My Assigned Friends

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,


Most Post-Mormons will understand me when I use the words "assigned friends." It's a term used to represent those who are asked to befriend you to get information about you, or to get you to do something.

I was a very active in the church in 9th and 10th grade. I would go with my brother to church on Sunday, and I would always attend Young Women's classes on Wednesday nights. Both summers I attended girls camp, where I was taught about how to be a good little Mormon wife and have lots and lots of babies... oh, and don't forget to pay that tithing.

We did fun things like make fudge (yay) and gingerbread houses at Christmas time. We would then deliver these yummy treats to the Young Mens groups who were probably not having lessons like us, but playing basketball instead. It was when I was delivering a plate of sugar cookies to a group of young men that I realized we were all being prepped for life as Mormons. The women would do the cooking, the boys could play games and have fun. Why couldn't I play games? I wanted to play basketball? I even asked once, and I didn't exactly get an answer.

I stopped attending church when I became a junior in high school. It was at this time that I started really paying close attention to the things going on around me. I wasn't a little girl anymore, and I knew it. Watching the news on television was suddenly interesting to me, but as a young kid I would constantly ask my Dad why he watched it because it was so boring. I figured out that I loved to learn.

It was at girls camp that I made the decision to stop attending completely. My Mom and Dad were always very open with us, and let us make our own decisions about going to church. I remember telling them I wanted to stop going, but I doubt I gave them the real reason why...
I was becoming a feminist. I could see how girls were being told what to do and how to behave. How to follow the priesthood and who to marry and where. I didn't agree with it, and I wasn't going to be one of those girls. I wasn't.

One of my Young Women's leaders then decided to make me her pet project. She couldn't, for the life of her, figure out what had made me suddenly stop attending church and other meetings. She would stop me when she saw me in the neighborhood and try to have meaningful conversations with me. She even had her own kids try to become my best friends in order to find out what had made me stop attending. She was convinced that it was her job to save me from being inactive. She even stopped by my house after a young women's activity 2 times in the same night. My Dad was even sick of her, and he and my Mom got along with everyone.

I then noticed a change in how my friends who happened to be Mormon treated me like they cared about me all the sudden. Don't get me wrong, they were usually very nice to me... but it's almost like they all woke up and decided that I was really cool and they wanted to hang out with me all the time. I realized right away what was happening. I had become the topic of conversation one night, and my YW leader told everyone to befriend me and bring me back into the fold.

It's this taste of false-friendship that burns me... what I mean by that, is that friends are hard to find, good friends anyway...

Why would I need a ton of fake friends? They certainly didn't care this much about me when I was attending church, did they? They didn't care about my hobbies or my job when I was in church, and suddenly they wanted to know all about it.

It's not only kids that do this. It's adults too. I would like to share this article I found from the Ensign, a church published magazine. It was published in the February 2005 issue. (This photo is from a more recent issue of the magazine.)

Ideal Mormons" and "Deep Friendships":

The first two lessons, which we learned early in our efforts to be good member missionaries, have made sharing the gospel much easier: We simply can’t predict who will or won’t be interested in the gospel, and building a friendship is not a prerequisite to inviting people to learn about the gospel. We discovered these principles when we were newlyweds and the missionaries in our ward asked us to make a list of people with whom we could share the gospel. We were to start with those at the top of our list and begin “preparing” them through a twelve-step process. First, we were to invite them to our home for dinner and follow that by going to a cultural event together. The sixth, seventh, and eighth steps were to invite them to church, give them a copy of the Book of Mormon, and ask them to take the missionary discussions. The program culminated in the twelfth step—baptism.

We dutifully made this list, placing those we thought most likely to be interested in the gospel at the top. They looked like “ideal Mormons”—people whose values, such as clean living and commitment to family, mirrored our own. We then began building deeper friendships with them, adding additional social events to our already busy lives. One by one, those we thought might be interested in learning about the gospel declined our invitations when we got to steps six through eight. Our invitations didn’t offend them, but in their own way they told us they were happy in their present approach to religion. After much work over many months, we didn’t find anyone who was interested in learning more about the gospel.
Here is proof that Mormons are asked to befriend people just to try and get them into the church. I know other churches might use this same tactic, but that doesn't make it right. It's dishonest.

This is why I have a hard time seeing most of my Mormon friends as sincere. When they are kind and sweet to me, I know it's coming from the heart most of the time... but when they try and bring up my doubts and questions in "subtle" ways, I see right through it. Are they my friends simply because they love me and want to be around me? Or are they just pretending because that is what they are asked to do?

Another time I saw a girl in the church pretend to be interested in a non-member. She flirted with him and hinted around that she could never date a boy that wasn't Mormon. He actually started attending church with her family at one point. Soon after, she stopped caring about him. I know this is just one example, and it seems harsh, but it happened. When I talked to other Post Mormons about it, they knew exactly what I was talking about. It's called "Flirt to Convert."

Sick, ain't it?

I guess I just want people to like me for me... and not feel obligated to be around me just because I "fell away" (I didn't, I woke up) and I need to be saved. The whole this smells of trickery. It's sad.


14 comments:

  1. C. L. Hanson Says:

    Ah, yes, the old "flirt to convert." That's how an old boyfriend of mine was first pulled into Mormonism, and it's one of the subjects of the story Youth Conference.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Thank you for the links to the stories! I love them!!! I have a feeling I will be spending more and more time on your blog.

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I know this is another perspective on it but my husband and I were, apparently, on one of my husband's coworker's list. We got the invitation to dinner. One to go to the movies. Then one to go to some dance event for Mormon teens at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Their own kids were too young but they were attending anyway and said it was a big event and something we'd want to see.

    We never got the invitation to go to a church service. I guess it was sufficiently clear that we were creeped out by the Rose Bowl half filled without much evidence of any "there" there. Not meaning to be unkind now -- and we didn't say what we were thinking then to our hosts but I guess they could tell that it didn't impress us in the way they hoped -- but it really does make an impression when that many LDS people are in one place! I've heard expressions like "bland" and "white bread" but the impression that my husband and I got was "vacant". Sorry, it was just true.

    Afterward, I suppose our host (who was converted when he wanted to marry his BIC wife) made a mistake when he did it, but he pointed out each of the people who would be watching to see that he had attended and who was with him as we milled around on our way out. That whole concept of being monitored was pretty creepy too.

    Oddly enough, it had part of its intent accomplished. Not that I'd ever consider joining or talking seriously with missionaries, but I continue to this day (a couple of decades later) to want to understand the LDS and what motivates Mormons to sublimate so much of their personalities.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Wow, thank you for leaving that comment. It's always nice to hear a fresh perspective from someone who has nothing to do with the church.

    I think that leaving Mormonism has opened my eyes to so many amazing things, and when I look back at how I used to be I understand when people say things like "vacant." It describes how I was, and how many of my friends and family still are.

  1. Anonymous Says:

    "Vacant" is a hard word and it's not one I'd apply to any individual Mormons that I know. It's just that that experience was so stunning -- like a cold shower on a winter morning -- when so many were gathered together. There was applause and cheering but, somehow, no spark of the electricity of a crowd. No sense of the individuality and uniqueness that even a handful of random people give off.

    Glad you understood that in the way I intended it. I came back because I thought I hadn't been careful enough to give that strong word the context it needed.

  1. Sydney Says:

    No worries my friend. I completely understand, and I am sure that many others understand as well.

  1. maorinz81 Says:

    k so i like was just googleing for some info on sydney as i might be going on holiday soon and i was looking up the local church info and your name came up. um, i'm sorry but i honestly feel hard sorry for you and all these people that make comments that actually agree with you. i'm maori and from nz grew up up in the "mormon church" all my life going to be 50th school reunion this weekend at church college of new zealand. when it comes down to it a testimony is based on what ones relationship is with heavenly father, i can say not to be prideful, but because of years of study and yep serving one of those mormon missions in aussie, i know the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints is the only true church on earth. and yes i've been blessed, 4 out of my 5 siblings have served mormon missions, 2 have married in the temple, the others still single, my parents grew up in the church, their parents were converts, but i have strong ties. i don't know what it means to live a life in which girls only do certain things and boys do certains things, i've read some of your comments and to be honest they're ridiculous and judgemental, you cannot judge the true gospel of jesus christ on other peoples actions or your lack of speaking up or choices. i come from a rugby family, i've played rugby, i had my own womens rugby team for a year before i went on the mission i made the choice i started it up myself. i'm an action person, heavenly father hes not dumb, and i know i'm made in his image, which means i have the capability to become like him, have his intelligence one day etc, this life is about choices, you read that article, but you didn't read it with the spirit, and i don't mean to be sad, but i read it and i see it so differently. i have like over 1000 friends and to be honest thats not even being realistic, i'm well known amongst my ysa friends in nz. because i'm a forever finding missionary, i made friends to share with them what i know to be true, if they don't accept it sweet it doesn't mean i won't stop being there friend and they respect me enough to know that if they want to accept the gospel or when they're ready i'm here for them and some of my truest friends are not members of the church yet. i do understand that you probably haven't had half of the spiritual experiences i've had, and if you had you wouldn't be wasteing your time writing blogs and almost helping satan and his crew by getting other people to agree with you. this life everyone has to make a choice whose side they're on satan or gods, if your on gods you'll become a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, if you choose satans well your gonna have a sad life, yes theirs repentance, thank goodness for that, cause i so need that. i've learnt the more you come to know god and his plan and your place in it, the more you come to understand how many weaknesses you have and i have heaps. i have seen so many people like you turn away from the gospel, because of being offended by someone, judgeing some gospel principal and it all comes down to this i guarantee you the moment you made that choice to stop going to church, were you reading your scriptures everyday, studying them with full purpose of heart, were you really allowing the lord to hear your voice and praying to him morning and night, i'm sure you know the answer, ummmmm no you weren't. satan and his crew are real, they know the art of war and they never slacken off. i'm thankful to have been born in a country and have a very outspoken lols mother who taught me to think for myself. i'm a true friend, if i want to do something i'm gonna do it, i'm not going to let other peoples gender discrimination tell me what to do. However, in saying that their is line of authority and respect the priesthood. um, i think you really need to study and analyse the family proclaimation to the world, cause obviously ya don't get it, men and women are equal we are expected to help each other support each other, why do you think the late prophet pres. gordon. b hinckley was married for so many years, he once said something like he let his wife fly and just be her and sit back and watch the wonderful things she could do. when i listen to the current propher pres. thomas s. monson i can't help but know through the spirit he is a true prophet of god, he truly is the prophet of the world. i know god lives and loves all his children, he's my best friend, and when i really work hard and am in tune, i talk to him, and he listens, and i hear his voice in the scriptures or through the spirit giving me counsel. you can take offense on this comment, or be humble enough to really think about the things i've written and pray and talk to heavenly father. honest, if all my friends here in new zealand know i was blogging on some randomn persons blogg, they'd probably crack up and wouldn't be surprised and then they'd tell you to listen to me. i'm not perfect, i got heaps of weaknesses, but god chooses weak people to do great things. everyday i wake up knowing i was chosen out of millions in the pre-existence to come down at this time to help gather the elect of god here on earth, that knowledge is power. and you should be thankful that the lord blessed you to have the parents you have, because honest theirs millions of lost people in the world who don't know the truth. satan and his crew theirs no veil for them, they know exactly who you were in the pre-existence and your potential, you were great, you were chosen out of millions too, you are the part of the chosen generation, but him and his peeps want you on their side, if you continue to do silly blogs like this your just helping their side. you can't blame the church the true gospel of jesus christ for your lack of dilligence in taking care of your spiritual health or you being offended because of what other members have said or how you have observed them acting or your lack of overcoming your fears and making decisions based on the spirit instead of worring about what other people think. i'm 26 and not married yet and i honestly don't care, i know as i'm faithful, go to all the ysa activities, do my church callings, one day i'll get married, okay and i'm kinda promised it in my patriarchal blessing. i know the truth and that brings happiness, i wish i could show you and you could see and know all the wonderful spiritual experiences and missionary moments i've had in my life, but i can't. because this life is about using ones agency, learning for yourself, eternal life is not free, only the resurrection is. well i gotta go, fah i gotta do a uni assignment. so heres my final parting words, a great prophet president.david.o.mckay who was the prophet who dedicated the nz temple and church college, funi enough out of all the countries in the world nz was chosen as the prophet said thats where the lord wanted a temple and the first church high school in the world to be built anywaes he said "all the water in the world, however much it tried, could never sink the smallest ship, unless it got inside. And all the evil in the world, the blackest kind of sin, can never hurt you in the least, unless you let it in". 3 Nephi chapter 11 i suggest you read it, and pray before you read it and at the end to gain spiritual strenght and that great light of christ, light is mentioned so many times in the scriptures it is what helps acknowledge truth and give spiritual strength to do good works. you don't have to be mormon to get light, however being mormon because we have the gift of the holy ghost and we know the plan of salvation, we can understand how to better use that light and how to obtain it. this is the principle, the more good you do the more light you obtain, when you share your testimony you can transcend that light on to others which not only strengthens the light you already have, but helps there spiritual health get stronger. i kinda see myself like a modern superhero, my superpowers are known as the gifts of the holy ghost, the more spiritual gifts you have the more you can help others. check out donny osmond hes full of light, college road trip is his latest movie defs check out its the best. he has spent his whole life dilligently obtaining light and transcending it on to other people through the talents he has, so has gladys knight a legendary soul singer of alltime ever since she got baptised. well i'll leave you with this scripture d&c 50:24
    "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day'.

    yep fah i gotta get back to doing my uni assignment.

    maori girl
    hamilton
    new zealand

  1. Sydney Says:

    Maori, you have a right to your opinion, but the only things you have mentioned in your comment are your own personal feelings toward the church and it's teachings.

    I am doing the same thing.

    If the church can go out and put missionaries all over the world, I should be allowed to voice my opinion on this website, should I not?

    You can disagree with me all you want, but I know I am right just as much as you "know" you are.

    Good luck to you.

  1. Nicko Says:

    Indulge me please Sydney,

    Maorigirl, I find it remarkable intriguing that as a fully fledged LDS member standing in obvious good faith and one who proclaims to be a 'forever finding missionary' has forgotten to be non-judgemental.

    I think you'll find that those who read your articles are already disaffected with the Church anyway so Sydney isn't convincing them of anything at all. I think you'll also find that when Sydney and I have discussed things, we've always ended them amicably and that we both show mutual respect and understanding for each others positions. In other words, we agree to disagree. You however have come off your high horse to denounce all of Sydney's concerns and tag her as 'one of those' who has apostated because of offense/sin/something else that we mormons tend to brush people with.

    I once posted a concern that 'postmormons' have not shown that they can build bridges with us Mormons, but in all honesty, why should they when people like you throw spears at them and yell sinner.

    Sydney has her concerns yes. She's posted stuff here that we've debated as truth or not, yes. She doesn't like the Church, yes. But dealing with her the way you just did is not Mormonisque in my opinion. You forget some of the basic principles from your mission...Build Relationships of Trust. You are just tearing down walls.

    In the end, Sydney will not agree with our position, but it doesn't mean that I or any other member has the right to tag her in a evil or disrespectful light.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Wow, thanks Nicko.

    I really appreciate what you said there. If I would have said it Maori would have assumed it was because I was somehow evil or "anti" (a term we both know I hate).

    There are good Mormons out there, and you seem like you are one of them. As I have said many times... It's not the people in the church that I have issue with (well, sometimes I do.. but, you know...) it's the doctrine and the way things are handled that I don't like.

    Thanks again.

  1. The Original Anonymous Says:

    Do Mormons do this to any non-Mormon around? I'm going to be coming to Utah for college, and I'll have no friends... I really wouldn't appreciate meeting new people that were only interested in me ending up attending and joining their church.

    Not looking forward to this LOL.

    Nice Blog by the way, I'm learning a lot.

  1. Andee Says:

    The Original Anonymous,

    Thank you for the comment/question, as well as the compliment on my blog, I really appreciate it. :)

    I certainly don't believe that ALL Mormons do this. Some Mormons couldn't care less what religion you are, and they won't try to convert you at all.

    It's pretty easy to tell if someone is trying to "butter you up" to hear a pitch about "the one true church." They start asking you about your personal religious beliefs, or mention how they feel about a specific issue due to their faith.

    The reason it was so obvious to me was because these people didn't give a damn about me while I was going to church... but the minute I stopped everyone automatically started treating me like I was their best friend and telling me how much they missed me.

    Best way to handle this if it happens is to be up-front and honest. If they bring up the church simply tell them you are *not* interested (assuming you are not interested) and if they keep insisting on bringing it up give them an ultimatum. They let you be you, or you stop hanging out... again, that is only if you want to.

    I don't think your entire experience in Utah will be one "assigned friend" after another... but there is little to no doubt in my mind you will run across people like this during your stay in Utah. There is no getting away from it.

    It's pretty easy to spot someone who is trying to sell something to you, and that is exactly what over-zealous members do.

    I wish you luck, and I hope you have a good experience in Utah. We are not all this way!!!

  1. The Original Anonymous Says:

    That's very good to hear. Hopefully I will be fortunate not to attract that kind of 'attention'. I was also happy to hear about the coffee... I'm a caffeine addict so I find it vital to have caffeine around. I was worried for a while that I might find it in "short supply".

    I'm really happy I found this blog... it's surprising because I was just googling urban legends in Logan out of bored curiosity. I found this blog. A strange way to stumble upon a blog, but it was a nice find nevertheless.

    :)

  1. Andee Says:

    The Original Anonymous,

    You have nothing to worry about. Coffee shops are indeed everywhere! I certainly still find people looking at me in disgust or pity when I walk into one, but I couldn't care less what they think of me. Coffee is definitely not in "short supply!"

    I am happy you found the blog as well, and I am really happy that you like it. Feel free to comment at any time! Nice meeting you.