Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 17: The first time I heard that D&D was somehow "evil."

It was in sixth grade.

I was with my friend Nathan (who would later become the DM who killed my first character with a pit fiend) after school, walking from his place to mine.

We'd been at his place. I asked about rolling up his character in front of his older sister. He looked at me and drew his thumb and forefinger across his lips, telling me to be quiet.

On the way to my place he explained that his sister probably wouldn't rat him out.

I was confused.

His parents, he continued, thought D&D was evil. But they used to play it back in the day before they became hardcore Christians--later I learned that his father was trying to established his own fundamentalist church in town.

They'd gotten rid of all of their books, but Nathan had found his dad's AD&D Monster Manual in a closet sometime before we'd met. His parents took it away, maybe even burned it. But he wanted to know more about D&D, so he started reading the Dragonlance Chronicles. Oddly enough, his parents were okay with those--maybe they didn't see the connection. I don't know.

Nathan insisted that his parents could never find out he was playing D&D, ever.

I found it strange, partly because I didn't have a particularly religious upbringing, but also that people would get riled up over a game. 

We kept this secret for almost three years, until the summer between 9th and 10th grade.  His mother discovered his D&D books the regular way mothers do when they find drugs, Playboys, and other contraband: she cleaned his room.

His parents took Nathan somewhere (out in the country, I recall) and burned his D&D books while they prayed for his soul. This included HeroQuest, his Dragonlance novels, and my old copies of the Monstrous Compendiums I & II.

It was traumatic for everybody involved. I remember Nathan calling me, telling me what had happened, saying that we couldn't hang out anymore.

Sometimes he'd sneak over to my place. But if his parents suspected anything, they'd get in the car and lay siege to the apartment building I'd lived in until he came out. This happened about 4-5 times--once he wasn't even there.

In retrospect, things weren't that bad--for me anyway--despite being the center of a witch hunt. Yet at the time I risked losing a friend and I was scared of what might happen next.

And yeah, Jack Chick is funny... until people believe him and do something about it. 

In order for his parents to lay off, and for Nathan and I to be friends again, I had to tell them that I got rid of my books. I'm still not proud of that lie.

But the drama was getting out of hand, spreading. I'd share more but it'd mean a much longer post. 

Maybe I'll talk about it more in my memoirs someday...

2 comments:

  1. You hear about this stuff happening but I always just thought it was people being overly sensitive. It's amazing that in this day-and-age, people can still get themselves worked up over a game, and insist that somehow it's a gateway to fictitious activities like witchcraft or Satanism. It boggles the mind. I've been shocked by the amount of close-mindedness in the name of "religion" about RPGs that I've seen discussed in today's Blog Hop posts. And this is coming from someone who actually learned how to play D&D in Salt Lake City because my dad had been transferred there due to his job.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading.

      Because of my experiences, I've learned to be more tolerant and more forgiving, and not cling to or seek out "absolute" truths. In a way, the events that summer led me to study history and religion which ended up with me getting my master's degree. And I still play D&D and have a great time!

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