Bridal Power

I was going to start a store in the mall called PriestCrafters, with the motto, “We’ll sell you the gospel in about an hour.” But then I realized Living Scriptures, Missionary Emporium and Deseret Book were already doing that. So instead I came up with yet another brilliant method of saving humanity from itself.

First, though, I’d like to take a crack at the Catholics. I’m doing this because a few weeks ago, after I poked fun at Mormon culture — not the Mormon religion, but the way Mormons often behave when they live in groups — I got a phone call from a woman who said, “Why do you belittle the Mormon Church?” I told her I was Mormon, too, and that since I write for a newspaper in a predominantly Mormon area, that means I occasionally write about the local culture. I assured her that I would never belittle the Mormon religion, or any other religion, for that matter. She responded by asking, “Why do you belittle the Mormon Church?” This was a very astute retort on her part, I thought.

She added: “I don’t see you making fun of the Catholics.” This was as accurate as it was irrelevant. Nonetheless, I am a man of the people, so I will now make fun of the Catholics:

Hey, what’s the deal with those Catholics? Have you seen that pope? Is that a big hat he wears, or what? I hear he’s from Poland. How about that!

There. Now that I’ve made everyone happy, I can tell you about my latest plan for making life more bearable. I previously suggested that wedding receptions be done away with entirely, since no one (including the bride, groom, and guests) wants to be there. Instead, I proposed, someone should just set up a card table at an intersection and allow people to drop off their wedding presents there, thus saving them from having to waste an entire evening at a formal reception, but still allowing the happy couple to get a bunch of free stuff.

I’ve realized now that this may have to be modified, due to the use of the bridal registry. This is where a couple chooses a particular store, runs through it, and picks out all the items they want as wedding presents. Then, when you get your invitation, you’re told where you’re supposed to shop, and the store keeps an electronic copy of what’s on the wish-list, and which things have already been bought by someone else.

This is a repugnant and tasteless practice. Believe me, I know repugnant and tasteless, and the bridal registry is both of them. Basically, what you’re saying is, “We love you and we want you to share in our happy day. But you have crappy taste in gifts, so we’re going to tell you what to buy us, you toaster-giving moron.” Note that the option of simply not buying a gift is not an option. You not only WILL buy a gift, but you will buy one of a pre-selected group of gifts from a particular store. Indicating where the couple is registered is only one step short of sending a Nazi stormtrooper along with the invitation, to ensure the recipient actually carries through with his or her instructions. If Nazi stormtroopers were easier to come by, I’m sure some couples would send them to hand-deliver the orders.

Since people are insisting on having receptions anyway, despite my previous plan for not having them, we’ll make an adjustment. What happens is, the couple goes to the store they want to register at, but instead of merely choosing a stack of gifts, they actually BUY the stuff. Then, at the reception, there’s a list of all the items, along with what they cost. When you show up to extend your well wishes, you go down the list until you find a gift that cost about what you would have spent. You write your name next to it, put that amount of money in a huge pot that says $$$ on the side (eventually, checks and credit cards will also be accepted), fill out your own thank-you card, and have some cake. Basically, instead of the couple telling you what to buy them, they’re just buying it themselves and having you reimburse them. It takes all the guess-work and the hustle and bustle out of gift-shopping, and helps us focus on the important part of marriage: getting free stuff.

By the way, how can you tell if you’re at a Mormon wedding reception? When the only songs the DJ plays were sung by a choir.

And how can you tell if you’re at a Catholic wedding reception? I don’t know, I’ve never been to one. Maybe the pope is there or something.

The "PriestCrafters" joke is a reference to LensCrafters, where they promise to make your new eyeglasses "in about an hour." "Priestcraft," for those not familiar with the term, is when you sell religion for money, basically. I expected people to get mad that I said Deseret Book was guilty of it, but no one did. Maybe everyone agreed with me for once.

The old lady who accused me of belittling the Mormons was calling in response to my most recent Education Week column.