Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad Mormon

Sometimes Mormons ask themselves, "What makes a good Mormon?"  Today I just wanted to know, "What makes someone recognizable as a Mormon?"

I have been told on at least a dozen occassions, "I had no idea you were Mormon!" 

I went to lunch with Jack yesterday.  (Doesn't it seem like all my stories begin with lunch?)  We were chatting about who-knows-what and then Jack casually mentioned, "Lanie didn't know you were Mormon."  Yes, someone I've known for two years thought I wasn't Mormon.  Not just that, but she was specifically under the impression that my family was Mormon, I was raised Mormon, but I wasn't Mormon any more. 

That seems like a high level of detail on the Not Mormon Front

Jack asked if that hurt my feelings, and I said no.  The thing is, I've gotten this for years, from both Mormons and non-Mormons, friends and strangers.  But even though I'm used to it, I'd like to know what vibe it is about me that leads people to this conclusion.  I have a few theories, but I'm not sure any of them really explain it.

The Swears
My excessive cursing didn't really flare up until age 22, and I've been attempting to tone it down in recent years (if only in acknowledgement of the fact that professional adults don't use words like "douchebag").  I did get the "You're Mormon?!?!?!?!" look of shock before 22, however.

So it can't be just the swears.

The Slutty Clothes
Again, only somewhat indicative.  The number of times I have truly skanked it up remains relatively small (a Tri Delt formal or two, perhaps a Halloween or New Years party in years past), but I do have a tendency to occassionally wear shirts that, um, perhaps could lead one to an incorrect assumption about my religious practices.  (I defend this one as not my fault, however.  I've talked about my wardrobe malfunction problems, correct?  Perfectly appropriate shirts will just suddenly betray me, those jerks.)

The Lack of Babies
I have begun to notice that when I attend traditional Mormon gatherings, I do lack certain accessories.  Specifically, a nattily dressed toddler.  (I kind of want to start renting my cousin Abbie's, because hers are appropriately darling.)  Of course, motherhood doesn't necessarily equate to Mormonhood, even in Utah.  But a baby wearing a designer headband comes pretty close.

The real problem is that if it's lack of progeny that gives me my Not A Mormon Vibe, (A) Why the hell have I prompted these "You're Mormon?" questions since HIGH SCHOOL?  What is wrong with you people? and (B) There's really not a lot to be done about that.*

The Gay Friends
Here's the thing -- lots of Mormons have gay friends. But I also know that other people would deny this fact. (You know, mostly dicks.) (Sorry, No-Swearing-Resolution.) Since I have recently noticed that my Gay Male Friends now outnumber my Straight Male Friends, perhaps this is it?

Of course, there's really nothing to be done about this one.  I love all my gay boyfriends, and straight man friends are kind of like endangered animals -- their numbers dwindle due to jobs and girlfriends/wives, and once their population has been decimated, more can be hard to come by.  So that ratio probably won't balance anytime soon.  

The Sarcasm
My friend Sally once told me that she will never be able to fit in with our fellow Mo-Mos because her spirit isn't sweet enough.  The same goes for me.  The thing is, like Sally, I have no desire to conform my sense of humor to Ward Sense of Humor.  No, I will not laugh at that terribly lame joke you just told in Sacrament Meeting.  I will begrudgingly fulfill my callings, but I will never gush over the many wonderful opportunities texting girls every month about their visiting teaching affords me.  Raising my hand during the Good News Minute will NEVER HAPPEN.

But the thing is, the fact that I glare my way through church can't be why people don't view me as LDS, because well duh, if they were in church to witness the glaring, they'd know, right?  And for people who witness my finer moments of bitchery outside the wardhouse ... well, actually, this one might be the answer. 

If it is, however, I think I'm just going to live with it.  After all, I like being a bitch. It's who I am. And, as the Sunday School song rightly points out, Jesus still loves me, yes He does.

Any thoughts, e-friends?  If you had to pick one thing about me that says, "Not Mormon," what would it be?  (And if you can think of it, do you think it's chanageable?)

* (PS: Don't worry though, if I haven't trapped some man into marrying me by my 30th birthday, and my backup fiance is unavailable, I'm going to implement the Angelina Jolie lifeplan by adopting some beautiful multicultural kids and stealing some other chick's husband. 

Now guess if I'm joking.)

1 comment:

  1. Here is my take: Mormons talk about Mormon things and use Mormon vocab. So you'll mention things about going to church as a normal part of any conversation. Say things like "young womens/mens," wards, meet-and-mingles, etc. And state it as if everyone should know exactly what you are talking about.

    However, in your conversations you typically leave out the Mormon vocab and/or the details of a typical Mormon Sunday schedule. So if you meet Bill at a singles ward meet and mingle, instead of stating it like that, you would probably say "I met Bill this week" thus omitting all of the typical signs of Mormonism at work.