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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Mormon Week at Prescott High School?

   
Author Topic: Mormon Week at Prescott High School?
Da_Goat
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Around lunchtime, I drove by a Taco Bell that high school students frequent. Among the normal bunch of skater punks and jocks, I found something unusual. About three or four students were wearing plain white shirts, dress pants, and ties.

My sister, who is a sophomore in the local high school, came home and mentioned that 'it's Mormon week at school'. She said all of the Mormons dress up as they would if they were attending church. I asked if she meant the students were dressing up as Mormons, but she said, no, it was only genuine Mormons that were dressing up. Apparently she was friends with a couple of them.

She was unclear what prompted this. I doubt the school could legally get away with something that isolated one religious denomination like that.

So I was wondering... is this part of the Mormon culture? Or are the Mormons at the Prescott, Arizona High School just crazy?

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ketchupqueen
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That's really odd. Though the LDS kids in my high school growing up were "The Circle" (they even had T SHIRTS) and did some really odd things... I'm gonna go with "high school kids in general are weird and Mormon kids in Prescott seem not to be immune."
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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Da_Goat:

She was unclear what prompted this. I doubt the school could legally get away with something that isolated one religious denomination like that.

It's probably not the school's idea, and if the LDS students want to dress up for a week the school has no legal worries. In fact, they'd have legal trouble if they tried to stop it -- can you imagine trying to defend in court a dress code that forbid students to wear white shirts and ties?
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katharina
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I've never heard of this kind of thing.

Teenagers are crazy. I agree with ketchup queen.

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Scott R
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It's BRILLIANT!

Ostracize your peers, and creep out the adults!

I LOVE IT!

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
It's BRILLIANT!

Ostracize your peers, and creep out the adults!

I LOVE IT!

In a very apathetic way, of course.
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Scott R
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No, not at all this time!

I think I'm going to join them...in fact, I'm wearing a white shirt and tie right now!

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SenojRetep
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I heard a similar story from one of our Young Women here in the Boston area. In her case, she said it was a decision taken by the teenagers themselves, encouraged by their church leaders.

The idea seems to be a "Show your Mormon Pride" type thing, let others know that you aren't ashamed of the fact that you live a somewhat strict lifestyle (including dressing up for church on Sunday), and to prompt non-Mormons to better understand the culture and lifestyle of their Mormon classmates.

I don't find it alienating; I think it's a little odd to feel the need to proclaim oneself in this way, but from the single anecdote it was a generally positive experience for both the Mormon kids and their classmates.

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Tresopax
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Deliberately standing out to represent what you believe in = crazy??
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ketchupqueen
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A bit odd, in the way they did it, at least, not crazy in doing it but crazy the way they did it.
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Mucus
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An emotional thought occurs (as opposed to a logical argument), growing up as a visible minority and going to schools dominated by a large WASP group, I was never given the option of hiding my ethnicity, or by association my likely religious views. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Now, I've read the stories (some memorable ones in Iris Chang's book for example) where some Chinese children were badly affected by this, wanting to change the way their skin or eyes appeared to better fit in, to be as "white" as possible. Happily, I never had this experience, quite the opposite in fact.

Still, I wonder how it may have changed my upbringing and self if like Mormons, I had a choice between loudly proclaiming my differences or seamlessly (mostly?) blending into the majority.

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Lanfear
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It's no different than what all the homosexual people do on the "day of silence", where they wear all black and refuse to speak.

I have an interesting perspective as I am LDS, and grew up with a gay best friend.

I think both idea's for days and weeks are horrible and undermine a lot of what both communities are trying to do.

I actually participated in the day of silence for my friend, and it was just.. over the top. Why go to that many lengths to distance yourself from others.

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katharina
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That's what I mean about teenagers - they are establishing their own identities, and that sometimes means freaking out the adults and dressing exactly like their peers.

I think it's immature, but it isn't wrong for teenagers to be immature. That's pretty much the definition.

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scifibum
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I think it's probably counter productive to the goal of "prompt non-Mormons to better understand the culture and lifestyle of their Mormon classmates."

For one thing, the Sunday Best look is hardly unique to LDS. Why give the impression that it is some sort of identifying feature? People dress up to go to church; start doing it during the week too and you're giving an inaccurate impression of Mormon culture and lifestyle.

I also think it probably alienates the other kids, so it's not like it's accomplishing some missionary purpose. (IMO)

But it's not very surprising: kids in high school need to be IN a group more than they need to avoid being OUT of other groups. I think high school cliques often do weird things to demonstrate their group ties.

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MattP
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quote:
It's no different than what all the homosexual people do on the "day of silence", where they wear all black and refuse to speak.
It's not just homosexual people that participate any more than it was just black people that participated in the civil rights movement in decades past.
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katharina
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quote:
I think it's probably counter productive to the goal of "prompt non-Mormons to better understand the culture and lifestyle of their Mormon classmates."
I don't think that is the goal of dressing up for the day.
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scifibum
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I was responding to SenojRetep - who described it as a goal of a similar event.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
quote:
I think it's probably counter productive to the goal of "prompt non-Mormons to better understand the culture and lifestyle of their Mormon classmates."
I don't think that is the goal of dressing up for the day.
From my single exposure to it, that was exactly the goal of the Mormon day. And it's exactly what happened. The students were asked by many of their peers why they were dressed up. They explained they were Mormon and this is how they usually dressed on Sunday. They then had discussions about what it meant to be Mormon.

In this case, the students had felt alienated by some of the behaviors going on at the school (as I imagine most Mormons in high schools feel), and they wanted to say, in a very visual way, that they chose to live their lives by a different set of standards than most of their peers, and that they deserved a level of respect and sensitivity about that choice.

Again, based on my single conversation with the Mormon student, it was a very positive experience for both the Mormons and their non-Mormon peers.

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katharina
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So, not so crazy? I'm glad it was a good experience for everyone.
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ketchupqueen
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That does sound interesting. About along the lines of a pioneer "trek", to my mind; not necessarily for every ward (or high school) but can be a positive experience for kids if done right.
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TL
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quote:
and that they deserved a level of respect and sensitivity about that choice.
Well, you know -- define choice. If there are LDS parents giving their kids a choice about whether or not to be raised in the church, I've never met them. I've never heard of a kid from an active LDS family being given a choice.

Hope I didn't nitpick your words too much, there. In my experience, high school is about the time when one begins to realize a choice might actually be a possibility.

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katharina
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Despite parents wishes occasionally, teenagers are not automatons and can certainly make other choices if they want to.

They might not inform their parents of their decision, but there is always a choice.

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Wendybird
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Actually it sounds more like it was Missionary week at Seminary which is typically held before school. Its a class for the teens to study the scriptures before school (in some areas during school - they get released to go for that period). My daughter participated last year. They act within reason how they would if they were missionaries - they dress in typical Sunday dress, read their scriptures more and pray more. Since it is often held before school they then attend school in whatever they were wearing before. Its voluntary.

Oh and TL - parents do their best to raise their kids with the values and beliefs they hold most important. The children do have a choice whether or not to believe. No one can force another to believe in something.

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Sala
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Considering that it was THIS week, and General Conference for the LDS church is occuring on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 4-5) where the prophets and others speak to the church at large, it might have had something to do with preparing with Conference as well.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The children do have a choice whether or not to believe.
To some extent. But if you don't think that a parent's propaganda is largely designed to narrow those choices, I think you raise the question of how useful it is to raise children at all. [Wink]
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katharina
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I have no idea what the wink is for. As usual, your rhetoric on this topic is biased uncharitably and deliberately offensive, but I've come to expect nothing else.
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scifibum
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katharina, why do you find it offensive? Religious parents highly prefer their children to "choose" the same religion that they have. If you look at the fact that children overwhelmingly choose the same religion that they were raised in, it's obvious that the choice is constrained to some extent. Not by some deliberate effort to withhold ANY choice, but by the natural effect of indoctrination and positive reinforcement.

What makes this uncharitable or offensive? (Consider your point of view on how OTHER religions persist, despite not being true.)

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I have no idea what the wink is for. As usual, your rhetoric on this topic is biased uncharitably and deliberately offensive, but I've come to expect nothing else.
As opposed to yours, which is never offensive.
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scholarette
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I think it is offensive because it assumes someone would not choose the religion- that the parents are forcing it. As the only child that is the same faith as my parents, I don't think my parents forced the religion on me. Otherwise, my siblings would still be LDS. I also don't think my parents could have coinvinced me to participate in Mormon week.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
As the only child that is the same faith as my parents, I don't think my parents forced the religion on me.
A better question, and sadly one that's ultimately unanswerable, is whether you would have ever chosen your current religion had you not been born into it. The POINT of parenting is, from a certain point of view, to narrow down the list of acceptable life choices for your children.
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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
A better question, and sadly one that's ultimately unanswerable, is whether you would have ever chosen your current religion had you not been born into it.

You're saying the siblings in this case must have had some unspoken factor that allowed them a different life path, making it impossible to compare their choices to the poster's own?
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Threads
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Why does there have to be an "unspoken factor"? Even if children have a 95%* of following their parents religion, we would still find plenty of families like scholarette's. Obviously not every single child is literally forced to follow there parent's religion, but the fact that so many children still do shows that religion is not an objective choice.

* Number is made up.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You're saying the siblings in this case must have had some unspoken factor that allowed them a different life path, making it impossible to compare their choices to the poster's own?
I think it'd be very difficult to identify individual factors. But consider the sheer number of people who, having grown up in a small town, live their entire life in that small town. Some of them may indeed prefer that small town to every other place in the world; the vast majority, however, simply never found it bad enough to change.

I think, when talking about things handed down from your parents, it's difficult to overestimate the power of inertia.

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Wendybird
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The children do have a choice whether or not to believe.
To some extent. But if you don't think that a parent's propaganda is largely designed to narrow those choices, I think you raise the question of how useful it is to raise children at all. [Wink]
Of course it is designed to narrow the choices. As parents you do what you feel is best for your children. If you didn't then what kind of parent would you be? I may not always agree with other people's parenting choices but I always respect them (short of abuse obviously).
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pooka
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It's the word "propaganda." I don't personally find it offensive, because children don't live in democracies. But I also don't really feel there's much point in arguing it. My children are at a very different stage in life from Tom's, and he's a father rather than the mother. I don't think that makes his opinions invalid for him, but they don't really apply to me.
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katharina
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Yep, it's offensive because of "propaganda." It's Tom doing a little propaganda of his won.
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TomDavidson
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More accurately, you find it offensive because of the word "propaganda." I can only assume that you aren't comfortable with the thought that parents indoctrinate their children.
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Wendybird
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Absolutely parents indoctrinate their children. Schools indoctrinate children, media indoctrinates all of us... indoctrination isn't an inherently bad thing.
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TomDavidson
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Which is why I don't consider it inherently offensive. But your mileage may vary. [Smile]
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katharina
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Of course parents indoctrinate their children. "Propoganda" isn't just indoctrination - it's distortion in favor of it. I do take offense to the idea that parents deliberately and systematically lie to their children.
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Belle
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I agree. I do not have a negative reaction to the idea of indoctrination. "Propaganda" however, carries a connotation of falsehood and deliberate deception, which I do react strongly to.

I think the specific word choice here is what is really offensive, even if I realize that Tom was not actually trying to do so.

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scifibum
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quote:
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
—Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion

Seems like a fairly accurate description of how a lot of parents teach their children religion, at least in my experience.

Whether this is a good or bad thing is pretty subjective.

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Scott R
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scifibum-

I think kat's definition comes closer to the popular understanding of the word.

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scifibum
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I agree with you, Scott. But I think Tom used the word in a relatively neutral sense.
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