I adore you, my loyal readers. I feel as if we’re sitting together having chocolate silk pie or cheesecake together, and I’m leaning in and saying, “Now guess what St. Bob has done.”
First, some background. You already know I’m LDS and that our daughter just returned from an 18-month mission to Norway. What you might not know about Mormons, is that getting one’s mission call is a really big deal. First you earn the money to entirely support yourself. Many kids work their whole lives to save up. Then you apply. This is called “sending in your papers.” Then you wait for a few weeks.
You have no idea where on earth you’ll be sent—could be “stateside” here in the U.S., could be anywhere in the world.
The whole family usually gathers around as the envelope is torn open and the 18- or 19-year old reads where they’ll be going. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s usually something like, “You have been called to serve in the Argentina Bahia Blanca mission, Spanish speaking,” as our third son was. You’re also told when to report to the Mission Training Center where you’ll spend a month or so learning the language in the most successful language training program on earth.
But back to the family gathering. When the location is announced a gigantic cheer is raised, and you can see a montage of these exciting events here (right after President Monson announces the new eligibility ages).
Unless you decide to let St. Bob get involved. Here’s what happened. We have some good friends with a very long last name. To protect their identity and keep them from having to explain having a friend like Bob, I shall call them the Dopplegangers. And their son’s letter arrived while the son was away from the house. “Jane” Doppleganger, his mom, called to invite Bob over for the big envelope opening, since he and this boy were close buds.
“Has he seen the envelope, yet?” Bob asks.
“No.” Jane is walking right into it.
“Good,” Bob says, then tells her he wants to play a prank. He types up a totally fake letter, puts it in an envelope and seals it.
The big moment arrives and the boy tears open the envelope and begins reading, “You have been assigned to serve in the Iraq Baghdad Mission.” What?! “Farsi speaking.” What?! “And you’ll have to change your name to Smith because Doppleganger is too hard to pronounce.”
By now he is completely speechless and the whole family bursts out laughing. And then he looks at Bob. Yes, this is the culprit. Thankfully Jane brings out the real envelope and the boy tears it open. He is flooded with relief to learn that his real assignment is Lubbock, Texas, English speaking. We don’t even have a mission in Iraq, by the way.
So, a word to the wise. If Bob Hilton is in the room, be prepared for anything.
Speaking of LDS people, you’ve got to see the new film that opens in neighborhood theatres October 10th and 11th. It’s not a proselyting film, just a super entertaining look at who we are, and it includes a mission call envelope opening as well. It’s called “Meet the Mormons” and every penny of its profits will go to the Red Cross.