“In which they put a dead snake in my car for my 20th birthday”

That’s the subject line from Loquita’s “news of missionary life” email, dated Jun 5, 2017. Here’s the subject line from her first email earlier in the day: “how do you dissect a snake / skin it in a orderly fashion?” We could tell there was a story coming.

Apparently, some other missionaries had gotten hold of a dead snake, and they thoughtfully left it for her in her car. I don’t know if they were hoping to startle her, but she is not easily startled. Instead, she saw it as a challenge.

Prepare to see another side of Mormon missionaries.*


In that first email, without any preamble (Hey, I had a good week, etc.) she launched right in with questions. Missionaries don’t generally use the internet except to send and receive email, so she couldn’t do her own research, which is where we came in. El Guapo responded, also without preamble:

From her email regarding curing the skin:

“am i supposed to put borax on both sides? because i did. i poured some out onto the concrete, then i laid the snake skin down flat over it, then i covered it with more borax, then i weighed it down with a bunch of tiny rocks everywhere. is there a better way to do it? is it better to be in sun of in shade? it is currently in a place that it will get sun for about half the day and shade the other half, but i could make full shade if needed. is it possible to use too much borax? is too much borax a bad thing? how much borax is too much? how easy is it to ruin this process?

“also, want to google, after all these questions, all the things you can do with snake skin?”

Later, in response to El Guapo letting her down gently about it being unlikely that she could easily get at the skeleton to preserve it and be able to use it later, she responded,

I was not much involved in the whole snake back-and-forth, except to tell her where to get borax. I was interested in how her birthday went. I asked her if she had made any sort of special birthday dessert, to which she replied,


So I guess we know where her priorities lie. She’s a true original.



*As missionaries, she and her companion are involved in serving and teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ most of every day, but Monday is their day to do the laundry, get groceries, clean their apartment, and, if circumstances require it, skin snakes.

[Images: one of the missionaries who gave her the snake, and her companion]






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