My family is not like that. My mother was a convert and my father's family converted when he was a kid. I have a few cousins, but not that many. I've never discovered a secret connection between myself and another Mormon. One of the things I worried about/secretly hoped for when I started blogging was to run into someone I knew in real life. I shouldn't have worried; so far, I haven't met a soul.
I somehow avoided attending BYU through a stroke of sheer luck (and the good folks at [censored]'s scholarship office), so I don't have that hub of connections. I served in a large mission, but my fellow RMs seem to be singularly incurious about the bloggernacle. My father served as a mission president, and I must have known hundreds of missionaries who filed through that mission, too. Apparently, they can't read. I grew up in suburban Salt Lake, for heaven's sake! And there's nobody I know online? Well, we did have a terrible student/teacher ratio, but I refuse to believe that no one from my childhood has a computer and an interest in Mormonism.
The closest I've ever come to a Mormon coincidence happened during my (very) brief re-activation last spring. At the time, I was working in a very large law firm. If you'll remember, I would show up at the chapel just as Sacrament Meeting started and then leave immediately after the closing prayer, to avoid having to talk to anyone. As the ward was overflowing, no one ever paid me any attention.
The second Sunday I was attending, I noticed a blond man who looked very familiar entering the chapel just ahead of me. He had his wife and several kids with him and he held the door for me. There weren't a lot of spaces left in the chapel, so I ended up sitting in the pew right in front of his family. I couldn't place the man, and I thought that maybe I knew him from the mission or from growing up in Utah.
The Sacrament meeting passed without incident (except for the always embarrassing refusal of sacrament that makes you feel like you're in a white-hot spotlight) and I left without approaching or being approached by the man. By now I was certain I'd met him before, but I had absolutely no idea where.
Imagine my surprise when I saw him in the bathroom at work on Monday. Not only did he work at my firm, he worked on my floor, about ten feet from my office. He was a lawyer and I was support staff, so we never had any interaction. He must have been so familiar to me solely from passing him in the floor's only bathroom.
Even though I recognized him, I didn't say anything to him, and he didn't say anything to me. And even though we ran into each other a couple times a week coming or going from the bathroom or elevator for the next six months (until I finally moved away), we never exchanged words.
I still don't know if he just never recognized me, or if he recognized me at church the first time, and since I didn't approach him there, assumed that I didn't want to talk about it (I didn't, really). Or maybe he is just extremely introverted, like me.
At any rate, it was the only time I experienced the very small world of Mormonism. And, odds are, he is somebody's cousin. Probably yours.
Posted by Ned Flanders.