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Mormon Ghost Stories

Bloodshed Addicts Anonymous

Cover Image for Bloodshed Addicts Anonymous
D.A. Cooper
By: D.A. Cooper

[T]hat same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

Alma 34:34

The scriptures testify as to how important our physical bodies are to our eternal progress.

L. Tom Perry, “The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous Life,” p.32

“Well, let’s go ahead and get started.” A tall, muscular man with a long black ponytail and hair cut close on the sides of his head stood at the front of the room next to an old folding table. “Welcome to the Desolation Community Center meeting of Bloodshed Addicts Anonymous. My name is Zerahemnah and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Zerahemnah. Several voices hopped up from the rows of metal folding chairs.

“Any other addicts here?” He looked out at the thirty or so spirits in front of him and flashed a wide grin.

A few people smirked. Most raised a hand.

“I see a few new faces. Welcome. I don’t want anyone to feel put on the spot, but if you’re new to the Desolation Community Center meeting or if you’re in your first month or so of sobriety, maybe you could stand up at some point and introduce yourself. No pressure though, you can do it whenever you’re ready.”

“Let’s start with the serenity prayer. If you’re new, it’s that one right there,” he said pointing to a large yellowing posterboard hanging on the wall behind him.

All of those present chanted in unison: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

“Thanks, everyone. We just have a couple of quick announcements. Just as a reminder, next week’s meeting will be cancelled due to a scheduling conflict with the building. I guess the Bountiful Girl Scout troop has some big event that night and they’re going to be using the whole building. Don’t ask me why they had to schedule it on a Thursday, I don’t know. The week after that we’ll have a special guest speaker at our meeting. Shiz, the famous last general of the Jaredite armies, will be joining us. So, that should be exciting to listen to him and learn from his experiences overcoming addiction. We definitely have a lot of brothers among the Jaredites, and it should be good to hear from one of their leaders. I’ve heard Shiz before, he’s a great speaker, so don’t miss it.”

Zerahemnah paused and looked at his notes. “And I think that’s it as far as announcements go, so now I’m going to open the floor to all of you.”

A tall, nervous looking man abruptly stood up. He bumped the chair in front of him and said a quick apology before addressing the room.

“Hi everyone, I’m Gidgiddonah and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Gidgiddonah.

“And that’s it. I just promised my friend, Gilgal, that I’d introduce myself,” he said, pointing to the man next to him. “I’m glad to be here.”

He sat down just as abruptly as he stood.

“Nothing wrong with that,” said Zerahemnah. “You just say whatever you’re comfortable with. There’s no pressure to do anything more than that. Thanks for sharing, Gidgiddonah.”

Gidgiddonah nodded.

Gilgal slapped Gidgiddonah on the shoulder and stood up.

“Hey guys, I’m Gilgal and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Gilgal.

“I just want to say how stoked I am to have my boy, Gid, finally here. I know he’ll get the help he needs from this awesome group. I also wanted to thank everyone for helping me stay clean all these years. Two hundred years sober.” He said these last four words in a low shout, kissed two upheld fingers, and sat back down.

Congratulations echoed around the room.

A tall, thin man with black hair raised his hand and then stood.

“Hi, I’m Pachus and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Pachus.

“I’m not the famous Pachus, but we are related. He’s my second cousin once removed, I think.” He stared at the ceiling trying to concentrate. “Or maybe he’s my third cousin. I don’t know, something like that. I don’t really remember how all that works. He’s some kind of cousin of mine.”

Pachus stared at the fluorescent light above his head for a few seconds.

“Anyway, I was one of the king-men. I didn’t even really care about all that political stuff though, I just joined up because I like, or… I liked shedding blood, you know. I was in denial about it for a while, you know how it is. I told myself I just wanted to help the family, help the clan get power, and that was why I joined, but it wasn’t really true. I had relatives on the other side too. I could’ve joined the freemen too if I wanted, but I just had this feeling that if the king-men won out, they would be shedding a lot more blood, and I wanted to shed some blood, so king-men it was.”

He paused again, still looking at the fluorescent light.

“I already knew that I would like it even before the first time I did it, ’cause I always liked watching when I saw someone else shedding blood. A few times, when I was a kid, blood was shed in my own house—servants who stole stuff, you know that kinda thing—but most of the time I had to sneak out and watch the criminals—you know, loan sharks, hired hitmen, Gadiantons, those kinds of thugs. I snuck around, followed ’em. Sooner or later, they’d always be shedding somebody’s blood, and I’d be there watching from the shadows. Anyway, so I already knew I’d like it, so I joined up with the king-men. I don’t know, maybe I had a genetic predisposition for it or something. Who knows?”

Pachus paused again, longer than before. Someone coughed.

“Anyway, I’ve been sober about four hundred years now, so you new guys, just know that there’s hope for everyone. It’s a struggle, it’s always a struggle, but there’s hope,” he said sitting down.

“Thanks for sharing, Pachus,” said a large, bronzed man at the front of the room sitting next to Zerahemnah.

Pachus looked up and smiled at Giddianhi.

From the rows of chairs, a stocky man with thick, dark hair and copper skin rose to his feet.

“Hi everyone, my name is Luram and I’m a bloodshed addict.”

Hi, Luram.

“Today is my deathday. I’ve been dead for almost two thousand years now.”

A few “happy deathdays” rang out from the group.

“Thanks, everyone. It’s always harder for me on my deathday, I know a lot of you can probably relate to that. When I think about my own blood being shed, it just pisses me off, and all I want to do is shed someone else’s blood. I know I shouldn’t want that, but… anyway, that’s why I’m here, right? That’s why we’re all here, to overcome, or to try, or… whatever, you know what I mean. So, I was a warrior, like most of us here, and I just wanted to be a hero. I mean, at first that’s all I wanted. I had trained to fight ever since I was a kid. I hoped to shed the blood of our enemies, the Lamanites, but just to save our people, to save my kids from falling into their hands, to win back our ancestral lands, all that good stuff.”

Knowing looks and nods of assent rippled across the watching faces.

“But, battle after battle after battle, I just wanted more. I told myself that I liked the honor that came from victory, the thrill of winning, the gladness at helping my people survive for one more day, but eventually I realized that I felt good at the end of every battle, whether we won or not. Our general, Mormon – yeah, the Mormon – kept telling us to repent. I remember that now, but at the time, I couldn’t hear him. I just wanted to shed someone’s blood, you know. I finally realized that I delighted in the shedding of blood. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it had to be my enemy’s blood, it just worked out that way because we were at war. I guess I’m glad we were at war when I think about it. Not because I was shedding blood, I know now that that’s wrong. I’m just glad that there were enemies to fight so I was never really tempted to shed the blood of any of my neighbors or family members or whatever. I think it has probably made step nine easier for me. Not that it’s easy, I just think it could be worse.”

Luram wrung his hands and stared in silence at the peeling paint on the wall by the door.

“Then, I fell by the sword at the battle of Moriantum. It was only a few minutes in. I guess that’s what ticks me off the most. I was a seasoned warrior, I had years of experience, and I got hewn down in the first five minutes or something.

Luram looked at the front of the room. He shifted his weight.

“I was hewn down quick, as were a good chunk of my men, many of whom are here today. Glad to see you, boys.”

A few voices called out to Luram in acknowledgement.

“I found out later that we lost the war, that everything was lost, that all Nephite civilization had ceased to exist upon the face of the earth. I don’t know maybe I wouldn’t have been able to save anyone anyway, even if I had survived, maybe Mormon was right—trusting in the arm of the flesh leads to death—but everyone dies, even Mormon himself fell, so trusting in God leads to death too, apparently.”

Luram stood silent for a few moments, looking at his hands. He whispered inaudibly to himself.

“Anyway,” he said aloud, “I guess I’m just disappointed in myself, mostly. I thought that I could make a difference, save my people, avenge my fallen brothers. I thought that if I gave it my all, I could do it all. But I eventually just stopped caring about all of that and all I wanted to do was shed blood. And even though I’ve been sober for almost a thousand years, all I really want to do on my deathday is to shed blood. It’s like all I can think about when I remember the shedding of my own blood. So, I called Giddianhi, he’s my sponsor, and he helped me talk through it all, reminded me to come tonight. And, anyway, that’s all I wanted to say.”

“Thanks for sharing, Luram,” Zerahemnah said.

“Oh, and thanks, Giddianhi,” said Luram as he sat back down.

Giddianhi nodded.

A short, scrawny man with a raspy beard sitting next to Pachus stood up.

“Hi, I’m Kishkumen and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Kishkumen.

“I’m a little different than most of you here. I was never a warrior, I didn’t have like a noble cause I was fighting for or anything, I was just shedding blood for the thrill of it. Some people thought I was doing it for politics, but I wasn’t really. I never cared about that stuff. I’m like Pachus that way, I just… I don’t know why I started. I kind of envy the rest of you in that way, at least you had a good excuse. Oh, and I can attest, that Luram is right, step nine is way harder when you aren’t a warrior. I mean, I know it’s hard for everyone, it really is, I don’t want to make light of that, but making amends is just way easier when the other guy was also trying to shed your blood at the time. Making amends with people who have never shed blood themselves is a nightmare, especially if you were close before you shed their blood, especially, especially with family… it’s tough.”

Kishkumen took in a deep breath and seemed to be trying to hold back tears.

“I had a relapse. It was like fifteen or sixteen years ago, so nothing too recent, but I still think about it a lot. I was following this guy, this living guy. I could just tell that he was like me, like us, I could tell that he was into shedding blood, or that he was gonna be, really soon. I don’t think he had ever done it yet, but I could tell he wanted to. So, I followed him around, I whispered to him, egged him on, pushed him. Then, when he had finally decided to do it and had a real opportunity, I went inside him. I possessed him so I could feel the thrill that he felt. And it wasn’t the same as when I was shedding blood with my own hands, it wasn’t as intense, but I felt some of that old thrill. Then, I stayed with him for a few more weeks and tried to keep pushing him to do it again and again. Then, he got caught and I left him. After I left him, I just felt terrible, I felt like crap, you know. I mean, I know how agency works, I know that he made his own decision to shed blood and that he’s the one who actually shed those people’s blood, but I pushed him, and I was right there with him, and I liked it when he did it. And on top of all that, my sponsee found out about my relapse, and I guess he just decided that if I couldn’t do it, he couldn’t either and he had his own relapse, and I know everyone makes their own choices, but I just felt terrible, like his relapse was my fault too.”

Kishkumen pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He wiped tears from his eyes and blew his nose.


“We feel for you, Kishkumen,” said Giddianhi, “it’s always hardest when we feel like our negative choices have helped lead others down the wrong path. We’re here for you, and God is too.”

“Thanks, that means a lot.” Kishkumen wiped his nose again. “Then, I also felt like an idiot, of course, because I had been clean for like almost a millennium before that and then I had to start all over. Then, I felt like a jerk because I was honestly more concerned about starting over for a little bit there, than I was about the people I led astray and the people whose blood was shed. It was just a spiral. Anyway, I just want to say, if anyone here is having a hard time or thinking about doing something stupid, just call your sponsor. That’s what I should’ve done. Just call someone that you can talk to. You can’t get through it alone, you just can’t. That’s what I wanted to say.”

“Thanks for sharing,” said Zerahemnah. “And I want to echo what Kishkumen said. If you’re having a hard time, call your sponsor. That’s what sponsors are for. We all have hard times sometimes, we all have temptations, and we can’t get through them alone, none of us, no matter how long we’ve been sober. Just call.”

A largely built man with a deep tan sitting on the front row stood and introduced himself, “I’m Zenephi and I’m an addict.”

Hi, Zenephi.

“I, uh… I’ve been having a hard time over the past few days. As I’m sure most of you already know, the First Resurrection started last week. Now, I never thought I would be rising in the First Resurrection. I did some pretty terrible stuff back during my life, so I always knew I’d be at the back of the line, and I’m fine with that. I’m not having a hard time with that. I’ve just been thinking a lot about the resurrection lately and wondering what’s gonna happen with us in here, us addicts, and all the work we’ve been doing? Anyone can feel free to answer, I kinda wanna talk this through with everyone, or with anyone who has any ideas.”

Zerahemnah spoke first: “I’m not really sure what you mean, can you elaborate?”

Zenephi let out a long breath and looked around the room.

“Okay, so people say that you can only truly overcome an addiction with a body. That’s why all of us in here, even though we’ve been sober for centuries, we haven’t experienced the rush of bloodshed for centuries, right, we’re all still addicts because we don’t have our bodies.”

“Right, I’ve heard that too,” said Luram. Others nodded or mumbled agreement.

“Yeah, see? So, my question is basically, what’s gonna happen when we are resurrected and reunited with our bodies? I mean, we’ve done all this work to change our spirits and our desires and stuff, but what if our bodies still have a strong craving to shed blood, for the thrill? Are we gonna have to start over?

Worried murmurs spread down the rows and reverberated through the metal folding chairs.

“I’m worried too because relapse will finally be possible, I mean real relapse. I know most people will be resurrected and immortal, but not everyone. There will still be mortal people on the earth, and we’ll be living right there alongside them. Then, there’s that prophecy that at the end of the Millennium, things are gonna get really crazy bad again, kinda like it was for many of us during our lifetimes. I’m worried that the temptation is gonna be too great for me.”

Gidgiddonah turned around in his chair. He tried to hide the worried look on his face. “I don’t know much about all this stuff, but I always heard that God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can handle. I’ve heard people say it just like that at synagogue.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that too,” said Zenephi, nodding. “I just think, I gave in to the temptation plenty of times during my life, I could probably give in plenty more times in the future once I’ve been resurrected. I just haven’t even had the chance to really deal with it in so long. Like maybe we aren’t even really recovering at all. Maybe recovery is only really possible with a body.”

“Maybe that’s true,” Zerahemnah said.

“Or on the other hand,” Zenephi said, “maybe when you get a resurrected body, all the bad cravings will just be gone, because isn’t a resurrected body supposed to be perfect? That’s what people say, so maybe we don’t even need to come to BAA meetings anymore because when we are resurrected we’ll be fully recovered by default. I don’t know.”

“Man, that would be nice,” said Pachus.

“Wouldn’t it?” said Luram.

“Maybe that’s true too,” Zerahemnah said as he stood, “and maybe it’s not. I don’t think we can really know for sure, at least not yet. For now, I think we should all keep coming to BAA. I think this program has done a lot of good for a lot of us and we shouldn’t stop now unless we find out for sure that it isn’t necessary anymore. So, for now, we keep meeting. Agreed?”

A few nodded their heads.

“Agreed, Giddianhi?” said Zerahemnah glancing back.

“Yes, absolutely. Everyone should keep coming to BAA every week. You all know from personal experience how much this program can help you. You’ve planted the seed, you let it grow, and it has blossomed. We’ve all tasted the good fruit. Even if trying at recovery isn’t necessary anymore after our resurrection, for now it can only help,” said Giddianhi.

Zerahemnah looked into Zenephi’s eyes for a few moments.

“Yeah, yeah, I agree too,” Zenephi said as he nodded his head. “I’m gonna keep coming. I just wanted to talk about it.”

“Okay, good. All of you should keep coming.” Zerahemnah paused and picked up his notebook. “So, tomorrow is the next regional meeting with the other BAA meeting leaders, so I’m making a note of this discussion and I’m going to ask about it, and we’ll see what they have to say.”

“Yeah, but what are a bunch of other addicts gonna know about it?” Kishkumen asked. “How would they know any more than us about the nature of the resurrection and how it will affect us?”

“That’s true, valid point.” Zerahemnah looked out at the worried faces of the spirits in front of him. “I’ll tell you what. Next month, me and all the BAA leaders are going to be meeting in person with Church leaders and talking about all of the existing addiction recovery programs and their effectiveness. I’m sure other people have had similar questions and concerns, but I will make sure that this gets discussed for sure. I will also personally talk to Elder Kumenonhi and see what he has to say about it. Does that sound good?”

“Yeah, that’s good,” said Kishkumen.

“Good for everyone?”

Others nodded.

“Okay, well, sorry that we’re ending on a somewhat uncertain note, but I think we’re about out of time for tonight. Thank you to everyone who shared. I know we all learn a lot from hearing about each of your experiences, and I’m personally grateful for your strength and for helping me stay clean. Now, just a last reminder, no meeting next week because of the building thing, and the week after that Shiz will be speaking here at our meeting. Also, we have the room for another couple hours tonight if anyone wants to stay and hang out or play games or whatever. So, now if everyone could stand, we’ll finish by saying the Lord’s prayer.”

They all stood up and held hands with the spirits on either side of themselves. Each of them said the words of the prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy will be done in the spirit world as it is in heaven.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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