I’ve always been fascinated with religions. Throughout my family tree there are many missionaries and ministers; my maternal great-grandfather, who from many accounts sounded like a cold-hearted bastard, traveled across the United States at the turn of the 20th century, evangelizing and founding Lutheran churches clear out to Seattle. My father’s great-grandfather, on the other hand, was a much beloved Presbyterian minister in Nova Scotia, whose funeral brought the city to a standstill. My own religious background is a bit muddled. My staunchly Roman Catholic grandmother took it upon herself to have me baptized when I was three months old during a local Mass … without my parents’ knowledge. When I went to her house, she’d drag me off to Mass at churches with names like St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart, and then when I was at my paternal grandparents, we’d go to services at the local Episcopal church: Catholic “lite.” My mother dabbled in religions after her divorce from my father: there was a relapse into Catholicism, a couple months of services with a mainstream Protestant denomination I can’t quite recall, and the strangest of all, a long, long embarrassing affair with a Southern Baptist church with long, overheated Sunday services I loathed.
Remember in the 80s how the religious right was convinced that rock and roll was filled with satanic messages? Well, my mother dragged me, my brother and one of my cousins to a teen revival at this Southern Baptist church where they had a backmasking expert play songs backward from Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Prince, and Pink Floyd and suggest to us there were messages they’d put in there like, “God is dead” or “Jesus wears pink tutus” or “Kill your mother for taking you to this stupid teen revival.” That sort of nonsense. Then after all this, the minister asked all the teens to come up to the altar and vow to give up rock and roll. I may have muttered, “Yeah right” under my breath. Every kid went up there, except for me. I refused to budge from my seat. My mother, embarrassed, kept pushing me, begging me to go, but I held my ground. “Going up there would be hypocritical,” I whispered. “Do you really think I’m going to part with Tattoo You or that David’s never going to listen to Led Zeppelin 4 again? Haa!” So I held my head high and left the church with all the adults glowering at me, and I don’t think I — or my mother — ever went back there.
But I digress. The Church of Latter Day Saints fascinates me, and not just because of Big Love. In fact, polygamy and the church’s history with polygamy is only mildly interesting to me. It’s more the culture of LDS and that anyone I’ve met who’s been a Mormon has been so damn nice. And successful. And if they had kids, the kids were all really nice and successful, too, ALL of them, and well-dressed, never a hair out of place. On top of this? They don’t drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol. I have to admit, that’s what I find most fascinating. How can Mormon moms be so damn efficient and raise such nice kids without at least three cups of coffee before 8 a.m. or a cocktail at 3 p.m.? A life without Earl Grey. The mind boggles.
My interest in all-things-LDS has extended into my blog reading. Until today, I’ve been a little embarrassed by my predilection for Mormon mom blogs. I get a little thrill every time Katy at No Big Dill posts a new tutorial for making girls’ clothing (she has five daughters. Me? Zero daughters. What the heck?) Then there’s Stephanie Nielson at the Nie Nie Dialogues. I was reading her blog before she was seriously injured in a plane crash and thrust onto the national stage by Oprah. Through these blogs and other Mormon blogs, I’ve discovered places like Shabby Apple, an online store that sells dresses that you’d never see Britney Spears wearing. That’s a compliment, folks. I like to wear clothes that keep my apples covered.
But today? Today I read this article, which appeared in Salon back in January, that informed me I’m not the only one who’s harking to the Bloggernacle Choir. Mormon mom blogs are hot reading among secular feminists and mothers. I forwarded the link to one of my editors, who also shares my interest in all things LDS, and she said it was refreshing to read about the positive when so many blogs are filled with snark and angst. I have to agree. I love how these blogs celebrate parenthood and crafts and loving your spouse and being happy with what you have and that they’re not embarrassed to share their enthusiasm with the world.
They kind of make Mormonism … cool. What do you think? Are you a secret reader of Mormon mom blogs too?