Steven Fales

Steven Fales
Steven Fales -- Actor/Writer/Producer

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"The Smile" on Andrew Sullivan's THE DISH

I want to archive my mini essay "The Smile". It was featured on a blog post by Andrew Sullivan. Check me out on The Dish as he dishes on Mitt Romney's laugh.

Note from the Playwright

“The Smile”

            The Mormon Smile is made by first thinking how deeply grateful and blessed you are to belong to “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” As one of the chosen, this thought brings you incomparable glee that just can’t be contained. Your smile’s size is proportionate to just how many Mormon pioneer ancestors you had sweat and freeze across the Plains. If you are truly Mormon royalty, your smile will be enormous! Imagine your favorite hymn or Disney’s “It’s a Small World” playing over and over in your head as you compulsively smile your charming, wholesome, flashy, adorably irresistible perky Osmond smile.

            The smile comes through the eyes, not just the teeth—they twinkle and sparkle, eyebrows raised high. As you smile, your head is cocked a little to the right to show the world just how cute and sincere you are. There’s maybe a little shrug and a giggle of delight—perhaps an unconscious condescending wink. There’s a spring in your step. You want to have the best smile possible, so brush and floss your teeth after every meal. Teeth-whitening is rarely necessary because, as a good member of the Church, you don’t drink wine or coffee or use tobacco in the first place. The most precious and righteous Mormons do not need braces. Many find that their smiles help them read in the dark. They also find it hard to kiss, as puckering is difficult with overdeveloped smiling muscles.

            Your smile can be used for many things, but its official purpose is to attract others to the Church (and other multilevel marketing schemes—think Amway). You smile all the time because you never know how or when your smile might convert another to the source of true happiness—“mainstream” Mormonism. (Just one smile can metastasize the world!) If you’re ever caught not smiling, you will be held responsible for all the souls who would have been saved had you been smiling as you should have been. Some of your salvation may be deducted in the next life if you’re not careful. You must avoid this and any guilt with every fiber of your being. As it says in the bible, “Let your light so shine.” So smile brightly! Sing an hymn: “Scatter sunshine all along your way . . .” or “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for him each day . . .”

            Remember, in the end it’s all about who wins. . . er . . .can be the nicest. And nice winners smile. Even when crying, continue smiling at all times—even when you are alone. (Someone may be watching!) And if you ever feel like swearing, smile instead. (Kill ’em with kindness!)

            But don’t think because Mormons smile ad nauseum they don’t know what pain and suffering is. They do. It’s just that they have a hope and uncompromising optimism that comes from their faith—and their proud pioneer legacy. They can endure all things, including any tragedy, because one day they will live eternally with their “elect” loved ones again in paradise. They live into a glorious future (they believe that they will one-day become gods themselves) that transforms their present, making them extraordinary neighbors. (And they live an average of ten years longer than you will—having the last laugh. They will be re-writing herstory.) Their burdens are lighter than others because they alone lay claim to the gift of the Holy Ghost—sent to comfort them in their times of need. But only if they are worthy of such blessings. And, as luck would have it, they usually are. Well, most of them are--the straight ones.

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