Guest Post — A Peculiar People: Mormon Like Me

My name is Brittany. I am a college graduate, a political scientist, a feminist, a woman, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am a seeker of truth, a lover of light and a disciple of Christ.

I’m also a Mormon.

Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I find being Mormon a hard cross to bear. The way I choose to live my life, and the things I choose to not participate in often act as a billboard. I feel as though I have “I’m a Mormon” plastered across my forehead. I wear physical reminders of my temple covenants under my clothes at all times. I love these covenants, I strive to keep them, but often times they are a reminder of this identity that I do not always understand, but cannot seem to escape. A man I went on a date with (a non-member) asked why I would not let him touch me after he kissed me goodnight. Besides the fact that I, a single woman in her 20s, is trying her best to live the law of chastity – I was wearing these undergarments that often make me feel different. I know I didn’t have to explain myself to him but I figured honesty is the best policy.

“I’m a Mormon. I wear temple garments under my clothes to remind myself of the promises I make in the temple. They’re sacred and very special to me.”

I could not believe myself in the moment. I had avoided the Mormon conversation all night. I found myself feeling so incredibly embarrassed and so different.

He didn’t seem to mind and found the whole topic interesting. Although, he did ask if he could see my garments – which was sort of awkward when I had to explain to him that he could not.

You see, I didn’t really want him to find out that I was Mormon. It can seem that I end up talking about my religion in seemingly random situations. And sometimes, once people attribute the label of “Mormon” to me, that’s all I am. I have felt no longer myself in some settings, just a member of a church that some people find strange. I know this can be a great excuse to share the gospel, but many times I just find it exhausting. Perhaps I find it difficult to reconcile with the way I feel about being Mormon because I haven’t always been Mormon. I found the church during my junior year of college and chose to be baptized on the 23rd of April, 2016. I was confirmed the next day and endowed in the Indianapolis temple just over a year later, on the 29th of April, 2017. These three days and everything in between has been an incredibly beautiful experience for me. However, there have been some real difficulties – there are always are.

I woke up the other morning feeling like all of this might be too much. I was struggling with garments, struggling with being the only member of my family and struggling with a new ward that I had been in for a while and had not made a single friend. I was struggling with my faith and was having severe doubts about the gospel. The title of “Mormon” made me feel strange and different.

I’m not really sure what I’m going through. I think it’s a cross between a faith and identity crisis. As I write, I am in the midst of it. Because of this, I do not really have a conclusion for you. However, in a way that is so gentle it could only be of God, I opened my journal the other night and the last thing I had written was this quote:

“I feel that I am called with a high and holy calling and that I ought to be peculiar.” – Angelina Grimke

It seems to me that an identity within Mormonism can often make us feel peculiar. People will force their ideas on what it means to be a Mormon onto us and expect us to take it. I no longer want to do this and I no longer want to feel embarrassment in the title of Mormon. I want to feel comfortable with myself and my identity as a person so I can be Mormon like me.

I hope you can feel comfortable enough to be Mormon like you.

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13 Responses

  1. Emily Clyde Curtis says:

    This is a beautiful post, Brittany. I so hope we’ll hear more from you.

    If it helps, the quote by Grimke is one of the reasons I stay. I look at other religions, but I won’t be as peculiar in them and perhaps that calling may apply to me, too.

  2. Patricia I Johnson says:

    Great quote! Hang in there. It’s not always easy, but I have always found that it was worth it.

  3. AP says:

    I’ve been Mormon my entire life and it still doesn’t feel entirely comfortable. Yet I haven’t found anything else that feels as close to home. I am sending you virtual hugs and want you to know that you are not alone.

  4. Brittany M Blackwood says:

    Thank you guys for your comments and sweet words! I want you guys to know that I wrote this a few weeks ago and I’m feeling much better. I went on a trip to see the people I began my journey with and they reminded me that it is very much worth sticking around.

  5. Caroline says:

    Lovely post, Brittany. I love the big tent vision, and I hope that more and more Mormons will embrace their peculiarity and be themselves. I know that would make it a lot easier for me, an active but non-traditional believing Mormon, to stay.

  6. Ziff says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Brittany. I am totally with you on sometimes not wanting to say I’m Mormon for fear of being pigeonholed. I really liked your approach of finding your own identity within Mormonism rather than figuring you have to fit some precise ideal.

  7. It’s so exciting to have new people like you coming into the faith and bringing your unique perspectives. Being Mormon can feel peculiar, even to a lifetime member like me, and being a feminist Mormon can be even more so. I am so glad you found our community and shared your thoughts with us.

  8. Amelia Christensen says:

    Oh gosh, I wish we could be in the same ward. I feel you. It’s not easy.
    If you’re on twitter, let me know your handle and we can do the whole follow thing. 🙂

    • Brittany M Blackwood says:

      Hey, Amelia! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I am on twitter but I’m particularly active. I’m much more active on facebook. You can find me by searching “Britt Blackwood”

    • Brittany M Blackwood says:

      Hey Amelia, I totally deleted someone the other day but it was a man so probably not you. Other than that, I haven’t gotten a request.

  9. zontziry says:

    I can very much relate to this. I found myself a couple of years ago living with a ton of angst over the fact I found myself suddenly reluctant to let anyone know I was Mormon. But at the same time, I didn’t know who I was without the Mormon label. I was going through a lot at the time, and ended up deciding to leave and find out who I am without the label. It’s been a long journey, and I’m enjoying continuing to learn about myself and what I personally believe. I’m glad you’re feeling better now!

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