How Many Mothers Do You Have? One, Stupid…How Many Do You Have?
I am not a Utah-hater…or even a Utah-dis-liker, or a Utah-looker-down-upon-er. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that for those of us who did not grow up here, there might sometimes be a stereotype or generalization about “Utah Mormons”, and that maybe I once fell into those ignorant ranks of “Mission Fielders.” Raise your hand if you were not aware of this stereotype? Raise your hand if you never had a roommate who was slightly disdainful of your Utah provenance? We can discuss that sub-topic later, I just want to make sure we are all on the same page…
I don’t have any baggage about being a Mormon. (Being a Mormon who lives in Utah? Maybe there is some baggage for me there, but let’s save that juicy topic for another week…)
I was usually one of few Mormons at school. There was always at least one other family who lived in our town who were Mormons, so between siblings and a couple others, people were generally accustomed to having Mormons around, in the general sense, although we were often confused with the Amish, Mennonites, and Jehovah’s Witnesses which led to other embarrassingly stupid questions/statements like: “How come you can wear makeup?” “I thought you couldn’t drive cars…” “Can you use electricity?”
I was asked questions about my beliefs ON A DAILY BASIS. I was asked constantly, “How many mothers do you have?” My dance teacher asked why we couldn’t dance on Sunday. She also asked us if Mormons were “allowed” to dance (“in like Footloose”? I thought…). Every teacher in high school asked me about early morning seminary. And of course, friends asked questions of “why can’t you…” all the time.
But I never came away from any opportunity to tell someone a little bit about Mormonism without the feeling that they liked me a little better or respected me a little more. I didn’t have to preach a sermon, just answer the question.
Did it hurt my feelings that NOT ONE BOY in high school EVER asked me out because they knew I was a Mormon and wasn’t sure what that would mean to take me on a date? Sure it did, sometimes, but not all the time. Thank goodness I was shy.
Did people always understand me, or why I did what I did? Probably not…
Did people make assumptions about me and my religion? Oh, I’m sure of it!
Did they incorrectly “judge” me? You bet!
Did it bother me then? Maybe a little…
Does it bother me now? Not at all.
Can I read minds? No. “Thank goodness” for all you pervs.
Can I imagine what people must think of me for being a Mormon? Yes.
By virtue of simply being a Mormon, some people think that I am intolerant, old fashioned, brain washed, non-progressive, denying my self a good time, missing out, fundamentalist, in a cult, tricked, deceived, delusional, fanciful, out of touch, unfashionable, suppressed, oppressed, wasting my time, ignorant, sheltered, blind, a Republican, etc…
Do those people have reason to assume such things? Probably, based on people they have known, books they have read, movies they have seen, talks they have heard, articles they have read…
Are these assumptions correct because people think them and even might have “proof”?
What are the best ways to refute these erroneous accusations? Rebecca, Kaycee, Sarah Marinara, JP, Cameron, & Carrie Ann… no matter what stage of humanity/Mormonism they are at…
You native UTAHNS have “checked” any baggage I might feel about Utah Mormons because I KNOW and LOVE and RESPECT you. How could I not after getting to know you?
So should I worry about the people who don’t know me/Mormonism yet?
I’ll just take it one question at a time….yes, you in the back row…what’s your question….