Tuesday, January 21, 2003

O’Hare Airport, gate C16, waiting to board flight to Sao Paulo

The waiting area by the gate is filled with well-scrubbed young men in black suits—all of them in black suits—with fancy name tags pinned to their breast pockets. I figured they must be Mormons going to Brazil as missionaries. I sat down to eaves drop. One of them said to another, “I don’t know what to expect when we get there.” His companion replied, “Well, I suppose we go to where we’re saying and then read scripture.” It really amazes me that this level of enthusiasm can be sustained in so many people given that the beliefs on which this zeal is based are so bizarre. Of course, they are not really more bizarre than any other religion; it just seems more bizarre for people to believe something based on events that supposedly happened in the 1830s. Golden tablets from the Angel Maroni which then happened to get lost in the woods! And 170 years later, hundreds of well-scrubbed young men go off to Brazil to try to spread the word…

Trip to Brazil to the World Social Forum in full.