HENDRICKS, Minn. -- Five days. Five measly days.
I leave you alone for less than a week, and you're already back at each others' throats? This whole Mormon/non-Mormon friction thing continues to wear out its welcome.
Since the earliest days of the LDS Church, misunderstandings, mistrust and hostility have marked interaction with the outside world. Extermination orders have been issued. Tarrings and featherings have been administered. And, perhaps most distressing, newspaper printing presses have been destroyed.
And now this?
I'm in Minnesota for a few days attending a wedding, and when I check the Standard-Examiner website for the news back home, everything's gone to heck in a handcart. A mock baptism? An underwear protest scheduled for conference weekend? Obviously, I'm not there to talk y'all off these little ledges, but one of you needs to step up and take charge. And here's how to handle them ...
The video of a couple of University of Utah football players performing a "baptism" in one of the team's cool-down tubs added particular bile to this year's rivalry game between BYU and Utah. And plenty of Mormons are upset over it. However, while this mock baptism was thoughtless and immature, that's all it was. Getting along with others is sometimes a simple matter of picking and choosing your battles. And frankly, this one's just not worth it.
Besides -- and I pen these words before knowing the outcome of Saturday's football game -- by the time you read this column, the problem will have taken care of itself. I mean, if BYU lost, the baptism was just a tasteless little joke. And if Utah lost, it was clearly a wrath-of-God judgment thing, brought on by openly mocking the sacred.
Either way, the heavens have spoken, and have righted the wrong. Let it go, people.
Organizers of this year's Utah Underwear Run -- in which participants race in unmentionables to protest what they see as an "uptight" state -- have rescheduled the event for closing day of the upcoming LDS general conference.
Although the timing seems in-your-face, organizers claim they don't dare go any later into October for fear of underwear-unfriendly weather.
Yeah, right. Everyone knows that it rains or snows on virtually EVERY conference weekend. So, if anything, you'd think a bunch of fun-loving lunatics running around in their skivvies would want to avoid conference weekend at all costs. Indeed, five bucks says the next weekend is just as good, weather-wise.
So then, how should Mormons react to this undie run? I say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I call upon all Mormons attending general conference to join the Utah Underwear Run immediately following the final session. I'm not saying you have to strip down. Wear your underwear -- NOBODY goes commando in this church, buster! -- but go ahead and wear your church clothes over them.
It's the ideal answer to the protest. Let's say that 2,000 scantily clad runners show up for the race. Can you imagine if the 20,000-plus folks attending general conference raced in their Sunday best? That's one semi-nekkid person for every 10 running in suits and modest dresses. For these protesters, it'd be like that dream I used to have back in high school. And who knows? Maybe bridges will be built between the two groups.
Still not convinced it's OK for an active Mormon to participate in the Utah Underwear Run? Here's a helpful little tip: Just keep telling yourself, over and over, "I'm in the race, but not of it."
All better? Good. Look, I'll be back home in a day or two; will you please try not to tar and feather anyone in the meantime?
And I'd better not hear any of you have been messing with the Standard-Examiner's printing press, either.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @Saalman.