I grew up a Mormon, but the wrong kind of Mormon: we were Missouri Mormons, or RLDS – as contrasted with the more successful Utah Mormons or LDS. This contrast was so blatant the church renamed itself the Community of Christ – for reasons it has never made clear. It didn’t really matter, it was doomed and it could not save itself – or do much of anything else – as its long decline has testified. We were losers, but to this day my family members refuse to recognize this.
My marker pen got a good workout on this article. But the basic point is an old one: Mormons are as American as apple-pie – something Americans themselves have refused to acknowledge. But as Americans are becoming more conservative, their ideology is merging with the Mormon one. This quote is typical:
As Kim Clark, the former dean of the Harvard Business School, told journalist Jeff Benedict in the Mormon Way of Doing Business: “I grew up in a home where we were not only expected to make our bed, do the dishes, and go to Church and say our prayers, but we were expected to be a leader and do it well. This has had a significant influence on how I think about the world and what I do and how I do it. Clark goes on to recall how his mother sent him off to school each day by grabbing his lapels and issuing a rather blunt exhortation: “Remember who you are.”
RLDS kids, by contrast, only aspired to be school teachers or nurses - definitely not businessmen. By contrast, we were nobodies doing nothing and going nowhere.