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Hangin with the Mormons

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Whew. New post. With original content. And hopefully it's good.

I try not to delude myself into thinking that more than a dozen people read this little blog. And I know that if more people read it, it's because they like sports or want Arwyn's brilliant insights.

But, in case you came for me--any new readers who may have followed from discussion of BoH's "Greg": yes, I am not Mormon and I write about it. Sometimes. My thoughts are complicated/convoluted, so don't ask me why. Okay, you can ask, but I'm going to give you a flippant answer. (Answer #1: Mormon girls are HOT!)

Anymore, online is the only place where I hang out with the Mormons. It's been over a year since I last went to Church. (I might make a post on 'why' later.) When I was going to Church, I made a few friends, but they either moved or got a ball and chain married.

I like hanging out with my Mormon friends, but the difference in our lifestyles make it difficult sometimes. If I'm involved in throwing a party, for example, it'll probably involve lots of drinking. (Almost all my friends are grad students--what do you expect?) While it is possible to find Mormons that are willing to attend these type of parties, it tends to be kinda rare.

Besides, there's an extra problem: me. Without getting into any detail, there's the side of me that leans toward the Church--which is what I show members, and the side that is in "The World." So, mixed-group gettogethers are tricky. Especially because I don't know how well my non-Mormon and Mormon friends would get along.

It's not too bad, though. I mostly hang out with all Mormons or all non-Mormons.

Hangin' out with the Mormons poses it's own problems:

1) I have what may be described as a "dirty, dirty mouth." I admit it, I love swearing. I think it's great. Unfortunately, most Mormons don't like it. So I try to stop. I've gotten better at it, but there's still some times where I can't get around it--it just doesn't sound right. And using pseudo-swears like "freakin'" just makes you sound like a goshdarn fool.

2) I lack shared experiences. I have an okay idea what it's like to be a Mormon, but there are many many areas that I have no clue about. Conversion stories, for instance. Or the general "growing up Mormon". (Dude, I did take seminary, so I at least got that!)

2b) And if I don't know everyone, it will occasionally get out that I am, in fact, an evil no-good gentile.

2c) Seriously, though, there seems to be some uncomfortableness. Much of it is my own uneasiness (feeling I don't belong, feeling that I shouldn't pollute their righteousness). Occasionally it's because some Mormons don't know how to deal with what I stand for. There aren't many of us in the middle, between the Church and Secular life.

3) Not only that, but my experiences are quite different. For instance, my favorite story from college is what we call "The Porn Story". You can see why this might pose a problem. Also, Mormons don't seem that impressed when I brag about how I put down 24 beers in 4 1/2 hours. (Uh, that's true, in case anyone actually is impressed by that not-so-little feat.)

4) Speaking of, have you ever been to a Mormon party? I have. That was the first time I had ever played any parlor game in life. Wow. Not that it was bad, just that I was so totally out of my element. It's like I didn't understand English: "You want me to... c'mon, you gotta be kidding me."

Nah; Mormons are, by and large, pretty great people and I like hanging out and talking with them. (Of course, it could simply be that the Mormons that'll put up with me are great people.) This means you, of course.

14 Responses to “Hangin with the Mormons”

  1. Anonymous Geoff J 

    Also, Mormons don't seem that impressed when I brag about how I put down 24 beers in 4 1/2 hours.

    Well, I think it is pretty shocking. More for the amount of beverage than the alcohol part. I mean, I can't imagine myself downing 24 cans of diet A&W in 4 1/2 hours... That's gallons of peeing to be done!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I feel like I could write the flipside of your post, since I am a (devout) mormon who nearly always hangs out with non-mormons (or lapsed mormons, ex-mormons or anti-mormons). The mormons I do hang out are very rarely orthodox, and would probably be regarded as more anamalous to the "typical" mormon than a non-mormon.

  3. Blogger mellancollyeyes 

    I can completely relate. I'm Mormon, but I understand the do my non-mormon friends match up with my mormon friends? And oooooh the language I have been known to use!! There are definitely those of us who completely feel you on this issue!

  4. Anonymous Susan M 

    Ditto to what Anonymous said above.

    The drinking issue is a big one though. I know a lot of people who go to see the same bands play that I do, and I love hanging out with them at shows, it doesn't bother me that they drink there--we are at a bar, after all. But hanging out anywhere else, nah. Won't want to do it if they're getting drunk.

  5. Blogger Arwyn 

    Very nice, Pris -- I always love to read your insights into Mormon culture. Becuase Mormon culture is so very...weird, really. Peculiar, we prefer to call it, but at the most very basic, by striving to be "not of the world," we've created a very strange way of interacting and enjoying ourselves.

    I am, at this very moment, avoiding a Mormon Halloween party (they even cancelled FHE for it! gasp!) because I spent Friday and Saturday nights at cast parties that were, ah, a bit too wild. And if I were to present that excuse to any of the folks in my new ward -- even with the caveat that I did, in fact, remain sober, and did not, in fact, hook up with anyone -- I can see their eyes going wide.

    Kind of the same way the bishop's did when he asked if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes, I did; and he asked if he was a member, and I said, "No, he's Hindu."

    That was precious. Very precious.

  6. Blogger Pris 

    Geoff: Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night.

    Adrianne: I wonder how close my experiences trying to navigate the two groups compared to a Mormon doing the same. Is it easier or harder? I can see arguments both ways (and perhaps a post forthcoming).

    And swearers of the world, unite!

    Susan: That makes sense. I know a lot of drinkers that don't like to be around other drinkers if they are not drinking. A question: would you go out with people who were drinking, but not getting drunk? Like, if you and I went out somewhere to eat, and I ordered A beer, would it make you uncomfortable?

    Arwyn: I don't think I've ever been to a Mormon Halloween party, and I don't think I'd go either. (Not so much because it's Mormon, but because I don't like people.) I often wonder what kind of looks Mormons that go out a lot with non-Mormons. I'd imagine it's different in places like Utah. It makes me wonder if any of my LDS friends took flack from other LDS because we were friends.

    And a Hindu boy? Really? Interesting--perhaps you should make a post about it. (hinthint)

  7. Blogger Rachel 

    I totally hear you on the whole "not having common experiences" thing. I'm a member but I never took seminary because I had other classes I would rather take. I also have tons of non-member friends, and a few member friends and basically, you just have to find out who you are and put it out there--no apologies or excuses. My friends invite me to parties with the understanding that there will be alcohol there and I won't be drinking it. And when I throw a party they know that I won't be supplying drinks, but there will be plenty of snacks and soda and they can get drunk afterward if they want. Bottom line: Find yourself and stick to it. If your friends don't like it, find new friends.

  8. Blogger Arwyn 

    The Mormon Halloween parties I've gone to have all been "Trunk-or-Treat" parties for kids. I specifically avoided this one; it could've been fun, perhaps, but I guess I'll never know.

    It makes me wonder if any of my LDS friends took flack from other LDS because we were friends.

    Good question. I never took flack from friends at church for having non-LDS friends -- but then, I never lived in Utah, and if I limited my friends to friends from church, I'd have nearly none.

    Dating non-Mormons, on the other hand, is a different matter. I may have to post on that...

  9. Blogger annegb 

    Oh dear. I have the most beautiful single daughter. She's 27, divorced, 6 feet tall and model thin. She drives a Harley and she is drop dead beautiful. she's also funny and smart and brave.

    She's a Mormon, and believes and is the kindest person, would give you the shirt off her back, but she is inactive. Your cussing wouldn't bother her.

    Now, don't be sad, like Kaimi was, she's had her men. But you guys on the blog are nice. I could see you for sons-in-law.

    Want me to send her picture? She's sort of Julia Roberts-ish.

    Plus she got suspicious when I asked for pictures and threatened me with my life. And I innocently said, "no, I'm not going to post it, hon." Which is true.

  10. Blogger Logan 

    I'd hang out with you, Pris. You're right that the drinking/non-drinking divide can be hard to bridge. But I can usually get over it.

    But none of that other stuff bothers me in the least. In fact, it sounds refreshingly different. I'd have a great time checking out your record collection, and I'd love to hear The Porn Story!

  11. Blogger Pris 

    anne: you had me at "6 feet tall." I having nothing at all against short people or short Dates, but all else being equal, I like 'em tall. Something about not needed to bend over to kiss. Oh, if only I lived in Utah!

    Logan: yeah, the drinking thing. It's hard especially when almost every time my friends and I go out it's to a bar. I have a hard time imagining what my social life would be like if I didn't go to bars.

    Likewise on the music. And the Porn Story: if other people want to hear it, I can type it up. But I'm afraid that no one will find it terribly funny because I can't act it out. ...Which sounds dirty, but isn't. It actually involves watching Porn, and if people hate porn, it's just not going to be funny. I, though, find it freakin hilarious, but probably because I was there.

    If I'm ever in NYC, I'll have to give you a call or something. Oh, if only I lived in NYC!

    (That's it, I guess I just have to move.)

  12. Blogger Logan 

    Awesome, Pris. Seriously, do let me know if you ever come to town. We can even hit a bar. (It's a lot easier for non-drinkers when there's fantastic live music going on, like there is in Williamsburg.)

  13. Anonymous Susan M 

    Pris, I don't mind if my friends have a drink--I do have non-member friends I'll go out with that'll have a glass of wine or whatever. But most of the drinkers I know are not in it to have a single glass. They want to get wasted.

  14. Anonymous Steve EM 

    Pris, Merde Alors! Learn to cuss in French. It won't bother your Mormon buds and, to quote a great movie, it's like wiping your ass w/ silk. Even my 5 year old does it.

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