Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Well, You Could Be A Mormon"

This was part of my conversation with the outgoing clerk in charge of Young Adult affairs at meeting. I was remarking how damned difficult it is to pull more Young Friends together at First Hour worship. She was a well-meaning young woman about my age and a little on the loopy side. Soon her term presiding over an unfortunately needless formality will be over and it will be someone else's turn to be perpetually frustrated or blissfully ignorant---assigned to give periodic self-serving announcements after worship is over and immediately before time to break for refreshments.

I began by saying It would be really nice to have more Young Adults here.

She began by saying Well, it used to really depress me, too, but... She frowned.

If you were a Mormon, you wouldn't have to worry about it.

And for a moment I drifted away, thinking about how different my life would have been if I'd been raised Mormon: voting Republican, buying into everything upon which the LDS church stood, questioning nothing, wearing a suit, a white-collared button down shirt, a name-tag bearing the name Elder Camp, daily donning sacred undergarments to protect myself from evil, and inevitably finding a nice, bland, plain, subservient wife after service one morning, immediately before a whole group of us were about to depart to go apple-picking in the community.

It seemed like I had somehow ended up on Utah Savage's blogstream--one of her more vivid nightmares.

The woman had grown up Mormon and converted to Quakerism, which was the reason for this interesting, but rather unorthodox answer. It underscores a larger problem. Left-leaning spiritual groups historically have problems keeping young adults engaged and coming to service. For example, this morning I saw a young woman in her early twenties sitting with her parents, looking as though she was only there to begin with to appease them. Sure enough, the instant she could get away from worship she squirmed towards the exit door and never returned.

This really needs to change. I'd like to work to revitalizing Young Friends groups all over the country. My thoughts return to this constantly and I hope soon I'll make good on my promise.


Anonymous said...

Your desires to improve others' lives and participation in your Young Adult group could be realised. Perhaps you should start by looking in the mirror. Your comments in this blog come across as venomous and biting. Renew your own spirit first....hsame the bitterness....who would want to be around that? Mormon, Baptist, doesn't matter. The problem seems to be you.

Comrade Kevin said...

Tough not to be bitter. The problem isn't me---the problem is that young people by in large aren't much for joining these days. And reforming my own point of view, for whatever it's worth, won't go far to reforming that which needs to be changed in others.

Utah Savage said...

Kevin, it's Utah Savage, and the Mormons you describe abound here. Vapid, uniform, pretending with great conviction that it's all just peachy. And anyone outside the cult is evil and should be shunned. Sarah Palin is popular here, her kids would fit in well, just like all the rest. Mitt Romney is Mormon, Harry Reed is a Democrat, but if you listen to him, you'll hear the vapid Mormon tones of an elder.

You will do what you need to do, what you want to do. You will organize and pull together what you need. Your spirit is strong, not bitter. Sardonic wit is often taken as bitterness by the Babbitts of the world. Bullshit on that. Remember the mess Obama's comment about bitterness and religion and small town gun toting bla bla. He was telling the truth. After 8 years of a Fox News, E entertainment, Rush Limbaugh, Chenney, Rummy, Gonzo, and all the rest I am bitter. I was bitter for a long damn time. Now, for the moment I'm hopeful.

Interesting thing about anonymous commenters--they are usually intentionally hurtful. I wonder about the kind of personality that would go around looking for ways to be hurtful to another person in pain, or struggling and make things worse.

There are so many wonderful women holding you in their thoughts. We are silently with you. You are checked in on everyday.