Well, whatever the case, I am joining my loved ones at Yuba Lake and Mosquito Preserve for four days of laughing and eating and abandoning all shame and decorum by making an innocent bathing suit wish it had never been born.
So while I'm gone, enjoy this little history quiz I pulled out of my ... what? Were you expecting a naughty end to that sentence? Well you just get to repenting, potty brains, cuz I was going to say "ARCHIVES". A warning: You'll learn a bit more about the early history of the Mormons by reading this post, but I don't always explain what I'm referencing. If you have any questions, put them in your comments and I'll make up the answers when I get back.
Happy Fourth, Everyone!
Though I haven't lived in Utah for nearly 20 years, I am still personally aggrieved when my husband has to work on July 24th. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best of all possible religious holidays on accounta you get to go boating and barbecue everything that can't flee for its life and attend the only parade in the world where the Grand Marshall also happens to be the mouthpiece for the Creator of the universe. Put THAT in your giant Spongebob balloon and smoke it, Macy's!
Picture this: A church parking lot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's (hang on, let me check the almanac) exactly two billion degrees with 700% humidity, and the heat is radiating off the blacktop like Hell's laundromat.
Now, add a couple dozen gringos attempting to cook blueberry cobbler in a Dutch oven, right there on the pavement. They've got BBQ briquettes fired up and everything. They're on the ragged edge of full-core meltdown, but everyone's rejoicing because the crust is starting to brown.
Why are these foolish Americans doing this, you may ask? Well, because they're a bunch of ex-pat Utah Mormons, it's the 24th of July, and that's just what you do. Duh.
Anyway, in the spirit of the month, I thought I'd put up a little quiz to test your knowledge about all the brave, faithful, and blissfully insane people who brought to this land a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that you can cook blueberry cobbler any damn place you want, as long as you can argue persuasively that your ancestors would have done the same thing, given the chance.
I'm just pulling these out of my head, so go easy on me. I never claimed to be a walking encyclopedia. OK, maybe I did that once, but it was only to get out of a loitering citation.
There are actual answers to these questions, and hopefully I won't forget to include them this time. You know how easily distracted I am...
Good luck! And let me know how well you did!
1: In the first several drafts of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson included what now-altered phrase?
a) "Certain unassailable rights"
b) "Life, liberty, and property"
c) "Ensure national tranquility"
d) "Promote the general well-being"
2: We all know "The Star Spangled Banner" is our National Anthem (more on that later). What is our National Hymn?
a) "What a Friend we Have in Jesus"
b) "Onward, Christian Soldiers"
c) "God of our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand"
d) "Little Brown Jug"
3: For a time, "America, the Beautiful" was the frontrunner in the contest to choose a National Anthem. However, it was suddenly disqualified from consideration. Why?
a) It didn't include any notes high enough for pop singers to riff and scat and generally torture to within an inch of their formerly harmonious lives.
b) It didn't mention bombs and rockets and weapons of mass destruction enough times.
c) It had never been on America's Top 40.
d) The committee chair discovered it was written by a woman.
4: At one time, the Utah Territory was bigger than some countries, and its size as well as the power it gave Brigham Young made folks nervous. In an effort to make nice with national leaders, the location of the State House was moved from Salt Lake City to what town, in what county, in Utah?
a) Lincoln, Washington county
b) Ulysses, Grantsville county
c) Williamstown, Taft county
d) Fillmore, Millard county
5: W.W. Phelps wrote the words to "Praise to the Man" just days after Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed. However, the original tune was a very somber one called "Star of the East." (Someday if we're ever in the same room together, I'll sing it for you. You probably think you know it, but I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of another one.)
It wasn't until the Mormons had migrated west and settled in Utah that the poem was set to the much peppier melody we sing today. What is the name of that tune?
a) "London Bridge"
b) "Scotland, the Brave"
c) "When Irish Eyes are Smiling"
d) "Oh, Canada"
6: According to Utah Mormons and perhaps their descendants, AND NO ONE ELSE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, a "scone" is what kind of food?
a) A flaky pastry filled with fruit.
b) A hollow cookie you drink hot chocolate through.
c) Bread or roll dough, deep fried and slathered in honey and butter.
d) A thin pancake, served with powdered sugar, fruit, eggs, snails, toenail clippings - just about anything you can lay your hands on.
7: Bishop Edwin Woolley, a contemporary of Brigham Young, once wrote a letter to the newspaper in Salt Lake City, complaining about what?
a) People were paying their tithing with incontinent livestock, and he was running out of aprons.
b) Because a few members of the church couldn't hold their liquor, Brigham Young had made it impossible for moderate drinkers like himself to even get their hands on a decent beer.
c) Too many people were naming their kids Mohonri-Moriancumr, and it was just getting stupid.
d) He was fed up with the state not having an NFL franchise.
8: For a time, in an effort to get members of the church to take the Word of Wisdom seriously, Brigham Young saw to it that residents of SLC could only purchase their alcohol from...
a) Their bishop.
b) A bootlegger.
c) A doctor.
d) An Irishman.
9: Who was the first Latter-day Saint to run for office on a national level?
a) Orson F. Whitney
b) Ezra T. Benson
c) Jedediah Grant
d) Joseph Smith
10: What did Mark Twain have to say on the subject of Mormons and polygamy?
a) He had seen those Mormon women himself, they were the homliest lot he'd ever clapped eyes on, and any man willing to marry more than one of them was doing the rest of the world a favor.
b) As long as they didn't expect him to babysit for them, they could do whatever they felt like doing.
c) One man having that many women cooking for him had figured out the secret to a happy life, and was already in heaven on earth.
11: There was a huge fire at the White House, and one very brave First Lady ran back and forth from the burning building, rescuing furniture and priceless works of art. Who was this awesome woman?
a) Martha Washington
b) Dolly Madison
c) Hillary Clinton (I know, I can't even keep a straight face long enough to finish the answers!)
d) Abigail Adams
And finally, I leave you with my favorite quote from my favorite statesman, Thomas Jefferson:
"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. The hand of force may destroy, but can not disjoin, them."
Have a wonderful, peaceful, reflective, and gratitude-filled July! Eat a scone for me!
1 – B (TJ was very influenced by the writings of Alexander Pope, who asserted that all men were entitled to property. "Pursuit of happiness", however, was both more poetic and less subject to litigation, so it made the final cut.)
2 – C
3 – D (lame, huh?)
4 – D
5 – B
6 – C (A is what they call a scone in the Northwest US; B is a Tim Tam, introduced to me by Crash; and D is a crepe.)
7 – B (no kidding!)
8 – A (also no kidding!)
9 – D (He ran for president with the idea that doing so might improve relations with the US government. It didn’t.)
10 – A (The big jerk)
11 - B (And when you take the tour, the guide will point out every single item she saved. Every. Single. One.)