Sometimes when someone writes a critique of Mormonism, someone will come along and accuse the writer of bigotry against Mormons. To prove the point, they'll replace the word "Mormon" with the word "Jew" or "Jewish," suggesting that finding Mormonism silly is as bad as anti-Semitism. It happened on my blog, somewhere.... I can't find it now, and don't really care, but my response was to say that by virtue of having grown up Mormon and served a mission for the church, I'd earned the write to say things about it others find offensive, so tough shit.
But I finally found a document where *I* want to substitute the word "Mormon" for the word "Jew," to show why I'm glad to be a post-Mormon instead of a regular old devout Mormon.
For po-mos like me, the cool thing about being born a Mormon is you can do it as much or as little, as well or as badly, as you like. You can be professional, amateur or pro-am. This understandably pisses off the pros, who marry a fellow full-timer, know all the stuff in the manual and keep up with all the latest fads.
What we, the po-mos, find offensive, especially from people who market themselves as being intelligent and questioning, is the literal interpretation of ancient petty rules and regulations, and subsequent attempts by the ultra-competitive to out-devout their fellow TBMs by coming up with new, even more arcane policies. We're not talking about the proper Ten Commandments here, but bylaws such as the rules on caffeine in soft drinks, which maybe made sense before we found out how much caffeine there is in chocolate, but don't any more. Or the ban on playing cards, which didn't even make sense before the advent of computer solitaire, and makes less sense now. Following these laws to the letter and beyond is, for us, like driving a petrol car 100 years from now on some kind of principle.
Of course there is not complete symmetry; for every time where replacing one term with another works just fine, there are several more where it doesn't. Consider, for instance, this passage in the text I'm working from:
And yet the amazing thing is, I won't be excommunicated or fatwa-ed by frum Jews. There's no mechanism for it, and not a lot of desire for it, even from the fundamentalists among us. The worst that might happen is I won't be invited to a couple of Passover suppers next year. More likely, I'll be asked on to platform debates to discuss whether the Jew-ish are really Jews.
Mormons can be excommunicated; there is a very real mechanism for it, and it's a means by which people are chastened and humiliated in the name of love. There's also a desire among those who use the mechanism to keep it active and efficient, to purge people who aren't completely frum. (I admit I love that term and would love to see Mormons coopt it as thoroughly as they've coopted "gentile.") Not only do they want to kick us out, they want to deny us the right to even use terms like Mormon when referring to ourselves, and to limit our ability to discuss the church (including its doctrines and its policies) as well as our own experiences, as if by ceasing to believe or follow all the tenets of the church, we've lost the right to care about the time we spent being frum.
But here's the thing: I might be excommunicated, but I'll never be a gentile. I'm a child of the covenant who has rejected the covenant as damaging and immoral. I reject all sorts of things about Mormonism, but there are others I embrace, and I've written about those ways extensively, as in this piece, or this one. Above all, I don't reject my SELF. And that means I get to use whatever terms I want from Mormonism to discuss myself and my identity, and you Mormon frum out there can be mad all you want, but you can't do a damn thing to stop me.