Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The New, Improved, and Hipper

In response to John Dehlin's post over on Mormon Matters on the new site, I wanted to express my own opinion on this "revamping" of the Mormon image. I recognize that the endeavor is clearly a PR-based move, and one that will not really affect the face of wards across the US. As indicated by a Cobber in the comments section, I also recognize that this site does not represent a move towards the Church becoming any less dogmatic or orthopraxic in what it expects of its members.

With that disclaimer, my thoughts as follows:

As an adult convert who joined the LDS Church in a very hip, very unorthodox branch, and who later came to feel she had been sold a false bag of goods, this campaign stings somewhat. The people in these ads are me - over and over again, me. But unlike the opinions being expressed in these ads, I never once felt like I fit into the Church again after leaving the branch I was baptized into. I was always being toldf that something I was doing was incorrect, uncorrelated, unorthodox. When I finally hit the point when the community was more harmful to my mental health than the Gospel was helpful, I disengaged. But not until I had bent and twisted and forced myself to conform in every way asked of me, until the bending and twisting broke my back, and yet my spirit still would not fit.

I would love a church comprised of the people shown in these ads. However, I am not longer willing to go through the hell necessary to make the church that kind of place for others. I become too plagued by my inadequacies, by my inability or unwillingness to conform. This ad campaign focuses on the non-conformists who are proud of their non-conformity. What about the rest of us?

I feel like it is unfair to take an overabundance of heterodox Mormons, and call them the "face" of Mormonism. It is disingenous, and it is unfair for those of us who feel rejected by the Church.


Kiley said...

I agree with you - the whole thing feels like such a terrible lie. Sure those people are Mormon, but my guess is that many of them live on the edges and fringes of their wards. I mean when you look at Josh Maready's photos what Mormon mom would be chill with her daughter hanging out there for Activity Days?

I don't think that their ads will bring new converts by any means, but they are sure bent on changing the image of the church. If people see and hear those commercials and never actually step foot in a ward or branch the general public might actually be fooled...

TGD said...

I'm also in agreement. It feels very disingenuous to see these things.