Since moving to Taipei, my kids have had to stick up for their religious beliefs a few times. They have been asked questions about Mormonism and been the brunt of a few fairly harmless jokes. They have had a few incidents that have been a little dicey, but nothing too serious. However, today my 16 year-old had to stand up to a teacher at Taipei American School; a teacher who was sadly misinformed.
Today in one of her core classes (surprisingly, not American history where, not unexpectedly, Mormonism has come up before) a teacher brought up the subject of Mormonism and then jumped right into polygamy. He told the class that Mormons practice polygamy. My daughter raised her hand and said that wasn’t true. The teacher then said that there are Mormons in Utah that practice polygamy. My daughter said that she is from Utah and that Mormons in Utah do not practice polygamy and that anyone who does practice polygamy is not Mormon. The teacher then said that there are sects that are Mormon that practice polygamy.
Now let me get on my soapbox for a moment here. There are small fundamentalist groups in Utah, and in various parts of the United States and Canada, that practice polygamy. However, calling these groups “Mormon” is akin to calling a Baptist part of a “Catholic sect.” Any group that calls itself a “Mormon Fundamentalist” group is not, and I repeat, IS NOT, Mormon any more that a Baptist (or any other Protestant religion for that matter) is a Catholic. And anyone that practices polygamy is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is therefore not a Mormon.
Now, back to my daughter. She then told her teacher that a Mormon sect is not Mormon and reiterated that Mormons do not practice polygamy. He then got online and then mistakenly said that Mormons stopped practicing polygamy sometime in the early 1900’s. Not sure what website he was pulling his information from, but it couldn’t have been very credible, because it had wrong information.
Regardless, I’m proud of my daughter for sticking up for her religion. I know it wasn’t easy for a 16 year-old to stand up to a teacher like that, but I’m glad she did. She’s stronger for it. I admire her courage.
I find it shocking that in this day and age, there is so much misinformation about Mormons. But for anyone out there in blogosphere who wants to know a good website for credible information on Mormons, www.lds.org is a great place to start.
Now I’ll get off my soapbox.