Tuesday, December 18, 2012


The Mormon missionaries materialized from the falling snow. I had been focused on my iPhone under an umbrella while posting a picture on Facebook. When I looked up to the riverside path, there one was, stopped on his bike, all natty and smiley in his missionary-for-Joseph Smith-and-Jesus outfit.

He made some neutral comment on the weather, and I noted how beautiful the scene. My first thought of his wholesome appearance had been gay?, but then his look-alike partner rode up. They appeared interchangeable, with identical blue bikes and helmets.

"We're Mormon missionaries," he said, superfluously.

"Oh my God, you're out in this weather?" I blurted, then caught myself and grinned, "Excuse my language."

"We love what we do," one of them explained.

"Do you have friends or family who are Mormons?" he asked pleasantly.

I took a long pause, staring at him, then at his other, thinking of my now-dead Mormon lunatic mother-in-law.

At her memorial service, Mormon Bishop Hickman had explained our place in the universe: We all come from a spirit world and chose to come to Earth solely to gain a body. (I guess we didn't get to pick which one, however, judging by the number of ugly ones around.) Anyway, our good works will determine where we end up. The ultimate goal is to be reunited with our families -- "one big happy family," as the Bishop put it.

Aargh. I sure hope not. But then, I suppose I'm not in much danger of going to the place the good Mormons go.

Snapping back to reality and the missionary twins, I asked myself, Is there enough entertainment here to justify engaging these boys?

There wasn't, I decided, so politely excused myself and went my way. Unfortunately, I think I missed an opportunity this morning.

I've been wanting to ask a real, live Mormon if they truly believe that Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden in Missouri, 6,000 years ago. Or that the Angel Moroni in the 1820s told Joseph Smith where to find these golden plates buried in upstate New York. Or that Smith translated the plates' secrets from a mysterious Egyptian language and wrote it all down in the Book of Mormon, revealing the otherwise-unknown history in America of pre-Columbian civilizations of Jaredites, Nephites, and Lamanites. And what about Jesus' one-time visit to America after he was resurrected following his crucifixion and trip back to Heaven? I wish I had asked the missionary-twins about these mysteries.

The Mormon guy-who-wanted-to-be-President believed this same nonsense, apparently. You can't know for sure, though, since none of the "lame-stream" news reporters -- reputed, ironically, to be in the pocket of God-hating, socialist liberals -- ever asked him. So we'll never know what Romney really thought about that nutty stuff.

Not that it's all that much crazier than mainstream religious dogma -- seas parting, immaculate conception, water to wine, that kind of stuff -- but then, that's just me. Lots of people find a way to believe it all as bona-fide true facts.

Including one of the other white guys-who-wanted-to-be-President, Mike Huckabee. Just hours after the Connecticut school massacre, he was bloviating in his cranky, Well, what did you expect? tone of voice on Fox. Spouting simplistic aphorisms about the tragedy being linked to society taking God out of classrooms. Of course, he didn't actually say that the shooting was directly caused by this sinful drift, but that certainly was how most anyone would take it.

Which many did, giving him an earful. Then what did this potential-President do in the face of completely predictable public outrage? He doubled down on his arrogant godliness, attacking his "amateur and professional critics" as ignorant, left-wing bigots.

Huckabee had to know that the timing and the harshness of his words -- linking the profound tragedy on Sandy Hook to his shame-on-you,-America moralizing -- would enflame people, still in grief over recent events. Yet, he did it anyway. What a smug, self-centered huckster!

I'm sure there are diehard Huckabee fans willing to forgive his blather -- after all, isn't that the Christian thing to do? Father, forgive them for they know not what they do?

Besides, many of the anyone-but-Obama fans will whine, we tried to tell you that Obama was going to take away our guns.

Obama didn't plan to do that, I'm sure. No one had the stomach for that political rumble. But that was then; this is now. Things changed.

I shot an assault rifle the other day. It's a thing of seductive beauty, the AR-15. It's as much like an ordinary rifle as an iPhone is like Sonny Crockett's shoe-sized car phone on Miami Vice reruns. It's sleek. Cool. Deadly accurate. No kick. What's not to love?

The answer, of course, is obvious, even though making up rules for gun ownership that can prevent Sandy Hook tragedies is a will-o'-the-wisp. Still, you gotta try, don't you?

I think that will happen now, and the paranoid Obama haters can cry all they want with their I told you so's. It's time to toughen up gun laws, even though to think in any way of this moment of community mourning as an opportunity is obscene. But there you have it. I hope it's an opportunity not missed.

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