Mormons Exposed!

Eloise came home from school one day very upset. A girl in school had asked her ‘what she was’ and by ‘what are you’ the girl meant ‘what religion’ – because as the girl made quite clear to Eloise ‘you have to be something – you can’t be just nothing’ and when Eloise responded again that ‘she was nothing’ – the girl made her feel bad because ‘everybody’s something!’

 

So I told Eloise she is ‘something’ – she belongs to the religion of being kind, considerate, accepting, loving, charitable, peace-loving, being a good friend, and an all around good person.

 

She told me that maybe those things didn’t count if she doesn’t have ‘a religion name’ as her friend pointed out.

 

So I sat there with her and we talked about people we know.

 

“What about our neighbor Karen – what religion is she, Eloise?”

Well I don’t know. I never asked her

“Does it matter to you?”

No, I love Karen and she’s a great neighbor.

“And what about Kristi..what religion is she?”

I don’t know. I never thought about it before.

“And you still like her and don’t feel differently about her because you don’t know her religion?”

I love Kristi and she is super fun and always thinks about us and does nice things. I don’t care about her religion.

“What about Grammy and Papa.  What religion are they?”

I don’t know. I guess I never asked them.

“Do you think you need to ask them?”

No, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love them no matter what.

“Exactly”

“If one day you feel you need a religion I hope that you find that…and if you need a religion to define you..I hope you can find that…but honestly Eloise…I’m not sure I would want to wear a religion as a label as much as I would want my character to speak for itself because of who I am.”

*******

I just spent the weekend in Utah with dear friends. With Mormons. I know. The beautiful people.  Why is that. Why are Mormons so dang gorgeous? And talented? And nice?

And because I know you are all wanting the dirt on Mormons – here is what I found out:

1.  Mormons can kick some serious butt on the running trails and also look better in tight hot running pants than I do.

2.  Mormons will stop and let you buy a double venti latte at Starbucks when you spot the Starbucks from the vehicle. You may also be yelling “OMG STARBUCKS STOP NOW” and they won’t use you as the ‘face of addiction’ to their children  – even though they rightly should.

3.  Mormons like Sprite. Hey – so does my nine year old!

4.  Mormons wear nylons. (female Mormons only) This is truly an unforgivable sin.  I didn’t even know stores still sold nylons. This is probably the deal-breaker of joining up for me.

5. Mormons play CandyLand. I know. I thought the NoMo’s had a monopoly on this ridiculous game.

6. Mormons tell really funny jokes. (The retired volunteer tour guides at the General Conference Center were awesomely funny!)

7. The men in the Book of Mormon were extremely stacked. Buff. Well built. Muscular. HOT! (well according the paintings I saw)

8. Mormons did not try to convert me, ask if I wanted to hear more, or even mention my religion really at all. They also did not mention my tattoos.(Okay one sweet lady asked me if I was LDS and when I said ‘no’ she said she was surprised as I dressed LDS..and I totally took that as a compliment because I did feel like I was ‘with my people’ because my word the gorgeous dresses and skirts the ladies wore..swoon!)

9. Mormons let me attend church with them for three hours and I did not wear nylons AND I even got a cookie!

10. Mormons are well…nice. And just like me. Except more beautiful.

**Disclosure: These Mormon truths are only based upon the small sampling size of the Mormons I encountered during my four day trip to Salt Lake City.  I was not able to meet all 14 million Mormons.  Individual results may vary.

******

So here is the thing. I am kind of ‘nothing’ when it comes to religion. Do I believe in something bigger than the both of us. Yes. Do I have a general faith in something. Yes.

 

I have spent time in Catholic Mass, Methodist and many other Protestant services, a Jewish synagogue, the Call to Prayer in a Muslim Mosque, to a Buddhist Temple, a Shinto Shrine, and I have hiked Mt Sinai and have toured the great churches of Europe.  And now I have attended a service at a Mormon ward.

 

I’ve left all of these experiences with a sense of peace and beauty and community.

 

Because mainly I want to just have a general faith that people are good and just and kind to each other no matter what they believe.

 

And that it is usually (always?) the outliers that ruin it for the rest of us.  Whether they take it through war or politics or protests or unkind words – none of it is nice. None of it is just and none of it is anything that Jesus would truly do if he were walking with us here on Earth – whether or not you(nor I) believe he is who maybe he is.

 

So sometimes I go back to what I try to teach my kids. About just being good neighbors and friends –  and I wonder how so many of us have lost this very simple message. Whether it’s the politicians of today polarizing our country with religion pontifications, or why Prop 8 even exists, or why a group that actually calls themselves mothers can embarrass our motherly name with their ugly hatred towards a person and a department store, or why two people can’t just be legally married even though they love each other and have for 22 years and have a family.

 

And I hope that no matter what religion you are. Or aren’t. That you will just teach your children about peace, love, kindness, equality and acceptance. Because I think they need a little bit more of that these days so that maybe their futures will shine a little brighter.

About Tracy


My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, and fashion expert - and ruler of my own little universe(very small). Aren't we all. I would love for you to contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com

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Comments

    • admin says

      I think it’s from Garnet Hill. Isn’t it gorgeous. Also – my friend Michelle taught me the term NoMo. lol

    • admin says

      I would totally go with you to church though. Or not to church. Pretty much I’d follow you anywhere..except to a football game.

  1. says

    This post is the best, I belong to this same church of kindness and just trying to be a good person and teach my children to do the same. Love how perfectly you stated this. xo

    • admin says

      Someone I knew you had some Lutheran lurking in you. I’ll have the lefse ready for your next visit.

  2. says

    I wasn’t raised with a religion. I went to Lutheran elementary school for a few years so I consider myself Christian. I remember never feeling like I fit in because all the other kids went to a church and I didn’t. I’m completely fine with it now. I don’t actually know many Mormons in real life, but Mormon bloggers are definitely more fashionable than I am.

  3. says

    Such a lovely post – I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve often thought about what I will tell my daughter about religion when the time comes, and I think your explanation to Eloise was simply perfect.

    • admin says

      Thank you Leslie. It’s such a tough question. I am sure there are many more discussions to come.

  4. says

    I love this. I often tell people the best Christian I know happens to be Hindu. I consider myself a united Methodist but I’ve been struggling with some fairly recent decisions made by the governing body of the UMC. It’s upsetting when fellow Christians close the doors in people’s faces and it’s most definitely not kind, just, or nice.

    As for Mormons, i have some very similar observations. ;-) They are a very nice group of people…but that’s mostly based on the Mormons I know from South Georgia & the Navy (plus, the wives usually let me have their drink tickets at Navy functions!). ;-)

    • admin says

      LOL – yes when I went to BlogHer I befriended many a Mormon and their drink tickets.

      We went to the UMC for many years when I was growing up.

  5. says

    I find when I take the stereotype and media attention out of the equation, I can be that friendly and loving person. I’ve been a deeply rooted Christian for 30 yrs now. My father was a pastor. I now, happened to be married to, a pastor. I am under the medias view of Christianity in most peoples eye. Without someone knowing me or even bothering to ask a question, there are judgements made. Not every Mormon is a polygamist. Not every Muslim is a bomb wearing murderer. Not every Jew is a selfish money grabber. Not every Christian is a gay hating hypocrite. I love that your daughter doesn’t judge or base her friendships on those stereotypes. It’s a beautiful thing. I wish more of us would take that as the foundation.

  6. says

    I attend a Baptist church but have a hard time responding, “I’m a Baptist” when asked what faith I practice. I don’t feel like I “practice” any faith. I like visiting other churches, listening to the beliefs of others. I’m more curious than I am looking for a label or religion to identify with. I identify with them all if their intent is to uplift more than their “own” by furthering discussion and movement on education, equality, service, and community.

    I love the conversation you had with Eloise. It’s so true: if the person doesn’t outright tell you, and you love him/her anyway, does it really matter what the “label” is?

    • admin says

      This is so true – even though I don’t claim a particular religion, I find religion completely fascinating and I love learning what I can about all different faiths. I hope my children will do the same.

  7. Diana says

    Amen! From another Sister of the Church of “Nothingness”…..or at least nothing bad/evil/awful…… :) So maybe, it is more appropriately the Church of Everything Good, eh? excluding no-one who has goodness in them….

    No wonder Elosie is so wonderfully accepting and eloquent! You are doing such a fabulous job!

  8. says

    i can’t even tell you how much i love this. i have my moments when i struggle with the fact that my Lovie isn’t baptized. i was raised Catholic, my husband comes from a Baptist home though he went to private Catholic schools (inner city kid). he was against getting Lovie baptized, wanted her to figure all that out on her own. but i felt that maybe we should get her baptized because could having “something” more be bad? but this post… your conversation with Eloise? is so beautiful and… perfect.

    • admin says

      My husband was raised very Catholic and I was raised a few things and then kind of nothing. We never discussed having our kids baptized..so we just never did.

      When Eloise was born though, my mom asked if we were going to at least start going to ‘some church’ to introduce her to the concept of church or God. Sometimes I wonder if we should do ‘something’ but frankly don’t even know what that looks like.

  9. says

    I love your perspective. The ‘religion of being kind, considerate, accepting, loving, charitable, peace-loving, being a good friend, and an all around good person.’ Yes, this. You are wise, my friend. xo

  10. says

    pantyhose make my ass itch…

    and I’ve only found my way back to church after Brooke was born…I’ve always believed and we were married in the Catholic church and all of our children were baptized, but I never cared to hear the word…until #4 came along and changed my views…after having her I feel it’s so important to hear the message that God has a plan for everyone and all life and I want my kids to absorb it too…we found a fantastic church that embraced our family…I never thought I’d be a churchy gal and go on Wednesday nights for Bible study (currently reading The Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible) but here I am…
    And I want people to know that you can go to church and be as awesome and foul mouthed and crass as I am…

    That was long…my fingers hurt

    • admin says

      I know – they make my ass sweat. Not pretty. I love that you are a crass church going gal. You give me hope..for me someday. Maybe. xo

  11. says

    Dearest Tracy,

    I do not wear nylons to church. Just thought you should know all Mormon women do not wear nylons. Glad you had a good time.

    Love,

    Your Utah Friend,

    Tina

    • admin says

      A good Mormon friend of mine emailed me last night to let me know that ‘awesome Mormons’ wear nude fishnet stockings. ;) lol

      So amazing to meet you. xoxo

  12. says

    I’m well-aware that I need to lock up my Sunday tweeting habits before my kids can learn to read, but I love the “no label” portion of religion. “What you call yourself” means nothing when placed against “what kind of person you are.” If you’re kind & good-natured, you’re doing something right. And, if someone says that you’re not, because you don’t line up with what they are . . . well, that person might not be kind or good-natured.

  13. says

    bravo my friend, I love when you write about this subject because your voice is so true and right about it. I just want my children to have a moral compass and love people for who and what they are. It’s such an important lesson to teach.

    thank you for posting this, it changed my day.

  14. says

    :::sigh:::
    You, my dear friend, are my hero and I am with you 110% on everything you said here.
    I wish that so many more people in the world belonged to the same church of nothing… imagine what a better place it would be.

  15. says

    You made my day.* Love love love you. As Erik says, “Religion is just a holding place until we meet God.” And you my friend live the true religion of kindness, decency, love and joy. All my children talked about how much they love you, how kindly you treated them and looked for the best in their wild little souls.

    Thank you for loving me family and seeing the best in me; your friendship means the world to me.

    *and not just because I look better in those photos than I thought I would ;)

    • admin says

      I love what Erik said about religion. So true. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you and your amazing family. I wanted to stay longer. Thank you for including me in Mary’s baptism. It’s a day I will never forget. And thank you for introducing me to some of the kindest friends that I may ever meet.

      Now I need to see you again soon.

      Also – you are hot in every photo..but yes I love how these turned out. xoxo

  16. says

    My husband and I were raised in Alabama…the bible belt and a predominantly Baptist/Methodist society. Growing up we were drilled with the ideas that their way was the only way. Now that we’re both older and have traveled and experienced different cultures, I’ve realized that “religion” in itself doesn’t mean anything to me. I know what I believe and who I am spiritually. But the whole judging one another based on a religious group? It’s a little overrated. Our very best friends are Mormon and we’ve felt more at home and more support from them than we ever felt from anyone back home who is the “right” religion. GREAT post!

  17. says

    I grew up going to church and sunday school. Lutheran. I’m glad I did, we had a ‘community’ there. Mr. Kiss is catholic, and it’s important to his parents that we “be” catholic – but he also understands I’ve a few “come to jesus” convos with God {heh} and there are things I just believe in. Just. Believe. We’re letting the kids see some of a secular side, and also telling them that you don’t have to be IN a church to pray. Or to be kind. Or to serve others. I hope we’re not totally f’kn them up.

    As for the beautiful Mormons, one of my best friends is LDS and MAN can she get down and boogie! She lets me into her world a bit and I love it.

  18. Laura says

    Tracy,
    There is a religion that teaches your principles – Unitarian Universilist. I did not realize what a strong community we had until my daughter who was away at college on the opposite coast from where I live got very sick. I went to a town where I knew not a soul, and stopped by the local UU church and found some instant friends who helped me more than they know. I know other religions would do the same thing, but I always thought UU was not really a religion since the only thing I thought I needed to believe was in the inherent worth and dignity of everyone. If you have a local UU check it out. If not, our minister posts his sermons online and he is an amazing young man – http://www.uucil.net/ I agree with you, I have found the Mormons I have met over the years to be incredibly nice (hard to reconcile the Prop. 8 stance with such niceness.) Love your blog!!!

  19. says

    This is exactly how I feel. We have not baptized our daughter, nor do we plan to. I was raised Presbyterian and my husband was raised Catholic, but neither of us practices our religions, if you will. I think the last time I was in church was for our wedding. Do I believe in something greater than all of us? Yes. Is it necessarily God as proclaimed in the Bible? I don’t know; probably not. So be a good person – that’s my religion and what I hope to teach our kids. If they then choose an organized religion for themselves someday and want to join, I’m all for that. As long as it’s not a uni-bomber cult or something of the like. ;)

  20. says

    Quite well said. I am and have always been quite involved in organized religion. I am always surprised by how many have no religion. I don’t feel sad or patronizing towards them. I don’t. It’s just all I’ve ever known so I find it surprising when such a large majority fall outside the lines I know so well. My children, while also cradle Episcopalians, go to school with Hindus and Jews and Buddhists and who knows what else! I love that they are exposed to such a variety of faiths. And yes, you certainly don’t need a religion or any label to be a kind, good person.

    • admin says

      I grew up in a small town where everyone was involved in organized religion and really never thought about it growing up either. I think it was always strange for my grandparents – who were very set in their religion when family members decided not to follow suit. It was also something I was never very good at explaining to them. Thank you for the kind comment. xoxo

  21. says

    Great way of explaining that to your daughter. I wish I had read this post two years ago when my daughter came home and said she was being bullied because she doesn’t believe in God. She said some girls asked her if she believed in God and when she said no they told her that she was making him cry by not believing him. To which she replied, “How could I make him cry if I don’t believe in him?” I’m not sure why she is so adamant about not believing in God, although I’ll admit that my husband and I do not (I confess to being a lapsed Catholic), but she does want to be good and kind and that makes all of us happy. By the way, one of the funniest mothers I ever knew was a Mormon. Loved what you wrote about that! Thanks!

    • admin says

      Hi Mary – Wow – so amazing that she could say that back to her friends. It’s easy to see how religion is the start to many wars when you see how even sweet innocent children have set beliefs. Thank you for your kind comment today. xoxo

    • admin says

      I know – I truly drank nearly an ocean of water during the weekend there…it’s still not helping. It must be more than the water.

  22. says

    My father used to say, “All the world’s religions are different versions of the same folk dance.” It makes a lot of sense to me. As for the folk dance part of the metaphor – it was the 1970’s. What else do I need to say?

  23. Jeneva says

    I think I love you. I dated a Mormon for years and went to church with him (I call myself an agnostic) and they never once asked me to join. They just accepted me. It was lovely. And this post? Exactly what I will teach my children. In the end, religion doesn’t matter. Your character does.

  24. says

    Wait, Mormons play Candyland with their children, right, not like with other adults?

    Lovely post. I remember when my daughter was 7, she wanted to call her classmates to find out if they believe in Jesus Christ so that she’d know whether to send them a Christmas card of not. I talked her into “Season’s Greetings” it.

    • admin says

      Mormons ‘may’ play Candyland with just a group of adults but I cannot imagine it would be as much fun without alcohol.

  25. says

    This was great! I love how you handled it. We should teach our kids to love each other as people. And I’m sorry, your mormons exposed had me cracking up!

  26. says

    First of all *mwah* (kiss).

    My husband and I are evangelical Christians (I guess one would define it), which still surprises us sometimes I think. We both came to our faith as adults. And even though we teach our kids about faith, they will be forging their own paths one day apart from us. Very little of our extended family share our beliefs so the kids get quite the range of influence and I appreciate that. I focus most on the importance of having a beautiful heart.

    And yes Mormons are beautiful. ;-)

  27. says

    I love your conversation with your daughter. But I must say that as a Mormon, I have had the same conversation with my children. I do not care what religion my friends, or their friends are. Part of who I define myself to be does include my religion. I would be lying if I said otherwise, but like you, I believe that being loving, kind and accepting comes above all else. I hope to teach my children those principles and when they are grown, if they choose a different religion, or no religion, I will be happy if they are all of those other things.

    I am so glad that you had a lovely time in Utah. Nylons are of the devil and I won’t wear them. I do torture my daughters with them on occasion, just for the fun of it.

  28. says

    Tracy – I read this right after you posted but had no time to comment, so here I am, back a few days later just to say, zing! You exposed us so well. I guffawed and agreed my way through your words. But it was you, my dear, who looked smashing in your tight running pants! (With a wet tush!) ;) Sitting with you at Mary’s baptism and sharing two runs with you was a real joy. I’m so delighted to have met you – and did you see Michelle’s post? I might have to get into the arm wrestle for your next stay at our house! xoxo

    • admin says

      Now I just need you and Michelle to come visit ME in Minnesota – with cute tight running pants on of course. ;) xo

  29. says

    Great post! My husband and I are not religious either (though we are not believers) and we also try to raise our daughter with the religion of being kind. Especially among non-believers labels are difficult to assign, so I try to avoid them whenever possible. :)

  30. says

    I am so glad Eloise doesn’t care about my religion, you have taught her well! Your trip sounds incredible, and I can’t wait to hear more of the details.

    We are ‘homeschooling’ Charlie when it comes to religion, Mike’s very Catholic parents are not impressed, but it works for u. I truly believe that we all have to do what we think is best, and know that God will value all of us and our children for making the effort, no matter where the classroom is.

  31. says

    I didn’t read any of your other comments so I don’t know if anyone is giving you a hard time, but I love this post. The whole thing, all of it. I agree with you 100 percent! I hope to see more and more of us bloggers saying things like this.

  32. Kit says

    LOVED meeting you and talking about Deluth (I’m truly sorry if I offended you by calling it Gotham City), life in general and life with three daughters :). Hopefully mine will turn out to be as kind and wonderful as yours.

    • admin says

      Oh Kit – it was so nice to finally meet you. You have such a beautiful family. And Duluth can be a bit like Gotham City – which is actually quite a compliment. xo

  33. Leslie says

    Thanks for a beautiful post. I was actually a Mormon and left it and I am having an amazing journey teaching my children about being “something” without the label of a religion in their lives. Michelle is my neighbor and I am sad that I didn’t get to meet you at the baptism. I was away for the weekend. She is lucky to have you in her life. They are wonderful neighbors that have loved us unconditionally in and out of the church.

    • admin says

      Hi Leslie, I am so sorry to miss you as Michelle mentioned how incredible you are. There will be a next time though for sure! xo

  34. says

    I HATE nylons.

    I once got in trouble when I was student teaching because I did not have them on underneath my PANTS and my supervisor caught a flash of bare ankle.

    When I went to interview for a job down here and the principal wasn’t wearing them with her skirt, that was enough to sell me on moving here.

    Um, this might be a slight tangent. I got distracted by the mention of nylons.