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Letters from Abroad: Book of Mormon from Ecuador

Sally Aldrich ’19, Abroad Columnist

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When I imagined my time in Cuenca, Ecuador, I imagined my biggest challenges being the language barrier, the complete change in diet, and whether or not my family had good wifi connection. I did not, however, imagine that my biggest challenge heading into my junior year abroad would be living with Mormons for a whole month.

A Quick Disclaimer: I have no religious ties to anything. Not because I don’t believe in a greater power or force out there in the world, but just because, like any good millennial trying to ruin religion for everyone else, I’ve never been presented with a reason to believe that there is a God or that She/He/They are influencing my life in any way. This also doesn’t mean I don’t respect other religions, I honestly just don’t spend much time thinking about it. My grandma would probably think I need salvation.

Anyway, my family being Mormon did not affect my time in Ecuador for the most part. While nobody in my house drank coffee, my host mom still had instant coffee stored in the back of her cupboards for guests. She still talked with me about daily life, her opinions on TV shows, the rise of Ecuador’s economy, and international politics (she’s a Bernie fan, so we got along just fine). She asked me to sit in when they had missionaries come over for prayer; for someone who’s prior knowledge about Mormonism was from a hit Broadway show, I actually found those nights very interesting.

Things got a little funky towards the end when they had missionaries from the United States come to our house to explain their church to me, and I realized quickly that they thought I was converting. At that point, it was my last night, and I sat through those two hours pretending to convert to Mormonism because it was honestly nice listening to people who had so much faith in something. Maybe it makes me a bad person for pretending to convert (something my host mom still thinks I did to this day) but if I hadn’t been so open to hearing about their way of life, I don’t think I would have connected with my family very well.

I guess this story is my roundabout way of saying that in order to capitalize on your experiences while studying abroad, especially if you plan on living with a host family, you have to let go of your preconceived ideas, and open your mind to new ideas and new ways of living. Isn’t that what going abroad is all about? I mean, I don’t think you need to go as far as pretending to convert to another religion, but I did come out of it with my very own, English/Spanish Book of Mormon, signed by the Elders and Sisters in Cuenca, and what more could I need?

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1 Comment

One Response to “Letters from Abroad: Book of Mormon from Ecuador”

  1. Nick Vasey on October 7th, 2017 12:06 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I enjoyed your article … Ecuador is indeed full of surprising twists and turns. That’s one of the reasons I love living here so much. I was however, entertained by your “Bernie fan” reference. I’m not sure how any informed person, after what happened in 2016, could still be hoodwinked by what is such an obvious con/scam.

    As detailed by the venerable Chris Hedges, all the way back in March 2016, it’s pretty clear Bernie was necessarily “in the bag” for the warmongering beast Hillary, pretty much from the outset. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/voting_with_our_feet_20160320

    The “people’s champion” Elizabeth Warren also sold out, and was (to her everlasting detriment and disgrace – https://www.facebook.com/cojoartblog/videos/1141465169237274/) … completely assimilated by the Clinton Borg.

    Democracy has not existed in the US, in any genuine form, since probably at least as far back as Kennedy … Chris Hedges further explains here (in this short but brilliant 9 minute video), what went wrong, and what the current situation is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV_c1ElZl7Q

    US politics (and most of the world’s for that matter) … is so broken … people don’t even want to countenance what will be necessary to “fix it.” Here’s an article I wrote, shortly after the US election, if you are interested. https://pleasespikemydrink.com/2016/12/17/post-election-madness-down-the-looking-glass-we-tumble-into-the-most-dangerous-and-kafka-esque-twilight-zone-imaginable/

    Happy travels, and best wishes,

    Nick Vasey. 🙂

    [Reply]

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Letters from Abroad: Book of Mormon from Ecuador