1. You know the horror of youth church dances: the required distance between partners, the terrible music, the pressured necessity of dancing with the weird boy who picks his nose during Sunday school, accompanied by the silent longing for the boy you’ve had a crush on since you were eight to ask you instead. He almost never does, of course.
2. People probably had a lot of misconceptions about your religion. Examples: ‘Mormons are allowed to eat Chinese food?”; “It’s raining, don’t you believe you’ll like, melt or something?; “Don’t you have to wear a special suit so you don’t ever see yourself naked?”
3. Adults regularly enjoyed chastising your religion to your face and you probably experienced at least one friendship strained, if not entirely ruined, by their parent’s objection to it. You were only a kid, man.
4. Girls Camp (obviously just for the young female portion of the Mormon community) was a lovely opportunity to rampage through the wilderness and embrace your inner, disgusting cave-woman instincts. What happens during Girls Camp… stays at Girls Camp.
5. You were always in church or at some sort of church function at least three or four times a week. Pioneer day? A full day of pretending to be pioneers and hiking for miles in really uncomfortable dresses (again, girls only here). Awesome way to spend a weekend.
6. You’ve never seen a rated R movie so when your friends are quoting cult-classics and everyone is laughing you’re sort of just… chuckling along hoping no one will notice.
7. If you happened to have a horrible singing voice, Church was often pure, awkward, evil torture.
8. You probably had a lot of experience giving ‘talks’ (religiously oriented speeches, if you will) during Sacrament Meeting which, while never fun or pleasant, helped you get over any fear of speaking to a large group you might have had. Whether you wanted to get over that fear or not…
9. In the absence of drinking, drugs, and sex (you know… in most cases) you learned to find other ways to have fun that usually included terrorizing the town in a beat up mini-van with one door that didn’t work and censored music blaring. Man, did I do a lot of ice skating and bowling.
10. You probably used words like ‘fudge,’ ‘freak,’ ‘crap,’ ‘dang,’ or more creative terms like ‘shiitake mushrooms,’ or ‘what a batch!.’ Basically the same intent and meaning as curse words but, you know, without actually being curse words.
11. You know the pain of melting during the summer in sleeved tops and jeans or too-long shorts while your non-Mormon friends traipsed through the stifling weather in crop tops and short-shorts. Bunch of batches for sure.
12. You probably owned more skirts/ties/dresses/suits than other kids your age and, considering how often you were in church, you were probably pretty pro at looking your ‘fancy’ best.
13. Whether or not Mormonism is a cult may be debatable but you know that the clique’s Mormon girls form are nothing short of cult-like. Good luck finding your way if you’re new to the Ward or if one of the popular boys takes an interest in you.
14. You probably spent an obscene amount of time doing community service; cleaning highways, working in food canning facilities, singing at old-folks homes, helping out at soup kitchens, etc. Most of these experiences were actually pretty fun.
15. Unless you attended a high school that had a separate seminary building, or one that actually counted seminary as a real credit (rare), you were attending the ‘mandatory’ religious class before school, during lunch, or after school, making your school day unbelievably looooong.
16. If you happen to be a female, you’re familiar with the concept that your dress and modesty is responsible for teenage boys controlling their thoughts and actions. If you show your shoulders that boy who sits next to you during Sunday Class might not be able to contain his wild, raging hormones. Shame on you.
17. You may have been the ‘leader’ of your youth age group which, depending on the size of your Ward, could take up a ridiculous amount of your time and you’re not entirely sure what you learned, gained, or accomplished through the experience.
18. Going to the local(ish) Temple was always a fun, interesting trip, unfortunately you were required to look nice and were generally packed into a vehicle with a bunch of other equally uncomfortable teenagers listening to whatever horrible music your driver selected.
19. Dating was a nonnegotiable thing until you turned 16; even if your Class President asked you to be his prom date… thanks Dad. And good luck if the boy you like isn’t Mormon, you might as well reenact Romeo and Juliet and get it over with.
20. Missionaries get a lot of crap for the whole proselyte thing and, considering how annoying Jehova Witnesses can be, you kinda get it, but everyone just sort of assumes you want to convert them, too. They usually counter this with a.) Avoiding ever discussing your religion or b.) Trying to convert you instead and frequently telling you about how terrible and wrong your religion is, like you murder baby goats and participate in satanic rituals or something.