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Gentlemen, Start Your Modars

by tommy kirchhoff

From "radar," the homosexual universe came up with a great word: gaydar. Gaydar is the rare ability to sniff out a gay person through voice, gestures or whatever means of recognition it might take to do so. (Jack on Will & Grace is the master of gaydar).

This word is just one in an entire lexicon that represent an ability to recognize something specific. Someone with laydar would have the gift of recognizing whether someone else wants to sleep with them. Haydar (or jaydar) is the capacity to detect marijuana. Liedar is knowing when someone is feeding you a line of BS. Here in Utah, there is a specific system of dichotomizing residents. I call it Modar. Because of the radical nature of Mormonism (undeniably radical), people living in Utah must figure out whether or not the person they meet is a Mormon-and it works both ways.

Mormons invented modar. From the beginning, they needed to know if the new guy was someone they could trust, or someone they could convert. Even Brigham Young took the attitude, "Are you in, or are you out?"

These days, modar is getting more sophisticated, and evidently, easier to use. It's probably slipped by you a thousand times, but one of the first questions a Mormon will ask is, "Are you from Utah?" Notice the question is not a polite, "Where are you from?" "Are you from Utah?" is first level modar. It means, "Are you a Mormon?" Most transplants let that one by all day long. "I'm from Connecticut," sizes up about 80 percent of everybody. But if you answer "yes," one of the next few questions is likely to be, "What ward are you from?"

Clever non-Mormons have come up with a question that's just as sneaky. "Are you a coffee drinker?" Coffee's hip, happening, and most people drink it-except true Mormons. Coffee consumption is, by the way, a secondary modar.

You see, one clue is not enough. The eventual question by either a Mormon or a non-Mormon is "Are you LDS?" One has to work up to this through many clues, because he or she must absolutely know the answer to the question before it is asked. I love the bumper sticker "RULDS2"-total modar.

A CTR ring is a primary indicator of a Mormon. It stands for "Choose the Right." I've seen that as a bumper sticker too, and it means, "I'm LDS-no messin' around."

If someone swears like a trucker, talks about sex or drugs, drinks alcohol, or smokes cigarettes, you can pretty much assume they're not Mormon. There are, however, some Mormons that will drink a beer on Pioneer day, then get on your case for the tiniest joke you make about the LDS church (if the church has one downfall, it's that Mormons have no sense of humor when it comes to their wacky lifestyle).

When a Mormon swears, you'll know it. "Oh my heck" is clearly Mormon (and honestly, it offends me very deeply). "Fetch!" is merely a Mormon synonym for f*ck. "Gol" seems to be a minor cuss-and "scrud" I have no idea.

And speaking of language, the accent and dialect set of a native Utahan is fairly particular. It's formally known as Utahnics. It's marked by clipped "t" sounds, and a short beat between syllables. The word "teacher" would be pronounced "teat - chur." Again, the accent alone could belong to native, non-Mormon, but if you hear, "Sister Jent-sen is my new spear-tchual living teat-chur," mark it as a strike.

First names are another part of language that point in the direction of Mormonism. Male names are many times feminized, and female names are many times made masculine. Most of the time, they're just strange. So if you meet a guy named Amen, Bryce or DeeWayne, or a chick named Maygene, Nathana or Ottalyn, mark that also as a strike.

I've heard some pretty far out stuff that Mormons do for methods of modar. I heard they will put a hand on your back to feel for garments (Mormon underwear-if you didn't know). I've heard they will ask strange questions in a group like, "Are we among friends?" Or how about if your new dentist asks you, "Your teeth are so clean-what ward do you belong to?"

My only advice is to be aware. Modar should be used only for good. It is a means of understanding, asking questions and trying to get along. In the end, segregation is always a losing game.