Huzzah! Another question in the inbox! This one was asked anonymously:
Growing up, my sister and I were BEST friends with 2 neighborhood girls who happened to be Mormon. The 4 of us played almost every day until one day, out of the blue, our friends’ parents peeked out the front door of their home and notified my sis and I that their children were no longer allowed to associate with us. We were too shy and polite to ask for an explanation. Heartbroken, my sister and I cried hysterically as we made our way back home. Our family was very surprised when we had explained what had happened. They could only speculate the reason for the rejection was simply that we come from a non-Mormon family. My questions are, does the Mormon Church influence its members to pass judgement on people of other faiths? Are Mormons discouraged from having non-Mormon friends? Do Mormons think that non-Mormons are not worthy of them?
Well that’s a sad story….
Is it possible that Mormonism had something to do with it? Sure. I’ve heard of this sort of thing before. But it’s also equally possible that you weren’t as nice and polite as you remember being. Or maybe their parents were just douchebags who also just happened to be Mormon. I dunno.
I won’t speak for past generations of Mormons, but regarding current Mormons, I think the answer to all of your questions is NO:
- Mormons are not encouraged to pass judgment on people of other faiths
- Mormons are not discouraged from having non-Mormon friends
- Mormons do not think that non-Mormons are not worthy of [their friendship].
However, Mormons are very quick to try and protect themselves (or their children) from anything or anyone that they fear is a bad influence. If Mormonism played any role in this story, it’s likely that your friends parents saw you or your sister as a potential threat to their own children – not specifically because you weren’t Mormon, but maybe because you had some sort of different value system than they did. This isn’t to say that you must have done something egregious, however. Maybe the only offense you committed was wearing a 2-piece bathing suit, or perhaps a sundress that left your 6-year-old shoulders uncovered (oh, the horror!). Mormons are strangely sensitive about bare shoulders.
Mormons have a reputation for being a little bit insular, isolated, and separated from non-Mormons. But they also have a reputation for being extremely nice, outgoing, and friendly with non-Mormons, even if only in an attempt to convert them. Still, Mormonism does claim to be the One-and-Only-True-Church, which requires a little bit of I’m-Right-You’re-Wrong hubris.
But this one cuts both ways. I’m guessing that for every non-Mormon girl who gets rejected and wonders if it was because she wasn’t Mormon, there’s a Mormon girl out there getting rejected because she is Mormon.
Any More Questions?