Katie Hoyos didn’t know what was missing from her “Beauty and the Beast” collection until she saw it: a phone case featuring Belle and the Beast striding toward the LDS temple in Salt Lake City.
She thought it was amusing that the Australian manufacturer probably had no idea that the majestic six-spired granite building isn’t a fairy-tale castle but rather a place where Mormons complete religious rites, including baptisms for the dead and eternal marriages.
It was the perfect mix for Hoyos, a “Beauty and the Beast” megafan since age 5, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“What could be sweeter than a tale as old as time and all eternity?” she asks.
Once the case arrived, she posted a photo on Facebook, figuring her friends would find it funny, given how passionate she is about both her faith and the 1991 animated classic. (Her wedding reception, after her marriage at the Washington, D.C., temple, carried a “Beauty and the Beast” theme.)
Her friends weren’t the only ones to show interest — the post has since been shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook and made the rounds on Reddit.
Some of the response has been from people remarking on the oddity of the image’s implication — were Belle and the decidedly nonhuman Beast just “sealed” as an eternal couple in the temple?
But in addition to being a viral image, the case itself has sold out since Hoyos' post, according to Pinky Beauty Australia, which manufactured the case from an image produced by a Hong Kong designer. It seems Hoyos is far from the only LDS “Beauty and the Beast” devotee.
In addition to the lyric “Tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast” written in script, the image contains lines from a passage of Mormon Scripture, Doctrine & Covenants Section 123, verse 17, which church founder Joseph Smith wrote from jail.
It’s in a different font from the other text, and Hoyos assumes it was on the original temple image that was washed with pink and layered with a depiction of the Disney couple.
Hoyos, a mother of four boys under 8, says she’s really enjoying the phone case, though its magnetic clasp isn’t very strong. She doesn’t think she’ll be on the lookout for further LDS-themed “Beauty and the Beast” merchandise — what made this one special was the happy accident of its creation.
Her other public posts on her Facebook page are receiving attention, too, including one in which she tours the library in her South Carolina home, where she displays the “Beauty and the Beast” memorabilia that friends and family have given her over the years, including a real rose preserved in a bell jar.
She’s a bit baffled by the attention and says she never intended to go viral. But it makes sense, she says, that she would for two things that she cherishes.