Thursday, October 20, 2011
West of the Hudson
I was just as bothered as Mikey was, but I didn't want to let it fester. Maureen Dowd's most recent New York Times article annoyed me. Not because she was poking fun at Mormons. I think members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to get better at laughing at the jabs and maybe jabbing ourselves now and again. But I was bothered that she published such misinformation and wrote it off as journalism.
Like, we have sermons on getting our own planets someday. Or that we refer polygamy as "The Principle." (What? I don't even understand what that means. "The Principle?").
It's interesting to watch the world become aware of something you've known your whole life. It makes you self-conscious. Not in an embarrassed way, but in a way that you're aware of what could be perceived as weird.
The thing is, there's tons of fodder for a poke-fun article based on stuff that's actually true about Mormons. Like the fact that we don't drink coffee. Or our focus on families. Being married with a baby at 22 is weird. Believe me, I GET IT. But who knows where Dowd dredged up some of her misinformation.
There is so much information on the LDS Church (Michael Otterson, anyone?) it's almost embarrassing to publish about it without getting the facts straight. And it's not that I think everyone needs to be an expert on Mormonism. I, admittedly, know relatively little about other faiths. But I least hope that I wouldn't declare my ignorance as "news".
One commenter said, "They say they don't practice polygamy, but I don't believe them." Okay. Here's the thing. A "Mormon Polygamist" is an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms and anyone with a grain of intellectual integrity knows that. I've lived in the Rocky Mountains my whole life and I have never known a polygamist; never known one, never met one. In fact, they are kind of hard to find. Sure, you might see some at a service station when your in the Middle of Nowhere Utah/Colorado/Arizona/Idaho but Maureen Dowd acts like we see them in our chapels every Sunday. Sometimes I wonder if she has ever been west of the Hudson.
Mikey wondered aloud, "All religions are weird. What is it about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that makes people go after it?"
I thought about this and came up with: Because we're serious about our religion. Most Mormons are actively practicing their faith. They hold callings, attend church weekly, pray daily . . . Religion doesn't freak people out. But religiosity does. I've heard numerous times, "I'm a ___________ but I never went to church or anything."
That's the difference. We're peculiar because we can't say that. And we're not an arcane or orthodox sect of our religion. We're it. And we're relevant and not afraid to say so.