I am so damn sick of the unbearable fragility of Mormons. EVERYTHING THREATENS THEM. Just off the top of my head, I've come up with a substantial list of commonplace stuff that threatens your average hardcore Mormon, at least until they get a decent exposure to it:
- gay marriage
- actual gay people
- the f word
- profanity in general
- the phrase "Oh my god!"
- R-rated movies
- sex before marriage
- dating before you're 16
- getting married anywhere but in the temple
- the Equal Rights Amendment
- uppity women
- the idea that global warming might actually be real
- single-payer healthcare
- people who choose not to reproduce
- the existence of atheists
- dildos and other sex toys
- explicit depictions of sex, whether on the page, stage or screen
- face cards (not so much any more, thank the powers that be. But when I was young, it was SO EVIL to play with face cards, though the same game could be completely innocent if you played it with rook or uno cards)
- tarot cards
- Sunstone magazine
- Starbucks cups (I know, it's crazy, but it's true: I've seen Mormons get upset that someone dared to enter their home with
a cup from Starbucks. Hey, it could be a hot chocolate, you know? But it's that "avoid the very appearance of evil" thing)
- the very appearance of evil, which means not only something like simply walking into a bar oneself, but the dress and personal grooming of others,including
- exposed female shoulders, midriffs, or thighs
- sandals on men
- jewelry on men
- long hair on men
- brightly colored shirts on men
- multiple earrings on women
the list goes on and on. But most threatening of all is
- questioning the prophet
- critical thought (because it could lead to questioning the prophet)
- open-ended questioning (because it could lead to critical thought)
- family members who lose their testimonies--because it could be catching! (It's especially upsetting and weird if these people who lost their testimonies are pretty happy and remain interested in their Mormon identity and heritage.)
Basically, the entire world is kryptonite to Mormons. They're supposed to be all stalwart and strong in their faith, these warriors engaged in a good fight, but in reality they're these delicate creatures whose ability to live in the world is undermined even by random words. (fuck fuck fuck!)
In order to protect themselves from the world (which is something they actually talk about), they immerse themselves in the spiritual and intellectual equivalent of that sanitizing hand gel that destroys not only germs but our own immune systems: they talk mainly to each other, and try not to think critical thoughts, and get married really young and start having children right away, so that they feel compelled to remain forever in Mormon marriages, even if they do get around to losing their testimony at some point in their 30s.
In other words, they have the shittiest spiritual immune systems EVER (except maybe for, say, Amish people). If they had robust constitutions, they wouldn't care so much what the rest of the world says or does and they wouldn't think that just hearing the F word does actual damage to one's spirit. They wouldn't think that a woman who has double-piercings in her earlobes or a guy who likes wearing a striped or patterned or colored shirt with his suit are really less moral than a woman with one earring in each lobe or a guy in a white shirt.
I admit to coddling Mormons from time to time--it's hard not to when they remind you of their fragility. One of my brothers-in-law FREAKED OUT when he learned that the friend I brought to his house was gay--my BIL was REALLY ANGRY that I "brought a f*gg*t into his house." (Yep. He said that.) He honestly felt that I had tainted his home and his family by introducing into it my very well behaved gay best friend. My reaction to that was to realize that my BIL was more of a dick than I previously knew. But what really upset me later was that I was initially sort of self-conscious about introducing my friend to my SISTER--who did just fine with the whole business. I should have just assumed that my sister could handle meeting my gay best friend. Same with talking about being a witness in Matthew's gay marriage: I didn't want to upset my family when I knew they found gay marriage such a touchy subject, so I didn't say much about it beforehand, aside from telling them I'd been asked to be Matt's best person (as opposed to best man). But it was such a great ceremony, so uplifting and inspiring, that afterward I made sure to tell people how wonderful and joyous it was. And sure enough, my mom managed to be happy about it, because like I said she's good at being happy for other people. (Or rather, she WAS good at it. Was. It's still hard to get used to talking about her in the past tense.)
We have to stop enabling Mormon fragility. No more coddling these delicate people. No more not drinking coffee around them because they fear the talisman-like qualities of the Starbucks logo on a cup. Like I said, they have crappy spiritual immune systems, and those of us who have left are the very substances they need to be exposed to in order to become healthier and more robust. It has worked for my family, damnit.
As for others who can't cope with foreign ideas or behaviors--well, if their faith is really that fragile, that susceptible to damage from the actions or words or beliefs of others, then it ain't much of a faith.