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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mormon Mentions: Diana Spechler

I haven't done a Mormon Mention in awhile, so let me quickly explain the concept: When a non-LDS author mentions Mormonism in a book, I highlight the comment here. Then, I explain my thoughts on it. Complex, I know. Really, it's just a fun way to look at how we Mormons are perceived out in the world. It also allows me to clear up any misconceptions about my religion, to defend myself, if needed, and to laugh about the (sometimes crazy) impressions Mormons make on other people.

In Skinny by Diana Spechler (reviewed here), one of the characters writes:

"And don't blame your fat on your religion. Yes, thirty percent of Southern Baptists are obese, and the Mormons deploy "wellness missionaries," and sure, I know the Jewish jokes - the jokes with no edge; the soft, plump, low muscle-tone jokes about Jewish mothers overfeeding their children and Jewish holidays revolving around food. But these are not excuses. Excuses are worthless" (84).

Frankly, I don't understand this line. Not the Mormon part, anyway. I think it's a joke. At any rate, I've never heard of "wellness missionaries." Has anyone else?

I will say that members of the LDS Church abide by a (fairly) strict health code known as the "Word of Wisdom." It prohibits us from taking harmful substances - coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, lots of red meat, etc. - into our bodies. Although the code says nothing specific about soda (the "Word of Wisdom" was given in 1833), most church members abstain from drinking any caffeine at all. Naturally, we also stay away from illegal drugs, overuse of prescription medications, and anything else that might lead to addiction or damage to our physical/mental/emotional health.

Breaking this health code does not mean excommunication from the church, but most of us live it rather strictly, especially the coffee/tea/tobacco/alcohol part. Caffeine is another issue. For some of us, anyway. Not naming any names. Ahem. Maybe that's what the "wellness missionaries" are - a secret police force that storms Mormon pantries in search of Coke products. Let's hope not :)


  1. LOL! A secret organization raiding people pantries! I like that.
    I like that you do these posts, though, I'm always shocked to find out what some people think about mormons.

  2. I assume they misunderstood the term "welfare missionaries" - sent to places where the living conditions are at a level that requires help meeting temporal needs before they can focus on spiritual needs.

    It does paint an amusing picture though...

  3. I'm one of those Coke-drinking Mormons. I had better watch out for those wellness missionaries!

  4. This was one of those posts that disappeared with the Blogger meltdown yesterday. It came back, but minus all of the comments that were made when it first posted. Boo. Feel free to re-comment.

  5. How funny! I want to be one of those wellness missionaries- maybe it'll help me kick my own Coke habit. As in Coca-cola, or course.


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