Life With The Mormons
On November 16, 2011, 4:38 PM by Anonymous Mormon
A New York City transplant in the heart of Utah discovers just how much he has to learn about his new neighborhood.
They thought I had a speech impediment. Or, at the very least, a mild learning disability.
First night in the new condo. Why not invite the neighbors over?, I figured. Down a couple shots, pregame through an It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia episode, and see where the night took us.
In New York City, this would be fool-proof. It would invariably lead to a club, a mysterious $91 bar tab, a 4:11 AM slice of baked ziti pizza, a Coconut Water-infused Sunday recovery, and an all-around ‘solid’ weekend.
But this was not New York City. This was Utah. The bar (there’s only one) closed at midnight. Baked ziti was simply a greasy lunch side at Sizzler’s. And the neighbors were Mormon.
They didn’t drink. They prayed. They didn’t watch R-rated TV or go to clubs. They attended prayer ward, went bowling, and were in bed by 10:30.
I didn’t know this at the time, of course.
Provo, Utah on a Friday night smacks of Pleasantville 1960s America. It is best seen in black and white. Best listened to with the Leave It To Beaver or Andy Griffith theme song.
Coat-and-tied eight year olds wave at you with eerie Children of the Corn-type smiles. White, button-downed BYU students march along in lock-step through the Mall—again, there’s only one—before its 9 PM closing time. They share peanuts and tales from their overseas Missions at Five Guys. They are the sort of people who laugh a little too hard for a little too long at CBS sitcom promos on diner TVs.
They don’t swear. Mormons believe cursing harms your spirit and separates you from God. They mumble “dang” and “fetch” instead. At worst—and usually in the context of BYU football’s run defense—they shout “Holy fetch!” Their dogs are perpetually confused.
To them, I’m the smug East Coaster personified. I’m everything their mother warned them about and then some. I don’t go to church Sundays. I go to the sports bar and drink beer. I don’t read Scripture or the Book of Mormon. I browse The New York Times on my iPad. I download movies illegally. I crank the heat up to 78 degrees at all times. I replay SportsCenter constantly. Often at volumes louder than necessary.
In short, I am going to hell. Or the Mormon conception of it: the Telestial Kingdom.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains there are three Kingdoms of Glory. The most devout souls are ferried to the Celestial Kingdom. Joseph Smith taught that these rarefied few receive their own star, a white rock engraved with their name and an endless afterlife with God and Jesus. Candidates include the most pious of spirits and children who tragically pass away before the age of eight.
The Terrestrial Kingdom awaits the not-quite-perfect followers. The silver medal of Mormon after-lives for those who lived nobly, paid their 10% tithe to the church, but “were blinded by the craftiness of men”. Inhabitants are not granted a star and must wait in a spiritual holding cell of sorts until they are resurrected into the Celestial Kingdom.
The Telestial Kingdom awaits sinners like me. It is the jail of afterlife for “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” Because I did not accept the full gospel of Jesus, I will be incarcerated in Spirit prison for a sentence of no less than 1000 years. After that, I will be released and live out all eternity as a “filthy” immortal savage.
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