Friday, January 02, 2004

And it seemed like well... our home...If not Arizona, then a land, not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved... I dunno, maybe it was Utah.
H.I.McDonnough, Raising Arizona

The Mormons have received a lot of negative publicity lately: Krakauer’s bestselling account of the appalling murders of a mother and child committed by Mormon extremists; a slew of memoirs of the ‘adult children survivor’ type of polygamy, (Predators, Prey and Other Kinfolk: My Life in Polygamy being my favorite); the kidnapping and forced marriage of mediagenic Elizabeth Smart by a Mormon fundamental polygamist/ insane street person/ self proclaimed latter day prophet; Sally Denton's meticulously researched account of the Mountain Meadow Massacres, when Mormons slaughtered a gold laden wagon train from Arkansas, an event the Church denied, scape goated on the Indians, and hushed up for years.

When you’re discussing any religion it is only fair to distinguish the extremists from the mainstream. Most of these are sensationalist accounts of actions committed by men who were excommunicated by the Mormon church for their extremism and fundamentalism. These are orthodox nuts who believe that the Mormon church went irrevocably, unforgivably astray when it caved in and banned polygamy as a condition for statehood. They consider themselves true believers and are convinced they are the only real practitioners. They are an embarrassing and extremely unpleasant reminder to mainstream Mormons of some of their religion’s shady past and tenets.

To counter the bad rap that Mormons have been getting, and to come clean about my dirty little obsession (it being the new year and all), I present to you the Benac family.

Although it still has not been determined whether they were fabricated as a recruitment tool for the Mormon church I choose to believe that they really do exist.

Go ahead and meet the family, and don’t be put off by their alarming fecundity. Visit them and see if you’re strong enough to resist them. Pretty soon you’ll be visiting the site daily, spreading the word to others, saying “Join us…it’s bliss.”


See them skipping through an apple orchard gathering some for a wholesome day of applesauce making, retracing their ancestors’ immigration route from England to America, attending massive family reunions, doing genealogy projects, getting their PhD in developmental biology, becoming fluent in obscure Eastern European languages on their missions, graduating from BYU, respecting their elders and adoring their children!

Be sure to notice them at all of their joyful family gatherings, smiling and laughing, full of harmony, enjoying large homemade meals served with wine glasses full of water, like the exemplary, teetotaling Mormons they are. Which means they’re enjoying themselves and each other without the assistance of alcohol, ever. No estrangements, divorce, children on Ritalin here!

John Murray told me that I’m one step away from calling them late after a couple of nightcaps, maybe weeping a little, asking “Are you really as perfect as you seem?”

Coming soon...
An essay on Pamela Churchill Harriman and other women who used their hoo-has to achieve fame and fortune, shaping the destiny of the 20th century in the process!

i loved this post. jokingly accusing the site of being made up in an effort to place mormons is a positive light was high praise indeed. i particluarly liked the part about "becoming fluent in obscure Eastern European languages on their missions" because that was me. (i served a mission in poland, and now speak "that handy language," as my mother-in-law so charmingly called it). anyway, i love your site.
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i should say partially me. another benac served in croatia, where they speak an even more obscure eastern european language.
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