There was a very interesting article in the New York Times yesterday. It was titled To be Young, Hip, and Mormon. To be honest, I was a little upset as I read the article, the very premise seemed to be “How to be Mormon and not Mormon at the same time.” Okay, it wasn’t really that bad, and I have no problem with people who want to be Mormon and Hipster, but the people they interviewed in the article all seemed to have the same mentality — they want to reconcile their faith and their popular culture.
I was reminded of the scripture in the Old Testament, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21). These people are looking for ways to bend the rules of Mormonism in order to fit in with what is cool, what is ‘hip’. They complain that they can’t wear the cool clothes and still be in compliance with the modesty standards, they complain that they don’t like going to parties because they feel out of place not drinking. But what got me most was the guy who opened a tattoo shop and eventually got a tattoo on his arm, of a beehive — so it’s okay. He said, “It’s a complicated way of saying I still love the church.” My thought was, ‘No, it’s a simple way of saying I don’t care what the church has taught, I’m going to do my own thing anyway.’
And the most offensive part of the article was at the end where the New York Times writes about What the Church Says and How to Get Around It. The very idea that you want to “get around” the commandments and doctrines of the church, just so that you can fit in with the cool kids, is just unthinkable to me. Either you are a Mormon, you want to be a part of the faith, you want to believe and accept the tenets of this faith, or you do not. And if you do not, then don’t. No big deal. There’s no one forcing you to be Mormon, there’s nothing, other than social pressure, which is, ironically, the only thing encouraging people to be hipster.
And that is another one of the blaring ironies of the article. These people want to be different and fit in as well. One guy who worked hard to get a beard card while at BYU because he really wanted to wear a beard and be different, complained, “I felt like people were constantly staring at me.” Really? You want a beard at BYU because it makes you different, and then you complain when people stare at you? You can’t have it both ways.
I will state again that I have no problem with people who are Mormon who want to be hipster (or people who are hipster who want to be Mormon). Dress as silly as you like, be who you want to be. But don’t sit around and complain that you can’t be as hipster as you want because you’re Mormon.