Recovering Mormon
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Recovering Mormon

The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen

A Latter-Day Parable

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

This is the true story (maybe) of a man named Ragnar and his small family. Life had been hard for Ragnar. He had been seeking happiness for many years to no avail. Then on a sunny afternoon in late December of 1997, a miracle happened. There, at the door, was a pair of young men selling coffee. Ragnar was delighted as he loved coffee. They informed him that they knew the secret of sacred coffee. These two fine young men from Canada had his attention. After several visits, Ragnar was invited to drink some of the sacred coffee. It was so delightsome. Ragnar's family knew immediately they had to have the sacred coffee forever. Apparently, it was easy to obtain. All they had to do was to recite the first commandment, “First Jesus, Then Coffee.” That was all there was to it.

And so on the following Tuesday evening, they all met at ‘The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen’ right next door to a large warehouse in Manitoba. That building appeared to be special in comparison to the smaller church building. The large warehouse emitted an amazing coffee aroma. As they passed by this huge building, Ragnar was informed, “One day soon you will be able to enter this building, and you will taste coffee as you have never tasted before. It’s like it is from another planet.” Ragnar smiled big and said, “I would do anything to drink that coffee.” Ragnar and his family entered the church and recited “First Jesus, Then Coffee” eleven times each.

There was much love and hugs all around. Although they did not expect to feel so relaxed so quickly in their new family, the coffee certainly helped. What a great and glorious time was had by all. All that was left to complete their special day was to receive a special gift from the church leader. He was known as the ‘Dealer,’ Dealer Lee Seagull. He had two advisers, First Adviser Darren L. Rochex and Second Adviser M. Pierre Higginbottom. The advisers, along with the Dealer of the Church, offered prayer. When finished, Ragnar and his family were given sacred tattoo vouchers. When they asked about the tattoos, they were told everyone had the letters ‘FJTC’ tattooed on their chest by their hearts so that all would remember that Jesus was first and then coffee.

Now, this may all sound strange and odd to you who are not affiliated with this fine new church. You might even argue that it is more of a cult than a church. However, according to the ‘Department of Numbers’ from the church, they now have a membership of 160 million. When asked how many church buildings the people have to worship in, they said 45 church buildings. The ‘Department of Numbers’ stated there was no need for more as there were more than 33,000 Starbucks coffee shops throughout the world. It may be more than a coincidence that the founder of Starbucks and the leader or Dealer of the whole church have similar names? Hmmm.

After almost 25 years worshipping at ‘The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen,’ Ragnar was recently interviewed. Ragnar was now divorced but had spent what seemed a lifetime as a worshipper at the church. Ragnar indicated he had lost interest in Jesus but still loved the coffee. Apparently, that was enough to keep him involved. When asked about his loss of interest, Ragnar explained it wasn’t a sudden loss of interest but a sense of being abused or taken for granted for so long. Ragnar did not appear to expand on his comments until the interviewer handed Ragnar an extra-large Starbucks coffee with Dunkin Donuts extra extra creamer. Over the next hour, Ragnar would share his anguish. He listed a large number of events that took place in his life over 25 years.

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

Ragnar had taken care of and housed the Canadian Converters (the young men) for many years. The Converter Leader paid their apartment rent. At one time, for quite a long period, the Converter Leader stopped paying the monthly rent and argued Ragnar should be grateful for the blessings.

His first local leader employed Ragnar upon joining ‘The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen,’ and when the business ceased, Ragnar did not receive wages due. In essence, his wages were taken and never given back.

His second local leader interviewed Ragnar and informed him that although this was ‘The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen’ and Ragnar drunk the coffee given to him, leopards never change their spots. An indication by his local leader that the local leader did not believe in the Coffee Doctrine.

His first Regional Leader also stole wages from Ragnar as well a business co-owned by local and regional leaders also went bankrupt. During the night, both leaders stole all of the companies equipment and goods to restart the business over the road. Ragnar did not receive his wages.

His first local leader in Canada lied to Ragnar to make more money in rent payments. This was when Ragnar was a student at the church university in Manitoba named Z.S.U. Ragnar was forced to pay more as the local leader suggested he would be reported otherwise.

Whilst at Z.S.U., the university did not pay Ragnar’s wages, and he was told Jesus would be grateful and would bless Ragnar and his family. However, his landlord, the local leader, still insisted on his rent payment.

During his time in Manitoba, Ragnar relocated his home and began to worship in a town nearby. During that time, Ragnar informed his local leader that Ragnar's children would not be allowed to visit with the local leadership alone. Sadly Ragnar was accused of disobedience. The following year one of the local leaders was arrested and sent to prison after the police found cameras hidden in the local leaders' home during ‘photo sessions.’ The police also found 86,000 CDs and DVDs of child pornography in the arrested leaders' lock-up.

During the divorce, Ragnar was left with three small children and had neither money nor food. Not even sacred coffee. Ragnar asked for assistance from his local leader and was refused diapers and food for the children. Ironically, a family of tattooed punk-rockers with spiked hair knocked on Ragnar’s door and left boxes of diapers, food, and an envelope of money.

Later, when homeless, Ragnar visited a local leader named Jason Smiegel from another town to ask for clothes, blankets, and food. Again he was refused help and sent off in the snowy, frozen Sunday evening with nothing.

Ragnar stopped talking and explained there was much, much more to tell. It made him sad because he had served in almost every local and regional leadership position in ‘The Church of Jesus Christ The Risen.’ Countless hours away from his family sharing the coffee of Jesus with all. But when Ragnar’s coffee had run dry, he could not obtain the sacred coffee from anyone. Ragnar started to feel used and began to recognize that the coffee misled him. The coffee was not special and sacred. Ragnar was sad beyond words. He even felt like he should remove or cover up his tattoo, FJTC.

However, Ragnar was fearful. He realized he had been brainwashed for many years and did not know if he could survive without the church, Jesus, and the coffee. Ragnar knew it was fake, . . . but what happens if he wrong? Just at the right time, Ragnar browsed the internet and came upon a site, ‘Coffee Stories Community,’ and began to feel free once more. Ragnar pointed out that his recovery from the church and its coffee would take some time, but now he was not alone. When I last saw Ragnar, he said he was still moving forward and demanded his name be removed from the coffee drinkers list. Good for him!

© Stephen G. Arrowsmith 2021

To see more of my work please check out the following articles. Please feel free to share, give me a clap, and follow me for up-to-date writings.

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Steve Arrowsmith MA

Steve Arrowsmith MA

I live and write on two continents. I’m a teacher, a coach, and a writer. I have failed many times and succeeded even more. I write about religious cults.

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