The Promise of the Rings: Answering the Call for New Mormon Folklore
Posted by Andrew on February 15, 2008
In a recent Mormon Matters post, my compadre Super Nerd lamented the endangered status of stories about Big Foot, the Three Nephites, and the Lost Tribes of Israel that used to abound in Mormon culture. Whether he intended it or not, I interpreted his lamentation about the disappearance of those magical stories as a call for New Mormon Folklore. So ladies and gentlemen, I now humbly come before you, with slight trepidation yet firm resolve, to answer that noble call!
As with any enduring folklore, it all begins with a kernel of truth. So I am going to tell you two brief, bona fide, 100% true stories, which I will then use to reach a completely fantastical conclusion. With your help in spreading these stories around, as well as your creative embellishments that I encourage you to add, we can together create a new generation of Mormon folklore that will sustain the fruit of our loins for generations to come!
True Story #1
Two weekends ago my wife and I were in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, enjoying a late-night soak in the world’s largest hot springs pools. Although it was a chilly 20 degrees with a light snowfall, we were comfortably enveloped in the warm mineral waters that filled two enormous outdoor pools. After spending a good two hours exploring the pools from end to end–which measure a total of 529 feet in length and 100 feet in width–we walked the back into the locker rooms, changed into our clothes, walked out to our car in the snow-covered parking lot, and drove to a convenience store for a quick Gatorade run.
When we arrived at the convenience store, my wife gasped. She was holding up her left hand to show me her wedding ring which, as luck would have it, no longer held a diamond in its setting. Needless to say, my wife was beside herself. She frantically searched her clothing and the car, but couldn’t find the diamond. We then mentally retraced our steps and quickly realized it was the worst-case scenario for losing a diamond. My wife’s wedding ring had just spent two hours soaking in the largest pools we had ever seen, and the prospect of finding a clear diamond in that much water seemed hopeless. Worse, nearly every inch of ground in between our car, the locker room, and the pools was covered with snow that, I soon realized, looks an awful lot like diamonds.
Regardless of our hopeless situation, we said a prayer and retraced our steps, hoping against hopelessness to find the diamond. To make a long story short, when my wife emerged from the women’s locker room where she had previously changed her clothes that night, she was beaming, with the lost diamond tightly clenched between her fingertips. Thankfully, the diamond had gone unnoticed by others as it sat on the wet locker room floor.
True Story #2
A few months ago, my cousin and her husband were surfing at one of our beautiful beaches in South Orange County, California. As she sat atop her surf board, my cousin realized she had forgotten to remove her wedding ring before entering the water. Not wanting to risk losing it, she took off the ring and handed it to her husband to place in a zippered pocket. But in the transfer, the ring got dropped, and quickly sunk to the ocean floor.
They quickly tried to take note of their location by memorizing the locations of nearby landmarks. After much prayer, they returned to the location with a rented metal detector to search for the ring. But unfortunately, they couldn’t take the metal detector into the water, so they had to float out to the location where they thought they’d dropped the ring, and waved the metal detector over the water’s surface. The only problem was that there was too much distance between the water surface and the ocean floor, so the metal detector couldn’t pick up any signals, and they couldn’t find the ring.
Undeterred, they did some more praying and researching and found a place where they could rent an underwater metal detector, which they took to the location in the water where they thought the ring had been dropped. And, against all odds, they found the ring!
The Magical Conclusion: The Promise of the Rings
Now, one could easily cite these stories as examples of the power of prayer, but answered-prayer stories are a dime-a-dozen these days, aren’t they folks? And besides, we can never just be satisfied with the blessings that naturally flow from living the Gospel, can we? No, we feel compelled to morph the promised blessings of Gospel living into more fantastical promises, typically involving material rewards.
So in that spirit, here is the magical moral that I propose we take from the true stories I just told you, which I want you all to immediately start spreading to all your Mormon friends and family. I call it the Promise of the Rings, which is:
When wedding rings are exchanged in the temple, those rings are sealed to their owners forever, and can never be lost!
Now, I know what all you skeptics out there are doing already. You’re thinking about your Aunt Eliza and your Cousin Orson and every other Mormon you know that has lost their wedding ring and been sealed in the temple. But I’ve got a wooden stake to drive through your doubt-ridden hearts, because there’s an important caveat to my magical moral:
The Promise of the Rings will be honored only so long as the the couple remain faithful to their covenants.
So you see, the reason why the Promise of the Rings came true for my wife and I, and for my cousin and her husband, is that we are obviously holding up our end of the bargain. But as for your Aunt Eliza and Cousin Orson, well, I hate to say it, but it looks like there are some family secrets that you ain’t discovered yet.
So go forth now, my friends, boldly and nobly, taking with you the story of the Promise of the Rings. Carry it into your church hallways and foyers, your Sunday School classes and Relief Society rooms, your cultural halls and social halls. Teach your youth this important concept of Ring Insurance. Add embellishments to these stories at will, and see if you can find a way to slip Bigfoot, The Three Nephites, and the Lost Tribes of Israel into them somehow.
Together, we can restore the magical world that has been trampled upon by the thundering jackboots of skepticism and disbelief!
Each of us!
One magical story at a time!