I was traveling with my husband’s family last week. Except for a few who couldn’t make it, his whole family met in Newport Beach, CA. My son and I were the first ones to arrive at our hotel, thanks to a very early direct flight. To kill time before the rest of the crew got there I ordered some lunch by the pool. The server noticed my bags and asked if I had to wait to check in. I told him I was waiting for the rest of my husband’s family to arrive. He asked how many people and I told him 14. He then asked, “So are you Irish-Catholic or Mormon? There are only so many options.” I laughed and confirmed Mormon. (Just to clarify, that 14 people includes grandkids, spouses etc. No, my husband is not one of 14 children).
His remark got me thinking, what else gives Mormons away on vacation? And furthermore, what do Mormons do differently on vacation? The first thing I can think of I’ve already talked about, no alcohol. For a lot of people vacation means relaxation and indulging which means margaritas and tequila. We still definitely indulged and relaxed, but just replace sipping margaritas by the pool with sipping chocolate milk shakes by the pool. Not that I have much experience in this category but I have a theory that chocolate can have the same relaxation effect as alcohol. It’s a substance with that much power.
Another major thing that we did differently was our Sunday activities. Even though we’re on vacation we don’t really take a vacation from being Mormon or Sabbath Day observance. We found a local Latter-day Saint (Mormon) Chapel and attended church there. On Sunday afternoon we went down to San Diego and visited the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. It’s a beautiful new building (although designed in the style of Old San Diego) that takes you through the journey of a group of 500 Mormon volunteers that joined the US army to help pave the way for future California settlers trying to move west. I didn’t know much about the story, to be honest, so it was a fun way to spend a Sunday.
I had a lot of fun on my vacation. My son had a blast with his cousins. We did everything from Disneyland to the beach to Lego Land and the pool. Were we basically carrying around a flag that said, “I’m Mormon” on it? I don’t know, a large family that enjoys spending time together with lots of little kids and adults that don’t drink alcohol and are clothed more at the beach than a lot of people are on a regular basis…maybe. But, I’d say our vacation wasn’t too different from your average fun So Cal vacay, it just had a little Mormon twist on it.