Doncha just love people with a bit o’ the crazy?
The crazy eccentric people, I mean. Every group has them. It’s not just religions where you’ll find them… but the religious seem to do it incredibly well.
In Brazil we missionaries were fond of smirking at the enormous statues of saints often planted in prominent parts of town. Those took a little craziness to manufacture and build. Or sometimes there were the town “doctors” who had created their own religion from a mixture of Catholicism, Spiritualism, and perhaps even something else. I sat with one such old man in some tiny outpost in Brazil one day looking through his photo album with pictures of his former incarnations (They were pictures of himself in front of backdrops that were intended to portray different parts of the world at different times).
“Here’s the doctor during the French Revolution” (Eiffel Tower in the background).
“Here’s the doctor in Nepal climbing Mt Everest” (Doctor is wearing a beenie cap because it’s cold there)
Truth be told, it was one of the funniest memories of my mission and I have to confess and I’m extremely grateful for this unwitting bright spot and diversion in an otherwise dreary experience.
I loves me the crazies.
In Mormonism, these people usually manifest themselves by going nuts over one particular aspect of Mormon teachings to an uber enthusiastic extent. They are the ones who obey exactly what the Word of Wisdom says, rather than just what the top brass requires for a temple recommend. Or maybe ther are the ones latching onto the latest multi-level marketing scam (EVERY Mormon ward has a couple of these families). The families who are SUPER into scouting always seemed to be loco in the wards I attended.
Well, I just took a walk through a genuine crazy park in Salt Lake City Utah! Gilgal Garden
IT. WAS. AWESOME.
I made a last minute decision to attend the Mormon Stories “Circling the Wagons” conference in Salt Lake City this weekend. I’m sure I’ll post about it later.
I have to thank Mormon Expressions for pointing this place out to me in their podcast on Top Mormon Sites to Visit in Salt Lake City. I’m quite familiar with Salt Lake City. Both of my parents’ families live there and and so I visited there often growing up. And I went to BYU, but I had still never even heard of this place. Perhaps it’s because like all people, Mormons like to keep their crazy ones hidden. It’s why we don’t invite friends to Fast and Testimony meetings for their first church visits. It tends to bring out the ward crazies.
But the guy who created this park wasn’t a random crazy. He was the ward bishop for a long time in 20th century Salt Lake City. And apparently bishops back then had lots of free time. He sculpted the oddest statues out of stone and plaques with scripture or Mormon hymns are scattered throughout.
The best thing ever is the bust of Joseph Smith carved into a sphinx! I love it!
People like this make our world interesting.