Somebody asked me the other day, “how come you don’t blog/write about being Mormon? Are you trying to hide it?”
It never occurred to me that anyone would construe my NOT blogging about being Mormon as an attempt to ‘hide it.’ Just like, it never occurred to me to blog about my Mormon-ness purely for the sake of telling my five blog followers that I happen to be Mormon. I mean, does anybody care -what religion an author/blogger is? I know I dont… It drives me nuts when people discuss the Mormon symbolism in Twilight…or debate whether or not Stephanie Meyer is a ‘good’ Mormon because of what her sparkly characters do. Do we know what religion JK Rowling is? Do we care?
But I digress.
In the interest of full disclosure, I shall blog once and for all about my religion. Yes, I am a Mormon – a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints otherwise known as the LDS church. My parents are also Mormon and they tried their bestest to teach us and raise us according to LDS gospel principles. Some of us frequently run amuck but we’re all trying, learning, falling over, and getting back up again. I now try to raise my own children as ‘decent’ Mormons – and mess up more than I succeed – which is why NOBODY should ever see my blog as an example of a “good Mormon Mom Blog”….*ducks head in shame*
Some of you may be wondering, what’s a Mormon? I could quote you a list of doctrinal descriptors and belief statements and direct you to the nearest missionary near you…but instead, Im going to do what I do best – and relay a waffly, possibly humorous, potentially offensive story from my salacious past.
Once upon a time, when I first started “dating” the Hot Man (as much as a young couple in Samoa could ‘date’…) someone in his family was very happy. She said, “What a good choice! Mormon girls are good girls. Lani is a good girl!” She said this because Mormons (supposedly) do not have sex until they’re married, don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t go to nightclubs, and don’t wear revealing clothing. I will neither confirm nor deny at this time, if all those things were true of my nineteen year old self because my teenagers might read this blog and we all know how dedicated they are to seeking out evidence of their parent’s misdemeanors so they can justify all of THEIR stupid choices... I will however say, that IF all those things were true of me, then, in her opinion, that made me a far superior choice compared to SOME of the girls the Hot Man had been going out with. (Naming no names…pointing no fingers…)
So yes, the Hot Man’s mother was very happy we were dating. But then we got married. And a year or so later, the Hot Man decided to get baptized and become a Mormon. My mother-in-law wasn’t so happy then. Especially when her son – much much later – became so committed to his faith that he went to the Mormon temple. She didn’t like it one bit. “I heard that Mormons worship Satan. They don’t believe in Jesus…they’re a cult…they do strange sexual things inside those temples…there’s a man wearing a horned mask talking to the Devil in there…” I guess she only liked nice Mormon girls when they dated her son. Not when they married him and took him over to the Dark Side of the Force.
Which is why, it was beyond hilarious to me when she came to ask for my help one day…with composing a prayer. Yes, that’s correct. She had been assigned to recite/say the prayer in her congregation and wanted me to write one for her. Why me? “Because in your church, everybody prays all the time, even the little kids can say their own prayers. Only the priest/pastor says the prayers in our church. And besides, you’re a writer so you can write something nice for me to pray.”
Anybody want to guess how tempted I was to open my prayer writing with: “Dear Satan…o blessed forked tailed one”?
But I didn’t. I composed a nice prayer and she was very happy with it. And the Hot Man was very relieved I chose not to address the Dark Lord.
And everyone lived happily ever after.
What do we learn about Mormons from this story? (according to Lani anyway) Let’s separate fact from fiction.
1. Family unity is very important to Mormons. We believe that families can be together forever in the “afterlife” so it makes sense then that we would want to build strong families and actually LIKE the people we’re stuck with by familial ties. Tolerance for other people’s beliefs is also important (and keeping your cool even when others think you’re an acolyte of Lucifer.)
2. Contrary to exciting rumors, Mormons do not have more than one wife ( at a time.) We are not polygamists. The Hot Man is only ever going to be married to me. (Until I get hit by a bus and then he can choose another wife from a list I have lovingly prepared for him.)
3. Practising/active Mormons live by what we call the Word of Wisdom which is a guideline for healthy living. We don’t drink alcohol, coffee or tea. We don’t do drugs or smoke. We’re supposed to eat a diet that’s heavy on the ‘harvest of the field’ – grains and vegetables/fruits and light on meat.
4. We do believe in Jesus Christ. And frown upon worshiping Satan.
5. We have a Law of Chastity and try very hard not to have any kind of sex unless you’re married. (doesnt always work but one can only try) We’re also supposed to dress in a modest fashion. Which works better for some than others. Big Daughter hates to wear skirts above the knee while I adore them…
6. We go to church for three hours on Sunday. We don’t have full-time clergy. Everyone is called upon at different times to serve in a particular ‘job’ ranging from being the Bishop to teaching Sunday school to being a Youth Leader. Right now, I’m a teacher in the women’s organization called Relief Society and the Hot Man is a leader in the Young Men’s youth program – so he gets to do fun stuff like take teenagers on hikes and do yard work service projects.
7. And yes, we are rather good at praying. (So if YOU ever need a prayer composed, ask a Mormon to help.)
My faith is important to me and super-helpful as I try to be a wife and a mum. I don’t actively try to put my spiritual beliefs into my books or my blog but because they are an essential part of who I am – then I guess some of it is going to find its way in there somehow!
BUT if I ever see a critical essay written on “Mormonism in the TELESA Series”, I’m going to vomit all over it. And call on the Dark Lord to set it on fire.
You have been warned.