PART TWO: Discovering the Method
The Great Fall: 2014
In 2014, as I approached the end of my graduate program, Rashel was pressuring me to apply for high paying occupations I did not want to do. She said I had to sacrifice my own wants to prove that I loved her, but my life was becoming a nightmare. As our marriage rolled into its seventh year, Rashel had gained control of all aspects of our relationship and my personal and public life. I wondered: How much can a man sacrifice before losing his identity?
This is when things get weird
By that time, my creativity had been bottled for so long, it was ready to explode. I began creating dioramas of miniature worlds. I invented a language. I sculpted life-size dinosaurs out of Styrofoam pool covers. My artistic endeavors were reaching epic proportions. It was a subconscious cry for help. I didn't want to be censored any more.
Creating a family of T-Rex skeletons out of Styrofoam pool covers.
Panlanlinco is a language I invented because I didn't have anyone to talk to.
I began creating dioramas of entire worlds. Each land had a civilization of people with their own legal system.
As I neared the publishing phase of my novel, Rashel wanted to approve of the book before I showed it to anyone. When I let her read it, she was appalled. I thought she was overreacting so she gave it to Bishop Frank for a second opinion. He agreed with Rashel and said my themes were not appropriate for a Christian audience.
In particular, they told me to censor everything related to sex. Although none of my characters engaged in sexual relations - of any kind - the topic was discussed because I believe it's important. If Christianity wants to survive in the modern age, we need to ask questions like:
Why is losing your virginity before marriage wrong?
Why is homosexuality wrong?
Why is masturbation wrong?
Why is marriage and monogamy needed at all?
While getting my degree in education, I learned that people need reasons for doing things they are asked to do. If Christians can't answer these basic questions, people will leave the religion and the population will reduce in size until it no longer exists.
Burning my novel
Even though I discussed sex in a mature, educational way, Rashel and Bishop Frank told me I could not be a Christian and publish such a book. Furthermore, they wanted me to get rid of the narrative conflicts all together. They believed that, because some of my characters were Christian, and therefore, I was representing Christianity, I should portray those characters as flawless exemplars. I argued that their version of the typical Christian does not match what I have witnessed throughout my life. Nonetheless, they insisted that I edit my story.
But the censorship would have changed the meaning. And then it would not have been my book; it would have been theirs!
At that time, I decided I would not let anyone censor my story but me. I would rather burn the entire book then let people change one word and use my name to spread their terrible ideas. Therefore, late one night, I went to my back yard, in tears, and lit a match to the novel I had been working on for six years. All copies, paper and digital, were destroyed. An entire world, dead.
Rashel's need for privacy meant she didn't want her husband's name in the public sphere. Even though Lekrib is a pseudonym, she wouldn't let me use that either. Therefore, for the novel, I changed my name to Jack Darkly.
I was completely miserable. Because I don't believe in divorce, I was stuck in this nightmare. By this time, I had given up hope of ever being happy again. I was a shell of a human. I was Rashel's robot.
Through the years, Rashel had embarrassed me in public to manipulate my behavior. She alienated me from my friends. She destroyed every valuable possession I owned. But after I burned that book, I realized there was nothing more that she could take from me. My reputation, my career aspirations, my hopes and dreams were shattered. I had sacrificed everything and more. Now I had nothing left to give.
But this made me wonder: If I start watching movies again, how could she punish me? The answer is that she can't cause there's nothing left of me to destroy. Therefore, in 2014, I ended my seven year media fast and went to the theater to watch a movie.
The reason I began watching movies again was so I had some sense of control over my life. At first, I watched them in secret, but the guilt of lying to my wife was more than I could bare. Therefore, one evening, I told Rashel the truth. Then, as I confessed, I realized that, maybe, the reason she was treating me so badly was because she was hiding a secret, as well.
Indeed, she was...
In the spirit of self censorship, I feel it's not my place to make Rashel's mistakes public. But I will say, my knowledge of her actions changed everything. Rashel didn't confess voluntarily; I found out on my own. But that evening, after learning the truth, all of the problems in our marriage, suddenly, made sense.
Rashel had been hiding pieces of the puzzle so I could not see the whole picture. She was censoring our story like she censored the media. She had cut out scenes that she felt were inappropriate, but the censorship changed the meaning of our marriage.
What is truth?
Through our marriage, to cover her lie, Rashel told other lies. Then she told more lies to cover those so, by the time I started realizing what was going on, I didn't know which parts of our marriage were fact and which parts were fiction.
Although I had spent seven years listening to every word Rashel said by voice, it was as though, somehow, I hadn’t heard anything. I had not been reading the signs and symbols of our story to see the hidden truths.
I felt like Blitz, the protagonist in my novel, who fell in love with a fictional woman. The Rashel that I knew was not real. I felt like the Biblical character Jacob when he woke up next to his wife, Rachel, only to realize that he had married a different woman. I felt as though a switch had taken place. The woman laying next to me in bed was not the woman I thought I married. She was a liar.
But if that were true, then where was the woman I thought I married?
In the Bible, Jacob thought he married Rachel, but the morning after the consummation, he realized he had been tricked into marrying Rachel's sister, Leah.
My forbidden love affair
I offered solutions to repair our marriage, but the damage was irreversible. Rashel was miserable and felt that the only way she could find happiness was by getting rid of me. Furthermore, although her lie was grounds for divorce, she felt that she had not done anything wrong. That was when I realized, for sure, that something was not right with Rashel.
But I felt that I was not in a position to criticize her. Although she had been lying to me, I had been lying to her: Early in our marriage, I told my wife that I would stop watching movies. At the end of our marriage, I broke that promise.
Now our marriage was shattered. I felt that this was the ending that my story deserved. When I was young, I was told to be loyal to Christianity. I was told to stay away from the media. Yet my whole life, I was having a secret love affair with Hollywood. But in the end, I couldn't keep it a secret anymore.
Therefore, here is my confession: I love movies. I love watching them. I love making them. I love the art of story telling more than I have ever loved anything else in my life. To force me to sacrifice my true love for some moral obligation is to set me up to fail. And for this reason, my marriage collapsed and my story for God was a tragedy.
The dream that changed everything
That same night that Rashel and I confessed our lies to each other, Rashel said (in a rage) that God wanted us to get a divorce. To me, that was absurd. Why would God make his followers get married then make us get divorced. Nonetheless, Rashel told me to pray about it. If nothing came of the prayer, she said I could continue to be believe that divorce was wrong. However, if God wanted the divorce, this was his chance to tell me. I agreed to Rashel's logic, and that evening, I asked God a question: Am I suppose to be married to Rashel?
That night I had a dream...
I dream of Cheerios
In the dream, I was at Niagara falls. I was standing next to a well, waiting for a girl. When the girl approached she asked if I knew her name. I did. It was the actor that I had encountered in my nonprofit studies a year ago: Selena Gomez.
As the dream continued, Selena invited me into a log cabin and told me that the world was about to end. She said that, in a few years, the news will announce that our world was reaching a "tipping point" and from then on, things will quickly get out of hand until civilization, and humanity, was on the brink of collapse.
Then, Selena said that I could prevent the extinction of mankind by uncovering an ancient writing method that was used by the creators of the Bible, and by using the method to write a story. I told her I didn't know of any biblical writing methods, but she said she would teach it to me - but only on one condition: I cannot show anyone the method until I locate her and verify its validity.
Curious, I agreed to the request. Then, Selena opened a box of Cheerios and dumped the cereal on the table. Inside the Cheerios were letters that spelled a secret message...
Selena spent the next few hours teaching me a writing method unlike anything that exists in modern literature. A method so advanced, it forced me to reconsider everything know about history and ancient civilizations.
When she finished, she said that when I wake up, I will doubt the validity of the dream. Therefore, she offered a prophesy. She said that within the week, Rashel would put me in jail. Then she told me that when I am released, I should not return to Rashel, but try to find Selena to verify the writing method. After giving these instructions, I woke up.
The thing about dreams...
When I awakened, I was in shock. Had the dream occurred some other time, I may have forgotten it. But it happened the very night that I prayed to God for guidance. Now I wondered what obligation I had to honor the dream as though it was a message from God. On the one hand, this is crazy. Maybe the dream was just a dream. On the other hand, if I don't follow God's guidance when I ask for it, why would he ever guide me again?
In the Bible, Joseph interprets the pharaoh's dream and predicts that Egypt will have a seven year famine. Later, the prediction came true
Although the notion of God speaking to people in dreams seems crazy, in the Christian faith, it's not unprecedented. In the Bible, Joseph prevented the death of the human race by interpriting a dream that predicted a famine. The prophet Daniel interprited a dream that predicted the downfall of the king. John's Book of Revelation, which predicts the end of the world, was based on a dream he had while he was imprisoned on Patmos.
The Christian religion is one of the few organizations in the world that believes that dreams can be of a divine nature. Yet, at the same time, the man who claims to have a dream from God is usually labeled as crazy. For this reason, I did not tell anyone of the dream for years.
A second opinion
That morning, I told Rashel that I agreed to a divorce. I told her that God might have answered my prayer. However, I did not tell her about the dream because I was skeptical. For this reason, I scheduled an appointment with Bishop Frank to get a second opinion.
Bishop Frank agreed with my previous argument that God does not support divorce (Matt.19:4-6; Matt. 19:9). But I argued that the Bible is full separations:
Abraham banished Hagar, his wife
Judah banished Tamar, the mother of his children,
Jacob separated from Bilhah because of Reuben.
God, himself, took Mary from her fiancé Joseph.
Then I said, "Perhaps our understanding of marriage, as it relates to the Bible, is inaccurate."
Then I asked Bishop Frank to pray to God for a second opinion, but he refused. He said it's not necessary to ask God questions when we already have the answers. He assured me: God does not approve of divorce.
In the Bible, Abraham banishes his wife Hagar and her son to survive on their own in the wilderness. They almost died of thirst. (Gen. 21)
Then I remembered my friend Devon, from high school. He wanted to know why homosexuality was forbidden, but Bishop Frank didn't know. When Devon asked the bishop to get an answer from God, he refused. To this day, Mormon leaders stand firm in their rejection of same-sex relationships, but they have never given reasons as to why these laws exist. Now that I was seeking answers for my own questions, I began wondering: Are Mormon leaders really talking to God? What makes them right and me wrong?
The Right to Remain Silent?
That night (September 30, 2014), I told Rashel that I changed my mind. Although I had agreed to get a divorce, Bishop Frank's advice made me realize it was wrong. This led to the worst argument Rashel and I have ever had.
During the argument, I shouted that her secrets have destroyed our marriage and I don’t know how to fix it. As I yelled, she used her phone to film me, in secret.
Then she showed me the phone and said, "If you don't divorce me, I'll put this footage online and show the world what kind of monster you really are."
At that moment I yelled, "YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO FILM ME!" and I took her phone, broke it into two pieces, and ran out of the house.
After cooling off for a few hours, I returned home to apologize to Rashel. When I arrived, an officer was waiting for me at the door. He accused me of beating my wife and demanded that I tell my side of the story. I shut my mouth and said I wanted a lawyer.
Then, as a representative of U.S. law, the police officer said, in cases of physical abuse, I do NOT have the right to representation. Also, I do NOT have the right to remain silent. He said that in this situation, I have to tell my side of the story.
I'm a history teacher, for goodness sake. I know my constitutional rights, I've been teaching them for years. I couldn't believe our law enforcement system had become so corrupt that police officers were lying about basic U.S. rights in order to manipulate people. And it wasn't just one bad egg. Within minutes, more cops arrived, and, for the sake of loyalty, they backed their fellow officer's claims that I had no right to silence.
Nonetheless, I knew my American rights. Rashel had been silencing me for seven years. But this time, it was my choice. Therefore, I refused to tell my story. Then, the officer handcuffed me and took me to jail.
Jonny goes to jail
In jail, I was in shock. I couldn't believe that Rashel told people I physically abused her. That night, I was told she issued a restraining order against me and was filing for divorce because I was a danger to her safety. But because she lied about me abusing her, I considered her a danger to my safety.
Miranda Rights are certain rights promised to citizens of the United States. These rights include the right to legal representation and the right to remain silent. Police officers are required to inform people of these rights before arresting them.
For seven years I had lost every argument we had ever been in, and today was no different. Rashel wanted a divorce and she won. But in jail I promised myself that I would never let her win again. I would accomplish this by never speaking to her ever again. What's the point? For communication to work properly, both parties have to agree to certain rules (for example, both parties must take turns. A certain degree of transperency is involved). In the last seven years, Rashel had demonstrated that she was not willing to follow these rules. So rather than censoring the media from my life, it was time to censor her.
But this wasn't so much of a choice as it was a survival strategy. So long as Rashel was willing to lie to police about me, my freedom was in jeopardy. How could I go back to her? Anytime I acted against her will, she could punish me by putting me in jail. And I soon learned that there is very little that men can do, legally speaking, to protect themselves against accusations of this nature. In the U.S., men are very vulnerable.
In the Bible, Joseph was falsely accused of rape and was punished with several years in prison. In the U.S., the law does not do enough to protect men against false accusations, such as this.
The second dream
That night, in jail, I had my second dream. Again, in the dream, I was visited by Selena Gomez. Again, she told me the world was going to end and showed me a writing method used by the creators of the Bible. Again, I promised not to show anyone the method until I found Selena and confirmed its validity. Then, she said I would be released from jail the next day, and told me not to return to Rashel, but to find Selena (Gen. 41:32).
When I woke up, I was dumbfounded. I thought, 'What is happening to me? Am I crazy?'
Am I Crazy?
The next day, (Oct 1, 2014) I was released from jail. With no home to return to, I had become homeless. Rashel, immediately, began destroying my name. She told people that I abused her, that I thought I could speak with God. To confirm her report, Bishop Frank agreed that I had been acting strange.
That week, I found a room in the university's communications building that I could sleep in without anyone knowing. Because of the dream, I considered admitting myself into a program for mental illness. However, I reasoned that the medical field does not have a method for differentiating crazy from prophetic. People thought Noah was crazy, and John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ.
What is it that separates someone who believes he can speak with God from someone who, really, can?
It was then that I decided that the truth of my mental state boiled down to two things:
Does the Bible follow a writing method, and can I replicate it?
People thought Noah was crazy. Then, they all died in a flood. So how does one tell the difference between a real prophet and a crazy man?
The Bible Code
What is a writing method?
A writing method is a set of rules that a writer follows in order to create a certain type of story. For example, one rule when writing a limerick is that the story must have five lines. Of course, the writer is not forced to obey this rule. However, if he breaks it, he cannot call his story a limerick because it will not fall within the definition: Zebras have black stripes; cheese is made of milk, and limericks have five lines.
A recipe for creating a limerick. Rule number one: a limerick has five lines...
Was a writing method used to create the Bible?
To suggest that the Bible was written using a writing structure is to suggest that the authors followed a set of rules when writing the text. However, no known list of rules exists.
Many writing structures have been found within the Bible. For example, the Book of Psalms is full of poetic schemes and chiasms have been found throughout the Old and New Testament. However, these structures seem to exist as periodic creative expressions rather than laws that biblical writers were obligated to follow. Nonetheless, throughout history, many readers (Isaac Newton, for example) have searched for some underlying secret within Biblical texts that can be used to differentiate the books of the Bible from all other books.
The notion of an underlying writing structure in the Bible gained academic support in the '90s when Jewish scholar Eli Rips published a study that suggests that the words and numbers used in the Bible seemed to be written according to some kind of pattern. He called this pattern, the Bible code.
The reason this study was significant was because Professor Eli Rips was one of the leading scholars of group theory, a field of mathematics devoted to studying how things are unified and separated. (In other words, this guy wasn't crazy).
However, Professor Rips never, actually, revealed a "Bible code." Rather, he found evidence to suggest that one might exist. Therefore, other scholars (and religious fanatics) began a quest to determine, once and for all, if a secret literary code exists within the Bible.
The Book of Revelation
Of special consideration is John's Book of Revelation. Many readers call attention to the text's abrupt topical changes and seemingly patterned repetition:
First, John talks about 144,000 virgins. Then he cuts to a discussion about a beast. Then back to 144,000 virgins. Then back to the beast.
Although many books in the Bible seem to be structured in a similar fashion, it's almost as though the writer of Revelation is trying to draw the reader's attention to the discontinuity of the narrative.
A chiasm is a writing structure that follows an inverted mirror pattern (ABCD-DCBA).
Chiasms, such as this one from Genesis 6-9, have been found throughout the Bible. Are these structures creative liberties or a required feature of a scriptural text?
Professor Eliyahu Rips, one of the leading scholars of group theory, published a study in Statistical Science called "Equidistant letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis." In the study, he suggested that the words and numbers in the Bible were placed according to a numbered pattern.
Within academic studies, there is a general awareness that an underlying structure was used to create Revelation, and many scholars have proposed theories on how this structure works. For example, some try to show that the text is made of many small chiasms that unify to create a larger chiasm.
A visual example of the equidistant letter sequence proposed by Eliyahu Rips. Later studies showed that the method doesn't, really, work.
However, these proposals always fail to, actually, match the text, to which scholars usually justify the discrepancies by claiming that the rules of their proposed methods are more like soft suggestions (cause the evidence is not there). In many cases, the proposals are incoherent, or they further complicate the very text they are trying to simplify.
Likewise, all theories that have tried to prove the existence of a biblical writing structure have failed. Even Eli Rips conclusions were later found to be statistically insignificant.
What's worse is that Christian media has toyed with the idea of a Bible code for so long, the topic has become cringeworthy and anyone who entertains the idea is shut down before getting a chance to propose their theory.
Nonetheless, if I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't crazy, I had to see if the writing method that Selena gave me actually worked.
Selena called the writing method a matrix. A simple description of the method works like this:
Arrange all words of the text according to a seven number sequence (which Selena gave me).
Group all words into categories which are separated into layers.
Use simple grouping techniques to match words with their counterparts at an equal distance across a center line.
When applying the method correctly, a writer is not free to place words anywhere in a story. Rather, words have zones where they can be placed and zones where they are forbidden. Validity that the method has been used in a text comes by showing that all words are located in their proper zones. The probability that every word in the text was zoned correctly by coincidence is zero. If the method can be applied to a text, it means the author used the method when writing the text.
When applying the method to a text, a close view of all layers reveals a mess of circles (which is why Selena showed me the Cheerios). However, from a far view, a visual representation of the text reveals a beautiful multi-colored sphere. (to learn more about the writing method, click here.)
And so it was, on the night of October 14th, 2014, in a closed study room in the communications building on campus, that I applied the method to The Book of Revelation to discover... that it worked.
One layer of the matrix structure found in The Book of Revelation. In this illustration, all words associated with sight are grouped together and placed at an equal distance across a center line.
A close view of the matrix method reveals a mess of circles, comparable to a box of Cheerios.
This computer generated image was produce after applying the matrix method to the entire Book of Revelation.
I Have to Find Selena
Dreams are manifestations of our subconscious mind that use symbols to communicate messages to our conscious mind. But the symbols are not, necessarily, suppose to be taken literally. If a boy has a dream about female celebrity, it could mean a lot of things. And my dream where Selena Gomez asks me to locate her... does not, necessarily, mean I have to literally locate Selena Gomez.
For this reason, I was confused as to what I was, actually, suppose to do with this writing method. Furthermore, discovering the method generated more questions than it answered:
Why was this method created?
Why was it used in the Bible?
Why was it important in ancient times?
Does it have any value for the people of today?
How did I acquire this knowledge in a dream?
The greatest question was in the how. This writing structure suggests that the people who lived thousands of years ago were more intelligent then we give them credit for. Their understanding of language may have been more advanced then our own.
With a college campus as my home, and the internet at my fingertips, I spent three months trying to find answers to my questions but I was entering a field of study that, simply, did not exist. Then, during Christmas break, I had my third and final dream.
The third dream
Once again, in the third dream, I was visited by Selena Gomez. Again, she told me the world was going to end and showed me the writing method used by the creators of the Bible. Again, I promised not to show anyone the method until I found Selena and confirmed its validity.
Then I asked Selena what I was, actually, suppose to do with the method. She told me that because the method is real, I should interpret her instructions literally: She told me to leave Utah, to go to California, and find Selena Gomez.
The lottery ticket
It seemed as though fact was merging with fiction. Of course, I believed in God. But perhaps, in my mind, God had always been a character imprisoned in the past, not a being who actually interacts with real people in modern times.
Then I started to wonder, 'Why me?' There are a million people more qualified to handle literary artifacts. A million people more qualified to teach religious doctrines. A million people more qualified to stop the world from ending. But as soon as posed the question, I remembered a promise that I made to God many years ago while lying in a hospital bed.
I promised God that if he let me live, I would tell him a good story.
But stories follow rules. Language is based on regulation. Communication is founded on agreements that humans make that connect us to one another. And now I was starting to realize that telling God a story was not enough to fulfill my end of the agreement. It seemed as though God expected me to write my story using His rules.
I have to find Selena Gomez
On the one hand, this is getting crazy. On the other hand, I had just been banished from my home. There was a restraining order. I was literally sleeping in my car while snow piled four feet high all around me. The thought of moving to California was not only convenient, it seemed like a great idea. It was as though lady fate had removed all excuses that would prevent me from going.
But why the hell do I have to find Selena Gomez? Who is this woman? How do I reach her? What do I say? Something tells me that standing in line at a celebrity meet and greet and explaining that the teenager has to check out my Bible code which she taught me in a dream is not going to produce the desired results.
Therefore, I took a leap of faith. If God wants this meeting to happen, he will provide a way. In the mean time, I will be waiting in Hollywood.
In December of 2014, I took the last 1000 dollars that I owned, bought a used car, and drove to Hollywood to find Selena Gomez.
To continue my story, click here.