Brighton. Oh Brighton. It was glorious. Vibrant. It’s one of those places you go and just squawk for the first hour because everything you see is so fun and different and crazy.
Squawk! A funny-named shop!
Squawk! Gay pride!
Squawk! A shop dedicated to fudge!
Squawk! A list of great words!
You know the type of place; just a cheeky little community made of rainbows. Where everyone seems so happy. And they’re not even smug about living in a place way more colourful than where you live. They are just happy.
This is all before you even get to the edge of the water.
Granted the edge of the water is a pebble-stoned beach (put sand between my toes any day, THANKS) but Brighton Pier has been voted one of the Top 10 city beach break destinations IN THE WORLD. Probs because it has a Ferris wheel. And any beach with a Ferris wheel is automatically spectacular.
Ferris wheel, pier, arcade, art, cafes, bars, clubs, sailing activities, Mormons…
That’s right; you can expect nothing less than to have one of the stereotypically happiest types of people in the world skipping about in one of the stereotypically happiest places in the world.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
That’s what the Mormons in Brighton wanted to know. They drew a colourful chalk diagram on the ground so that passers by could figure out if they were happy or not. But if unobservant people like myself just walked on it without noticing, they would just approach you in person to check if you were happy instead.
That’s how I met Elder Tyler, the American Mormon, who was visiting Brighton to teach people about The Plan of Salvation.
He gave me his number, cheeky little thing.
One of the most noticeable things about Tyler was that he actually was really happy. I admittedly wasn’t that polite to him because when he approached me I knew he wanted to talk about God – and good on him for pushing me out of my comfort zone. But despite my awkward answers, and unwillingness to look him in the eye, he kept smiling and curiously asking about my happiness.
‘Are you happy Jessica? What makes you happy Jessica? Do you know anything about Mormonism Jessica?’
‘I’ve seen The Book of Mormon musical.’
‘Oh, wow. How was that then?’
I saw South Park creators’ The Book of Mormon West End musical last year and thought that the radically cheerful characters were just happening because it was West End, like Broadway. BUT NO. Wrong. Tyler is walking, American-accent talking proof, that ALL MORMONS ARE HAPPY.
So the next week I spent a bit of time thinking about Mormonism and then even less time researching Mormonism: you know, reading The Plan of Salvation and watching the South Park episode All about Mormons. But I simply didn’t feel far enough out of my comfort zone to justify a blog post about it.
The solution seemed obvious… well as soon as my trusty friend Clare pointed it out anyway: I must call Elder Tyler on the telephone, to discuss what it is that really makes him happy. Besides all the stereotypical stuff I learnt on South Park.
I didn’t get to speak to Tyler though. Sad face – he was sweet. I spoke to another happy person instead. Smiley face – she invited me to church.
The phone conversation is recorded below. But the screen FREEZES, unfortunately. But the conversation doesn’t. Zing! I did have wine, but that was just a thing I was doing on Saturday afternoon with Clare.
But I did go to church the next day. Without wine. Just the blood of Christ in a shot glass… but that is another story.