Sunday, June 24, 2012

I’m a Mormon

We’ve been talking at work about how “Mormon-y” people are. In my program, 7 out of 11 residents this past year were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS as we prefer to be called). This brings up a lot of questions and discussion.
Here is my take on it. If you had to put people on a spectrum of 1-10 of Mormon-y-ness (making up new words as we go here), 1 would be what you call a “Jack Mormon” and 10 would be a “Peter Priesthood” or his wife “Molly Mormon.”
Are you confused yet?
Essentially Jack is the smoking, drinking, coffee- loving friend you never knew was Mormon. But he probably has some deep Mormon roots that he can’t quite shake. And Peter and Molly are probably the nicest people you ever met. Their favorite movie would probably be “Up” or “The Lion King” and probably can be found using phrases like “Oh Diggily” instead of your common swear. He is the Mr. Flanders (of Simpson’s fame) of the Mormon world.
Of course I am making generalizations here and I’m sure every Mormon would have alterations to their scale but this is my blog so this is my take.
Where do I fit in? There is another clarification of the scale and that has to do with cultural Mormon-y-ness and spiritual Mormon-y-ness. As far as my spirituality goes, I feel very strongly Mormon. Culturally I’d say I am lower down the scale. Here is why:

Did you ever wonder how Mormon’s seem to have a sixth sense about others who are also Mormon? Have you wondered how they know?
There are definitely clues. If you’ve been around them enough, maybe you’ve started to pick up on them yourself. But there are definitely hooks you can send out without pulling the blatant (and sometimes offensive if you are wrong) “Are you a Mormon?” question. 
Here are some of the top clues you are talking to a Mormon:
--They are from Utah, Idaho, Nevada, or Arizona; they “lived” somewhere for “2 years” (hint LDS mission); they went to school “in Utah” or you know you are probably in if they say “BYU;” they seem very young and are married and may or may not have multiple children; they are becoming a dentist or physician (ok not really but this seems really common!); “Oh no, I don’t drink…coffee, tea, alcohol (or sometimes coke);” long shorts and sleeved shirts during the summer on women or especially if you have a sleeved, backed, knee length dress (maybe awkward use of a shawl or undershirt) at a formal event. Another dead give-away would be a “CTR” ring which stands for “Choose The Right.” They seem to have an unusual number of contacts in a new place (it’s a very small world when you are Mormon).
Other give-aways could be as simple as the name. Hyrum, Brigham, Ammon, McKay, Heber. All good Mormon names you don’t hear much otherwise.
And this is why I feel I am more like a 4-5. I go under the radar. Perhaps the biggest reason I am undetectable is because I am a woman close to the age of 30 without kids, pursuing a demanding career.
I also sometimes find pleasure in swearing (although only a few that I’d call “gateway swears,” nothing too “hardcore”). I don’t always enjoy church. I would like to dye my hair bright cherry red. I don’t think reading the scriptures is fun (although it can be uplifting). And I can’t name every rated R movie I’ve seen on one hand (maybe two?).
How strong is your Mormon Radar? Any clues I missed? By the way, this list doesn't include the "Utah Mormon" traits which are something more to talk about. Maybe another day?


Joe'n'Jess said...

This is actually pretty true. A few years ago when i went to girls camp in Iowa, I was so impressed with the youth there. growing up in Utah, i'm pretty familiar with the Mormon scale, but outside of the mormon bubble, these girls had to decide if they are a mormon or not. there is no grey area. i think the scale was a dangerous snare for me as a youth. being able to comfortably decide HOW mormon i wanted to be, and seeing acceptable levels all around me. now i realize that the scale is just for the benefit of others, so i try to ask myself what kind of example i'm giving of what Mormons are like. after all, I AM a Mormon, even if i only live like one a percentage of the time.
sorry for the long rant. its a recent epiphany i had about myself and i was excited to share it.

Rachel Culmer said...

You crack me up. I don't think you are a 4 or 5. You are definitely LDS!

One way I like to see if someone is LDS is to sing "popcorn popping" and see if they join in. It's a fun thing to do at Disneyland. :)

Abby said...

Does anybody ALWAYS enjoy church?? I usually feel like I am most noticeably mormon when I'm with my friends. On my own, maybe, maybe not. But when there are eight of us wearing our cute little clean cut outfits and pushing strollers it's kind of funny.

Camber said...

I love how you distinguish between the Mormon culture and being a Mormon spiritually. It can be tempting to focus on fitting into the culture and neglect actually believing in it. And in terms of actually believing in it, I think there's plenty of room for cussing, coke-drinking, career-pursuing people. There's not a box we all have to fit into. It matters more what kind of people we are.

I have to admit that my favorite movies are all Pixars, but I usually dread Sunday school (except when you're teaching it). That alone probably knocks me down 2 points. Oh well.

Suz said...

"A peculiar people"

Sarah Siler said...

I <3 reading your blogs!!! :)