• Blog

    Mormon Culture: “Mormons and Gays” to “Mormon and Gay”

    What’s the difference between saying “Mormons and Gays” and “Mormon and Gay”? Actually, quite a lot. It’s a shift from “us” and “them” language to “us” language. In 2012, the LDS church launched a website called Mormons and Gays (this link will take you to the old website). In October 2016, the LDS Church changed their site to Mormon and Gay. An article from the Mormon Newsroom says, “The new appellation, ‘Mormon and Gay,’ reflects the reality that a person doesn’t need to choose between these two identities — one can, in fact, be gay and live faithful to the teachings of Christ.” This is a mentality that has changed over time.…

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    Mormon Culture: “Us” and “Them” Mentality

    Sometimes you’ll hear an “us” and “them” mentality in religious rhetoric; the same is true for Mormon rhetoric. In sociology, there’s a concept of the in-group and the out-group. If you feel you’re part of a group, you are the in-group. Whoever the in-group is “competing” with is the out-group. In the April 2017 General Conference, Neil L. Anderson said, “Those of the world have difficulty with accountability to God — like a child who parties in his parents’ home while they are out of town, enjoying the ruckus, refusing to think about the consequences when the parents return 24 hours later.” This phraseology “those of the world” puts members of the church…

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    Mormon Culture: Stigmas

    Let’s talk about people who didn’t serve missions. Is it okay to have a negative reaction towards them because they decided not to serve missions — whether they be female or male? Nope. I’ll never forget a story I heard about a young man who decided to return to the LDS Church after years of being inactive. He went to do his home teaching, and the sister he taught said she would never date a guy who wasn’t a return missionary. And he was so hurt, not having served a mission himself, that he decided he was no longer going to go to church. I mean, if people are going…

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    Mormon Culture: Transitioning From Mission to Real Life

    Coming home from a mission is not as easy as you expect it to be. Sure, you learned how to study and make goals, but missions are extremely structured in a way that life is not. Psychologist Wendy Ulrich has worked with the LDS Church missionary mental health committee on several projects, such as a booklet called “Adjusting to Missionary Life” and an online program to help missionaries returning home from their missions, called “My Plan.” Adjusting to missionary life is difficult, but Ulrich said it can be just as hard transitioning back to “normal” life. There are a few reasons for this. 1. You have to make your own plans. On…

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    Mormon Culture: Modesty and Bikinis

    Here’s a message I got the other day from a friend: “I just really don’t understand why my midriff causes so much uproar from other people. It’s like my belly button is somehow so much more inappropriate or sexual than some guy’s belly button.” What do you think of that? I personally don’t think there’s anything sexy about a bellybutton, but maybe other people do? Comment and let me know so I can get the facts straight. Scott Gordon, the President of FairMormon, a non-profit “dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice,” told me in an email, “Bare midriff for men or women is the…

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    Mormon Culture: Doctrine vs. Policy

    Did you know it’s a commandment to wear a white shirt while passing the sacrament? And blue shirts evil? It seems that sometimes there are blurred lines between what’s doctrine and what’s policy or culture. For example, it’s a policy that people don’t play brass instruments or guitars during sacrament meeting, but does that mean those instruments are bad? Nope. On a mission, you follow a pretty strict schedule, complete with waking up at 6:30 a.m., so does that mean you’re a “bad” member if after your mission you wake up later than that? Are you living a lesser law? Nope. But the imposed expectations that people sometimes have about these…

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    Mormon Culture: Dating

    Ask anyone in Provo how they feel about dating, and you’ll probably get some exasperated sighs. So maybe there’s a Provo dating culture and a Mormon dating culture, but BYU professor Tom Robinson, who has been at BYU for 14 years and served as a YSA bishop said, “The YSAs aren’t dating because I don’t think they know how.” The list problem When girls are in Young Women’s, they’re asked to make a list of qualities they want in a future spouse. These lists usually include things like college grad, good-looking,  good job, return missionary. BYU Professor Tom Robinson gives firesides on dating and says these lists are part of the…

  • Antoine Taveneaux, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASan_Diego_Mormon_Temple17.jpg
    Blog

    Mormon Culture: What is it?

    Mormon culture is simply the culture shared by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But this blog will mostly focus on American Mormon culture because while some aspects of Mormon culture carry over into other places, much of the Mormon culture I’ll be dealing with in this blog has to do with American Mormon culture. And just like any other culture, it’s more pronounced in places that are more concentrated with people of the group. Without hard data, you can probably guess where Mormon culture is most prevalent: Utah and Idaho. But here’s the hard data anyway: So what makes up culture? In sociology, there are…

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    Jesse King’s blog on Mormon Culture

    “Mormon culture.” Tell me what you think when you hear that. Is it negative? Positive? Neutral? Do you have something to say about it? Well comment and tell me! “Culture affects every aspect of religious acceptance,” said Julie J. Nichols in a book review for “Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century.” “The ignorance or refusal of leaders to address the complex interplay between culture and gospel, between social attitudes and potential for spiritual growth, needs careful remediation. Research—here and abroad—can help.” There’s a difference between culture and the gospel. The culture of Mormonism is human-made to fit this earth life. The gospel is eternal — that there is a…

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    How to deal with a crisis of faith

    Just like you, I’ve had a crisis or two of faith. And I’m sure neither you or I is done with having these crises. My first crisis was about Joseph Smith. My second was about revelation. My third was about the temple. My fourth was about non-prophet church leaders. My fifth was about Mormon culture and doctrine. You might be thinking to yourself, “Jesse, those are pretty big-topic issues you dealt with.” If you aren’t, that’s what I would’ve thought if I had read that list. Or maybe you’re thinking, “Yep, been there,” or “Yep, I am there.” I struggled, but I wanted to stay with my God. So how…

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