There are four wards crammed into the building of my Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. In the hallways hang the plaques of missionaries serving in various parts of the world. With four wards, that’s a lot of plaques.
The typical mission plaque has a photo of the elder or sister, his or her name, the name of the ward, a sketch of the country or state in which he or she is serving, the name of the mission, and the missionary’s favorite scripture.
I bring this up because the plaques used to include the logo for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Newer plaques now have “Called to Serve” engraved on them instead of the church’s name. This is because the church has told businesses to stop using its logo on products they sell.
Intrigued, I went to McGee’s Stamp & Trophy at 7095 S. State St. in Midvale and checked out the plaques.
I served a mission while Elvis was still alive, so I never had a plaque. The only notice of my absence was a mug shot of me attached to a string on a world map that led to a pin in Uruguay. Underneath my picture was my name.
Check out the photo. It was taken while I was in the Language Training Mission (now the Missionary Training Center) in Provo. And, yes, I was exactly that enthused at the time.
Feeling somewhat cheated that I never got a plaque, I ordered one for myself. With a passing nod to the possibility of getting sued, I went with “Called to Serve” instead of “The Mormon Church,” which I liked but thought might be a bit much.
My favorite scripture (both back then and now) is from the Book of Mormon — Jacob 1:12:
“And it came to pass that Nephi died.”
I like it because it means that whatever misery I might be sucked into eventually would end.
I was going to go with 2 Kings 2:23-24 from the Old Testament, but a saner mind suggested that it was overly long and might not fit on the plaque:
"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
“And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
OK, it’s grim. A little. But it beats the hell out of the Book of Mormon’s Moroni 9:10, which I also briefly considered. Look it up.
The plaque turned out great. McGee’s did a wonderful job. Not only does the picture make me look a little happier but also the plaque stays away from the church logo issue.
I plan to hang it in the meetinghouse Sunday. Rose Summit Bishop Geertsen will probably take it down. He’s a great guy but chooses to err overly much on the side of decorum.
Besides, I have more important things to consider. I want to know what the church has planned for military dog tags.
The ones I wore in the Army — and now have attached to my car keys — says my religion is “O-Pos.” Wait, that’s my blood type.
My religion — in the event I was so badly injured that someone with the true power and authority necessary to speed me along to the Telestial Kingdom was needed — is clearly stamped “LDS.”
Since this goes against the naming model insisted upon by church leaders, I wonder what kind of arrangement they’ll make with the military. Because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ logo won’t fit on a dog tag.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.