Jerry Earl Johnston: LDS Boomers remember the days gone by

Published: Wednesday, July 11 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

You've seen those little booklets at truck stops and roadside diners — the ones with titles like:

"You Know You're a Redneck If …" or "You Know You're Over the Hill If …"

Well, today I'm getting into the game.

My version is called, "You Know You're a Mormon Baby Boomer If …"

For example, you know you're a Mormon Boomer if you remember when priesthood quorums spent great chunks of time debating the location of the 10 Tribes.

Were they under the North Pole?

Were they on the North Star?

Today, if you pitched such notions in priesthood meeting, people would think you were the one living on the North Star.

You're also a Mormon Boomer if you remember when The Top Pilots and Co-Pilots got "Right-Way Compasses" — once they could sing the words to "Zoom! I Am a Pilot!"

Boomers can also recall singing:

I went to visit my friend one day,

She only lived across the way,

She said she couldn't come out to play

Because it was her washing day.

Turns out she couldn't come out the other days either because they were her "ironing day," "cleaning day" and other assorted chore days.

Yes, kiddies, it used to take women a whole day to wash, a whole day to iron and sometimes a whole day to darn socks.

Do you remember calling the head of the Sunday School the "superintendent" and referring to grown men who never became elders as "Adult Aaronics?"

If you do, you're likely a boomer.

And you're likely a boomer if someone drops the name Jessie Evans Smith and you not only see her face, but you can also hear her voice.

Mormon Boomers also make funny boomer mistakes.

If you listen closely, you'll hear a few of them sing "You who unto Jesus" on the chorus of "How Firm a Foundation" and some may even say "bear ye my testimony" in testimony meeting.

In the backs of boomer minds, youth speakers still deliver "2½-minute talks" and it's still somehow important to know who made those ancient landing strips in Latin America.

The terms "Trail Blazer" and "Trekker" will always bring tears to Mormon Boomer eyes.

And the sight of a red-brick model of Primary Children's Hospital will always bring a smile.

The list goes on.

Each generation, in fact, probably has its own box of mental keepsakes that they'll one day unpack and admire.

Years from now, don't be surprised if some geezer with an iPad feels a twinge of sentiment when he hears again that long lost phrase, "Please open your scriptures and turn to Alma 32."

Jerry Johnston is a former Deseret News staff writer. "New Harmony" appears every other week in Mormon Times. Email: jerjohn@desnews.com

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