Latter Day Saints are prophesied to be a peculiar people and I am certainly proof of that. Just as sure as I have a testimony of the Gospel, I also know that I'm not particularly normal either. My view of life on this earth leans toward the bizarre, which I think is a gift. I can't explain how I know it's a gift, I just know. Maybe it's self awareness.
Which brings up a question? There are people out there that look normal but sometimes when they open their mouth and start talking to me I start to think that I'm looking pretty good with my own brand of peculiar. Don't tell me that you don't know who I'm talking about, you certainly go out of your way to avoid them in the chapel, the hallway, and when you're leaving the building. These people are the reason that Caller ID was invented.
The other day I heard a familiar voice in the lobby and despite my best efforts I ended up having a conversation with her. Now I am peculiar but I am also polite. It's part of the gift that I have. I can be totally disinterested, but look interested. It's up to you to decide which I am.
Anyway, after exchanging pleasantries, she asked me a question about a common friend, specifically she wanted to know if he was alive as she heard he had recently passed away, you know, died. Well, after the initial shock of the question came and went, I did everything I could within my powers to not fall onto the carpet laughing. Then, I politely and forcefully confirmed that he was alive and well and living in Texas. As soon as I got home I did Facebook the poor devil to have him confirm his aliveness or deadness. He's alive, even though his Facebook page makes him look like a pasty ghost.
See, she was peculiar, just not in a good way.
I currently serve as a Membership Clerk (pronounced "Clark" if you're in Canada) and every Sunday I'm in the building prior to our block time doing clerky or clarky type things. Not that my brand of peculiar makes me more spiritual than anyone else, like say a High Priests Group Leader, but, I like to listen to the talks in the Ward that meets prior to ours. I turn up the lobby speaker and sort of eavesdrop on what's going on in their meeting. I hear some really great talks. And then an occasional "peculiar" jewel.
A little over a year ago as I was listening to their Fast & Testimony meeting, (one of our Bishopric members was hanging out in the office with me), we overheard one of their members compare President Hinckley (Prophet of the LDS Church at the time) to Dumbledore from the Harry Potter Books. I think that her words were "We have a Dumbledore that we can look to in President Hinckley.". The two of us looked at each other like "Did you just hear what I did?" Strange and peculiar! I was waiting for "and I know that Dumbledore is a true wizard". I memorized the name of that member in case it ever comes across my Caller ID.
Which brings us to Styx, the rock band.
During my short time at BYU-Provo, when it was just called BYU, I resided in the 104th Ward. We were so peculiar that we called ourselves the 104th Ward Generics. I remember going to Priesthood meeting and participating in the weekly lesson. Going to a BYU Student Ward Priesthood Class and calling that a lesson or discussion is being polite. Fifty members of the Melchizedek Priesthood, all returned missionaries, and a dozen or so Aaronic Priesthood holders in their first year of school, preparing for a mission. Fifty guys who had spent two years immersed in studying, teaching, and sharing the gospel in such remote places as Finland, Germany, and Australia, to such local spots as Portland, Oregon or Maine. They all had something to say, with their particular view of the principle and Priesthood Meeting was where the soapbox was available to stand upon. Of course, each RM had a served under a mission president that was going to be the next apostle or General Authority. It was literally controlled chaos with the teacher controlling the answers.
Our instructor, shall we call him Brother Dave for this post, was a great teacher, but he compared every gospel principle he taught to the rock band Styx. He never reached the point of playing their music for the lessons but every single concept and principle coming out of the manual could be compared to a Styx song or album. I loved the guy but wondered what kind of mission rules he followed.
Years later, I was listening to Styx and began to think that he might have been on to something. I thought about Styx, their music, and the Gospel.
This might be a stretch but could the hidden message in "Too Much Time On My Hands" be a subliminal message to those who don't fulfill their callings or even refuse to serve? Is "The Best of Times" a reference to serving a mission or eternal marriage? Does "Show Me The Way" really encourage us to choose our spiritual leaders as our examples? "Renegade" certainly is a song about the consequences of bad choices. The song "Music Time" has to be about Primary music, right?
Yeah right, I believe that like I believe that the Ward Clerks run the Ward (even though we're secretly plotting to do so).
Honestly, if Brother Dave ever called my house I'm pretty sure that I'm monitoring the Caller ID and passing on rekindling that friendship. I've pondered over the years about his lessons sprinkled with the music and lyrics of Styx and have come to the conclusion that Styx is really best left to the stranger and peculiar people in the church and the homeless guy that sleeps out under the Bishop's office window. And I feel the same about Dumbledore, Yoda, The Force, Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo. It's a nice try but I'm not getting on my knees anytime soon to gain a testimony of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Twilight.
I know that they aren't true and it won't take studying, pondering and prayer to confirm that.
My own beliefs? I'm firm in my testimony of the Restored Gospel, and my peculiar side is still working on a testimony of Santa, but I do believe in reindeer that fly.
On Dasher, on Dancer, on Harry, on Hermione ....