“I’m really sorry about this.”

My flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco was delayed for almost an hour and God had sent a Mormon to apologize. She didn’t work for the airline — we’d just fallen into conversation and she felt a need to say sorry that my trip to Salt Lake was ending with two hours of pretzels and frustration in the departure lounge of SLC airport.

I told her she didn’t need to apologize. She looked at me like I was an idiot: of course she needed to apologize. (I can sympathize: I’m British and I have the same urge to take responsibility whenever someone treads on my toe.)

Only as I write these words does it occur to me how weirdly offensive that sounds: “a Mormon” — like this lady — Krissie? Christie? Probably the latter, all told — is not so much a human and more of a mythical creature, one of the genus of “Mormons” indigenous to Salt Lake. Would I seriously write about meeting “a Jew”, “a Catholic” or— heaven forfend — “a Muslim”? I would not.

But that’s the thing — a thing that was really driven home during my three days in Salt Lake — Mormons are a different species.…

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