Sunday, November 24, 2013
The Way to a Mormon's Heart is through Her Ego
Who affects true-believing Mormons more? Ex-Mormons or non-Mormons?
We ex-Mormons play in a sandbox. We pound the sand, we mold it, and we toss it sometimes angrily. But outside of our little online worlds, few people care. We're self absorbed and seen as cranks. Many dozens of ex-Mormons have written very well studied and worded tomes, including Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History, D. Michael Quinn's Hierarchy series, Grant Palmer's An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, Will Bagley's Blood of the Prophets, Kay Burningham's An American Fraud,, Sandra Tanner's Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?... Juanita Brooks, Dan Vogel, and many more (see here and here)
And yet, probably not more than a hundred non-Mormons have actually read these. True believing Mormons tend to ignore them for other reasons--if you don't see it, it won't harm you. They get black listed by Mormons, and ignored by non-Mormons. Why?
Non-Mormons apparently produce the most influential works portraying some truth about LDS culture and religion. Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, and Matt Stone and Trey Park's Book of Mormon Broadway play have done more to influence non-Mormons than the combination of all the very scholarly works by former Mormons. HBO's Big Love is another example. Popularized and produced for a mass audience hungry for creative and dramatic flare, non-Mormons are interested in the crazy behind our former religion. So why do they ignore the scholarly works? Entertainment and mass appeal.
A friend recently saw the Book of Mormon musical and told me that prior to watching, she didn't feel for or against hearing the discussions and joining. However, after watching it, she said she grew far more interested in the religion and far far more wary of its brainwashing and lunacy.
When I began questioning, I ignored anti-Mormon literature because I believed it was biased. My non-Mormon friends had no real agenda, and their questions caused me to think of legitimate answers. When my son's non-Mormon friend asked him about the translation process of the Book of Abraham, I had to research it. That opened my eyes to yet another issue I hadn't encountered. The ex-Mormon world had talked about the problem, but I ignored them until my non-member friend asked about it.
Mormons ignore us ex-Mormon sandpit pounders, but they can't as easily ignore the popular media. When the world looks at them in bad light, they want to find ways to answer the controversy. They might even study up on it, to prepare so that when their non-Mormon friends bring it up, they have answers. They love being right. Their egos are Kolob sized.
The way to a Mormon's heart and brain is through his ego. If he thinks neighbors might view him as crazy because popular media is serving a side of truth about his cult, he will arm himself. And in arming himself, he'll have to contact the blade of truth. It may just cut his testimony.
As ex-Mormons, we need to venture out of our sandbox a little more. Let's show our strengths as creative world-class individuals. Let's make the Mormon story interesting to those outside of Utah--and then by ego-centered necessity, interesting to members.
Myself, I hope to influence the popular culture with a tale about faithful Mormon, Porter Wight, Chief of Police in Salt Lake City, who receiving the Second Anointing ordinance, is propelled into slaying the enemies of his church, only to discover it is a corrupt money-grubbing empire that has sucked him under its control. I will soon query agents and publishers to hopefully bring this tale to the world and, indirectly, into the homes of Mormons. Perhaps you'll join me in my endeavor with your own works and promoting others. Popularize the stories and shows, and get word back to our families.
Thanks for listening.