Elders and Lovers
"Joshua Elijah Taylor, for whom you are named, was the second son of Micah Zachariah Taylor. But let's go back a bit. Your great-great-grandfather, Micah Zachariah Taylor was one of the Mormon Pioneers, although he did start the trek west late since he wasn't born until near the end of the movement. He was, of course, raised in a very devout and strict Mormon family. He had three wives and fathered sixteen children, not unusual in those days. Of the sixteen children, only eight reached adulthood, which was also not unusual for those days. One of them, the eldest son, was your great-grandfather.
"Your great-grandfather had four children, two sons -- your grandfather Micah Zachariah Taylor, called, as you well know, Micah, and his brother Joshua Elijah Taylor, your great-uncle -- and daughters Sarah Elizabeth and Martha Rebecca. Apparently, your great-grandfather was a bit of a hell raiser, at least by community standards, until he decided to marry your great-grandmother. She refused to marry him unless he reformed himself and, as seldom happens, he did and, as in the case where reform does happen, went to the extreme. Not only did he reform himself, but became a very rigid, unbending, fundamentalist Mormon. Your grandfather described him as a cold, closed-minded, self-centered, self-righteous dictator. He was, obviously, not overly fond of his father!
"Your grandfather and your great-uncle were devoted to each other and, growing up, both were often in trouble with their father because they were very alive and mischievous. Both were very open, loving and warm in contrast to their rigid, closed and cold father. When your grandfather reached nineteen, he asked to postpone his missionary journey until Joshua could go as well. The postponement was allowed, but they were given very different posts. Joshua was on a team headed for New Mexico and Micah went to Chicago.
"There were four on the New Mexico team. Along with Joshua from almost non-existent Glenview, there were two from Salt Lake, James Watson and Joseph Morris, and Samuel Smith from Provo. Since Joshua was the country boy of the lot, James and Joseph looked down on him as an ignorant bumpkin and made their feelings quite well-known. Good-natured Joshua ignored them and he and Sam became close friends during their training period and the first weeks they were in New Mexico. The four were living in an apartment in Albuquerque and in teams of two worked different parts of the city. Joseph and James immediately declared themselves one team, which suited Sam and Joshua fine
"Joshua was not an ignorant fellow, but his horizons had been limited, to say the least. Sam, on the other hand, did, after all, live in a college town and while BYU was Mormon to the core, it did allow a wider view of the world than Joshua had known. One evening when all four of the Mormon elders were eating supper, James and Joseph started talking about having knocked on a door and of having introduced themselves to the young man who opened the door. He told them he wasn't interested, but James and Joseph were very frustrated by the reception they had received so far that day and had decided they were not being aggressive enough. Finally, after they still would not take no for an answer, the young man said, 'Damn it, will you bigots listen? I'm not buying nothing you stupid bigots are trying to sell.'
"'I know he was queer,' Joseph said.
"Joshua had, of course, heard of queers, or as they had been called in his church instruction, homosexuals -- and been told of what would happen to them, but so far as he had known, they did not really exist. He did understand, in a few minutes of the conversation among the three, why the man had called them bigots. He asked a couple questions and was laughed at for being so ignorant of the evils in the world. Later, when he and Sam had gone to bed—they shared a room—Sam had told him what he knew about homosexuals. The longer they talked, the more worried Joshua became because he began to be able to put a name to the feelings he had had since he was twelve or so. When he asked why men chose to be homosexual, Sam said it didn't make sense to him and, in fact, he wondered if it was a choice.
"As the weeks passed, Sam and Joshua talked more, became closer, more trusting of each other, until six months before they were to return, one afternoon they had decided to take a break and ended up at the botanical garden. As they were walking in the conservatory, and hidden from view behind a mass of plants —not that there was anyone else around—Sam said, 'Joshua, sometimes I think I'm homosexual, but I didn't choose to be.' Startled, it took Joshua a minute to respond during which Sam said, 'I'm sorry. Joshua. Please don't hate me! I don't think I could stand that. I'm sorry.'
"When Joshua finally had time to recover, he embraced Sam, pulling him close, and said, 'I'd never hate you, Sam, never. I think I might be a homosexual too.' The two stared into each other's eyes for a long time then Joshua said, 'Sam, not only do I think I am homosexual, I think I am in love with you.'
"A huge grin appeared on Sam's face as he responded, 'I know I am in love with you.' He leaned forward and kissed Joshua tenderly on the lips. They two smiled at each other, exchanged a second kiss, then reality struck both and the smiles disappeared from their faces. 'Sam,' Joshua said, 'we can't let anyone find out. We'll be hated and I, at least, shunned. I know my father will disown me or worse.' Sam nodded sadly.
"Josh, gays often have a hard time today. Many religious groups condemn them, hate crimes are committed against them, they are discriminated against, but compared to the attitudes Sam and Joshua faced, life for gays today is easy. Remember, homosexuality was a crime and usually carried extreme and harsh sentences if one was convicted."
"To make a long story short, the two managed to hide their love from the world and from their fellow elders for the remaining six months. They had been invited to spend time with the Wilsons -- a Mormon family who lived fifty miles from Albuquerque, well out into the country, the only Mormons within miles, the oly people for miles. They had met Sam and Joshua the first day of a church conference in Albuquerque, the week before Sam and Joshua's two years as missionaries were up. The Wilsons took an immediate liking to them and invited them to spend a couple weeks on their ranch before going home.
"It took some persuading, but Joshua and Sam got their departure from Albuquerque delayed for two weeks to visit the Wilsons. When the church function and Sam and Joshua's two years as missionaries were over Sunday morning, they all headed back to the Wilsons' ranch.
"The following Sunday evening, after devotions and the end of a delightful week with the Wilsons, Mrs. Wilson said, 'It's a shame you can't get a real feel for the countryside before you go back.'
"Mr. Wilson then asked why they didn't. 'This time of year it's warm and not too likely to rain. You have a week. A bedroll, which you have, is all you really need. You can pick up food from folks along the way and walk and camp back to Albuquerque. Would be a wonderful adventure to tell your friends about. Get in a bit more mission work as well.' They loved the idea and Monday morning had breakfast with the Wilsons, thanked them profusely for their hospitality and headed for Albuquerque with their bedrolls and food Mrs. Wilson had prepared and said would keep one or two days if they didn't find food along the way.
"Two years walking eight or more hours a day had left them strong legs, so the fifty-mile trip back to Albuquerque was nothing. Anytime they came to a crossroads, they stopped and explored as well as anything else which caught their attention. Mission work? They had finished their two years and knew that had any Mormon known about them, they would have been excommunicated anyway. They did, occasionally, stop by a ranch for food and water -- where they introduced themselves as college students hiking around New Mexico after a year in Iowa, leaving the impression they had been college students in Des Moines.
"They stopped and moved away from the road and into the bush frequently to cuddle, exchange kisses and generally to enjoy each other's company. Nights they slept together, their naked bodies entangled. They gave each other pleasure by stroking their lover, but did nothing more. Their week in paradise ended much too soon, needless to say, and they were back in Albuquerque, gear packed, and reluctantly boarded a train for Utah.
"Back home, they exchanged almost daily letters -- Joshua tried to make it to the mail box before anyone else and usually managed. His mother did comment on the fact that he seemed to be getting a lot of mail from Provo and he managed to change the subject. He ached to hold Sam in his arms and thought about him during the day and dreamed of him at night.
"Since he had graduated near the top of his class, getting into BYU would not be a problem, especially with the excellent report he got on his missionary work in New Mexico. The problem was convincing his parents he needed college -- Micah wasn't very interested in college and stayed home, got married and settled down. Joshua's high school principal did the job for him, suggesting Joshua would be an excellent addition to the high school as both a good Mormon and an athlete as he had willingly walked miles so he could participate in sports at his high school.
"He was accepted at BYU, as was Sam. They asked to be roommates which aroused some suspicion since they had spent two years together in New Mexico. It took some careful argument, but reluctantly they were assigned to the same room. Both were delighted beyond measure. They settled into the dorm only to discover that a quick kiss and embrace was about the only way they dared express their love for each other, because of the way the dorms were monitored and student attitudes. When they had free time, they hiked to the hills for an hour of love-making -- kissing, much tongue play and stroking each other. Both completed the year with excellent grades and selected their majors. Joshua was going for a major in biology with a minor in education; Sam for a degree in forestry, hoping to make his dream of being a forest ranger come true.
"At the end of the year, they were separated for the summer. Joshua returned to the family ranch to work and Sam headed for California where he would work for the national park service, a lucky appointment made possible by some pull his father had. At the end of the summer, Joshua's dad reluctantly allowed him to join Sam for a camping and hiking trip in Yosemite. Sam, of course, was able to borrow camping equipment from his ranger supervisor, so Joshua packed very little and caught a bus to go to the man he loved.
"They had another week in paradise. Their first night, Sam told Joshua he had heard two guys talking about getting sucked while 'eating pussy.'
"'Not an idea that appeals to me at all!' Joshua said with a frown.
"'Dumbass,' Sam laughed, 'it doesn't have to be pussy.'
"Joshua's face turned red as Sam laughed at him and he finally got a huge grin on his face and nodded. Sure they would not be discovered, Sam took Joshua in his mouth. The sensation was so great, Joshua shot almost at once, emptying a huge load into Sam's waiting mouth. When they kissed, he could taste himself and Sam mingled together. Joshua was surprised to discover taking Sam into his mouth gave him as much pleasure as his being in Sam's mouth—a different pleasure, to be sure, but a great one. Both had cum so quickly, after holding and kissing each other for only a short time, they were ready to go again. The two were soon mouth to cock. Bringing each other near to climax, then stopping, gazing into each other's eyes, leaning together to exchange hot kisses and engage in tongue battle before assuming their sixty-nine position. Finally, Sam could hold out no longer and filled Joshua's mouth with his man's nectar and, in doing so, pushed Joshua over the edge so he gave his gift to Sam.
"Two very happy and temporarily sated young man were back at the ranger's house Saturday morning, welcoming a hot shower and clean clothes. The ranger took them to the bus station and they headed back to Utah with a week to get ready for their second year at BYU.
"Neither had suspected the fact that they hadn't spent the entire two weeks with the Wilsons would ever be discovered. Unfortunately, that was not true. Mr. Wilson mentioned to his stake president that the two young elders who had spent a week with him had been exceptionally nice young men and he was sure they had done an excellent job as missionaries. The stake president mentioned it to a Mormon official in Albuquerque who asked if he didn't mean two weeks and the stake president assured him Mr. Wilson had said they stayed a week. That started a process which eventually resulted in their being called into the dean's office as soon as they returned to campus.
"He asked them how many weeks they had spent in New Mexico after they completed their mission assignment. 'Weren't you supposed to have been at a Mr. Wilson's home two weeks? How do you explain the second week? Tell me about your "New Mexico adventure." They were caught completely off-guard and although Mr. Wilson had suggested their camping trip, it was quick thinking on Joshua's part that allowed them to escape with no more than an admonition. Rather than appear confounded, Joshua had said their host had mentioned how unfortunate it was that they did have time to see some of New Mexico as campers and suggested they take their second week and hike the fifty miles to Albuquerque. The dean accepted that, but was very upset that they had not cleared it 'with the proper authorities.' Joshua had thought when they finished their two-year mission assignment, they were free men again, but he wasn't foolish enough to say that. It did serve as a warning that they needed to be extra careful. The dean then told them to make sure their 'New Mexico adventure' wasn't seen in the wrong light, he would assign them different roommates. Protest was useless and they knew it. Had they known different roommates also meant different dorms, they might have taken the risk.
"Their new roommates had girlfriends still in high school in relatively nearby towns and, as they hoped, spent as many weekends at home as possible. Since Sam and Joshua's times together were separated by a week—or sometimes more—they made the most of them, especially after the summer when they had discovered the wonders various combinations of tongues, mouths and cocks could create. But not all the time together was spent in having sex. In fact, because they had to make sure their secret was safe, they learned to make love with their eyes and smiles as they spent time together walking, hiking and, after Sam had spent a few weekends with Joshua's family, horseback riding.
"The summer following their second year at BYU, Sam once again found a summer job, this time in forestry and was sent to Washington state. Joshua was back on the ranch and in addition to the usual work, found a part-time, non-paying job coaching baseball for a couple of the county baseball teams. At BYU, he had earned his life-saving certificate from the Red Cross and started work on his swimming instructor's certificate, but there was no opportunity to use them in his county.
"He wrote Sam daily, but received few letters in return as Sam was often in the backwoods where mail came when it came. As a result, the letters Joshua did receive were long, sometimes written over a week or longer. Much of their letters could easily have been no more than a letter between two very close friends, but the rest spoke of their undying love for each other and their hopes and dreams for the future.
"The two decided the bus trip to Washington state would take too long and be too expensive, so Sam came back a week early and the two went camping in Cache National Forest in Utah. They talked and dreamed of the time they could be together, knowing that would involve leaving Utah and likely being disowned by their family and excommunicated.
"Their third and fourth years at BYU were essentially the same as the first two, with Sam back in New Mexico between the third and fourth year. That summer, again with the help of his high school principal, Joshua's father allowed him to work for the county—which paid practically nothing—coaching baseball and teaching swimming at a new pool the county built. His father only allowed him to take the job with the understanding that he would be on his own since he would need to hire a hand to help out at the ranch.
"Sam's dad had a great deal of political clout and clout at BYU as well, and used it to get Joshua a great scholarship. The high school principal also called upon some contacts he had at BYU and Joshua had, essentially, a free ride at BYU with his summer earnings as spending money, more than he would have had if his father had been footing the bill.
"The fourth year, the two young men were again roommates and, while very careful, once their door was locked, made passionate love most nights. They had never taken what Sam called the final step until the night before they left for home at Christmas. They were cuddling in bed when Sam said, 'Joshua, I want to give you my special Christmas gift. I want to give myself to you totally. I want you inside me.' They talked for a while and finally cock and ass were well lubricated with Vaseline and Joshua slowly entered Sam. When he was completely buried inside, the feeling was so incredible, he knew if he moved, he would explode inside his lover. They lay, united, for a very long time with Joshua making the smallest of moves, yet remaining rock hard. Finally, he started moving in and out of his lover, thrusting deep, then shallow until he exploded, his orgasm so intense, his body continued to spasm for several minutes afterward.
"During the Christmas break, he applied for a teaching job at his old high school and was assured he had a place. He would be teaching general science, biology and a general math class. Additionally, he would earn a stipend for coaching baseball. Sam had applied for jobs with both the National Park and the National Forestry departments and had interviews while he was on Christmas holiday.
"The two graduated with honors and Joshua, as had been expected of him, was back home, working for parks and recreations for the summer and teaching in the local high school as soon as school started. Sam had landed his dream job as a forest ranger and was stationed in Ashley National Forest, a hundred-fifty miles from where Joshua was. They were separated, but considered themselves lucky that Sam had been stationed so close.
"Both began saving every penny they could to purchase vehicles so they could get together. They found a place about half-way between where they lived and camped there when they could, which was months apart when Joshua could borrow the family car and Sam's boss would look the other way so he could use a forestry vehicle. So far as his forestry boss knew, he was meeting a girlfriend. Sam was finally able to buy a decent second hand car in the spring. When Joshua got out of school for Easter break, Sam drove down to Joshua's. He spent the night, then the two headed back to Ashley where Sam had arranged to be on watch tower duty for the week. The watch tower was miles from anything, so they got food for the week and drove to the watch tower. Ordinarily two guys were assigned watch duty, but since Joshua would be with him, Sam assured his ranger boss he could handle the dawn to dark duty by himself and the ranger approved.
"He needed to be in the tower by six-thirty and didn't come down until eight. He did the necessary observations and recorded the situation -- all normal -- for five days while Joshua sat with him in the tower. They got in a lot of making out, but nothing beyond that the first two days. That could not be said of the nights as each brought the other, in one way or another, to a climax at least three times. As their third day in the tower was ending, Joshua said, 'Sam, beloved, there will be a full moon tonight, I want to make love to you here, above the treetops, in the moonlight,' and did.
"The fifth day was their last day in the tower. They packed up their things and were ready to go as soon as their replacements arrived., which they did at four in the afternoon. Allan, one of the two, climbed the tower and greeted Sam and was introduced to Joshua as a friend from college who was on Easter break.' What's the plan for the rest of your break?' he asked.
"'We're driving to my place and I'll get Sam back on a horse and maybe drive into Provo for some excitement.
"'Excitement? In Provo? I guess that's right if you were college friends. I know Sam went to BYU so I guess you did and are Mormon as well. Provo is not very exciting for those of us of the tea, coffee and alcohol persuasion,' he laughed. 'Well, go ahead and get out of here. I'll handle the last few hours.' Sam thanked him and the two were on their way in half an hour.
"It was in the early hours when they reached Joshua's place and everyone was in bed. They entered the house quietly, went into Joshua's room and locked the door. Joshua's father had never permitted a lock on the children's doors, but when Joshua started paying room and board, he insisted his room was his and his privacy important and installed a lock, much to his father's displeasure. Sam had brought his bed roll which he placed on the floor before crawling into bed with Joshua. The bed was really too small for the two men, but they were determined to be together. They made love, but only by stroking each other to a climax fearing that mouth or ass might wake the household as not only did both often spasm after orgasm, but Joshua was also known to utter loud shouts which alone would have been enough, but what he shouted sometimes would definitely bring down the wrath of his father.
"For fear their secret might be revealed, Joshua had turned his alarm to soft and set it for four in the morning. When it went off, only a couple hours after they had gone to bed, he quickly turned it off and Sam moved to his sleeping bag. The last thing they did was unlock the door. When Joshua's mom knocked on the door the next morning, he called out, 'Come in, we're decent.' His mom poked her head in the door and said, 'Breakfast in half an hour.'
"After an unusually long morning devotion by Mr. Taylor, the family started eating. ' Dad, you have anything for me to do today?' Joshua asked.
"'Just your usual chores,' his father replied.
"'Sam and I are planning to ride into the mountains if I'm free.'
'''You may go,' his father said, 'but you two need to be giving thought to the future. You are of an age when you need to begin to understand a man's place in the world.' Joshua thought there was plenty of time for that and, besides, he wasn't sure what a man's place was and was sure it was not as clearly defined as his father believed, but he also knew to keep his mouth shut.
"Mrs. Taylor packed a lunch for them and they saddled up and rode out about eight. Sam had not grown up on horseback and while he rode very well, he was not the rider Joshua was, so they took it easy -- making frequent stops to explore and just sit and talk.
"Noon, they stopped by a small spring where they refilled their canteens, drank, then allowed the horses to drink. A small grove of trees surrounded the spring and the ground was covered with green grass. They hobbled the horses, took off their saddles to give the horses a rest, ate their lunch and decided to take a nap. Joshua took blanket rolls from the saddles, spread then under a tree and they lay down, but postponed the nap to make love.
"They slept for over two hours before riding in a wide circle which took them back to the ranch. Before his father could comment, they had rubbed down the horses and started the evening chores, Sam and Joshua helping Mr. Taylor."
VanWinkle motioned to a park bench in a shady spot. He and Josh
been walking for some time and the rest was welcomed by both as
continued the story of a man whose name Josh bore and who was
becoming very alive to him.