I did start to type up our review of Akira's story yesterday, but we were not forgotten after all, and Gaston showed up and we all went to dinner. We finally got to give him the autographed Beauty and the Beast book, and that was fun, because we took it out to the car, and I said, "We have to show you the book we got signed, because we're just so excited." So I handed it to him, and he looked at the cover and oohed and aahed over it, then he opened it and asked where the autograph was, but it was on the first page so he found it pretty quick. And then he stopped for a while; I think he had to process what had just happened. Then he said, "You guys bought a copy for yourselves, too, right?" And I said, "Of course."
And then, since he seemed to have mostly registered Charles Solomon's autograph, I made sure to point out Don Hahn's autograph with the message we mostly dictated, and I think then he just repeated, "Oh my gosh," several times, and it was pretty awesome. So that was a lot of fun, and then we had dinner at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles, and while we were waiting to order (we decided to get takeout, because Gaston was still planning to drive all the way home), we sat next to some folks from Louisiana, which is Gaston's favorite state since he went to New Orleans last year. They had a good time talking and reminiscing about all the great food you can get there.
Before we parted ways, Gaston remembered to thank us again for the book, and then he asked if he should surprise his wife with it or just tell her over the phone. In all honesty, I think he's probably going to be more excited about it than she is (although we do know that Belle is her favorite Disney princess, so I think she will be at least a little excited), and he won't have the ability to pretend it was our copy (which, I think, greatly added to the surprise element), so he might as well have just told her over the phone, but instead I said, "Well, we tend to like to surprise people." I don't know if we'll ever hear more of that story. But anyway, Athena just suggested that it would have been pretty funny, when he asked to make sure we bought a copy for ourselves, to say, "What!? They signed it to the wrong person!? Well, I guess there's no point in keeping it now." Epimetheus.
Church was a little exciting, because none of the visitors stayed past sacrament meeting, so neither of us had a Primary class to teach. Instead, we went to the gospel doctrine Sunday school class...and while I have been assured that it was not our fault, we jokingly wonder if maybe it would have been better if we hadn't (Athena says, "This is why we keep getting callings that keep us out of gospel doctrine." She kids, of course). I made somebody storm out. I didn't mean to; I think it just escalated a lot more quickly than I would have predicted.
So we were talking about the Word of Wisdom (which can be read in its entirety here
), also known in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as "the Lord's Law of Health," which is basically the standard we use for what we should and should not eat. The Word of Wisdom is why Mormons don't drink alcohol or black tea or coffee, for example. Now, for those of you who don't want to check the link, I will tell you that part of it says, "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days," and this is the passage that started the whole incident.
The teacher asked somebody to read that verse and asked what it meant. I brought up Big Tobacco (oh yeah, y'all know Mormons don't smoke, either, right?) and how they would target their ads at young kids to get them hooked at a young age, etc. I also mentioned Starbucks, which may just be a regular capitalist endeavor, but seems to have become a bit of a religion. (I want to point out here that the Disney Resort here in Anaheim has no fewer than four, possibly five, Starbucks: one in Disneyland, one in California Adventure, two in Downtown Disney (you know, in case you missed the first one on your walk from the hotel), and maybe one in the hotel.) People must go worship at the idol of Starbucks before they can function normally throughout their day. Thinking back, this wasn't necessarily the right context, because my feelings toward Starbucks are more that, because it's become such a ritual or whatever, people are more focused on the franchise than on God, and God wants us to worship Him and not coffee. But the coffee addiction is part of it.
Anyway. Someone else mentioned how these companies (probably speaking mostly of the tobacco industry, but I've heard of similar things being done, for example, with Doritos) deliberately design their products to be addictive, to get people hooked on them as long as possible. Well, that's where this other person started to get upset. She pointed out that this was really just capitalism at its best (the teacher amended, "at its worst"), and if you're going to sell something, you're going to design a product that's as appealing as possible. She pointed out that the teacher, who makes things out of wood for a living, isn't going to make ugly canes (as a side note, this has me wondering if we could get him to make us a cane like Kotoko's in In/Spectre, and how much that would cost). He said the difference is that a cane doesn't help or harm the body; it just is. She countered that it could become a crutch. I chimed in that deliberately putting chemicals into your product to make it addictive, in the sense that addiction is an illness, takes away someone's agency. She said no it doesn't, they still have the ability to choose. And she's right--they can choose to get help and overcome the addiction--but she didn't give me the chance to agree with her, because that was when she stormed out.
All the rest of us could do was go on with the lesson, but it was a bit harder for the two of us to focus after that. I'm sad that she was so unwilling to talk it out. I'm also a little worried that she'll never listen to either of us again, about anything. I thought we were kind of friends because she liked to talk to us when we first moved in, being a fan of our grandfather's (which is especially intriguing, because Grandpa was super not a fan of capitalism, and was not shy about saying so).
But the whole situation is something I find to be fascinating on several levels. I mean, I've heard about people feeling alienated during Sunday school and having to leave before, but usually it's because the stereotypical Mormon is about as Republican as you can get, so someone says something about "those evil gays," and people who actually know gay people are like, "Hey that's not cool!" and that's
the sort of thing that causes storm-outs (or people avoiding Sunday school in the first place). (Incidentally, we haven't actually been to gospel doctrine that much in the last few years, but it's been our experience that the subject matter very rarely is the type that could lead to the sort of exchange imagined in this paragraph. Also, for anyone just stopping by, the LDS Church's take on gays is that the people are not evil, but the act of gay sex is a sin.)
My point is, the incident proved that the gospel doesn't adhere to the doctrines of any one political party. We can offend people on both sides of the spectrum! But in a way, I find that to be kind of refreshing. I think the political divide in our nation has gotten to a point where it's all-or-nothing, the other side is wrong purely for being on the other side, and we're going to fight each other until the other side is wiped out. There was a war like that in the Book of Mormon. It didn't end well. Everybody died. The people who survived were the ones who refused to fully join either side.
And now I think I'm getting too political and I'm not good at that stuff, so I better stop. I'm worried I didn't stop soon enough, but I don't want to delete anything, so there it is.
Today I'm thankful for Gaston liking the book and autograph (when contemplating surprising Alice with it, he realized he'd have to wait extra long because she'd be asleep by the time he got home, and it would be hard to wait, and we were like, "I know, right?" (we waited almost two weeks to give it to him)), having a lovely time going out to dinner with friends, getting to go to gospel doctrine today, having a lovely Father's Day conversation with Dad, and getting to read some National Geographic History today (not sure we like the writing that much yet).