Have I told you Lovebugs that the assignment is over? It ended about a week ago and while I am glad to sleep in, be lazy and stay up late just because I can, I do miss getting up and about. The plans I had to catch up on laundry, organize and change over closets, catch matinees and maybe budget in a getaway (not happening) are just that…plans. I have done nothing and while there is some guilt, I am okay with that.
Today’s post is yet another admission…in previous posts I told you all about researching the small town in Utah (in addition to the college and the AutoZone, it is filled with turkey farms) and how I was looking into LDS…not sure what I was smoking but that was definitely the crazy doing what it does. But I took the LDS thing a little bit further…I posted an ad on Craigslist in UTAH, asking for advice and testimonials as to the pros and cons of the religion and for life in Utah in general. I did not tell anyone because I felt I had revealed enough crazy for a lifetime over a guy who really, really turned out to be so not worth it and I wanted to maintain some semblance of dignity and sanity. I mean, come on….it’s Obsessed Me, Craigslist, Utah and LDS…enough said. But Artsy Craftsy told me that we have all been here/there…becoming something else for someone else and Honeybee insisted I tell it…it was too unreal and too funny (in a did she really do that) kind of way.
I will say that I chose this route to do research because the Mormons are pushing some serious propaganda. I fully understand that everyone wants to be presented in the best light, but LDS presents their religion as one that does no wrong. Did you know Utah is the center of the “suicide belt”? (other states include Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Oklahoma) That Utah leads the nation in youth/teen suicides (over 20 a year and 2 suicide attempts a day) and is 8th in the nation with adult suicides? Utah has the highest rate of antidepressant usage in the nation and leads the nation in divorce. Is it just coincidence that Utah is considered “headquarters” (term actually used by Utah dwelling Mormons) for the Church of Latter day Saints or is there a correlation between the church and these statistics? The Church says no and that it is in fact helping those in need. No one I talked to sees how.
So I post my ad and posted it on both the men’s section and the women’s section. Not one woman responded and that does not surprise me…women like me read CL and women like me don’t live in places like Utah. The men who answered fell into two categories…the promoters who kept directing to the LDS website or the ones who needed someone to talk to…apparently, being a Mormon is hard work. They all sent pictures and I swear, these men look old, beaten and odd. They are either ghostly pale or that reddish-brown color white folks get when they burn versus tan. They all had facial hair (not sure if it is a Mormon thing or a Utah thing, but PC was clean shaven with me, and has facial hair with his new life as a Utah dwelling Mormon), all were relatively young (no one over 40) and with the exception of a couple of guys, all lived in “bigger” towns such as Salt Lake City, Provo and Logan. They were all born and raised in Utah and never left except for their church mandated mission. They all had strangely shaped heads and very bland and plain features. Nothing about them stood out except they had that rugged look mountain men are known to have. Seriously, one guy who was pasty, bald headed and pudgy reminded me of Buddha…if Buddha had a light bulb shaped head.
The Church of Latter Day Saints (the true name of the church) was founded in 1820 by Joseph Smith and they do use the Bible, but an LDS version of the King James Bible. The LDS version has footnotes, indexes and summaries that align with the Book of Mormon, which was written by a prophet named Mormon and covers time/life/teachings from 2500 BC to 400 AD. The church is known best for polygamy which began because the Lord commanded plural marriages unto them; on a practical side, it was a way to populate the church. Their most famous founder (at least to me), Brigham Young had 55 wives. The Church says that polygamy was banned in 1890 but stories and rumors of polygamous marriages and unions plague the Church to this day. According the men I talked with, there is ANOTHER church….the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints where polygamy is still practiced. I was just like….for real? Another church? The LDS church has been plagued by stories of believing in spaceships and that Heaven (or Glory as the men called it) was in outer space. In fact, Joseph Smith said that there are men living on the moon who dress like Quakers and lived to be nearly 1000 years old. No one had heard of that story but not sure how they could have missed it…it’s their church, their religion. Based on what I was told and led to understand, the Mormons believe that we all go to Glory upon death, even the most vile and evil amongst us, but there are levels to Glory…we are placed here to learn and practice self-control to attain the “top prize” so to speak…the uppermost level of Glory.
And the race for the top prize starts early: LDS children are to be honor roll students, are expected to be chaste and to achieve levels of higher education to be pillars of the community: doctors, lawyers, engineers and nurses are common career choices offered to LDS children. The males must embark on a church mission (2 years in duration) to another location (sometimes international) where they are cut off from the outside world…no TV, no cell phone, no internet, no radio, no newspapers…and spread the Mormon Gospel.
Sex is allowed only within marriage…no petting, kissing, making out are allowed before marriage. Masturbation and the watching of porn are not allowed, period. (That fact alone would have me bolting for the door) This may be the reason they encourage marriage by the age of 25. One guy I talked to is 28 and single…according to the church he should be married with 3 kids by now; he faces pressure and judgment every day from everyone. Within marriage, it is intercourse only…no oral, no anal, no kink. And extra marital affairs can get one excommunicated, where a person is shunned from the church, their family and community. One is not allowed to drink coffee, tea, alcohol, use tobacco products or use illegal drugs/substances. I can see the tobacco, alcohol and drugs…your body is your temple. However, their reasoning is that one needs to abstain from things which could cause addiction and adverse effects on the person, family and community…except everything has the potential for being an addiction. Everything. They are not allowed to watch R rated movies….too filled with worldly things. Like sex and coffee.
To me, it seems the church is pushing an agenda of perfection and wholesome…things that simply do not exist. They are ideals only. I do not like the intrusive way the church is with people’s lives….I believe that the church is a place of worship and fellowship and offers guidance, support and supplements to a healthy and balanced life….it doesn’t push one to lead a certain type of life, but helps you get on and stay on a path pleasing to God. THIS is why I am more spiritual than religious…free will and forgiveness are wonderful things. I don’t see that here. I see everything forbidden being more of a temptation and here is a fun thing I learned: Mormon men and women cheat all.the.time (probably leading to the high divorce rate) and Mormon men more often than not lead double lives and almost always hide their faith when they do so. This must be why they interview folks before allowing them entry to the church…its hard work and not everyone is cut out for it. For what it’s worth, I understand that short of the adultery thing, one can fall short and still be a member of the church…you won’t be allowed access to certain activities or participate in some groups but they won’t kick you out.
Okay, wrapping this up (hopefully once and for all)…no more admissions, no more secrets, no more crazy…at least for now. I am kind of glad I went through this bout of quiet crazy…forever, I have thought a person’s religious beliefs were not an important factor unless we were discussing children or marriage…it’s important to know once you start getting monogamous and somewhat serious. And I found out that no matter how much you are willing to change for someone, it does no good if they aren’t willing to change also. I would say just don’t change, but with the right person (or who comes across as the right one), we will change…hopefully for the better.
Check back soon for new posts and as always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual…enjoy your day!