An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Buffet Mormon

A friend sent me a link to which she recommends to “buffet Mormons” “who agree with the doctrine, but not always with the culture.” I found the site uplifting—especially their motto, “Meeting People Wherever They Are.”  But my friend has the wrong take on me. I like Mormon culture just fine—in fact, I’m all for more culture and less doctrine.

Think what an improvement it would be to replace the second hour of the Sunday block of meetings with social hour in the cultural hall. We wouldn’t have to serve coffee like the “gentile’ churches, but wouldn’t it be nice to anticipate soothing oneself with warm chocolate chip cookies while enduring a high councilman’s sacrament meeting talk? Primary teachers could save a fortune on Goldfish and Teddy Grahams if the kids entered the third block stuffed with donuts—oh wait—then teachers would have to deal with the sugar rush. Maybe we could hold Primary during sacrament meeting and go home and practice family values during the third block.

 Food is a great Mormon cultural heritage. We should celebrate it more often. I’d even volunteer to clean up the kitchen and put away the folding chairs afterwards if someone else would bring the brownies and lemon bars. Meeting attendance would probably soar, and we could complete our monthly home and visiting teaching assignments with no stress while munching goodies together.

Preparedness is another Mormon cultural positive. Expecting and preparing for Armageddon makes any lesser disaster such as a global atomic arms race appear trivial. Selling storage items also provides supplemental income for stay-at-home moms. The only downside is moving, but usually an announcement in the ward bulletin will help you unload 20-year-old cans of wheat and dried beans for not too much less than the original purchase price. My favorite thing to store is water. I feel really virtuous when I fill an empty Clorox bottle with water and write a date on it. I’m recycling plastic bottles and it costs nothing to line my basement walls with jugs of water which I hope I’ll never have to use since I’m not good at emptying out and refilling once a year; plus, I do suspect plastic molecules of leaching into the water. In an emergency I’d have to choose between dying of thirst immediately or dying of cancer later.

Seriously, I value membership in an organization larger than myself. It’s a way my small contribution of time and money can join with enough others to actually make a positive difference. I like being notified of people in need of help; that way I don’t have to go out looking for them myself or feel like I have to meet all the needs myself. Is that being personally irresponsible? Probably, but it is, to paraphrase a quote, meeting myself where I am.

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