Friday, March 18, 2011

Why are there so many mormon mommy blogs? Why do Mormons lives look so perfect?

It's a phenomenon.  The Mormon Mommy Blog.  The perfect wife with the perfect body. The perfect outfits. The perfect house. The perfect kids.  The crafts, the food, the scrapbooking, the play dates all perfect and perky and nice. So so nice. Let's not forget the perfect husband working his perfect job to pay for all the perfection of his perfect family.

There are sites devoted to listing them.  There are articles about them.  But what are they about?  Why are so many Mormon Moms blogging about their lives?  I find it to be a way to frame their life in an acceptable way. They can control who knows what when.  How they 'appear'.  I know this because I used to be one of them.  I used to strive for that perfection. To obtain that unattainable goal.

  • Matthew 5:48

    48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Keeping up those perfect appearances is hard.  Many Mormon women do it.  It's the number one priority. Oh they'll argue that they enjoy it.  That it's not expected.  But they're just pretending.  Keeping up with the Jones' is embedded into every faction of Mormon life.

It's in the Book of Mormon.  It's doctrine. Those who are righteous (or perfect) prosper.  So if you want to look righteous (perfect) you need to rich.  If you want to look MORE righteous (once again- perfect) than your neighbor you need to look RICHER than your neighbor. Yes, Perfect=Prospering in the land.

When I looked up 'prosper' on I got 130 hits from the LDS scriptures.  The break down looked like this:
Old Testament- 59
New Testament- 2
Book of Mormon- 64
Doctrine and Covenants- 5

To be fair many of the scriptures in the Book of Mormon are directly from the Old Testament... wait. Let's think about that for a minute... perhaps that's a different post for a different time.

Moving on.  Mormons are told to 'read the scriptures' but largely that means 'read the Book of Mormon'.  When I was an active, practicing, faithful Mormon the Book of Mormon was the only book of scripture that I read from cover to cover.  I read the Book of Mormon multiple times without ever even attempting to read the other scriptures.  When I tell people that the general response is, 'well it's just easier to read because it was written for our day.'  Or, 'I've never read the Bible cover to cover. I mostly stick to the Four Gospels' (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.)

One of the overreaching themes of the Book of Mormon is the Pride Cycle. If you look at the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon there is a clear theological message.

Recap of the pride cycle:  The Nephites (the white dudes) were righteous, because of their righteousness they prospered.  Then they became wealthy and forgot God.  Because of this they were humbled/punished by famine/wars/etc and were no longer wealthy/couldn't take care of themselves.  They turned to God.  They were righteous.  They prospered... lather, rinse, repeat.

So this strictly LDS philosophy (that was written for our day remember) leads me to believe a couple different things.
-If you're rich and Mormon you've figured out how to either stay rich and humble OR you're topped out on the pride cycle and about to lose it all so you remember God.  If you lose it all (highest bankruptcy rate in the country in 2002? -Utah) then it means that you're sinning and need to be humbled. 
-If you're poor and Mormon it's okay because you'll remember God and if you remember him well enough (are perfect enough) you'll prosper soon.
-If you're not Mormon you're screwed because the LDS church is the Only 'True' Church led by God- so you can't worship God 'correctly' without being LDS- therefore you will never prosper. (Sorry- out of luck ladies and gents. Want to be rich?   Talk to the missionaries.  Just don't ask them how many wives Joseph Smith had or why Brigham Young said that if you were in an interracial marriage you should be killed.)

Let's find some scriptures to back this up.

First the righteous 'prosper'. 
 Doctrine and Covenants 9:13 
13 Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation

Helaman 4:15 
15 And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper.

Alma 50:18 
18 And they did prosper exceedingly, and they became exceedingly rich; yea, and they did multiply and wax strong in the land.

 Alma 31 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.

 Alma 48:1515 And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger

 Mosiah 2:22 
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. 

Mosiah 2:31 31 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should do as ye have hitherto done. As ye have kept my commandments, and also the commandments of my father, and have prospered, and have been kept from falling into the hands of your enemies, even so if ye shall keep the commandments of my son, or the commandments of God which shall be delivered unto you by him, ye shall prosper in the land, and your enemies shall have no power over you.

Helaman 12:1 
1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

Ether 10:28

28 And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.

Of course there is the counter argument.  If you AREN'T prospering it's because you're 'transgressing' (sinning). 

3 Nephi 6:5 
5 And now there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering continually, except they should fall into transgression.

 Alma 50:20
20 Blessed art thou and thy children; and they shall be blessed, inasmuch as they shall keep my commandments they shall prosper in the land. But remember, inasmuch as they will not keep my commandments they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord

  Mosiah 7:29 
29 For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them.

Unless you're not a Mormon.  Because you can't really prosper much if you're not. (Just think about how wealthy Donald Trump could be if he were Mormon!)  

Alma 1:31 
31 And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church. 

So wealth is important.  Perfection is important. Those Mormons who have (or appear to have) wealth need to make sure to keep the appearance of perfection up.  Keeping up appearances among Mormons reaches levels like I've never seen before until I moved to Utah.  The flipside of the coin is happiness- which is also an important 'appearance' to keep up.  Mormons are happy. We have a plan for it!  Stay tuned to find out more about that.