The time I was captured by Mormons
Where to begin…
I lived in Colorado for a bit with my then partner in the late 90’s, and we decided to travel to Vegas for our friend’s birthday one year. We drove from Boulder to Colorado Springs because the flights were cheaper or more convenient, it doesn’t matter.
The point is, we had something like a four hour lay-over in Salt Lake City so we decided to make the most of it by finding something interesting and local to do.
My partner noticed that there was a “free” shuttle to the LDS temple so we thought we would take a quick tour and be back in plenty of time for our flight to Sin City. I was excited to see where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came from, and to walk the peaceful pathways of a truly American spiritual destination. Here’s how it really works…
You go to the information desk and ask about the tour. They tell you that the next bus leaves in fifteen minutes. You get on said bus with two or three other people and the woman (passenger) with the clipboard asks where you are from and where you are going, presumably to make sure you have no family looking for you. When you arrive at the temple you ask the woman with the clipboard where you might find a sandwich, as you have not eaten in a long time. She says, “Oh no, we are delivering you into the hands of the sisters.” Your heart sinks a little but you think, “Okay, we’ll talk to the sisters but then we have to go eat something.”
Part one: The van pulls up to the gate, the gate opens, and standing there are two very young women waiting to whisk you away to…..somewhere.
The two young women ask, “Are you sisters?”
My partner says, “Sure, sort of.”
They say, “Where are you going?”
I say, “Las Vegas.”
They say, “Oh, we have a temple there. You should visit it while you’re there.”
I say, “Only if there are roulette tables and scantily clad cocktail waitresses.”
They say nothing.
Part two: We walk around with them for what seemed an eternity, encountering other tour groups from around the world speaking many languages. Every building was their “favorite” until we came to what I like to call the bunker. It was a smaller building with a low roof and few windows.
As we approached, one of the girls leaned over to a security guard and said, “Two, English.” The security guard then said into the radio on his shoulder, “Two, English.”
I thought, “Great, this is where they pass out the Kool-Aid.” but we were ushered into what I can only describe as a Planetarium for Christ.
As we walked up a spiral ramp, we could see that the walls were covered in an elaborate air-brushed mural of Mormon dogma. It was like if Cheech and Chong and Mitt Romney took an art class together.
At the top of the ramp was a huge replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen‘s Jesus (personally I prefer the one made of 30,000 Legos)
Anyway, we sat down and a few minutes later, Jesus’ booming voice (in English) began to recite something from Matthew.
It was then that I realized we were going to have to be proactive about our exit strategy. I played the low blood sugar card and we made our way downstairs to the circular desk where they ask you all about your visit.
Now, my partner and I were all about “learning more” about things. But when the LDS asks you if you would like a free Book of Mormon, you should pause and ask yourself, “How important is my privacy?”
Because they don’t give you the book right there, and they don’t mail it to you later. They send missionaries to your home EVERY WEEK because your partner gave them your name and address, innocently of course, at the information table back at the compound.
Anyway, they finally took us back to the airport and we had a great time in Las Vegas in spite of there not being any roulette tables or cocktail waitresses at the temple.
P.S. I think there should be a “Mormon Showgirl Barbie” in honor of this post.