Thursday Morning Quickie #23

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the M Men-Gleaner Manual, "Love, Marriage, and You" used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 19

Living Your Religion

IN 1933 the World’s Fair was held at Chicago. Among the many excellent displays by the churches was one by the Latter-day Saints. Thousands of visitors learned about some of the principles of the Gospel and had an opportunity to ask questions of capable young men who were in charge of the “Mormon” booth.

One particular day, two businessmen, who possessed little firsthand knowledge about the Church, visited the display. As they approached the booth the following conversation was overheard:

“Say, Jim, I’ve heard that the Mormons are the only people in the world who really know where they are going. Let’s find out something about them.”

“Bill,” interjected the other, ”I’ve been told the same thing. In addition a close friend informed me that one of the outstanding things about the Mormons is their emphasis on family living. They tie their family life and religion together into practical every-day living. Let’s ask the guides some questions.”

Quickie Questions

1. How would you evaluate the conversation of the two businessmen at the Chicago Fair?
2. Does the Gospel strengthen the family? Discuss.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    1. I would evaluate the conversation as a stilted, awkward, badly-acted setup. I suspect Rocky Hulse (or perhaps his grandfather) is up to something nefarious.

    2. Only if they don’t go to all the meetings.

  2. “Say, Jim, I’ve heard that the Mormons are the only people in the world who really know where they are going…”

    This was obviously in days before Google Maps and GPS devices.

  3. Real people don’t speak like that. I’m pretty sure whoever related this conversation misheard it. I’m reckon it would have gone something like this:

    “Say, Jim, I’ve heard that the Mormons are a self-righteous bunch and believe that they are the only people in the world who really know where they are going. Let’s find out something about them.”

    “Bill,” interjected the other, “I’ve been told the same thing. In addition a close friend informed me that one of the weird things about the Mormons is their emphasis on unorthodox family living. They tie their family life and religion together by having loads of wives and stuff. Let’s go f*** with the guides by asking them some awkward questions”

  4. Jim’s a real square

  5. (3) sounds more like what I hear near missionaries. Sadly.

  6. 1) To summarize the evaluation– I would anticipate a “If I’m baptized, can I have more than one wife” comment.

    2) Depends. I find that the more I’m engrossed with the culture the more stressed out I become as a person. So honestly as long as they stick to the basics and ignore the rest–sure it can support families. But the second a parent gets obsessive about the length of a skirt or tie–most would consider it degrading. The child isn’t wearing garments get over it.

  7. adam e. says:

    When I was on my mission…

    I was talking to a member on the sidewalk outside a store. Every time someone walked by, he would interrupt our conversation with:
    “That sounds real interesting! Tell me more about this “Book of Mormon.””
    or
    “Sure! I’d love to have you come to my home to teach me more about Jesus Christ!”
    or some-such. Clearly, another Mormon had the same thought 60 years earlier.

  8. Jacob M says:

    “Say, person I’ve talked to a billion times but since this is an example that hasn’t had any names in it yet I will use your first name so that it seems like we’re friends even though if we we actually were friends and we were already having a conversation up to this point I wouldn’t refer to you by your first name and as such we’re are starting off with this dialogue on the wrong foot. . .”

  9. 1. The conversation between the two businessmen could only have been a creation of the imagination of the church manual writer. People don’t talk like that and they certainly don’t approach interest in the church that way.

    2. Yes there are many elements of the church and the gospal that strengthen families. There are also elements of both that put great stress on families.

  10. Then they said:

    “Say, who is that fellow over there with the note pad, scribbling down everything we’re saying?”

  11. Mark B. says:

    Length of a tie? Really? Is our eternal salvation tied to such things??

  12. 1. ‘interjected the other’?? Interjected? It couldn’t have been replied, or answered, or suggested?

    I know I start nearly every sentence I speak by naming the person I’m talking to. It’s much more personal that way.

    (Is this how we’re supposed to be evaluating the conversation?)

    2. Yes.

  13. 1. Oh, come now, people, let’s not be too hard on the manual writers. This was written in the same time period as “Leave It to Beaver”–a world of “Gee, Wally” and “Aw, shucks…”

    2. Yes. Anything that encourages folks to be excellent to one another will strengthen the family. Wait… I think I’m think of Bill and Ted…

  14. Jacob M says:

    “Length of a tie? Really? Is our eternal salvation tied to such things??”

    No, but you can tell someone’s priesthood office by the lenght of tie. A deacon’s goes past his belt, and each successive office has the tie go a little higher, until one is an high priest, where it is above the belly button. That has been my experience, anyway.

  15. Jacob M says:

    12 – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/interjected

    That word, I do not think it means what the writer thinks it means. :)

  16. capable young men who were in charge of the “Mormon” booth

    Don’t you mean presiding? Who else would be the presiding authority at the World Fair, if not a couple of capable young men?

  17. Scott, this is a wonderful writeup full of wisdom and insight, just the sort of thing I was looking for in today’s complex world to help me sort out some of the problems facing ordinary folks like me and my family. I’ve heard that the guys and gals at BCC are the only ones addressing these issues in practical and exciting ways.

  18. #8, 12:

    When I have conversations in my head, I often address people by first name. I can’t be the only person who does this. Also, you might do this in fiction* to make it clear who is being spoken to.

    * which this clearly is

    I have to admit, though, the conversation has a really awkward setup, with nothing to do with the World’s Fair. (that was the hook to draw you in.)

  19. I wonder how the guides responded when the businessmen asked how they tie their family life and religion together into practical every-day living?

    “Um, one or both of our parents work, and when everyone gets home from work and school we eat dinner and maybe watch some TV or throw the ball around or jump on the trampoline. At least twice a week one or other of the parents goes to a church meeting. But we’ll do this for eternity. It’s all very practical.”

  20. Alex in 13 is correct. We in Chicago talked this way until the DNC in August of ’68.

    After that we started to speak like Mayor Daley the First.

  21. Indiana says:

    1. They’re really LDS and are staging this conversation in the hope that someone eavesdrops and believes they’re sincere, thus creating an interest in the booth that might not involve a mocking polygamy question.

    2. I agree with everyone who said that the culture of the church (and the high frequency of meetings and activities) can cause more stress than good, but that overall the church is meant to strengthen the family. Different families will require different levels of cultural/activity involvement to feel strengthened and not harassed.

  22. 1. How would you evaluate the conversation of the two businessmen at the Chicago Fair?

    Best. Conversation. Ever.

    2. Does the Gospel strengthen the family? Discuss.

    Well, it’s either the Gospel . . . or the magical qualities of Green Jello™ keeping the temple divorce rate at 5%. (although I do prefer to think its the magical qualities of Jello ™)

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