ethel’s words

Click your browser’s “Back” button to return to SmashingIkons


I “read at” a long article purportedly about Mitt Romney. There was little attention to religion. While it is an oft-repeated fact that Mormons outside Utah are not as stiff-necked as the Utah variety, still--they are Mormons. It matters.

The most outstanding feature of The Mormon Church is secrecy. The Church tries to keep its secrecy a secret, but it fails. Civil Libertarian decency results in almost-unchallenged domination by “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (the name demanded, successfully, by The Church) and prevents discussion of the Council of Seventy; the political nature of the secret priesthood meetings; the sexual aspects of Temple ceremonies; and gossip about its big-name officials.

When describing a member of The LDS Church, if you leave out Mormonism, the person evaporates like a mirage on an imagined desert.

The honest description is, “A Mormon is a Mormon”. Physical appearance, even, often identifies Mormons--especially in groups of two or more. There are a few variations: Country Mormons, and Jack (unfaithful) Mormons (still on membership rolls).

The Church mandates, cradle to grave, clothing styles (such as skirt length), hair style, where to set radio and TV dials; and admonitions on the single newspaper that is acceptable; how to choose movies, with an okay on altering copyrighted works to make them Mormon-proof. Church power managed to censor a drama at the University of Utah that had swear words.

In Utah, The Church dictates to Mormon and Gentile (The Church’s name for non-Mormons) alike: There are so many rules, ever-changing, about a bottle of wine, the infrequent imbiber is lost on those occasions when out-of-state visitors are taken out to dinner.

Smoking appears to be limited to one’s home and auto; again, laws changing so often the smoker feels hounded and exiled. The anti-smoking campaign was created by Mormon John Holbrook, M.D., a 20-year consultant to the U.S. Surgeon General (The Salt Lake Tribune, 11/20/97). The media censorship on tobacco advertising that Mormons like to claim came from John F. Banzhaf III (religion unknown to me).

On the other hand, there is remarkable tolerance for rape, incest, and domestic battering, those crimes only recently getting legal attention, mainly due to demand for action against polygamous forced marriage of minor girls (that included consummation).

The Church demands that its members have “a family home evening” every Monday, and Church managers try to prevent scheduling of attractive events (non-church) on Mondays. But I have a hunch, only a hunch, that Mitt would never have to have “Family Home Evening” during a crisis.

Ethel C. Hale