Trying to Act Mormon

I have posted previously about the "Mormon Front." This is the fake, yet somewhat sincere act put on by members of the church. Now, for some this comes naturally and is usually mastered by lifetime members, in which case it's not a "front" but reality. However, for us Normal Mormons, being so conformist is a little more difficult. We may have practiced a prayer or two, put out a few Ensigns on the coffee table before the home teachers arrive, made sure our BoM's look worn in (or at least not dusty), play basketball with the elders even though we hate it, go to scrapbooking nights and try not to cut off a finger, etc... Normal Mormons are very hard to spot, because they are always putting on a "front," and can therefore never reveal themselves unless they know they person they are talking to is also "Normal."

It's strange, because even though I don't like the "front" - I really try to be more "Mormon." Why? Because it's comfortable. Because I want to make friends. Because I want the people in the ward to like me. Doing these things won't guarantee salvation, and they aren't part of the Word of Wisdom. So really, it's debatable on whether or not we should even be trying. So why are Mormons so "cliquey"? Why do the people who AREN'T putting on a "front" do the same things as everyone else? Why don't they ever deviate from the norm a little? Do they have personalities? I don't have any Mormon friends that fit the mold here, so I can't ask.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying ALL Mormons are one way or the other.

Am I brainwashed? I really want a minivan for some reason now. And the thought of having 7 kids really gets me excited. I also happen to love these popular female Mormon activities which include scrapbooking, sewing, cooking, and baking. Is that bad? I mean, from a non-conformist Mormon point of view? My husband has tried all his life to put on the "Mormon" front. Go on a mission, marry a girl when you come back, go to college, go to medical school, be a doctor, be the bishop, die. Basically.

So why do we WANT these things? It's not like having a plaque that says "Families Are Forever" will give you a ticket into the Celestial Kingdom.

What about the Mormon blogging world? There are bazillions of Mormon blogs. Why do we like it so much? Is it the Stay At Home Mom thing? Is that what they do all day? What about all the Mormon bloggers who are all intellectual and deep into doctrine - and post forty seven pages about political issues and BoM translations *snore*...

If I there were a Mormon Conformist Scale, I this is what it would look like:

1. What's a Mormon?
2. I used to be Mormon.
3. I'm not active and I tend to break the Word of Wisdom, but I'm still Mormon
4. I'm sorta active. I go to church a few times a year, but I'm not boozin it up or anything.
5. I'm active. I don't go to picnics and crap though. I do the minimum required of me.
6. I go to church frequently, and participate in activities, but I don't have church friends.
7. I have a temple reccommend and frequently participate in church activites, but I don't have fourteen kids or anything....
8. My spouse is active in the church and our kids are pretty good. Sometimes we'll swear/drink pop/ but on rare occassions.
9. We go to church regularly and fulfill all our callings, tithe, participate in church activites, etc... All our friends, and all our kids friends, are from church.
10. My husband, the doctor, is the Bishop, my wife, the teacher, is the RS president, my ten and a half kids are either on missions or still a fetus.

I'm like a 6. LOL


Moody said...

I was a 3, but am now going onto a fairly solid 6. Great post!

Mormon Heretic said...

You make me laugh. It's fun to hear the opinions of one who is so new to the church.

I'm probably a 7-8. I always thought the swearing thing brought me down to a 4-5--glad to hear it doesn't! (I also have a beard, and don't wear a white shirt. People around me think I'm way more liberal, so it's nice to be so high on your scale!)

Zelph said...

I would consider myself a 5

April said...

Ha ha! This is fun. Yeah...I guess being a realative newbie puts a different perspective on things.

Heretic - I don't know, maybe I will have to add that on another scale..."How Mormon-Looking Are You?"

I would probably be a three on that one.

Anonymous said...

I know that before when I would try to "act" Mormon, it was because everyone else seemed happier than me. That or I saw qualities in others than I just wanted to have, you know?

Right now I'm somewhere in a mixture of 6 and 8, but oddly not 7 LOL!

Faith said...

This really resonated with me. I spent so many years trying to fit into the mold because I didn't think anyone would really accept the kookiness that is me. After a life-changing experience, I decided the heck with it. I did lose a few friends, but I also found who my real friends were.

I'm just coming back after having been inactive for a long while. Sunday will be my first Sunday at church probably in 6 months or so.

April said...

Faith - Excellent news!

It doesn't matter if we are a 10. Or even a 9 or 8. I would really just like to see more people live righteously - but not be sheep. Break the mold, not the Word of Wisdom.

LCM said...

I'm an 8-9, but I do enjoy the soda pop and the a word makes me laugh. I don't have 7 kids and have no interest in having hubby be the Bishop. I do like not having to wear the face. Since we moved to Texas and don't know a soul, I have dropped the face. I am happy just being me.

Neta said...

Good scale. As it is now 10:13 pm on Sunday after playing the organ for sacrament, substitute teaching Gospel Doctrine and then playing the piano for Relief Society - had a fight with husband during the afternoon and am now drinking Pepsi as stress relief. I'd say I'm between a 7 and 8 - but then maybe 6. Still get comments every once in a while from members about why my first child looks so different from the others (uh duh do I HAVE to explain the obvious i.e. the results of my years of inactivity to them??)

Kaferine said...

Nice post! As a random Mormon who got a link, I enjoyed reading it.

And just for the sake of saying so, I'm a strict five. Right in the middle. Lol.

Anonymous said...

Isn't trying to be non-conformist conforming to non-comformity? Why not just be yourself, like what you like, dislike what you dislike, regardless of weather is Mormony or not?

Carlos U.

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Pleasance said...

Well written article.

dynamite girl said...

happily wonering if being a six is better than being an 8 or maybe just wishing i was a 1 or maybe a 10

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