Wednesday, June 26, 2013

HOW MANY TYPES OF MORMONS ARE THERE?

No, this is not a joke - even though it sounds like it could be.

Like... How many Mormons does it take to turn a light bulb?

I found some answers to this joke online (from 2006).
See:  http://www.lds.net/forums/general-discussion/4088-how-many-mormons-does-take-change-light-bulb.html

Here's one answer (well, multiple answers but one post):
How many Mormons does it take to change a light bulb? It depends!

If it is the Relief Society, it takes four.  One to fix refreshments. One to bring the tablecloth. One to design the Center Piece.  And one to screw in the light bulb.

If it is the Bishopric, forget it, they don't do light bulbs. They call a Priesthood Executive Council and delegate it to the Elders.

If it is the Elders, it takes four. Three that don't show up, and one to change the bulb.

If it is the High Priests, it takes four. Two to push the wheel chairs, one to handle the oxygen tank, and one to screw in the light bulb.
 
If it is the Home Teachers, it only takes two - but you have to wait until the end of the month. 
If it is the Aaronic Priesthood, it only takes one. He holds the light bulb in the socket and the whole world revolves around him. 
Someone else responded like this:
They forgot the Young Women ~ in my ward, there would be a cheerleader, a soccer player, and two to make a fashion statement.  Oh, the light bulb?  Is it really out??
 
And here's another answer from someone else (remember, this is from 2006): 
It takes 12,560,869 Mormons to change a light bulb (the total Church membership according to the most recent Conference Report). One prophet to propose it in General Conference, and 12,560,867 to sustain the motion and accept it as Scripture and as God's Will, and one to actually change the light bulb.
In the above thread, there were these answers relating to other groups (and I can't leave them out):
How many Catholics? ... None, they use candles.

How many Fundamentalists? ...None, they don't believe in change.

How many Pentecostals? ... Seven, one to change the bulb, and six to pray against the spirit of darkness.

How many Charismatics? ... Just one...and her hands are already raised.

How many Baptists? ... Fifteen: 12 to serve on four different committees, one to bring the fried chicken, one to bring the potato salad, and one to do the work.

How many government employees? Twenty-seven: 12 to serve on four different committees, 8 to complete proposals and after-action reports, four to supervise, two to stand by as relief, and one to attempt to screw the new bulb into a water faucet.
Okay, with that out of the way, back to my original question...

Just how many types of Mormons are there?  I decided to start writing down the ones I could think of, and they are listed below.

TBM.  Fully accepting Mormon.  Born and raised in the Mormon Church. Accepts it all at face value and doesn't question anything. Just goes along with it all despite what issues may arise. Basically, a "just believe" mentality. Blind faith. Sadly, this is the category into which I fell for many years.

Converted Mormon - becomes TBM. In some ways, the truth is hidden from them at first (since many things are not discussed in the "missionary lessons" due to the "Milk before Meat" philosophy, and they do not receive an accurate view of the history of the Mormon Church), and they close their eyes to the possibility that what they thought was true is simply not valid at all. Some do come to realize that the church is actually bogus and leave the church, but others stay and transform into one of the other categories as described below.

Converted Mormon, but doesn't really believe. Actually got baptized "for another person," such as a family member, a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. They act as though they believe and on the surface they seem TBM, but in reality only joined because they valued the relationship with the loved one for whom they joined in the first place.

Questioning Mormon (but still accepting). Has some issues with certain doctrines, but places them on the shelf and tries to "just believe." Buys the mantra that if a person is having trouble believing something, then what is needed is more study of the scriptures and praying for correct answers. In other words, a mentality that says "it's me, not the church."

New Order Mormon (NOM). This is an interesting group, which is described at this link: http://www.newordermormon.org/. This website says, "New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some (or much) of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS Church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural, social, or even spiritual reasons. New Order Mormons recognize both good and bad in the Church, and have determined that the Church does not have to be perfect in order to remain useful. New Order Mormons seek the middle way to be Mormon."  The "middle way to be Mormon" is described on the website as well. Naturally, some of these Mormons fall into the Social Mormon category described below - and some are actually Shadow Mormons (as explained below).

Social Mormon. Doesn't really believe, but keeps attending church for the social aspects of membership. They have a lot of friends in the church, and they don't want to lose the social interactions.  Some NOMs fall into this category as do a lot of college-age young adults.

Of course, there are also Cafeteria Mormons (who simply pick and choose what they believe and will adhere to), and Jack Mormons (who do not attend church but "still believe" to some extent).

And let's not leave out ExMormons and PostMormons.  People who, after realizing that Mormonism is a complete fraud, have had the guts to leave it all behind.  I am proud to be a member of this category now.

Some of these categories are very disturbing to me.  When someone just accepts something regardless of whatever issues may arise, they are closing their eyes and minds to the possibility that what they are clinging to is actually completely bogus. But when someone knows that something isn't true and yet continues to act as though it is, defending certain issues that are basically groundless and make no sense, it is equally disturbing.  Actual truth is very important since it is based on facts and evidence.  But the quote by Boyd K. Packer ("Some things that are true are not useful") infers that truth is not important.

But the saddest type of Mormon, IMO, is a Shadow Mormon.

In October 2010, I attended the Ex-Mormon Conference (which is held in Salt Lake City in October every year). It was my first time attending this conference, and it was a great experience.  I have not been able to attend since then but I'm hoping to be able to attend again this year.  During the conference, a film was aired entitled "In the Shadow of the Temple," and watching this film was a very emotional experience. There are probably 20 or more people who appear in the interviews in this film, and each one tells very heartfelt stories.

Some of those interviewed have left the church, and all of them faced a similar rejection by family, friends and community. Others no longer believe, but remain active because of family or community pressure. The latter are filmed in shadows, to obscure their identity. These are the people referred to as Shadow Mormons. They define Shadow Mormons as those who privately do not accept the exacting doctrine of the Church, but publicly profess to be true believers. They are in shadow to protect their relationships with family, friends and employers.

Here is a link to an article that I recently found about this film: http://mormonmatters.org/2009/12/22/in-the-shadow-of-the-temple-by-guest/

I am so glad that I began to question - and that I was able to transition from TBM to Questioning Mormon - and eventually to ExMormon.  My life is so much happier now because I am living an authentic life and being true to who I really am.  I am not bottling up my issues, putting them on a shelf, or hiding them from anyone.  Full and complete disclosure - and let the chips fall where they may.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn, I'm a Shadow Mormon... Would rather not destroy my whole life and make my family feel equally destroyed, so I am only in the church to support their needs and avoid heartache.