I Wrote This Post While Barely Conscious At Five In The Morning But The Point Still Stands
by Noise Pollution
I’m an atheist, but I come from a Mormon household. Before you ask any inappropriately-ignorant questions about it, just… don’t. It’s not that fucking weird of a religion. Magic underwear? Sure, it’s a light layer of clothing they wear that is supposed to be a representation of modesty. You don’t wear clothing that shows off this layer, meaning no overly revealing or tight clothing. It’s literally just a physical manifestation of a rule that every other Christian religion has. Oh, yeah, and before you object about that, Mormons are totally, 100% Christian. I’ve run into a number of Christians who were disgusted at the idea of referring to them as such. First of all, fuck those people; holy shit. Second of all, I grew up believing in Jesus Christ. Mormons absolutely believe in the New Testament. In fact, I’ve found them to be more Christ-centric than a lot of other Christian religions. The Old Testament is a thing, and it’s important to them, but it’s kind of glossed-over relative to the New Testament and their own book. The reason “old-school” Christians don’t think Mormons count is because Mormons have a less insane idea of the Holy Trinity than they do. Most Christian religions have this weird, nebulous idea about God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, that they’re somehow the same person but different people all at once. Mormons believe they’re separate entities. They read the term “Son of God” as it’s written, instead of making him both the son of god and god, meaning that he’s his own dad. It’s like The Stupids or something in other Christian religions.
Let’s get even deeper into this. This isn’t even what this post was really supposed to be about, but I am so sick of the creepy stigma that my family (and me, just by association) has had to put up with since moving to the East Coast. Mormons aren’t any weirder than any other religion. As a kid, I went to church every Sunday, had arbitrary values that I followed, and prayed at night. We didn’t even do anything creepy like drink the blood of Christ, which is what I’m told Catholics do. Mormons have a sacrament, but it is in no way supposed to be taken literally. It is representative, and it is explicitly stated that it is a metaphor every time it is done.
There is no polygamy.
I’ll say it again. There is no polygamy, and there hasn’t been for around a century. Considering the fact that this religion isn’t even two centuries old, Mormons have been polygamists for less of a percentage of their existence than Catholics have been putting non-believers to death in first-world countries. So don’t fucking ask about that. It’s incredibly ignorant. There are small, fringe groups who call themselves Mormon who still practice it, but they aren’t affiliated with the actual church in any way. They all kind of live off in the countryside by themselves. And they aren’t Mormons. They’re people who give Mormons a bad name. I wouldn’t decide that every religion is filled with hateful funeral-picketers just because the Westboro Baptist Church exists. Don’t do the equivalent thing to Mormons.
There’s that musical that I’ve never seen by the South Park guys. I don’t know how I feel about it. I’ve never seen it. I’ve met Mormons who thought it was funny, but most of them don’t think it is. I’ve met far more non-Mormons who claim that they have a Mormon fried who saw it and liked it as a means to justify laughing at a bigoted portrayal of a religion. I’ve laughed at the jokes in South Park about it before. (For the record, while that clip is hysterical, Mormons don’t even really believe there is a hell; everybody does in fact make it to heaven eventually, according to Mormonism.) They somehow didn’t come off as nearly as mean-spirited, in spite of the fact that South Park is a mean-spirited show at heart. I just don’t know how comfortable I am with the entire world pointing and laughing at my family… at my brother, who is away on a mission and I won’t get to see for another year and a half. I don’t like the whole world laughing at them, and then seeing the medium through which people are making fun of them get incredibly high praise from critics and comedians I respect. So, here’s the deal. I’ve read interviews with the South Park guys. Those guys fucking hate Mormons. You wouldn’t watch a hilarious play about Buddhists written by two non-Buddhists who are notorious for hating Buddhists and feel, like, okay about it, would you? That’s kind of how I feel about The Book of Mormon musical. Again, I’ve never seen it. I could be all wrong. It could be the kindest portrayal of Mormons in the whole world, but I just don’t have confidence in that particular duo to do something like that. Those guys are absolute geniuses; that doesn’t mean they can’t also be terrible people. I think they’re aware of that fact; they just don’t care. And more power to them, or whatever, but I don’t have to like or even watch their musical.
I was actually going to write a blog post about something completely different, using the “growing up Mormon” thing as a jumping-off point for the discussion, but I think I’m done for now. It’d be a little weird to write four large paragraphs about one topic, only to dive into another, spend less time on it, and call it the main topic. So I’ll save that for later, and hopefully you guys will have enough context that I can talk about it without having to make this long-winded aside.
To end this, I’ll mention something kind of nice. I know the Mormons church is notorious for promoting anti-homosexual measures in government, but those maneuvers were not really loved by most of the members. My family had long been pro-gay-marriage, and that period of time when the church was making those moves was straining. It was straining for a lot of people. The nice thing I mentioned earlier is that since then, things have changed a little. The church has taken a step back on that stance to focus on acceptance. They’ve made a public statement saying that the church’s opinion is that gay is not a choice. (There are some downright heartwarming quotes in that article from my perspective, it’s worth reading.) They’re not exactly progressive, but they’re trying.
Anyway, I hope some of the points on this post have enlightened you, and that you can be a little more informed in the future. I probably made some relatively sweeping statements about Catholicism in this post that are maybe not cool, but as far as I’m aware, Catholics haven’t exactly been tarred and feathered in this country just for being Catholic, so maybe I have a little less sympathy for that religion as a whole. It’s also a whole lot more well-understood than Mormonism is, and people don’t call Catholics weird unless they think all religion is weird. I think all religion is weird. My point is that Mormonism isn’t any weirder.