Mission Experiences, Chapters 31 & 32

This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Mission

Chapter Thirty-One
Getting My Attention

The younger Sylvia had a terrible crush on me from the beginning. Mild crushes were common toward the missionaries and we had a name for it. We called it “Elderitus.” I attempted to follow mission protocol though and treat her like any other member.

The older Sylvia seemed to be happily married and I didn’t receive any romantic overtures from her, but she was a constant companion to the younger Sylvia and sometimes didn’t seem to be a positive influence.

Whenever we had a baptism, special event or worked with other Elders we sometimes allowed members to come along. On all these occasions the Sylvias came along. They were like groupies.

After trying every normal means to get my attention and failing Sylvia the younger decided to try stronger methods. The first attempt was assisted by Sylvia the Elder. These attempts seemed to coincide with me giving a speech or some kind of presentation in church.

One Sunday morning while I was giving a speech I looked down in the audience and noticed that both Sylvias had bottles of aspirin in their hands. Then one after another they would put an aspirin in their hands and throw it in their mouths and chew on it. After it was consumed each would start on another tablet. After they had each consumed over a dozen tablets each I wrapped up my address and sat down. On finishing they stopped eating the aspirin.

I approached them and asked them if they were going out of their minds and they laughed, thinking it was funny that they had finally got a response out of me.

Then a short time later I had to give another speech. This time the younger Sylvia really got my attention. As I was about half way through my address I noticed that younger Sylvia was paying a lot of attention to me as usual but then suddenly she had a humongous asthmatic attack. She suddenly stood up in the middle of the congregation, grabbed her throat and took long, loud heaving breaths, gasping for air as if she were about to die.

Everyone was very alarmed and since the group always looked toward the missionaries for leadership my companion and I rushed to her aid. When we got there she fainted into our arms and we carried her outside for fresh air where she seemed to recover.

When she came to she explained to us that she had asthma and had missed taking her medicine and that she sometimes had attacks like this at unexpected moments.

Unexpected moments? My companion and I wondered if this was not a planned moment, but there was no way to prove anything.

A few weeks later we were invited to speak in the nearby town of Whitby. The senior companion there was named Whitby and he was descended from Captain Kidd who actually founded the town. We thought that was pretty cool.

We became best friends and we even discussed coming back to England after our missions and working as missionaries on our own together. He was sensitive to impressions like myself and was having problems with evil spirits in his town also. Some investigators were having the daylights scared out of them by supernatural means. They had filmed the original Count Dracula movie in that area and we wondered if the area had a reputation for being haunted.

Anyway he and his companion were working very hard and were having success and wanted me to speak on an important day where there would be a lot of investigators. Basically, he wanted me to inspire them with a good speech. He also wanted us to bring over some members from Scarborough as the branch there was very small and needed support.

When we called for volunteers, of course the two Sylvias wanted to come. I warned them that this was an important meeting to Elder Whitby and they needed to behave themselves. Of course they agreed.

After we got there everything seemed to be going as planned. More local people than normal came out and with the group we brought Elder Whitby finally had a regular looking congregation.

Then I got up to speak. I was only a few minutes into it when Sylvia had the mother of all asthma attacks that made the last one look mild. The congregation was startled to say the least and must have thought she had either suffered a stroke or was possessed by a demon.

The available missionaries ran to her aid, and grabbed her to carry her outside while I explained to the audience that she was having an asthma attack and this type of thing happens sometimes. As she was being carried out by the missionaries I got the feeling that this was a fake attack, again to draw attention – especially since it occurred again during my speech.

Once outside she recovered very quickly and I gave her a piece of my mind for faking the attack and ruining the meeting. This made her angry and she took off in a huff toward the center of town. Since she was depending on us for a ride home I felt obligated to run after her. It took about 20 minutes to calm her down and get her to return, and by that time most of the meeting time had passed.

I apologized profusely to Elder Whitby and he took it well and said he would make the best of things.

A few days later the younger Sylvia approached me with a prescription bottle and told me that her doctor had given her a new prescription that should solve the attacks she had been having. She explained that the new prescription was very powerful, about ten times more so than her last and she was only supposed to take one pill a day. She said something to the effect that several of these pills taken at one time could kill a person.

I took a mental note hoping the new pills would solve her problem.

Then a few days later a bunch of members threw a major birthday party. I can’t remember whose birthday it was but we had it at Bob and Betty’s place and had over a dozen members, including the Sylvias, and a half dozen missionaries, including Elder Whitby attended.

We were all having a good time. The group was making the cake and food from scratch and most were busy with various preparations.

For some reason I wondered into an adjoining room where I found myself alone and then suddenly crossing my path I saw Sylvia the younger. She stopped, looked me in the eye, and showed me her clenched fist. She opened it up and in her palm was a couple dozen pills that looked just like those super powerful ones she showed me the other day. She then threw the whole batch of them in her mouth and started to run away.

I was alarmed and instantly figured that if she indeed swallowed a couple dozen of those pills that she could die. I had to stop her before she swallowed them. Immediately I tackled her and brought her to the floor. She resisted with all her strength, which was quite a lot for a girl. As I was wrestling her to the floor the group heard the commotion and gathered round. Several members gasped out my name in disbelief, “Elder Dewey,” they said. They thought I was breaking mission rules and just horsing around with this young blond girl.

I spoke out, “she swallowed some pills and could kill herself. Help me get them out. Elder Whitby, who had played football and was quite strong tried to pry her mouth open while I held her still but we discovered that prying open an unwilling jaw was almost an impossible feat.

Finally I had a bright idea. “Hold her nose,” I said, “then she’ll have to open her mouth to breath.”

She held her breath as long as she could and finally she opened her mouth and we were able to get the unswallowed pills out.

Then one of the bystanders was brave enough to taste one of the pills and declared that it was just aspirin.

Then I reflected on her showing me the powerful pills in advance and staging a fake suicide attempt and saw how she had cleverly planned the whole thing, just to get my attention. I had to admit that she did get my attention, but not in a good way.

Unfortunately, she was not done.


Chapter Thirty-Two
Strange Occurrences

I wondered what could happen next with the Silvias, Unfortunately, I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

One evening, just as my companion and I were retiring to bed I received a terrible feeling. I had the strong impression that we needed to find the two Silvias. I didn’t know what the problem was but knew something was wrong. As I laid on my bed I turned toward my companion’s bed and it looked like he had gone to sleep. If I were to wake him now and tell him we had to go find the Silvia’s surely he would think I had a screw loose.

I decided that whatever the problem was it could wait till the morning.

I had a very restless sleep that night and when morning arrived I was anxious to find the Silvias and see what they were up to. They lived only about a block or two apart from each other and often hung out together during the day as well as the evening.

We went to the older Silvia’s place and found them both there. As they opened the door and invited us in the first words from them was, “Well, Elder Dewey, did you get one of your funny feelings last night?”

I replied, “As a matter of fact I did. What have you guys done?”

One of them replied in disbelief, “If you really received something then you would have come and stopped us.”

“Stopped you from what? What did you do last night?”

They started crying and one of them spoke, “Last night we did something terrible, something that we may never be forgiven for.”

“And what was that?”

“We burned a Book of Mormon,” one of them said.

“That’s a very odd thing to do,” I said, “but it is not unforgiveable. Did you do anything else?’

“We also burned the Bible, several pages anyway.”

“So, what possessed you to do such a thing?” I asked.

One of them replied, “It all started out with having some good innocent fun. We were playing music and started dancing to it. Then we got out some alcohol and started drinking. We were drinking and dancing and really started getting kind of wild. Then we noticed a Book of Mormon and the Bible laying on a table and we took them and put them on the floor and started dancing around them.

“Next we got the crazy idea to start them on fire and dance around the fire. First we burned the Book of Mormon and then part of the Bible. Before the Bible was gone it dawned on us what a crazy thing we were doing. We thought we may have done something for which we can never be forgiven.”

I tried to explain to them that there were many worse things they could do but that they should obey the rules of the church and not drink. Then they should maintain enough composure to not do anything like that again.

As we left I kicked myself for not responding to the strong impression I had the night before. I just imagined how they would have felt if we had knocked on their door around midnight just as they were burning the scriptures.

At that moment I made a commitment to God that the next time I received an impression like that I would respond no matter how inconvenient. Little did I know that my commitment would soon be put to the test.

After a period of time in working together my companion seemed to gain a lot of faith in the impressions I regularly was picking up. I would tell him of difficulty an investigator was having and it turned out to be true. Sometimes he believed in what I received more than I did.

Here’s an example: We had started teaching Sylvia the younger’s mom. She was a pleasant person and didn’t give us any difficulty. The most difficult hurdle to baptism was the Word of Wisdom. Each prospect must commit to give up smoking, drinking, tea and coffee. She smoked so we committed her to quit and she agreed and seemed to be kicking the habit. Then one afternoon I had a strange feeling and said to my companion, “I have the taste of cigarettes in my mouth. I think Sylvia’s mom is smoking one right now.”

He looked at his watch and said, “It’s a quarter after three. When we see her tomorrow I’m going to ask her if she had a cigarette at exactly this time.”

I told him that maybe he shouldn’t as we’d look silly if I got this wrong. This wasn’t as strong as the impression I had about the burning of the scriptures so I thought it could have been my imagination. Even so, he was not deterred as he was starting to have faith in anything I said. I figured I better be careful what tell him casually.

The next day we met with the mother to teach her another lesson. Just as we sat down, ready to begin my companion looked her straight in the eye and asked with great authority in his voice, “Did you have a cigarette at a quarter after three yesterday?”

Her face turned white. She had only one cigarette since we had seen her last and, yes, it was about a quarter after three to her best recollection.

“How did you know?” she gasped.

My companion looked at me and smiled, “We have our ways.” Then I think he told her something to the effect that God is aware of everything.

It looked like she was on the road to baptism until a very strange occurrence happened a day or two after the Sylvias burned the scriptures. In fact, after this happened a number of strange occurrences happened.

We went to see how Sylvia’s mom was doing and she refused to see us so we spoke to Sylvia to find out what the problem was. Then she looked at me and asked, “Were you in my Mom’s room last night?”

“No,” I answered. “I am with my companion 24 hours a day and he can vouch for this. Why would you think I was in your room?”

“Here’s what she told me,” Sylvia explained. “She had just laid down to go to sleep when she heard something and looked up and saw you standing over her. You then took a pillow and started to suffocate her. Just as she felt she was a goner you released the pillow and disappeared. What she can’t figure out is how you got in the house for all the doors and windows were locked.”

“It certainly was not me,” I said, somewhat concerned. My companion then vouched that I had not been out of his sight and we were not even in the area at the time.

Then I told her that this sounded like a supernatural being as he was able to enter and exit through locked doors and windows and somehow assume my shape. That idea was disturbing.

From that time on Sylvia’s mom was deathly afraid of me and refused to see us again.

But then it seemed that this dark entity had his eye on Sylvia next.
Copyright 2010 by J J Dewey

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