There was a meme headed around Twitter in recent weeks that begin #growingup . . . and it included designations like "Albanian," "Black," "Hispanic," "Scottish" etc. The news story I heard about this (because I do NPR, not twitter--I'm in my middle years like that) was extremely positive and reported little negativity in the exercise until a group of really classy rednecks used "growingupwhite" as a way to promote hate speech.
White means certain things, of course, as well as being American. But, for me, I can honestly say that the primary cultural group I identify with is Mormon. I honestly think I'd be more comfortable being dropped into he middle of an LDS congregation in West Africa or Tonga than attending a demolition derby in Kansas or a cocktail party in New York. Both of the latter being "white folk" type events. Years ago, the New Yorker ran a piece on Mitt Romney. His Mormonism was addressed by an avid scholar of Mormonism (who is, by the way, not LDS). She said, "Mitt Romney isn't Mormon the way Harry Reid is a Mormon . . . he is Mormon the way Joe Leiberman is Jewish." Her point was that Romney's Mormonism went back for generations and generations. Unlike Reid, a convert, Mormonism was fundamentally tied to Romney's reality and understanding of everything in the world.
I am Mormon the way Romney is Mormon.
Generations and generations on both sides. When people leave the church, they report that this cultural disconnect is the hardest piece. The bottom of the world literally drops out when it is has been who you are for generations.
So, for fun here today, I am going to (#) growingupmormon. Some of these will be based on my experiences. Others on the experience my children are having.
1. Spending a day or more each summer working at a church farm--pruning or picking grapes was our crop of choice when I was a child.
2. You think canning your food is something that everybody does.
3. All grownups wear white underwear that goes to their knees, don't they?
4. Toiletpapering is something you do to your friends, or a boy you like, or your favorite teacher who probably happens to live in your neighborhood.
5. The Word of Wisdom is only observed correctly in your own family; all your friends seem to have their own version of it.
6. You eat before you go to the potluck because you have no idea what kind of weirdness Sisters Smith, Johnson, Peterson, et. al. have concocted in their kitchen.
7. You have been served Jell-O as a main dish. Or, at the very least, your mother owns a ward cookbook with a recipe in it that involves shrimp, Jell-O and tartar sauce.
8. Said Jell-O might also be a side dish and Thanksgiving doesn't seem quite complete unless your fancy Jell-O is running into your mashed potatoes.
9. Jell-O, oddly enough, is rarely a dessert, despite the fact that it is about 75% sugar and often covered in whipped cream.
10. On your mission you become shocked to discover that there are MTCs that are NOT in Provo.
11. Being modest means that your garments cannot show. Even if you don't wear garments. And only if you are a girl. And even if that isn't at all what modesty means.
12. You remember the old incarnation of For Strength of Youth that said no rated R movies . . .and rejoiced when the current version was so specific, so now you can watch whatever you want.
13. You mom owned cake pans and maybe Jell-O molds in a variety of shapes.
14. Before Pinterest, mom had her own way of sharing crazy craft ideas with other women. It was called Homemaking night. Remember that year all of your clothes were sewn from patterns inspired by the movie Annie?
15. You danced to YMCA at every church dance before you even KNEW anybody that was gay.
16. Seminary meant a sluff-off class that was hopefully right after lunch and with all your friends.
17. Homemade apricot leather was your favorite taste of summer.
18. You have a "family" picture buried somewhere that has 75 people in it.
19. The largest room in the temple of your choice was standing room only at your wedding or sealing.
20. As a kid, one of your bucket list items was to visit all the temples . . . probably 25 at the time!
21. You have a favorite apostle that you are secretly rooting for to be prophet.
22. Two weekends a year, you spend two days in front of the TV in your jammies dozing off to conference. Yeah! Follow the prophet.
23. You know there is a fourth verse to "We'll Bring the World His Truth."
24. Until you were eight you really didn't understand the popcorn song at all. Heck, if you KNOW what the popcorn song is then you probably grew up Mormon! (Heck, if you use the word "heck" you probably grew up Mormon!)
25. When you were fifteen your dad looked at your mom across the table and said, "You know dear, I really hate Jell-O." Suddenly EVERYone comes out of the closet.
I'm sure I could go on all day . . . I'm sure that you could too. Leave a comment below if there is anything that you feel like is uniquely Mormon that could be added.