Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mormons and Vegetarianism

(This was my response to an RFM post about Mormons and vegetarianism. I reflect a little on my experiences as a vegetarian in the church and reactions to this choice.)

My mother-in-law's reaction to learning about my husband and my new-found vegetarianism was a little like her reaction to learning the we weren't going to church anymore: she was horrified. This was before we'd stopped going to church. She told my husband off and said that God basically commanded us to eat meat. When my husband cited evidence from the WOW that mentioned eating meat sparingly, his mother waved it off and said that that's not what it actually meant. She said that she would never cook any differently for us when we came over, and was quite upset over our choice.

She did calm down later on, and now she'll almost always cook a vegetarian alternative for my husband and me when we come over. Oddly, my side of the family was completely accepting of our vegetarianism. I don't know why my MIL freaked out the way she did. I guess my husband's family is far more TBM than mine in ways, and this is one of them.

Which brings me to this thought: why is meat such a focal point of the LDS religion? I have never been to a Mormon gathering where a meal served didn't feature a meat dish as the main course. There were never, EVER (in my experience) vegetarian options at Mormon dinners. I always got the feeling that Mormons assumed that vegetarian members didn't exists, that vegetarians were too "liberal" to be among the numbers of the church. And yet, to my interpretation, the WOW clearly states to eat God's creatures only in times of famine. We aren't exactly in one of those times here in the US. Just another way the church doesn't practice what they preach, although many would argue what those verses in the WOW actually mean.

My husband and I have grown a little lax in our vegetarianism. We are more "meat reducers" now, eating a vegetarian diet in our own home but having meat now and then when we are at others' homes if it is offered. We're in a place where we are comfortable, though. Still, in a way, I think it was vegetarianism that allowed both of us to see the world differently, with eyes open to new ideas, in a way that helped pave the way for our exit from the church (my husband especially). It has been a good thing for us in many respects, especially in helping us to escape the cult.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


My parents are trying very hard to persuade my husband and me to come see them over spring break. My dad is especially eager, throwing out promises of "oh sure, I'll buy you a new laptop if you come!" and "we can go do anything while you're here!"

I wish I didn't have to feel the way I do about it, but my Mormon Sense is tingling. I know that they want us alone so that they can say what they really want to say without other family members around. They want to take us to church with them, to persuade us to come back to the faith. With neither of my sisters there as a buffer, they might say just about anything at any time. And frankly I just don't have the strength needed to argue that much.

Perhaps their intent is benign, and all they are so excited for is time with us. I wish I could say that I believed that. In reality, I have already experienced too much of the tug-of-war that happens when you tell someone that you don't believe or that you are having "issues" with the church. They yank as hard as they can to pull you back in, and you pull equally hard to stay the hell out of there. It is entirely exhausting and gets you nowhere (except perhaps farther from the church as your anger for it grows).

So I don't know if I can stand to run the risk of being alone with my own parents. Should I just do it, spend a few days with them, and let the discussion open up? I mean, do they really want to know all of my reasoning behind my decision, or is it even their business? I can't decide that today. I don't know which is better: staying quiet or telling all.