Sunday, October 7, 2018

Modar strikes again!

Ever since Bill and I got together, I've found myself with an ever more sensitive Modar.  Modar, for those who don't know, is the ability to pick up on hints that a person is Mormon.  I know I shouldn't use the term "Mormon" now, since the church has been trying to get people to quit using that nickname for years now.  They've even gone as far as renaming their famous choir, which has had the word "Mormon" in it for over 150 years!  I'm also old enough to remember the many chirpy PSAs the LDS church used to air in the 70s and 80s.  At the end of each one, they'd say the message "came from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... The Mormons!"

This one is especially cemented on my brain.  I was about eleven or twelve when it aired regularly.

Anyway...  getting back to the topic at hand.  Last night, Bill and I were drinking the last of the Landwein, when I checked AHRN (a military based housing referral network that has helped us find at least two homes).  There was a message from a potential landlord about visiting his property next weekend.  Then, after I told Bill about that message, I checked Bookoo.

Bookoo is basically a family friendly version of Craig's List.  It's a place for people to buy and sell things for cheap.  I had never heard of Bookoo before we moved back to Germany in 2014, but it's become all the rage in military communities.  In fact, we found our current house on Bookoo.  A lot of potential German landlords use it to market to Americans, in particular.  They have learned that Bookoo is where the military community often goes to find rentals.  

I could be wrong, but I think a lot of Germans like renting to Americans because most of us don't stay for years on end; we often pay more rent than Germans typically will; and we probably don't complain as much or demand as many repairs as some Germans will.  Germany is a very tenant friendly country and, once a property is rented, it can be very difficult to evict someone.  Consequently, it's probably a plus for a German landlord if they know the tenant won't be there forever, particularly if they don't get along with each other.  I also suspect that some landlords like renting to Americans because they are curious about our weird-o-rama culture (as my Italian friend, Vittorio, puts it).  A few of them might even see it as a cross-cultural experience.

In any case, one thing I noticed back in 2014 is that all Bookoo sites are shut down on Sundays.  Today is Sunday, so this is what it says on the Wiesbaden site.

Austin and Adam Allgaier think you should be in church on Sundays... or at least hanging out with your loved ones, your housing search be damned.

I hadn't given it much thought back in 2014, which is really kind of funny.  In those days, I was much more interested in Mormonism than I am today.  But last night, in a moment of boredom, I decided to read the "about us" section of Bookoo.  There, Austin and Adam explain how they came up with their idea of promoting Bookoo.  They are two brothers who grew up in a family with nine children.  Okay... so they are from a large family.  They also have large families themselves.  That rated a minor hit on my Modar.  

I kept reading and discovered that the brothers, who don't mention Mormonism on their "about us" page, offered a couple more clues.  They wrote of their father having them drink reconstituted powdered milk (yuck) and their mother grinding raw wheat and making homemade bread.  Those two clues really pinged my Modar.  Many Mormons keep a large supply of surplus food in case of an emergency.  I have read a number of stories about Mormons drinking powdered milk and storing wheat in case of famine.  I have also read of a lot of people letting that food go to waste because it sits and rots, but it sounds like the Allgaiers actually rotated theirs.  Good on them for that.  I can't imagine wanting to store raw wheat, even to save money.  Seems like the work involved with making the wheat edible would negate much of the savings.  Time is money, especially when you have a large family.  

I am a bit puzzled, however, because the brothers also write of their mom making homemade jam, yet giving them margarine instead of butter because it's "cheaper".  Actually, in the long run, margarine isn't cheaper.  In fact, butter is not only healthier; it's also super quick and easy to make.  I'd say it's quicker and easier to make than jam is.  But who says Mormons, as a whole, are long on common sense?  These are the same people who believe that Joseph Smith translated gold plates written in "Reformed Egyptian" using "seer stones" in a hat.

A still video from South Park's Mormon episode "Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb..."

A South Park fan made this hilarious video.  This song was an early demo that didn't make it into the Book of Mormon musical... an early version of "All American Prophet".  Basically, the Book of Mormon is the last part of a trilogy.  

Since I saw no mention of their specific faith in the "about us" section, I decided to do some more sleuthing.  It actually took me a few clicks to discover the brothers' last names.  They were featured in a military spouse article about Bookoo.  As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs up, Bookoo has become very popular in military communities.  The brothers explain that they hadn't originally targeted military folks, but their business model is popular because military folks move all the time and a lot of them are bargain hunters.  Also, there are many people in the military who probably appreciate the "family friendly" approach Bookoo offers.  I have run into my share of religious people in the military, as has Bill.  Quite a lot of them are LDS, too.  Must be because so many of them were also Boy Scouts.

Once I found out the brothers' names, I searched for them on Google.  I found surprisingly little about them.  But then I saw a listing for LinkedIn.  I clicked and discovered that one of the brothers speaks Spanish and Portuguese.  Another ping to my Modar achieved, since many Mormon men go on missions for the church and quite a lot of them end up in South America.  Brazil is a particularly fertile ground for new LDS members, although some people serve in Portugal, too.  

Foreign missions are where a lot of Mormons learn to speak foreign languages.  In fact, LDS folks tend to be attractive for jobs with the State Department or other government agencies because they often speak another language, are easy to get security clearances for because they avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, and most have been conditioned to be obedient to church authorities.  That makes them seemingly more likely to be obedient to government authorities, too.

Next, I found the brothers on Facebook.  Although their profiles weren't really obviously LDS, they were linked to people who are very Mormon and proud.  Not only were their friends lists full of people with Mormon friendly surnames like "Peterson", but these people are less circumspect about what they share on their public pages.  There were many family pictures, Mormon memes, and links to Brigham Young University.  

Finally, after making a dummy LinkedIn account for myself, I checked out the other brother's profile.  BYU equals Bingo!  Granted, not everyone who goes to BYU is LDS, but I found enough other clues to indicate that the Allgaier brothers are indeed members of "the one true church".   

Not that it really matters what religion the Allgaiers practice, mind you.  Although it's no secret that I don't like Mormonism as a religious idea, I do realize that there are some great people in the church.  I still don't like the way the church treats women, homosexuals, people of color, single people, or basically anyone else that doesn't fit the mold.  But that doesn't mean there aren't some really excellent Mormons out there.  In fact, some of my favorite people are ex Mormons, who seem to keep all that is good about the faith while opening their mind to other things.  I don't know the Allgaier brothers personally, but they clearly have business sense going for them.  I am impressed that these two guys have come up with such a successful and useful business model.  

It took me four years to make this discovery.  Last night, I was simply bored and curious and wanted to see if my Modar is still accurate.  It still is.  I've gotten to the point at which I can spot them at twenty paces.  A lot of the clues aren't really obvious to anyone who knows nothing about Mormonism.  If you are sensitive to the vibes, it's not too hard to spot them.  I'm also pretty good at spotting Catholics.  My husband used to be a Mormon and he used to be Catholic... and Episcopalian and Methodist, too.  Today, instead of hanging out in church or watching General Conference on TV, we will be visiting the Meeting House of Malted Beverages...  I'll leave to you to guess where that will be.


  1. Matthew and I had to sing that song about never telling a lie in a program when we were spending a week with my aunt and uncle.

    The Allgaier bros sound like Mormons to me. The Portuguese/Spanish speaker probably served his mission in Portugal. I learned from spending time in the SJ Valley that many, perhaps even most Portugues speakers can also speak spanish, but that the skill doesn't necessarily translate in reverse. The unusual phonemes in the Portuguese language are easier for a Portuguese speaker to omit than for a Spanish speaker to produce.

    The degree of separation between any two U.s. or even canadian Mormons is usually no greater than three. My cousin chekced it out using Mormos' FB friend lists. No sane person has time to mess with such nonsense, but if anyone wants to mess with it, you can usually connect any two American Mormons by FB friends in no more than three steps.

    1. I just think it’s funny that they shut down Bookoo on Sundays.

  2. I saw Russ Nelson at the women's conference last night when he said that the use of the nickname "Mormon" was inspired by Satan. I don't have a dog in this particular fight, and I probably shouldn't care, but his comments were extremely disrespectful of his predecessors. Were they all inspired by Satan? Does he think that he has greater knowledge than did the previous "prophets" of his church, or does he think that God talks to him more than He did to the other "prophets," or is it just that Wendy is leading Russ around by his testicles?

    I was at my Uncle Scott's and Aunt Jillian's house last night. My uncle is really upset by the sudden (as in a couple of weeks ago when the request to the press to refer to the church by its full name and not to call the membership "Mormons" first appeared) denunciation of the term "Mormons." Scott cares about this far more tha he should in my opinion, but it's not for me to tell him what he can and cannot care about. I didn't spend two years of my life on a mission as he did. He's making it his personal crusade to use the word "Mormon" every opportunity he gets to use it. To each his own, I suppose.

    1. I thought that was discouraged before, though. Didn’t they used to tell members to say LDS instead of Mormon?

    2. They've waffled. I once came across a pamphlet from the 70's that said that while "Mormon" was not an official part of the church's proper name, the word itself was a word of honor, and as such, they didn't oppose being called by it. Maybe members were told always to call themsleves "Latter-Day Saints," but I never heard it if such was the case. It was never used in reference to themselves in official circumstances church as far as I know.

      Back in the day, their children's songbook used to contain songs such as "A Mormon Boy" and "Daddy, I'm a Mormon." (I've never heard either song. They're both oldies-but-not-so-goodies, apparently. When I went to LDS girls' camp, we had to sing a song called "I Am a Mormon Girl."

      The recent press release suggested referring to church members as "Saints." That's not going to happen. The rest of the world has a different understanding of the word "saint" that means something entirely different.

    3. Yeah... plenty of LDS people could not be called "Saints" under any definition of the word.


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