Dad remained relatively quiet in the sharing of his extraordinary beliefs over the next ten to fifteen years. While he gave us clues that he was still existing in a realm of his own to a large extent, we didn't know many details. Nor did we want to.
While serving a mission in Peru, my thoughts were haunted by the bizarre nature of my father's teachings. I would catch myself on occasion wondering if there really was any merit to what he taught us. I felt dismayed that I had been gullible enough to believe the madness. Only allowed to communicate through letters, Dad would remind me that he was in constant communication with the Lord, and that He was protecting me because of it. He would try to give his convoluted insight into what was going on in my life thousands of miles to the south of him. I ignored his words, and often I would write things in support of the leaders of the Church, particularly President Benson.
Soon after I returned from Peru, Claire and I became engaged. Naturally, I wanted my parents to be in the temple for our wedding, but I knew they did not have current temple recommends because Dad had quit paying tithing while I was still in high school, proclaiming that it was just corruption and that the Church did not need to build such opulent churches and temples, and that tithing was just another form of servitude. And no tithing equals no temple recommend. No temple recommend means no entrance into the temple, even to witness the marriage of your own child.
I spoke to them about this, especially to Mom, and expressed hope that they would be able to find a way to become worthy of a temple recommend. They owed years of back tithing, and I wondered how the local church leaders would let them get around that. Somehow they did, though, and in spite of my doubts, my parents were at our wedding.
I became very much involved in my own life with my own little family, and after graduating with my teaching degree, I accepted a job offer in Southern California. Contact with my parents and siblings was limited to an occasional phone call or letter. I was blissfully unaware of what was going on inside my Dad's head for three or four years, until my mother's breast cancer diagnosis.
I'll admit that I still harbor some resentment and blame toward Dad when it comes to my mother's death. He was laid off, lost his health insurance, and failed to take his wife back to the doctor after getting a phone call regarding an irregularity in a mammogram. I don't think he did nearly enough to ensure that she was getting the necessary care after her diagnosis, and I want to say that he didn't do enough to make her last months as painless and comfortable as possible. I'm sure the Spirit revealed to him that she would be fine, and I'm sure that he was too absorbed in his own thoughts, translations, journals, and other wives to pay enough attention to the silent killer inside his actual wife's body. She should have been one of the many breast cancer survivors that I have met over the past two years, she should have been the woman that I hugged and sobbed with who seemed like my mother incarnate at the end of my first 3-Day.
And after it was all over, the only thing he could talk about was how hard it had all been on him, having to take care of her.
Some day I hope to be able to forgive him for that.