Thursday, November 4, 2010

On A Related Note

In a similar vein of another one of my recent entries, I'd now like to discuss the inanity of the mindset that many members of my peer group seem to espouse. 

Living in Provo, Utah, is interesting and terrible for many reasons. Many of those reasons make both lists. For starters, the concept of safe driving is completely beyond many of the residents of this town. Every time Nate and I attempt to go anywhere outside of walking distance, we fear for our lives. 

Provo is also full of people. Far too many people. There are way too many people living in this city than the city can actually accommodate. Housing is a concern for many people. Parking is a concern for even more people. Last week, someone parked their gaudy teal pick-up in our parking spot. Our parking spot with our apartment number on it. And they left it there for more than three hours. 

Provo being full of people makes living here difficult enough. It does not help that many of those people are jerks. 

A hefty portion of BYU students have never been outside of Utah for any extended period of time, and as such, they were made victim of the terrifying Utah brainwashing that does not seem to occur anywhere else. 

Last week, a good friend of mine was sitting in church. She's single, so she goes to church with a bunch of single people (the BYU administration is really adamant about segregating the single people from the non-single people, in the hopes that the single people will pair off and get married). Their lesson that week? 

Attracting a man. 

You heard me right. A meeting with supposed religious significance was devoted to "dating in Mormon culture." Because, as we all know, dating is a commandment, and if you don't date and get married right now, you will burn in hell forever. One of the pieces of schlock presented as legitimate advice given at this meeting was to "learn about a guy's favorite sport's team."

Firstly, that makes you seem like a stalker freak. Secondly, some women have no interest in sports. Why would you want to be married to someone whose interest differ so greatly from yours? A good 80% of the men on this campus salivate over BYU football. I could never be married to someone like that.

I feel like the implication is that getting married is more important than getting married to somebody you like. 

I'd like to share a story. When I was fifteen years old, too young to date by LDS standards, I was at a church activity. It was a joint activity, meaning that both young men and young women were present. We were playing volleyball, or some other lazy activity like that. 

I was walking across the room when one of the leaders for the Young Men's organization, a grown man in his forties, flagged me down. He pulled me aside and proceeded to tell me, without, to my knowledge, any provocation, that boys wouldn't want to date me. He said that they were "intimidated by someone who is smart (awkward pause) and beautiful." The implication was that I should become less smart and less pretty immediately if I was to have any hope of catching a man at the ripe old age of fifteen. 

Again, I take several issues with this. 

1. I didn't really know this guy. He didn't really know me. Until this time, we had never spoken one-on-one before. 
2. I was fifteen, so by his own standards, I shouldn't have been dating anyway. 
3. I feel like it was a completely inappropriate exchange for anyone to have with anyone, much less a middle aged man with a teenager.
4. Why was he so concerned about whether I'm dating or not? It seemed to me that the people who needed to be concerned about my love life were myself, maybe my parents, and maybe some close friends. This man did not fall into any of those categories, and was therefore completely unqualified to give me any advice whatsoever on that topic. Especially such disgusting advice. 
5. Why in the WORLD would I want to date someone who didn't like my brain and looks the way they are? Even at fifteen, my self-esteem was not that low. Even then, I would have rather been single than have to live a farce for the sake of impressing an idiot boy. 

Again, here people are making having a relationship, any relationship, even if it's terrible, the most desirable option. Being single under any circumstances is supposed to be way worse than any relationship you could possibly be in. I was supposed to dumb down and ugly up (really? Really? I'm supposed to believe that guys don't like pretty girls?) and pretend to like sports, and that doing so would land me the man of my dreams. 

Well, I did none of that. I didn't even flirt with anyone. I had no intention of getting married before twenty-five. I made friends with many different guys and I still ended up getting married ridiculously young to someone who -SHOCK- isn't into sports, thinks I am "refreshingly opinionated," and finds me very attractive, thank you. 

I am really very concerned for a lot of these girls who honestly believe that catching a man and spewing out as many babies as they can is the only thing that they're living for. The rate for civil divorce among Mormons is no better than the divorce rate for the US as a whole, so for all the claims that the LDS people knows the secret to an eternal marriage, they clearly don't know better than anyone else. 


  1. The more I read your blogs, the more I wonder why you are even LDS in the first place. : P

  2. For the most part, I have no problem with the doctrine. And many of the issues I have with the doctrine I suspect comes from bigoted people who present their personal prejudices as doctrine, and enough people share those prejudices that no one's felt the need to clarify.

    For example: There were black men that held the priesthood in Joseph Smith's time. Somebody else somewhere along the line decided that they shouldn't, and everyone else just rolled with it for the next century or so. But to me, the notion that God would curse an entire race of people because of their genetics, as opposed to the choices they made and what they did with their lives, is absolutely ludicrous and it makes no sense.

    I honestly do believe that the church is true. But a caveat to that belief is the phrase that is repeated several times in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon: God is no respecter of persons. Also repeated is something to the effect that God does not care if you are bond or free, male or female, etcetera. He doesn't love you any different and he's not going to bless you any different if you're doing the best you can.

    The problem is that so many LDS people just believe what they are told without questioning anything. They don't think, they just accept. Whereas I very strongly believe that you cannot know that something is true until you've doubted it at least enough to figure it out for yourself. But I feel like there's a line between having faith and blindly following.

    For some reason, and this is in no way a complaint, I ended up far too cynical to accept anything at face value. But I'm by all means willing to take the steps to find out if X doctrine is true for myself.

  3. I was mostly teasing you, I know you aren't complaining. : ) . I think it's refreshing that someone can remain a dedicated member of their religion while simultaneously noting the downfalls of the culture surrounding said religion. It's important, and a sign of intelligence.

  4. I have so many problems with a lot of things surrounding Mormon culture. And there are some doctrinal things I don't fully understand either. You are not alone in all that. It is unfortunate that many people can't separate the two, though. I have an older brother that actually left the church for that reason. Also, I know some people who many people in the church would look badly on and judge for the bad things they have done, and they have done things that almost no one would think were ok, and they have ended up getting baptized and are trying to turn their lives around right now. It is incredibly difficult to do that if noone expects it of you. I am quite passionate about the topic of judging people, either on their own personal pasts or on their experiences with other people. I, personally, am glad the burden of judging people falls on God, the only being qualified to actually do it well or fully and justly. And I don't have to do it.

  5. I have a hard time not judging other LDS people. It's way easier for me to be loving and supportive to people who aren't LDS or who are new to being LDS. There have just been a whole lot of LDS people who haven't been very nice to me or who haven't been nice to people who don't live up to their standards.

    I know it's a problem. I feel like I should probably work on it. I've found that I generally like individuals, but not organizations as a whole.