My meeting with the Rose Summit Ward bishopric two weeks ago went well, I thought. Being new to this Mormon congregation, I wasn’t sure how I would fare.
Would the three members of the bishopric be inspired, overbearing, engaging or cautionary? I tried to anticipate all contingencies. What might I be asked? How would my answers go over? Should I even care?
Thus far, I had only seen the three together on the stand during sacrament meeting from a safe distance in the back of the cultural hall. Being outnumbered by them in a small room was something else.
When the moment came, Bishop Geertson asked me to say a little about myself so they could know me a little better and perhaps even find something for me to do in the ward that wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Since the truth probably would have scared them, I lied. I said that I dabbled in polygamy, that my current and only wife practiced Wicca, and that I would have been an LDS general authority by now but for my deep attachment to a mustache.
That last one wasn’t much of a lie. It’s a lot more true than most might think. If I shaved off this facial hair, some of you would be in trouble.
Sonny, who isn’t even Mormon, would be forcibly called on a five-year mission to the inside of a salt mine in Mexico. Since he wouldn’t be seeing sunlight for a long time, he’d have no need to wear a name tag or learn how to speak Spanish.
But I digress. Since the point of the meeting was to discover in me some quality that might be of use, eventually I had to tell them at least part of the truth — that I hate teenagers in a group, I don’t particularly care for Sunday school, and sometimes I use medicinal weed.
I even offered some suggestions. I had been in the nursery for going on four years in my previous ward; I suggested that they put me there. Or they could make me hall monitor, a blood atonementizer or even Relief Society president.
I should have caught on to Bishop Geertson’s sly smile when he said, “We can probably work with that.”
The following Sunday, I was snatched into an empty room by one of the bishop’s counselors, Clark Dana, who called me to be the new Rose Summit Ward librarian.
Clark didn’t bother to tell that my new assignment was based on direction from the Holy Spirit. He probably knew I wouldn’t have believed him.
Since I’ve never been a ward librarian, I accepted. I immediately saw certain personal advantages of being in charge of a room visited by actual customers.
Granted, most of them would be looking for TVs, DVD players, chalk and erasers, pictures of Jesus, and maybe even some pencils and paper clips. And they would all expect these things for free.
No matter. There were other ways of turning this task to my advantage. I tentatively refer to it as the “ward black market.”
I smell money. From my position behind a counter, I could develop a thriving business in Hostess snacks on fast Sunday. Caffeinated sodas to get people through the third hour. Maybe even some unmonitored Wi-Fi connection. Rentable neckties. Attachable blouse sleeves. Benadryl for loud babies. Breathe-Right nose strips for snoring high priests. Muzzles for teenagers.
Gum, aspirin, candy, unapproved reading material — the possibilities are endless for a guy with a troublesome imagination and not enough to do.
I’ll probably have to cut Bishop Geertson in on the take, but that’s OK. What is religion if not the biggest protection racket the world has ever seen?
I’m gonna make a lot of money — and I get to skip Sunday school to boot.