For Those Who Live in Salt Lake City

I feel special as a Mormon. When I walk into the Deseret Book or Distribution Center and watch the lady in the skimpy tube dress, or the guy with the tattoo of a snake on his face stare at me, I feel happy, special....I feel like I know something they don't. Which, technically, I do. When I am searching for clothes with capped sleeves or long skirts, when I leave my Gospel Principles book on the front seat of my car, when I say I want 5 children and I'm only 23 - people who aren't Mormon get the hint. I'm proud. And of course, a convert.

I don't think you can be this excited about your religion if you've known nothing else. I love going into Deseret Book and buying overpriced paintings of temples I've never been to, foil embossed scriptures, hymn cd's, scripture highlighters, CTR rings, cheeky romantic novels with two people on the cover holding hands - It's Sorry. There's probably a better word, so excuse my lack of vocabulary. I just love being a part of all this fun stuff we do outside of church. Buying stuff at the distribution center dirt cheap, making your own "plaque" that says "Families are Forever," etc...

Except of course, when I go to a place like Idaho Falls or Salt Lake City. When you proudly go into the bookstore, no one stares at you. They follow you in. When you go into a bridal shop to search for a dress, you have to ask for a dress WITHOUT capped sleeves. Wal-Mart has special jewelry sections devoted to CTR rings, young women's necklaces, and primary bracelets. When you pass a parked car, not only is the Gospel Principles book in plain view, but amidst the four car seats you spy primary crafts, three sets of scriptures, a Young Women's guide, and ten little stick figures stuck to the back window in descending order.

I guess I never realized how hugely enormous the LDS church is. When I went to Georgia, a bunch of girls I met there had no clue what a Mormon was. At all. So I just figured I was part of something that hadn't yet grown into a huge religion. Yeah, we have our little bookstores and special clothing shops, but I underestimated us - big time.

Here are some of my former misconceptions:

1. Weddings are small and modest. HA! Have you ever opened an LDS bridal magazine? Most of these brides have doctors for fathers - therefore dropping $20,000 on a wedding reception is nothing. I thought everyone had a backyard barbecue and invited family only. I guess you can save a lot more money if you omit a ceremony and pool all the funds into a killer reception!

2. The only LDS author is Stephenie Meyer. While the Twilight series is probably the most popular now, there is a ridiculous amount of books by LDS authors about LDS stuff. Love, family, fiction, non-fiction. There's an entire library on dating, which doesn't surprise me at all.

3. Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre are the only movies ever made by a Mormon. Correction: There are huge LDS themed production companies that have made millions upon millions of dollars and continue to distribute all types of movies, both about Mormons, and by Mormons.

4. LDS bloggers are lonely and are quite outnumbered by Anti-Mormon sites on the web. Pffttt. That's all I have to say.

In short, I severely underestimated the whole "Mormon" culture thing. Going to Salt Lake City was a huge eye opener. It's like no one there has ever heard of a tank top, or Starbucks. I guess it's just a culture!


David said...

I love your blog. I'm a convert as well! It's wonderful isn't it! Keep on keepin' on!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Comments on your items #2 and #4:

I'm an LDS author, and I'm not Meyer, although I'd take her paycheck. :)

#4: I'm also a Mormon blogger! :)

Fun to bump into your blog.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I meant to say, and I'm not lonely. Sheesh! I hit publish before I was done.

A Well Behaved Mormon Woman said...

It is normal for an LdsNana to attend a ColdPlay concert and LOVE it:-)

I must say, that I agree with your findings here - on most every point. LOL

Great blog... keep it up.


Anonymous said...

How does all of this point to Jesus? How does feeling smug and proud about your religion make you a better person? How does it help others and point them to Jesus? Gospel Principles on the seat of your there any place for the Bible? I don't mean any disrepect, but it all sounds like a huge high school snob clique. I was never part of one and I never intend to be. I was an outcast.

David said...

I'd say "proud" was probably a poor choice of words. I think "pleased" is probably what was implied. And one can feel pleased over one's religious choices because it gives one a sense of completeness. I know one thing that always gets brought up in my circle of friends is the Church and how it's changed me for the better. Leaving religious books such as the Standard Works or listening to Christian radio stations IS a way to point people towards Jesus. It's little things like that that get people to start asking questions. People ask us questions, we give answers, it's mission work pure and simple! It's amazing! The Church is definitely not some clique and it knows no outcasts! You're always welcome with us! =)

April said...

Yeah, the whole "Mormon Front" can be pretty snobbish. Before I knew the people in my ward, they seemed uppity and annoying. It's just nice to feel confident in your religious choices. It's nice to finally know you're doing something RIGHT! So yeah - it does make me feel proud. No other way to put it!

Brandon said...

Your post was a lot of fun to read... but boy oh boy, how wrong you were with your final line!

Being a Utah-raised, returned-missionary, and temple-sealed ex-Mormon I just have to say... I *LOVE* my almost daily serving of gourmet coffee (sometimes at Starbucks, more often at Beans and Brews).

It's true, you could walk down the street and know we aren't Seattle... but ~50% of us that live in SLC aren't Mormon and from what I've gathered most of us ~50% *LOVE* coffee! ;)

BTW, still happily married to an LDS girl and working on kids... just no longer choose to be a part of the "cult" (hey, that was *YOUR* word, not mine!) ;P j/k

Have a great Mormon experience -- I truly hope it continues to make you happy; all in all, there is a lot of good in it. Please just tone down the "special" part... I fear that's one of the aspects that tends to ruin things.

Anonymous said...

The Mormon church has cliques just like everywhere else. The "in" crowd are the most "righteous" ones and you have to know secret phrases and handshakes to get into heaven. There are plenty of outcasts in the Mormon church. I am an outcast myself.

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