I'm posting this in my personal journal, but there's no way I'm not posting this anecdote into the ExMormons' community journal as well.
I've been working as a temp at an office in downtown Seattle since I moved here three months ago, and my assignment here is ending next week.
About a week before thanksgiving, the guy who had been hired as the new Cheif of Operations not long before I started temping sent out a really sappy, sort of psuedo-spiritual email to everybody about thanks, love, warm fuzzies, blessings, blah blah blah. I thought it was corny, of course, but it didn't phase me much.
Then today, our company's all-staff meeting/holiday party. He's put in charge of the meeting, and he gets up and starts telling a little christmas story. Now, for starters, this is kind of weird to begin with, because he's not just telling a nice little holiday story, but it's kind of churchy. And then, the other great part, well, the Owner/CEO and his wife, well, they're Jewish. Like, pretty darn Jewish. Like, they use a separate microwave from the rest of the staff to make sure that things they cook in it stay kosher.
So, this guy's story starts, and he says "This story happened to a bishop in my church..." and then he goes on, and guess what...this Bishop's name (the story takes place in 1950) is Monson. OH MAH GAWD. The story has mormoniness slathered all over it. It was a typical Thomas S Monson, straight-out-of-the-Ensign-type story. The kind that is luridly quaint and is supposed to make your heart well up with tears. Ya know, the kind of thing that never actually happens in real life.
At the table across from me is the lady who shares the cubicle next to mine, and as it turns out, we both found out that we are both former mormons. We INSTANTLY gave each other a knowing "oh my god, he is not doing this" look.
The thing is, this guy is nice - most mormons are "nice". He knows that some people get upset about stuff like that, but he probably just doesn't get it. He honestly thinks he's making people feel better, feel happy, all that jazz, when really, everybody was pretty damn uncomfortable. Now, I'm a special case. I've been through that religion, and I know I really don't like it, and as much as I think I have really good reasons not to, I know this guy thinks he meant well, and there was nothing specific about it that was totally gave off a "join my church, people"-vibe. Still, though, it probably made me and my exmo co-pat more uncomfortable than anybody else.
But really, how clueless do you have to be, guy? This is not edlers' quarom, youth conference, mutual, relief society, or a christmas devotional. This is reality now. It wasn't just that it was moralistically trite, but that it was so obviously Mormony. I was so embarassed for him, and at the same time so bewildered.
What makes a person get up in front of a bunch of people who are there for a corporate holiday party and start giving what is in essence a sacrament meeting talk - like the kind that 12 year olds usually give?
This is a pretty uniquely mormon thing, I think. I'm glad to know that all mormons are not like this. Alan and I are starting a band with one of his former co-workers who is mormon, and he's really cool, and has no issues at all spending most of a sunday evening after church playing music with me, Alan and our friend Tim. This guy is the only straight guy in the group, and yet he has no problem with it, he knows I grew up in the church, he knows alan was RLDS growing up and cast it aside for reasons that don't make it unique from the LDS church, and he doesn't try to mormonize us, bring us back to the fold or whatever. He's perfectly comfortable playing in a band with three gay guys, and that some of our songs are written about relationships we've had and have themes and language in them that "don't invite the spirit".
Yet he's no Jack Mormon, either. He's married, has three kids, doesn't drink coffee, teaches the young men ("the young men", for those of you who don't know, would mean something less generic than what it first appears to mean, if you had been mormon) probably holds a temple reccomend, went on a mission and wears garments. What's his deal? Well, I don't care. I like him, he's perfectly nice and doesn't cop the same cheapshot inspirational moments garbage that the dude at our company party did. It was tacky.