Friday, January 4, 2008

still thinking about this

According to the search database at, there are only two branches in all of Iceland. Two! Branches! Now, my experience with LDS branches has been hit-and-miss. Granted, I have only ever attended two, but one was a hit, the other a miss. The first was in Riggins, Idaho, home of several whitewater rafting companies and, well, that's about it. A member of the bishopric sported an NRA* tie and the woman who taught the Sunday school lesson used the term "negroes", in all seriousness, and she had lived in Africa for years! She then proceeded to conduct the hymns, gesticulating wildly and exclaiming mid-verse, "I love this song!" I was so amused and bewildered and appalled all at once, and my reaction was nearly-uncontrollable laughter. Anna-Lisa can tell you how I almost lost it more than once. And Christopher could tell you some really crazy stories from that branch. For now we'll move on. A few months ago, I attended the singles' branch in Hyde Park, Chicago. I loved it. Partly I was happy to be visiting Claire that weekend; partly I was excited to be in a city; partly I was relieved that, after several weeks in a juvenile and very irritating BYU ward, my faith in Mormon singles as a group was renewed. It was nice to attend meetings in which real doctrine was the topic, and to meet several intelligent and friendly young people who go to church because they want to be there, not merely to socialize, nor because their neighbors expect them to be outwardly righteous. So, I guess what I am getting at is that, even if one of the branches in Iceland is terrible, odds are the other is great. Okay so maybe my sample size is not large enough to make that kind of extrapolation. Let's look at more data.

According to a Wikipedia article citing the 2006 census, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints make up 0.06% of the population of Iceland, or 176 individuals. There are at least twice that many living in my apartment complex alone. While Iceland is a place that I would still love to visit, maybe for an extended period of time, I am thinking that at this point it would not be the best place for me to live. I feel that, in this stage of my life, it is important to be near lots of good, faithful Mormons in my age group. Why not stay in Provo? you ask. Well, if you have ever lived here, and you did not grow up here (maybe even if you did), you will understand how it gets old. The place has been good to me, but it is about time to move on. Perhaps, like Claire's father suggested, I should try Santiago.

Well, the winter sun has risen over the Wasatch mountains and I am still awake. Maybe now that Vanessa has responsibilities to tend to in the mornings, her nocturnality has transferred to me. Anyway, good night. It is nighttime somewhere, after all.

*I was going to link to the official website but just glancing at it for a few seconds seriously creeped me out. Enter those three letters into your address bar at your own risk.


Vanessa Swenson said...

Maybe you could go for an extendo-visit to Iceland or something. But Santiago is seriously awesome.

I love how the West Wing was a huge part of keeping you awake. Ahhh, the number of times that the West Wing and I have kept each other company while I laid in bed, unable to sleep...

rantipoler said...

Oh wow - that branch was certainly . . . an experience. I had never before encountered people like that in church, and I hope I never see them again. Thankfully the caliber of people that attend church have no bearing on the truthfulness of the gospel. Otherwise I would have dropped out LONG ago!