If you read my blog you would know that I am Mormon. I have the ever so common "we believe" button on my blog that bloggers link to, and I have talked about being a Mormon a little bit on my blog before. Heck, my husband goes to BYU Law School, if it wasn't obvious enough that we are Mormons!
If you haven't noticed there are a lot of Mormon bloggers. Because of this, I often see people asking questions about certain bloggers who are Mormon in regards to their faith. I can only imagine how confusing some things must be or seem if you don't know the culture or certain aspects of this faith.
I constantly see people asking questions about Mormons online and I always want to answer them, especially the ones that are based on Mormon culture.
So first things first, why do so many Mormons have a blog? What is up with that?
First off "Mormon" is a nick name. The Church is actually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have the Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ) which is where the "Mormon" nick name comes from.
Growing up outside of Utah as a Mormon is a different experience then growing up in Utah as one. If you are really behind, Utah is home to A TON of Mormons. With that said, not everyone who lives here is Mormon. I have a lot of non member friends here who hate getting asked "are you Mormon?" the second they tell someone they are from Utah, haha. I have talked all about the term "Utah Mormon" on my blog here.
Growing up in San Diego, most of my friends were not LDS (another nickname for our Church). One of my family's really good friends like to call our family "Normans" basically saying that we were Normal Mormons, and not the "crazy" kind.
Let's just be honest. Every religion, group, community etc. is made up of all different kinds of personalities and people. I don't think a whole organization should be judged based on the way one person acts (que radical Muslims) however people DO. With that said, I don't consider myself a very conservative Mormon, nor do I consider myself a liberal Mormon. So that is where my perspective is coming from in answering some of these common questions I have seen lately about Mormons.
MORMONS AND MODESTY - Wait, she is wearing a Bikini?! I thought she was Mormon!
Oh Mormons and modesty, the number one question online about Mormon Bloggers. Especially Mormon Fashion Bloggers. From a young age we are taught to be modest in our dress. We are encouraged to dress modestly at a young age in preparation to wear Temple Garments someday (I will get to those next). This means, in part, to avoid wearing clothing that is too revealing or extreme. Modesty rules apply to both men and women. Both genders are expected to properly cover their bodies. The Mormon Church has made it pretty clear what their guidelines for modesty are. One thing I love about my faith, is that we are more progressive then some might think. The Church believes in teaching correct principles, and then letting the members "govern themselves."
Because of this, you will see some Mormons who wear bikinis, and other's who don't. I will always remember when people attacked Elaine from Clothed Much because she wore a bikini on vacation. Elaine is a well known Modest Fashion Blogger, emphasis on the Modest. So when she posted pictures in a bikini, it was as if everyone felt she had broken the main rules and foundation of her blog.
There are some things the Church has come right out and made very distinct decisions about, others they haven't. Swimwear is one of them. So the idea that "Mormons can't wear two piece swimsuits" just annoys me and is a very prevalent idea within the culture of the religion.
MORMONS AND THEIR UNDERWEAR - What is all this talk about "magical" underwear?!
Garments are the basis of where dressing modestly in the Mormon Church comes from. Garments have many purposes to us, they are a reminder of the promises and covenants we make in the Temple. They are also a way for us to remember to keep our bodies modest. We believe they are sacred, and that is where the word "magic" has come up from people who don't understand them. Garments are not something I am going to be able to explain fully in a way you could understand in a blog post, so I will just talk about them in regards to Mormons and their lifestyle/modesty.
Garments are for those who have prepared themselves for the temple, and are living their lives a certain way to be able to attend the temple. Not all members of the Church have gone through the temple, which means a lot of members don't wear garments. Being a member of the Church does not mean you have to be temple worthy, however, it is the goal. Typically you go through the temple before you get married, or you go through before you serve a mission for the Church.
Garments come in different cuts and fabrics etc. to fit what a person likes. They go to just above the knee, and cover the small cap of your shoulders. Those who wear garments should always have them covered by what they are wearing. You are not supposed to "alter" your garments to suit the needs of what you are wearing. It can be obvious when some people do this, but how you wear your garments etc. is between you, God, and twice a year your bishop when he asks you if you are wearing them appropriately to renew your temple recommend.
When I went through the temple, I was told that I was to wear my garments when it was reasonable. What is reasonable? Well I was taught that you should always wear your garments, except for during the three S's. S.S.S. Sex, Sports, and Swim. HA :) I always thought that was clever. So that is the quick background on garments. You will see Mormons who wear them, Mormons who don't, Mormons who don't wear them appropriately - at the end of the day that is just how someone is practicing their religion. Everyone is at a different stage in their faith.
MORMONS AND CAFFEINE - What, why is that Mormon drinking a Diet Coke, Mormons can't drink soda?
Oh the great debacle of caffeine and Mormons. What is funny about this is that the Church actually came out with a statement recently regarding this because it is such a funny cultural aspect of our religion that apparently it needed to be addressed. Yes, I say cultural. My favorite thing is meeting a Mormon who drinks her Diet Coke every single day yet has an issue with a girl wearing a two piece. Let me explain why. In the Mormon Church we have something called the Word of Wisdom. It teaches us guidelines of things we should or shouldn't eat or drink to help our body be the best it can be. That is why you will meet Mormons who don't drink coffee, tea (we do drink herbal tea), don't smoke etc. People and Mormons themselves seem to only care about the "big" ticket items as I call them in the Word of Wisdom. There is a lot more to the Word of Wisdom then just alcohol and coffee.
There is a lot of great health advice in the Word of Wisdom, and where the caffeine one comes into play is the idea that we should avoid addictive substances. In my family, we did not drink caffeine growing up because my parent's viewed it as an addictive substance. I am actually grateful because I am not a big soda drinker at all because of that. But as we have gotten older I have had some siblings start to drink caffeinated drinks. Do my parents think they were bad Mormons? Not at all. The Word for Wisdom outlines some things very specifically, and others that are up to members discretion, which is the same thing as the bikini issue in my mind. See the connection to two pieces and diet coke?
Trevor has no problem drinking a coke, well I have decided to stay with the idea that soda/caffeine should just be avoided. I have NEVER even had a coke, diet coke, dr. pepper, pespi etc. before in my life. And I sure don't feel like I am missing out on anything when I see people "needing" to have one. However, I could care less that your drinking it, Kapeesh?
So basically Mormons are just like any other religion. We have members that are all at different levels of their personal faith. We have some that follow the letter of the law, and others who follow the spirit of the law. You get the idea? Despite what people think, the Mormon Church is more progressive then you might think. It leaves room for members to question and come to conclusions on their own. Yet they do put out guidelines to help us along the way.
These were just some topics I saw floating around online about Mormons that I wanted to explain a little better from my personal perspective. If you have any more questions, I would love to answer them! Yet again, please remember these are my personal opinions and the way I see my religion.