Non-converts need not apply
I had a very interesting discussion about Mormons today with one of my non Mormon mommy friends. Jacob is practically obsessed with her son, so we spend a lot of time together. She has, in turn, spent a lot of time around Mormons, and has a surprisingly sophisticated knowledge of our religion. We've talked about Mormonism before, but today's discussion was particularly enlightening. "You're not a typical Mormon, Heather," she said. What? Me, not typical? Hardly. Sometimes I feel like I scream Molly Mormon. I’ve got the blond hair, the pale skin, the pioneer heritage, everything. OK, so I don't bake bread on a regular basis, and I'm really not the best homemaker in the world, but otherwise, I tend to think of myself as pretty dang typical. (See? Who else but a typical Mormon would use the word 'dang'? I also like fetch, freakin', and yes, I've even been known to utter an 'Oh my heck!' once or twice.) She went on to describe what she felt was the typical Mormon, and the ways I defied the stereotype. Keep in mind that this is a woman who has known lots of Mormons in her life, and is probably not generalizing from one encounter. First off, she said I'm educated. Not typical. Ouch. Also, she said that she feels like I have more of an open mind than other Mormons she has met. Again, ouch. Then the kicker. She said that every Mormon she has met is very nice, but she has felt that the niceness fades when they discover that she is not interested in becoming a Mormon. They are still nice, of course (nobody can't say we aren't nice!), but, as she put it, there is a "cooling", and a change in the niceness. Big ouch. Frankly, I found this person's portrait of Mormons very sad. Uneducated, close minded women who are only interested in you because of your potential conversion status? Wow. Sad. Are we that transparent? Are we that closed-rank? Can we not see past somebody's potential as a convert to their often more powerful potential as a friend? My friend was not deliberately being offensive to Mormons. I think (I hope!) that in a lot of ways, she likes Mormons. After all, we ARE nice, we do share her basic Christian value system, and we are, for the most part, productive, motivated people who care about our families. Those are all good things, and she recognizes them as such. But maybe in our zeal to spread the gospel, we forget that there are women out there who may just need to be our friends as much as they need the gospel. And they will for sure be more receptive to things if they feel that the message is coming from a friend who will still love them even if they decide they're just not interested. We Mormon women are very good at a lot of things, and I give us all the credit in the world for being a powerful source of good. But I think we could expand that circle of influence a little bit to include just being a friend, to the golden investigator and non mormon mommy alike. After all, she’s probably covered in poop, too.