My family is going to Hell. I’m not talking about the irreverent humor; I’d like to think God has a sense of humor as well. I’m not even talking about the numerous middle fingers thrusted into the air, though that might be enough by itself. I’m talking about my Grandma Joy. She’s pretty cool. But she also has a terrible, awful, dark secret that will no doubt send us all to the flames of perdition. You see, she has this horrible weakness for theater. She goes to every play at the local Ellen Eccles Theater, no matter who is in it or what else may be going on in life. Ellen Eccles is fairly well-known in the state, and so oftentimes famous residents from Salt Lake or even St. George will come up and watch a play. “Ooh! Look! Orrin Hatch’s cousin!” is a common refrain in the lobby. Sadly (for them) several members of the LDS Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles also enjoy theater, and will sometimes come up when they want to take a break from keeping the earth in its orbit or dueling with Satan. This is Dallin H. Oaks. He’s a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and in Mormon life he’s a rather big deal. These men speak to God, after all, and receive revelations for the whole church. Think of how devout Catholics think of the Pope, and you’ll have an idea of how they are viewed in Mormon culture. One more stage setter, then our sad story can begin. My Grandma has a purse. This is no ordinary purse. It contains any item that could conceivably be used by any human being in a fifty mile radius for any circumstance; zombie apocalypse included. It weighs more than some Navy battleships. Ordinary human beings would get a hernia even looking at it. She is nothing if not prepared. Several years ago Grandma was running late to a play with her sister. She squealed into the parking lot (you can read about her driving skills here) and dashed into the lobby, bowling over several ushers in the process. She barreled down the aisle, located her row and plowed into it, stepping on toes, bumping knees, and causing many dirty looks to be thrown her way. In all the commotion, her purse began to slip from her shoulder. Time seemed to slow as the purse swung away into the darkness. People in surrounding rows turned to watch; even the actors stopped mid-line as the purse lunged toward the next row. It struck the back of a poor man’s head with the force of a supernova. Grandma said a distracted apology, but was still focusing on trying to get to her seat. Then the man turned around. It was Dallin H. Oaks! Or, at least, it was once Dallin H. Oaks. The purse had forced him to check out temporarily.
Very observant Mormons might note that Elder Oaks does not, in fact, have blue eyes. That’s okay. About the only person on this blog who’s eyes are drawn with the correct color are mine. I’m rather self-centered, and really don’t have the foggiest idea what color of eyes even my siblings have.
After he regained the ability to form complete sentences he was, as fitting his station, perfectly gracious and incredibly polite, as if my Grandma’s purse had not knocked him silly. The play went on, and when it was over Grandma tore off like a rocket to the exit, desperate to escape the scene of her crime. We kept expecting a conference talk about how he had to learn forgiveness after a woman assaulted him in a theater, but it never came. Often, however, I wonder if at some point she’s not going to be called in to a disciplinary hearing, and we will all be declared “guilty by relation” or something. So just in case: Elder Oaks, I am so sorry about what happened. It was my Grandma! Punish her! Her! Not me! Thank you.