboy magazines, using Ken and Barbie as lesson objects and causing me to gasp in horror as I ran home to verify the information via my mom.
As you can see, the pat answers and patronizing remarks that were intended to suppress my bouts with curiosity would only backfire. Even the old adage of "curiosity killed the cat" was not an antidote for my exasperating interrogation for truth. It was only met with another line of fire... "Why was the cat so persistent in the first place? Something must have been important enough for him to risk his life like that... OR did he maybe realize that he still had eight lives left to keep looking?" Well, in many ways I am that cat.
Thirty-eight years of thought-conditioning theology nearly had me convinced of the very real threat of humans spending Eternity in Hell. After all, why would anyone who believed in God go through such vivid and lengthy descriptions of the place if there were no such place? Not only that, but it seemed to be the general consensus, even among the most educated in the circle around me, that such a place does exist.
Now, it wasn't that I feared for myself... No, that wasn't it at all, because I've always had the awareness of a higher benevolent power on active duty in my life. Strange as it sounds to the average person, I've also had the unusual sensation of being here on some sort of business trip from another dimension, carrying with me full-coverage insurance on a pre-paid Spiritual Protection Plan. I see you raising your eyebrows... Don't get me wrong... It's not feeling of superiority... It's more like one of security.
Anyway, I was beginning to fear for the poor souls who from all outward appearances didn't seem to be carrying the same plan. To make matters worse, whenever the subjects of sin, sinners, Hell and eternal damnation were crammed into a two-hour, fired-up church jam session, I left with a monkey on my back. And then, trying to convince those poor souls of their need for Hellfire insurance only left me feeling more and more like a monkey's uncle... Excuse me -- aunt. Now that I've had so long to reflect back on those days, I think maybe I had a hard time selling the plan, because I had never really bought it myself. I'm referring to the "Plan of Salvation" to which the preachers are always referring.
Nevertheless, during those Bible-banging days my truthoholic condition was accompanied by a nagging, "this-doesn't-sound-right" kind of voice -- and almost always during one of those emotionally-charged sermons. At the time I didn't realize it was connected to my condition. I had been warned again and again about the devil sneaking into churches to cause people to doubt "the Man of God"; so, I paid no-never-mind to that old nagging voice which I put on Satan's account. In time, however, this voice only crescendoed as my truthoholic condition progressed to a more serious stage.
This stage is characterized by the lack of intimidation around authority figures and /or a marked increase of adrenal glandular activity while under the delusion that it is possible for a lay person such as myself to reason with a "Man of the Cloth". To put it bluntly, I'd get downright pissed! Since there was no logical explanation for these "learned men's" obtuseness, I felt the need to invent one, so as to pray for them more effectively: "Father, forgive them, for they know not that their collars are on too tight." If nothing else, the prayer helped me to keep my wits about me, and it kept me from damning them to the very Hell they had helped to create.
Needless to say, my condition had to progress to its final stage of desperation before I would find a remedy. In this stage I threw all caution to the wind and decided that since no one I knew could offer me more explicit details about Hell, I would risk going there myself. Figuratively speaking, I basically "sacrificed" my mind to "other doctrines" otherwise known as "lies from the pit of Hell". But even this I did with purpose -- to freely exercise my free will and the freedom to explore different possibilities minus the fear of getting zapped in the process.
I realized that if fear is the opposite of faith, then it defied all rules of logic to imply that one's faith could grow stronger in the constant state of fear. I realized that opening my mind was no longer a sin, but a responsibility... And this I did with confidence, in the hopes of inspiring others to leave their dried-out grazing fields to find greener pastures, along with the freedom to keep moving forward in life.
I was hardly prepared for the radical turn of events that would follow as my own intuition led me down the corridors of history to a time and place that laid in the unused, 99 percent portion of my brain. However, since this is just an excerpt of my story, then the reader will simply have to wait for the book to come out... And that's the truth, part of the truth and nothing but an excerpt of the truth... So help me, ME...!
With Best Intentions,
Joanne of Frank