Don’t tell anyone, but I have considered converting to Mormonism. This has nothing to do with politics and where my vote will go in November. It’s because I am just back from Utah, where I swear to god, I discovered the Latter Day Saints do not believe in hell or eternal damnation.
One would think having grown up in Idaho, which is swarming with LDS, I’d know more about their faith. Truth is, my mother is a very devout Catholic, and when the Mormon missionaries showed up on our front step, as they too often did, she’d profess her adoration of the pope in Rome, while politely, yet firmly, closing the door.
So I assumed this was not a religion I should look into and had few Mormon friends. We heard rumors about LDS issues like the fact that Joseph Smith did not believe in caffeine so drinks laced with such poison were sinful. Until a Mormon V.I.P. or some church Big Wig bought the Coca Cola Company, indicating the Lord reconsidered and Coke was okay. We also heard that Mormon women never took off the sacred underwear they receive upon being wed in their temple, so even when bathing they hold the garments with one hand outside the tub. This left me wondering how they launder their holy undies– must be by hand.
While in Utah I paid my first visit to Brigham Young University, commonly known as the Y. This spic-and-span school is perched about forty minutes south of Salt Lake City, surrounded by the eastern shore of Utah Lake and scenic Wasatch mountains. Walking onto the campus one lavishly sunlit autumn afternoon, I was struck by several observations. Just inside a main gate, on a wooden bench under a perfectly formed chestnut tree, posed a gorgeous young woman with lush, golden hair. She wore a pure white, long-sleeved blouse covering a high-necked, pink T-shirt. Her lanky legs hid under a pale blue peasant skirt, which revealed sensible flats. The student was intently reading a black hardcover which checked out to be The Book of Mormon. Skeptical by nature, I questioned whether or not school officials had planted this angelic beauty at the entrance, perhaps offering her free tuition?
Shame on me.
As I roamed the eerily quiet campus, I felt as if I were on a movie set. Rarely had I seen so many good-looking, wholesome, tattoo-less young men and women. Some strolled from building to building, others read or fingered keyboards as they lounged on the perfectly groomed lawn, or whispered about their studies, could I assume? I also noticed child-like parents, smiling with pride, pushing baby strollers cradling their cherubs. I was reminded how important it is for young LDS couples to bless the world with lots of children—and quickly.
Turns out the front page of the Y student newspaper, The Universe, ran a headline that week stating,
“Y CAFFEINATED SODA QUESTION BUBBLES UP”.
It seemed this issue had spilled again and many students want caffeinated drinks available in campus vending machines. I did notice several male students ambling across the lawn with red and white Coca Cola cups, but who knows what they were drinking…
I found it interesting that this topic made the front page headline of the Y weekly newspaper, while recalling the dreadful headline in the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily several years back. “UVA LACROSSE PLAYER KILLED BY EX-BOYFRIEND”.
My two children were attending UVA so I closely followed this horrific case. But I am sure most BYU parents are closely monitoring the caffeine controversy as well as the hot topic of appropriate trousers on campus. The burning question being, according to BYU independent newspaper, The Student Review, “Are skinny jeans the gateway style to more scandalous attire, or a legitimate clothing option with a bad rap?”
And to think, not one of these LDS lads or lassies will ever go to hell. Rather, each will attain a certain level of heaven, “Celestial” being the most sought after destiny. Myself, a baptized Catholic, I fear I will fall straight into Satan’s hands, once I depart this world. With The Seven Deadly Sins of Catholicism stated as:
I do not stand a chance. After all, anyone acquainted with me knows I yearn for Sean Penn, chow down like a grizzly bear, rival Imelda Marcos with my shoes, despise Ashton Kutcher, would kill to have my neighbor’s heated driveway, and besides boasting about my extraordinary kids, brag to everyone I meet that I have written a memoir, Naked Joy, and expect them to buy it.
My one saving grace is I am not a Sloth. I work harder than the dashing Mr. Clean at keeping my home, clothes, car and yard in tip-top shape. You loyal readers cannot deny I am a super spot remover, which makes it even harder for me to deal with my soiled past.
But alas, I could never be a Latter-Day Saint. I am too fond of wine, changing my underwear daily, and an eye-opening “cup- of- Joe” most mornings. Not to mention a selfish reluctance to give ten percent of my income, if I had one, to the church.
Thus, in the end, there will be hell to pay for this sorry soul.