It is high time I came clean. I am the wolf in sheep’s clothing among all you liberals (insert maniacal laughter). I just took a couple of orthodoxy tests on the Believe It or Not thread over at the friendly neighborhood Cultural Hall. As I’ve been every other time I took the test, I am 100% Mormon (and 98% Mainline to Liberal Protestant, if you really want to know).
On the one hand, it’s an undeniably trivial test, and online tests of religion are even more reductive than most. On the other, it’s an interesting exercise to pause over just how thoroughly Mormon I am. (I believe in a corporeal God, the divinity of Christ, the reality of Satan, the pre-existence, the afterlife, the final judgment, the three degrees of glory, the Restoration, the historicity of the Book of Mormon, the reality of priesthood authority, the necessity of ordinances, and the reality of the living prophet.) And as Lynnette recently said, I can’t imagine drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, or not filling out my tithing slips. I’m a wholehearted supporter of the law of chastity. I think the sexual revolution was a mistake. I even took out my second earring after the famous talk of 2000. (Lest you get the wrong idea about me, I can be persuaded to watch R-rated movies, I love to say “damn” and “hell,” and I frequently find other drivers a source of extreme provocation.)
So what’s my beef? Well, aside from various feminist issues we will not doubt continue to discuss ad nauseum around here, I struggle with church. Sunday is the low point of my week. The dread begins to grip me every Saturday night and doesn’t abate until I come home miserable to tell my husband what a lucky sucker he is for being so contentedly agnostic about it all. I find myself in a constant dilemma about the sacrament; just being in church puts me in such a dark mood that I really don’t know if it’s moral for me to engage in the single aspect of it I find meaningful. Sunday school and Relief Society are an ordeal (“How does Isaiah teach us to support our religious president?” “How can winning a beauty contest like Esther prepare us to order the wholesale slaughter of our enemies?”). Having a home- or visiting-teaching message read at me makes me feel as if I’ve been forcibly strapped into a theological high chair. (Did you know, Sister Eve, that Relief Society is a great blessing to us in our lives today?).
I am, more or less, what you would get if you ran a New Order Mormon through a brain inverter. (I say this with the greatest possible respect for NOMs; my husband basically is one.) As I understand it (poorly, no doubt; please correct me, o NOMs among us), NOMiness involves doubts or disbelief about some or all of the Church’s truth claims but a continued desire to associate with the Church. I actually believe all of this propesterous stuff (I figure that as long as I’m Christian, I’m already very far on in the business of believing the proposterous). I just hate the social part of Mormonism. This evening I begged Kiskilili to buy me a huge T-shirt with Eyeore and the word “GRUMPY” on it, so that I can wear it to church and warn people away from me. I wish I could worship in a cubicle. (And yes, I’m well-acquainted all the high-minded ideals about the Church being as true as the gospel and the necessity of religious community, and I even believe in them. They sound so moving when I’m sitting at home reading about them ALL BY MYSELF!)
So I put it to you, gentle readers. Just what kind of a Mormon am I?
- 10 December 2006