The Mormon Thing

During a conversation with a girl who sits next to me in class, I happened to mention how my wife and daughter had gone up to Utah this weekend to visit our parents. She said, “What part of Utah?” Whenever somebody asks this question, I wonder if they know anything about Utah’s geography. They usually don’t.  

I said they were in Provo, which is an hour south of Salt Lake. She said, “I think my boyfriend is from around there. A city called American Fork. He hates it there, though. You know, because of ‘the mormon thing.'”

My eyes narrowed and I turned away, deciding not to legitimize this comment with a response. 

So what is this terrible Mormon Thing? And what does this clown boyfriend have against it?

It’s not like we’re running a theocracy in there. So my old Stake President happened to be the Mayor of Provo. Big deal.

I don’t think the church secretly controls the press. The Deseret News may be owned by the church, but it is only the second highest circulating paper in Utah.

Everything in Utah doesn’t scream mormon. Just about 50% of the highway billboards do, like those for “Missionary Mall.”

Alright. So the day-to-day lives of people in the state are influenced by the church. But lets take a brief tangent and make a differentiation: influence is not control. Influence is willful; it allows for choice. People live church standards and promote church ideas because they want to. They aren’t affraid that the church police will come to arrest them if they don’t. Control is the thing that people are affraid of. Control is compelled; it doesn’t allow for dissent. The church doesn’t control Utah.

So this guy doesn’t want to live in a place where most of his neighbors are influenced by an organization that he does not want to be a part of. I suppose that’s reasonable.

But who is this guy anyway? I would speculate that he is himself a sheep-gone-astray, a surmise that seems likely if he is from American Fork. As stray sheep are prone to do naughty things, he probably just doesn’t like to be reminded that he’s wrong. People don’t like to be wrong. One can’t be raised one’s whole life to follow a certain standard, only to abandon that standard and not feel its sting.

If that’s true, his plight becomes much different. The “Mormon Thing” becomes the stigma of living among his own people but not living like them. He would be an infidel, to use an antiquated term, a person who knows but is unfaithful.  And who wants to be an infidel? It is much easier to move to another state, say Colorado, and whine about Utah and the Mormon thing.

I could be wrong. He could be some poor non-member kid who got too many pass-a-long cards.  I’m just sayin’….

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Posted in Rants. 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “The Mormon Thing”

  1. Greg Says:

    oh… yeah…

    the… mormon thing…

    yeah…
    hmm.

    Heard about that… Too bad, too bad…

    Maybe this guy had his whole civilization wiped out before his very eyes… I don’t know.

  2. Benski Says:

    I think there’s a show in Iran called “Who wants to be an Infidel?”

    Say, what are the odds of some digital carnage in the near future?

  3. Cornelius Says:

    Ben: This is the best post you’ve ever done. It’s witty, insightful, dramatic, and promises carnage. I’m so proud of you. How’s tomorrow? Or maybe Saturday?

  4. Ben Says:

    Actually, tonight is probably the only night I could. I have an FTX this weekend. I have another idea though. I’ll be in Vegas (flying) from the 20-27th. Maybe I could make a little detour to Cedar or something.

  5. Kita Kazoo Says:

    Sorry… I just accidentally came across this post looking for LDS T’s for Xmas gifts…

    “Influence” by suppression is just a “nice” way of running a theocracy. You have to be on the other side of the fence to understand how it feels to people who do not fit in there.

    However, Not all of the people “missing church” in Utah are “stray sheep”. Most of them just don’t believe in the same God as you and since Utah is still part of the United States they are entitled to find the LDS run government oppressive and restrictive.

    Thanks for the opportunity to express myself. Kita Kazoo

  6. White Raven Says:

    p.s. that avatar is legal I have permission to use it, go to Namco.com and you can get one too if you want.

  7. brick79 Says:

    Ok…two and half hours later I am revising my post. I have wrote and rewrote my post. I have come to an entirely new understanding of the whole situation though. Through my own attitudes I understand what the “mormon thing” is. When I was growing up my parents often frowned on my having friends that were of other faiths. They told me these people were bad influences and could lead me away from God. I often tried to convert my inactive people or non-member friends in an effort to save them from going to hell. As though I knew God’s will that well. My best friend of 15 years and I often laugh at how I tried to bring him back to the church. When we were first friends he told me that the reason he didn’t go to church was because he didn’t have a tie. One year for Christmas I bought him a tie. As I was buying the tie I pictured him bearing his testimony at the pulpit when he was an adult talking about how through my friendship and that tie he started going back to church. What I failed to recognize was the pain that his family carried through the judgement that was visited on them by the community.
    I had another friend in high school that was of another church. One time I walked in on her and her boyfriend praying after a discussion they had. I remember thinking that was silly because they weren’t praying the right way and God simply couldn’t hear them.
    Five years ago Lee had an incredibly powerful conversion experience, when he came to Christianity. Knowing him now the way that I do it is one of the most amazing stories of God’s work that I have ever heard. However, when I first heard it when we were engaged, I discounted it. I said to myself, well it could have been a lot of things, or maybe it was God getting him ready to join the church. It doesn’t really count because it wasn’t a conversion to the church. I think that I was a perfect example of “the mormon thing”. I did not believe that they were on the same playing field as me. I either was not friends with people outside the church, or was friends with them and either tried to convert them or did not believe in their faith. I think that’s what she meant by the “mormon thing. However, I think we need to take out the “mormon thing”. It could just as easily be the “baptist thing” or the “muslim thing” or the “catholic thing” or the “lutheran thing”. Or why not the “white thing” or the “black thing” or whatever you want to substitute in. There are millions of examples. I think there must be some flaw in humanity that makes us feel that we need some sort of superiority to our fellow brothers and sisters. We can go back throughout the world’s history and see examples of it. In the Old Testament it was something that was designated of God. The Jews were favoured of God over the Gentiles. However, when Christ came He fulfilled the Law. And He gave us a new law..a higher law. He did not designate between Jew and Gentile. He loved the lower classes and societal outcasts equally with the priviledged and “chosen”. We have so many examples throughout the Bible of how He went to the people that society looked down upon to show love and work miracles. I suppose back then many people said things such as the “roman thing” or the “jewish thing” or the “pagan thing” or the “gentile thing” . I think, in my humble opinion, that really God is watching how we treat our fellow men as the true test. In Matt 25:40 Christ says “…Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.” Looking at the next verse we can easily understand that this goes for both negative and positive actions. And also we understand that when we do not do things, both negative and positive, to our fellow men, we also do not do it unto our Lord.
    I firmly believe that not only does God watch how we treat each other, He tests us. I have had some really amazing experiences over the past couple of years. I have always believed that He sends angels to see how we will react. I know of two experience I am fairly sure this has happened to me.
    After two and a half hours, and at least one baby feeding I am sure this is where I wanted the post to go. What I have come to learn in my walk with the Lord is that I really only know what the Lord wants for me and my family. And it may not be what I thought He wanted. And I simply must trust in Him. And He may want something completely different for someone else. In all of God’s great wisdom He prepares our individual paths. And I must have the faith that He knows better than I.

  8. White Raven Says:

    The very thing that pushed me away from the mormon faith was that very thinking, people telling me I am not worthy unless I am called by God through them. However I am called by God, the servant of the left hand of God. I am already beginning to gather an army against the children of Moroni. There is no right way to talk to God. I too have had angels come to me, tell me did you hear the music? Always remember that dark angels can come to you as angels of light. I always try to focus on their music, the praise of God. The very reason the awakening is happening (people going into malls and slaughtering people and such) is because mans pride through Christ has grown dark.

    The one thing I am focusing on with the mormon church right now is the graven image that stands up on the temple. My parents are mormon and have gone through the temple, I know what you have to do to get into the circle, God hates that I assure you all people should have access to the temples.

    That is why I was sent the dream of the silver room, I have never looked upon it with my own eyes but God has shown me through his will the place that sits deep inside the temple’s according to the vision there are high men inside in charge of that room, some kind of bishop, it is them that are darkened by the power of the devil.

    My beloved Tami was mormon and I loved her like I could love no other, but I also felt unworthy of her, and that was due to the people around me that were also mormon. The Mormon thing can only exist for so long than it will begin to be the order of the white raven thing. Because people desire stuff things like money and cars and jewels that is their down fall they will sell their souls to get them. You will be surprised who is willing to kill you to gain more stuff.

  9. Kita Kazoo Says:

    I’m impressed. Love was the message of Christ, Buddha, Mohamed, Ghandi… Love should know no religious boundaries.

    Have a great day!

  10. ravenpaine Says:

    Maybe I shouldn’t bother, but just to throw it out there, that White Raven guy has actually managed to better himself by learning to type coherently enough that you can disagree with his content.
    Amazing.
    As for the “Mormon Thing”? I’m going to say that anyone locked in a minority situation against an overwhelmingly self-assured majority will likely feel overtly influenced and put upon by said majority. People like to have their actions judged and evaluated on the inherent merit in those actions, not if those actions fit a mold created by the de-facto controllers of the region.
    And, this may bother some writers/readers here, if you have lived too long as a part of a majority, you may well not know what it is to be told that everything you do is in some fashion wrong. You are not wrong because of what you do, more how you do it, or that you didn’t do it while wearing the right shoes. Or that the ‘god’ you are thinking of while doing it is the wrong one. But hey, I’m just some pasty getting overweight 9 year with no degree college student. I probably don’t know anything about anything.
    Except for hate, I know a lot about that.

  11. blacknright Says:

    God hates that I assure you all people should have access to the temples.

    Everyone does have access to the temple. Yes, there are certain things you have to do in order to be considered worthy but that doesn’t mean they can’t acquire access if they work for it.

    Think of it this way-do you know me? No. But what if I just showed up at your house one day, made myself comfortable, ate your food, watched your television and basically just did what I wanted in your house? Would you be pleased and accepting of me? Of course not, you would be angry and asking what gives me the right to come into your house uninvited? Now imagine being God and having that happen, except this time it is for eternity! Do you think God wants to spend eternity with uninvited guests? NO!!! However, now imagine me and you are best friends, we grew up together, I have seen through your ups and downs and I am in town and I knock on your door to surprise you. Now you invite me in and you feed me, we sit together watch a little television and I just basically make myself at home in my friend’s house. The same thing has happened. Someone shows up out of the blue. Someone is eating your food, watching your tv and making themselves at home. But in the second scenario, it is welcomed because we have a relationship and I am your friend. How come we expect God to warmly welcome home invasions when we won’t? It is not about the church saying I am worthy, they are only his agents. It is about God saying I am worthy. It is about being right with God, following His laws.

    The temple is for those who want to further their relationship with God. No one is barred from the temple but not everyone is granted entrance either, it is because they are not ready not because they are evil or God hates them. God wants everyone to be temple worthy but he knows people must do it in their own way, at their own pace, in their own time. He keeps people out not to punish them but because they haven’t received enough basic knowledge of the Gospel yet. The temple is God’s house and we need to stop acting like we have some right to be there. We don’t. God grants us the privilege of dwelling in his house and we should be honored that he would do that at all, not belittle it and mock it because not all will enter it. It all comes back to free will. If you want to use your will in accordance to God’s commands, you will enter it. If you don’t, you won’t. But it is your choice. No one else’s.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    “How come we expect God to warmly welcome home invasions when we won’t?”

    Because God is a cooler dude then you.

    Just sayin’.

  13. thewanderingartist Says:

    I always seem to find a common theme when I hear of someone criticizing or arguing against any religious experience, be it ‘Mormon’ or ‘Catholic’ or ‘Jew’ or ‘Islam’. It’s that they don’t know enough about the religion to really understand why the majority or minority of people respect and follow its beliefs. The Fact of the matter is that all religion has truth, some may have it in more abundance then others, but they all have truth. You cannot tell me that a religion that teaches you to love your fellow man is 100% wrong.

    The problem with any religion is the people that follow it. While an Ideal or a religious teaching may be perfect, people are not. Every time I hear of a person yelling at the ‘Mormon Church’ because they felt left out, or not respected as a differing individual, or some other strange and equally upsetting experience I instantly know the problem. That person met somebody who did not understand the Mormon religion fully, and then that person witnessed the somebody make a normal human mistake.

    Suddenly Mormons are evil, and worship graven images, and despise non-Mormons, and are secretly haters of all things good. And this is all because an imperfect person made a mistake in front of someone who did not understand the religion to begin with.

    Do I judge the Catholic Religion because they had some past history with priests with moral issues? No. Do I judge Islam because of a few fanatics who blow up people? No. Should I judge a Mormon who does not fully understand his/her own religion and snubs someone they shouldn’t. No.

    The bottom line is. God is perfect, his church/religion is perfect, and people are not.


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