Friday, January 9, 2009

Ridiculously Large Extended Family Portraits

There are a handful of items absolutely required by the norms of Mormon society to be included in the decor of LDS homes, especially the homes of the elderly. Perhaps no single item, however, is more sacrosanct than the ridiculously large extended family portrait. Usually taken during a family reunion, these pictures tend to be displayed in the homes of people over 60, showing off their sprawling progeny.

An unwritten rule of this older generation is: He who dies with the most people in one of these pictures, wins. Forget impressing the Guinness Book of World Records, the typical LDS great grandparent (read: any Mormon over 49) just wants to be able to hang one of these gaudy monstrosities over the fireplace.

It's not out of the ordinary for one of these extended family photos to include upwards of a hundred people, half of whom are children under ten, most of whom will be pouting under the weight of their parents' dire threats of bodily harm should their tomfoolery screw up this sweet memory for grandpa, whose 50th anniversary/80th birthday/senile whim they've put their lives on hold to humor for the series of dozens of painfully awkward shots necessary to get the above-mentioned minor children to all smile at the same time for.

But such masochistic rituals are not without their rewards for the younger generations. The children who so ruefully suffered those gruelling picture sessions will then be able to show off the finished photo to their own friends as proof of another peculiarity that Mormons like: having aunts and uncles who are younger than they are.

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