Part I summary: All my life I struggled to understand why others would assign an unusual label to my chosen religious preference. An honest exchange with a good friend last week convinced me I had to do more to get to the heart of this allegation and decide whether I really am a member of a colt.
I did the wrong thing splitting this post into parts. When I began to write it out, I didn’t think this post would go for so long but I always think that before I write anything. When I noticed that I was at 1,400 words, I split it up into thirds. Part I was the first third.
Everyone knows a blog post should run no more than 800 words, and that’s for blogs that people read. For blogs that no one reads, the word count should be much smaller, like less than 140 characters (see @joshrolph for many unread examples).
Because Part I got about four likes on Facebook, I will include the rest here instead of adding Part III. I might add more someday if this gains a colt following or becomes a colt classic.
At church on Sunday, I approached my Bishop, not sure how to broach the equinal topic but knowing he would be a trusted source of wisdom on the colt question.
I tend to struggle when starting a conversation. This time, it flowed quite naturally.
I went with, “How are you?”
After an exchange of pleasantries, I decided to just go for it. “Um, are we members of a colt?”
He laughed off the question. “We are not a colt,” he said with a convincing measure of confidence. “Some do say we are coltish but as a life-long member of the church, I can say there’s simply no basis to their claim.”
“Okay,” I said, wanting to agree. “That’s what I thought.”
He turned to leave, the doubts again creeping in. Rushing to stop him, I asked, “But why can’t I find anything about it on the Internet?”
“Oh, you can find all kinds of weird stuff online.”
“Sure, but there is really nothing there on Mormonism as a colt.”
“Be careful with that, Josh,” he warned.
On Monday, I told my friend that the Bishop said we are not a colt.
My friend earnestly responded in a way that showed he was genuinely concerned. “Of course he said that, Josh. That’s what leaders of colts do. They never admit to being a colt. Being in a colt is not a good thing.”
“Yes, I get that, Habakkuk,” I told him. “All my life I have heard through both friendly and unfriendly encounters that I am a member of a colt and I just –.”
I broke down in tears. It had been so long since I had last cried publicly like that. At least three days.
“I just don’t understand what horses have to do with my faith. What do horses have to do with my ––– Habakkuk? Habakkuk?”
When the tears subsided and I was able to see more clearly, I searched to find him there at the food court, but he was gone.
That night, I was in bed, staring into the darkness, feeling very alone. I could hear my clock ticking. One second turned to multiples of seconds.
I desperately wanted to sleep but nothing — no, not even the supremely brilliant Blank Piece of Paper Method could knock me out. Hold on, let me link to that ONE MORE TIME. Oh, and do you have an iPad? If so, click here and enter your email or I’ll cry.
Instead of a blank piece of paper, I saw in my closed eyelids images of prancing colts hurdling split rail fences. All at once, I pictured myself joining the awkward animals in their race to the next obstacle. With each leap, I struggled mightily to mimic them, but each time I clumsily fell face first into the rocky soil. Getting up was tough because of the intermittent painful stomping of heavy hooves digging deeply into my legs, back and left mandible. Thank goodness they’re just colts, I thought, remembering that I was possibly a member of a colt. How would this have ended if I were a member of a horse?
Even though the falls and subsequent tramplings [sic] hurt quite a bit, the overall image of running and leaping with colts brought on a moment of tranquil solace for more than a mere moment, though no more than two.
As the colts continued to frolic in my mind, I came to the conclusion that a colt isn’t necessarily “bad.” It is a young horse, like a teenager. It can be rowdy and awkward but it is not inherently bad. Blissful association with a colt isn’t nearly as objectionable as I had been led to believe.
So why would Habakkuk say being a member of a colt is “not a good thing?” Perhaps I just wasn’t smart enough to understand the implied symbolism! And with that very thought, my body went limp and I slept through the night like a foal.
So why am I writing about this? The real frustration lies in there being many outside my faith quick to accuse while none within it seems to have a satisfactory defense. It has become a dilemma I can no longer ignore. I’m usually savvy about this sort of thing and can research the Internet like it’s nobody’s business, but on this one, I’m completely stumped. So I turn to you.
Do I appear coltish? My nose may be longer than average, but my mouth is below it, not on it. My mane is receding, too, which is hardly a coltish trait…I think.
Long and short of it all, the daydream@night helped me come to accept the odd theological horsey appellation. If confronted in the future, I can now say with some level of pride that I’m a member of a colt. If it were up to me, I would have gone with stallion.
To continue listening, please turn to “Side C” of this audio cassette recording. You may have trouble finding Side C. But keep trying. It’s there somewhere.