Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mormon 101: So... horse and buggy, is that you?

So first off, my job is stressful and laid back at the same time. In our little neighborhood of desks, we all have a million people to answer to and email and organize, and we're never short of a crazy situation. But, somehow we always find ways to chat. We chat about all sorts of things, but fairly regularly, these chats turn to what I like to call Mormon 101.

I'm not sure if it's because I like to talk about it or people like to ask, but I talk about being Mormon like it's my job. (But it's not- my job is to email people, as mentioned above) I don't talk about it in the "I'm Mormon and you should too" way. I feel like I do more dispelling or confirming rumors, and then I try to smile and nod when coworkers tell drinking stories and I don't have the slightest idea of what they're talking about. The combination makes me feel a little like a zoo animal- both experiencing and observing a different world than those around you, even though you're technically in the same place. Or maybe I'm just an oddball and being Mormon has nothing to do with it.

There are some funny things said though. The quote in the title came yesterday from a friend at work. He wanted his daily dose of Mormon 101, and came up to my desk, and in all sincerity, asked if I used a horse and buggy. It was my pleasure to inform him that in fact, I used cars, buses, and airplanes for transportation.This is the same person that asked if a Mormon's future held any promise if they didn't go to BYU. I answered that we were shunned and had no chance of work. After a few moments of silence, I also let him know that we could apply to any other college and still succeed in life and in the church.

I should be more careful with my half-truths, but sometimes it is too difficult to resist. My friend saw some missionaries at the store on Monday, and he asked me why they were all there together, wondering if it held some significance. Before explaining that missionaries have a fairly regimented schedule and Monday is their day to prepare for the rest of the week, I indulged. I told him that it was a mandate for all Mormons to go to the store on Monday afternoons, and I was sacrificing by still being at work. Ah, the look on his face. Hey, if people already think you're crazy, you might as well roll with it. 

To be sure, most of my Mormon 101 conversations are more sincere than the aforementioned (I often tell the truth about my church as well ;) ) and they are not one sided. I've learned a lot about others' faiths and just lifestyles, and it's been great. We talk about the good and the bad, and everybody learns. I can just feel my mind expanding and becoming less ethnocentric. :) That's another topic for another day, but I will say moving to Washington has given me a healthy dose of "Caitlan doesn't know everything" and it's been good :)

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