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    Mormon Culture: Activist and Mormon. Is it possible?

    Just so you know, I’m a feminist, and I believe our society needs to do more to treat others equal, including ethnic minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Do you think there’s tension between fighting for the rights of certain groups and being a Mormon at the same time? I’ve always felt like members of the church get a little uncomfortable when I talk about being a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men; I just think women and men deserve to be treated equally. Is that so far-fetched? And I’ve never understood why I’ve felt a level of discomfort from others when I get to talking…

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    Mormon Culture: Mission Presidents, Room for Interpretation?

    Sometimes people got along with their mission president and sometimes people didn’t. But a mission president still makes an impact on the missionaries he presides over. Wendy Ulrich, a psychologist who advises the missionary mental health committee, said sometimes clashes between missionaries and mission presidents come about because of personalities. She said that when her husband was mission president, she even made mistakes sometimes. “People are people,” Ulrich said. Currently, there are no resources provided to missionaries on how to talk with their mission presidents. However, the “Adjusting to Missionary Life” booklet includes general information on communication. “I think the church is reluctant to imply to a missionary, you know, ‘Well maybe…

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    Mormon Culture: Unwritten Rules

    Every culture has some unwritten rules. Often, these are called norms, of which there are two types: folkways and mores (pronunciation). A folkway is “a custom or belief common to members of a society or culture.” And a more is “A set of moral norms or customs derived from generally accepted practices. Mores derive from the established practices of a society rather than its written laws.” The unwritten rules are the mores. What are some of the ones that exist in the Mormon church? Must women wear skirts at church? Do deacons have to wear white shirts to serve the sacrament? If you don’t live mission rules for the rest of…

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    Mormon Culture: Ministering

    What does it mean to minister? The dictionary definition is “to give aid or service.” What’s interesting to me is that the LDS Church has a whole section of their Provident Living website devoted to “ministering” — which includes topics on abuse help, addiction, caregivers, early-return missionaries, employment, family finances, marital conflict, overcoming pornography, same-sex attraction, single expectant parents, and spouses of pornography users. On the homepage of the ministering resources page, there’s a letter from the First Presidency  to bishops. It says, “The ministering resources listed below have been created to assist you as you respond to the specific challenges members often face.” Imagine you are called as a…

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    Mormon Culture: #MormonCulture on Twitter

    Is “Mormon culture” a bad thing? Before looking into this subject as something to write on, I pretty much only heard the term “Mormon culture” with a negative connotation. Just ask someone how they feel about Mormon culture, and they’ll probably have some pent up angst about the topic. (I’ve been telling people about this blog, and I get exasperated responses every time). I think it’s important to realize though that there are some positive things about Mormon culture. I was once talking to a friend who had met with the missionaries a couple times while at BYU. She said she liked learning about the church and interacting with the kind people.…

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    Mormon Culture: Missionary Mental Health Resources

    If you’re the parent of a son or daughter going on a mission, you probably worry about their health when they write home saying something is amiss. And if it’s related to mental health, you might not know what resources are available to them. According to psychologist Wendy Ulrich, who provides council for the missionary mental health committee, in general, we can expect one in five people at any time to struggle with depression. And missions connect to depression through stress. “Stress isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but when we get overstressed, we start dealing with depression and anxiety,” Ulrich said. Not all mission presidents will be very…

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    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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