On Courtesy

April 27, 2007

by Alice

There was a moment in my life when I thought that Mormons were the least courteous people ever. I viewed them as a group of judgmental tattle-tales who took pleasure and felt success from others “failure.” I could provide examples to support why I felt this way, but what would be the point?

Then, almost exactly eight years ago, I moved to San Francisco and discovered that it isn’t Mormons who have the corner on the market for lack of courtesy. It is humans in general, myself included at times. I just happened to live in a place with a lot of Mormons and so I applied actions by individuals that seemed cruel or hurtful to an entire religion. Moving made me realize that this judgement was misguided. Ass-holes are ass-holes, plain and simple.

When I look at the life I used to live versus the life I live today, I’m forced to recognize that courtesy plays a very prominent role in the Mormon religion. The gospel is literally the gospel of Christ, and Christ, hands down, has an even better reputation than Miss Manners for being courteous. But the Mormon religion takes courtesy to an entirely different level, it takes it further than Christ’s gospel: Courtesy is carved into the daily lives of the religions members. For instance, every family in the church is assigned two home teachers to assist with their physical, mental, and religions well being. Every adult woman in the Church is assigned two visiting teachers to assist with her physical, mental, and religious well being. Young men and young women create projects to assist their communities in an effort to earn their Eagle Scouts and Young Women in Recognition Award. The tithing, the monthly fast offerings, and the many other contributions and donations that all go to worthy causes across the world are viewed as courteous acts. And how can we forget the endless homemade casseroles and platters of Jell-O that find their way into the homes of families who have someone ill, or in the hospital, or struggling in any manner. And silly me, I must recognize the wedding punch and the funeral potatoes as their own courteous acts as well. I could go on and on forever, but my point quite simply is that, through their behavior, as a community, Mormons promote courtesy among one another.

Of course, even otherwise courteous Mormons can still be judgmental tattle-tales who take pleasure and feel success from others “failure.” But again, that’s just ass-holes being ass-holes.


One comment

  1. I think the concept of a Mormon community is perfect. It’s just that Mormons themselves are woefully not pefect. Sometimes we confuse the two concepts.

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