Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Parts of Mormonism I Kept
Writing a blog about being an Ex-Mormon will lead me to write about negative experiences more often than not. With that said, I wanted to take a moment on Pioneer Day to make a list of things and loves that growing up Mormon has given me, that I may not have had otherwise.
~ 52 cousins. (On my Mormon side.) I know that isn't necessarily a uniquely Mormon thing, but with 7 aunts and uncles (some of whom remarried and brought in more cousins), it was bound to produce a larger family. (I only have 4 cousins on my Catholic side.)
~ Canning. Mormons aren't necessarily the only folks that are dooms day preppers, but they definitely perfected it. I still keep gallons of extra water, I can my own food that I rotate, and I get nervous when we hit a hard time and the cupboards start to get bare.
~ Appreciation of 1800's clothing. Especially bonnets. I know it stemmed from all the Pioneer Days I celebrated growing up. I even made myself a homemade bonnet and dress for Halloween when I was 15, which leads me to my next point.
~ Sewing. I can make my own clothes, though I still need a pattern usually. I made my own prom dress and cape when I was 17, with the help of my aunt. I have a sewing machine that I have already taught my 8 year old how to use.
~ Crocheting. I was taught by my mother at 12. I have made multiple blankets, hats and scarves. I have taken that skill and moved to knitting as well, which I taught myself this past year. Without the focus on homemaking, I am sure this wouldn't be a skill I picked up on my own.
~ Baking. When I get stressed, I bake. Cupcakes, tarts, pies, cookies, etc. And I know this is something I picked up from my Mormon upbringing. Once again, I know this isn't a uniquely Mormon thing, but with Young Women's and the kitchen at church, I know that this was something that I learned as a direct result of being Mormon. My husband isn't big on sweets, but up until I went back to school, my coworkers loved this little quirk.
~ Patience. I am able to 'stay sweet' as my mother always put it. I have the patience of a well trained dog and I can tolerate a plethora of mind numbing conversation topics with a genuine smile on my face. I can speak up for myself when necessary, but prefer to sit and watch and witness, all while being neutral and sweet. I learned this from 3 hours of church every Sunday.
~ Speaking in public. Getting up in front of the entire congregation from a very young age has given me for confidence when speaking to a large group. Bearing my testimony or giving a talk at the pulpit is a voice shaking experience for an 8 year old, but I know that even though I am not the best public speaker, I definitely am able to do it because the chances I had at church.
~ Party planning on a budget. I own my own waffle cone maker, two crock pots, a three partition party warmer, a food dehydrator, and snow cone maker. If I had to throw together a last minute missionary farewell party, I am all set. (I still want a cotton candy machine.)
~ The ability to share like a champ. Growing up knowing one day you were going to have to share your husband with sister-wives gives you a brand of sharing talent set apart from most.
~ My music talents. I can play the piano, clarinet, alto saxophone and I had started to learn violin. The reason why I did this was because I was taught that a worthwhile future husband would want a well rounded wife. That is the only reason I ever picked up a musical instrument. Now, I couldn't imagine life without it.
~ My knowledge of the bible and BOM. I was the champion of the lightning round of the annual scripture hunt. I have read the bible all the way through twice and the BOM thrice. I know my shit. I memorized, highlighted and studied while in high school and went to seminary every morning through my junior year. (My mom got sick my senior year.) I know the bible better than a lot of my religious friends. The knowledge I have of the bible and BOM led me to questioning the viability of a god.
~ My knowledge of the 'unknown' verses of hymns and Christmas songs. Our music director was never one to cut a song short, even if it had 8 verses. So when others struggle with the second verse of Joy to the World or Away in a Manger, I can keep going... usually off key and alone.
~ My love for camping. Maybe this would be something I acquired if I had been born into a different family, as my parents never seemed to enjoy our camping trips. But being in Young Women's, the youth group of the Mormon church, led me on overnight backpacking trips, camping on the beach, camping with the Young Men's group (we were being pioneers), and a week long camping trip every summer.
~ Cute songs to sing with my children, that their peers probably do not know. Our favorite is Popcorn Popping. Though I know we have had enjoyment from, Daddy's Homecoming, and Mother Dear (which I always change to their names), and My Heavenly Father Loves Me (which I change to Mother Nature). It reminds me of my childhood and happy memories I have with my grandmother.
This is by no way a comprehensive list, I know there are more wonderful things Mormonism gave me. But nothing compares to the freedom and happiness I have found ditching all forms of organized religion. I am one of the first of my Mormon family to walk away from the religion, so I am a pioneer in my own right. Happy Pioneer Day!