Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Mormon Purse

If a person were to see a group of Mormons walking to a chapel on a Sunday morning they might be perplexed by the appearance of everyone, men, women and children carrying purses, I personally refer to mine as a man-bag. I'm speaking, of course, of the bookbags for carrying the LDS canon of scripture, which includes the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. There are a number of cultural quirks that surround this little phenomenon--

First, the lingo--if a mormon says they want a new "quad" for Christmas they are not necessarily looking to go off-roading on a 4X4 but are instead looking for a set of scriptures that binds all four of those books into one. Likewise a "triple" is a not a baseball reference but reference to having two separate bindings the Bible (Old & New Testaments) and their "Triple" (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price).
Second, there is an entire product line of bags that have been created to address this need of Mormons to carry their scriptures. There are dainty lace-edged ones for the young girls, then there are ones from Guatemala that incorporate traditional cloth patterns. My brother brought a set back from Argentina that were a unique blend of traditional Argentinian leather work and Watatsch Front Greg Olsen paintings. I have one made of Cambodian silk that I got the last time I was in Phnom Penh.

I find that scripture cases are one of the early artifacts that are created as the gospel spreads to new lands. It is a welcome phenomenon, especially if it translates into the words of the scriptures being likewise always carried within the hearts of the people.

I could not find very many examples of the international flavor scripture bags. If you have one, send me a picture and I'll post it. Here are the few I found:

Kangaroo fur from Down Under (Did anyone buy a coin purse there?); imports from Guatemala; a little Polynesian flavor; and some leather work from the Holy Land.

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