Friday, August 7, 2009

Break The Vessel

I encountered an amazing short story the other day.
Break the Vessel by Vylar Kaftan.
It is speculative fiction with some rather gruesome and erotic aspects to it, just to give you fair warning. (Also a warning, this post may give away spoilers. So read the story first if you are interested. It's not long.)

Break the Vessel in it's self is fascinating but I was particularly struck by a strong resonance between the two main characters and my own experience as a Mormon and questioning Mormonism.

On the one hand, Numa, our narrator. A ranking priest in the Temple assigned specialized duties to Sun God. Faithful, a believer, fully immersed in the the doctrines and in the role that has been assigned to him. His role is intended to make the audience recoil just a bit, we would maybe even consider it a vile disgusting duty Numa must perform. But how blessed, how honored Numa considers his lot. At several points in the story, Numa ponders the deep doctrines of his particular role, fascinated, faithful, and in awe.

So much about Numa reminds me of younger self as a member of the church. Heavily involved in service in the church, preoccupied and obsessed with the doctrines, with the spiritual. Mind oblivious to the gaps, the inconsistencies, the contradictions therein.

Then, there is Aki. A God in his mortal incarnation. With no memory of his former Glorious Divine self, but raised from birth with the knowledge that he is Aki, the Sunlord. The Chosen one with a vital role to play for his people.

But Aki comes to a point where he can no longer ignore the gaps, the inconsistencies, the contradictions.

He has questions.
A conversation between him and Numa is so familiar to me:

What if I am not a god?

What?” I ask, shocked beyond propriety.

What if there has been a mistake?

No mistake can be made.”

How do you know I am Aki?

It is faith, Sunlord.

But blind faith wasn't a satisfactory answer for Aki.

And his quest for knowledge only revealed the boundaries imposed upon God by his own Temple and High Priests.

Anyhow... It resonated. Just thought I'd share.

1 comment:

D'Arcy said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm always an avid reader of some great short stories! I loved your post. I find myself always relating to various stories and anecdotes and novels and used to be like that, so deeply like that, and wow, now I'm like this, so much more awake and aware (in my own life, not putting that on others) and wow...where will I go next?