Reason #29– The Mormon Gossip Circuit
Reason #29 is from guest blogger Michelle Scott (no relation)
Privacy, to me, is very important. In Mormonism, there is virtually no privacy whatsoever. Hypothetically, if a Mormon member was to enter a Starbucks (strongly opposed because of their particularly “strong” caffeinated beverages), whether they ordered a coffee or not, there would be a slight chance that another member has seen them from a distance, shocked and dismayed that another member would enter such a “sinful” establishment. Of course, in the Mormon universe, word travels fast; almost the equivalent of a paparazzo capturing an image of a celebrity supposedly off of drugs making a drug transaction, therefore entering the gossip circuit that very minute. Unfortunately, both of those situations are equally as dramatic, because both situations involve some sort of vigilantism; a way to escape their most likely banal lives and instead focus on another person”‘s misgivings.
According to the hypothetical Starbucks situation, gossip is quite prevalent and vicious. In the church, Mormons are taught not to judge, and to love one another. Most Mormons, however, simply do not follow this, and instead gossip endlessly about each other”‘s sins. I am a victim of this, by and large because after leaving the church, I ended up protesting in front of the Los Angeles Temple against Prop 8, and appeared on NPR to speak up about the practices and teachings of the religion. About an hour after the broadcast aired, word spread from Mormon to Mormon, and eventually, my extended family was contacted and therefore disowned me. I cannot attend holidays or get-togethers, only because religion is more important to them than their own family, and their image within the church was tarnished. I can attest to the fact that Mormonism is damaging to a person, since one transgression ultimately outcasts a person until they repent and ask for forgiveness of the Lord in accordance to the Mormon rite of passage
In addition to family disconnection, similarly, friendships are also affected. When one leaves the church, the friends they thought they had in the church, turn against them. Virtually no eye contact is ever made, theoretically because they either do not want to have your sins transferred to them (guilty by association), or they wonder what other sins you have committed to make you such a heathen to decide to leave the sacred church. Thankfully, since moving, the missionaries have not knocked on my door and tried to convince me to attend another session, leading me to heal from the years of torment I have had to live through. It surely is a blessing in disguise.
For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today (Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.