How to be culturally Mormon.

Oh My Blog.

Mormons are flipping trending right now.  Feck.  With Romney up for president, ‘The book of Mormon’ sweeping the Tony’s (last year and still sold out) and now Jeff on the Bachelorette possibly winning  (if she’s lucky, i love him so much), you might think to yourself, ‘Hey, maybe Mormons are not only relevant but kinda interesting’.

And then you might ask yourself, ‘do i know any mormon?’.  And the answer is Yes, you probably do.

I consider myself ‘bi-culturally mormon’ meaning that its in my blood as i was raised in a strict Mormon house, and i unvoluntarily subscribe to all the cultural loves that they have, but yeah, my lifestyle is different and i no longer attend.

But that doesn’t mean i can’t blog about it, because i blog about what i think and i think about Mormons a lot, so its my right.  (let me be clear that i know these are stereotypes and that clearly every person in the world is different).

I have a very good Mormon-dar where i can sense if if not feel totally confidant about identifying a Mo.  But for the laymen who aren’t so versed in Mormonisms’, here are 10 indicators to help you suss them out and perhaps become more like them….culturally.

1. They skip the coffee, and drink the diet coke. And by ‘some’ i mean fill up a 72 ounce double gulp bucket in the morning and sip constantly on it all day long.

I instantly think of my huge family, all of us with our matching big gulps.  It’s a thing – Mormons love some Diet Coke. It’s unexplainable, don’t even try, really.  Instead buy these cards that are really sweet, if you love diet coke, that is.  And make me smile.


I love you more than Diet Coke - Set of 12 cards

Buy them HERE. 

3.  We watch and reference Broadway Musicals.  We/they are very musical. It’s partly genetic and partly because we start lessons really early (like 3) and constantly sing in church throughout our lives.  But the love for musicals is two-fold – a. since we love music we love Musicals, duh. And b. growing up you aren’t allowed to watch anything R rated (or at our house often even PG-13 were banned) so musicals are kinda the go-to for clean entertainment.

In fact in my family we were told that our VCR literally wouldn’t take rated R movies.  It just spits them out.  Because of this i’m constantly trying to get caught up on all the 80’s movies that most of you have seen that you all reference all the time and i’ll tell you what, they don’t stand the test of time.  I watched Top Gun two years ago for the first time and it kinda blows. Sorry.

But you know what doesn’t? Julie Andrews caring for 10 children battling Nazi’s.

S’right.   The Sound of Music.


The Sound of Music (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition)

Buy it HERE.

There is also the racially charged West Side Story, sexually charged Oklahoma and comedically charged Mary Poppins in case you are anti-children wearing drapery as dresses which i am DECIDEDLY not against. In fact i’m very pro-that.   But i love them all very much and i know i’m not alone in this.

Total sidenote, there is this movie that we all love:

Swiss Family Robinson (Vault Disney Collection)

HERE>   Lots of kids, making lots of things, being super resourceful – totes Mormes.

Wait, one more… This is a strange one becasue there is no music (except the totally tear-inducing theme song), but somehow it is widely known as a family film for Mormons. I’ve blogged about it before, i tweeted about it last week, and this is not the last you’ll hear from me referencing the ‘Man from Snowy River’.

The Man From Snowy River


4. They ice block. Sober.  With the absense of alcohol or sex, Mormons are far more creative in finding fun then secular folk.  They also have to have inexpensive fun because yes, there are a lot of children normally involved.  So growing up we did a lot of this:

Look how fun that looks.  You buy a block of ice from the local grocer, go to a hill of grass, put a towel over the block and slide down whilst giggling.  $5 fun.  (just add wine).  I’m sure there are even more creative ways of having fun now (remember snipe hunts?), but this was a staple growing up.   So if you hear about a lot of adult games not involving the usual vices, its a Mo.

1. They Choose The Right and often where a ring that reminds them to do so.  You get at 8 years old when you are baptized and it looks like this:

Its our/their version of ‘WWJD’, but i like how its even more ambiguous and doesn’t reference a God – just encourages to do whats right.  Maybe its nastalgia, but i love the whole idea in general, as well as graphics and logo and color.

Check out this awesome pillow i found on Etsy.

Bean Bag Pillow Hand Embroidered LDS CTR

Not for everyone, but i’m attracted to it.

5. They sport inspirational posters.   Growing up we had a TON of them in our house.  You remember them:
But now, there are a bunch i found on Etsy that are actually really beautiful and i’m sure inspirational for some.
5x7 I Stand All Amazed Art Print LDS Mormon Christian
HERE.   This might be a scripture reference but i know thats its part of a traditional Mormon hymn that is super beautiful.  And so is this poster.
Onward Ever Onward16x20 Print LDS Mormon (Cream/Blue)
HERE  And i have no idea if seculars understand this reference, but its another quote from a Mormon hymn that is burned into all of our brains and can be very powerful when all sung together.  But i also just like how they look.
6. They are crafty and resourceful.  I’m pretty sure that Mormons single handedly pioneered (pun intended) the modern craft movement. There is a distinct ‘why buy when you can make’ philosophy that is undeniably awesome, if not exhausting.  Part of it is financial (due to lots -o-kids), but most of it is about making life more personal and anything handmade is more personal. I’ve documented my dresses i made growing up for 4-h and i can decopauge the frick out of a mirror frame, but now there are a ton of new crafters doing beautiful things.
Get on the boat, er, ark with these books.
Abode a la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Decor
This one looks hip without being too ‘crafty’.
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration
And this one is such a good resource.  Because Martha may as well be god in the craft world (and you may or may not have read my article on how she hires so many mormons, so check it out HERE’)
And undoubtedly i’ll include a book that i did with my friend Jen Gotch – she art directed and shot it and i styled a lot of it (although not all):
Modern Paper Crafts: A 21st-Century Guide to Folding, Cutting, Scoring, Pleating, and Recycling
It’s a very pretty book, thanks to Jen’s vision.  (Jen is also the founder and creative director of Ban-do and a generally incredible person – the Mo’s love her, too)
7. They are modest.
It could be because i’m as pale as Powder (the 1994 movie icon as well as the loose stuff you put on your face), the fact that i think dressing slutty is cheezy, or it could be because that’s how we were raised – to not show a ton of skin, show restraint, not be to tempting.  I’ll go ahead and say that its at times too strict in my opinion, but there is something to be said for giving respect to men’s imagination.
And i’m not alone.
 Kidding. You don’t have to dress like that.

Instead take my friend Natalie Holbrook, of the blog ‘Nat the Fat Rat’ (one of two mommy blogs i read, the other being ex-mo  She does Mormon  style that is modest but totally chic and on trend. (also she’s adorable so that doesn’t hurt).

I see no skin, yet i’d make out with her.  The rules are no strapless dresses and nothing above the knee, but ultimately its just to not dress like Snookie – pre pregnancy.  If they wear a lot of skirts and short sleeve white button ups (for men) then it could be Mo.
8. They journal a lot, or in other words, they write a blog.  Growing up we were asked to journal nightly and i still have all these journals which are INCREDIBLE to read. It’s probably the best cultural conditioning there is – to force this habit on your kids. What it does is create the habit of personal writing, but it also helps you write more personally in the rest of your life.  There are hundreds of thousands of Mormon blogs out there, some super personal and ‘out’ and some totally kept secret.  But if you start seeing the signs (aka this list, plus they reference kids when they are under 27) then you’ll start picking up on it.
9. They are strangely, yet genuinely, NICE.  Everyone hates being stereotyped, i know, but its just so true that the Mo’s are a really nice people.  I’m not talking about the church as a whole (although the amount of service they do for mo’s and non-mo’s alike is ridiculous) but the individuals are just nice people to be around. They laugh easily and apply the golden rule at all times.
So maybe you couldread this book:
10.  They wear magical underwear, have lots of kids earlier than most, and don’t make social plans on Sunday. But those are all the obvious indicators that you should know by now.
But if they drink their diet coke from this mug? You got yourself a Mo.
**Since this can be a sensitive subject i had two of my good active Mormon blogger friends read this and make sure its not offensive, so if you find this offensive in any way know that my intention is only to speak openly about a very interesting cultural subject because i think that the more people know about it, the less alienated they’ll feel by it.  Plus its fun to talk abou it.
  1. Sara

    Love this post! We just recently moved and our neighbors are Mormon. I had never really met any before but I love the family! They have 4 kids and a young mom but yes, they are the nicest. I have gotten to know the mom quite well and she is one of my favorite people. Besides the whole,kids not being able to play on Sunday, I haven't noticed a huge difference.

  2. house

    Thanks for sharing I didn't know you grew up in a Mormon household. Did you get to see BOM when you were in NYC last time? I'd curious to know your thoughts.

  3. Martha

    I could write a very similar post on being culturally Mennonite, except Mennonites drink coffee. :) Modesty, musicals, singing hymns, crafty goodness…very similar upbringings!

  4. renngrrl

    Strangely similar, I grew involved in a group called the SCA (historical reenactment) that had it's roots in the utopian hippy movement in the 60s. You had to get along with everybody; codes of courtesy were in the by laws. You hand-made _everything_, all while learning history by doing. Teaching and sharing was the foundation of almost all events. We even had group elders (the peerage). The only difference was there was no religion. "Leave a site cleaner then you found it" was instilled in me at 9 and is still with me today.

  5. Emily

    I think this is super fun to talk about too. I live in a very Mormon neighborhood and have always been fascinated by their niceness and wish their industriousness would rub off on me. Incidentally, my Mormon neighbors on one side just moved out and I MISS THEM SO MUCH. I loved when I could get them to gossip, b/c they'd do it in the kindest way possible. They were renters and their landlord was awful and cheap, and you could tell it was frustrating for them but all they would do is give an eyebrow raise and say "Herb doesn't part with his pennies easily."

    My Mormon neighbor on the other side has a blog and hits every single topic you mentioned above. Thanks for this post!

  6. Wiggs

    Okay, I am OBSESSED with Mormons. And I hate to come off as one of those "Look at the pandas!" types, but sometimes my love of Mormons cannot be contained and I harass my Mormon friends about every little detail of their religion and lives. I don't know where my obsession comes from, but I DO know that my hubby and I did our honeymoon in St. George, Utah, partly because of my obsession (and my grandparents lived there). The thing I appreciate the most about the Mormon culture is that there's this encouragement to make family the center of your life. I love that. It seems so rare in today's world where everyone behaves as though their jobs are more important than spending every second they can with their loved ones. And I agree with you about the nice thing – I've never had a single Mormon get annoyed with me and my incessant questions.

    This is really bad, but sometimes when I meet a Mormon, I casually mention that my grandparents lived in St. George and that I honeymooned there, and then I flip my blonde hair and give them a knowing "me too" look. I'm sure they see right through it.

  7. I've never been insulted by any of your Mormon sponsored posts:) in fact, I love them. I love that you still have respect for it even though you don't follow anymore. Stereotypical but pretty true. Although I have never seen the man from snowy river. Hopefully I can keep my recommend! How funny that you had those inspirational pictures all over your home. My parents were stylish enough to just keep them at the office. Loved the post!

  8. 1. Thanks for sharing this post! I am a non-Mormon and am kind of fascinated now that Mormons seem to be so present everywhere. "Fascinated" in a I-love-learning-about-different-people kind of way, not a creeper way.

    2. This I Love Diet Coke card is my fave:

    3. The Trouble with Angels. A+ good, clean fun movie.

  9. Leah

    Thanks for this. I've always wondered why so many young Mormon women blog, and why they all seem so darn crafty. Now I know!

  10. Anne

    Really cool post. Funny, honest, and respectful. I'm not Mormon, although I was beginning to question that after your list of movies. the Man from Snowy River????!! A family fave. I still get goosebumps thinking about that horse going down that crazy hill at the end. No amount of violence gets more thrilling than that! Or watching Kirk Douglas play two roles! woo-hoo! I, too, had to catch up on 80's film, as I was a tad sheltered. Ddin't see Fast Times at Ridgemont High til I was well into high school. Will also be purchasing one of those diet coke cards. it will mean a lot to my husband.

  11. decorbuddy

    Now that was an entertaining article. While I don't believe in a lot of their basic beliefs, I do admire them for their family values and serice to others. I have been raised around a few Morman families and even attended Primary as a little girl but never made the plunge into the full religious aspect of their faith. One of my childcare givers was Morman and my daughter cherishes the time she spent with that family. All in all, I have had good experiences with Mormans. Notwithstanding, their are many good religious affiliations in the world that do good works for others.

  12. Cheers to you for writing so accurately about Mormons! No offense taken, I think you nailed it! Loved reading about it, from top to bottom. Though…. We gave you so much to work with, this post was practically begging to be written.

    You did us justice!

  13. Mandy

    Okay, I'm a Mormon and these are spot-on. The ice-blocking made me laugh so hard. We also put cheesy decals such as, "All Because Two People Fell In Love" in our homes with individual frames of the 10+ kids beneath, so if you enter a home with one of those – your Mormon-dar better perk up. Hilarious post.

  14. "They ice block. Sober." Ahahaha. This was awesome, thanks for posting!

    I recently discovered that I have a strange fascination with Mormon blogs. Suddenly I started realizing that most of the blogs I read were all by Mormons, and then it became a game for me… is she Mormon? What about her? I don't think I've ever heard her mention wine. What about her… she has 2 kids and she just turned 26, she's gotta be a Mormon! etc. etc. and 9 out of 10 times turned out they were Mormon. I don't know why I found this so interesting, but I guess I'm just so fascinated by their domination and awesomeness in the blog world. It's crazy to me! I want to hang out with all of them, except I don't know what we would do since 99% of my social scene involves alcoholic beverages.

    And Jef from Bachelorette? I LOVE HIM. And for some reason the fact that he is ex-Mormon makes me love him even more. The same Mormon awesomeness but down for a couple pints! Win win!

  15. Molly O-O

    I am dying.. this was hilarious and so very relevant. Lovely blog post Miss Emily!

  16. Another splendid Mormon post Emily :) (I threw in the smiley face to show my niceness). You always do a fabulous job in describing all the little stereotypical things we Mormons do. Although I failed on your list. I think I'll drown my sorrows with a diet coke…….

  17. ice blocking? brilliant! i have never, ever heard of such a thing, and i'm trying it. such a fresh & unique post Emily. good on ya for sharing. oh, and it's one F Jef, not two :). perhaps i'm a bit too into this season, ya think? lol. his company mission is just too rad to ignore; much like your styling. love you to pieces! oxo

  18. Shannon

    I'm a in-active, or non-practicing, Mormon as well. I'm also still immersed in the culture due to growing up in the Mormon faith and still associating with lots of Mo-Mo's. The culture is super-duper fun to talk about! This is a fabulous article… funny and so spot on!! You're a breath of fresh air, because we seem to share the same sentiments. It seems as though a lot of people struggle to find that middle ground-not bitter nor "in it". I felt like I was a rarity in that I'm content with not practicing Mormonism, yet I still respect it and have nostalgia and love for a lot of the cultural aspects and overall teachings of love and choosing what's right. Thanks for sharing!!

  19. Donald

    Sorry, just can't get super excited about people that so actively try to prevent others from enjoying the same happiness in life that they enjoy (ie gay marriage). Super cute and crafty might make up for a lot, but not when they are harboring that level of ignorance and hate in their hearts.

  20. Gloria

    I've totally noticed the Mormons coming out strong lately. The majority of my favorite craft bloggers live in Utah. And, yes, the hair turned me off a bit at first, but Jeff, with his words, smoky eyes, and boyish grin have won it hands down for me. I think you tackled the subject with your usual candor and humor, not offensively at all. Some posts in my reader get a subject glance and then skip, but you reel me in every time because I know there will be something funny and something beautiful to look at every time. Good work : )

  21. Donna

    Love this Emily! I'm a Mormon,I think alot of these are "UT/ID" white mormonisims. But alot of them apply. I'm black and grew up in upstate NY and had no idea what ice blocking was until one of my YW leaders from UT suggested it for a mutual activity. I was like "these crazy white people!" It was fun, but I never did it again. I'll leave that to someone else.

  22. Molly

    No lie – my single's ward is going ice blocking this Saturday. Mormons are so dorky.

  23. Holli Coats

    Totes Mormes. Love it:)

  24. Nichole

    I'm a momo and was not offended at all. In fact, I laughed because it's so true (although I gave up diet coke a few years ago). :) Having just graduated from BYU and moved to Texas where we are few and far between, I have realized just how "peculiar" (and AWESOME) we are.

  25. Lulu

    In theory, it all sounds fun and wonderful, but in reality, Mormons are not so nice to us gays and gayelles. Or Jews. Or women.

  26. christa

    Mormons are Trending bwahahahahaha. Very funny and nice post. Mormons are so nice, but I still don't want Mitt for a president.

  27. I am not mormon, but am church of Christ. We are considered "out there" by a lot of people too. We share the modesty rules, so thanks for referencing the lady who blogs about staying on trend and still being modest. Seriously appreciate that one!

  28. Lilyt

    Know who's really nice? People who fecking live and let live. Wonderful Mormon individuals don't make up for the fact that the church is hella nasty. I support the religious freedom that lets momos be sooo weirdly adorbs. Now how about the church return the favor?

  29. Laura

    As a former Mormon, I feel in good company with you. There are a lot (!) of us of a certain age, education and life experience that were raised in very active households, fully participated ourselves (seminary president, byu grad, married in the temple here!) and then admitted it wasn't for us. And we are not bitter. Our families are still Mormon, and we try to straddle our current culture and former culture with dignity, respect and a little humor. Maybe we should all get together, invite Ryan Gosling and go ice blocking. I'll bring the diet coke!

  30. Ohhh Emily, your Mormonism must be why I like you so much. I am not Mo-Mo but I have been surrounded by them my entire life and I LOVE 'em. My family and the Mo-Mo's founded San Bernardino CA and I still live in the Inland Empire surrounded by them. My favorite family just moved :( to Utah. I do wish they would stop trying to convert me though. Both of my children's BFF's are Morman too. Even in the very hot I.E. they ice block….hahaha

    I adore how my kids are included in all the activities. My daughter has had some amazing experiences because of them. They are so dedicated to entertaining the kids and keeping them from any trouble.

    I even saw a free Gladys Knight concert (shes a convert). Her Mo-Mo choir is amazing and she also did lots of her hits too.

    Gosh, where would we be if we couldn't poke fun at ourselves?

    I knew immediately that Jef was Morman on the Bachelorette. He is so sweet. Intellectually, I can't admit that I watch that stupid show, but privately I watch it and curse myself silently.

  31. Megan

    I'm Mormon and I loved it!

  32. Clifton

    Had to laugh being a Mo myself. You hit alot of our peculiars on the head. Let me add some. If your a guy and an Eagle Scout you might be a momo. If your a guy and speak 2 languages you might be a momo. If you think jello with fruit in it is amazing you might be a momo. If you go to a potluck and alot of the drinks are homemade rootbeer you might be around a bunch of momos. If you reference the Princes Bride movie you might be a momo. If people think your not Christian even though thats the name of your church ie Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you might be a momo. If you find excuses with the boys to spend more time with family you might be a momo. If you know how to 2 step and under the age of 30 you might be a momo. If a family reunion requires reserving all spaces available at a camp site you might be a momo. If having 3 children is your defenition of a small family you might be a momo.
    Ok I am done for now. Hope you like. Hope no one is offended as these peculairs are not exclusive to mos.

  33. sb

    Blatant sexism and homophobia are deal breakers in my book, no matter how crafty and cute someone might be – and let's face it, even the "nicest" Mormons are pretty likely to be sexist and homophobic, even if they don't talk about it publicly.

  34. Steph

    I was raised by a atheist, very busy single dad and my Mormon friend's mom sort of adopted me into the (large, full of daughters) family. They took me to church and family movie nights (LOTS of Sound of Music lol!) and helped with my homework and were in general the nicest, most wonderful people on earth and a total blessing to me. And my dad didn't even like them and was kind of (completely rudely) vocal about it!

    I never did really get into Mormonism as a religion but the culture- man did I love it! And I love that family.

  35. Abbi

    Ha! This was spot on. What I don't get is the diet coke thing— ( I've also noticed an obsession with hot chocolate)— but I thought Mormons don't drink coffee or tea because of the caffeine … But diet coke has caffeine…. What am I missing?

  36. Katie G

    YAY! Thank you so much for this post. I grew up in a strict Mormon family as well, and am a "recovering" cultural Mormon. The culture is really different, and it's fun to talk about and hear similar experiences. I've found it to be very therapeutic at times. :)

  37. Bahahaa…I moved to Salt Lake City two years ago from a very non-Mormon part of the country and this was hilaaaarious. I knew it was going to be good when it started with the 72 oz dt coke tip….I love learning about the Mormon culture and have a lot of respect for many of their beliefs (and am extremely frustrated by others, which I think comes with any cultural/religious entity). I think this article was a respectful yet funny nod to the particulars of the culture.

    One game my friends and I play when we see a young (20s) girl on the street with a kid is "Mom or Sister"…in SLC she's usually the mom! :)

  38. Sara

    This is SO funny!! All of the Mormons I have met or whose blogs I read are outstandingly, amazingly nice, but I didn't know about all of these. I just love how positive and hard working they are…that aspect is pretty inspirational. I have been wondering about the whole Mormon blog phenomenon….I mean, it's insane how many top bloggers are Mormon, but the craftiness does explain part of it for the blogs I read. I think they must be incredibly supportive of one another and seem to really help promote one another. I jokingly refer to them to my non-blog reading friends as the mormon mafia ;).

    But, I did read Under the Banner of Heaven and while that focuses on extremists, even some of the mainstream info was surprising to me. I don't think all Mormon individuals are homophobic and sexist, though, even if the church as a whole is. I mean, I'm Catholic and 100% supportive of gay rights and feminism, and would hate for someone to assume that I wasn't, just because I might call myself a Catholic.

  39. sarah

    love this! I worked in the creative dept at Martha with a bunch of Mo's and didn't even realize it at first, until I finally picked up on the 'signs'. (That was Martha: Mo's and gays! LOVED IT). I totally became obsessed with the Mo culture, and would ask a bunch of questions every. single. day. I'm sure the girl I shared my office with was totally annoyed but she was kind enough to answer everything enthusiastically. This post is SPOT ON! I actually kind of wanted to be Mo b/c they all went out together to do ice-blocking (not really, but would do their 'ward' things on the weekend). It was a total bummer not to have anyone to get drinks with after work but yes, a super great bunch of creative people, generally speaking. Two other Mo points I would love to see you touch on in future Mo posts: the male/father-dominated culture aspect and the Mission thing when they go to another country to spread the Mo word.

  40. Samurai Mom

    I would to thank your commentators for informing me that I (as a Mormon) am homophobic and apparently hate Jews as well. Apparently, I missed those Sunday school lessons.

  41. Emily

    I grew up in the town mitt lived in MA, so it was definitely a Mormon-central kind of town. You would be amazed at the jeopardy knowledge I amassed. And bizarrely, I meet people on a regular basis who are obsessed with Mormons….maybe I just take the momos for granted:)

    I did think, however, that diet coke would be no-no because of the caffeine?

  42. Spot on. You forgot the "Est. 2009 – Families are Forever" plaques, though :) As a Mormon myself, I definitely have a good time joking around about our cultural quirks. Nothing cheers you up more than a round of ice blocking followed by a "fresh" big gulp.

  43. Laura

    I had no idea you had Mormon roots. It wasn't offensive at all, just funny! I have never heard of ice blocking before, though. Maybe because the young adults in Portland usually went dancing at nightclubs… I also don't think of my underwear as "magic" haha, just comfortable. I think Mormons outside of UT/ID/AZ may be a little less stereotypical but it's interesting how different we are even within our religion.

    I grew up in a bi-racial, fairly liberal Mormon household in WA state. It's true, most everybody was really nice – all our youth leaders and Bishops but they were mellow and fun, not strict but were given loads of respect because they were just all-around good people. My dad wasn't a member but made sure we went to church with my mom. I think people can get stuck on "rules" and worry about them too much. My parents were trusting and fun and it was great. Now I get to pass that way of teaching along to my kids. It's been good.

    LOVE your designs by the way. I need more of your shows!

  44. Jamie

    LOL! Sounds pretty accurate! Just the other day my hubs was telling me how fun ice blocking is! And, if I may make something clear regarding some of the comments above: just because someone doesn't agree with a particular choice or lifestyle certainly does not mean he or she is hateful. I have lots of friends and family that do things I choose not to (and I'm sure I do things they don't agree with). We still love each other. Just sayin.

  45. ebethnyc

    Wait. "Magical underwear"?!? Pleeeease elaborate!!

  46. cal

    i don't know I never drank coke (diet or otherwise until forced to on my mission) and have not since then….but other than that sounds generally pretty good

  47. ice sliding?!!! love it, coolest thing ever….had never heard of that before. Great post…so interesting!

  48. Cat

    Where's number 2 on the list? Or am I just totally blind and missing it…

  49. Sabrina

    Growing up Evangelical Free is very similar. Except we go to Bible camp, a lot. We did however, watch a lot of family friendly movies, including, The Man from Snowy River. Just the other day it was on tv and I had to stop everything and wait for the big horse round up scene. Man when he goes flying strait down that mountain side, still gives me goosebumps!

  50. Gina

    I'm a British Mormon, and i'm jealous of this! i agree on the diet coke and fashionable modesty, but i couldn't sing you a show tune to save my life! I guess even mormon culture is different across the pond!

  51. Mary

    When I first started reading your blog I was amazed at how much your designs reflected my own taste–but better, of course! Then I started watching your show and I loved your personality too so imagine my surprise when I read that you, like me, are a former Mormon! I wish we could be best friends.

  52. Madison

    @Donald. I respect your opinion, but there is not hate or ignorance in our hearts regarding gay marriage. We believe that a marriage between a man and a woman is central to God's plan – and we don't intend to try to alter that plan. That being said, I respect EVERYONE and care for everyone. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be attracted to a certain sex, yet not be able to be with them. I don't judge anyone, I just have a firm belief in God's plan.

  53. Ashley

    I'm really surprised at the number of haters! I'm Mormon in NYC and I support gay rights and I love Jews and I love everyone. There's truth in everything, guys! (Another stereotype phrase?) I consider myself a very open minded person – I'm sure everyone does – especially the haters! How sad – I'm assuming it's a bit of ignorance.

    You should have mentioned gardening, too! We love gardening. Diet coke is so gross. It's not natural! There are going to be so many Mormons with health problems because of that crap some day. But it's true that a lot of western US Mormons drink it, and this was largely a stereotyping of Western United States Mormons, I'd say. Around the world and on the East coast I think we're pretty different in some ways.

  54. Amber

    Laughed so hard while reading this post and sipping on my huge diet coke! The cultural points about mormonism that you reference are really on point. It cracks me up to think of other people wanting to be "culturally mormon" (I still think of us as big Saturday Night Warrior nerds), but I guess I kind of get it. Mormons are awesome, but I may be biased.

    "He's not a lad brother, he's a man! A MAN!"


    "If I wanted your help mate I would have asked for it."

    = Best movie ever! Watched it non stop growing up. Along with Ann of Green Gables- how could you forget that one!

  55. The Mom

    Hmm, really like the post and the comments. I am so sorry that people think we don't like gays. I have been a Mormon my entire life, my brother and nephew are gay. I have loved them dearly and respect their life style. I work with gay women and they know I am Mormon, we are very close I am proud to call them my friends. I am not dominated by any man and wouldn't ever marry someone who thought they would control me.
    Loved taking kids ice blocking in California where we live, but my most wonderful evenings are spent crafting with my friends, I go to bed with a smile on my face.
    Thanks for the post really enjoyed it.

  56. Oh, Em! You make my day. I came to you looking for an escape from my world, and what do I find? More of it!

    This week I am feeling a little Mormon weary. (Yep. I am one of them. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormon.) I just got home from girls camp and want to drop! You better bet that I brought my baby on my back for a week of hiking, river rafting, camp fire songs and teary testimony meetings. Sheesh!

    Thanks for reminding me how awesome it is to be a member of this church.

    I forget sometimes that I really do love this life. I really do love to serve others. I really am very unique.

    I am genuinely happy. I won't ever leave.

    Allow me, however, a moment to feel weary of my calling, of three hour meetings with children, of modesty and chastity and prayer and tithing and all the other
    good things that ultimately bring me peace and joy. Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

    Ok. That's enough. I'm better.

    P.S. People of the world, please accept my apology on account of any mean and/or ignorant Latter Day Saints you have run into. (Golly, we're not perfect.) I NEVER in all my life have been taught to disrespect those that are different than I. In fact, I have only ever been taught to love. Be ye whatever you might.

    Also, I am a woman (with a feminist heart) and mother, and I am certain that there is no other organization that respects and honors me better.

    The gay marriage issue? God asks that we as his people uphold and obey his laws, and they will never change. I however, judge no man. Be good to all, and work out the rest when you meet your maker. He alone knows the heart.


  57. Donald

    @Jamie and Madison…I don't agree with vegans and think a life without big juicy 5 Guys burgers would be miserable, but I don't actively try to legislate that everyone eat meat. You not eating meat, in no way has anything to do with my life of meat loving. There is not a single instance in my life that I tried to have it written into a states constitution that veganism should be outlawed.

    Mormans, not all, and the Morman Church don't believe in gay marriage…that's fine. But your Church did and does actively try to tell non-Mormans, by influencing legislation (Prop 8 in CA), how to live their lives. That's hate. If you are opposed to gay marriage, then don't get gay married, don't attend a gay wedding and shun your children and relatives if they come out as gay and want to get married. But to try to stop me from marrying my boyfriend….even though my wedding and my marriage doesn't affect you or your life or your beliefs…that's hate. The worst kind of hate because you think you should have that right to decide how others live their lives.

  58. I LOVED this post, Emily, because I am a Mormon. It's so true; Mormons are dorks (the fact that I use the word 'dork' says it all). When I first found out that you grew up as a Mormon, I was like, 'Oh, so THAT'S why I like her and relate to her so much!'. And, yes, I have myself a blog. Go figure.

  59. Emily

    I know I'm coming late to the party on the comments, but I've been dying to know the answer to this question: Given Mormon's cultural modesty ideals, why are so many young Mormons enrolled in competitive ballroom dance? The costumes are so scanty and sexy and every season on So You Think You Can Dance, I wonder how all these 18 year old Mormon girls are comfortable dancing in almost nothing.

  60. I'm mormon and I laughed the whole time, only pausing to refill my diet coke.

  61. Cate

    Loved this Emily! Totally relate to everything on your list as I grew up very Mormon and often ice blocked for "date nights" in highschool. :) So great!

    I agree with Lulu though, Mormon beliefs are not so nice to the LGTB community as well as women and that stinks. I think they "love" them, but I see it as a "pity love" more than a real love.

    I am still "semi-active" (in Mormon-land the entire world is divided up into 4 groups: Active, Semi-active, Inactive, and Non-members), but I am a non-believing Mormon who like you still likes to maintain some kind of cultural Mormon-isms. Also, my entire family and family-in-law is very Mormon so its a very precarious issue with my family for me to be a "liberal, non-believing, feminist, activist, Mormon" like I am.

    I wonder how your Mormon family handles your leaving the church? I'd be SO interested to hear your story about that since I know that it can be a very painful and difficult process. If you ever get the chance and want to share that part of the story, either publicly or privately, I'd be interested to hear it.

    I am also a decorator and have to say that you are hands down my favorite designer of all Design Star contestants. :) Love your work, love your attitude, love your blog. Keep it up lady.

    If you're ever interested in making a new "Mormon-ish" friend you can find me at

  62. You forgot about the key indicator of Mormon "swear words" like "flippin, fetchin, freakin"…… :)

  63. Lauren

    What happened to #2?

  64. dana

    dead on emily.
    I loved how all the tables at Alt were filled with diet coke rather than coffee. Was there even a coffee maker in the hotel?
    gotta look for swiss family robinson on the dvr. and I'll throw Pollyanna out there too.
    great post!
    - dana

  65. shellybelly

    Emily, may I just say I love what you do! I feel like you are someone who would hang in my world. I was surprised at first to find out you were raised in an LDS household, but, not shocked. I could identify with you, and even your description of the way you grew up. I attributed it more to the fact that you must surely be a Westerner, and not an East Coaster, or a City Girl. I must say, after reading your list of how to spot a momo, I actually felt like less of one:) I would, (and do), call myself a "jack mormon" quite often, trying to joke about how I don't fit some of the stereotypes. I had a working mom, who was active LDS, but not incredibly domestic/crafty/designery. She is a great sketch artist, though, loved the art world, theater, and especially literature, and loved to "get out". My dad wasn't particularly "active LDS" in that he couldn't stand going to church for 3 whole hours. A lot of wanderlust in that guy. So, while I can see where a lot of your ideas may come from, they just don't ring true to my upbringing, and I grew up in a town in UT that was at least 90% LDS. I didn't iceblock until I became the leader of our youth group (Young Women, it's called…) I'm glad my parents always encouraged religion, but never forced my choices. They would have been the last people on earth to have "inspirational quote posters," believing that if you wore it on a shirt, bumper sticker, or walls, then, how truly did you internalize it? (We did have a few scripture quotes on the fridge I guess, as well as some pictures of Christ). In our house, funny was funny, and campy was campy. Nary a Disney film did we get through without someone cracking a few sarcastic jokes. And, we all watched THe Simpsons when I was a kid. My parents were huge into family time, and, big outdoors people and music lovers. We listened to a lot of bluegrass, golden 70's rock, and such when we went on one of many mountain adventure road trips. My mom swigged the DC like a maniac, in the jug, but, we were always allowed caffeinated soda. My dad drank coffee, and we knew people of other religions/colors/creeds, and played with their kids/visited with them. One of my mom's best friends and coworkers was gay and practicing LDS, and I know he is still going to church, so, I don't know. I think there is a range of practice within the religion. I know my parents believe the doctorines that are considered LDS, but I don't think we were the typically "cultural" Mormons, as described. Just putting my 2 cents in. There is a range of practice, but nobody who truly considers themselves active would say that they aren't striving to become better at living all the commandments. Yet, probably all the great LDS people I respect for their integrity will tell you they are on the path but far from perfect, and yes, they are Christians in the sense that they do unto others, and are extremely humble and cool unselfish people. Thanks for shedding light on the subject. Interesting.

  66. Yes, I'm a mormon, yes, I write a blog, yes, I had four children by the time I was 25 (no joke) and yes, my family watched every single movie you have posted over… and over again. Loved the post.