Monday, June 8, 2009

Live, laugh, love ... or else!

Why is the Mormon religion so.. Stern? —Reed

I could not find another way to convey the word I was meaning to say..
So I have a a couple friends that are of the Mormon, and I have noticed that all of them are much less careless about thing as a lot of other people. And then one day I asked one of them why it was like that. They replied "Well, God advises us to live our lives to the fullest and these are the ways he chose." I proceeded to ask why have to they listen to God and they replied "We don't HAVE to, its our choice to"

I know what you're talking about, Reed. Mormons emphasize general goodness just like every other faith, but they take certain surface behaviors to the extreme. It's a proselyting faith, so I think that's one reason. Mormons are encouraged to be a light to the world, and the way that usually comes across is through things like not smoking or drinking, not swearing, not wearing sleeveless tops, that kind of thing.

I think there's more to this whole "stern" thing, though. Mormonism is unfortunately a very guilt-based religion. From their youth members are given all these expectations for conforming to a certain mold, they're asked to take on all kinds of church responsibilities, and to remember a whole laundry list of to-do items to keep them "close to the Spirit." All of this is supposed to make them deliriously happy of course, and for some personality types I'm sure it really works. The rest take their Prozac and put on a happy face, because to do otherwise is to admit you're not living as you should.

So why don't they just quit if it's making them miserable? Simple, they really believe what the church has told them all their lives. I think it's the guilt that actually keeps people in, keeps them needing the redemption the church promises, and keeps them so focused on their own perceived inadequacies that they never stop to question it all.

Mormons have a saying that the church is perfect even if the members aren't. I think that's pretty much backwards. Honestly I think what every Mormon needs more than anything else is just to be told they're OK, really and truly OK, just the way they are. But they're not going to hear that at church.

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