Day 40

Today was the last day of canyons and the tip of the desert. I was cold.

I left the motel late. I loaded my bike up in front of an old hot dog roller that had been modified to heat taquitos. This disgusted me, but later, in Cedar City, I would have a man deep fry my Chipotle-style burrito and I would thank him crazy for it.

I rode 36 miles up(steep)hill to the top of Cedar Breaks and barely glanced down at the canyons. More storms were on me and I wanted out. I went over the break and down the seventeen miles to Cedar City in forty minutes ... look, this is beginning to get repetitive.

I haven't much time left, yes, but I do have this tremendous desert between me and the Pacific that can't be beaten quickly. I'm am tiring. I really do want to go home. I don't want to see the Neil Simon festival in town, or the Shakespeare for that matter.

This is not the most productive attitude, and so I will have to do away with it. The real source of my recent discontent is my consumption. You see, they get me when I'm weak and tired. It's then, when you're cold, that you'll take anything to feel otherwise. I have been taking pie and double hamburgers and deep-fried lardwiches. My body, too smart for its master, has said enough. It's empty and it's expensive.

Change starts small. I began with a shower and shave. Waugh shaved throughout the war; so did the foolish man in the white suit from Heart of Darkness; you may remember him as Robert Duvall. I don't think it's a gesture of civilization amongst the savageries of the RV park; I think of it as a small change.

My face looks different now. It is cleaner and younger, pale where sideburns once hung. I'm outside and it feels good against the light wind. When you shave, you are forced to look at areas of the face only the most studious painters pay attention to: that ridge-valley-ridge below the nose; the hair that sticks closest to your nostrils; the dark side of your neck; etc.

So now I am optimistic about the desert. It will dry me out some, but that could be good. Plus, I'll have two chances to play cards. Am I supposed to double down on 7, 11, and 6? What is splitting the deck? And how do I win in slots?

As I have little to report today, best tell you about my Mormon church experience.

I went to the church here in Cedar City for an architectural tour that was light on architecture and heavy on literature. On this trip I have collected three kinds of pamphlets: religious whatnot, national park maps, RV park maps. My hosts showed me a well produced video about the building, took me to the church to look at the red cedar pews, and then we headed downstairs to the font and a corridor decorated with paintings that conveniently explained how Joseph Smith was the 13th apostle and what Mormonism is about.

Most of the American Christian sects are really Christ heavy. Often, they will pray to Jesus. So far as I'm concerned, the guy doesn't even show up until the sequel: God is the star. Some evangelicals believe that the Mormons don't believe in Christ. Here's what I got: they believe in SuperChrist.

After Christ dies, he teleports over to the New World to teach the Native Americans. One really strong Native American who looked a lot like Magneto became a prophet. He buried his extra books of the bible in upstate New York and, as time passed, young con artist Joseph Smith stumbled onto them. The rest you know from South Park.

Now, if somebody wants to argue that that sounds ridiculous and all Christ did was turn water into wine, make fish out of thin air, and resurrect himself after three days, fine. Cast the first stone. My argument would always be belief requires thinking the fantastic is real, although we probably shouldn't reward those who think the most nonsensical things are true if we want to keep society moving orderly towards the future (Rapture, yes!).

Actually, I hate to delay you some Mormon facts, but a quick thought on the Rapture. This, like Jihad, is Christianty's poisonous idea and is completely misinterpreted by scaremongers and other bad people. How about this for a great idea: we're on this Earth, we'll be stewards of it for a long, long while, it's not going to blow up any time soon, and if it were, that would be a sad day for everyone and Kirk Cameron. Bearing this, recycle that Pepsi Blast in the name of Jesus.

Some promised oddities: Mormon communion is taken with water and bread (and this is the world's fastest growing religion?); every church has at least a half-court basketball court in the rec room; when you marry, you don't marry till death due you part, you marry into your afterlife on the Celestial plain; good people who don't believe in Christ (me?) get to go to the Terrestial plain; crappy people go somewhere else.

What interests me about the LDS folks is how American they are. An angel descended from the heavens and picked New York of all places. All their religious iconography is either apostles dressed like Thomas Jefferson standing about, or it's strong jawed men in grey flannel suits and white buttondowns with other men in flannel suits. They have basketball courts in church! Their missionaries dress like office boys from the 50s. We'll wear nametags in heaven. Their church is structured like an American corporation or social lodge, with Presidents and Aldermen. And they're so, so nice.

Tomorrow I'll be answering some reader mail and, hopefully, staying at a Lion's Club. We'll see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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