Category Archives: Mormon Youth

I’m back in the LDS ward I grew up in, and my mortifying teenaged past haunts me. Help?

Dear AMG:

I was raised Presbyterian in Tennessee, started dating a Mormon boy, and was baptized in August 2003 at the age of 17. I dated him for two years, until I found out he had been cheating with numerous other girls–and in a town this small, everyone knew but me. I was embarrassed and hurt, and I hightailed it to Utah.  I am now 25. After graduating from BYU, I have moved back to this small town in Tennessee and am now living in the ward I was baptized in with my husband of two years.  (My ex-boyfriend eventually served a mission and is now happily married.)  But I am still mortified to be surrounded by his mother, cousin, brother, aunts and uncles, and friends.  My family is here, and I have a job with benefits, so I can’t move.  But I serve on the ward Christmas party committee, and four out of six women on the committee are related to my ex-boyfriend!  I know this sounds childish, but it really is driving me crazy.  Help? 

Mortified

Dear Mortified:

Let me tell you a true story.  There once was a Mormon boy who was cute and smart and perfect, and a Mormon girl in his ward who was a few years younger and also cute and smart.  And from the time she was seven years old, the girl was totally crushed out on the boy.  Dedicated.  Destroyed.  Wrote about him in her journal.  With hearts and stars around his name.  Froze when he whispered witty remarks under his breath during Sacrament Meeting.  Fast forward:  same ward, eight years later.  On the eve of leaving for college, after dating every other no-count female in the stake, boy shows up on girl’s doorstep and admits that he might like her back.  And what does she do?  Fifteen year-old girl fumbles.  Miserably.  Then cries.  Fast forward: same ward, eight additional years later.  Mormon boy’s mother holds a wedding reception for her son and his new bride.  Mormon girl is too nauseous to attend.  Fast forward another decade, stake reunion:  Mormon girl has a smashingly happy marriage and an interesting, adventure-filled life.  She enters stake youth reunion prepared to exhibit smashing happiness and adventurousness but finds herself instead utterly speechless when Mormon boy strikes up a conversation at the punch bowl.

Ah, wards.  The small towns of Mormondom.   No matter how far I travel, when I return to the Orange, California Stake, I might as well be fifteen years old and sporting a bad perm.  And I tell you this story from the Ask Mormon Girl personal archive to help you feel not so alone.  Inside every one of us lives an utterly mortified teenaged girl.   You can move across the city.  Grow out your perm. Dye your hair.  Change your name.  Marry.  Travel the world.  Earn degrees.  Win prizes.  But she lives on—awkward, moody, embarrassed, and self-despising.  And ready to leap out at the most untimely moments.  There’s nothing we can do but pity her, pity ourselves, have a good laugh with a girlfriend, and then move on.

But there’s a crucial difference between your story and mine.  I was mortified by my own desperately poor communication skills.  You were mortified by the rank perfidy of a no-good boyfriend! You were a sweet young thing, and he was a lothario!  You have nothing to be ashamed of!  And you have returned to your hometown victorious:  with a husband, a job, and (most impressively) health benefits!  You win!  When you enter that ward Christmas party in a few weeks, I want you to say a few reassuring words to that mortified teenager inside of you, but forbid her to speak. Hold your head up high.  Be your most charming and delightful self.  Behold your ex’s relatives with a regal but undetectable form of condescension.  They are, after all, the relatives of the young scoundrel who ruined his family name by running around with all the girls in town, and you are the girl he wronged years ago, and this, my dear, gives you one of the most powerful forms of cultural currency in the Mormon universe:  rightness.   Use it sparingly, and with mercy, for you must remember that inside every one of them too there lives a mortified, self-loathing teenager.  We all have embarrassing elements of our pasts.  The most gracious gift we can bestow upon our fellow wardmembers—the fellow inmates of our Mormon small towns—is to pretend we remember only the good parts.  We call that gift dignity. Claim it!

What about you, dear readers?  Any mortifying moments your inner LDS fifteen year-old is dying to admit?  What words of courage do you have for Mortified?

Send your query to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.

 

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Filed under Love, Mormon Youth, social connectedness

I’m 15. And my Young Women’s leaders are freaking me out. Help?

I am a fifteen year old girl and am having some troubles with the Mormon culture and NOT the faith. Lately I cannot stand going to young women’s or sunday school because it feels like they press upon you what to do and how to feel. All they are constantly telling me is that I have to get married (in the temple) and have children and I feel really frustrated by having to mould into the ‘perfect’ Mormon type. A bunch of my friends aren’t LDS (I live in a big town with few Mormons) and it seems like they are free to do with their lives as they please. I’m not saying that I want to drink, do drugs, or have a boyfriend before I’m sixteen because I wouldn’t do that even if I wasn’t LDS. It just seems like they aren’t as pressured as I am.

My best friend who is an inactive Mormon (her mom is LDS but her dad isn’t) is really fun to be around and lives life care free. Occasionally she’ll swear or have a boyfriend but I don’t feel that what she is doing is necessarily that bad. Sure, I would never do what she does but unlike my other two Mormon friends, I don’t see the harm in what she’s doing. She believes in the gospel and says prayers regularly by herself and with her family. It isn’t that important for her to marry into the Mormon faith or get married into the temple though.

I know that I’m only fifteen but I’m already worried that I won’t find the ‘perfect’ Mormon man to marry who will respect me and the way I view the Mormon culture and live it. Occasionally I will wear ‘short-shorts’ or wear a tank top, and I feel that if I ever told another Mormon guy or girl (besides my best friend who does it also) about the way I live, that they would think of me as not strong in faith (which I am) or truly LDS.  My parents don’t have a problem if I wear shorts or tank tops in the summer (not during school) and love me the way I am. I would never lie to them and they are two of my greatest friends.

I fear that there isn’t another Mormon person who would respect my decisions and how I am. I would love to marry someone who is like my father (a convert) in ways that he is strong in faith but has an opinion that some of the religious rules can be flexible (mostly the dress code). I would NEVER wear revealing clothing to an event and when I wear the shorts and t-shirts, I do it to cool off in the hot heat (and usually in the concealment of my backyard). We also go to church every Sunday dressed appropriately.

I plan to go to Brigham Young University to become a lawyer – yet I am afraid that parts of my lifestyle will be prosecuted and I will be treated differently by the more rule abiding Mormons and I won’t find a ‘perfect’ man to spend eternity with. Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns. I deeply appreciate it.

Sincerely,

KDP

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Filed under Mormon Youth, parenting, young women

Christian boy + Mormon girl, part 2

Last Monday, Ask Mormon Girl answered its first inquiry from L.M., a 15 year-old Christian boy with a crush on a 16 year-old Mormon girl. It wasn’t long before a second query from L.M. arrived in our askmormongirl@gmail.com inbox:

Hello Mrs. Brooks,

Thank you for your advice, I found it very helpful. I don’t know who she hangs out with, but I would like to get to know them…. If it turns out that she’s not interested, at least I will have made a few friends in the process. I’ll let you know what comes of it. By the way, what are some of the differences between Mormon and Christian beliefs that I should know about? The last thing that I want is to offend someone, especially such a nice girl as her.

Thanks again,

L.M.

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Filed under Love, Mormon Youth, Mormons and Christians, theology

The mailbag is open.

So there I was, my askmormongirl@gmail.com account barely three months old, when it arrived from uncharted reaches of the internet universe:  a bonafide query about the Mormon world I know and love.

Hello Mrs. Brooks,

I have a 16 year old mormon friend, and I am attracted to her.  I am 15, and I am not a Mormon.  I am, however, a Christian.  She knows that I like her, and I think that she likes me, too.  I don’t know what I should do, because both of those things can create some problems if I ask her out.  I turn 16 in April.  Should I wait until then to ask her out?  Any advice that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

L.M.
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Filed under About Mormon Girl, Love, Mormon Youth