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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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So I got back from the land of Brigham Young safely. Contrary to some people’s belief, we were never in any mortal danger on the ride back. We kept the cruise control at 85 mph, though there were countless instances of dropping down to 65 mph or less.

It was a nice trip overall. Salt Lake City was hotter than it’s ever been, which is very nice for a Phoenician trying to escape the sweltering urban heat island that is my hometown. We went to the Hogle Zoo and saw poor animals desperately trying to stay cool in temperatures that they never signed up for—the polar bear kept only his head out of the (hopefully) cool pool in his enclosure. My grandmother fed Sandi and I as if we were trying to get on disability; she even commented on how I’d lost weight, but acted as if that were some sort of travesty that required her wholesale commitment to rectify.

We also saw all of the Mormon holy sites, like Temple Square and This is the place. The tour through Temple Square was excruciating to say the least. I was expecting some history since the whole Mormon settlement thing was also a pioneer trek across the west, but instead got lessons about how the architecture reflected Mormon beliefs and would I like to know more about those lessons because we’ve got nice people who’d be happy to tell you all about them. When the “tour” (read: walking proselytization) was over, we got to watch a video about Christ’s adventures in Jerusalem and America and fill in a comment card that immediately triggered a home visit if you put anything remotely identifying.

The Mormon quest to convert me into a source of revenue did get me interested in the Mormon religion, but not in the way that they were hoping. I’ve been an explicit atheist since I was 5, but I am woefully ignorant of Christianity and religion in general. To me, the Mormons are no less crazy in their beliefs than the Catholics. Upon further investigation, they are in fact significantly crazier. Their rituals make Catholic masses seem like reasonable exercises. Their history seems ludicrous on its face—I suppose that’s why the faithful don’t investigate it beyond the platitudes of “some sea gulls saved the pioneers’ crops.” It’s amazing to read some of the stories of ex-Mormons about the trials and tribulations of not only being in the church but trying to leave—I guess the church doesn’t want to let go of 10% of your income so easily.

At any rate, I’m glad to be back in the land of the heathen—where there’s no official religion save suntanning and driving.