When the spouse organization of B's medical school hooked me up with a sponsor, I was dismayed to find out the girl, Carolyn, was from Utah. I panicked. I agonized over what I would say to her once she asked if I was Mormon.
Would I say, I used to be?
Would I say, My family is, but I'm not?
Would I offend her?
I feel this need to proclaim to everyone: I am NOT Mormon. See, my Mormon background does not define me! Look, I'm from Utah and I'm not Mormon. Don't even THINK that I'm Mormon. I will impress you with my non-Mormon ways.
So when my sponsor invited me to go to the beach with her last week, I was a little nervous. I put on my bikini with pride, lathered up with sun screen (? Does sun screen "lather"?) and we headed out. Placed our towels on the sand and...Carolyn is wearing a bikini! I smiled. We started the typical Get-to-Know-You's.
She asked, "What did your family think of you coming here?"
I explained to her that they were very...conservative...and that they were pretty upset. That there was a little bit of drama. That my family hadn't really spoken to me in awhile. I mentioned they were Mormon.
She asked, "Are you Mormon at all?"
I didn't skip a beat.
She said, "Okay" and went on to talk about her frustrations with some of the Mormons on the island. She explained she hardly ever goes to church on the island. When she does, she stays for sacrament only. She doesn't think the Word of Wisdom is inspired.
In fact, she couldn't even remember what it was called.
"That thing. You know."
"Uhhh? The Great Awakening? The Temperance Movement?"
"No. No. That thing. No coffee and tea? If soda had been around then, for sure it would have been thrown in."
"The Word of Wisdom?"
"Yes. That. You know more than I do. You're a better Mormon than I am."
I cringed at that one. But, she laughed and said she doesn't drink coffee or tea, but she wouldn't think twice if someone did.
She's a convert. Maybe that's why she couldn't remember Word of Wisdom?
She showed up to brunch wearing a swim suit under a sundress. I wonder if it's an excuse to not wear garments?
I find it hard, even now, to throw off my judgements of Mormons. Tsk, Tsk. Where are your G's? You know better.
Am I better because I don't believe and therefore have no obligation?
I find it interesting that although I don't believe the Mormons, I still judge like one. Categorizing those that are "better" Mormons than others. Hating the "good" Mormons and liking, but labeling, the "bad" Mormons.
I snapped out of it, but I wish I didn't judge.
In the meantime, I'm excited that my new Mormon friend is a "cool" Mormon. One of the least judgmental Mormons I've ever met.