Perspective

single mormon chick BYU, children, church, missionary, Mormon, Mormons, sacrament, women 14 Comments

Everybody blogs, right? Why not me? Looking for my niche, my angle, and the one thing that seemed to make me stand out in my corner of the world. I found it: Being single. And 40. And Mormon. In a family ward. In a town where EVERYONE is under 30, sealed in the temple and constantly reproducing. The best humor is found in our painful life experiences. Read about mine and laugh with me. Or at me. Whichever
I was late to sacrament meeting last Sunday so I decided to sit in the foyer and clean out the messenger bag i used for church while I listened to the talks. I love it when I can multitask like that at church. I am sure someone has cleaned out their purse in the chapel, but I wouldn’t do it. Seems irreverent and a little tacky, but that’s just me. I am not calling anyone to repentance, believe me.
There are 4 wards that use our building, so listening to the talks became difficult as the previous wards third hour came to a close and people were gathering their families to go home. It got impossible when the Relief Society president came out with her screaming two year old and two additional women came out to deal with their misbehaving kids.

I consider all of these women my friends and so we started chatting. As we bemoaned the unfortunate decline of the “spare the rod, spoil the child” philosophy, we noticed the elders walking down the hall. One of the women commented on how cute they were, but followed up with how young they looked. We all kind of giggled, but it opened up a discussion on how your perspective changes on something that is essentially unchanging. For the most part, missionaries are 19-21 and that’s how its been for decades, but how those young men are viewed drastically changes over time.

When I was a young girl, having the missionaries over for dinner was a blast. They were the best playmates ever. They ate like they had two hollow legs and would just rough house(way before the more recent guidelines that prohibit such things)and act goofy until they had to go home and make curfew. Once you graduate from Primary into the Young Womens program these elders morph into demigod-like status. They are so cute and so funny and so cool and you just can’t wait until you can date and marry your own RM. Beehive, Mia Maid(you can date!), and then finally Laurel, when dating a returned missionary is often a reality. Now they are potential husbands so you are sizing them up as breeding stock and providers. This phase will last for a few months to a few years. Maybe you will go to BYU for your MRS degree, maybe you will meet your eternal companion at FHE in your singles ward. There are so many ways it can happen, but it usually ends with your standing in a receiving line and your closest friends and family eating those chalky pastel mints and drinking ice water out of a punch bowl. Then, if you have a real testimony, you give birth to your own little missionary nine months later. The perspective changes and your focus shifts to raising the next generation of missionaries.

My perspective now? Perspective is a funny thing. The girls from my Laurel class are now sending their sons on missions. One of those girls just welcomed her oldest son back from serving an honorable mission in Argentina. Technically, I am old enough to be the mother of a returned missionary, yet I shamelessly flirt with them via my blog. In my defense, Jake started it, but…

What seemingly unchanging things within the church changed for you, depending on your perspective?

Comments

comments

Comments 14

  1. Given my own personal experience with the missionaries and then being one myself, as a young man who could drive them around, I experienced the awe that is the missionaries. Then I went on a mission, and thought that I should act like the demigod that I knew I was. Amazing what a little perspective gave me when I decided to make friends with everyone I came on contact with. That perspective allowed me to be much less judgemental and friendly, which helped people realize Mormons weren’t that weird. (I even convinced myself I wasn’t that weird) Now that I’ve been home a while, I see the missionaries as a bunch of kids who are trying to find themselves, too bad they haven’t learned what I did…..yet.

  2. I think the perspective you gave me from your post is something I had never realized when donning the white shirt and tie and short hair cut — I was being objectified by women. From a male perspective it is very disturbing to only be treated objectively as “breeding stock.” I think I’m deeply damaged by this objectification and I hadn’t even realized it. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.

  3. byu agnostic-seems like you had some major shifts in perspective in a really short period of time-totally self motivated as well, which is impressive.

    ulysseus- how else can women raise the next generation of stripling warriors if we dont strictly assess such things? surely you can see that any woman worth her wheat grinder and young woman’s medallion has to take such things into consideration.

    stephen m- thanks-i always like your comments.

  4. Oh, Stephen M just panders —

    So, any up and coming Elder is perfectly OK with assessing not only the wheat grinding and medallion adornment, but also the hip size and attractiveness of the prospective mother of his strippling warrior to facilitate everyone looking like an Arnold Frieberg painting?

  5. wow who would’ve known what a superficial bunch Mormons could be – I hope that there is more value seen in the missionaries than simply contestants for the Mormon girls Ward “dating game” 😉

  6. i know that stephen simply ooozes sincerity-especially when he likes my post!

    ulysseus- dont they already? i suspected it, but jake and calvin at confessions of a mormon bachelor pad totally confirmed how rm’s assess the different attributes of any girl they come in contact with. it can be quite harsh.

    mormoninvestigator-the shallowness of the truly righteous can be astounding.

  7. ulysseus- pretty funny for an accidental misuse of punctuation. i am vacillating between being completely irritated with my grammatical error and laughing at the funny and clever thing you turned it into.

  8. What seemingly unchanging things within the church changed for you, depending on your perspective?

    I really thought Ulysses would have jumped to answer that question, which is a good one. The post has a very human way of exploring it, but the underlying question is a good one, and one it is important to think about.

  9. Oh, a challenge — actually, I took off down the road of gender politics which is one of the things that changes from perspective. Throw multiple females into a guy’s life and they effect how you look at things, but I’ll focus on one perspective changer that is related most to the original post.

    Being single in the Mormon religion as an adult, whether male or female, ranges from the difficult to the nearly impossible and is undoubtedly a perspective changer — I agree with Stephen M that the post was a human/humorous way of looking at something that is extremely painful for lots of people. Underneath all the joking and the humor, the original post tweaked Mormon culture that hurts single adults. The contrast between cleaning out the purse, which she alters to name “messenger bag”, opposed to her contemporaries with their children and diaper bags or the realization that the mythical Mormon journey of mission, marriage and then family is never going to work out for you the way it was outlined in your youth are both painful cultural barbs that single adult Mormons are constantly snagged on. Bottom line, if you are a single, adult Mormon and paying attention to the religion at all, attending and participating is pretty damn painful and all the “under 30, sealed in the temple and constantly reproducing” minions putter around without a clue.

  10. “minions”. thats funny. accurate, but funny. i am in one of those rare wards that dont ostracize those that dont follow the cookie cutter mormon ideal. i think that ideal is a facade and drives more people from the church than anyone is willing to admit.

    jeff- 😉

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