Every religion has it’s martyr stories. Mormonism does too. Part of that tradition is the story of converts to the LDS faith who made very big and difficult sacrifices to join.
As a boy, I was raised on stories of young girls joining the Church and being disinherited by embittered fathers. Of people who lost all their friends when they converted. People losing their livelihoods. Not too mention the stories of horrific persecution and hardship that followed the early Church everywhere.
Mormons, as a people, have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. I think it’s a bit more pronounced in Utah. But we keep our history of persecution very much alive today in our consciousness. This makes us very sensitive to criticism. Not quite so sensitive as, say, Jews – whose history has been quite a bit more horrid than ours. But we’re still rather touchy when we feel we are being picked-on.
And many Mormons are highly aware that there are plenty of neighborhoods in the US where a general knowledge that you are Mormon will mean your children have no one to play with.
The atrocities we’ve lived through aren’t that distant in the past. We’re still a little jumpy, and tend to overdramatize the scope of the persecutions that still remain.
I thought this comment was really interesting. I was raised on stories of courageous people who broke out of the cult of Mormonism, losing their family, their job and everything they’ve known to be true. Terrible persecution and the desire to stand up for the truth were always the theme. There was even a story of a woman who mysteriously died a couple of years after leaving and how it must have been her Mormon family enacting a blood atonement to save her soul.
I’ve also directly heard from people in Arizona how their Mormon neighbors wouldn’t let their children play with their kids once it was discovered that they were Evangelicals. A friend in Utah had to confront his daughter’s school after his daughter was mocked and tormented by Mormon kids because she wore a cross her Grandfather had given to her.
I think there are some basic and general truths in the human experience we need to acknowledge.
- When anyone leaves one faith tradition for another they risk their relationships with family and friends
- Sincere believers who love their faith will desperately attempt to keep loved ones from de-converting
- Converts nearly always have something negative to say about their previous faith
- When “our tribe” is the dominant culture, children can act cruelly to “others”, adults can act even worse
- “Our tribe” is always persecuted when it goes outside of “our borders”.