By Heather O.
I was behind the car, so I didn’t get a chance to catch a peek at the driver’s face. I probably knew the person, or at least there was a good chance that I did. Not a lot of Mormons ’round these parts. We tend to get to know one another pretty well.
I really, really, really wanted to know who was driving, though, because if it was a friend, it would make me feel better about seeing something like that on the car. And if it was a friend, maybe I could have talked to her about it later.
Because I gotta be honest folks. That kind of stuff bugs me.
On the one hand, I get it. I do. You want to proclaim your association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You want to make a statement about who you are. Heck, I spent good money on a nice CTR ring myself when I was in college and single, and once, while I was signing up for something, the girl on the other side of the desk said, “Oh my gosh, you’re Mormon?” I knew immediately that she figured it out because of my CTR ring (although my friend who was with me was completely baffled). It’s an outward statement as well as a reminder about who we are and what we stand for. And for young people battling their way through the yuckiness of the world, the more support and reminders and help, the better.
But the cryptic “RULDS2?” goes beyond the CTR thing. It’s like it a coded message for people who are in a special group. But, of course, the coding is pretty transparent, as anybody who has ever had the slightest association with the church knows that LDS is an acronym for Mormons. So it makes it look like the Mormons are winking at other Mormons, like we know that we belong to a super special exclusive club. And this is what bothers me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first person to seek out the Mormons when I move to another place, the first to seek my home among fellow Saints. I think it’s one of the most powerful things about the gospel that everywhere you go, you find like-minded people who are worshipping in the exact same way you are at home. And I really mean THE EXACT SAME WAY. The buildings might be different, the settings a little rougher, but it’s almost eerie to be sitting in a Father’s Day program in east Germany and acknowledge that the only reason you can tell you’re NOT in Utah is because the kids are singing in German.
But I don’t like the idea that Mormonism is an exclusive club. That’s not what it’s about, and that’s not what the sacrifices our forebearers made to bring about the organization of this church were about. It’s about the restored gospel, bringing the light of Christ into other people’s lives, and taking the name of Christ upon ourselves.
The other day, I made an offhand remark to DH that sometimes, I feel like there is so much about our church that gets trite and overwrought. He said, softly, not looking up from the book he was reading, “There is nothing trite or overwrought about the gospel.”
I’ve been reading the book, “Mormon Thunder”, the biography of Jedidiah M. Grant, father of the prophet Heber J. Grant, and from what I’ve read so far, Brother Grant would definitely agree with my husband’s statement.
I don’t think this is a problem unique to Mormonism. I see Christian stuff all over the place that, frankly, makes me want to gag me with a spoon. But I get a little disappointed when I see Mormons putting their energies into something that, to me, ultimately weakens the true message of the gospel.
What are your thoughts on bumper sticker Mormonism?