From: Donna Banta
Subject: How to be cool
Two weeks ago the Thursday Styles section of The New York Times ran a feature entitled, To Be Young, Hip, and Mormon. It outlined the dilemma for trendy young members who are constrained by LDS Church standards. The piece went on to describe how many of the faithful get around the restrictions in order to look like they're cool. For example, a male BYU student who wants to grow a beard may obtain a "beard card" by developing a serious skin condition, or he could land the lead role in a play about Jesus. A young, hip Mormon party girl could order a Pellegrino and not bother to correct anyone who suggests she's just out of rehab. Or a trendy youth might get a pass on the "no tattoo" policy if he's inked with an image of a beehive.
This whole "looking cool" baloney is nothing new. In my day, it was women fighting to be allowed to wear "feminine cut" jeans on the BYU campus. But here's the thing, Brother or Sister Hipster. Even though you're on-trend in your button-down plaid shirt, rolled selvedge jeans and boat shoes, underneath you're still wearing that dowdy magic underwear you received in a temple where you dressed up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy at a toga party and pledged all of your time, talent and resources to an organization that is devoted to subjugating women and "curing" gays. Do you get where I'm going with this Abbottsville Fourth Ward? Let me spell it out for you.
As I've said before, just because we're ex-Mormons doesn't mean we don't have testimonies. This month we shared how we gained the knowledge that being a Mormon wasn't "cool." These were a few of our red flags:
- One young man realized that the temple ceremony wasn't going to be "cool" when the temple worker began by asking him to take off all of his clothes.
- Another realized that Spencer W. Kimball wasn't a very "cool" prophet when he said (via The Miracle of Forgiveness) that masturbation leads to homosexuality, and that homosexuality leads to bestiality. (Hello? Bestiality?)
- A returned missionary felt very "uncool" when his leaders ordered him and his companion to round up an elder that had sneaked away from his mission. Late at night under the cloak of darkness, they wandered the neighborhood peeking in windows and finally found him after they crawled under a family's house and heard the poor kid's voice. (I should point out that this was in Southern Louisiana where the houses are on stilts. Even so, definitely not "cool.")
- A woman remembers being very "uncool" when she told the love of her life she would only date him if he sat through 3 hours of church with her every Sunday and took the missionary discussions.
|Cool without an ad campaign|
|Dan, the famous Air Force atheist.|