Acceptable Sub-Identities For Mormons
By David Metcalfe
September 16, 2019
The core of Mormon identity seems to be three main things: belief in the correct doctrine, family values, and adherence to doctrine/good works.
This means any good Mormon, regardless of interests, talents, skills, upbringing, culture, etc., will try to live into those three things. Anywhere in the world that Mormons exist, you will find a unified doctrine (Jesus Christ died and rose again for your sins, Joseph Smith restored the gospel, and so forth). You will find family values (marriage is sacred and eternal, children are a blessing, and so forth). And you will find at least some attempt at adherence/doing good (temple work, church attendance, volunteering, and so forth).
However, human identity, due to its vast breadth and complexity, is not satisfied by three things alone. This means even the best Mormons have to have sub-identities. They will enjoy certain genres of music and movies, spend time with various hobbies, read various books, go on vacations, work at regular careers, and whatever else their relative cultures impose on them. These are just a small list of things I thought of, and represent my current opinion from what I’ve seen and heard.
Here is a list of sub-identities that Mormons are encouraged to have:
-White Collar Career: doctor, lawyer, business person, etc.
-Blue Collar Career (slightly worse, but still good): carpenter, plumber, oil and gas, etc.
-Athlete (especially basketball)
-Musician (singing in choir, playing piano especially)
-Artist/other creative talents like acting or dancing
-Fan of Church-made movies
-Church volunteer/ward calling (especially a “high ranking” one, like Elder’s Quorum or Relief Society President, or Bishop)
-little bit right of center political views (low taxes, conservative social values, etc)
-high-class appearance (“proper” haircut, suit and tie/dress to church, white teeth, physically fit)
Here is a list of sub-identities that are acceptable- but not really encouraged- to have:
-Low class worker (Wal-Mart, janitor, fast food)
-Secular musician (plays electric guitar, drums, performs songs that would never be suitable for church events)
-Fan of secular movies (action, comedy, or whatever)
-Volunteer with secular organizations or charities
-left-wing political views (high taxes, liberal social values, etc)
-lesser appearance (basic clothes to church, “improper” haircut- kind of like how John the Baptist or Paul or those losers would’ve looked)
Here is a list of sub-identities that are strongly discouraged/not allowed to have:
-“chill” attitude toward career (“eh, I worked at IGA for a bit but I got tired of it so now I’m just chilling for a bit with EI until I get something else”)
-party culture (alcohol, sex, drugs)
-other religion or too skeptical towards religion
-single and proud of it
-goth, emo, satanist, witchcraft
So, you may think that being a good Mormon is about the three core things, but try having the wrong sub-identities and you will not last long. Successful church membership is made for people who fit the right “box”; who are able to fulfill not only the actual requirements of membership, but also the encouraged cultural ones. So even if it’s not in scripture or exemplified by Jesus, if church culture suggests you should do it, you should probably just go with the current.