Like most of you, I have been spending a lot of time lately worrying about the image of our state. I’m especially concerned now because the 2002 Winter Games will be here before you know it, and all this bad publicity about our state keeps popping up like a pre-owned ribbed Trojan on the sacrament tray.
I’m sick and tired of liberal eggheads and secular pencil-necks making fun of our state. I don’t want to speak for Frank and the lads at SLOC, but I know they spend much of their time in the sauna sweating and fretting about the image of our state out there in the heartland of America and around the globe.
Despite the Utah Jazz, the Runnin’ Utes, cold fusion, the Osmond Family, Touched by an Angel, the Greatest Snow On Earth, Robert Redford, astronaut Jake Garn, spokesmodel Merlin Olsen, philosopher Roseanne Barr, confirmed bachelor Steve Young, numerous former winners of the coveted crown of Miss America, Park City time-share condos, and Panguitch hometown gal Monica Lewinskydespite the renown of our many natural wonders and the accomplishments of thousands of our native sons and daughters, somehow our state, which is not just pretty, but great, somehow our state is still the butt of jokes and ridicule by the likes of Jay Leno and his dangerous-looking chin, not to mention the limerick about the girl from Salt Lake City that Kenneth Starr likes to recite after a hard day’s night at the Special Prosecutor’s office.
I wanted to know for myself exactly what good, solid citizens in the heartland of American really thought about Utah, so I consulted with experts on such matters who told me the quintessential American Community was Surf City on Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore.
The sage of Surf City is a retired beer distributor named Augie Funicello, whom I found holding court on the beach in his red, white and blue striped canvas recliner. Utah? Love the place! said Augie as he followed a young woman wearing a thong bikini strolling through the sand.
That good-looking governor of yours, I’d like to know who does his hairpiece. It makes mine look like a beaver pelt! Anyway, what I really like about Utah is their liberal attitude about marriage. What a great place! I’ve always had this fantasy, go out there and marry enough wives to field me a decent softball team.
There you have it, the universal view of Utah, and so it will be, now and forever, world without end.
Right now we have suffered from some particularly bad publicity about polygamy, but it seems like something bizarre or embarrassing or wacky is continually erupting in the Land of Zion. There was the religious nut who tossed his kids off a downtown hotel, there was Gary Gilmore, there was the John Singer saga and its episodes of home schooling, siege, murder, and blowing up the local wardhouse. There was the pre-revelation blackballing of African-American males from the priesthood (women of color as well as white ladies have never been eligible, though I understand a groundswell of support is building to ordain Della Reese), and rumors of Black Panthers massing in the Bonneville Salt Flats for an assault on Temple Square. There was the Salamander Letter and Mark Hoffman and more bombs, mayhem and murder.
But before all these, we had polygamy, which no less a personage than Abraham Lincoln inveighed against, castigating the twin evils of slavery and polygamy. Despite the Manifesto issued by prophet, seer and revelator Wilford Woodruff advising Latter-Day Saints to obey the law and refrain from celestial marriage, Mormon fundamentalists have risked excommunication to propagate the species here on earth and lay up treasures and progeny in the celestial hereafter, where each man (but not each woman), will eternally progress toward the perfection of Godhood. Producing a horde of crumb-snatchers here, in this vale of tears, gives each guy a good head-start on his less virile monogamous associates.
Since there is evidence that early LDS Church leaders continued to sanction as well as practice polygamous celestial marriage well after the Manifesto, I think we would all be well served if some general authority of theological bent would come forward and announce the current status of celestial marriage in church doctrine. The question is simple: Is it still church doctrine that men will or will not be permitted to have more than one wife in heaven?