Ah, Independence Day. Can you believe we dedicated an entire holiday just so we could celebrate this movie? What a great land we live in.
But seriously: despite its many problems, we feel very fortunate to live in a country that not only affords its citizens so many liberties, but views these liberties as an essential component of a functioning society. We believe that Christ restored His church at a time and in a place where it had room to take root and grow — in the fertile soils of a burgeoning democracy.
Along with things like freedom of religion and freedom of speech, though, come some very Mormony freedoms … ones that everyone has the right to exercise, but that we really use in our own special way. And boy are we grateful they exist. So in the spirit of this week’s holiday, here are three quick freedoms Mormons put to good use:
1. The Freedom of Naming Kids Whatever The Heck We Want
For some reason, “normal” names aren’t enough for some Mormons. I mean look at us — our founder’s name is Rebbie. So is it our affinity for scriptural names like Moroni and Nephi that makes us yearn for the non-traditional? Our general sense that we need to be a “peculiar people?” We don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: we’re starting to give “ghetto black names” a run for their money. Check out this video featuring actual Utah names. No, it is not a joke.
(No offense intended to those whose names are featured in this video)
Sitting down to a nice family meal? Prayer. Kicking off a dance party for young singles? Prayer. About to scarf some cookies and ice cream after listening to a speaker? Prayer. Getting together for some basketball in the church gym? Yep…better start that game off with a prayer.
Mormons bless everything. And much of the time, they’ll literally use the words “please bless” in their prayers, even when it doesn’t make grammatical or practical sense. “Please bless that we have a good time?” “Please bless these double fudge brownies that they may nourish and strengthen our minds and our bodies and do us the good that we need?” I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but…those brownies are NOT gonna get any healthier.
Then again, is there really anything wrong with constantly being thankful? Sure, a quick prayer may not change the nutritional composition of the triple cheese bacon pizza you’re about to eat as part of a ward activity — but it can serve as a reminder to be grateful for the many blessings you enjoy and not take anything for granted.
3. The Freedom to Put Weird Stuff in Our JELL-O
Not only does Salt Lake City have the highest per capita consumption of Jell-O in the entire world, but Bill Cosby himself appeared before a joint session of the Utah Legislature to help make JELL-O Utah’s official state snack. This cultural obsession offers yet another opportunity to let our creativity flourish. Actual ingredients we’ve seen/heard of being used in JELL-O or JELL-O salads:
- Cottage Cheese
- Regular Cheese
- Ground Beef
- Green Peas
Oh the humanity.
If you’re lucky, you might even witness all three of these at the same time. That’s when you know you did the holidays right.
Happy belated July 4th, everyone!