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How Mormons sold their religion to Mexicans

Dear Readers: As you read this, my trusty burro, pigtailed chica and I are crisscrossing Aztlán researching Mexican food. So now is as bueno as any time to do some housecleaning for the columna. Hay que start with a letter from the Mexican's longtime amigo, William Lobdell. For years one of the most prestigious religion reporters in the United States, he's also the author of the touching, brilliant memoir Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace, a book the Mexican recommends as much as he does Herradura. Lobdell wrote in recently regarding my piece from a couple of semanas back theorizing why so many Mexis are Mormons:

Dear Mexican: The real reason that Mormons had such good luck at converting Mexicans is that the missionaries and even past prophets have told Latinos that they are the descendants of Lamanites, a lost tribe of Israel that came to America around 600 B.C. As Lamanites, therefore, Mexicans are part of God's chosen people and very, very special, and God has something incredible planned for them. This, naturally, is very appealing to people of poverty and hardship. Of course, recent studies show that native Americans (North, Central and South) come from Asia, not the Middle East. But this hasn't stopped the majority of Mormons from using the you-are-a-Hebrew sales pitch to natives of North, Central and South America. And when those converted Mormons find out that they don't have an ounce of Jewish blood in them, they are devastated.

Dear Bill: Gracias! On the other side of the Mexican Mormon equation is the following gentleman:

Dear Mexican: Your "understanding of Mormonism" is partially incorrect and frankly offensive. Mormon men do NOT dominate their wife. Mormons do NOT hate homosexuals, nor anyone else for that matter. I suggest you do better research and apologize in print for these untruths. Good luck finding the courage to do that.

Dear Señor: Actually, Mormons do quite hate homosexuals — otherwise, church doctrine wouldn't classify the act as a sin, or unnatural. But what do I know? My Catholic faith preaches the same pendejadas — and we protect pedophiles much better than ustedes, to boot. As for the husband domination? That's what makes your religion so appealing to Mexicans. Don't start denying it now!

STOP THE DEPORTATION OF DREAMERS! Faithful readers know that the Mexican's favorite cause is the DREAM Act, a bill before Congress that would allow young people who are culturally American to qualify for amnesty. The pinche Obama administration is now threatening to deport quite a few of them: my former intern Matías Ramos, Marlen Moren of Tucson, and even a gabacho, Ivan Nikolov, a 22-year-old student at Macomb Community College in Michigan, who might be back in Russia (a country he barely remembers) by the time you're reading this. Fight the deportation of some of our best and brightest by visiting www.dreamactivist.org to learn how to raise the proper desmadre.

CONTEST ALERT! The Mexican doesn't mind pirated versions of his column, but he doesn't like it when pendejos use his picture without his permission. See, the awesome artist Mark Dancey owns my pinche portrait, and he enjoys people ripping off his work about as much as Arpayaso enjoys following the law.

So, the contest: Anyone who rats out anyone who uses this column's logo anywhere in the world gets a free copy of my book. Send photographic proof of the piratería (previous examples I've seen is pendejos using the logo to sell Mexican food, beer, promote club nights and even as a phone card) to my e-mail or via snail mail to Westword at 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203. And for those of ustedes who won last year's contest, the Mexican mail system screwed up my deliveries of your free book, so they'll be coming in the next couple of weeks!

 
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