By: Rebbie Groesbeck //
The other day I went to lunch with a woman who is writing a TV show that involves a Mormon character. She reached out to me because through some basic Googling, she had found this blog and figured I would be a good resource in figuring out how to realistically frame her character.
She asked me all sorts of questions, from basic things like, “what was it like growing up Mormon?” to hilarious things like, “can Mormons swim?”(p.s. the answer is YES)
After a while she told me that one of her friends growing up was Mormon. I asked why she hadn’t asked her friend all these questions before and she said, “Well…I guess I was scared to.”
It made me laugh, and immediately took me to a moment I have become quite familiar with. It’s the moment after someone asks me a question about being Mormon, and as I begin to answer, I start to see panic in their eyes. Partly it may just be that they are nervous about bringing up what might be a sensitive topic. But I think another part of it is a very real fear that I’m about to start preaching.
I want to provide some comfort for those who have felt that panic by first, letting you know that unless you can see a black nametag somewhere on our person we are not out to convert you during your lunch break. And second, if we do start getting a bit preachy, I want you to know WHY we do so.
Think about how you felt when you saw this:
Or more recently, this.
It made you feel something. It made you laugh, it made you cry, and in PSYs case it made you a little weirded out. But it made you feel something so great that you wanted to share it. And that’s probably what you did.
You proclaimed through your social media of choice that this was a message everyone should see. It might have made you a little nervous to share it, because you didn’t know if people would like it or not. But you stuck your neck out and put it out there, and the rest of us benefitted from seeing, it just like you did.
That experience, the engine behind things going “viral,” is in my mind the only reason Mormons care about sharing their religion.
We have seen or felt something that has made us laugh, or made us cry, or in some way affected us so deeply that our natural reaction is to share it. While it might make us feel nervous or awkward, we do it because there isn’t really another way to explain what we’ve felt—it just has to be experienced.
Our affinity for sharing our religion is not some master plan to take over the world. It’s simply a reaction to a feeling so wonderful that its natural effect is this.
The SMILIEST MISSIONARIES, as seen on Mormon Missionary Mom
So now, because I am a Mormon, and I for some reason have an over-developed affinity for sharing this stuff, I’m going to tell you that General Conference is happening this weekend, and that I think you’d enjoy its message.
You can watch it here this Saturday and Sunday or we’ll post a highlight reel next week for you to check back on.
So if you see your Mormon friends sharing messages about General Conference this week, don’t feel frightened or unnerved.
All they really want is for you to feel like this.