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On the flight from New York to Salt Lake City, there is a Mormon missionary, whose nametag identifies him as an “Elder.” This always makes me smile a bit. These fresh-faced youngsters, referred to as “Elder.”
This one has just served two years in Virginia. I guess I should have described him, above, as an “ex-missionary.” He is through with his service (this service, at least). He is from a town just outside Salt Lake. He has not been home in two years (in accordance with the rules, I gather). So, this is an exciting day for him: a homecoming.
Sitting next to him is a man from Israel. The two strike up a conversation. (The Utahn is in the middle seat. The Israeli is to his left, I to his right.) Having ascertained that the other fellow is an Israeli, the Utahn asks, “Are you Jewish?” Indeed.
In turn, the Israeli says to the Utahn, “I hear there’s a Broadway show, The Book of Mormon.” “Yes,” answers the Utahn, “I’ve heard of that.”
I admire the young man’s tact. He does not get into further conversation on the subject. The show, as I understand it, makes a mockery of the Mormons. Bret Stephens wrote a memorable column about it in 2012 (here — though a subscription is required, I’m afraid). The Israeli doesn’t know much about the show, obviously. He is just making polite conversation.
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