Friday, May 05, 2006

Stranger in a Strange Land

This memory came to mind this morning on my way to work. No particular reason, just popped into my thoughts.

A year or so before I joined the church, my brother moved to Utah. My brother looks nothing like me, which I suppose works to his advantage. I will say that he's not really a "churchy" kind of person. He's more your mountain man stock. Not that mountain men can't be churchy, but you get the point.

So, here he is, living in Utah. And he was in the Air National Guard. While at guard duty on one occasion, he overheard two other guys talking. This would have been 1991 or 1992, thereabouts. Which, if you will recall, is shortly after the end of the Cold War.

Keep in mind, as you read this, that my brother understood "mission" in a military context, more specifically, an Air Force context, along the lines of flying a plane someplace to blow stuff up.

Man 1: I got home from a mission last month.

Brother, thinking: Mission? Wow, these guys get to see some action... At least it won't be boring.

Man 2: Where to?

Brother, thinking: Must not have been anything sensitive if he can talk about it openly...

Man 1: Russia.

Brother, thinking: Russia?! What the... we're going into Russia??

Man 2: Nice. My mission was in Mexico.

Brother, thinking: ...!!
Anyway, it didn't take too long for him to figure out the Utah, more specifically, the LDS context of "mission". But I always found that story entertaining. Think twice next time you talk about a "ward", "companion", "mission", "gold plates", what have you, around someone not familiar with our faith.

4 Comments:

At May 05, 2006 10:14 PM, Anonymous Mark IV said...

Our neighbors thought we went to Sizzler all the time, because we kept saying we were going to the stake (steak) house.

Some friends heard us say we were going to work in the temple, and they assumed we went there to clean floors and polish furniture.

 
At May 07, 2006 9:04 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

*big smile* thanks for sharing!

 
At May 08, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Mark B. said...

Heard a similar story from a guy at a New Years party here in Brooklyn. He was down the table from us, didn't know we were Mormons, so the story came out straight, no editing.

He had some teaching job in Saudi Arabia, and then came back to the US and got a temporary position at Weber State U, in Ogden, Utah. He overheard a student commenting that he had just returned from a mission, and assumed the same thing your brother did.

His comment: Utah was more foreign than Saudi Arabia!

 
At May 08, 2006 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend in our ward said her neighbor couldn't understand why the Lord would give Joseph gold plates... did they come with flatware as well?

 

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