Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oh yeah, I used to be mormon once

It was a little over twenty years ago that I stopped believing in mormonism.  I still attended the main church service (sacrament meeting), but it was under subtle and not so subtle protest. (Some not so subtle protests included doing homework during the sacrament meeting service and wearing pants I had made myself.  Unfortunately I do not have a photo of myself wearing those pants, which were amazing).

So I was shocked and amused recently when one of my husband's friends didn't believe that I used to be mormon, and thought maybe I had been part of an offshoot sect.

With all due respect, I have plenty of mormon cred.  Baptized at 8 - I remember going to the Washington D.C. temple with my parents, and folding my arms and being especially quiet to be reverent in the visitor's center. Just being that close to the temple was special and holy. (For the record, this would show some of my early tendency towards scrupulosity).  I remember wanting to sing the "I'm a Mormon" song to other people to tell them about my faith.

And that's not mentioning the fact that one of my ancestors crossed the plains from Nauvoo, and some were polygamists. One (some amount of greats) aunt was married to Joseph Smith.

Maybe this is another version of the "She wasn't a *real* mormon" type criticism of former mormons.  That's possible.

But what I hope that it is is that I have moved past processing my mormon heritage and faith (the initial insanity that some people go through upon disaffecting).

Being raised mormon is a part of who I am and won't change.  And I do read blogs, listen to podcasts, participate on boards because mormons and former mormons are just so interesting.

But unlike the young family with Utah plates and three kids under the age of 4 wearing short sleeves on the hottest day in summer (and the RULDS2 bumper sticker), there's not a flashing neon sign on my head that reads mormon.  (Or one that reads former mormon).

And for that, I'm grateful.

I have worked very hard to figure out what normal is, if such a thing exists.

And I have nothing against mormons/believing mormons.  I know/love many people who are active, faithful people (including my parents).

It's true, there is a part of me who wants to sit down with my husband's faithful friend and explain all this mormon cred.  I know who the current prophet is and I know what some of the talks said in the past general conference.  Then talk about all the stuff I know about mormonism.  But I want to respect his right to his own beliefs.


Donna Banta said...

Great post aerie!

A couple of years ago I was in a writing class with a believing Mormon who made a point of telling the whole class that I wasn't a "real Mormon." (Because I'd left the church and my writing sample reflected Mormonism as not entirely perfect.) It was a weird feeling, after so many years of not wanting to be associated with the church to suddenly feel like, "Wait a minute, I was too a real Mormon!" Sigh.

Donna Banta said...

Did I just spell you name "Aerie?" It looked that way when I clicked publish a few minutes ago. If I did, sorry! (I hate when I do stuff like that.) If I didn't--never mind. (More sighs.)

Freckle Face Girl said...

A similar thing happened to me in Miami. What is interesting is that other than in the Mormon corridor, I don't see that many "typical Mormons." I guess I think of them as Molly Mormons that are frugal homemakers. Most of the ones around here are quite wealthy, spend hours at the gym everyday, and dress in amazing clothes. They are more like supermodels & I guess that makes me more of a frugal Molly looking lady.

C. L. Hanson said...

This post has been nominated for a 2014 Brodie Award in the category of "Best Moving On from Mormonism Piece". Please go here if you would like to vote for it! :D