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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Roach


I'm traveling alone for a few weeks, and dodging hurricanes as they come up. Its been a wonderful experience that I am so grateful for. But what has surprised me is HOW MANY other members of the church I have met. It seems like half of the conversations I have with strangers turn into learning that they are members too. Which is odd and wonderful because the church is not that big here.

One such conversation was with a woman who is also here traveling, When she found out I am also a member of the church she lowered her voice and said, "Don't you hate how judgmental other Mormons are about what you do on vacation?" I didn't really know how to respond because 1) I don't give much thought to other people's judgment of me - do you REALLY think I could have converted if I did?!?! 2) I think this was an example of what I am starting to conceptualize as, "Convert Advantage." There are many disadvantages to being a new convert, but this is not one of them. What would other members judge me for? Not wearing garments? I'm not eligible to be endowed yet, so I don't wear them. Not keeping the Word of Wisdom? Sorry, I kept 95% of it prior to my conversation. The only change is missing a few cups of coffee - which, I'll be honest, I have missed this week - but no cup of coffee is so good that I would give up my (limited) Temple Recommend for it. Something else they would judge me for? I cant even imagine why anyone would care.

So, no I don't feel judged by other members. Or if I am being judged, I don't notice or care. But I understand that some members have found church culture to be judgmental, even down to what they do on vacation. And that seems to be one of the places a cultural change in the church would help. But, as a convert, I'm delighted to be able to side-step any judgment that others have had to deal with.

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