Monday, March 07, 2005

The Reciprocal Mormon

I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, but I think I've always been a reciprocal Mormon. When I am surrounded by Mormons, my testimony is inversely proportional to the testimonies of those around me. Whether I was at church or in the MTC, every one seemed to get on my nerves and believe really outrageous things, like caffeinated Coke and PG-13 movies were wiles of the devil. The closest I came to getting in a fight in the MTC was when a missionary in my district swore that Joseph Smith said there were people living on the moon, only in another dimension so we couldn't see them. I felt rebellious and not part of the group because I couldn't be nearly as cocksure as they all were. I am continually feeling doubts that the shiny happy people couldn't possibly understand.
However, when I am the only Mormon in a group, I feel like I need to defend the church from people who don't know anything about it, or worse, people who think they know all about it because they read a newspaper article or Under the Banner of Heaven.
My wife (a non-member) and I have attended the local Episcopal church a couple of times, but the whole time I'm there, I find myself constantly noting the differences from Mormon practices. I don't feel comfortable crossing myself or taking communion because I still like the Mormon way better, even though I haven't been to church in six years.
Am I cursed to always feel the opposite of those around me?

7 comments:

m said...

i've felt a lot of the same feelings. i never understood the people that revelled in the stranger doctrine (like my dad, who loved to talk about crazy theories on where the lost tribes were hanging out), but always find myself (even now as a disbeliever) defending people's distorted views of what mormonism really is.

btw, the guy didn't completely pull the moonmen thing out of his butt. joseph smith was indirectly quoted as saying such, although of course it's not verifiable. brigham young and others said some similar things. check out this link:

http://www.lds-mormon.com/moon.shtml

NFlanders said...

Thanks for the link, m. I've been wanting to track that down for a long time. I think what made me so mad in the MTC was that I was struggling with my testimony and this True-Believer was making it harder for me with his Space Doctrine.

m said...

the funny thing is that most of those "weird doctrines" that make it harder to believe didn't just appear out of thin air. like the moon men quote most of them are based on something some GA said at somepoint. not that you have to accept them as doctrine, but that their genesis was not in some crazy idaho farm boy's mind.

my favorite example of this is the cain is wandering the earth as bigfoot rumor. i thought it was totally just made up by some member, until i came across it in the miracle of forgiveness while on my mission. to this day i have no idea why SWK included that story in his book.

NFlanders said...

I have heard the Cain thing, but didn't know if it was Mormon folklore or not. It's hard to keep track. Was SWK quoting an early church leader's account of the story?
I have to say, reading patriarchal blessings about missions to the moon is unsettling.

m said...

he was quoting some earlier church leader, although i can't remember whom. just look up "cain" in the index of his book and you'll find that story.

m said...

ok, i found it. the person whom SWK quoted was david patten. here's a link with the story.

NFlanders said...

Thanks for the link, m. It was hilarious.
My favorite quote: "If he were caught and someone believed he had found the Cain of the bible then he could conclude Cain couldn’t be killed. I believe every effort would then be taken to kill him, in every way possible."
WTF? Truly some bizarre stuff. His theory about Cain having children (little big-feet?) is also amusing. Who is Cain reproducing with?
I like how quickly people jump from a single Cain sighting to Bigfoot must be true and here is all the evidence to prove it.