“They shouldn’t do that,” said Miss D, as we got ready to step into the Haunted Mansion’s tomb buggy.
“What’s that?” I asked. I really didn’t feel like being at Disneyland that day, but we were hooking up with D’s cousins. The place was packed, of course. It was a Saturday and spring breaks were still in season.
“They use this really spooky voice to tell you how much danger you’re gonna be in– and then they say it in Spanish! It ruins the whole thing!”
As the tomb buggies lead us into the dark chasm of horror, the menacing voice flows through the speakers, and then repeats its monition with Cuidado! Espiritus pidiendo aventon!. The ride presses forward as we all crack up, being swallowed by the awful black gloom.
Testimony meeting can be like that. Every once in a while you enjoy a powerful run of testimonies and the Spirit’s strong, and the air in the room is thick. Then someone with an agenda or need to be paid attention to jumps up and throws something out that’s thoroughly cringe-worthy. In industry-speak, it tears down the third wall and we’re left in the benches to say, “Oh shoot… it’s gone” (“It” being that suspension of imagery that took us to a special place). I know, I know… everyone’s got the right to get up and bear their testimony. But seriously, must the podium be used as a forum for such ham-handed, thinly-veiled self-gratification? Are blessings in store for these bozos? I especially get frustrated when the perpetrator forces their rumination into the meeting when it clearly goes against the grain. One suspects they, too, feel the unnaturalness of it, but are so hell-bent on getting it out there, they either don’t care or panic and push it through anyway. Either way, the result remains espiritus pidiendo avento!
Hard to believe I haven’t written since April 18th. Too much stuff going on. We have a new bishop– MM, the soon-to-be-ex ward mission leader. They did something strange this time, and I’d be very interested to learn the motivation behind it: When the new bishop’s counselors were called to their positions, they weren’t told who the bishop was going to be– they only found out when it was announced to the congregation. One of the counselors later came up to me and said, “That was so weird, extending the callings and not telling us who the bishop was. Don’t you think that’s weird? I’ve never heard of that.” A high councilman later said with a grin, “The stake presidency’s playing their cards close to the vest.”
The mood in the bishop’s office has noticeably changed. The former bishop was a rock star, smooth and funny, well-seasoned, comfortable with Church politics and administration, having sat down with general authorities and world dignitaries regarding the Church’s relationship with the Middle East. He has such a keen perspective of the big picture and I wholeheartedly look upon him as a mentor. The new bishop still needs to get his sea legs but already conveys a strong spirit of love and purposeful maneuverability. Definitely impressive. I do, however, suspect things are more black & white with him. Okay, let me take a step back for a moment and just say I count this man to be my friend, and will utterly and completely throw in my support to his guidance and wishes. I already know him as a tremendous servant of the Lord, visiting and blessing so many of the invisible members we don’t hang out with at church. He is always eager to say yes when asked for help and has been there for me more times than I can count. And of course, he sits in an office I’ve covenanted to obey. It’s just the pragmatism that makes me nervous.
Which is a waste of energy since we’re currently shopping for homes in a town about 30 miles away. House hunting is dizzying. I have no fondness for people who find their dream home on the second or third visit. I want to take a golden retriever over there and let it have its way with their lawn after feeding it a can of Hormel chili. Still, it is a wonderful time to buy: For Sale signs on every block, prices dropping 20% from a year ago, banks flush with foreclosures, eager to clear inventory. Best of all, it’s so burb up there, something I sorely miss. I want to walk the paseos at dusk with my trusty, relieved golden retriever.
Something else I miss– but will be considerably more difficult to get– a gun. I want a handgun. It’s so un-PC– so carburetors & Coors– but it’s a very real attraction. Growing up in Utah you couldn’t help but get caught up in the rite of passage of gun ownership. Heck, our ward’s scout troop went to the Holladay Gun Club to learn gun safety and how to get our NRA memberships. The smell of gunpowder to a 12-year old boy had the same aphrodisiac effect as opening a fresh, new jar of peanut butter. I didn’t want to go hunting, I just wanted the firepower. Ka-BOOM! As a scout I had an old .410, and a .22/.20 gauge over-under, both which I took to the desert whenever I could to “shoot stuff.” When I was first married, in a moment of weakness I gave them away to my punk brother-in-law, and I’ve looked back ever since. The gun I now have in mind for this 12-year old in a 48-year old body: The Desert Eagle .50. Manufactured in Israel, this formidable weapon is impractical for both self-defense and hunting–but it’s SOOOO awesome for shooting stuff! It’s like missing your old Schwinn banana seat 2-speed and buying a Harley 1200cc chopper. BUT (as I try to point out to my lovely & opposing help meet), it’s also a lot cheaper than the chopper– and a lot of middle-aged guys go out and get those. Mormon men (at least the non-metrosexual ones) love their guns, and who am I to be denied? To be continued…
Something I learned about the Church today that I had never heard before: According to the Church manual, wards are discouraged from having spouses do the Sacrament meeting invocation and benediction on the same Sunday. Why? To keep the singles from feeling bad.
I suspect this rule wasn’t implemented in the 20th century.