I stumbled upon this smaller blog that was talking about “Cultural” Mormons.
…I’ve noticed the strangest phenomenon. Many people view cultural Mormonism as the extra-doctrinal, hyper-faithful parts of the church that make it seem so unbearable, rather than the mere culture of growing up in such a peculiar church. So cultural Mormonism, rather than being an superset that includes faithful and nonfaithful people of Mormon ‘heritage,’ is seen as a subset created by the insulation of Utah Mormonism. And I guess I can understand the cultural excesses of Utah that would make people think that.
I decided to comment on this guy’s blog, being cautious not to show my hand too early (things tend to go downhill if people realize you’re not a believer.) And we talked about a great many things…but most interesting was his theory about “Eastern Mormons.”
Way back in the late 1600â€™s, several Quaker religious zealots kept coming back into the Puritan colony of Massachusetts. The Puritans kept kicking them out. They would go to Rhode Island for awhile and then they would come back. The Puritans warned them if they came back again they would be hanged. They did, and were hanged. (One of them the first woman to be hanged in America.) Why did they do this? They were perfectly free to practice their religion in Rhode Island and Massachusetts isnâ€™t particularly more attractive then there.
My contention is that there is an attraction for some people for being persecuted. Earlier I stated that the more â€œenjoyableâ€ Mormons in Washington, D.C. were the ones that loved living in Utah AND loved living in the East. The less enjoyable Mormons were the ones that enjoyed the East more because of the chances they had to defend their religionâ€”much like those Quakers in Massachusetts. They love to contend. They loved to stick their noses in the air and show how caring they are by being among the â€œsinnersâ€ and remaining above it all. To be a shining beacon on a hill for the purpose of exalting themselves.
More after the break.
This was the most interesting interpretation of history (it would not be the only one…on a post I made on my blog critiquing an odd ‘feminist’ [if you could call it that] Mormon argument against gay marriage, he made another comment about ‘history’)
I tried to suggest to him that perhaps this wasn’t the reason why people did not like Utah (and what it does to Mormonism). I tried to suggest that *perhaps* it *is* the culture, and not a reflection on the ‘persecution complex’ of “Eastern Mormons.” After all, I know that living in the Bible Belt and taking flak from all sorts of people has not been fun and I definitely do not choose to embrace this stigma…but on the other hand, I find that Mormonism as applies to Utah becomes such a bizarro world culture…that perhaps I would rather take “the world” over such peculiar homogeneity.
I mean, in the end, John confidently confided things like:
We donâ€™t say in Utah that just because a person smokes heâ€™s a bad person, no one I know in Utah thinks that way. But it is perfectly safe to say that that person had a rebellious or troubled youth. How many 40 year olds suddenly take up smoking? And if they do, wouldnâ€™t you say they are STUPID for doing so. Character assessments can be made by appearances…Why risk your eternal welfare and happiness by ignoring the signs? If you want to take the risks, more power to you, but donâ€™t look down on the Utah guy who looks for rocks on the road.
Nose-rings and tattoos are merely symptoms of POSSIBLE deeper issues… The cold hard reality is that 90% or more of the time such non-conformities ARE symptoms of deeper issues. It is too bad for the 10% or less that are perfectly normal and chose these non-conformist attributes.
So, not saying that people who don’t fit the goody-two-shoes Utah Mormon, white-shirt-clean-shaven model are evil and sinful, but 90% of the times, they probably have some deeper issues with their childhoods.
Like those Eastern Mormons…definitely have some deeper issues. As he says:
In sort, the â€œEastâ€ is a place for Mormons who have a psychosis for rebellion and non-conformity. It is easier for them to live the standards of the Church where it marks them as different. They love the attention. They think that makes them stronger in the Church. If such is the case, than they are not truly living their religion. Conformity and non-conformity is NOT an issue in heaven or a Zion society. There is no focus on oneself, but only on others. Weâ€™re not there yet in Utah, and certainly not there in the â€œEast,â€ but we shouldnâ€™t mock each other for our efforts.
Right. I have a confession. I have a psychosis for rebellion and non-conformity too. I realized it was easier to lead the standards of being a decent person if only I dropped some of the superfluity of the church, and that marked me as different. I must say, as a blogger, I love the attention. It makes me stronger outside the church. I admit I’m not truly living my religion.