That’s What They Expect You to Do in the Church

The young man has been fasting today. He wants to confirm that he should marry Lauren Elliott of Massachusetts, a sister he knew from his mission and has been dating since coming home. The day has not gone as he expected. He and Lauren got in an argument at church. He has had a splitting headache all day. He wonders if the answer is no. You are not supposed to date girls from your mission while you are a missionary. He never did that. He never even thought of Sister Elliott like that while on his mission. But maybe you’re just not supposed to marry people from your mission.

There is supposed to be a fireside at the Marriott center tonight. Thomas S. Monson from First Presidency is speaking. He and Lauren agreed earlier in the week to go together. Now he wonders if he should. But he hasn’t told her no, and it’s almost time to go. He lives with his grandmother, and she has agreed to loan him her Cadillac for the evening. He is about to head out, and he stops to see her in the beat-up old kitchen that has not been renovated since the 1950s.

“Where you going there, man?” she says.

“To a fireside at the Marriott center.”

“Are you going with someone?”

“With Lauren.”

“Oh, Laurie? I like Laurie.”

He smiles. No one calls her Laurie. “She’s a nice girl for sure.”

“Who’s speaking tonight?”

“Thomas S. Monson.”

She sighs. “Well, I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear Tom Monson speak.”

The young man laughs. Granny is not your average Utah Mormon. She was born and raised Lutheran in Ohio and converted when the young man’s father was eight years old.

“Why is that, Granny?” he says.

“You know, around here, they have that terrible rag the Deseret News. It’s just a terrible, terrible paper. And years ago, you couldn’t buy the Church News without buying the Deseret News, at least out here in the West. So Derby and I just wouldn’t do it.”

“I guess that wasn’t true down in Texas. We used to get the Church News but not the Deseret News.

“Well, that’s the thing. It’s a lousy newspaper that no one would read if the Church didn’t force Church members to buy it. And then one day, I was listening to Tom Monson give a talk, and he positively bragged about helping start the Deseret News. He stood up there at positively bragged about it, and I haven’t had a thing for him since.”

The young man laughs, then says, “You know, he’s next in line when Hinckley dies.”

“I know,” she says.

“Well, what happens then? If he becomes president of the Church?”

She sighs. “I suppose I’ll have to bow my head and take it. That’s what they expect you to do in the Church, you know.”

He laughs again. “I suppose you’re right.” He kisses her on the cheek. “I gotta go, Granny, or I’m gonna be late. I won’t be out too late.”

“All right there, man. It sure is nice having you here.”

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