The Electric Commentary

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mormons Really Are Nice People

Earlier today I was approached by a few Latter Day Saints who attempted to convert me. I really enjoy this. As an added bonus, I'm currently reading Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven."

I wasn't mean or dismissive, but I did ask if they had read the book, and to my surprise, they had. I asked them if they had any criticisms.

One of them said that it was actually fairly accurate, but that in his experience people are unwilling to separate the true LDS church from the splinter groups which are really the focus of the book. He said there were inflammatory parts, but that you could write such a book about almost any religion, and that he was not surprised or offended that such a thing had been written about Mormonism.

I was impressed by their maturity. Most people get angry when their core beliefs are challenged, but they both just accepted that this would happen as a fact of life.

I wonder how deeply Mormons really believe their own religion, or if they're just in it for the routine.

There is a part of Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" where one of the Waterhouse's (Randy, I believe) is reflecting on the religiosity of a couple he knows. (I would find the exact quote, but it's a really long book.) He doesn't personally subscribe to believing things without evidence, however he admires the way in which religion functions in their lives. There are certain things that you just know because of your religion, and you act accordingly. These things are right, these things are wrong, you go to church on Sunday. Randy equates this to an operating system. It's a bunch of rules that takes some of the work and worry out of life, just as an operating system saves people from having to deal with all of those pesky ones and zeros. (Incidentally, this idea leads to more disastrous results in his cyber-punk novel "Snow Crash.")

I suspect that Mormonism's appeal lies more in its functionality than it's mythology. It must be, as it is easy to find flaws in its mythology. I wonder which religions have the most "functional" appeal and which have the most "story" appeal.


  • I love Mormons. One of my best friends growing up is a Mormon, and I worked for his dad for a few years. Great, great people.

    I always actually go out of my way to talk to the elders on their missions, say hello, tell them how much I admire what they're doing even though I have no interest in being converted, etc.

    By Blogger Nye!, at 8:54 PM  

  • Ditto that nye! You've gotta admire their guts, if nothing else.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 9:39 PM  

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