It’s easy to focus on the negative when going through the psychological violence of losing your faith. You can’t talk to family about how betrayed you feel because they feel betrayed by your doubts in the system. You can’t ask for help at church because only faith-promoting statements are socially acceptable. Friends who never were religious or who never belonged to a demanding faith system can’t comprehend what you’re going through because the sort of guilt, manipulation and fear you feel seems alien to them. (Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to know what that felt like!)
Despite the unhappiness I feel due to having been born into what I now consider a cult, there are plenty of things that I don’t regret about being Mormon. Because for better and for worse, I will always be a Mormon.
- Mormons know how to do things. At least once a week somebody says that they are impressed that I know how to tie knots, make jam, sew my own clothing, fix my car, repair a leaky roof, and any other number of activities that I consider as natural as breathing. I often wonder at how helpless non-Mormons seem compared to those of my tribe, who take pride in cultivating MacGyver-like creativity with good old American know-how.
- Mormons are devoted to the well-being and education of their children. My parents raised some of the most well-rounded, well-educated kids I’ve ever known. I never wanted for books, homework help, or extracurricular activities. Going to college was always treated as a default goal in life.
- Your ward = instant family. For most people, relocating means declaring social bankruptcy, and finding friends can take years. When you are Mormon, you instantly plug into a geographically-based congregation that will instantly accept you and provide social connection for every member of your family. If you’re single, they’ll even provide people for you to date.
- Mormons make flippin’ incredible snacks. If masturbation, alcohol, caffeine, premarital sex, smoking, sexy underwear and rated R movies are all verboten (and let’s add married sex in anything but missionary position to that list for many folks), sugar and fat are the last vices left to you. Part of the reason Mormons tend to get so tubby is that you need a lot of rice krispy treats to compensate for all that purity. If you ever get dragged to a Mormon gathering, head straight for the dessert table because wow.
- You never have to hire movers, ever. It’s not in the Doctrine and Covenants, but an official duty of Mormon males is to help people moving in and out of congregations. Add in meal deliveries when a family member is ill or having a baby, free babysitting during Sunday services, transportation for elderly members, and gobs of hand-me-downs for your kids, and the 10% of your income that the church demands seems almost worth it.
There are probably more, but those are the first that spring to mind. If you are a fringe/post/ex Mormon, what are the things you like about Mormon culture, despite the negative?