Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Good and the Bad Part I

I'm reading The Book of Mormon and it is slow going. I'm only on page 25 and a lot of times I have to go back and reread passages because I find my brain wandering to lists of things I need to get done. I am trying to be open-minded and I am determined to not just read this book, but to get from a variety of sources impressions of what certain passages mean. The truth is though, if you're not or have never been Mormon, you probably haven't read this book - so my sources will most likely be active Mormons or people who were raised Mormon, but have left the religion and I think it is safe to say that the latter category has a lot of anger about the teachings of the religion. I have also had a lot of anger based on experiences I had:

  • After living in Utah for 3 months in 1991 my landlord told me I was "unpure" (I think he meant impure) and I was so baffled, I did not even know how to respond. My friend stepped in and explained that I wasn't Mormon, at which point the landlord profusely apologized. What I got from that is it is ok to bully your fellow Mormons.
  • I was told at a job interview that I would not be hired for a position because I was not LDS (Mormon). I was probably 23 or so at the time and I was livid - and I felt horrible. I felt like there was something dirty about me and I hated that someone else could make me feel that way. Nevermind that his remark was illegal, in my opinion it was mean.
  • One of my best friends was marrying a woman - someone I had set him up with - in the LDS Temple and I was not allowed to go to the wedding (if you don't know about the Temple, you can look it up). I was really hurt - I was worthy enough to pick out his future wife, but not to attend his wedding. (Sidenote: this couple later divorced, so I now forgive him :) )
So in 1999, when Steve and I drove out of Logan I remember declaring, "We will never live in that place again!" and I spread my tales of Mormon atrocities in our new homes: Ann Arbor and San Antonio.

While in San Antonio, both Steve and I secretly longed to return to Logan - and these yearnings of mine were accompanied with the thought, "What the bleep!?" (Yes, it was "bleep.") We kept our longings to ourselves for awhile and then Steve found an opportunity to teach in Logan and the rollercoaster started. I wanted to return to Logan, but I also hated one minute I felt relief at going back to a familiar place and the next minute I was in tears thinking we were nuts to take our impressionable child to a place that had allowed the above things to happen to me...and Utah has the highest rate of many bad things! We were going to scar our child for life!!

The first few months in Logan were like living in the Twilight Zone - I'd been in these exact places before, yet I was different. I think it's like that for anyone who attempts to return home - you are not the same and it's an odd feeling to be back in a place in which you once resided.

(Ah, I think I will leave this as be continued....)


  1. The minister of the church I grew up in moved to Utah to pastor the only Congregational church in the state. They (the LDS) had sneaky ways of finding out who was LDS by asking the kids to bring in coffee cans/cigar boxes, etc.

  2. Ha, that is funny Tom - and part II of my post will contain a story about being asked to remove a coffee maker from my place of employment. A former boss told me there are actually maps of neighborhoods laying out who is LDS and who isn't...kind of understandable, since there is a lot of home teaching in the religion, but still a bit odd.

  3. A friend of mine lived in Idaho where there were many Mormons and she was constantly asked when she was going to get around to having babies and filling the bedrooms in the house they had bought.

  4. Keeping my mind from wandering while I'm reading the Book of Mormon (or the Bible) is something that's still hard for me. I find that it's easier for me to focus if I pray before I read, and specifically ask God for help, but even then, sometimes I just plug along, and hope that something in sinking in somewhere.

    On the experiences you shared. We've already discussed the temple a bit, and I have nothing to say in defense of the potential employer. I get some comfort in knowing that because of his closed-mindedness he missed out on hiring a stellar employee in you, so to some extent, he got what he deserved. Even so though, he was wrong. Absolutely wrong.

    As to the landlord, he was wrong too. Regardless of whether you were LDS or not, he was wrong to judge you and call you names. There is no place for that in LDS doctrine. We're taught to leave judgment with the Lord, and apparently, that was a lesson that was lacking in his life.

    I don't want to say too much, because I don't know him, I don't know the situation, and it would be hypocritical of me to come out in judgment against him one paragraph after I write that Mormons aren't taught to judge. But, I can say that I am sorry that happened to you, and I am sorry about the two other examples that you shared and the dozens more that you haven't. I'm just sorry.

    I AM grateful that you didn't let some very painful experiences with some Mormons sour you on all the rest of us. If you had, you and I almost certainly wouldn't be friends, and the fact is, I quite enjoy you.