I remember when I was in fifth grade, when we lived in Orem, Utah, a new girl moved into our class. She was Catholic. I just realized her name was Mary, but never connected her Catholicism with her name until this very second. I remember asking her, "Why don't you want to be a Mormon?" For some reason she didn't have a very clear response. I was kind of feeling like, "Don't you realize everyone here is Mormon? Why don't you be Mormon, too?"
I also remember one day after coming home from somewhere, we had been listening to Paul Simon in the car. We were a serious listening-to-music family. I think we were all pretty passionate about some of that music. Paul Simon was a favorite. I had been looking at the cassette cover of the Hearts and Bones tape. A question suddenly sprung into my head and I asked my dad, "Dad, is Paul Simon Mormon?" My poor dad sort of stopped for a minute and said, "No. . . I don't think so." "Why not? How do you know?" I was just sure such a kindred spirit MUST share my religious views. Dad stammered out something about how he'd been married three or four times or something, maybe the first thing he could think of that doesn't sound so typically LDS. I still wasn't convinced. How does a parent teach a child that not everyone believes what they (and everyone they know) do/does?
Well, now I understand. The world has done a great deal of shrinking and showing it's bad side since I was a kid, and I don't think my kids will be asking me if Christina Aguillera is a Mormon (although her roots are extremely surprising/depressing). Actually, I hope they won't be asking anything about her. I wouldn't really mind all that much if they never hear of her, to be perfectly honest. And really, I'm such a prude (stupid, stupid word) that I wouldn't mind if they never watch any movies or listen to any music ever, really, with the way things are looking these days. Just kidding, I'm not that big of a freak, but I sure am thankful for Screen It. com and try to be aware of what kind of people are behind the songs we listen to, in case my kids start to idolize them. (Like Greg turns off anything by Madonna, which is soooo sad to me when "La Isla Bonita" comes on. Or lots of her other songs that I like.)
Okay, so I don't really have a direction with this post. But I'll just end by saying that I'm grateful for prominent members of our church who set a good example. I like this video about famous Mormons. I love that there are few if any to be ashamed of. One of the comments under this video in the past said something about, "who cares that some normal, well known people are Mormon! There are far more (insert religion)s who are famous." Then giving a list of the very kinds of people who I want to keep my kids from having too much exposure to (obviously not because they are of that religion, but because they very openly live in discord with the teaching of the religion they proclaim so proudly to be theirs).
So even though I grew up naive, like most kids, not understanding why anyone wouldn't share my religion, I am so super grateful that it is not a religion that encourages its members to stay put. Instead it encourages us to learn and grow and be certain for ourselves that we aren't just following the crowd, or sticking with the things we grew up with. I find it funny when some of Greg's "friends" on youtube talk about the Mormon sheep, doing whatever we are told. Being brainwashed etc. A Mormon sheep is one who does not follow councel. We are councelled not to follow "because they say so." We seek knowledge for ourselves and then are required to act upon that knowledge. I like that method. (But I also think it's funny when Mr. Benson, whatever his first name was, criticized the church and talked about "Pray, pay, and obey!" and I was all, "Well, that does sort of sum it up, doesn't it?" Baaaa)
I probably shouldn't have used specific names, because there are a jillion I could have chosen from, but, well, I did.