Third Culture Kids and our Disaffected Mormon Underground
A while back, there was a husband-wife couple of speakers who came to one of my classes to talk about their mission to Papua New Guinea for several years. I wrote about that on my blog a while back, highlighting one of the things they said about their children that particularly struck me.
These children grow up to be Third Culture Kids, and there is a phenomenon of these Third Culture Kids from a variety of upbringings. What these Third Culture Kids must realize is that they do not belong. And they never will. They must learn to accept that they cant be American, but they cant be Gapapaiwa. They have to be something in the middle. Many Third Culture Kids, in fact, end up marrying others, because even if the particulars of their situations vary, they understand the phenomenon and each other
This is a kinda loose paraphrase, but I’m pretty sure the mother said the exact words, “they do not belong. And they never will.” That struck me. I checked out the wikipedia page on Third Culture Kids here, and although I fit one of the traditional categories (army brat), what I felt was that as an ex-Mormon, I feel this way too.
I think that for people who have really become involved in the church (whether as converts or as lifelong members), it becomes a part of our identity. This identity already faces some challenge from a mainstream society that doesn’t understand (or at worst, dislikes) it (good ole Mormon persecution complex). But the strangest thing is…even when/if we leave the church or disassociate from it, we don’t become part of the mainstream. Rather, we never become non-Mormons, but ex/post/former/new order/alumni Mormons.
Does anyone else feel this way? I’d like to think this is a pretty common feeling here, but it could just be a me thing.
Anyway, I had a commenter who posted on my site who was the daughter of an international businessman, and as such lived all across the world before “coming home” to the states.
She has been trying to find out the cultural aspects of Mormonism for a while now…but she has unfortunately been asking the wrong people: (missionaries). I actually like how she puts the outcome (which most of us could have predicted): Sadly, I was never able to get much good information out of them, b/c it always devolved into a theological pitch-fest.
Anyway, she posted a request on her site seeking information about cultural Mormonism. ( here )
If any of you have time, could you put down some thoughts over at her blog?