This weekend I went to a baby shower for an LDS friend of mine. The party was almost entirely made up of what you usually see in Relief Society — slightly overweight, harried looking mothers with threadbare smiles and enough neuroses to prevent conversation about anything more complicated than quiche recipes. Other than myself, there was only one other apostate present — a dear friend who thought her way out of the church after too many engineering and philosophy courses at university. She hasn’t formally resigned her membership yet, but it’s been some time since she attended church and won’t be going back.
Neither of us mind attending LDS events. Baby showers, baby blessings, wedding receptions and the like are important enough that everyone should be able to look past differences and help each other celebrate the milestones we cross in life. I must confess to getting a bit fidgety at this event. Although I got to cuddle the newborn for a good long while, I was having trouble striking up conversation with the vapid Aryan hausfraus present. They couldn’t talk about themselves. They didn’t seem to have passions, interests
I was getting rather annoyed with myself. I didn’t want to think that I’m incapable of relating to Mormons any more, but I worried that I’ve drifted too far. Still, I stubbornly hoped that I’d find some way to be charitable toward these women and find a way to connect with them.
And then I walked up to my fellow apostate, who was conversing with Sister Soccermom.
Sister Soccermom had recently discovered that my friend had just become engaged to her boyfriend, who is a wonderful, intelligent, hard-working man of excellent character. He’s also non-white and non-Mormon. Sister Soccermom made the usual inquiries. She also learned that he was very dedicated to ensuring that both partners in the relationship finished their advanced degrees. She learned that they met in their robotics class. She learned that he was a brilliant engineer who had proposed to my friend by taking her on a romantic dinner cruise and popping the question at the bow of the ship under the stars.
Not that any of that mattered, because she then asked the only question that an LDS woman seriously considers. “Where did he serve his mission?”
Sister Soccermom was informed that my friend’s fiancé was not Mormon.
“Oh,” said Sister Soccermom disdainfully, within hearing of everyone in the room. “That’s too bad.”
It was a good thing I was holding a sleeping newborn at the time, because only the fear of dropping the baby prevented me from bitch-slapping Sister Soccermom. My friend and I were both appalled. The woman knew nothing about my friend or her fiancé. To say that to anyone, let alone a complete stranger, was beyond inappropriate. But the very sad thing is that it was not shocking. That sort of reaction is par for the course. Nobody seemed offended by the remark other than myself and my friend.
It was a moment that confirmed something I’ve sensed for a very long time: I’m not Mormon any more. I used to think that part of me would always be Mormon. But other than making jam and changing my own tyres, I can’t think like a Mormon any more. It’s all slipped away. And thank goodness.