In the make-believe world of relative morality that too many of us are forced to live in, the superficial process of a boy becoming a man usually involves dangerous sexcapades or getting drunk beyond one's ability to remember what sex they are.
Conversely, in the real world of prophets and apostles and testimonies and scripture, the process of a boy becoming a man is more likely to include activities like being ordained an elder, serving as a missionary, or maybe even entering into eternal bonds of matrimony.
The Mormon Third Eye, however, has seen too many young elders, young missionaries, and young husbands act irresponsibly to automatically buy into strictly LDS based formulaic descriptions of promotion to manhood.
The Mormon Third Eye last week tagged along with his son driving a second-hand car out to BYU Idaho for another semester of school. It was three and-a-half days and three nights of hard driving across the never-ending level plains of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming (the rolling hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as the looming mountains of Northern Utah, were much more entertaining). Along the way, father and son spent a few of the 32 hours trapped in a car talking about sports, states, schools, computers, history, church doctrine, careers, politics, and even family relationships; most of the time, however, was spent silently enjoying each others' company.
My son, however, completed three remarkable tasks during the drive. First, he humored his dad who insisted that they transport the world's largest gummy bear, 5+ solid pounds of cherry-flavored sugar, to Utah as a gift for relatives. Second, when the “empty tank” gas light lit up on the dashboard, he boldly decided to ignore it and drive just a little bit longer into the unknown Nebraksan wilderness to reach a gas station just a little bit farther down the road, perhaps farther than the gas left in the tank would take us. Finally, he showed genuine concern for his dad, asking more than once if I needed a break from driving.
Now I know that my son has become a man.