An Open Letter to Lars Glenson

On May 22, a juvenile delinquent by the name of Lars Glenson somehow got the keys to BCC and went for a joy ride. He published a childish rant wherein he claimed to be fed up and bored with Mormon history, and described it as historical garbage. These statements were shocking to me at first, until I realized that Lars probably has not yet reached the age of accountability, at least mentally, and can therefore be excused. After all, some children are very slow, and need to be kept after school in the third grade in order to figure out the answer to 2 + 2.

I have now been reliably informed that this Glenson fellow is an adult. It is a serious matter when our society allows people with such aberrations to roam loose among the rest of us. I was tempted to give him a wide berth, as one does when encountering someone on the street who mutters to himself, but my Christian duty does not allow me to pass by on the other side. It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance, especially a man as ignorant as Lars. Wish me luck as I put my shoulder to the wheel and attempt to reason with a crazy person, and rescue his lost and benighted soul.

————————————————————————————-

Dear Lars,

I hope you this letter finds you in good spirits.  I assume that you are well-cared for, living as you do in the basement of your parent’s home.  I’ve heard that you are now at level 62 in World of Warcraft.  Congratulations!  That is quite an achievement, and I know it reflects hundreds, even thousands of hours of effort on your part.  If you apply yourself for twelve hours a day, you will probably reach level 70 by July 15th, and then you can catch up on Grand Theft Auto 4.  No rest for the wicked, as they say. 

Is it impolite of me to ask where you get your attitude towards Mormon history?  I hope not.   Because I think the person responsible for it needs to be arrested and tried, with corporal punishment on the table as a possible sentence.  Our history is so much more than covered wagons, 1847, Missouri persecutions, and endless discussions about MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.    To say that there is nothing interesting about it is like going to a banquet and refusing to eat.  Or, to put it in terms more understandable to you, going to McDonald’s and then walking out without ordering two Double Quarter Pounders with bacon and cheese.

Where do I even start?  Our history helps us understand ourselves.  There is a story behind the things we eat and drink, and the things we wear.  There is a story about how we have come to believe the things we believe.  Each individual Mormon has a history, and there are events and movements all around us that beg for context and understanding.

Do you like Clint Eastwood movies?  You would love the story of the woman in rural Louisiana who served as a midwife in her town, and at whose home the missionaries boarded.  A gang of roughnecks came calling, intent on lynching the elders.  She took her shotgun, stepped outside onto the porch, and stared them down.  Her gun would have been either a lever- or pump-action fowling piece, and I can imagine her working the lever or racking the slide for effect.  She said “I brought a good many of you into the world and I can take you out again just as easily.”  I think that is an even better line than “Go ahead punk, make my day.”  The malefactors decided not to push their luck, and left.

Do you want to hear about some more female heroes?  Too bad, listen up.  In 1841, LDS immigrants from Europe were sailing to the port of New Orleans, then up the Mississippi to Nauvoo.  Sometimes they had to lay over in New Orleans in order to work and earn money to pay for the rest of their trip.  Joseph Smith sent Harrison Sagers (who is a progenitor of my co-blogger, Norbert) to organize a branch and work as a missionary. A group of local soreheads decided to put a stop to Mormonism in their town and came gunning for elder Sagers. Some LDS women heard what was happening, and they went as a group and stood between Sagers and the mob, thereby very likely saving his life and making it possible for us to know and love Norbert.

This story raises all kinds of interesting questions. Why don’t we know the names of those incredibly courageous women? Which one of them had the idea to use their bodies as a buffer and convinced the others to do so? What was that branch like? It probably contained British, Danish, and Swedish converts. How did they get along, and how did the branch function?  

 I hope you are getting the Big Picture.  There’s something here for everybody, and Mormon historians are not just a bunch of people who like to sit around cultivating hemorrhoids while reading their footnotes to each other.  They are people who can tell us about the King of Beaver Island, or about Br. Cannon, the first Mormon in Alaska.  He went there in the gold rush of 1898 at the age of 79, and he took with him a portable tabernacle.  Look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t like to hear more about him.

Best wishes, Lars.  I hope to see you at MHA next year in Springfield, Illinois.  (It’s one of the ones in the middle, between Missouri and Indiana.)

 Sincerely, your brother in the gospel, etc.

P.S.  It occurred to me that perhaps your reading skills could use a little brushing up.  I have enclosed several copies of People magazine from last year which the barber was just going to throw away.  Perhaps you will find them interesting.  I am told that there is celebrity gossip on the last page which is written in very simple language, but some of the words have more than one syllable, so don’t be embarassed if you need to move your lips when you sound them out.

 

 

Comments

  1. Randall says:

    Lars, might I entice you to go on a snipe hunt? I hear there are giant docile adults out this year. Hold this bag and stick. I’m going to step into my car and drive for some bait. Please let out 3 yelps if you attract a female.

  2. “Br. Cannon, the first Mormon in Alaska. He went there in the gold rush of 1898 at the age of 79, and he took with him a portable tabernacle. Look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t like to hear more about him.”

    I can’t look you in the eye, but I want to hear more about him.

  3. Even my 10-year-old is interested in Mormon History.

    Then again, I don’t let her play WoW.

  4. sister blah 2 says:

    She said “I brought a good many of you into the world and I can take you out again just as easily.”

    NICE.

  5. mary.4.him says:

    Lars,

    MicroSoft Corporation is excited to offer you employment with our Windows 7 developmental team in Seattle.

  6. Of course, I’m sure the guest poster is a closet fan of Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider.

  7. Funny post Mark. I realize that I am kinda slow on the uptake ( in my defense I have 5 kids and I am sleep deprived). Where is this anti-Mormon history post by Lars Glenson? Is this the same guy who did the Battle Star Galactica joke thing on April 1st?

  8. Sorry Queuno. With sleep deprivation comes slow typing.

  9. Clever, but mean-spirited, post.

  10. Randall says:

    Alright Mark, I’ll defend the indefensible Mr. Glenson. I, too, am fascinated by Mormon history. I love reading Compton, Bushman, etc.

    However, the church’s history is also my principal testimony stumbling block. There are aspects of our history that I have never been ever to reconcile into a faithful whole.

    I love the direction that our current and most recent prophets have taken the church. If only the church was created sui generis by them, I would be able to wrap my arms around it without a backward glance.

    But alas, there’s history. Damn you history.

  11. Mark IV says:

    queuno,

    Isn’t EVERYBODY a fan of Battlestar Galactica?

    JA Benson,

    Lars’s inane ranting which inspired this letter can be found here.

  12. Do we often write letters to pretend people here?

  13. Latter-day Guy says:

    You know, if I weren’t familiar with the earnest and sincere tone of the BCC gang, I would be tempted to think that this post was a bit unkind. Besides, I bet Steve has already sicked the Danites on poor little Lars.

  14. I don’t get it.

  15. Kate, this is one of those times when kevinf’s decoder ring comes in handy.

  16. I wouldn’t be too worried if he’s a level 62. My level 70 mage can take care of him. :)

  17. Take THAT, Lars Glenson.

    (Anybody want to get together this afternoon and read footnotes to each other? I’m free after 1:30.)

  18. FYI, Lars is a figment of some old-time BCC person’s imagination who posts absurd things periodically, and Mark is using this made-up nihilist as a straw man for arguing that we can enjoy Mormon history. We privately castigate BCC permas who are this rude to actual human beings, and it almost never happens.

    Randall, sorry to hear that our history has been a stumbling block for you. There are a variety of ways to approach it, and many of us have found it, with all its oddities and tangles, rather warming to our faith and commitment to the Church and the Gospel). Does it help to think of it as a kind of family history, learning about ancestors, many of whom were quite different from us?

  19. Lars Glenson says:

    The question put forward by Mr. Brown was, “Where do I even start?” My question is: “Why is this question even being asked?” Is there trouble in “Mormon History” paradise? Did someone catch wind of the plot by these CRAPFEST groupies to kill Mormonism by footnote? Is MHA going to be BLESSED with a visit from the DANITES? If it happens, I’ll be getting my Christmas 2008 present EARLY THIS YEAR!! That, along with my tithing receipts! Yes, that’s right, Brown: TITHING!!

  20. Sister Blah 2: I brought you into this world and I can take you out again is Bill Cosby. :-)

  21. StillConfused says:

    Wow. I sure hope that this letter is being written to a pretend person because this kind of creulty would be heart wrenching if he were a real person. I will admit that I am not particularly interested in Mormon history — or any history for that matter. Just not the kind of thing that gets my blood pumping. But I also do not play computer games or watch TV.

    I don’t like seeing people picked on. I read this post on a Sunday and I will have to admit that it didn’t give me a good feeling.

  22. After reading this insightful rebuttal to Lars’s original post, I have looked deep within myself, and found that I’m still No Longer Interested in Mormon History.

    Maybe it’s because deep, deep down, I’m shallow.

  23. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a rant for a rant? The worst part was for Mark to claim it was done in the name Christianity.
    It’s sad, because each rant could have been written differently and all of us could have grown and been enlarged by comparing the different thoughts.

  24. Lars Glenson says:

    Ann, NO — It is because you have realized that the REAL way to appreciate the TRUE GOSPEL is to actually DO it, as opposed to digging up graves of noble great men and women to dessicate their once-interesting corpses in the name of the deseret book and signature moneymaking SCHEMES that seek to mass-market and sell the lifeblood of our past to the highest bidder. Even the Church Educational System (now to be referred to as the Department of Teaching and Snoozing or somesuch nonsense) has abandoned its former policy of not teaching us Hist’ry at all but now has sold its birthright for the DRY and DULL History pottage made by the likes of Brodie, Bushman and the infernal Arrington!!

  25. Lars Glenson says:

    The above LARS is not ME! Imposter and INFIDEL!!!!

  26. Lars Glenson says:

    What are you talking about, LARS??!

  27. Latter-day Guy says:

    C’mon, Lars. Mormon doctrine makes sense only in the context of Mormon history. Don’t underestimate the role of that history in the change and development of our beliefs. It might not be your cup of tea, but if it is our duty to understand and live the gospel, then we must have some basic understanding of it’s background and context. These principles were not revealed in a vacuum.

    All scripture (excepting the Doctrine and Covenants) is a story. To the extent that it actually happened, it is history.

    Yes we have to live the gospel. Part of living it is trying to understand it more completely, by study and by faith. Part of that study is necessarily historical.

  28. Lars Glenson says:

    Mr. Guy,
    I ask YOU, was Jesus a historian? Did he drink this TEA of which you speak? What a joke! Except the joke isn’t funny.

  29. MikeInWeHo says:

    I’m still embarrassed that I fell for Lars and his infernal BSG post on April Fools Day.

  30. Mark IV – No, not everyone likes Battlestar Galactica. As a Mormon cultural touchstone, it belongs back with Saturday’s Warrior and the Osmonds.

  31. Steve Evans says:

    Everyone should like BSG.

  32. Randall, actually if the Gospel were made up whole cloth by the currently sitting authorities with the current focus, I would find little point in sticking around.

    For me, the outrageous history is what makes Mormonism fun and worthwhile.

    I think it’s freaking awesome that Joseph Smith lost his temper and threw the camp bugle at Sylvester Smith during Zion’s Camp.

  33. The blogs on BCC are 95% of the time really interesting I ensure that I check it out daily. I am saddened that this thread is on. Can we get back to the usual material please??

  34. Count me among those for whom the colorful history of the church is the source of great pride. We need more people like Brigham Young, Lot Smith, and Porter Rockwell, and fewer corporate-trained automatons.

    I’m afraid if Sir Richard Burton were to visit Salt Lake City today, he would find nothing to engage his interest.

  35. Lars Glenson says:

    Deacon,
    Now you know how I feel about the utter CRAPFEST that is Ronald D. Moore’s ST:TNG soap opera version of BG.

  36. Lars, you’re cracking me up now.

  37. Lars Glenson is just about the funniest thing to happen to the Bloggernacle since I stumbled into it a couple of years ago.

    Funnier still (to me) is that I have no idea how to respond to him, even if he were open to rational discussion.

    To Lars! Long may he make appearances here!

  38. Lars: Maybe, for whatever reason, Mormons are too ‘into’ their history. Like an old man may be too into his front lawn. But it does you no credit, to come along walking your dog, and letting it leave it’s statement on the man’s lawn.

  39. I really want to leave a serious sounding comment to such an amazing post, but the laughter keeps getting in the way.

    Kudos, Mark, for a brilliant piece – and for having it continue this long.

  40. #20 meems, no, that can’t be right, my dad was pre Bill Cosby, and I KNOW I heard it from him. It’s probably one of those things like my mother said as well.. You know the one, “I hope you grow up and have kids JUST LIKE YOU….”

  41. Lars, I’m afraid I don’t know how you feel about the crapfest. As I see nothing crap on BCC other than your comments. Please don’t attempt to align me with your views on this matter. Whilst I disagree with the thread I oppose your writings a great deal more. I just want to look at further articles that BCC are excellent at compiling

  42. Deacon, Lars will never stop attempting to align you with his views. He’s just like that. Probably best to just ignore him.

  43. Just what is the “age of accountability?”

  44. Maybe we should introduce Lars to the Banner of Heaven? Seems like he’d fit in there better. =)

    Also, is there a Glen Larson?

  45. Steve Evans says:

    FHL, never heard of him.

  46. I’d loan Lars my HC Decoder Ring, Mormon History Edition, but he’d probably just eat it with the cereal.

  47. Snarky Mark, alas, you appear to have conflated two different Clint Eastwood quotes. The Dirty Harry lines are, first, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” and then, in an entirely other movie, “Go ahead, make my day.”

  48. Mark IV says:

    Huston,

    You’re right, I did mangle the lines.

    That’s probably because I don’t watch movies that are rated R.

  49. Left Field says:

    At least he didn’t misquote The Voice, as Brother Monson did in general conference.

    And Field of Dreams is rated PG, so President Monson can’t use the “R” defense.

  50. Mark IV says:

    Huston’s comment # 47 actually does raise an important point.

    It has been at least 10 years since I have seen either Dirty Harry or Sudden Impact. In my memory, I had the quote wrong, but I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that it was right. There are reasons for footnotes, references, and so on.

  51. snow white says:

    Leave TNG alone, Lars. Its teh awesome.

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