Saturday, December 3, 2011

Apropos of Nothing

Many of you know that I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you may have wondered how the daughter of a Southern-Baptist-turned-nudist-hippy mother learn about a belief system that is so hated by both of the worldviews from whence she came. Saturday morning cartoons, of course.

One morning, little 5-year-old me was watching a teeny tiny black and white TV. A tiny cartoon Donny Osmond sang "Puppy Love," and I fell. Hard. In love with a cartoon boy. Not too long after that I saw the commercial for Donny Osmond's greatest hits and began the beg-a-thon. A successful beg-a-thon. I had the album in my possession at the next gift-giving occasion.

He sang songs about little girls with blue eyes who are much too young to know about love. I wanted to marry him. But he was SO OLD! Would he wait for me to grow up?

For five years, I hoped. Then one day my mom burst my bubble.

"He's Mormon. Mormons only marry Mormons."


 "Mormons. It's a religion. Like Catholics or Jews. They only marry people who are in their religion."

 "How do I become Mormon? What do they believe?"

"You have to be born a Mormon. I know they aren't allowed to go sleeveless. All their shirts have to have some kind of sleeves."

I cried. A ten year old kid crying because Donny not only was ten years older than she was, but also would never marry her because she was (by this point) Presbyterian. Honestly, my little heart hurt SO much. I can still feel the memory ache today.

Three years later, I'd mostly overcome my puppy love, and one of my mother's facts on Mormons turned out to be false. You don't have to be born a Mormon. My step-mother joined the Mormon church and when I came to visit that summer, asked me if I wanted to meet with the sister missionaries. (Nuns? Mormons have nuns?) Sure. I guess.

Any guesses what my first question was? Yep. Why do Mormons have to wear sleeves? My second was related: What about Marie? She went sleeveless all the time! So my very first piece of legitimate information about the church was about temple garments as explained by two LDS sister missionaries to a bra-less 13-year-old in a tank top. (I'd gotten to the hippy part of my existence.)

Eventually, I joined the church, but the journey was quite rough, worthy of its own blog post (or two).

This story came up the other day, and I turned to You Tube to illustrate.

"Is that Justin Bieber?!" asked V, my besotted 9-year-old.

"No, but now that you mention it. . ."



Ardis said...

Love it! (Dare I confess that about six months ago I downloaded an album of Donny's greatest hits? "I love the little wiggle in your walk, the way you cuddle on my sho-o-oulder ..." -- No, I don't dare confess that. Don't tell anybody.)

Jami said...

It's our little secret, Ardis.

Unknown said...

So, you were the nudist, or your mom?

Jami said...

A more accurate term would be "clothing-optional." And we all were at one point or another, though by the time I was 13 I was protesting fairly loudly. I think the central valley, no air-conditioning and hippy-thinking combined to lead to our less than fully-dressed choices.

Heidi said...

Can't wait to hear the rest! Not that I haven't had the highly summarized version but all the little details are so much fun. So, did you celebrate when Donny won Dancing with the Stars? And did you know that I have both a sister and the sister of a sister in law who have met him? In person?

Chris said...

I knew a lot of young women my age in my home state who were first converted to osmonds, then the church. I was a convert, too, in my teens. I too had spent my earliest years not worrying too much about clothing. My grandparents loved living on cape cod, right on the each. My first seeing a real osmond came while shopping at a provo supermarket and getting pushed away from one of the osmonds by a 400 lb security guard who thought that I came to close to his charge- didnt even dawn on me who it was until i saw them later at a distance. not that interested in them after that.