Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Mormons

Sometimes I get REALLY irritated with the people in my church. I like to find fault for some strange reason. Perhaps it’s a horrible case of severe self-loathing. (I’m saving up for therapy.) Perhaps I’m just not a nice person. Perhaps some of the people found in my church are uber annoying.

I like to internally criticize the moms I know for wearing potato sacks and rubber flip flops rather than REAL CLOTHES. I like to internally criticize some men I see who run their families like Capt. Von Trapp BEFORE Maria-The-Singing-Nun. LEFT! LEFT! LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT! *whistle blows*. “Whistles are for dogs and cats and other animals! They are not for children and they DEFINITELY not for me!”

I also HATE the self-righteousness that goes on. OH… DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED! Ok I’m started…

“Did you SEE how LOW her shirt was?! I would NEVER!” or “ Her children just DO NOT behave themselves during sacrament meeting!” or “It‘s Fast Sunday and I saw her drinking from the water fountain and she TEACHES Relief Society!” or “Crystal’s blog is highly offensive and totally inappropriate!” (I’ve never actually heard anyone SAY that but I have mental telepathy, sooo…).

Today I sat in church. It was a special meeting to dedicate the new temple that has been built in Arizona. I got all comfy and started looking around to see who would inspire my irritation today. I already admitted I’m not very nice.

In the choir a beautiful Polynesian girl caught my eye. She had the kind of face that makes you want to just STARE. Gorgeous. To my immediate right was an older black man with a cane leaning on his leg. He held his wife’s hand and caressed her fingers the entire meeting. In front of me was a young white family. A little boy leaned his tired blonde head on his Mama’s shoulder. And there were, of course, old bald men everywhere. I even saw some old bald women.

I was touched.

Suddenly what I saw wasn’t a room full of Mormons.

Suddenly I saw a room full of PEOPLE.

Suddenly I saw a room full of imperfect people TRYING.

The imperfect people were trying to CHANGE, I realized. They sat there humbly hoping for HELP.

I looked within myself and saw a very imperfect person who laughs at bald women and The Sound of Music.

I saw someone who hurts when spoken to harshly. I saw someone who aches when judged unfairly. I even ache when I’m judged FAIRLY. (Don’t we all?) I saw someone who seeks guidance to CHANGE and be BETTER. I seek that guidance from a power higher than myself.

I asked myself why I was sitting in that congregation. Is this REALLY what you WANT for yourself? The answer came back quietly.


Mormons around the world flock to churches every single Sunday. There are ga-billions of us! We are like a mutant alien invasion. We sit for THREE HOURS! Can you believe THIS? THREE HOURS! EVERY SUNDAY! We are clearly gluttons for punishment. We sit there with our hard heads and pray something sinks in. Sometimes it does.

Mormons are WEIRD! We call ourselves a peculiar people. We TOTALLY ARE! When everyone else at the table is having red wine with dinner we will order MILK. When girls and women are wearing dental floss instead of shirts, we are fully clothed. While the world thinks nothing of porn, we haven’t even seen the latest R-rated flick. When most people say bad words, WE DON’T! (Except for me because I have a potty mouth but I’m working on that. Don‘t judge me! I‘m TRYING here, DAMMIT!)

Mormons get a bad rap because Mormons are PEOPLE. And PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS!

I suppose the point I’m attempting to make here is that we are all PEOPLE on this Earth.

As PEOPLE we all have eyes and ears and brains (well… I guess that last one is debatable.).

As PEOPLE we are imperfect and have an innate desire to progress in some real and quantifiable way. But what if our progression is NOT quantifiable? What if our progression is based on KINDNESS and LOVE and TOLERANCE?

Maybe one day we will be judged on how TOLERANT we were of one another. Race. Sex. Age. Weight. Creed. Religion.

Creed is a funny word. Reminds me of Cretin.

As Mormons, we are trying to figure out how to raise our children and raise OURSELVES. Raise ourselves up from mediocrity. Raise ourselves up from a morality where there is NO morality. Raise ourselves up from the depths of Hell on Earth and dare to seek for something higher.

So when I sat there today shamelessly ready to find fault I was humbled. Something sunk in.

Mormons aren’t so bad, I thought.

Then my eye was drawn to a blonde young woman. I wrinkled my nose involuntarily. And thought, “What in the WORLD does that chick think she’s WEARING! And HEL-LOO! Do SOMETHING about those roots!”

I’m working on it.