One score and four

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Today is my Membership Day. Exactly 16 years ago, I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t really remember much about the day, apart from a changing room with dark brown tile, my father seeming really big when he dunked me under the water and some candy dispenser my aunt gave me as a gift. Oh, and my older brother had tried to convince me that the bishop would use torture to get me to agree to be baptized. That, after all, is what big brothers are for. I don’t really remember thinking that it was all that big of a deal to be baptized. I’m not sure I even knew what all I was promising. But I was buried in the stream regardless. I think it was a good decision, but the jury's still out on certain aspects of this whole Sainthood thing.

The arithmetic of this milestone is one reason why I think the year a Mormon man turns 24 should be a much, much bigger deal than it is. For us BitCers, this year marks the point at which we have officially been members twice as long as we were not, as Mormons baptize at 8. Also, at age 24, a worthy male Saint has held the priesthood for exactly as many years as he did not, assuming he was ordained at the standard age of 12. For me, this year is also the point at which Elder becomes the office I have held the longest in the Priesthood (I was ordained back in summer of '03, having been a priest for twice as long as is typical). For certain LDS men, 24 could be the tipping point between years in the Aaronic versus Melchizedek. However, generally the higher priesthood is conferred closer to 19, so that one just an added bonus rather than a standard pattern.

If all these anniversaries were not enough, we also know that 24 is a numerological significant number. It’s the number of hours in a day, books in the Tanakh, the number of blackbirds baked into a pie, and the number of elders who will judge all the world at The End. It’s pretty clear that something big should be done to celebrate the twenty-fourth birthday of Mormon men. The only sticking point is that I’m not sure what that celebration should be. I’m very open to suggestions. I’m sure whatever anyone comes up with will be remarkably better than how I spent my birthday just over a week ago: spending nearly four hours to rack up massive debt in depreciating commodities, attending the family reunion for the descendants of my great-great-grandfather and then narrowly avoiding an intense family fight about whether we could gather to eat cake or not. So, it wasn’t exactly my best birthday ever.

Also, someone needs to designate a traditional Membership Day celebration. Go to.

3 comments:

Anne said...

What?! Whaaaat?!? Happy Birthday! Are you still in Utah? Where is this job you speak of? What is this debt you speak of? Do you work on Thursday? Do you want to come to the Seminar presentations on Thursday? B002 JFSB, all-controversy, all the time. I'm going to Oregon on the 18th, let me know if you're ever in Provo for anything before then. I would come up there, but I'm rather...car-less...bleh.

librarianite said...

How about a 24 day fast. We don't have near enough self-mutilation and deprecation in this church. Young men should have to walk out into the desert, draw a circle in the sand and remain there for the duration.

24 should also be the age at which young Mormon men are allowed to take a wife.

alea said...

Uh, Librarianite, didn't you marry pre-24? Are you suggesting it was a mistake? Does your wife know?

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