I recently tried to purchase a Zarahemla Books title at Seagull Book and Tape. Typically I would order directly from the Z Books website. But my sister gave me a SBT gift certificate for my birthday.
“Impossible,” the salesperson told me.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes,” she assured me. “It is not on my computer.”
Before that encounter, I had taken a gander at the SBT website. For both childishly nostalgic and semi-ironically kitschy reasons, I was intrigued by the Book of Mormon action figures I found.
“Fine,” I said to the salesperson, getting a little snotty. “Then the only thing I want in your store is a freaking Captain Moroni doll!”
A few weeks later, here I am on my lunch hour. It is rivalry (BYU v. Utah) week. I am reading an article about John Beck (the hero of last year’s glorious victory), and his first start with the Miami Dolphins. The reporter tells us:
On a shelf in Beck’s locker was an action figure of Captain Moroni. According to the Book of Mormon, he is a Nephite general who lived during the first century before Christ. Beck said he takes the figure to each game with him. “It’s a long story we’ll save for another time,” Beck said.
A long story indeed. I absolutely hate people calling the BYU-Utah rivalry “the Holy War.” Alas, real religious wars are not behind us as humans, and “Holy War” has creepy clash-of-civilizations overtones to my ears. BYU’s team is not necessarily holier than Utah’s. God probably doesn’t care about who wins on Saturday. Et cetera.
But this is what I love: my sense that BYU represents Mormon culture. And that BYU winning somehow feels like a victory for Mormon culture. And that now a Captain Moroni action figure will travel with a young Mormon gladiator from NFL locker room to NFL locker room, inspiring him to take a stand Nephite-style.