Number Three of The Mormon Posts: A Rant of Negativity
I don’t consider myself to be a typical Mormon, just like I don’t consider myself to be a typical anything. Lots of Mormons I’ve met and known are preppy, middle-class, and white. Who vote Republican. (I vote Democrat.) Of course, this reaction could just be disgust of many of the Mormons I see here in Utah who live the culture but not the religion.
That’s a phrase I use often because it disgusts me so much. You see, some people here go to church to see their friends, to eat the food (when we have potlucks and stuff), to be socially connected. But they don’t really believe the religion part. They hear it all and sit through some part of the meeting (even though they show up 45 minutes late), but they never participate. And believe me, we’re a very participatory church. There is often room for audience involvement in the form of comments, reading aloud, sharing of experiences, singing musical numbers, giving talks, singing hymns, and other stuff.
You might say, “Well, they’re just shy and introverted.” Ah, but the other half of the religion is applying it to your life. If you choose to belong to any other religion, you might follow a set of rules. For example, Wiccans believe in never wishing other ill. If a Wiccan does something cruel to someone else, would it show to others what he really believes? If a Catholic claims her religion seriously, she would want to follow the Ten Commandments. And yet if she broke one of those laws, how seriously does she really treat her religion and other people who claim that religion?
Mormons believe in a certain dress code because we believe it shows others what we think of the gifts we call our bodies and how we like to present ourselves sexually. If I see a girl in the grocery store or at school whom I normally see at church, listening and participating, but she’s wearing clothes that are definitely deemed immodest by my church standards, my opinion of her is going to be a little skewed. However, I’m going to tell myself that I’m just being judgmental and petty. Maybe she’s struggling with a belief in this particular concept.
But if I hear her brag at school, every few weeks, about the party she went to where she got so stoned and drunk that she doesn’t remember what happened, (we believe in abstinence from alcohol and drugs) and then she woke up in her boyfriend’s bed in the middle of the night (we also believe in sex only with wedding rings), I’m going to think less of her. And I know that the party she went to, based on her descriptions, was hosted by a bunch of guys at church who we look to for spiritual authority and who should be living within the guidelines to pass the sacrament that they’re in charge of every Sunday, I feel even worse. And when I see that girl in church every Sunday, all sobered up and sitting in a pew, with her family, singing the hymns and actively participating like nothing is wrong… I know something’s terribly wrong.
Maybe I’m still being petty. Maybe I just need to concentrate on myself. But I feel good when I’m surrounded by people who honestly want to be good and actively strive to live a more changed life. And if they’re in church and pretending like they want that life, but then live completely opposite the ideals that they pretend, then I want to shout at them: “Do you want religion or not? If not, quit pretending that you do just so you can see your friends and eat our food! Live the way you want, but pick one way every day of the week! Be a Mormon whole-heartedly, not halfway!”
It’s just another reason why I want to move back out. There are far fewer Mormon hypocrites living outside the state of Utah.
This began as a post about how I don’t feel like a typical Mormon because of the way I vote. It emerged instead as something else entirely. We can discuss why I vote Democrat and yet live the Mormon religion in the comments, if you really want to know.