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 that I did not want. She said I had to sacrifice my own desires 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 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 anymore.
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 the book. When I let her read it, she was appalled. I thought she was overreacting, so she gave the book 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 of sexual morality 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 masturbation wrong?
Why is homosexuality wrong?
Why is marriage and monogamy right?
The great fire
Even though I discussed sex in a mature, educational way, Rashel and Bishop Frank told me I could not publish the book and remain a good Christian. Furthermore, they wanted me to delete all of the narrative conflicts. They believed that, because I was representing Christianity, I should portray my characters as flawless exemplars. I argued that conflict is needed in a story and their version of Christianity does not match with my experience as a Christian.
In short, the censorship would have changed the story to such a degree that I no longer felt comfortable calling myself the author.
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 that I had been working on for six years. All copies, paper and digital, were destroyed in the barbecue grill.
An entire world, massacred into nonexistence.
Rashel's desire for privacy meant she didn't want my name in the public sphere. 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 a nightmare. By this time, I had given up hope of ever being happy again. I felt like a shell of a human.
Through the years, Rashel had embarrassed me in public to manipulate my behavior. She alienated me from my friends and family. She destroyed every valuable possession I owned. But after I burned my novel, 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 then I started asking what the real incentive to all of this is. If this is what heaven is like, I'd rather go to hell. And now that I've lost everything, what are the consequences if I start watching movies again? My reputation is gone. What more can Rashel do to punish me? There's nothing left to destroy. Therefore, in 2014, I ended my seven-year media fast and went to the cinima.
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.
It turns out, she was...
In the spirit of self censorship, I feel it's not my place to make Rashel's mistakes public. Therefore, all I will say is that she messed up - big time. And when I learned the truth, it changed everything. For the first time, all of the problems in our marriage made sense.
It was as though our marriage was a puzzle, and Rashel had been hiding pieces so I could not see the whole picture. She was censoring our story the way she censored the media. She had cut out scenes that she felt were inappropriate. But the censorship changed the meaning of our relationship.
What is truth?
Through our marriage, to cover her lie, Rashel told other lies. Then she told more lies to cover those. By the time I realized 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 I hadn’t heard anything because I had failed to read the hidden signs and symbols to see the secret truths.
I felt like 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, who woke up next to his wife Rachel only to realize that he had been tricked into marrying a different woman. Likewise, the girl laying next to me in bed was a stranger. And worse than that, she was a liar.
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 don't believe in divorce, so I offered solutions to repair our marriage, but the damage was deep and irreversible. The dynamics of our relationship had changed.
To make things worse, Rashel and I had different perceptions of the situation. In my opinion, her mistake was a serious blunder, but my sin of movie watching was harmless. In her opinion, she hadn't done anything wrong, but my movie watching was grounds for divorce.
But at the heart of the issue was the fact that we were both guilty of lying to each other. As harmless as I thought my lie was, it was hard to point a finger. The simple truth is, that early in our marriage, I told my wife I would stop watching movies. At the end of our marriage, I broke that promise.
But I felt that I had not only lied to my wife, but to God, as well. When I was a child, I promised my church bishop that I would be loyal to Christianity. But my whole life, I've been having a secret love affair with Hollywood. And now, I could neither hide nor deny my love any longer.
The truth is: I love moviemaking. I love listening to other people tell stories. Storytelling, above all other things, defines who I am as a person. To hide this any more is to deny who I am and to make useless my potential in the community.
The Dream that Changed Everything
Regardless of my wishes, Rashel wanted a divorce. That night, she said that God also wanted us to separate. I told her that was absurd. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:32 that divorce is wrong. But Rashel pointed out, in that same verse, that there are times when divorce is justified. Then she said that I should pray about it. She said that if God really did want the separation, I had to give Him the opportunity to say something.
Believing there was no harm in the request, that evening, I prayed to God and asked what I should do.
Then, 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, I saw that it was Selena Gomez, the actor that I had encountered in my nonprofit studies a year ago.
In the dream, Selena told me that the world was about to end. She said that, in a few years, journalists would announce that our world approaching a "tipping point" and from then on, things will quickly get out of hand until our very nation was on the brink of collapse.
Then, Selena said I could prevent the extinction of mankind by uncovering an ancient Hebrew writing method that was used by the creators of the Bible. 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.
When Selena finished teaching me the method, she said that I had to separate from Rashel and find the real Selena Gomez in California to verify the writing method. She said that if I failed to follow these orders, Rashel would find a way to put me in prison for the rest of my life.
The thing about dreams...
When I awakened, I was in shock. Had the dream occurred at some other time, I might have thought nothing of it. But this dream, which told me to separate from Rashel, happened the very night I asked God if I should separate from Rashel.
That morning, I wondered what obligation I had to honor the dream. On the one hand, this seems crazy. On the other hand, how can I criticize God for not talking to people when I don't listen to messages that might, actually, be from God. If I failed to consider the possibility that this dream is divine, why would God ever try talking to 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
In the Bible, dream communication is not unprecedented. Joseph prevented the death of the human race by interpreting a dream that predicted a famine. The prophet Daniel interpreted a dream that predicted the downfall of the king. John's Book of Revelation, is about a dream that predicts the end of the world.
Outside of religion, dreams have been know to reveal hidden truths, as well. For example, German chemist August Kekule discovered the benzene ring after dreaming about a snake who swallowed his own tale.
Nonetheless, the common belief is that a dream is just a dream. Therefore, to prevent anyone from calling me crazy, I chose not to share my vision with anyone at that time.
A second opinion
That morning, I told Rashel that I agreed to a divorce because God seems to have answered my prayer. However, because of my own skepticism, I scheduled an appointment with Bishop Frank to get a second opinion.
Bishop Frank agreed with my previous position that God does not support divorce. But I argued that the Bible is full marital separations:
Abraham banished his wife Hagar.
Judah banished Tamar, the mother of his children,
Jacob separated from his wife Bilhah because of an affair.
God, himself, took Mary from her fiancé, Joseph.
That 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. To do so is to unnecessarily bother a busy being. 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?
Grudgingly, I agreed with Bishop Frank not to divorce Rashel. But that led to the worst fight my wife and I had ever had. That same day (September 30, 2014), Rashel secretly filmed me yelling at her. I shouted that her secrets have destroyed our marriage, and I don’t know how to fix it. No matter what I do and how hard I try, I don't know how to move forward.
When I was done yelling, she showed me the camera and said, if I don't divorce her, she'll show the world how I verbally abuse her and everyone will know what kind of monster I really am."
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.
The Right to Remain Silent?
After cooling off, 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 I do NOT have the right to representation, and I do NOT have the right to remain silent. He said that in situations that involve physical abuse, I am required, by law, to tell my side of the story at the site of the incident.
I'm a history teacher. I know my constitutional rights; I've been teaching them for years. I couldn't believe that our law enforcement system had become so corrupt that police officers were lying about basic U.S. rights in an effort to manipulate people. And it wasn't just one bad egg. Within minutes, more cops arrived, and they backed their fellow officer's claims that I had no right to silence or representation.
Nonetheless, I knew my American rights. Rashel had been silencing me for seven years. But this time, it was my choice.
By then, the entire neighborhood had come out to witness the monster. But I did not growl or roar. In silence, the officer cuffed my hands behind my back and took me to jail.
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.
Is Johnny an abuser?
On the way to jail, I was in shock. I couldn't believe that Rashel told people I physically abused her. That night, she issued a restraining order against me and was filing for divorce because she said I was a danger to her safety. But because she lied about the abuse, I considered her a danger to my safety.
In the years to come, I learned that there is a growing unrest among men regarding women making false accusations of physical and sexual abuse. People don't want to victim blame, so they treat men as though they are guilty just because they are accused. But now, men are becoming skeptical of such claims, even to the point of disbelieving cases wherein women really have suffered from domestic abuse.
The harsh reality is this: Sometimes men hit women. And sometimes women lie about men. But if the public can't separate fact from fiction, then society is the abuser.
Celebrity Amber Heard claimed that she was physically abused by her husband Johnny Depp on multiple occasions. After recordings from their marriage were leaked to the public, many people turned on Heard, believing that she was the true abuser in the relationship, and Depp was the victim.
Jonny goes to jail
For seven years, Rashel had won every argument we ever had, and today was no different. Rashel wanted a divorce and there was little I could do to stop it. But I decided that if she really wanted to be separated, then I would never speak to her again.
But this wasn't so much of a choice as it was a survival strategy. So long as Rashel believed it was okay to lie to police about physical abuse, my freedom was in jeopardy. How could I go back to her? Anytime I acted against her will, she could make some false accusation against me andI could go to prison for the rest of my life for something I didn't do.
The second dream
That night, in jail, I had a second dream. Again, in the dream, I was visited by Selena Gomez. She reminded me of her previous warning -- that I should leave Rashel or I would go to jail -- and now, here I was.
Then, she told me to believe her that the world was about to end. She also said that I would be released from jail the next day, and when I got out, I should leave Utah and drive to California to find her and verify the validity of the biblical writing method. (Gen. 41:32)
When I woke up, I was dumbfounded. Whether the dream was an expression of divinity or a mental disturbance, something weird was happening to me.
Am I Crazy?
The next day, (Oct 1, 2014) I got out on bail. With no home to return to, I was homeless. Rashel, immediately, began destroying my reputation. She told people that I abused her and thought I could speak with God. To confirm her report, Bishop Frank agreed that I had been acting strange.
That week, in the university's communications building, I found a room to secretly sleep in. 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.
I asked myself: What separates someone who claims 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 one thing: Can I identify a hidden writing method located inside the Bible?
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 lunatic?
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, to create a limerick, the writer must limit his text to five lines. If he writes any more or any less, it's not a limerick.
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.
Nonetheless, throughout history, many scholars have searched for an underlying framework within biblical texts that can be used to differentiate biblical books from others. Some scholars point to chiasms and other poetic schemes hidden in the Old and New Testament, but these structures seem to exist as periodic expressions rather than laws that biblical writers were obligated to follow.
The search for a biblical writing structure 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 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.)
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 some kind of pattern.
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 to suggest that there is a hidden framework buried beneath the text.
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.
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. Scholars usually justify the discrepancies by claiming that their rule sets 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.
To date, all theories that have tried to prove the existence of a biblical writing structure have failed. Even Professor 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 cringe worthy, 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 method I learned in my dream actually worked.
In the dream, Selena called the writing method a matrix. A simple (but incomplete) description of the method works like this:
All words are divided into categories
All words are matched with other words that are in the same category.
The matches occur at an equidistance across the center line.
The matches occur in multi-lined clusters that achieve balance by way of a matching technique. This matching technique separates a matrix from a chiasm.
When using the method correctly, a writer is not free to place words anywhere in the 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 matrix zones. The probability that every word in the text was zoned correctly by chance 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 reveals a mess of circles (which is why Selena showed me the Cheerios). However, from a far view, 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 of my dream to The Book of Revelation... and it worked.
A close view of the matrix method reveals a mess of circles.
A far view of the matrix method reveals a beautiful multi-colored sphere. This computer generated image was produce after applying the matrix method to the entire Book of Revelation.
I Have to Find Selena
Discovering the method raised 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 in modern society?
How did I acquire this knowledge in a dream?
What am I suppose to do with this?
What the hell is going on?
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, does 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 I had to find her in California to confirm the validity of the method. Also, she reminded me that I was forbidden from showing the method to anyone until I showed her first.
The reason I had not yet traveled to California was because I was confused as to what parts of the dream were suppose to be taken literally. I mean, usually dreams are symbolic. Did God, actually, expect me to drive to Hollywood and try to find the teenybopper wizard of Waverly Place? I'll be the first to admit, this story is getting bizarre.
However, the more I studied the method, the more I realized how significant it was. This really will change the world. And it seemed convenient that I happen to be thrust into a situation wherein I have no home and no responsibilities. To put it another way, there was nothing preventing me from going to California to see what might happen.
Therefore, at the start of 2015, I took a leap of faith and drove to Hollywood.
The lottery ticket
On the drive, I wondered: 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 I posed the question in my mind, I remembered a promise that I made to God when I was a teenager, 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 with one another. And now I was realizing 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.
Now, in the suspension of disbelief that requires me to assume that something phenomenal is taking place, my next question was a bit more difficult to answer: Why 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 telling the former Barney and Friends co-star that I discovered the Bible code while having a dream about her is not going to produce the desired results. Let's be honest, this is turning into a strange story.
But, I was curious to know where this story was going. Aren't you?
In December of 2014, I took the last 1000 dollars that I owned, bought a used car, and drove to Hollywood, California to find Selena Gomez.
To continue my story, click here.