Birth Mormons vs. Converts

I haven't been in the church long enough to really notice a distinct segregation between LDS converts and those raised in the church as groups. I have noticed at on a case by case basis, the differences between the two are quite funny.

I married into a family that were all raised in the church. I however, am a convert. Along with his family, it seems the large majority of the members are alike in several ways. While I love the church, the gospel, and everything about it - there are a few things that I cannot succumb to in order to "fit in." Of course, there are a few things that I am innately good at that I enjoy doing that just happen to be congruent with popular Mormon culture. Here are a few things I do differently:

1. I don't pray like everyone else.

And thank the Lord. Everyone who was raised in the church (that I have seen) pray's the EXACT same. It's quite annoying. "Our dear kind and gracious Heavenly Father we are so very grateful thy spirit....we ask thee to bless...blah blah blah." They also use the EXACT same inflections in their voice every time. I know there is a certain way you should pray, but I'm sure God didn't want us all to sounds like Mo'bots. Mix it up a little people. God made us different for a reason.

2. I don't wear floor length skirts, brown with black, floral print, have curled bangs, and other fashion faux pas.

Why? Because they are all hideous. I understand we don't go to church to make a fashion statement, but the statement you make is really "I don't care enough about myself to try." Yeah kids, work, school, being a SAHM is always stressful and we don't have time to dress for the prom. But a little effort in the fashion department couldn't hurt.

Things I do the same:

1. I blog.

Blogging in Mormon culture is just a given. Especialy for SAHMs that have nothing to do. Even though I am at work right now. *oops*

2. I'm crafty.

I have always been really crafty, artsy, etc... Until I joined the church and now I am like everyone else. Actually, I would say I am craftier than many people in the church anyway.

3. I like cooking, cleaning, and being a good housewife.

I am not necessarily GREAT at it yet. But I like the feeling of responsibility. I hate the feeling of being TOLD to do it, or EXPECTED to do. Especially because I work full time.

Of course these are just some examples. Those who were raised in the church also have a certain air about them. It's a little muted, low contrast, vanilla, etc... But I think converts also have that. I go out of my way NOT to tell people I am a convert because the respect level shoots downward, and the judgement begins to rise. No one talks about it of course, because people in the church tend to put on the "Mormon Front." It's a wonderful, perfect gospel with imperfect people following it. Which is what bugs me about those who leave the church claiming that they felt ostracized. Just because you don't like the people, doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the gospel. But that's another post.

My statements here aren't to be completely taken seriously, and I am not attempting to categorize every single LDS soul into categories. Like I said, my husband's family was raised in the church and mine was not. His family had seven children, mine had two. Among the nine kids are 4 college graduates, 3 felons, 1 high school dropout, 2 working mothers, 1 divorcee, 1 in prison, and 1 doctor. Of course these overlap a bit, but it's still quite a mix. And I bet you can't guess who is in which family!


Moody said...

I liked this post. I was born Mormon, but became inactive from age 11-38. Then when I started going back to church everyone assumed that I knew everything because I was a life long member, when in fact I was completely clueless. I used to call my convert friend for help lest I make a Mormon faux-pas. I got a calling in Primary which is great because now I'm starting at the beginning again, and learning right along with the kids.

Braden said...

you said, "I go out of my way NOT to tell people I am a convert because the respect level shoots downward, and the judgement begins to rise."

I say: my respect level shoots upward when I learn that someone is a convert, because that generally takes a lot more courage and conviction than being a by-birth member.

April said...

In my heart I feel that, actually. It seems converts, especially me, do seem to have more conviction. I tend to not be as sleepy in church , or dread picnics, like lifetime members do. Maybe I will post something about this.

Eddie said...

Hello, convert here.

I'm in my mid thirties and joined the church when I was 18. I served a mission, even lived in Utah for a few years during college. Now I'm married to "pioneer stock" as they say, though my wife would probably object to the cattle reference for good reason.

I always get a kick when people tell me, "You're a convert? I never would have guessed!" (Now I wonder if they think I'm boring vanilla!)

I always think, "Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?" If someone's truly "converted" to the gospel, isn't that all that matters? Aren't we all the same in God's eyes?

We put a lot of emphasis on cultural things in the church, sometimes for good and sometimes for the sake of the culture itself.

Anyway, interesting post!

And I've never dreaded a ward picnic. :)

SeattleSuz said...

Born Mormon here to convert parents. I personally think it's a HIGHER level of respect given to converts, because they have actually MADE that choice, rather than having been born into it and raised in it. JMHO though.

I do have to say though that since having "fallen away" from the church, any members who I have gotten back in contact with again (grew up with etc) have not treated me very nicely when I mention that I do not go to church anymore. I don't understand that at all...

SeattleSuz said...

Oh and LOL about the Mo-Bots!! My dad is like that when he prays. And I know my mum reads this, so sorry mum, but you know it's true! lol!

Anonymous said...

April, I am a little disappointed in your "judgment" towards the fashion faux pas as you say. I would think that the way someone dresses should be the last thing you care about when going to church or learning the gospel. By the way, I am a by-birth member and was very inactive for a long time. Now recently, I am beginning to get back into the church. I have to say I feel extremely blessed to have been born into such a great environment. But to be a convert takes more conviction and determination. You should hold your head high and be proud that you CHOSE to be Mormon. Don't go out of your way to hide that fact.

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