Monday, March 21, 2011

Choosing friends

Every once in a while, the youth of the church get told (generally at the local level) that they should only date members of the church, and in fact that they should preferentially make friends with members of the church.

Beyond the fact that such advice makes me wonder whether we really are as missionary-oriented a religion as we tend to think, i suspect that such advice actually stems from people porting in ideas from the jello belt areas where Mormons are found in relatively large numbers.

Consider: If the number of youth who are Mormon nearby is larger, it’s easier to have Mormon dates/friends who are good influences selected from the total pool. If you’re a youth who lives near three other Mormon youths and two of them are, um, not quite living according to the principles of the gospel, your good-influence options for friendships among Mormons are terribly restricted. If, however, you can choose from thirty nearby Mormons, even given the same ratios so that twenty of them would be bad influences, that still gives you ten good-influence Mormons to hang out with.

(Of course, this leaves out the fact that the sort of clannishness that advice offers isn’t healthy at all, and also that one has to wonder who’s supposed to be a good influence on people who aren’t themselves good-influence types, but i’m guessing anybody who regularly reads this blog either already knows that or already loathes me enough that they wouldn’t believe me on such points anyway.)

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Totally agree. I don't think I was ever in classes in school or college with any other Mormons. Maybe one once or twice, but usually none. I'd've been really lonely.

And then there's the whole dating thing. The boys I grew up with... shudder. Never mind there were about double the number of girls than boys and since we're not into plural marriage anymore that would be a definite problem. Had I not dated a non-member, my husband would likely not be a member today. Worked out pretty well for both of us.