The first ordinance of the gospel

We’re all sitting around the campfire talking about religion when Maggie asks what Mormons believe about sin and being forgiven of sin. Jon says that those who are born into the religion are generally baptized at the age of eight, that they believe baptism to be a cleansing of all sins. Those who sin after baptism (i.e., everyone but Donny Osmond) have to go through a process of feeling bad about the sin and then asking for forgiveness. And then they can’t ever have sex without their clothes on.

I suddenly remember all those years as a kid that I worried about being perfect, years spent feeling terrible because I couldn’t stop rewinding a bootleg copy of Purple Rain, and how I used to think there had to be a way to beat the system. I tell them, “Sometimes I would daydream that maybe I could sin all I wanted until I was fifty or sixty, and then do something so terrible that they would have to excommunicate me. That way I could be re-baptized, and then all the sins I had ever committed would be washed away in one dunk.”

“That’s clever,” says Bryan, Maggie’s husband. “Except what happens when you’re twenty and you slip in the shower and die? As you’re falling you’re all, “SHIT! That didn’t work!”