Opinion: I’m a Mormon



James S. Sherman

James S. Sherman

James Sherman is a junior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Well, I’m not. But someone is. Someone with a YouTube account no less. Their handle is “Mormon.” Mormon must have been there at the inception of YouTube – no mormon_69, mormonheartbieber1991 or i_am_brandon_flowers for this guy.

Now, either Mormon acquired some of that early YouTube stock, or he has another means of acquiring wealth (Time magazine estimated the wealth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be around $30 billion in 1997. The Church hasn’t released any financial information since 1959) because he paid to have his video upgraded to a “Featured Video” on YouTube. You know, the out of context video that’s on top of the related videos that makes you wonder how it got there until you realize it has a slightly deeper shade of gray around it, one of those.

I usually don’t bother with these videos, but I will click on anything promising a video of an attractive soccer mom. Add to that the alluring title: “…and I’m a Mormon” and you’ve sold me. I now wanted to learn. I clicked it.

Before I describe the video, I’ll describe what I knew about the Church of Latter-day Saints before the video. It has been lampooned on South Park, it allows polygamy—or doesn’t and it has provided Bill Paxton a starring vehicle on HBO. These all sound like ideas spouted from the audience of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” rather than an organized religion.

Now, the video is a profile on Rochelle, a self-described redheaded Texan wife mom, and her family that includes an adopted special needs child. She narrates and explains that it’s difficult raising a family with special needs kids. It includes shots of the family minivan packed full of kids and them running on a track at the Special Olympics. The video is as coherent as a Levitra ad. Are they selling us handicapped kids? I’m not sure. I am sure that the producers of this video didn’t skimp on the production value. At one point it looked like I was watching a Wes Anderson movie as caped children strolled down the foliage filled suburban sidewalk.

Perhaps the creepiest part of the video is when Rochelle says “I didn’t necessarily imagine that my family would look the way it does, but it’s really very rewarding.” What does that mean? Are you talking about the physical appearance of your kids? It sounds like something you say nervously when a gun is being held to your head.

Something seems… off about this whole thing. Anytime a group says, “It’s OK; we’re normal! Come join us!” beware. You don’t hire Roger Deakins to DP your two-minute mini-film to tell people “everything’s fine.” It’s just creepy.

Mormons are just normal people with normal problems. OK. Thanks for the public service announcement. There are other videos on Mormon’s channel, but I think I get what they’re trying to say: “No one has ever changed their religious beliefs based on a two minute video, ever. And they never ever will, so watch us waste this money.”

Got it.