Friday, February 15, 2008

The perfect definition...

Cultural Mormon

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Cultural Mormon is a term describing someone who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, usually born into the Church, but who does not believe all or part of its doctrine, or one who does not follow all of its practices.

Cultural Mormons do not necessarily hold "anti-Mormon" sentiments and they often support the goals of the Church and find value in some of its teachings and practices. Many remain members of the Church for life. However, other Cultural Mormons consider their status to be temporary, as they work towards leaving the Church.

Cultural Mormons can fall into three different categories:

  1. Practicing Cultural Mormon - members of the Church who practice their religion for social reasons or to maintain harmony in the family.
  2. "Jack Mormon" - members of the Church who rarely or never attend church meetings or otherwise practice the religion, but who maintain good relations with members and positive feelings toward the Church, and who may or may not harbor belief in the Church.
  3. Ex-Mormon - those who are no longer members of the Church, but in some cases remain cultural Mormons in that they continue to value and live by aspects of a Mormon lifestyle, and may continue to associate strongly with friends and family members who are still Church members.

Many practicing cultural Mormons and Jack Mormons may keep their doubts a secret, and maintain a facade of believing in the doctrines. This is usually done to prevent conflicts within their families. One such group is the New Order Mormons, an Internet community whose members may belong to any of the above categories.


I didn't realize that there was a definition on Wikipedia (of all places) to so perfectly descriobe my situation. Of the three above categories, I'd stick myself in there between "Practicing Cultural Mormon" and "Jack Mormon." As ridiculous as it might be to try and define those terms, they at least describe my circumstances.

Great. I feel so...defined.

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