Dancing on the Edge
Sean Carroll and the Den Yers

The New Cool Mormons Get Even Cooler

Careful readers of this blog, and even sloppy ones, know that I have a thing for Mormons. Don't ask me why....I just do. Maybe it's because their guy founded American Motors, manufacturer of the cars I drove as a kid. Maybe it's that Mormons get to be elders at 19 or 20, and can wear nametags to that effect, whereas we can't touch the word until...oh, at least 30....usually later, and even then we don't get nametags. Maybe it's that, for their brief (but intensive) 2 year stint, they're our “competition” in the door to door ministry...nobody else touches that work with any regularity....usually not at all. Occasionally some awkward moments arise, like when I was on a return visit and the doorbell rang. The householder answered, returned with an odd look on her face, and announced: "This ought to be interesting. Jehovah's Witnesses: meet the Mormons!" They'd also called on a return visit!

 So we all chatted for awhile....I was conscious of a certain air of absurdity.....when the younger Mormon launches into some heartfelt, long-winded, emotional diatribe about, I think, creation. I mean, it was all very fine, but it had absolutely nothing to do with anything. Whereupon the senior Mormon turns on him and says "So?!" I thought the poor kid would melt into the floor.

Of course, this is a human story, not really a Mormon story. Sometimes you have to reign in an underling. Didn't Moe do that with Larry and Curly? The same thing could have happened among us. But, as it was, these guys were Mormons.

But this is back in the day when Mormons competed with us on the basis of spirituality. Now, however, they are trying to "out-cool" us, at least if their new ad campaign is anything to go by. Since starting in nine test markets a year ago, I've recently seen the ads online! Does that mean they're everywhere now? If not, I fear they may soon be.

When I first saw that Mormon TV spot ad a year ago...

..... I'm a surfer, I'm a wife, I'm a nurse, I believe that we're all here in life to make a difference.......and I'm a Mormon!

.....I right away telephoned JW headquarters. 'You'd better drop this Bible schtick right away,' I told them, 'and stress how cool we are, otherwise those Mormons are going to pull so far ahead of us we'll never catch up! They ignored me! Oh, they may have played with a prototype or two...

......I hang drywall, I own five suits, I believe sinners are going down......and I'm a Jehovah's Witness!

......but I don't think their hearts were in it. Well, it's too late now! Mormon coolness has gone viral! Just look at this recent Newsweek cover:

Newseek mormon cover 

See?! This is what happens when you drag your feet and dilly-dally, like our people did. And just what are we to do now? Can we really have a Tommy Lee Jones moment like in The Fugitive movie  “......well.....we're cool, too. Yeah.....we're real cool. I mean, those Mormons, how cool can they be? We're cool also”.....I tell you, it's hard to play second fiddle to Mormons after Newsweek puts them on the cover.

But that's not all....winning the Newsweek top spot! No! They've made a musical about Mormons. And not just some schocky low-grade, 3rd rate production, like those ridiculous evangelical movies. The Book of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony awards! The Broadway cast recording is the highest-charting such album in over four decades. The world has gone after these guys, and just like the Pharisees groused about Jesus: “You observe you are getting absolutely nowhere. See! The world has gone after him,” (John 12:19) I'm so jealous I can't stand it! To be sure, that Book of Mormon musical is said to be blasphemous, but what's a little blasphemy on the road to coolness?

Bokk of mormon musical 

Now.....can I be serious here for a moment?

As far as I'm concerned, this all illustrates Jesus words at John 17:19:  “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own.” As soon as those Mormons decided to remake their image to emphasize coolness, fun, and good vibes, the world grew fond of them. Mormons have become the latest fad, and there's nothing the world loves more than fads. As for us, we're stuck with the 2nd part of that John 17:19 verse: “….Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.” I don't think anybody, even among the grousers, would deny that Jehovah's Witnesses are no part of the world. So, they're unpopular, sometimes even hated. But Mormons.....am I wrong in this?.....seem to have embraced the world, perhaps with a view to reforming it. Well....so be it. If that's where we must be, that's where we must be. Christianity, as defined in the Bible, is not the road to popularity with this world.

So firmly is the U.S. in the grip of, as Newsweek put it, the Mormon moment, that, not one, but two Mormons (Jon Huntsman Jr and Mitt Romney) are likely to run for President in 2012 and it seems that......wait a moment....do you think.......you don't suppose that's what's behind this new image-making of theirs, do you? Helping maneuver one of their own into the top seat? I mean, just like backers feared John F Kennedy could never be elected President solely because he was a Catholic, many doubt a Mormon candidate could ever win, solely because he is Mormon. Evangelicals, to take the most extreme example, would vote for a pig in heat before they would vote for a Mormon....a “cultist”, in their eyes, almost as grievous as a JW. And most of mainstream America is also said to have their doubts, but those doubts are not likely so substantial that they can't be assuaged by slick marketing. The most recent ads are better done than the first ones, IMO. Are Mormons eying for themselves a modern-day application of John 6:15? “Therefore Jesus, knowing they were about to come and seize him to make him king, said 'you know, I'd make a pretty good king. But first I must set up a PR campaign so people will know that I'm fun, I'm cool, and I'm not a bit weird!'” (the Sheepandgoats Translation of the Holy Scriptures)

Oh, alright alright! So it doesn't agree with most other translations, which are apt to render the verse along the lines of: “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”  (NIV)  Sheesh! How can a guy have any fun with all these sticklers for accuracy around?!

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Read ‘Tom Irregardless and Me.’    30% free preview

Starting with Prince, a fierce and frolicking defense of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A riotous romp through their way of life. “We have become a theatrical spectacle in the world, and to angels and to men,” the Bible verse says. That being the case, let’s give them some theater! Let’s skewer the liars who slander the Christ! Let’s pull down the house on the axis lords! Let the seed-pickers unite!

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Comments

StandFirm

As always, your articles were humorous and insightful. :)

On the upside of public opinion, it seems to me that whenever people want to make fun of a minority religion with seemingly strange beliefs and practices, the Mormons take the fall whereas we are not mentioned so much.

Also, isn't it ironic how the author of Twilight is a Mormon? We have all but condemned the series.

tom sheepandgoats

yeah......it is.

SPIRITUAL

(hehehe) Thank you, Tom ... Your humor just makes my day!

Agape,
SANDRA C

Thomas

Nice take, T. I grow tired of Newsweek putting the latest flavor-of-the-month Republican on their front cover. It's one of the reasons I'm not longer a subscriber.

I had an encounter with a couple Morons a few years ago:

One Saturday afternoon, a friend was helping me move a sofa I'd bought. We carried it from his van to our front door. While we were carrying it, I noticed two guys riding bikes coming towards us. They were both wearing white short-sleeve shirts. I knew what this meant (Mormons) and quickly thought of something to say if they approached us.

If they started in on their religion, I was gonna say that I'm not giving up masturbation (their literature states that they are expressly against it). I don't do it much, anyway, but I'd rather have the option on the table just in case.

They saw us struggling with the couch and asked if they could assist us. I knew what they were thinking (moving the couch as a start-off point on proselytizing to us) and quickly declined.

tom sheepandgoats

Thomas

I admit, I've never heard of that specific technique for evading Mormons.

Romulus Crowe

The Witness who visits me sometimes is a self-employed painter. I don't mean living rooms, I mean canvas and oils. He makes his living at it.

That's got to count towards yout overall 'cool score', surely?

tom sheepandgoats

Thank you, Romulus. Don't let that fellow out of your sight. We may need him soon for a TV ad.

Rosie

lol... the Newsweek cover had me doing a double take. Can you imagine a member of the governing body being pictured like that on the cover of Newsweek... it wasn't a spoof? was it? Sooo funny.

- the Mormons are behaving like that kid in school that tried too hard. Everybody still hated him, they took his candy and the lunchmoney he offered and STILL beat him up at playtime.

I don't know why the media doesn't lay into us, maybe because we'll sue them if they lie and there's nothing shocking if they don't. More likely because we quietly get on with the work and don't care if anyone thinks we're cool or not.

We have in our number the coolest people on the planet of course, your good self included, we just don't brag. Being cool is like being beautiful, if you have to tell someone....

Puts on dark glasses, hitches electric guitar to my back and climbs on motorbike - doesn't bother with a helmet, want my long raven locks to blow in the wind - to head down the coast to play in my Jazz band after I get another tatoo of an eagle.

Wakes up, signs off, goes to make coco before another early night...

Rosie

Laurie

As a "Mormon," I must say that that play was not made by or endorsed by our church. Our goal is always to help others, no matter who or what you are. Next, I doubt running for president makes us a part of the world. You can't change anyone's perception if their (usually wrong) preconceived notions get in the way. As a LDS woman, I love the ads. They let the world know, we are ordinary people with outstanding beliefs. For that, I am grateful.

tom sheepandgoats

Not my point of view, (except that of the musical being an independent production....I knew that and did not mean to imply otherwise) but a well-written reply. Thank you.

TC

@ Rosie
Will you marry me in the New System ?
My Unicorn Tattoo , and My Michael Hedges ish Guitar style , along with my Jethro Tull Flute style , and that fact that I build and Repir Guitars .

Hmmmmm And I Really Dig Jehovah's Words

I mean that is Jazz isnt it .

tom sheepandgoats

Rosie: I advise you to go very slowly from here, and even that's assuming you're available or will be in the new system....something I don't think you've ever indicated, at least not on this blog.

Not that I don't think TC's a fine fellow and all. Of course I do. But I'm uncomfortable in the role of matrimonial mediator. It's not what I signed on for.

True, the last time I tackled such a project, it was a stunning success, (I assume) but that was probably a fluke.

http://tinyurl.com/dxvqlt

Besides, the individuals involved were not Jehovah's Witnesses, so I didn't have such things as congregation standings to consider. Nor counsel regarding the inadvisability of internet romances, which have a generally dismal track record, with but occasional happy endings.

TC

You don't get Playful speech Tom ?

she doesn't even know me , so what makes you think she would even take me seriously ?

Yes a Beautiful Guitar playing woman with Long Raven Locks AND a MOTORCYCLE (Yesssssssss) , Wow , every guys dream , she knows that . Woman just simply get what a lot guys don't .

Thanks for the nod anyway .


tom sheepandgoats

Mrs Sheepandgoats used to ride a motorcycle. She only quit it a few years ago.

TC

ok ,........ now I am jealous

Rosie

Of course I'll marry you TC! How nice of you to ask!

That is, if polygamy is allowed in the new system – in reverse: My idea is to call it YMAGYLOP (or “Leah's revenge”). That way, I can be married to a whole bunch of people in the new system, you.... any random husbands I go through the tribulation with … oh and Joshua (Moses' attendant)... I know what you're going to say, the resurrected ones aren't going to marry, but I have such a crush on him and I firmly believe there'll be a way for Josh and I too be together forever.

Tom: while I appreciate your advice (The Office (UK) rocks!), as you can see it doesn't apply to TC and I - you can't fight a love like ours. So, what about a blog about my “YmagylopⒸ”​ idea? I think there's something in it, don't you? You should talk to Mrs Sheepgoats about it, I think it could catch on...

Okay, enough! back to our regular programming, what was the topic? Music? Polygamy? Mormons? … actually, it looks as if we didn't stray too far from your central theme at all.

Mandrakes anyone?

TC

ROTF , Rosie you are one cool chic .

I am currently working on my CD , and have a Gig on the 19 th , Maybe I will record it , and send you some of it !!!

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